Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Hello, everyone. We are back after a long winter of hibernating. But now that spring has finally arrived, Dana and I got the itch to do some grilling. This amazingly simple but fancy looking entree comes from grill master Bobby Flay. Since neither of us are blessed with an outdoor grill, we had to use a grill pan for this recipe. If you don’t have either of those, a regular frying pan will also work.

Chicken Cordon Bleu ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ lb Brie cheese
2 Lemons, halved
8 Paper thin slices of prosciutto
¼ lb Baby arugula

These are your tools:

Chef’s knife
Cutting board
Grill, grill pan, or frying pan
Spatula or tongs

Here’s what you do:

First, brush your chicken on both sides with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, grill (or fry) until chicken is cooked through and looks ready to eat. While still over heat, place a couple slices of cheese on each breast, and let them melt slightly. Then, pan sear the lemon halves.

Place the chicken on a serving plate and top each piece with 2 slices of prosciutto and some arugula. Finally, squeeze the lemon on top and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with your favorite red wine, and enjoy!


Siobhan

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Chocolate-covered Coffee Beans

Chocolate-covered Coffee Beans ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

We’re really into being thrifty ‘round here. After the Homemade Kahlúa article, we had some extra coffee beans. I’ve had chocolate covered coffee beans before, and so Siobhan and I went ahead and dunked these suckers in some chocolate and had ourselves a time. Obviously, these confections contain caffeine. What we did not realize is, they are quite strong. Luckily, we were pretty busy running around cooking and doing the other shoots for this month, so it was actually helpful to be a bit hyped up. But be forewarned! It’s like drinking a strong cup of coffee.

Chocolate-covered Coffee Beans ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

I really liked the beans we used, which were espresso roast coffee beans. They were small, but since the roast was dark, it didn’t lack in taste. We used milk chocolate baker’s chocolate, like the kind for dipping fruit, but in retrospect these would’ve paired great with a darker chocolate. For example, Lindt Dark Chocolate Bar chocolate would’ve worked well – which can be found in the baking aisle of most supermarkets. Either way, they were off the chain, period. And they were fun to make.

Also, this recipe is a great example of some kitchen Macgyverism. To heat up the chocolate, I created a double boiler from a sauce pot and a mixing bowl. To do this, fill the sauce pot with an inch or two of water and lay the bowl on top of the pot. The bowl should not be in the pot, but laying on top of the rim, creating a seal.

Make a Double Boiler ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Then, pour the chocolate into the bowl. Make sure the bowl is completely dry, because water will ruin the consistency of the chocolate. Heat over medium-low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Voilà!

Here’s what you need:

1 c Bakers chocolate
2 c Coffee Beans

These are your tools:

Sauce pot
Mixing bowl
Large spoon
Baking sheet
Parchment paper

Here’s what you do:

Melt the chocolate until smooth (see above directions for the double boiler). Add coffee beans to melted chocolate and stir. Once mixed, spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. This requires a little finesse and a flick of the wrist. The mixture should be spread out in small deposits around the baking sheet. Let cool at room temperature, about an hour. Break larger pieces apart to be bite-sized.


Dana

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Littleneck Clams, Steamed in Beer

Littleneck Clams, Steamed in Beer ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

A few Friday’s ago was my aunt’s birthday. Every year she, my mother, my cousin and I get together and spend a day together to celebrate. My family isn’t too big into gift giving. My cousin and I are both adult children, everyone has their own hustle-bustle lives. Just spending a relaxing day together is the perfect gift. We normally get together for all of our respective birthdays, but my Aunt Deb’s birthday is always an all-day event. It’s in early October, the weather is usually pleasant and it’s a great excuse for all of us to enjoy the last bit of summer outside.

Littleneck Clams, Steamed in Beer ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Littleneck Clams, Steamed in Beer ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

This year we went to the shore and had lunch. We finished it off with a coffee and cupcakes on the beach and watched on as folks took one last chilly dip in the ocean. It was really a great day, so we thought, why stop now?… and made plans to get together the next day at her house and cook, eat, drink.

Littleneck Clams, Steamed in Beer ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

The beach day inspired us to make seafood dishes, which included steamed clams and shrimp pasta. The steamed clams were so simple, I decided to share the recipe. It literally took all of 20 minutes to prepare, and was a light yummy and special way to start a great meal.

Littleneck Clams, Steamed in Beer ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:
2 lbs Fresh littleneck clams
1 can of beer
3-4 Garlic cloves
2-3 Lemons
1 stick of butter

These are your tools:
Measuring cups
Dutch Oven
Measuring cups (liquid)

Here’s what you do:
Chop garlic and add to a dutch oven with beer. Cover and cook on high heat until boiling. Wash clams under cold water. Add clams to boiling pot, and cover. Once the clams are open, they are ready to eat. Serve with french bread, lemon wedges, and melted butter.

