TCB CBLT – New & Improved Chicken Club Sandwich

Chicken Breast, Fried Green Tomato, Maple Cinnamon Bacon, Lettuce, Cheddar Cheese, & Spicy Mustard on a Ciabatta Roll

Happy Halloween all!
Truth be told, I hate this God-forsaken holiday. Actually, I think this holiday might not like me.
Right now my close friends are bracing themselves to hear any one of my tragic costume or trick-or-treating tales.
But, alas, I will not bore all of you with the drama that is involved in being too smart for your own good, which leads you to over think costumes every year and leaves others asking “What are you?”
So while other food bloggers are making pumpkin this and creepy that, I am displaying my anti-Halloween attitude in the form of an awesome sandwich!!!
(I guess if I wanted to buy into this dumb holiday I could have said sand-witch there.)
If you like this holiday, take pleasure in being scared, and have a knack for picking clever costumes, enjoy your day.
As for me, I’m going to eat the crap out of this sandwich, hand candy out to the cute little neighborhood kids, and move on to getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!
Ingredients (makes 2 sandwiches)
2 Thin Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Ciabatta Rolls
4 Pieces of Bacon
1 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 Large Green Tomato
1 Large Egg, beaten
Flour for dredging
½ Cup of Vegetable Oil, for frying
½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Leaves of Romaine Lettuce
2 TBSP Whole Grain Mustard with Horseradish
1 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper
2 TSP Salt
2 TSP Pepper
A Dash of Cinnamon
Add about ½ a cup of flour to a medium bowl. Add, crushed red pepper, 1 TSP salt, and 1 TSP of pepper. Mix well.

I love heirloom tomatoes! They are so beautiful!
Cut the green tomato into thin large slices. Individually dredge the tomato slices in the flour, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper mixture.

Then dip the flour covered tomato slice in egg. Coat evenly, with egg mixture, on both sides. Then coat the egg and flour covered tomato slice in the panko crumbs.
Let the tomato slices rest for about five minutes before frying.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 230 degrees. Add in four slices of tomato at a time and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Let the fried tomatoes dry in a wire rack for 3 minutes before serving.
In a medium skillet over high heat, cook your bacon. When the first side is cooked add a dash of cinnamon to each uncooked side, then flip the bacon.

While the second side is cooking, add the TBSP of maple syrup. Cook the bacon until it is crisp and the maple syrup has become dark and caramelized.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper on each side. Then, in a separate skillet, cook the boneless skinless chicken breasts for about ten minutes each side until they start to get a little golden. Let the chicken rest five minutes before cutting.

Slice the chicken into thirds on a bias. Stack the lettuce, fried green tomato, chicken, cheddar cheese, and then bacon. Put the spicy mustard on the top half of ciabatta, and then cover and serve!

Enjoy every sweet, southern-inspired, and crunchy bite of this new and improved Chicken Club!
This is my heaven!

Happy Hour Friday – Grapefruit Orange Sparklers

During the holiday season, at my parents’ house, we like to cook and pre-game with mimosas.
Meats, cheeses, crackers, olives…. And mimosas.
This, surprisingly, was my mother’s idea.
Every year for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, we always start the day with mimosas.
As you all know, the holidays can be stressful, especially for those hosting. So, if my mom needs a little mimosa (or two) to take the edge off the holiday festivities, that’s fine.
And all of us kids are right there with her!
Last year, my husband, decided to mess with tradition and play mix master.
He added Limoncello to the traditional mimosa.
We were all skeptical, especially my mom.
But, not only did this add to the “edge-reducing” qualities, it was really good!
Since then, my husband “The Mix Master,” thought he had found his new calling, taking traditional drinks and putting a modern twist on them.
This was fine and dandy until… 
One day, we had a few friends over for drinks, even though my husband had a bit of a cold. “The Mix Master” thought it was a good idea to mix Red Bull, vodka, and Airborne.
Mix master license revoked!
Luckily, I have taken over where he left off—with the twists on mimosas—and came up with this beauty of a refreshing cocktail for all of your breakfast and brunch gatherings!
Ingredients
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
2 oz Grand Marnier
6 oz Champagne
Combine the Grand Marnier, grapefruit juice, and orange juice in a glass.
Top with the champagne and an orange peel curl.

