Tag Archives: ham

Sarah’s Chicken Cordon Bleu

You ever just crave something that you know is crazy bad for you, but you just HAVE to scratch the itch?

Yeah, me too.

Terribly.

So I created this mainly because I like those cheap, breaded, pretty-bad-for-you chicken cordon bleu frozen dinners.  And, while I could go buy some and use it as a “cheat” meal, I’m pretty sure I would just continue this bad habit and have more cheat meals than is healthy.  (This is not for everyone… I just know myself well enough.  I usually save cheat meals for special occasions, going over to someone else’s house for dinner, going out to eat, traveling, etc.)

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

I knew I was doing this a little bit different than the conventional cordon bleu recipe … I was putting the cheese on the OUTSIDE instead of in the chicken breast.  So, in order to defend the “original” way of making this dish, I titled it with my own name, just so we understand the difference… however, as it turns out, it seems to be up for debate what chicken cordon bleu “originally” was!

The recipe appeared in U.S. newspapers in the 1960s, and there’s quite a bit of indication that it didn’t even originate in France, but America, as its attempt to mimic popular French dishes that incorporate stuffing one meat with another filling.  (Another great example of Americanizing food?  Look at many popular pizza or Italian restaurant choices, then go visit Italy.)  And, contrary to any sort of “word” connection, there is no origination of this recipe from something at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking schools in France (if you’re up on your food history/gastronomy).

So, as it turns out, I can pretty much make this dish WHATEVER I want because I’m not really dishonoring some great classic piece!

To get this dish started properly, you’ll need to read up on my instructions on stuffing a chicken breast.  You can find the instructions here.  If you have another (or better!) method for stuffing a chicken breast, knock yourself out.  You do not have to use my method of stuffing for this dish to work!

Last note… I recommend that one chicken breast serves two people.  The logic is two-fold:

A) You’re getting more meat in as it’s a LARGE breast, and you’re stuffing it with ham

B) Americans tend to over-do the meat thing.  One serving of meat is the size of your fist.  (Men need a little bit more than women, due to nutritional requirements.)  I don’t have the source for this information, just recalling it off the top of my head.  I did a quick google search on the topic, though, and you can find scores of sources saying the same thing. (Point B.1.: Quality meat is also incredibly expensive.  So we hold very true to one serving of meat per meal as to keep our grocery costs down.)

So needless to say, this is instructions for one breast, serving two people.

INGREDIENTS:

For the meat:

Large, plump chicken breasts

Precooked ham – one ounce per chicken breast is usually enough

Almond Meal/Sprouted Flour (either will work) – you’ll need about 1/4 cup for one breast

For the sauce:

1.5 cups of shredded cheese, I recommend super-sharp cheddar

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp. prepared spicy mustard

Sprinkle of pepper

Sprinkle of nutmeg

2 tsp Sprouted flour, rice flour, tapioca/arrowroot (you’re using it as a thickener)

1 tbl Butter (preferably grass-fed for optimal nutrition)

dash of parsley

TOOLS:

Sharp Knife

Toothpicks

Plastic Wrap

Dredging dish

Oven-safe dish for roasting breasts

Small pan for making sauce

whisk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the over to 425*.

Go over to this page and follow the instructions for how to cut and stuff.  You are going to stuff it with all that cooked ham (as pictured in the other post).

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

You’re going to want to bread it – so now is when you’ll throw your almond meal or sprouted flour in your dish for dredging.  Very carefully roll the stuffed chicken breasts in your meal/flour.

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Once it’s thoroughly covered, move “breaded” stuffed breast to your tray for baking.

If you’re making more than one stuffed chicken breast, repeat the process.

Once all your chicken breasts are stuffed and breaded, cover your dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes at 425*.

While this is cooking, shred up your sharp cheddar cheese.

After the first “set” of 15 minutes, you’ll want to turn the breasts over, uncover, and put in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Now you can start working on your cheese sauce! (And let’s be real… this is what we’re really want!)

