Mustard Chicken Milanese and “Working Clean”

I’ve had my nose stuck in two books in the past few days, the “Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” and “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain. When it comes to cooking anything breaded, I usually end up with a ton of dirty plates. I’ve never been good at cleaning as I go, but it’s necessary. Always keep paper towels handy, have your area organized before you start, and you’ll never get stressed. Well, almost. Thanks, Tony!

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So my pictures aren’t gorgeous this time. I just finally replaced the lightbulbs in my kitchen and they were brighter than i expected, giving every one of my pictures a funky fluorescent glow. The food, however, was extremely delicious. I’d forgotten how much I love mustard.

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I started by slicing a chicken breast in half lengthwise (butterflying but cutting all the way through) and pounding the pieces thin between sheets of plastic wrap. Do this, and don’t use the “tenderizer” side of your meat pounder and you shouldn’t have chicken bits flying all over.

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You’ll need two plates and a wide bowl. The two plates are just flour and panko breadcrumbs. The bowl is where the magic happens. Whisk up one egg white, a hefty squeeze of both smooth and coarse dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper, and some lemon zest. To assemble, simply dredge in the flour, dip in the egg mixture, and coat with breadcrumbs. Deb recommends letting the chicken sit in the fridge for an hour to help the coating set, but I was way too hungry for that and I didn’t run into problems with the breading sliding off. Finally, throw them in a hot pan of olive oil and cook until done and browned.

Here’s where the cooking clean comes in! Besides having all of your ingredients ready to go at the beginning, rinse and dry your plates as soon as you get the chicken in the pan so you can use them to gobble down this delicious meal.

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The salad is way too easy and really good! In a large bowl, mix the juice of one lemon, a couple squeezes of smooth and coarse dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, more or less depending on how tart you like your vinaigrette. Throw in a pile of green goodness, slice up how ever much fennel strikes your fancy, and toss.

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Crispy, amazing, mustardy goodness. Le Boyfriend couldn’t get enough and told me I could cook this kind of chicken any time I want. Pile on the salad and eat!

I’m finally feeling the food happiness again, so you’ll definitely see more deliciousness on here. Also, stone fruits are back!

Enjoy!

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#MonthOfSmoothies Weeks 3 & 4

Smoothie awesomeness and my challenge for March. Excitement!

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This one was supposed to taste like a creamsicle. It was…acidic? Probably just needed some tweaking. Cup of orange juice, half cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, cup of ice. It was meant to give my body some Vitamin C love!

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And this one was supposed to taste like a cinnamon bun! It didn’t, but it was way more successful than my creamsicle attempt. Cup of vanilla almond milk, a scoop of whey protein, one banana, cinnamon, and as much ice as you need to get it frozen and yummy.

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This was my super lazy day. I went to Starbucks and got my chocolate smoothie that I crave every day. It’s not actually on the menu anymore, but they’ll still make it for you.

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NUTELLA. I don’t need to say more, but I will because I love you. Tablespoon of Nutella (or more depending on how naughty you’re feeling), one banana, a cup of vanilla almond milk or regular milk, and a handful of ice.

I skipped a smoothie! All I wanted on that particular Friday was to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and stuff my face with some carbs. The smoothies for week four were so good that I let myself off the hook.

I also found a challenge for March! I wanted to do something fitness related to make up for the fact that I cannot seem to get my butt to a gym. So I’m doing this monster:

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Doesn’t it look fun? My sore everything says otherwise.

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I can’t believe that mangos didn’t make an appearance until now. Oh wait, yes I can, I live in the northeast where it’s freaking cold and mangos are never in season. Half of a fresh mango, a heaping half cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, a cup of ice, and a drizzle of honey.

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This one tastes a lot like the cherry smoothie Panera had for a while. In other words, uh-mazing. Handful of frozen cherries, a couple heaping tablespoons of vanilla Greek yogurt, a little bit of vanilla extract if you’re feeling that, a cup of ice, and enough milk to get things smooth and happy.

Quick rant. One of my favorite things at Panera is GONE. I loved the BBQ chicken salad so much, and they took it away.

Curse you, Panera!

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This one almost ended up being a rerun, but I decided to try something new. Handful of frozen blueberries, one banana, a couple heaping tablespoons of vanilla Greek yogurt, some milk, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of ground flax seed.

Two more to go!

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I call this masterpiece the banana neopolitan. Holy smokes it was good. One banana, a few frozen strawberries, a tablespoon or more of cocoa powder, a scoop of vanilla whey protein, a cup of ice, and enough milk to keep everything loose. This was smoothie perfection. Chocolate with a kiss of strawberry, all amped up by vanilla.

