Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

I have always loved chicken cordon bleu but it can be a lot of work to pound out, layer, roll, bread and cook. With two wild kids running around I just don’t have time for that. So instead, I decided to skip the stuffing and rolling for a more simplified approach that still had the same flavor profile.
Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

It starts with a breaded chicken breast that is pan fried in a bit of olive oil then spread with Dijon mustard and topped with ham and aged Swiss cheese. It’s my new favorite way to eat chicken and I haven’t stopped dreaming about it since I made it on Thursday. Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings
And what makes a simple yet fancy dinner better? Wine. Recently, I was contacted by Wine Chateau with a fun opportunity to create a recipe to pair with three different bottles of wine. Gladly, they weren’t looking for a wine expert so it was a go for me. They have two retail stores in New Jersey and a website with an enormous selection of wine and spirits. I love that the website is broken down into sections by color and where the wine was made. When you make a selection, it gives you information about the region and flavors you will taste in the wine. I am nowhere near a wine expert so I always like having that information to help me make my selection.
Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

I received three different bottles of Chardonnay, America’s most popular wine, to pair with my chicken dish, ranging from about $10 to $30 dollars. I fully expected to enjoy the Jordan the most since it was the priciest of the three but it was too overpowering for our taste.

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings
We liked the Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay, the mid-range priced, the best with the chicken cordon bleu. It was bright and acidic but not overpowering and I thought it went well with the sharp Swiss cheese and mild chicken and ham.
Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

The Hawk Crest Chardonnay was my least favorite of the three. It was a bit too acidic and strong for my taste. I’ve always preferred something sweeter and this had too much punch for me. I loved experimenting and trying different brands of the same type of wine with a dish to see how they played together. I feel like I learned more about the subtle flavors that came out and which we seemed to prefer. Having the ability to go to the website and read the descriptions of the wines I now feel more knowledgeable about what to look for when I’m pairing wine to a dish.

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings
If you can, I would definitely recommend buying a few bottles of wine and trying this out for yourself. It turned out to be a great little date night at home, sitting at the table sharing a plate of chicken and three glasses of wine. Make sure to check out Wine Chateau for a large array of choices for your next dinner party. I think wine and cheese is next on our list!

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 chicken cutlets
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
8 slices ham, thinly sliced
4 slices aged Swiss cheese

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, gather three shallow dishes (I use pie plates). Place flour in one shallow dish, egg in another and panko, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper in the last one.

2. Dredge the chicken cutlets in flour, then dip in egg and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

3. Add olive oil to preheated skillet and carefully place chicken in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.

4. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Spread each cutlet with 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard then layer with 2 pieces of ham and a slice of cheese. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and put under broiler until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

*Disclaimer: The wine was provided to me free of charge by Wine Chateau but as always, all opinions are my own.

Thai Grilled Chicken Legs

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We’ve been trying to budget around here, which is totally not fun. But after several issues with our current house which were not disclosed when we purchased it, we’re getting really fed up. The winter brings frozen pipes leading to our washer…not good when you have two very messy children and do laundry every day. And this spring we’ve discovered that whenever it rains heavily, water seeps into the basement bedroom. Have I mentioned that it’s rained almost every day for almost a month? It’s not been pretty.
Thai Grilled Chicken 2
One of the ways we’re reducing our spending is through our grocery bill. But I refuse to buy junk food (aka cheap food) as a means of doing so. Instead, I plan our meals around the meat and produce on sale that week at my favorite grocery store. I’m not a fan of checking out the ads at several stores then making trips to all of them. I just don’t have the time or desire and I can always figure out something with what’s on sale at the store less than a mile from our house. Convenience is important people.
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I also like to stock up when certain things are on sale, such as boneless skinless chicken breasts. They were cheap this week so I may have bought 8 packages. I would eat chicken every day so we won’t have a problem going through that purchase. I also picked up some chicken leg quarters and grilled up these Thai Grilled Chicken Legs on one of the few days it was gloomy and rainy.
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The chicken gets a punch of flavor from a marinade of peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice. The marinade then does double duty as a dipping sauce.
Thai Grilled Chicken 1
A word to the wise, the peanut butter in the marinade makes the grill flame up and may cause some charring on the chicken if you don’t keep a close eye on it. Not that I would know…. I also recommend using a digital meat thermometer so you know when it’s been cooked through. I love this one as you can set the desired temperature and an alarm will go off when it has been reached. Fool proof.
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Thai Grilled Chicken Legs

