Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Braid

     Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those things I see at restaurants, but I have never actually tried. I don't know if it's because I didn't really know what it was, or if I was afraid I wouldn't like it. When I saw this recipe in a Pillsbury Halloween periodical (you know the ones they suck you into buying near the cash registers?), I thought I might give it a try. Now I have to warn you, I learned from looking up other recipes for the "real" chicken cordon bleu, this is a very simplified version...and I didn't have to mess with raw meat, which in my book makes it a winner.  We loved it! I was pleasantly surprised at how well the flavors blended together, and now I feel like I have been missing out all these years.
      Miss E loved that she got to help make it. She's two, so that should tell you how easy this is to make. She helped use the baby roller, spread the cream cheese and layer on the toppings. The original recipe called for a jar of roasted red peppers, but we left those off. It just didn't seem right to put it inside the braid.

1 can refrigerated pizza crust
garden vegetable cream cheese spread
4 oz deli ham (We used black forest)
6 oz deli chicken
4 slices provolone cheese
1 egg
Parmesan cheese

  • Heat the oven to 400* and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough onto cookie sheet, stretch the dough into an 11x14 rectangle.
  • Spread the cream cheese in a wide strip down the center of the dough.
  • Alternate ham and chicken on top of the cream cheese. Top with cheese.
  • Using a pizza cutter or knife, make slits at an angle about one inch apart down the sides of the dough. To form braid, alternately cross strips over filling, folding up the bottom and the top before crossing the end strips over (to keep filling from spilling out)
  • In a small bowl, beat egg and brush over dough. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until deep golden brown. 
  • Cut into slices to serve.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Plan Jan 29-Feb 4

     Are you ready for some....food and commercials? I bet you thought I would say football, didn't you? I may be in Indianapolis, but it's not because the Superbowl is here. I'm trying to stay away from the 150,000 extra people that have invaded my city. While all the excitement seems to be fun for some, I prefer the warmth of my home over brushing up against a bunch of people I don't know and walking through shoulder to shoulder crowds  trying to see over people who are at least 4 inches taller than me. I plan on a nice evening at home or maybe with friends. Either way, there is sure to be food and a good time.
     In honor of the big game and all the coinciding parties, I'm going to post some ideas for food and snacks to make your bash a huge success. It seems like most parties have chili and appetizers, so I have some of those as well as some other ideas. I only included one cookie, my favorite, but any cookie would be great for a party since most recipes make a lot and are easy to pick up during breaks. (The numbers in the collage correspond with the link to the recipe below)

1- Meatballs-a classic party food. Stick them in the crock pot to keep them warm
2- Pizza Roll Ups-not so classic, but slice into small rolls and it's the perfect snack
3- Pulled Pork- yum!
4- Spicy Chicken Stromboli-These are great because they are sliced into smaller pieces
5- Taco Stuffed Shells-These seem almost appetizer like, but could be a main dish too
6- Taco Soup-if you don't want chili, this would be a great alternative
7- Tailgate Chili--an Indiana classic
8- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers-What's a party without these?
9- Party Pizzas--These are expected at our house every New Year's
10-Pepperoni Pizza Roll ups (from Bo's Bowl)--I've made these twice since he posted them last week!
11-Texas Caviar--Dip and Chips: you can't go wrong
12-Punk Love's Baked Beans-A summer classic is great for the Superbowl too!
13-Minnie's Cookies--My very favorite cookie
14-Fruit Salad--Something a little lighter...the "sauce" is amazing

Menu Plan
birthday cupcakes for J

Chicken Cordon Bleu braid
E's friend: Birthday Party
Quinoa and black beans
J's birthday (out)
Chicken and Dumpling Casserole
Pizza Roll Ups

linked up to Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hashbrowns and Apples

     This reminds me of the movie, "Cinderella Man." Braddack's stomach is growling and his manager brings him a bowl of hash right before he fights. After he wins he says, " I did this on hash, Joe. Imagine what I could do on steak." Hash is a dish of chopped meat with potatoes or a finely chopped mixture. That pretty much sums up what is in this meal.
     I know this sounds like a weird combination, but apples and hashbrowns are really good together. I think it's because of the sweet and savory mixture. Add in some ham and eggs and it's really the perfect meal. Well, it's perfect for me because I could eat breakfast any time of day.
     The pictured meal is with my first ever attempt at a fried egg. It's not pretty. The last time I made this I made up a batch of scrambled eggs and put those on top. Either way, it tasted good. Make your eggs the way you like them.
     Adapted from David Zinczenko

Butter or oil for pan
package of hashbrowns (or diced potatoes)
chopped ham
large apple, chopped
Egg: fried, scrambled, whatever you like

