Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
Last weekend I had one of my hard core chicken tender frying marathons so that I could re-stock the freezer for the kids. I was overzealous in the amount of chicken that I bought (about 10 lbs.) and I was growing tired of the process. So I decided that, for the last package of chicken, I would make cutlets which would involve fewer batches to batter and fry. The chicken breasts were thick, so I sliced them in half and pounded them out a little bit; this way the inside would be fully cooked without the outside being too browned. Well, we didn’t eat the cutlets that night, so I refrigerated them to have for the next day. I wasn’t in the mood for Chicken Parmesan (and I like more of a breaded cutlet for that anyway), and they looked kind of uninspiring just by themselves, so I decided to turn them into sandwiches. I didn’t really have that many options in my refrigerator, so the sandwich is a result of what I had on hand. I did have the option of using regular bacon and making a standard club sandwich, but since I had some proscuitto, I decided to crisp that up instead. The tomatoes you see in the photo are Kumato tomatoes – they’re not an heirloom, but a hybrid, and they’re excellent. I love arugula, as does my daughter, so she and I had that on our sandwich while I made the boys’ sandwiches with leaf lettuce. The garlic herb mayonnaise was super easy because I just combined prepared mayonnaise with garlic and herbs. I had really great French dinner rolls, but you could use Italian rolls, or even ciabatta bread. The sandwiches were a big hit and made it onto the “make that more often” list. This recipe is for 4 Servings, but can easily be adjusted.
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – sliced in 1/2 to make 4 thinner breasts (or purchase the thinner cut breasts)
- 3 Cups Buttermilk (enough to cover chicken)
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1/4 Cup Corn Starch
- Salt and Pepper
- Vegetable Oil (enough to cover when frying – amount will depend on the size of the pot you fry in)
- 1 Package (about 4 oz.) Proscuitto
- Mozzerella Cheese (can use shredded or sliced)
- 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
- 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
- Arugula, lettuce, or your favorite green
- 2 Tomatoes – sliced
The Fresh Toppings
Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and soak in buttermilk for 4-12 hours (the longer they soak, the more tender they are). Combine flour, corn starch, 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper in a large plastic bag and shake to mix thoroughly; set aside. Add vegetable oil to a medium or large stockpot – oil should cover the bottom of the pan by about 2 inches (enough so that when added, chicken will be submersed). Heat oil to 350 degrees. In the meantime, heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a medium saute pan, add proscuitto slices and cook until crispy; drain on paper towel. Remove 1 chicken breast from buttermilk (do not try to shake off excess buttermilk – this makes for good batter) and transfer immediately to flour mixture. Shake until chicken is well coated. Set coated chicken aside on a cooling rack. Repeat process until all chicken breasts are battered. Working in batches, add chicken to oil and cook until outside is golden brown and inside is cooked through (about 5-7 minutes each, depending on size of your cutlets). (You can test on breast by cutting into it). Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the mayonnaise by combining mayonnaise, garlic and herbs; set aside. Place cutlets on a baking sheet and top each cutlet with mozzerella cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Assemble sandwiches by coating top pieces of rolls generously with mayonnaise. Add one cutlet to each bottom roll;top with crispy proscuitto, and then top with tomato slices and greens.
Slice sandwiches in 1/2 and serve immediately so chicken is still warm.
My daughter and I both love Greek salads, and we often order them with chicken. It seems like there is a Greek restaurant on every other corner in the Detroit area, so it’s easy for us to fulfill a Greek salad cravings. The other night I had some leftover grilled chicken and it occurred to me that I could easily put together a salad. My friend jokes that when we go out, I always get a salad- this is only partially true- the reason is that I love good entree salads, but I just don’t make them at home very often. As standard when I make one of my kids’ favorite dishes, I got the question: “Why don’t you make this all the time?” The homemade dressing is easy, but the alternative is to buy bottled Greek dressing. I have not listed ingredient amounts because that is a personal preference. The dressing, however, makes 6 Servings.
- Mixed greens (or use Romaine or a good leaf lettuce)
- Grilled Chicken – shredded (or you can use rotisserie chicken – skin removed)
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes – halved
- Feta Cheese*
- Red Onion – sliced and cut into 1/2- 3/4″ lengths
- English (seedless) Cucumber – sliced
- Cooked Beets (can use canned)- sliced or cut into cubes
- Kalmata Olives
* I don’t buy crumbled feta because I think it is too dry. I buy the feta that comes in a block in liquid and crumble it myself (this also allows me to control the size of my crumbles). You can substitute reduced fat or fat free feta, but both will be drier.
For the Dressing:
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 3/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 3/4 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp. dried Basil
- 3/4 tsp. Salt
- 3/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1 TBS. Feta Cheese – crumbled (optional)
Arrange lettuce on plate; add all remaining ingredients except feta, in whatever amount you desire, and arrange neatly on plate. Top generously with feta cheese. For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a jar or tupperware container with a lid; cover with lid and shake vigorously. Adjust seasoning as desired (if dressing is too tart, add more oil or a dash of sugar). If adding feta: add crumbled feta, shake again, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Drizzle dressing over salad, add fresh cracked pepper and enjoy!
Thai Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce
I love the idea of posting a recipe that includes the word “summer” when it’s mid-January and very cold in Michigan. The last time I made these was for an end-of-summer/back-to-school party. They are somewhat time consuming, but they are always a crowd pleaser. I typically serve them as part of my Chinese New Year feast, and, no matter how many I make, they always disappear quickly. I shop at several local Asian grocery stores (better selection and prices), but I’ve seen all of the ingredients for this recipe at the local grocery store in the ethnic food/Asian section. I make the summer rolls with ground chicken, but you could substitute firm tofu (cut into small cubes or strips), or even chopped shrimp (I make a Vietnamese shrimp roll which is very similar). I don’t always use carrots (they’re more traditional for Vietnamese style rolls), but I had a bag of shredded carrots, and I do like the color they add.