6 chicken leg quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, combine garlic, peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice and salt. Reserve half of the marinade and place in refrigerator. Add remaining marinade to a ziplock bag and add chicken. Make sure all the chicken is covered and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

2. Preheat grill to medium heat. Place chicken on grill and cook for 30-45 minutes. Baste and flip chicken every 15 minutes, until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

Recipe adapted from Scratching Canvas.
Thai Grilled Chicken 5

Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders

Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 5
In the dead of winter it is so easy to reach for those rich, hearty, unhealthy comfort foods but now that Spring has arrived, I’m trying to make some healthy swaps for those calorie-laden dishes but still feel full and satisfied. Because, you know, bathing suit season is quickly approaching.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 5
Enter the coconut macadamia nut chicken tender. I have said before that if I could choose my last meal, it would be fried chicken. Well, I would eat it everyday if I could get away with it. But that’s just not realistic so I decided to swap out the all-purpose flour for coconut flour along with some sweet, nutritious additions to create a tropical twist on my favorite food. Coconut flour is high in fiber and protein which makes it incredibly filling. Plus, it’s low in carbohydrates and gluten-free so you can pretty much satisfy any lifestyle with it. I love the slight sweetness it adds to any recipe without any sugar.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 4
The shredded, toasted coconut and macadamia nuts add a nice texture to the chicken tenders and boost the health benefits. I also love the tropical, summery flavors to help pull us out of this cold, dreary spring.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 3
These chicken fingers are browned in a little olive oil to brown and crisp the coating then transferred to the oven to cook through. This saves a lot of fat and calories over the traditional fried version.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 2
If you are looking for a sweet coconut flour recipe, make sure to check out these bad boys, also known as our new favorite breakfast.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 1
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders

1 lb. chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Nonstick coconut oil spray
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard

1. In a ziplock bag, marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for 4 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Place macadamia nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble wet sand. Combine the ground nuts, coconut, coconut flour, salt, pepper and parika in a shallow pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk and allow excess buttermilk to drip off. Coat chicken in the coconut mixture then place on a plate. Continue until all the chicken has been coated.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in a single layer in the skillet and brown, 2 minute per side. You are not cooking the chicken through at this point, just getting some nice color on it. Generously spray a baking rack with coconut oil spray and place on a baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on the prepared baking rack. Bake chicken for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Whisk together the honey and mustard and serve on the side for dipping.

 

Creamy Cilantro Chicken

Creamy Cilantro Chicken 5
Remember how I told you last week about the gorgeous weather we were having? Well, we got pummeled with snow this past weekend and ended up having a snow day Monday. And we have another storm heading our way any minute now. Wahhhh. Can’t it be Spring yet? I really shouldn’t complain because we’ve had a gorgeous winter so far but it’s just such a pain carting the kids around in the snow. I predict I will not be going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.
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While the weather was nice, we had this delicious creamy cilantro chicken straight from the grill. I always love Italian dressing as a marinade so when I saw this recipe I knew it was something we had to try. Italian dressing is mixed with lime juice and cilantro for a zesty chicken marinade. Some of it is reserved to mix with the sour cream for a delicious sauce to drizzle over the finished dish. It so tasty and a very easy weeknight dinner alongside some cilantro lime rice and black beans. And don’t worry if you’re having frigid weather like us, this would be equally delicious on a countertop grill or sautéed on the stovetop.
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Creamy Cilantro Chicken
recipe adapted from Mom’s Test Kitchen

1 1/4 pounds chicken tenderloins
1 cup Italian dressing
1 small lime, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
Cilantro Lime Rice
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed

1. Combine Italian dressing, lime juice and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Reserve 1/4 cup for use later. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour remaining marinade over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

2. Combine the sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup marinade and remaining cilantro together and refrigerate until ready for use.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook chicken until cooked through and juices run clear. Serve chicken over cilantro lime rice and black beans, drizzled with the zesty sour cream sauce.
Creamy Cilantro Chicken 1