Enjoy!

Dana

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Coriander Seed Salad Dressing

Coriander Seed Salad Dressing ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Dana and I have never been salad people. At restaurants when the waiter asks “soup or salad?”, we generally go for the soup. But there’s just something about this dressing; it’s flavorful but not overpoweringly so. It’s also very light, and makes a healthy yet delicious alternative to Ranch or Caesar.

Coriander Seed Salad Dressing ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:

¼ c Olive oil
¼ c Apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Coriander seeds

These are your tools:

Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Carafe (or drinking glass)

Here’s what you do:

Combine all ingredients in a carafe or drinking glass. Cover the top with plastic wrap and shake to mix everything together (make sure to hold the plastic wrap tightly in place to prevent spilling).

For the salad, we added chopped apple, cucumber, and red pepper to a bag of salad mix (the one with the shredded carrots and red cabbage). The apple especially goes so well with the coriander seeds in the dressing.

Thanks to our friend Michelle for introducing us to this recipe!


Siobhan

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Homemade Kahlúa

Homemade Kahlúa ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Kahlúa is one of my favorite mixers, and is the critical ingredient in one of my all time favorite drinks: a white russian. A bottle always has a reserved spot on my bar cart. However, in light of an aggressive house-hunting campaign, money has been tight. Frivolous expenditures like pricey mixers have taken a backseat to high priority essentials, like eating!

Homemade Kahlúa ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

So, Siobhan and I rolled up our sleeves for some food chemistry and embarked on an experimental endeavor: to make homemade Kahlúa from cheap vodka. While we did expect some level of a drinkable result, we were apprehensive about it stacking up to the real deal. What we ended up with is just about the best coffee liqueur I even did taste. Using espresso beans gave it a fresh, dark roast taste, and the dark simple sugar was not overly sweet, which in my book is a good thing. The dude abides!

Homemade Kahlúa ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:

1 L of (cheap!) vodka
2 c Whole coffee beans (we used espresso beans, pick your favorite!)
2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1 c Dark brown sugar
1 c Hot water
3 Whole star anise

These are your tools:

Large pitcher
Sauce pot
Spoon
Colander or strainer

Here’s what you do:

In a large pitcher that seals well, add vodka and whole coffee beans. On the stovetop, combine equal parts water and dark brown sugar, heat until dissolved. Add mixture to the pitcher. Add vanilla extract and star anise. Store in a cool dark place for 4 days-week. Strain the mixture, leaving only the liquid. Serve over ice or in your favorite Kahlúa drink!


Dana

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Sausage & Pepper Pasta

Sausage & Pepper Pasta ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

This yummy recipe came to us from Dana’s mom. (Thanks, Dana’s mom.) As fall approaches and summer comes to a close, we wanted to make something hearty yet fun. And what’s more fun than pasta shaped like wagon wheels?

Sausage & Pepper Pasta ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Sausage & Pepper Pasta ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:

1½ lb. Sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings*
1 Box wagon wheel pasta (any type of pasta will work, really)
2 Red bell peppers
2 Green bell peppers
1 Large onion
Olive oil
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes (optional)

These are your tools:

Chef’s knife
Cutting board
Large frying pan
Spatula
Stock pot
Slotted spoon
Colander

Here’s what you do:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and begin to cook pasta according to box instructions.

Meanwhile, chop the peppers and onion into small pieces. Generously coat a frying pan with olive oil, and sauté the peppers and onions until tender.* Move them to a bowl and set aside. Next, add more oil to the frying pan and cook the ground sausage until nicely browned.

Once the pasta is done, drain in a colander and move the pasta back to the stock pot. Coat the pasta with olive oil, and add the sautéd vegetables and sausage to the pot. Stir to mix everything together, add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired, and serve.

*TIP :  To remove sausage from its casing, make a slit down the sausage lengthwise and slip the casing off.

*TIP :  When sautéing, avoid overcrowding the frying pan. If the ingredients don’t fit comfortably, break them up into batches and sauté each batch separately.


Siobhan

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Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

It’s almost the end of summer, and even though I’m excited for fall, I am anxious that I didn’t do enough summery stuff, like cookouts, going to the beach… sigh. So last weekend Siobhan and I decided to cook dinner, sit outside, and enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having these past couple weeks. To finish off the meal, we made just about the most summery drink I know of: basil lemonade!

I originally discovered this drink at a bar in Philly. After trying it on a whim, I fell in love with the refreshing basil taste. I asked the bartender if he would release the recipe for his secret concoction, and it went a little something like… lemon juice, simple sugar, water and muddled basil. Not that much of a secret I suppose!

