Chicken Caesar Sandwiches -
I have another picture of just the ingredients but I thought my super cute helper deserved to be in a blog.
I shouldn't be teasing when he's playing with sharp objects. Dentists pretty much need fingers in order to work.
That being said he's an awesome chef and there are certain things he does better than anyone else. He's an awesome sandwich maker and salad maker. His sandwich making skills he says he got from his grandfather. And no offense to Grandpa Kirby but I love it when this guy cooks for me.
This was an idea we dreamed up for dinner late in the day so we decided to take a short cut and use a bagged caesar salad kit from the store rather than make our own.
You'll need: bread- My husband prefers the ciabatta rolls.
Italian cheese (I'm using an already opened bag of shreds)
Chicken breasts to grill (I seasoned mine with s&P, and an Italian seasoning blend)
Caesar salad kit.
That's it! Just grill your chicken and slice it. Assemble your sandwiches and add your lettuce and tomato. Don't get me wrong. I know you guys are smart enough to figure that out! But since this is a cooking blog I felt obliged to offer up instructions. ;p
Oh! And the nurse in me says please use your instant read thermometer to ensure that your chicken is thoroughly cooked. Don't want any sickies out there.
My inspiration for these sandwiches came from my favorite restaurant in our little town. American Grill. I seriously think they should be featured on Triple D. (Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives). I'm hoping that my friend Mark won't get mad at me for posting a blog about the same type of sandwich that they serve. I guess I could have asked him. ha! But, as usual I don't think my version of the sandwich are any threat to him or his restaurant. I'd way rather go eat one of theirs. He uses different bread and his salad dressing is homemade. And it's made on their grill which to me makes the sandwich all together different. PLUS I just love having other people cook for me. (Think I've done enough butt kissing here?)
Anyway, next time you need a quick dinner or you want to serve a great sandwich for a tailgating party, or just want something a little different try this!!!
I have to admit this is one of my favorites. When I was little I loved the small frozen pot pies. It wasn't so much about the filling as it was the crust. And this recipe that I make would be amazing with a homemade crust, but the ready made pie crust reminds me a little of the small pot pies I ate as a kid. Besides, it's so darn easy!
I've made chicken pot pies every which way- the ultra quick way: A can, a can, a can, etc..
also semi- homemade: frozen veggies, rotisserie chicken, canned soup, etc.. but this recipe that I'm about to share requires just enough of a cooking effort that you really feel like it's homemade yet it has a couple of short cuts.
For the ingredients you will need:
3 cups of cooked chicken (I boiled mine but you can use rotisserie chicken if you like)
Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crust
3/4 stick butter
1-2 T. Olive oil
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (I used carrots, green beans, peas, corn)
Approx 2 cups of potatoes (I'm ok with frozen homestyle hashbrowns) but I used 2 potatoes diced and boiled.
1 can of cream of chicken soup or chicken broth (depending on whether it needs to be thickened or thinned. It's a judgement call.)
I have all the ingredients ready before I begin because it will move pretty fast once you start.
If it were up to me everything would have sage and paprika in it. I can find a way to work it into a lot of recipes.
In a skillet, melt your butter and add the olive oil.
True confession: I don't really measure my olive oil. I did that thing Rachael Ray does where you do a couple of spins around the pan as you pour. It makes life easier.
Saute the celery and onion.
I add the spices to the veggies as they cook.
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp of thyme (it's also in the poultry seasoning)
After you've sauteed the veggies for 2-3 minutes scoot them to the outside edge of the pan and let the butter and oil seep back towards the middle of the pan then add your flour to the middle of the pan. Blend that and then go ahead and work it in with the rest of the veggies in the pan. As you let the roux brown stir with a spoon or whisk. Then when it has slightly changed color you can add the milk and continue whisking to blend.
Making a roux is magic. I love it! You always hope it's going to turn out. But it's a leap of faith when you start off. But how pretty is this? This is a good base for your pot pie!!
Add your chicken and veggies into the sauce. If it looks a little too thick you can add some broth to thin it out otherwise add the cream of chicken soup. I like the fact that it adds more chicken flavor.
Go ahead and give this a taste. Adjust the seasonings if you need to.
I like to use the rolling pin and roll the dough out a little to ensure that it will easily fit the pan with a little hanging over the edge.
Add your filling and sort of pat it down with your spoon to ensure there are no air bubbles in the mix.
Roll out the top layer of crust and gently center it over the pie. Then taking the top crust and the bottom crust fold them under together forming a seam at the edge of the pan to seal in the juice. You can flute the edges if you like. Cut a few vents in the top of the pie to let steam escape as it cooks.
Some people have fancy schmancy pie shields to protect that edge from burning but I just use foil. Make a thin strip and then chevron in the middle so that it will fit the round pan. Cook with this on the pie and remove for about the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Place in a PRE-HEATED oven at 350 and bake for an hour or until it's bubbly and the crust is browned.
We're going to pretend that this is a picture of the whole pie and it's a lovely golden color. We're pretending because I forgot to preheat my oven and stuck the pie in there as it was preheating and it burned the top a little bit. :( But it was just a couple of spots.