Grilled Buffalo Chicken + My 500th Post

Grilled Buffalo Chicken 4
500 posts? Say what? It’s hard to believe that I have been around for that long. To all my followers new and old, thank you! I love this little space of mine and truly hope that you all do too. I’ve learned so much, gained confidence and tried so many new techniques that I never would have without this blog. I love love love hearing from you, so keep the comments coming. What recipes have you tried? Which ones are your favorites?
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 1
I thought I would celebrate by sharing one of my new favorite (and healthy) meals. You all know that I love grilling so I like to extend the season as long as possible. Seeing that it’s projected to be in the 90’s and low 100’s around here this week, I’m pretty sure grilling will be the only thing going on.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 2
Well, chicken wings are pretty much one of my favorite foods (as evidenced here, here and here) but they definitely aren’t the healthiest or cleanest food to eat so I don’t indulge in them often. But now I can and not have any guilt about it. I would normally use boneless, skinless breasts but this time I chose thighs to lend some extra flavor. Since we are cutting out so much fat by grilling the chicken, I figured it was ok to bring a little with the thighs. But, either would be great so choose what you prefer or have on hand. While the chicken is grilled, it is basted with a homemade buffalo sauce to enhance the traditional wing flavor.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 3
I served this alongside a delish dill cucumber slaw that was cool and creamy, balancing out the hot, spiciness of the chicken. It was pretty much perfection in every bite. I must put it on the menu again. Maybe for tomorrow.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup hot pepper sauce, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1. Place chicken thighs in a zip top bag and pour in 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine butter, remaining 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce and garlic powder in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Pour half into a small bowl and keep remaining sauce in pan over low heat.

3. Place chicken on grill and baste with bowl of sauce each time you flip. Grill until cooked through and juices run clear. Serve grilled chicken with reserved sauce for dipping.

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up and Clean}

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 5
Noah is starting preschool in less than a week. Seriously people, how did this happen? It seems like just yesterday he was my sweet little baby and now he’s four and uses words like ridiculous and spectacular. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer but now that it’s upon us I’m kind of freaking out. It will be nice to have some time to devote purely to Hannah and to just have one crazy child to handle but I’m going to miss his hilarious antics. Like the fact that he now says por favor and gracias instead of please and thank you. Or his one man band routine (he was playing four instruments at once, that’s talent). Or the fact that as I type this he should be napping but instead he’s singing “Timber” at the top of his lungs. It’s hard to be mad at the kid. But seriously, go to sleep kid or you will be a pill later….
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So with the school year upon us, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy and easy meals to throw together on busy nights. I received a ton of new cookbooks and magazines for my birthday so I went right to them to solve my problem. This recipe originally called for ricotta and roasted red peppers as the filling but I decided to alter it a bit to make a chicken cordon bleu-esque dinner that was still clean and healthy.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 3
This chicken dish looks fancy and complex but really is simple and quick to get on the table. And as you all know Joel hasn’t exactly been thrilled with my recent clean eating adventures but he really loved this meal. I made it last week and he has already mentioned a few times that he would love to have it on the menu again soon.

To keep it light but filling, I served this alongside some roasted cauliflower and grilled zucchini.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 1
Chicken Roll-Ups
recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

4 4-ounce chicken breasts,each cut crosswise into 2 thin pieces
1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp. dried basil
8 thinly sliced low sodium and nitrate free ham
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line up chicken on a cutting board and lay a slice of ham on each. Combine the ricotta and basil then spread evenly over the ham. Roll up and secure each piece with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge chicken through it, shaking off excess.

2.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes per side (until browned). Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove toothpicks and slice into rounds.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 5
Have you had enough of all my talk about roasted garlic yet? If you have, so sorry but here’s one last recipe for awhile. I told you I was going to share this with you last week but life happened and this didn’t.

This pizza has some of my very favorite things in life, chicken, bacon, cheese and of course the garlic. Seriously, how could it not be good?
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 3
The pizza feels lighter than most since there’s not really a sauce but I’m sure it’s not (calorie wise) due to all the deliciousness. Joel missed not having sauce so he drizzled it with ranch for a spin on a chicken bacon ranch pizza.
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 1
Another thing I love is black pepper and I just happened to find a black peppercorn smoked gouda that was an amazing addition to this creation.
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 4

Most of the prep for this pizza can be done ahead of time (think pizza dough in the freezer, cook bacon and chicken the night before, shred cheese) so you can just throw it together when you are ready to eat. I love that with a little planning and prep work we can have fresh, homemade pizza on a busy weeknight. And fancy pizza at that. Especially seeing that my boys are “fantastic lovers of pizza.” Yep, the 3 year old came up with that. How could you not serve pizza?

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

1/2 whole wheat crust recipe (2 disks)
2 heads of roasted garlic, mashed very well
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large chicken breast, grilled and cut into small bite size pieces
6 strips of bacon, crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded smoked gouda

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Roll out pizza crust to desired thickness and place on a pizza stone.

2. Mix together roasted garlic and olive oil then spread evenly over the crust. Top crust with chicken, bacon and cheeses.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly.