“Throw It Together Tuesday”

So today is Thursday and I’m posting about what I created on Tuesday. Does that tell you how my week has gone so far? Anyway’s, Tuesday my wife and I had to babysit our two grandchildren Wednesday Renee 5 (Yes, that’s her real name, but we call her Winnie) and our grandson Finn who’s 2 and comparable to an F5 tornado with legs and arms. I had thawed out some chicken without any intent on how I was going to prepare it and I knew we wouldn’t be eating until later on that evening after my daughter came home and took the kids upstairs. (we live in a 2 family home and they live upstairs) so it was going to be a “wing it” kind of supper.

I made the kids a couple of grilled cheeses (Winnie says that my grilled cheeses are the best in the whole world) and rummaged through the fridge to get inspired. I came upon a small, unopened, container of Ricotta cheese, a pound of bacon and some fresh mushrooms. I also had a red pepper and some sweet onions as I always do, and despite the kids running around and my granddaughter asking me one hundred times if she could help me cook (she loves to cook), the creative juices began to flow and the light bulb above my head went form dim to bright.

I was going to make “Ricotta stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon.”   Let the creating begin . . .

 

“Ingredients”

  • 3-4 medium/large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (you want them large enough to be able to cut a pocket)
  • Small container (about 1-1/12 cups) Ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb bacon (about 10-12 strips)
  • 1 onion (I used sweet) chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms (any kind) chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • Salt, pepper or your favorite seasoning for the chicken
  • Butter (about 2 tbsp)
  • Toothpicks (optional and obviously not to eat)

“Putting It All Together”

Set oven to 350 degrees

Saute onions, peppers and mushrooms in pan with butter just until softened. Add garlic and saute a couple more minutes. Remove from stove top and let cool for a few minutes.

Veggie's

Veggie’s

Using a paring knife, start at one end of chicken breast and gently cut to the other side to form a pocket. Do not cut all the way through. Season both sides of chicken breast.

In a small bowl combine Ricotta cheese and cooked veggies. Mix well

On a piece of wax paper, lay out 3 strips of bacon

Take chicken breast and using a spoon stuff pocket with Ricotta mixture.

Place the stuffed breast over the 3 strips of bacon and bring the ends up to meet on top. Secure with toothpicks.

Place on cookie sheet or cast iron pan and then repeat process for remaining breasts.

Ricotta Mixture

Ricotta Mixture

bacon wrapped chicken before cooking

bacon wrapped chicken before cooking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any Ricotta or bacon left over, I just place it on top of chicken before baking it. (optional)

Place in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Ricotta stuffed chicken with bacon

Ricotta stuffed chicken with bacon

I hope you enjoy the music selection I’ve chosen for today, I’m calling it “Theme Song Thursday” Also, if you get a chance, please take a jog over to my other sites for some enlightening, funny and sometimes even educational post’s and pages; www.jamesrsirois.com    “Blogging Around With The Original Domestic God” and

www.iamperfectlychangedandawesome.com    Have a great day Y’all! Peace, Light and Love to all! Jim

Rama Lama Ricotta Bread . . . Bang, Bang!

Occasionally, I have amazingly creative ideas when I’m cooking. It’s not like I’m thinking about it, it just pops into my head. This just happens to be one of those whimsical and delicious ideas. It all started when I was making a lasagna for Sunday family dinner. During the Fall and Winter, I always make it a point to have my family over for dinner on Sunday. There’s nothing better than sharing awesome food with the people you love. Spring and summer is more difficult because someone’s either going on vacation or going away for the day so whoever wants to come over for a BBQ is more than welcome too.

Anyway, back to the lasagna, well, specifically . . .the bread! This particular day, I made more of my special ricotta mixture than I needed to.I didn’t want to waste it and it really wasn’t enough to make a second lasagna. I was just about to toss it in the trash barrel when I noticed we had two loaves of bread, one Italian, the other French. Without even giving it a second thought, I knew what I had to do, it was meant to be. I grabbed the loaf of French bread and well, the rest is history. I knew my new creation was a success when all of my family members started raving about the bread, not the lasagna . . . but the bread! So now every time I make a lasagna, I have to make the ricotta bread too.

It’s actually very, very, simple and I’m sure you, your friends, your family will absolutely love it! Oh, and the music I picked to go with this recipe is totally freaking cool! Well, it’s time to loaf it up! Here we go!

French Bread

French Bread     

INGREDIENTS

One loaf of French or Italian bread cut in half lengthwise.

1 small container of Ricotta cheese.

1 small block of farmer’s cheese (or cream cheese) softened

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 egg

1 cup shredded cheese (your choice) I mixed cheddar and Parmesan together.

2 TBSP olive oil or 2 TBSP of butter

1 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta Cheese

In a frying pan saute chopped peppers and onions in olive oil or butter until tender

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients except bread and mix well.

Set oven to 350 degrees

Spoon mixture evenly onto each half of the French or Italian bread

Place bread halves on a cookie sheet and put in oven for 15-25 minutes depending on how crunchy you like it.

If you want to, about five minutes before you take bread out of oven add some additional shredded cheese to each half.

Slice bread in 1-2 inch slices and serve

French Bread with ricotta

French Bread with ricotta

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Baked French Bread with Ricotta

Baked French Bread with Ricotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITALIAN EGG ROLLS AND SONGS TO ROLL BY

Yes, you read that right . . . “Italian Egg Rolls!”  This is by far the most requested recipe I get asked to make from my family. Like all incredible recipes that are created either by accident or ingenuity, this just so happens to fall into both categories. While most of us associate egg rolls as a Chinese food staple, oh, and the ever popular Greek version called “spinach roll,” my Italian egg rolls take bland and generic rolls to the next culinary level.

I love Italian food, it’s my second favorite food next to Mexican. One night as I was about to make my Mexican lasagna (which I use egg roll wrappers for.)  I had this epiphany when I began to think about what else I could use the egg roll wrappers for. The answer came to me as I glanced at a jar of tomato sauce . . . “Italian Egg Rolls!” I must admit, I had to experiment a little bit with this one, but I finally have it down to two different ways of cooking them; I’m not sure if one way of cooking them is healthier than the other, but they taste so damn good, who really cares!

The first way is baking them and the second way is frying them. Preparation is a little bit different for both, but nothing drastically difficult. Oh, and by the way, a word of advice that has nothing to do with egg rolls . . . M&M’s  DO NOT do very well when you try and deep fry them. I just thought I’d throw that out there (epic chocolatized fail!) O K, so back to the rolls . . . If I were you, I wouldn’t try making these if you’re in a rush to go somewhere or just want a quick dinner because they do take a moderate amount of time to make.  I am medically retired so I have the time to dedicate to making them whenever I feel like it, but they are great for a Sunday dinner with the whole family gathered together. If you grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s you should be able to “roll” these babies up in no time! (chuckle, chuckle!)

Italian egg roll

Italian egg roll

 

INGREDIENTS

1 small or 1 large container ricotta cheese (depending on how many rolls you want to make.), 1 egg, 1 Pkg egg roll wrappers (I get mine in the produce section) 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion, 1/2 cup red or green pepper chopped,

1 small Pkg of already cooked chicken or 1 pound ground beef or a few Italian sausages, all cooked, all drained well and all chopped. You don’t have to use packaged chicken, you can use leftover roaster or what ever chicken you want. If you use ground beef or sausage, it is very important to drain the fat. you want it on the drier side. You can use whichever protein you want, it’s your gig! (bacon and sausage is mind blowing!)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (It’s called stinky cheese in my family), 1 cup Cheddar cheese, 1/2 small block Fontina cheese grated (for cheese sauce) 2tsp chopped garlic,  2 tsp coarse salt (I use sea salt) 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp Adobe seasoning (optional) Tomato sauce or marinara sauce for dipping (both optional) Olive oil (to brush edges)

1 large baking dish like a lasagna pan (should be on the deeper side) or frying pan, depending on which way you’re going to make them.

DIRECTIONS

Combine everything but the wrappers, Fontina and tomato/marinara sauce (optional) in a large bowl and mix until well blended.

Take your egg roll wrappers out. This is where the wrapping varies. Egg roll wrappers are very thin. If you are baking them, you only need 1 wrapper (not a big deal if some ingredients spill out from the ends), but if you are frying them, use 2 wrappers, less of the filling and make sure the ends are closed and sealed tightly. Place a few at a time out on wax paper.

egg roll wrappers

egg roll wrappers

Take your cooking brush and and brush olive oil (or egg wash) on all 4 sides of wrapper. Using a spoon, scoop some of the mixture onto the longer edge of wrapper. Start rolling them making sure (especially if you’re frying them) to keep them tight and outside edges tucked in and sealed. I usually alternate roll, tuck, roll, tuck. If baking, place them in dish as you finish each one. If frying, put them on a plate until they’re all done and ready to have a hot oil bath.

Italian Egg Rolls

Italian Egg Rolls

If frying them, place them in hot oil until nice and crunchy, golden, brown. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

If baking them, set oven to 375 degrees. Lightly brush tops with olive oil. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes. While they are cooking, it’s time to make the Fontina cheese sauce. On low to medium-low heat, melt 4 TBSP butter in a sauce pan. Add 4 TBSP flour and mix with whisk until it turns golden brown. Add 1 1/2 cups milk (to start) continuously stirring until it starts to thicken slightly. Add Fontina cheese and stir until melted. This is where you can add some extra milk (if you want to), but do it in small amounts. Your cheese sauce is done.

After 20 minutes of cooking, remove pan from oven and . . .  (this is where you have 3 options) first option; Don’t add anything, just take them out after 25-30 minutes and enjoy. Second option; add some tomato sauce and shredded cheese, put back in oven until cheese is melted. Third option; Pour Fontina cheese sauce over rolls, place back in oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool down for a couple of minutes and serve.

egg roll with cheese sauce

egg roll with cheese sauce

And while we’re on the subject of rolls and rolling, how about a couple of awesome tunes that we can all roll to? I think you’re going to love this . . . .