  • Melt butter or heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. 
  • Dump in potatoes and brown. Sprinkle with pepper and paprika.
  • Add in ham and chopped apple. Stir to mix. Cook til heated through.
  • To serve, spoon onto plate and top with egg. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread

     I titled my blog "Penny Pinching Provisions" because I wanted to focus on making good food on a budget. I have succeeded with that for the most part, although I feel like my blog is a little more focused on the food than the budget. I'm ok with that...and if I could think of a better name for the blog, I might even change it.
    For today, I really do have a "penny pinching" tip for you. I can't stand to throw things out, and a lot of times if I know I won't use all of something; I use a replacement that I will use. A couple of weeks ago, I bought hamburger buns for our sloppy joes. I usually just use toasted bread, but we were having company over...then we all got sick and ended up eating them on our own. So I had leftover buns which turned into this delicious, cheesy garlic bread. And, if you are wondering about the chili in the picture...it's basically this chili recipe with some leftover spaghetti (marinara sauce and all) mixed in. This was truly a penny-pinching meal that turned into something delicious!

bread (french bread if making it for other people)
garlic salt
optional toppings: basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, paprika, chili powder, red pepper...

  • Spread butter on each piece of bread.
  • Sprinkle with garlic salt.
  • Top with your favorite cheese. Provolone or mozzarella is good. 
  • Broil until toasty. Watch it, broiling is very fast!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Jan 22-28

     I've been losing things like crazy lately. It's driving me crazy! I lost my menu plan after I already went to the store. You would think I would remember my plans, but I don't. I was using some things from the freezer and making some new things. I've been trying to recreate it all morning. I don't know if it's the same, but I have a plan now. Hopefully your starting your week off better than mine.

fruit and yogurt
breakfast sandwich

cheese sticks and fruit

Dinners/leftovers for Lunch:
baked chicken, broccoli, oatmeal rolls
Red beans and rice
Grilled Cheese, chips, apple slices
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes (with cauliflower), veggies
BBQ chicken, veggies, oatmeal rolls
southwest lasagna
Pigs in blanket or Breakfast scramble

linked up to Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brownie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

     Last weekend I made cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. For some reason, we had way too much frosting. You can't let that stuff just go to waste...so I made cupcakes...brownie cupcakes. It was just that kind of day. I mentioned to J, when we were eating our cinnamon rolls, that I would probably use that frosting (recipe) for my daughter's birthday party, so I thought it would be a great time to see if it piped on well. It did great. It also complimented the brownie cupcakes well too. They tasted a little like ding dongs...but much healthier than ding dongs. I think every chocolate cake with white icing tastes a little like that though. The only change I would make the next time is to fill the cupcakes with something (like more frosting or strawberry jam or peanut butter or nutella or...)because cupcakes are always better with a filling. I just wasn't thinking straight since I was talking on the phone to a high school friend while I was frosting my cupcakes.

4 Tbl butter, softened
1/2 cup prunes
1 cup pureed sweet potatoes
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

  • Heat oven to 350*. Line muffin tin with cups. 
  • Put prunes in water and boil for about 15 minutes or until soft. 
  • Combine flour and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • When prunes are ready, drain and add 4 oz of the chocolate. Stir until chocolate begins to melt. Transfer to food processor and puree. Add the butter, sweet potatoes, eggs, and vanilla. Process until smooth and creamy. 
  • Add prune mix to the flour and just combine.
  • Pour into muffin cups and bake until set...about 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese
1 stick (4oz) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp lemon juice
2-3 c powdered sugar

  • Add cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to mixing bowl. Blend until smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time, blending in between until well mixed and desired consistency. I used a little more than 2 cups. 
  • Frost cupcakes. Store in refrigerator.

Linked up to
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for Saturday

Indiana Chili

     When my husbands office had a chili cook-off to ring in winter, I went to work to find the perfect recipe. I searched and searched, but I couldn't find any that included my husbands requested "secret" ingredients. He really wanted to use beer and pepperoncini's. I think this stems from the amazing pot roast using those ingredients. I was going to have to change some things around.
     I based the recipe loosely on this one that is rumored to be the official Purdue tailgate party chili recipe. I'm not sure if I told J that, because he would loose his mind. He has been a die-hard Indiana fan since birth. We'll say that I made it better. Anyhow, he made it himself. He mostly followed the recipe, then took the crock pot to work the next day and won three of the four awards at the cook-off including best chili!
     Since the Superbowl is coming up...and it's in Indiana, give this chili a try. Everyone will love it! But be warned...it's hot! I almost titled it "ring of fire" chili, but thought the Superbowl in Indiana warranted a more fitting name.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage
1 can chili beans, drained
1 can spicy chili beans (don't drain)
1 can (28oz) dice tomatoes with juice
1 can tomato paste (2 if you want it a little thicker)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jar pepperoncini
4 slices bacon, cooked
2 cubes beef bouillon
1 bottle beer
3 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl minced garlic
1 Tbl oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
corn chips
shredded cheddar

  • Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the beef and sausage into the hot pan and cook. Drain off grease.
  • Pour in beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Add in everything else except the corn chips and cheddar. 
  • Cover and simmer over low for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer it simmers, the better it will taste. 
  • Remove from heat. For best taste, serve the next day...we use the crock pot to heat it back up (4 hours on low should do it)
  • Ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and cheddar.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan Jan 15-21

     It actually felt like winter here in Indiana last week. Today it rained, they are calling for some snow Thursday, and it should be 60* by the end of the weekend. This weather is so strange. It was hard to plan meals for this week because of the weather. I want chili on cold days and burgers on warm days...well, I doubt if we actually fire up the grill, but it's tempting! Here is the plan...

banana berry oatmeal
fruit, yogurt, and toast
breakfast sandwiches

Granola bars
kidmix: teddy grahams, mini marshmallows, raisins
cheese stick, olives

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Fajitas
Red beans and rice
ham, veggies, rolls
Meatloaf, veggies

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Caesar with Bacon Herb Parmesan Crumbles

     It's January, and that means it's time to eat salads right? Well, I'm not exactly following that logic. I did buy lettuce for tacos earlier this week, and I didn't want to throw out the rest. Logically, we had to have salad for dinner the next night. I would say, if you are going to have salad, make your own dressing too! It's so much better than bottled dressings...and these Parmesan crumbles really add a lot of flavor to an otherwise boring dish.

Rachael Ray

Chicken (grilled, I used raw breaded chicken) cut into pieces and cooked
1/2 cup olive oil
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbl fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
juice of one lemon
fresh ground pepper
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce

  • Heat a small skillet with 1 Tbl of olive oil. Add chopped bacon and cook until really crispy. Remove from pan and allow to drain and cool.
  • In small bowl, combine 1 cup grated cheese with parsley and bacon. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, and pour cheese mixture onto the sheet. Place in oven (400*) for 3-4 minutes, turning the pan about halfway through. Once cheese has melted and is golden, remove and cool completely.
  • Prepare dressing: Combine the garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice and ground pepper. Whisk in about 1/3 cup olive oil. Add 1/2 cup Parmigiano and stir to combine. Pour over salad.
  • To serve: crack the baked cheese into crumbles and put on top of salad along with the chicken.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taco Stuffed Shells

Picture from blogchef.net
     This is my favorite recipe that I have found, so far, on Pinterest. Normally, I wouldn't think of using taco stuff with pasta, but this was so good. I may never eat regular taco meat again. The addition of cream cheese to the filling really made this something special. Speaking of filling, I waited a while before making this because the thought of filling little shells with crumbly meat seemed like it might be more work than I wanted to put in. It's totally worth it! If you are still turned off by the idea, I was thinking you could make another type of pasta, like macaroni or rotini, and just mix it all together before baking....so it would be more like a casserole I guess. It just sounds so 1950s to say "casserole" doesn't it?
     By the way, I forgot to take a picture of this...that is why I used the image from blogchef. There picture is much better than mine would have been anyhow. Also, I used ground turkey. I almost always used lean ground turkey instead of beef (except for burgers!).

1lb ground beef (or turkey or whatever)
1 package taco seasoning
1 4 once package cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)
3 green onions (chopped)
1 cup sour cream

  •  In a fry pan cook ground beef and add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and allow to fully cool. While burger is cooking cook the pasta shells, drain and toss well with butter.
  •  Pour salsa in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  •  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and cover the tops of the shells with taco sauce.
  • Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  •  After 30 minutes, uncover, and sprinkle crushed chips and shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses on top.  Cook for about 15 more minutes. Serve with sour cream, additional salsa, black olives or whatever you think goes good with tacos!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Jan 8-14

     What a way to ring in the new year...being sick. I think someone brought the plague to our house for New Years Eve, because almost all of our friends were sick last week too! I had really high hopes for getting back into posting, but I couldn't do anything.
     So, we'll start over. Welcome to 2012. This is my menu plan for this week.

turkey sausage,egg, and cheese sandwiches
blueberry crumble toast
cinnamon rolls
yogurt with fruit, toast
granola bars

cheese sticks, olives or raisins
crackers, olives or raisins

Tacos and corn
Chicken Caesar Salad with homemade dressing
Red beans and Rice
Sloppy Joe sandwiches, green beans, mac n' cheese
Grilled chicken Parm, broccoli
homemade pizza

Linked up to
Menu Plan Monday

Special Note

For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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