Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese

It’s official, our daughter has chosen where she is going to university, deposits paid, and so begins the journey. We’re excited for her but will miss her very much. It’s time though, she’s ready to fly. Now that tax season is over we’ll be going over any gaps in her knowledge with recipes, budgeting, etc. She actually is pretty good with this stuff but she has a list of things she wants to make sure she knows. Trust me, we are not sending our kids out into the world without knowing how to write a check or do laundry.

A big thing as she heads out into the world is knowing how to cook cheap and delicious meals. The kids had mentioned an idea of Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese that they were playing round with at the other house which would fit the bill. As it is a cool and rainy spring, we’re still in the comfort food season which makes this meal perfect.

Making the Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese

This can definitely be made on the cheap. Use chicken thighs instead of breast, lemon juice instead of white wine, etc.

Marinate the chicken a few hours beforehand. Whisk the ingredients together and add the chicken. Cover and chill in the fridge.

Grill the chicken until just cooked. It will then be cooked more in a skillet and oven so you don’t want to end up with rubbery chicken. It’s bad enough as a strange toy but awful when eating! I discovered I was out of propane for the grill so inside it was. We use our cast iron griddle constantly. Pity it’s so heavy!

While making the sauce cook up the pasta. Melt the butter and add the onion. Cook until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic and mustard. Bring to a simmer, careful not to let it catch. Add the flour and whisk thoroughly. Cook for a few minutes while whisking, Then add the remaining marinade, wine and milk. Keep stirring until it comes to a boil but don’t boil over! With milk it can happen in a blink which creates quite a mess.

In goes the cheese, chicken (cubed) and ham. Simmer until the cheese has melted and you have a creamy thick mixture.

Pour into the baking pan with the pasta and mix well. Top with panko bread crumbs.

Bake until the top is nice and golden.

It is ready to serve as soon as it is out of the oven. We did carb overload with fresh baked bread my husband made. It’s so good with butter! It went quickly as I found when I went to have some for lunch and it was all gone!

Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese

Comfort food with a twist.  Grilled chicken with corden bleu flavours.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken Corden Bleu Mac and Cheese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Marinade and Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breast 16oz/454g
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Mac and Cheese

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp brown mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 4oz
  • 2 cups milk 16oz
  • 2 cups shredded jarlsberg cheese
  • 3-5 slices ham, chopped
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Panko Bread crumbs to cover top

Instructions

Marinade and Chicken

  1. Whisk the ingredients together.  Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise.  Coat and cover the chicken with the marinade and chill in the fridge for a few hours. 

  2. When it’s time to make the dish, grill the chicken until just done.  Cube and set aside.

Mac and Cheese

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350F/175C

  2. Cook the pasta

  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic, mustard and sea salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes then add the flour to create the roux.  Cook additional few minutes.  Add the remaining marinade, wine and milk.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Next add the chicken and ham.  

  4. Add the pasta and sauce to a baking dish.  Top with the panko bread crumbs. 

  5. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden.  Then serve.  

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Croque Monsieur, Fun Food for the Kids

In some of the tourist places we visited in France I came across croque monsieur.  An inside out grilled cheese sandwich!  The kids tried it and thought it was fun.

I loved the inspiration I got while over there.  So much good food and ingredients.  I got a kick out of this vending machine we found:

Croque Monsieur 11 2015

I mean how cool is this idea?  Fresh veg, fruit, and homemade soups.  Don’t get me wrong I loved the Cadbury vending machines when I lived in London but still, this was refreshing to see.  Much better than these fish sticks I found:

Croque Monsieur 10 2015

How sad.

There are several recipes for croque monsieur, all pretty similar.  I used Ina Garten’s from Barefoot in Paris as a guide.  I used our sourdough bread for this.  I really didn’t want to use the soft storebought white bread she recommends.  I just don’t like that stuff!  I needed to make 4 sandwiches so I toasted the bread ahead of time.  Also, prep 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup of jarlsberg and set aside.

In a small saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter then add 3 tablespoons of flour to the butter.

Croque Monsieur 1 2015

Keep it on the heat and continue whisking to cook the flour.  You don’t want the mixture to burn.

Croque Monsieur 2 2015

Her recipe called for 2 cups of milk but I felt that was way too much.  I decided to go with 1 1/2 cups of milk.  We still had too much sauce leftover.  Gradually add the milk to the flour mixture, again whisking the whole time to work out the lumps.

Croque Monsieur 3 2015

Croque Monsieur 4 2015

With the heat on medium bring the mixture to a near boil.  You don’t want to have it actually boil but you need it hot enough to thicken.  Keep stirring to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom.  Once the sauce thickens remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Dust the top with nutmeg and season with sea salt and pepper.

Croque Monsieur 5 2015

Spread stone ground mustard of your choice onto half the slices of the toast.  Add slices of ham and top with the other slices of bread.  Then spoon on the sauce.  Top with more jarlsberg cheese.

Croque Monsieur 7 2015

Croque Monsieur 8 2015

Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.  Serve with a side salad.

Croque Monsieur 9 2015

I have to say as crazy as this dish sounded to me it was a lot of fun to eat and it was delicious.

Cuban Sandwiches and Getting Introduced to Parenting

Watching the movie Chef reminded me of how much our daughter loves Cuban sandwiches.  It also brought me back to her seventh birthday party.  My kids were the first kids I met in a relationship, a whole new ball game. 