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Wowza, it’s the last smoothie! A few frozen strawberries, one banana, your leftover half of mango or frozen chunks, a couple heaping tablespoons of vanilla Greek yogurt, handful of ice, and probably a cup of milk.

PHEW. I discovered that smoothies don’t have to be a pain in the butt and that they are scrumptious.

And that is it! Stay tuned for more saliva inducing delights and follow my Instagram (sarahrogers09) for the yummies on a pretty much daily basis.

Enjoy!

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#MonthOfSmoothies Week TWO

Last week was even more delicious and creative! I was also smarter about my ingredients so I wouldn’t pass out again. Whoops.

I’m just going to get right to it.

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I started the week with a Yamanator. It tasted like a piece of sweet potato pie, which you know I love. I discovered this amazingness at the Downtown Fitness Club back in Rochester. I miss that gym so much, and they were kind enough to share the recipe with me. Half of a cooked sweet potato (peel on or off, it’s up to you), a scoop of vanilla whey protein, cinnamon, a banana, and enough vanilla almond milk to get it as thin or thick as you like.

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On Tuesday, I tried to recreate the chocolate smoothie from Starbucks. It was super yummy, but definitely needs some tinkering. One banana, a cup of milk, a scoop of vanilla whey, a handful of ice, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. This is where I think I went wrong. The one at Starbucks has more of a cocoa flavor, probably achieved by using their mocha syrup. Gotta try again.

Hey remember when they were called Vivannos?

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This is the one I’m pumped to share with you guys. It’s a banana chai smoothie! So much flavor and spice, it was exactly what I needed. I used a frozen banana, a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ground cloves, a scoop of whey protein, and enough milk to get things smooth and happy. I totally want to try this with some actual tea in there. Yum!

Thursday I stayed home with a yamanator and practiced all day for an audition Friday that I totally bombed. Ouch.

Even though my audition didn’t go so well, my breakfast was great! I had a strawberry banana smoothie and a pile of scrambled eggs. The smoothie had about five frozen strawberries, a frozen banana, a drizzle of honey, and probably a cup of milk.

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After all that, I had a fantastic Valentine’s Day dinner with Le Boyfriend. We had white cheddar, fontina, pear, and bacon (of course) grilled cheese and some more spiced orange crunk punch.

Enjoy!

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#MonthOfSmoothies Week One

Can I just say that I am loving this smoothie thing? I throw goodies in my blender, I drink it, and go. I don’t end up with any dirty dishes because it’s so easy to rinse out my blender and glass and call it a day. I don’t end up left with sticky cereal bowls or funky egg plates, not that I don’t love my scrambled eggs. Plus, I’m finding it a lot easier to get the good stuff that my body needs. I’ve had a lot of carb-filled breakfasts that were delicious but never left me satisfied.

Here’s what I have been drinking!

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I started with a really odd-looking smoothie that tasted like a peanut butter milkshake. One frozen and sliced banana, a half cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, a cup of (vanilla was good but I might try plain next time) almond milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and as much fresh spinach as I could fit in my blender. You can’t taste the spinach one bit.

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Day two was a little less random, but an oddball for me. This is the first time I’ve ever put an apple in a smoothie. Next time, I will add honey and it’ll be perfect. One red apple, chopped up in whatever way will make your blender happy, half a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, a cup of milk (I used 2% but I bet almond milk would have been yummy…), five almonds, and some cinnamon. It tasted like apple pie, or at least some kind of apple dessert. I took it a step further by throwing some flax seed!

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My third smoothie was definitely the most delicious, but also the least nutritionally balanced. Wah wahhhhh. It would work if I were doing a ton of weight training, but my current activity level doesn’t require so much protein. Add about five frozen strawberries, a cup of milk, maybe a third of a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and, if you need the protein punch, half of a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder. It made the texture delightful, but it’s one that needs some tinkering. On the plus side, I wasn’t hungry again for several hours.

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I didn’t make a new smoothie creation on Thursday because I really wanted Jerad to try what I’m calling “Strawberries and Cream”, but day five was…out there. I bought some avocados and really wanted to put some in a smoothie and ended up with this guy. Half a cup of blueberries, a quarter of an avocado, a whole bunch of baby spinach, a quick drizzle of honey, and two cups or so of water. It basically had the same effect as the time I tried and failed to make a green smoothie that invoked basil. It needed a little something to make it sweeter without adding more honey. Next time I’ll replace half of the liquid with juice.