I make these by the glass, because not everybody is a grapefruit or orange fan. Or some people (mom) like more champagne than all the other crap!
P.S. These can also be made in a non-alcoholic form. Which would mean no Champagne or Grand Marnier, and sparkling apple cider instead.

Cheers! Here’s looking forward to another wonderful holiday season!!!

Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Cornbread Muffins

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Funfetti Hangover

So, after my husband and I ate a combined total of 16 Funfetti Pancakes and downed about a cup of strawberry preserves, we were literally flitting around the house like two hummingbirds.
Talk about a major sugar high.
Cut to two hours later. My husband and I are in food comas on the couch watching Happy Endings, complaining about stomach aches.
After a few Tums, glasses of water, and a good nights rest, we finally feel normal again.
I guess being a kid for a day kind of leaves you with the symptoms of a hangover: a headache, shame, regret, and the feeling like you either need a nap or to go on a run.
When you are a kid, you can eat a plate full of 8 pancakes and not feel the emotional toll it takes on you because you don’t know any better. Granted, you will either barf or end up with a stomach ache after all the sugar.
As an adult you sometimes get wrapped up in these rare moments of “kid-dom” and take it a little too far.
Today, for all of you who joined us in our night of sugary bliss and are now wondering why everything in your house is covered in a sticky sugary film, I have a nice and easy comforting recipe that contains absolutely no sugar.
Ingredients
1 ¾ Cup Cornmeal
¾ Cup Flour
4 TSP Baking Powder
¼ TSP Baking Soda
1 TSP Salt
2 Cups Cultured Low-fat Buttermilk
2 Eggs
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, rinsed
¾ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 TSP Fresh Oregano, finely chopped

Combine all dry ingredients and oregano in a large bowl. Mix well.

Combine eggs, buttermilk, and oil in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.

Add in the feta and sun-dried tomatoes and mix until evenly incorporated.

Pour batter into a greased muffin tin and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

This is enough to make 12 small muffins or 6 large muffins.

Think of this cornbread muffin as the more adult version of the Funfetti cupcake.

Kate’s Corner – Funfetti Pancakes with Strawberry Preserves

A great friend of mine (who strangely enough is not a “kid person”) thought it might be fun to have a monthly feature of kid friendly or kid inspired meals. So, here it is: Kate’s Corner!
Not only is this feature dedicated to my amazing, creative, and fun niece, Kate, but to all the adults that still love a good sugar rush, plain food, or still refuse to eat vegetables.
Let’s face it there is a tiny corner inside all of us that still wishes it was socially acceptable to wear footie pajamas, have your mom read you a bedtime story, or even take over the playground swings and try to swing so high that you would swing all the way around.
This is nothing to be ashamed of. If we didn’t have that little innocent glimmer inside of us, think of how boring we’d all be!
We need to embrace that little kid inside of each of us that thought pickle and sour cream sandwiches were awesome (so what! it is), or ran an imaginary detective agency with her brothers (one brother may have been forced to pretend to be our crime-sniffing dog), and dreamed of one day being a dolphin trainer.
Funfetti speaks to my inner child. It makes me want to eat a million cupcakes and not care that I have frosting all over my face! (If you don’t know what Funfetti is then I feel terribly sorry for you. But it’s ok, I will educate you on its awesomeness.)
One of my best friends openly admits to her love of Funfetti. When I recently told her about this recipe, her eyes lit up.
I felt like I was talking to that little kid inside of her that loved candy and cookies, collected N*SYNC paraphernalia, and played with Barbie’s.
So, in honor of two of my best friends, Kate and the Funfetti queen…. FUNFETTI PANCAKES!!!
Pancakes are amazing. Funfetti is awesome. It’s a perfect union.
Seriously, if this does not bring a smile to your face, you might want to take some time and reevaluate your life because you may have lost that little kid spirit inside of yourself!
Ingredients for Pancakes
1 Cup of Water
1/3 Cup of Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 Box of Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
 
Ingredients for the Strawberry Preserves
1 Pint of Fresh Strawberries, hulled and quartered
The Juice of 2 Lemons
2 Cups of Sugar
 
Blend cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl until moistened.

Using a hand mixer beat the mixture until it is smooth.