They always say that you should wait to meet the kids but we didn’t.  My husband and I knew right away we had something and I met the kids pretty quickly as a friend.  Though we have very bright kids, they knew I wasn’t fly by night even though our son was 3 1/2 and our daughter was just shy of her 7th birthday.  Aside from the fact that I didn’t want things screwed up because I recognised I found the one, I really didn’t want the kids to get screwed up if the adults went south.  Obviously it didn’t play out that way.  🙂

I was very lucky I met them at that age, I still got to do story time at bedtime, fort building with pillows, and the kids birthday parties.  The first birthday party was about 6 weeks into the relationship so I was nervous.  Do I get her something, what do I get her, small gift, big gift? I found her a craft sewing kit that allowed her to make dolls clothes.  She loved it.  🙂 Plus we weren’t at the drop off phase of birthday parties so there was going to be a boatload of people to meet.  I had met a few people in my husband’s circle but with parents and kids we probably had about 30 people in the house. 

When I got to the party I asked what I could do for help and I was tasked with making the Cuban sandwiches.  Great, never made them before and these were my daughter’s favourite.  No pressure!  I managed it and we all had fun with the party, along with many more.  We did have some trip ups with birthday parties.  We made the mistake having 8 girls sleepover for our daughter’s 8th birthday.  Don’t ever do that.  Ever.  Luckily our windows didn’t crack with the continuous high pitched screeches. 

For old times sake I wanted to make the sandwiches for the kids before they went off to overnight camp.  Had to get good food into them!  Normally we buy roast pork along with the other ingredients but I wanted to make it special.  I used this roast pork recipe as the base with slight adjustments. 

This is a good recipe for the weekend as it takes a bit of time. 

Cuban sandwiches 1 2014

For the marinade I mixed 3/4 cup orange juice, juice of half a lime, 1/2 a tablespoon of ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano, a tablespoon of olive oil, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1/2 a cup of chicken stock, and half a small onion finely chopped.  Mix well.

Cuban sandwiches 2 2014

I bought a pork shoulder that was just over a pound.  Season with salt and pepper and pierce the meat with a knife on both sides to allow the marinade to really flavour the meat.  Marinate a half hour on each side.

Cuban sandwiches 3 2014 Cuban sandwiches 4 2014

I don’t know that we can get Cuban rolls round here, I’ve never seen them but my husband made ciabatta bread for this.  This was the best batch so far that we’ve baked.

Cuban sandwiches 5 2014

Roast the pork at 325F/165C.  Keep it covered for 45 minutes than uncover and continue cooking until the internal temp is 150F/65C and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.  Then it’s time to assemble the sandwiches.  Slice the ciabatta and lay it out.  Spread mustard of your choice onto the bread.  I like using the garlic stone mustard.  Layer the ingredients starting with swiss or jarlsberg, then the roast pork.  Then spoon some of the garlic and onion from the cooked roast over the pork.  Add pickle then the ham.

Cuban sandwiches 6 2014 Cuban sandwiches 7 2014 Cuban sandwiches 8 2014 Cuban sandwiches 9 2014

Butter the outside of the sandwiches and either cook them in a panini press or on an iron cast griddle using and iron cast press.  Press down on the sandwiches as they cook.  Cook until the sandwiches are about half the starting size, they are golden, and the cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

Cuban sandwiches 10 2014

After making this I don’t think I can just buy roast pork again.  It is so much better homemade and the citrus with the garlicky heat is wonderful with the rest of the ingredients. 

 

A Hawaiian Twist For A Fun Dinner

We woke up to snow this morning.  Typical.  I was so hoping that the warmer days would have continued this week so I could get out in the garden and start getting veg in.  I’m getting a bit antsy to be outside!

Even though it was the last bit of tax season and all the craziness that goes along with it I was able to get some cooking done this past weekend.   I found a pin for a fun sandwich to make though unfortunately no recipe was attached so I just used it as an inspiration.   Our son calls this a pizzarito.  It’s a hawaiian themed pizza burrito.  So easy to make and the kids love it.

This is also great for when you don’t have a ton of time for dinner.  The longest bit is getting the chicken grilled.  Marinate thin bits of chicken breast in the BBQ sauce of your choice.

Pizza burrito 1 2014

Slice up some red onion and pineapple.  For those that love jalepenos slice up a few as well.  It adds a nice bite.

Pizza burrito 2 2014

Lay out a wrap and spoon the BBQ sauce and spread it out.   We used a somewhat sweet sauce but I’d recommend something on the spicy side to balance the sweetness of the pineapple.   Layer the sliced grilled chicken with the onion, pineapple, and cheese.  Then layer ham over the top.

Pizza burrito 3 2014 Pizza burrito 4 2014

Wrap tightly then heat up using a panini press or on the stove top like a grilled cheese.

Pizza burrito 5 2014

Cut in half and serve immediately.

Pizza burrito 6 2014

It was delicious and perfect for a fun dinner with the kids.

And now that tax season is over I get to finally start catching up with all the posts!  I’ve missed reading them all.  🙂

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Grilled Corn

My daughter had a friend sleep over so she got to decide what was for dinner.  Our kids really like Chicken Cordon Bleu but I really don’t like the frozen stuff you get that takes 25 minutes or so to bake.  Too much junk that is hard to pronounce in the ingredients.  The way we make it takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook and it is tastier!

For a family of four I do the following:

2 chicken breasts divided lengthwise down the center

1-2 slices of ham per serving

1-2 slices of Jarlsberg per serving

1 egg beaten

Panko bread crumbs

I place the ham and cheese on one half of the chicken and fold over.  I then dip it in the egg and then the Panko bread crumbs.  I pan fry in olive oil to brown both sides.  I usually finish off in the toaster oven at about 375 F.

Always soak the corn before grilling.  Feel free to take off a few layers of the husk and the silk but it’s not necessary.  You want to soak them for at least 10 minutes.

Once on the grill turn every 5 minutes.  The hotter the grill the more roasted the corn will be.  And sometimes it starts on fire!  Blow it out and carry on.  🙂

All in all this is a very quick and easy meal to make and the kids love it.