I really needed to eat something with this smoothie because the calorie content was so low, only about 200. I went to work and got to about 2:00 and passed out in the middle of ringing up a customer. I spent a couple of hours in the ER to have them tell me there’s nothing wrong with me. But, please, if you do smoothies for breakfast or as a meal in general, try to make sure they are at least 350 good calories.

Don’t be dumb like me.

As soon as that was over I went and stuffed my face with delicious German food. It made everything better.

Enjoy!

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Food Fails and #MonthOfSmoothies

The honest reason I haven’t been writing too often is because I am in a cooking slump. I cook and take tons of delicious pictures, only to have the meal fail at the last minute. Last week, I tried to make a braised balsamic eye round roast. When I checked the temperature, I thought the meat was going to be tender and magical.

It wasn’t.

You’re dealing with a perfectionist here. Please forgive me.

To top things off, I am so over winter. I want weather that produces delicious veggies that I don’t have to cook and inspires meals that don’t send you spiraling into a food coma.

When the new year came around, I decided to go the whole month of January without a single cheeseburger. This doesn’t sound that hard, but I work right next to a Wendy’s and a Five Guys. But I made it! I got my first burger of 2014 at Johnny Rockets.

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What a freaking mouthgasm.

I needed another challenge for February, so I went with a month of smoothies for breakfast! I’ll be doing a recap each week of the smoothies I drank and how to make them. But, I’ll be documenting them every day on my Instagram!

So follow SarahRogers09. Search #monthofsmoothies in the hashtag search place. If you’re not already following me, you’re missing beautiful pictures of my weekend breakfasts at Emma’s…

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Adorable pictures of Jerad’s niece that make you want to just eat her up…

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And other yummy adventures, like Bon Me’s Friday night noodle bar.

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Hopefully I’ll get my groove back soon, but for now you’ll have to enjoy my drinkable creations.

Enjoy!

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The Best Boozy Hot Chocolate

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If you’ve ever gotten around to reading magazines or articles about weight loss, most of them say the same thing about avoiding a craving frenzy. Don’t look at pictures of naughty food because they will make you hungry. I totally get this idea because there are some foods that my mouth lusts over. There really is no other word for it.

This hot chocolate is something you will think about for days after drinking it. It’s rich and thick, which is pretty impressive for a cocoa powder based hot chocolate. It warms you from the inside and you taste all the flavor of the Frangelico and the Bailey’s with only a kiss of the alcohol. Finally, it’s topped with a softly whipped (booze-infused) cream that’s almost frothy and not overly sweet.

It’s food porn, plain and simple.

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This hot chocolate starts with a chocolate syrup made of cocoa powder, sugar, and a little water to get things loose.  I usually make enough from this recipe for two people (1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup sugar).  So if you have an odd number, just do 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, and 2 tbsp sugar per person.  If this is too chocolatey for you, you can balance it out with more milk (more servings!), but you don’t want to have to add any more cocoa powder after this point.  Cook this on medium heat until it’s syrupy and bubbling.

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Like this! Throw in a splash of vanilla, just under 4 cups of milk, and a glop of heavy cream.

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If you think it’s too dark, add more milk. I like my hot chocolate to pack a punch. Keep this on medium heat until it starts to bubble a little bit. It doesn’t need to boil, but it needs to be hot. Duh.

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When it’s hot enough, turn off the heat and add two shots of Bailey’s…

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And two shots of Frangelico. Stir it all up and pour it in your favorite mugs.

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To make the whipped cream, pour some cold cream and a couple hefty pinches of powdered sugar in a bowl and beat it on medium speed. Just as it’s about to firm up, add some Frangelico. I think I used about a tablespoon? Probably more. Whoops. Drizzle with chocolate and curl up in a blanket.

Thank you to one of my besties, Sarah, for the inspiration. I can’t wait to have this for dinner. Yes, this is my meal. Someday I’ll put ice cream on top and have a hot chocolate float.

Enjoy!

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New Year’s Eve Lasagna!

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Okay so there’s nothing really special about this lasagna other than that it’s really freakin’ amazing.  Also, after years of lasagnas, I finally have a system down that makes them less of a pain in the rear to put together.  I will definitely get to that goodness, but first I have a few things I want to chat with you guys about.