- 1 Pack of Large Rice Paper Wrappers
- 1 Lb. Ground Chicken (or Tofu or cooked chopped shrimp)
- 1/3 Cup Honey
- 4 TBS. Fish Sauce
- 2 TBS. Fresh Lime Juice (about 1 lime)
- 1 Fresh Chili – seeded, membrane removed, finely chopped (or substitute 2 TBS. Chili Sauce)
- 1/2 Cup White Wine (or Rice Wine)
- 3-4 Cups Lettuce (Romaine or Green Leaf) – chopped
- 5-6 Spring (Green) Onions – green parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise (matchstick style)
- 1/2 English Cucumber- peeled, seeded and cut into matchstick strips
- 3/4 Cup Shredded Carrot Strips
- 5-6 Oz. Vermicelli Rice Noodle (sticks)
- 1.5 Cups Fresh Cilantro
- 1 Cup Fresh Basil (Thai basil if available, otherwise chop the regular basil)
In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together honey, fish sauce, lime juice, chili, and wine. Add ground chicken (or whatever you are using) and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. In the meantime, soak the rice noodles (as directed on the package) until softened and drain. Assemble all of your ingredients around a cutting board or section of counter to create a good workspace. Prepare the dipping sauce (see below) and set aside. Saute chicken over medium heat until fully cooked; drain and move to workspace. Fill a pie plate about 1/2 full of warm water. Add one rice paper disk to the water and gently swish around (keeping flat) until the paper is softened – remove and lightly dry it on a paper or kitchen towel. Lay the rice paper disk in the center of the cutting board. Beginning about 2 inches from the bottom edge of the rice paper, lay about 2 TBS. of your chicken (or whatever you are using) on the rice paper forming a line, leaving one inch clear on each side (you will fold the sides over when you wrap). Lay the green onion strips, a thin layer of lettuce, the carrots and the cucumbers and then add the cilantro and basil. Finish with a thin layer of the rice noodles. To roll: fold the bottom portion of the rice paper over the filling (it should cover it, if not use less filling next time or start your pile higher up). Although the rice paper seems really thin and delicate, it is actually very stretch and pretty durable. After folding the bottom half, fold the two sides over and then roll into a tight cylinder. Place the seam side down, and use a sharp knife to cut the roll into the desired number of pieces (two is traditional, but if you’re taking it to a party where there will be other appetizers, you can cut into three pieces – the middle one is just awkward because it’s open at both ends). Repeat process until all ingredients are used, or until you are tired of rolling. 🙂 Serve with room temperature with dipping sauce.
For the Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 3 TBS. Fish Sauce
- 1 TBS. Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)
- 1 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – chopped
- 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic – minced
- 1 tsp. Finely Chopped Chili (Jalapeno works well) – remove seeds if you don’t want too much spice, otherwise use seeds
Combine all ingredients in a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Allow to stand at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.
Posted in Figure Friendly, Poultry, Recipes, Sides, Starters, Uncategorized
Tagged Chicken Rice Paper Rolls, Chinese New Year, Rice Paper Rolls, Summer Rolls, Thai basil, Thai Summer Rolls
Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Shallot Panini with Avocado Mayo
This little sandwich doesn’t look very impressive in the photo, but boy was it good! I love grilled sandwiches, and I love them even more when they’re done on a panini press. My Dad was the one who got me started on paninis; they were one of his signature dishes. The great thing about paninis is that you can stuff a lot of different stuff into a sandwich, add cheese, put it on the panini press, and the sandwich stays together. I think the best panini creations are those that are a result of using what you have in the fridge/pantry. The options for bread are limitless, as are the options for meat, veggies, and cheese, and you can easily throw together a simple flavored mayo or mustard (or leave it off altogether). Prior to Thanksgiving, Bryan smoked a whole chicken (as a test run for the turkey he would smoke for Thanksgiving). The smoked chicken was great, and we had plenty of leftovers – hence, I was inspired to make paninis. I didn’t have much else around, but I did have a red pepper, some shallots (no onion – which worked out fine; I liked the shallot), some cheese and an avocado. My avocado had some icky spots, so I didn’t have enough to put slices on everyone’s sandwich, so I decided to just mash it and combine it with mayonnaise to make a spread. If you don’t have a panini press, you can make these sandwiches in a pan or griddle on the stove just like grilled cheese, or you could do them on an outdoor grill. Now I’ll have to post some soups or salads – the perfect accompaniment for a weeknight dinner. I haven’t posted very specific quantities because that’s easy enough to figure out depending on how many paninis you are making.
- Smoked or Roasted Chicken (at room temperature)- fairly thinly sliced, (can substitute any deli meat)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 2-3 Medium Shallots (can substitute several rings of sliced red onion)
- Italian Bread (can substitute any sliced bread)
- Pepper Jack Cheese – sliced
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stem, seeds and membranes from the peppers. Peel and thinly slice the shallots, place in a bowl and toss with a enough olive oil to coat. Place the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet (foil lined for easy clean-up). Sprinkle the peppers and shallots with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally. Flip peppers and onions to roast on other side until they reach the desired tenderness; remove from oven and allow to cool. When peppers are cool enough to handle peel off the skin. Peel and remove the pit from the avocado and mash the flesh. Add desired amount of mayonnaise. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading a layer of avocado mayonnaise on one or both sides of the bread. To the bottom piece of bread, add a layer of chicken, then peppers, then shallots. Top with cheese and the top piece of bread. Heat the panini press, pan, griddle or grill to medium high. Brush both sides of the sandwich with olive oil and cook until the outside is well browned and the cheese is melted.