Let the pie sit for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven. And enjoy! This pie had good reviews last night! :)
This is an amalgamated version of the two recipes that were very similar from The Best Of The Best Of Texas ll Cookbook.
The main differences in the two recipes:
One called for crushed cheese crackers and the other called for crushed crackers.
One called for 4oz. of velveeta and one cup of Monterrey Jack and the other called for 2 cups of Monterrey Jack only.
1 stick of butter or margarine, divided (I don't believe in margarine)
1-2 cups of crushed crackers ( I used both)
2 T. taco seasoning
chicken breasts boned and flattened. They called for 8. Seems like a lot to me!
5 green onions, chopped
4 oz. chopped green chilies
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups of cheese (I used both velveeta and Monterrey Jack)
I used my food processor to crush the crackers and I discovered that about 1/2 tube of saltines is about the right amount. I added the taco seasoning to the cracker mix and gave it a few pulses to ensure it mixed well.
I put one piece of chicken in a large ziplock bag at a time and pound it with a meat mallet. I find it completely contains the mess.
After all the chicken has been tenderized I went ahead and salt& Peppered the chicken even though the recipe didn't tell me to. Bland is unacceptable!
First I dipped the chicken in an egg wash (instead of using the butter the recipe called for). My standard egg wash is 2 eggs, beaten, with 1 tablespoon of water.
Then I dredged the chicken in the cracker mixture shown in this picture.
While I was preparing my chicken I warmed half of a stick of butter in my skillet over low heat. Turn off heat when just melted.
After dredging chicken and coating it place it in the pan.
Then take a saucepan and melt the other half of the stick of butter. Add the chopped green onions and sautee until just tender. You don't want them to change color. Then add the green chilies, cream, and finally cheese. Heat on low heat until the cheese is melted.
Pour the sauce over the chicken in the pan making sure that each piece is coated.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 45-50 min. I had to cover my dish lightly with foil because the cheese was browning too fast. I use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly because I'm a freak about food poisoning. It's the nurse in me.
The end result is a tender piece of chicken in a creamy decadent sauce that is slightly cheesy and has a hint of green chilies. Very yummy!
After trying this Joe and I agreed that we would change a couple of things:
I don't really care for the cheese crackers in the coating mix. It has a fake cheese taste and it doesn't seem right for a dish this nice. I would stick with saltines. The other thing I would do differently is skip the velveeta. I would use extra Monterrey Jack if I needed to. And finally, we both agreed that another can of green chilies would be great. Perhaps top it off with a jalepeno slice.
One final note about the recipe in the book: One of the recipes called for the chicken to be cooked at 350 for 15-20 minutes. I had to re-read that 3 times to make sure I was seeing that right. That cannot be safe. I would definitely make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Sam's club sells a 3 pack of chef's instant read thermometers. (little ones that you can stick in the pocket of your chef's smock). Go get some! I love mine. They are just as fast as digital read thermometers and feel so much more "cheffy".
I hope you guys will try this. It's worth the calories! When is cream ever not worth it?
I pulled chicken out of the freezer yesterday not knowing what I would end up cooking for dinner. I love these thin chicken breasts that I buy at Wal-mart. They're in the organic section. They are perfect for a quick dinner. I figured none of us would be in the mood for a big meal so I decided to just do sandwiches. BJ's in Norman has a chicken, bacon, guacamole sandwich that's one of our favorites and I decided to try to duplicate it.
This sandwich really is pretty basic. You could also very well do a wrap!
The longest part of this whole process was making the bacon. I know I could microwave it but it just isn't the same to me. I'm a weird purist when it comes to things like that. I like to do it the traditional way.
Sometimes I'll take my cast iron skillet outside and cook bacon on the grill so my whole house won't smell like bacon for hours, but it was 104 degrees yesterday at 5 pm and I didn't want to stand out there at all much less by a grill.
I drain the bacon grease out of the skillet and then JUST before cooking the chicken I add a little bit of Dale's seasoning to the chicken. I didn't want it to marinate in it for long because it really soaks it up. Over medium-high heat I cooked the chicken breasts for about 2 minutes on each side. It really didn't take long because they're thin.
Once the chicken breasts have browned on each side I place them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven at 350. Then I start preparing my veggies, and prepare the buns, etc.. They probably weren't in there for more than 5 minutes. Add cheese to the chicken at this point.
I had hoped to find ciabatta bread but I refused to go back into Wal-mart so I just went to our smaller store. They had fresh hamburger buns but no ciabatta bread.. it was good enough for me. Anything to avoid the big store. The same goes for the lettuce. I'd hoped to find some beautiful bib lettuce but it wasn't in stock. Oh well, such is life! It's all about compromise!
Assembly was a breeze. I happened to have some cool guacamole dip left over so we used that, but I think some avocado hunks would have been yummy too.
The family all gave this big thumbs up! And lots of "mmmmm's"
All in all this was really a pretty quick recipe! Give it a try!
Life on the lake is laid back. When we cook it's far from being fancy affair. It's all about relaxing with friends and family and enjoying comfort food. More often than not it's not all that healthy but boy it sure is good!!!