Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chicken Cutlets with Pecan Sauce

How many of you do this? I have a big file folder full of recipes that I have clipped from here and there with the intent to try some day. Some of these I’ve had for years. YEARS. Like 10 years, some of them. I decided that if I truly want this blog to be about kitchen adventures, I should take my cooking adventures in a useful direction and start trying some of these long saved recipes. I might find a real gem, or I could at least thin out this mass of ever growing recipes.

I told Mr. M. that I would reach into my folder and pull out something to cook and he had to eat it and give me his impression of the success of the dish. He agreed! He’s always up for eating.

I pulled out Chicken Cutlets with Pecan Sauce that I got from the February 2011 copy of Southern Living (and I don’t really remember tearing out).

I gathered all my ingredients. I was feeling pretty smug that I had most everything I needed on hand, until I took a look at my bottle of apple cider vinegar. I didn’t realize it goes bad. But this stuff had all this ‘stuff’ in it that didn’t dissolve when I shook it up and looked like slimy and gloppy… I just wasn’t chancing using it. So I tossed it and bought some new.

Toast the pecans. Easy enough.

My problem is always cooking chicken on the stop top; frying. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me. Its like I can never get it cooked all the way through without burning it or at least drying it out like shoe leather. I even butterflied these cutlets cause they were pretty thick. If I hadn’t, I might still be trying to get these girls cooked through.

After it was finally done, I made the sauce. It seemed to turn out well. I made couscous and vegetables to go with it. The Kid was pretty dubious about the whole meal. But his palate runs more toward burgers, pizza and meat in a mostly nugget form.

Mr. M. said he would give the chicken a B-. It was good enough tasting, but not as flavorful as you’d hope. Mostly you tasted the thyme and little else. The chicken had no other flavor, but chicken. The Kid said he’d give it a B, after he scraped the pecans off, cause he doesn’t like nuts. He also suggested that I move my cooking adventures to Sunday night, when he isn’t here.

I would agree with the B- rating for this recipe. It wasn’t very flavorful and I can think of a lot of other ways to make chicken more interesting. So this recipe isn’t a saver or to go into the regular rotation. That’s one cleared out of the file!

If you think you might like a milder chicken dish or can think of what this recipe needs to give it more of a kick, give it a try!

Chicken Cutlets with Pecan Sauce
½ cup pecans
½ cup butter, divided
4 chicken cutlets (about 1 ¼ lb)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 T flour
3 T olive oil
½ cup chicken broth
1 T brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar
½ tsp dried thyme

Heat pecans and 2 T butter in a large nonstick skillet over med/low heat, stirring often, 2-3 min or unitl toasted and fragrant. Remove from skillet.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, dredge in flour.

Cook chicken in hot oil in skillet over med heat, 3-4 min on each side or until golden brown and down. Transfer to a serving platter. Top with pecans.

Add chicken broth to skillet, cook 2 min, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Add brown sugar, vinegar and thyme. Cook 3-4 min or until sugar is melted and sauce is slightly thickened. Whisk in remaining 2T butter. Serve sauce over chicken.

Coconut Lemon Chip Cookies

I like unusual things. Don’t give me plain, average, boring. I don’t want plain Cheerios! Let’s try the Chocolate ones AND the Peanut Butter Cheerios…. TOGETHER! I don’t want plain hand soap. Give me something that is Passion Fruit Coconut scent with little scrubby beads and moisturizers!!

So, when I saw these lemon chips at a Mennonite store in southern Iowa when I was shopping with my Mom, I decided those were just too neat to pass up. And if you ever get a chance to shop in a Mennonite store, do it! They have so many interesting things in bulk there. I mean, I once saw a big bag of those little marshmallows like the kind in Lucky Charms. Yeah.

I had these lemon chips for a while before I finally decided what I would use them for. Coconut Lemon Chip cookies. Also, Shelly over at Cookies & Cups  (her blog is too cute and I envy it so!) talked about adding a tablespoon of corn starch to cookies to make them bake up more. I thought, I gotta try that! The only thing I will say is that I noticed my dough was a lot dryer. So much so that I couldn’t get everything mixed. I ended up adding another egg to just get it all to hold together. Keep that in mind if you try the corn starch trick.

Anyway, the cookies turned out beautiful! Seriously, I don’t remember when I made such pretty cookies. They were also crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They didn’t last very many days, but they remained crispy/chewy thereafter. I would say adding corn starch will be a good thing, especially when you have dough that is a bit too thin and your cookies spread out all over the place.

Coconut Lemon Chip Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 T corn starch
1 cup softened butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
Lemon or white baking chips
1 cup flake coconut

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and corn starch in a bowl. In another bowl beat butter, sugars until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually at to flour mixture. Stir in chips and coconut. Bake in 350 deg. oven for 12 minutes.

P.S. I tried adding corn starch to my favorite "Naughty Monkey Cookies" but didn't like how it turned the normally cake like/chewy cookie into a drier cookie. I still say the corn starch trick is great for cookies that tend to do too much spreading out, like traditional chocolate chip.