chicken milanese with green apple salad.

A chicken cutlet is a chicken cutlet, but the real standout here is the salad on top. Arugula is one of those “eh” greens in our house, but turns out by adding some apple, and some parmesan, it makes a great topper and a delicious, quick weeknight supper! (Cheese makes salad better? Breaking news.)

chicken milanese with green apple salad.

Chicken Milanese with Green Apple Salad.
via Just a Taste

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (buy cutlets to make it even faster)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil

for the salad:
1 tbsp minced shallots
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups arugula (this would work just as well with baby spinach, or even baby lettuces)
1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Start with your chicken. If you’re not using pre-made cutlets, place chicken breast on a cutting board and a piece of wax paper on top. Pound with a mallet until it’s as thin as you can get it (I never can get it as thin as recipes request, let’s be honest).

Next, get three shallow dishes. Place flour in one, eggs in the next, panko in the third. Lightly beat the eggs. Season chicken salt and pepper, then coat each with flour, then egg, then press the panko into cutlets.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan. Add cutlets to skillet (oil should sizzle), and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking until cutlets are golden brown and cooked through. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Serve with salad topping.

To make the salad:
Add shallots, dijon, lemon juice, honey and olive oil to a mason jar, and shake vigorously to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, add arugula, parmesan and apple slices. Toss with dressing.

Did y’all think we forgot about you?
jcristg

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pecan chicken with bourbon maple cream sauce.

I’m kind of particular about chicken. If you know me, you’d probably say I was pretty particular about a lot of specific things, but chicken is a biggie. I don’t like chicken on the bone, or with skin. I don’t like dark meat. I don’t like fried chicken… wait, I’m Southern through and through, and I don’t like fried chicken? Nope. I can almost pinpoint this dislike to having fried chicken at tailgates, and using paper napkins, and having little pieces of paper stick to my hands. I think it has ruined me for life. (I’m pretty sure my disdain for boned chicken involves the kid that sat across from me at the lunch table in the third grade and ATE chicken leg bones. I’ll never get over it.)

As such, I have never fried chicken. I’m actually not much of a fryer in general, but I’ve gone out on a limb a time or two. My mom never fried much growing up, and it was just not ever something I had a taste for. My husband, on the other hand, grew up with fried everything – he’s a Pee Dee boy, after all. Fry it or barbeque it, and that’s about all you need in life. Needless to say, when he came home from work late one  Friday night recently and I was about to start frying some chicken, he about died. It may have been the greatest day of his life, and it was indeed one of my culinary crowning achievements. I was so proud of this dish, and I talked about it for weeks afterwards.

Make it. It’s not an every week sort of dish but it’s well worth the effort.

pecan chicken with bourbon maple cream sauce.

pecan chicken with bourbon maple cream sauce.
via Spicy Southern Kitchen.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil
¾ cup pecan halves, chopped finely
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Bourbon Maple Cream Sauce
3 bacon slices, chopped
¼ cup chopped shallots
2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup whole grain Creole mustard
¼ cup bourbon
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ cups heavy cream

Pecan Chicken.

Combine chicken and buttermilk in a large zip-top bag and place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Pour 1 inch of Vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan. Heat oil to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, pecans and 2 teaspoons of salt in a shallow pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge chicken in pecan-flour mixture, turning to coat both sides well.

Fry in oil 10-12 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Place on wire rack to drain off oil. Keep warm.

Bourbon Maple Cream Sauce.

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crispy. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to cool.

Add shallots to bacon drippings and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Whisk in maple syrup, mustards, boubon salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently for 5 to 8 minutes, or until thickened. If too thick, thin with a little milk.

To serve, top chicken with gravy and sprinkle with bacon crumbles.

And now I want to make this again,
jcristg

it’s finally summertime salad.

I have been making this salad since I was 9 months pregnant, when I was too hot and swollen and miserable to make much else. (Having a baby in August in South Carolina is about as ill-advised as getting married outdoors in August.) (Oh wait. Did that too.) It’s easy, and satisfying, and refreshing – all characteristics of a summer side, in my opinion. The original recipe wants you to cook the corn, but I prefer to cut mine off the cob and use it raw. Not only does it keep me from dirtying a pan, it remains crunchy and sweet! The original recipe also calls for cilantro in the dressing, which I leave out.

summer salad.

Summer Salad.
Adapted from here

for the salad
4 ears corn, cut off the cob
1 avocado, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 red onion, diced (optional)

for the dressing
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. olive oil

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar, shake vigorously to combine.

In a large serving bowl, combine vegetables and feta. Toss with dressing to taste (you won’t need all of it).

Summer is for lots and lots of veggies, and not turning on the oven,
jcristg

bolognese.

It is no secret that we love pasta around here. Baked pastas, pasta salads, funky pastas, traditional pastas. Pasta that will change your life. For all the pasta I’ve made in my day, though, I had never tried my hand at a real bolognese, and so I decided to try. It was wonderful.

bolognese.

bolognese.
via tasty kitchen.

3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup white onion, finely minced
1 cup carrots, finely minced
1 cup celery, finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef
½ pounds ground veal
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 whole bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup milk or cream
1 cup dry red wine
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound small pasta
Grated parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot and add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add chili flakes and sauté for an additional minute. Add beef, veal, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces. Once the meat is no longer pink, add thyme, bay leaves and tomato paste and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer until all the milk has evaporated and only clear juices remain, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil, then place the heat at the lowest setting. Continue on this very low simmer for 2 – 2 ½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes until you get a rich, thick meaty sauce. Check for seasonings and add salt and pepper accordingly.

Boil pasta according to directions and drain. Just before serving, toss the noodles in the pot with the sauce and serve with parmesan.

While this requires a couple good hours on the stove, it’s not a challenging sauce to make. It’s perfect for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when you plan to be around the house. Comfort food at its best!

In a perfect world, we could eat pasta for every meal,
jcristg