Warm your milk to almost boiling.  Once it’s almost boiling, turn the heat down as low as it will go.  Whisk your mustard, pepper, nutmeg, and sprouted flour/arrowroot/tapioca/rice flour.  Make sure there are no lumps!

Slowly stir in your shredded cheese.  Keep stirring.

Stir some more.  You’ll see that your ingredients are combining well (keep that heat on low!) and when you bring your spoon up, it’ll be like a really thick sauce, not too stringy.  If you notice it’s starting to become “stringy,” go ahead and turn the heat off.  Just remember to stir it every so often.

About this time, it’ll be time to take those chicken breasts out of the oven!

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Stir your cheese sauce some more.

Carefully take the toothpicks out just as soon as you can bear touching the chicken.

Plate your chicken and smother those chickens with your cheese sauce. Top with a dash of dried parsley.

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

And now, you can go guzzle.  Enjoy that cheesy chicken cordon bleu!

Sources:

Cordon Bleu (dish), http://www.en.wikipedia.org

History of Chicken Cordon Bleu, http://www.ehow.com

Comfort Food: Ham & Biscuit Pot Pie

This was born out a desperation for comfort food.  Earlier this month, we got hammered with snow storm after snow storm… I wanted to crawl up in a blanket, drink my coffee, and eat comfort food.

Which, for a real-food foodie, is not as easy as it sounds.

This recipe was inspired by this Biscuit Pot Pie from another blogger, but I changed it up a bit to exclude unsprouted/unsoaked wheat…  and to use up my leftover Christmas ham that’s been freezin’ away. Y’all, these are the BASICS of eating real food.  It’s exchanging the fake/unhealthy food for the good stuff God made for your body (a.k.a. “real food”).

Mmmmmm.  Ham.
P1100753Some tips before you set out to make this yummy dish: *and you need to read this before you set out to start cooking*

Prep your biscuits.  The recipe I use regularly is from The Elliott Homestead.  I make these, on average, about every 10 days.  I do this as it reduces the amount of snacking/eating the processed stuff I do allow (like cereal).  When they can grab a warm biscuit with healthier wheat, grass-fed butter, and topped with raw honey… it’s now a health-food.  So I usually plan to make the potpie close to the day I’m going to make biscuits.  The reason that it’s so important to plan this out is that these biscuits take a little thinking ahead — you have to set the dough for soaking 24 hours before you can bake them.  This is not complicated, do not be overwhelmed!  I basically spend 5 minutes at about 7 at night to prep the biscuits, then finish the prep the next morning at 7 a.m.  (I usually double the batch.)  I would bake all but six of them in the morning (which is what I did today), and save those six to top my pie tonight.

Another *think ahead* step: I usually buy organic celery, chop it up, then freeze it.  Since I do not ever want to eat it raw (sorry, YUCK!), but just cook with it, it’s so much less expensive… I can use a small amount and not waste the rest or feel obligated to eat it (again, YUCK!).

So! On to the ingredients and directions:

INGREDIENTS:

3tbl grass-fed butter
3 carrots
1c chopped celery (I did not thaw mine)
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves
1 tbl + 1/4c arrowroot powder, divided; or similar GF thickener
2c chicken broth
1c milk or heavy cream (so much yummier with the cream!)
1c frozen peas (do not thaw!)
1lb of ham, cut into bite-size
1tsp fresh minced thyme
sprinkle of pepper
6-10 soaked biscuits (depending on preference and size of dish)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Melt your butter in a large pot/pan.  Once it’s melted, begin to saute the carrots, celery, and onion.

P1100746Saute these vegetables for 5-10 minutes, and they will start to become fragrant.
P1100748.
Once the veggies are starting to cook and lose their color (they look duller), add the pressed garlic.  You can do this however, but I have a garlic press.
P1100759Let this cook for another minute or two until you smell that garlic.  Garlic cooks quick (and consequently burns) so you don’t want this to sit long.

Once you smell the garlic, throw 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and stir.  This is the beginning part of the thickening process.
P1100760Still stirring, add your 2 cups of chicken broth.  Continue to stir for a minute or two until it’s all combined.  I would also suggest scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (the browned bits on the bottom are part of what makes it delicious!).