Heat a greased large pan or griddle over medium low heat.

Pour a ladle full of batter into the center of the pan. Form as good of a circle as you can.

Cook until bubbles form on the edges. Flip the pancake.

Cook second side for about 3 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and sugar to a small pot.

Cook over low for ten minutes. When the sugar has dissolved, add in the fresh strawberries.

Cook the strawberries over low heat (at a slow boil) for 20 minutes.

Let the mixture cool.

Pour liberally over Funfetti pancakes, then, you stuff!
Beware. You start eating one and the next thing you know you’re dancing around the kitchen island singing to yourself about the awesomeness of Funfetti, and then the whole plate of four pancakes is gone!

Chorizo & Potato Skillet

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Why Food Always Sounds Better in Other Languages

Last night, my husband I were having a discussion about how cool the word Chorizo sounds. (Granted, he wasn’t really giving me his whole attention, because I couldn’t sleep and he was most likely sleep-talking to me, and as he reads this will think “I don’t remember this.”)
Chorizo compared to the American translation, “saaah-sedge”, is way sexier!
Think about other translations. Which sound more enticing?
Polpette or Meatball?
Carne Asada or Grilled Steak?
Baguette or French Bread?
Cabernet Sauvignon or Red Wine?
Clearly, the last translation is not 100% accurate, but you get my point.
As Americans, we are made up of a “melting pot” of different backgrounds and ethnicities yet we are still trying to forge ahead and make things “American.”
Sometimes during that process, there are casualties, like, a butchered language.
I remember the time (the first and last time) my father took me and my siblings through the drive-thru at Taco Bell (yes, I know that is not a shining example of true Mexican food, but oh well). He ordered the Nachos Bell Gran-dee…..
My brothers and I gave him the hardest time! It was mortifying yet also hilarious!
But, if I take a second to think about it, my parents (and I’m sure some of yours as well) never had to learn other languages besides the ones they were either born knowing or were raised speaking.
Consider all the people in the world that have never tried chorizo out of fear of the unknown or not knowing how to pronounce it. Such a shame…
As Americans, one of our flaws every so often is pride. A lot of times I think people don’t order foreign food because they don’t want to risk looking stupid trying to pronounce it.
While we, a younger generation of foodies, winos, and food snobs can appreciate the sexy, foreign, and sometimes mysterious sounds of these foods, the elder generations are still catching on or even, in some cases, thinking, “What’s so wrong with calling it saaah-sedge?”
My fellow Americans, young and old, it is our duty to embrace new foods and languages because not only is it what America is all about, it just sounds better!!!
Ingredients (serves four)
4 Eggs, cooked any way you like them
3 Large Potatoes, cubed
1 Red Pepper, roughly chopped
1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
½ Onion, finely diced
1 Garlic Clove
1 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
1 TSP Ground Cumin
4 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Large Link/Piece of Chorizo*, uncooked
*If you don’t like pork feel free to substitute a spicy chicken sausage or if you don’t eat meat Trader Joe’s has this wonderful Soyrizo that has all the same flavors of chorizo…. except, not.
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Any cheese can be substituted here.)
1 TBSP Fresh Cilantro, chopped for garnish
 
Roughly chop or dice all your vegetables.
 
Place all vegetables in an oven-safe skillet or casserole dish.
 
Coat all veggies with the olive oil.
 
Add in the dry seasonings and grated garlic. Mix well.
 
Bake vegetables at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
In a skillet, sauté onions with 1 TSP of olive oil over medium heat for a minute or two.

Add the uncooked chorizo. Cook the chorizo over medium high heat for 10 – 15 minutes until all the fat and grease cooks out and the chorizo is a dark deep red color.
 
Fry, poach, or scramble your eggs.
 
When potatoes and vegetables are done cooking, add the chorizo to the dish and mix. Then add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Put the skillet/dish back in the oven for a few more minutes until the cheese has melted.

 

Take the dish out of the oven, top with eggs and garnish with cilantro.
 
This meal also goes nicely with some hot sauce, salsa, or cool guacamole.

 
Eating this dish makes me want to run away to Spain, or France, or Italy, any place with an amazing plethora of unbelievably tasty and cool sounding foods! (Just kidding hubby)
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