Making fresh lemonade is a bit of a pain in the arm, so if you’re feeling lazy, you can just use store bought and add the basil. But, as we all know, fresher-is-homemade-is-fresher-is-better. So if you’re in the lemon squeezing mood, put on Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” (one of my favorites) and pump out the from-scratch version!

If you’re feeling convivial, add vodka! Add 1 part vodka to 3 parts Basil Lemonade to each glass over ice for serving.

Basil Lemonade ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:

2 c Fresh lemon juice (10-12 lemons)
1 c Sugar
1 c Hot Water
6 c Filtered water
2 c Fresh basil

These are your tools:

Large pitcher
Sauce pot
Large spoon
Chef’s knife
Strainer or colander
Citrus juicer (if you don’t have one of these, just buy the lemon juice)

Here’s what you do:

To make the simple sugar, cook equal parts white sugar and water over medium-low heat. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved, and remove from stove. Cut fresh basil leaves and add them to the simple sugar. With the spoon, muddle the leaves by stirring and smashing them against the walls of the pot. You want to release the flavor from the leaves, so do at least 4-6 minutes of muddling, then let sit.

Juice 10-12 medium lemons, straining out the pulp and the pits (most juicers have a strainer). Combine lemon juice and filtered water in a large pitcher. Pour in simple sugar mixture, straining out the basil leaves. Add a few fresh lemon slices, and fresh whole basil leaves for garnish. Serve over ice with or without vodka.

Enjoy!


Dana

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Banana Boats

Banana Boats ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Making banana boats is a great alternative (or addition) to making s’mores on a camping trip. If you can’t wait to go camping to make these, cook them in the oven or on a grill.

Here’s what you need:

Bananas
Milk chocolate chips
Marshmallows (either large or miniature sized)

These are your tools:

Paring knife
Aluminum foil

Here’s what you do:

Make a slit lengthwise through each banana peel, making sure not to puncture the opposite side. Stuff bananas with chocolate chips and marshmallows, and wrap each banana in aluminum foil. Cook over a campfire, on a grill, or in the oven, until chocolate and marshmallows are melted. Enjoy!


Siobhan

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Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

This recipe is for Arroz con Pollo, or better known to my non-spanish speaking self, Rice with Chicken! This is one of my favorite dishes. I was always a bit intimidated to make this recipe, as I’ve heard from a few people that it is tricky—and it can be, for sure. However, in Simple Kitchen fashion I have scoured the internet, tried a few different recipes, and combined my favorite aspects from each one to create the perfect storm of rice and chicken goodness (and it’s not tricky at all). It just requires some fairly rigid timing, so grab your kitchen timer, or cell phone in my case. Don’t space out and forget to set the timer, like I have, many times. Life is distracting!

Arroz Con Pollo ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

My favorite flavor element of this dish, and what I feel makes it distinctive, is olives. I’m not even a huge fan of olives on their own, but in this context it pairs wonderfully with the buttery rice and chicken. Some recipes called for olives and pimento, so I thought, olives stuffed with pimento. That works. Less to do, less to buy. Bingo.

I also use boneless chicken thighs. Although bone-in thighs are tasty, it’s really a lot less work to use boneless. Still turns out moist and yummy.

Arroz Con Pollo ♥ Simple Kitchen Love

Here’s what you need:

8 Boneless chicken thighs
1 Medium onion
1 Green bell pepper
8 cloves Garlic
2 tsp Olive oil
2 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp Distilled white vinegar
⅓ c Cilantro (fresh)
1 ¾ c Chicken broth
¼ c Water
1 8 oz. Can tomato paste
½ c Green olives with pimento
2 Tbsp Capers
3 c Medium grain rice

These are your tools:

Dutch oven
Large spoon
Chef’s knife
Cutting board

Here’s what you do:

Start a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and let heat. Chop onion and green pepper into small pieces and add to the pot, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium once the veggies are cooked a bit, and push them to the sides of the pot. Add chicken to the cleared space in the middle. Attempt to lay your chicken down in an even layer, so all pieces are touching the bottom of the pot. It may be a bit tight. Turn chicken pieces about every 30 seconds until they are opaque on all sides and no longer look raw. Add chopped garlic and chopped cilantro to the pot. Add vinegar, chicken stock, water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Start oven at 350 degrees, and move rack to the middle.

Add olives (cut in half), capers, rice, and stir. Bring pot to a simmer, cover, and move the entire pot to the oven. After 10 minutes, give the pot one or two stirs from the bottom up, re-cover. After 10 minutes, repeat that process. Add ¼ cup water if the rice looks too dry (I normally do). Re-cover and cook for a final 10 minute period.

Remove pot from the oven and stir to break up chicken pieces. Serve with a lime for squeezing.

There now, that wasn’t too bad, right? This recipes makes a lot of food, so it’s great for a party, or to keep leftovers to bring to work for lunch.

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comer y ser feliz!


Dana