After its scraped, add your 1 cup of milk and stir.

Whisk in the remaining arrowroot powder (1/4 c).  Keep whisking until it’s mixed well.
P1100772Bring this mix to a boil, and let it boil for about 5-10 minutes until it’s thickened significantly.

Add your chopped ham, chopped thyme, and peas, and stir.  Put the lid on and let this cook at a slow boil for another 10 minutes.
P1100767When you uncover it, it will be thick and combined.
P1100775Dump into a casserole dish, and sprinkle with black pepper.
P1100789Bake this for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

It will be slightly browned when you pull it out.

Top this with your uncooked biscuits.  You can put as many as you want on top, but just be aware that they tighter they are squished into the dish, the longer it will take to cook them through.  I usually space 6-8 out over the dish, and that’s because I don’t want heavy bread at night-dinner.
P1100794Put this dish back in your over, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until your biscuits are cooked through and the tops are browned.  If you pull up a biscuit, you might notice it looks gooey on the bottom — and this is because it’s been sitting in thickened soup, basically.  If you’re concerned about the doneness, break a biscuit apart and examine the contents in the middle for how well it’s cooked.
P1100798Let it cool for 5-10 minutes, so it won’t burn your mouth.

And last, most important step –

Eat.  And be comforted.

Waste Not, Want Not – Split Pea Soup

I hate, hate, HATE to waste food.  If I paid my hard-earned money for it, I better consume it all!
We usually have a Christmas ham, and I really wanted to use that leftover ham bone.  Everything I’ve read about beef and chicken bones being used a soup/broth base only fueled the desire to figure it out!
So, I introduce to you:

Split Pea and Ham Soup!

I really wanted to just eat it. Not sit around and take pictures of it.

I really wanted to just eat it. Not sit around and take pictures of it.

INGREDIENTS:
1c dried split peas
water (will depend on how much your peas soak, size of pan, etc)
olive oil for frying
1 onion, chopped finely
1 leftover ham bone from a roast (still leave it meaty! but please note it should’ve already been cooked once before)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (*I find it helpful to tie them together with butcher’s twine so the twigs stay together, making removal much easier)
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Let the peas soak in at least 2 cups of water overnight (at least 8 hours, I did mine around 14). You can almost always add in more water than necessary and drain it off later.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven for a couple of minutes, but be careful that it doesn’t smoke (overheated olive oil isn’t good for you!).  Add the chopped onions once the oil is hot. *Do not skip this step! It is the base to all good soups!*
  3. Stir the onions frequently.  As the onions start to caramelize, add the soaked peas, 3-4 sprigs of thyme, ham bone.  Add just enough water to reach the top of your ham bone (I had to add about 6 cups).
  4. Bring this to a rolling boil, and let it boil for about 20-30 minutes.  Remove the ham bone to let it cool.
  5. While the bone is cooling, add the carrots and celery and let it boil for about 5 minutes, then bring it down to a simmer.
  6. Once the ham bone is cool enough to handle, cut off all meat into bite size pieces.  Add just the meat back to the pot.
  7. Bring to a boil again, and add water to the soup for desired consistency.  You can do this step a few times to get it to where you want it, but I would suggest only adding in 1/2 c at a time, and letting it simmer on low for at least five minutes before adding any more.  ** TIP: You know the vegetables and soup has cooked long enough when the thyme leaves have cooked off the twigs.  (If this hasn’t happened by the time you reach this point, continue to simmer until those leaves are off!)
  8. Let the soup cool for about 5 minutes before serving for final thickening/cooling. Be sure to remove the thyme before serving!
I found that sometimes you may want to blend some of the peas for a smoother consistency.  I had intended to do this when I first set out to create the recipe, but found that the peas had mushed up so well between the 14 hour soak and slow cooking.
I made this for my husband and father-in-law (who loves split pea soup!) and they couldn’t believe how great it was! I admit, I’m not typically a fan of split-pea soup, but this recipe totally changed my opinion.
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