Hurray for Leftovers

I seem to be having a mid-life crisis when it comes to cooking food.  When I first started cooking, it was for several siblings, my dad and my son.  As I grow older, the number has shrunk to the point that on most nights I am cooking for myself.  If this is not something you have experienced yet, it is like the culinary version of a haircut.  You get a sassy new do and suddenly seem unable to calculate the proper amount of shampoo to use.  This is why I keep my hair long, it has made the Marb Man happy or at least quiet for a few years and I don’t have to do physics to figure out how to wash my hair.  Sadly, the kitchen version of this is taking longer to adjust to and I don’t think that keeping my hair long will help.

What am I babbling ceaselessly about this week?  Leftovers!  There is something depressing about eating the same meal four days running because you are used to cooking for a crowd.  Some recipes freeze well, but there is a limit to the freezer real estate.  My two favorite solutions to this are paninis and grilled wraps.  You can get really creative with these things and they take so little time.  Pepperoni pizza panini, BBQ pulled pork wraps..if you can name it and melt it between two slices of bread you are golden.  The last time I had leftover chicken I made Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps.  Yummmmm!  They were such a success that dear son even asked I could add them to the regular line-up.  I got the idea from the cover of a Pampered Chef cookbook.  Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps:

Ingredients:

  • 3 leftover boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard rub (or 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 6 thin slices of deli ham
  • 3 (11 inch) flour tortillas (room temp)

Directions:

  • Dice leftover chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, Dijon, Swiss cheese and chicken in a medium bowl
  • On the tortilla, lay out 2 slices of ham and top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture
  • Fold in sides of tortilla and roll up tightly, burrito style
  • Using a grill pan and press, grill on medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes a side
  • Cut in half and enjoy your leftovers!
    Go from "Chicken, again?"

    Go from “Chicken, again?”

    To "Hurray Chicken"

    To “Hurray Chicken”

 

Bacon Flavored Candy

What can one say about Paula Deen?  In some ways, she is my hero.  She turned her passion for cooking into an empire.  Paula has her own line of cookware, her own show on the Food Network.  Hell, she is so good they gave a show to her son as well.    I even invented a drinking game in Paula’s honor consisting of watching her half hour show and doing a shot every time she says “y’all” and see who isn’t passed out at the end.  Kidding, of course, binge drinking is very, very bad….plus no one could possibly drink that many shots in 30 minutes and live.

I can’t believe that people took her to task for not cooking healthy and telling the world about her diabetes.  Must be the same people who sued McD’s for not making it clear that a Big Mac isn’t diet food.  One of my son’s fondest Food Network memories comes from watching my expression during an episode of her show dedicated to the Christmas meal.  I watched in stunned horror as she described deep-frying a ham, and then reminded us to stay tuned for the rest of her “Deep Fried Christmas, y’all”.  I am fair certain that my personal cholesterol level went up a few points just typing the words deep-fried ham.  Maybe it is a “south of the Mason-Dixon” thing as my southern mama would say.

Paula did provide the seeds for this recipe.  I had been looking for something to do with some leftover bacon and came across a recipe for Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps.  It called for wrapping bits of chicken in bacon and then liberally coating with brown sugar and a smidge of chili powder.  True to form, I failed to write any of that down and had to wing it.  Once I made it, I discovered that I really liked my version better (no ego here at all).  The pan I cook it in is ridged, so it keeps some of the grease from the bacon away from my dinner.  I am not going to try to suggest that bacon is good for you either, and for the record, my blood sugar is well within the normal range so no lawsuits please.

Ingredients:

1 package (approximately 1 pound) of chicken tenderloins

1 strip of bacon for each tenderloin of chicken-I prefer the thick cut

1-2 teaspoons chili powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Wrap each chicken tenderloin with a strip of bacon and place in pan.  Sprinkle lightly with the chili powder and the brown sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the bacon become crispy.

Creamy Enchiladas and My Son Turns 5 (down from 18)

To my future grandchildren, I am outing your dad.  Last night I made creamy chicken enchiladas and the following conversation took place:

Son: Are these green things peppers?

Me: No, they are chiles (yes, your grandma is a liar, as they are chile peppers, but really he meant bell peppers)

Son: Are they only on top?

Me: No, they are part of the sauce as well.  They are in the red sauce too, they are just pureed so you cannot see them.

Son: (Before even trying a bite) I think  like the red sauce better.

Now kids, when your dad tries to force you to each lima beans or peas, please remember that same man decided to dislike this recipe due to the fact that he could see something green on his dish.  He did, manfully, choke down one enchilada.

I found this recipe at the Taste of Home website.  The original recipe called for olives and green onions.  I hate olives and if you thought my son was scared of green chiles, there is no telling what the idea of green onions would do to him.  So those are the only changes I made.  I found the recipe to be simple and easy to put together, and the perfect slightly spicy, creamy comfort food I was in the mood for.

Ingredients (Yields 6 servings)

    • 1 to 1/2 cups (12 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
    • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
    • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
    • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
    • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (boneless, skinless)
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese blend, divided
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
    • 12 fat-free flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
    • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

    Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, soup, chilies and olives. Set aside 1-1/2 cups for topping. Add the chicken, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese to remaining soup mixture.
    2. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up tightly. Place seam side down in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with reserved soup mixture.
    3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; top with onions. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.