First of all, happy new year!  I don’t know about you (and I would love to!), but 2013 was one heck of a year for me.  Here’s the rundown:

  • Grad-school auditions.  Wow.  Ended up taking the year off instead, but they sure knew how to kick off 2013!
  • Moved in with Le Boyfriend.  It was scary but so worth it!
  • Had my degree recital at Eastman.  I had to work my butt off, but I finally got through it feeling satisfied with the work I’d done and so grateful for Juliana, my lovely teacher, for putting up with the stress and the tears and sometimes just the weirdness that is me. Maybe someday I’ll get around to putting it up on YouTube and pointing you in that direction.
  • Graduated-holy-smokes!
  • Went on several road trips with Jerad (Ithaca, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Boston many times, etc.) and loved every moment of them…well every moment we weren’t bickering over directions.  I’m a bad navigator.  Oops.
  • Moved to Quincy, into a great place with a gas stove, which inspired me to finally start up a blog of everything food.

There were other wonderful and crazy things that happened in 2013, but those were some of the big ones.  I know I slowed down with my posts towards the end of the year, but things are back in motion.  Food is finally for fun, not just to eat.

Finally, before I get started on how to put this cheesy monster together, I would like to thank all my readers who made the Apartment Fried Rice post explode in the last few days.  On Pinterest, it has now been re-pinned 100 times!  I got to enjoy that OMG-I’m-so-popular feeling, and it’s all because of you. Thanks. Huggles!

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Making a good lasagna is all about organization and resisting the urge to jump to the next step before you’re all set with the task at hand.  Before I even touched any ingredients, I filled up my pasta pot with a bunch of salted water and set it on the stove.  You don’t need to start the heat yet, unless you want your kitchen to be a sauna.  It’s one thing you won’t have to worry about later.

Chop up a couple cloves of garlic, half of a large onion, and a few basil leaves.  I had to just buy some from the store because winter (*cough* I’m a plant killer, even killed a peace lily, but we’ll go with winter *cough*) killed my basil plant.

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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Throw your chopped onion in a big, heavy pot with a drizzle of olive oil and cook it until it starts to sweat.  Then, add the garlic.  I have a history of burning my garlic, so I always add it in later.

At this point, go ahead and turn the burner with your pasta water up to high.  If you added as much water as I did, it’s going to take a while to boil.

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Take two Italian sausages and slice just down one side of each.  This is way easier than trying to squeeze the meat out of one end.

Go ahead. Yep…done? Okay, moving on.

Your water is probably boiling, so hurry up, put the lasagna noodles in there, and get your mind out of the gutter.  Sheesh!

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Throw the peeled sausages right in the pan with the garlic and onions and start breaking it up.  Get it all brown and delicious.

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Add a big can of diced or crushed tomatoes, a dollop of tomato paste, and the basil.  Stir it all around and let it get yummy.  Add salt and pepper.

At this point, your pasta is probably just about done.

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In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine about a cup of ricotta, a handful of “sprinkle” cheese (parmesan, romano, or a mix will do just fine), salt, pepper, and an egg.

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Get yourself set up in whatever way works best for you.  Remember, organization is your friend.

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I like to put a little sauce in the bottom of my pan so the pasta doesn’t stick.

From there, just layer pasta, sauce, ricotta mixture, and fresh (or whatever you have) mozzarella.

I need a moment for a mini rant before I continue.  I recently watched the “Good Eats” episode about lasagna.  As much as I love Alton Brown, I was appalled!  Powdered goat milk?!  Five hours in a crockpot!  Sure, it’s nifty and might be neater, but I like lasagna that oozes cheese and sauce and is bubbly and hot.  Also, it seemed incredibly complicated.  Comfort food shouldn’t take so much brain power.

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When you’re done layering, it should look something like this.  I topped mine with some sauce, mozzarella, and sprinkle cheese.

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After 20-30 minutes in the oven, it will look like this.  When I look at this, I think of the episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Ted goes on a date without researching the woman he’s meeting and his friends do all the looking for him.  SWEET…MOTHER….OF GOD. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and dive in.

This glorious pan of carbs was our dinner on New Year’s Eve, accompanied by a delicious cocktail we found on the internet called spiced orange crunk punch.  We also saved our champagne for mimosas the next morning and opted for a shot (Bailey’s for Jerad, Apfelkorn for me) when the ball finally dropped.

To bring the first post of 2014 to a close, I would like to shamelessly invite you to follow me on Instagram!  In all seriousness, I post a lot of great food photos on there of things that don’t necessarily make it onto this corner of the internet, for example, sunlit pictures of eggs florentine with hollandaise enrobing my plate. SarahRogers09.  Find me. I’m fun. Even if my username isn’t.

Enjoy!

 

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