Chicken Cordon Bleu

Tonight, I tried something new again – Chicken Cordon Bleu. I started with some Boneless Chicken Breasts, and I butterflied them, and pounded them out until they were quite thin. Then I prepared my bowls for the dredge – one with milk and eggs (beaten together), one with Flour, and one with a mixture of Breadcrumbs, Parmesan Cheese, Thyme, and Garlic Powder. Then I applied some Butter, Salt, and Pepper to the Chicken Breasts, put Swiss Cheese and Sliced Deli Ham – then rolled the Chicken Breasts tightly, and stuck 2 toothpicks through the roll to keep them in place.

Then, I dipped them into the Egg /Milk mixture, then into the Flour, then back into the Egg/Milk mixture, then into the Breadcrumb mixture – then placed them onto a Parchment Paper lined Cookie Sheet.

Then, I placed 5 of the 6 pieces in the oven (preheated to 350) for 40 minutes. I cooked the other one in the Air Fryer. Since I didn’t have good instructions for cooking them in the Air Fryer – I wanted to do a practice run. I cooked them in the Air Fryer at 350 for 15 minutes – flipping them half-way through.

The Chicken Cordon Bleu cooked in the Air Fryer probably could have been taken out at 13 minutes – but it was very good. A couple of noticeable differences in the 2 ways of cooking was that the outside of the Chicken from the Air Fryer was crispy, where the oven cooked was not. The other noticeable difference was that the cheese melted better in the oven cooked Chicken Cordon Bleu – but, as for the taste – they were both very good.

Here is the finished Chicken Cordon Bleu from the Air Fryer:

Here is the 5 pieces that were cooked in the oven:

Then we added some Cauliflower Rice and some Whole Kernel Corn – for a nice Monday night supper.

Leana liked the Oven Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu better – because the cheese was stringy, and melted. The rest of us thought they were pretty even on our assessment. The biggest advantage of the Air Fryer, in this case is that it cooks in less than half the time as the Oven cooked Chicken.

The next time, I think I’m going to wrap them in Bacon – and make them Bacon Wrapped Chicken Cordon Bleu!


#chickencordonbleu #airfryerchickencordonbleu #chickenbreasts #swisscheese #delislicedham #airfryer #airfryercooking #airfryerchicken #powerairfryer #powerairfryerxl #cauliflowerrice #cauliflower #castironcaulifowerrice #castironcooking #wholekernalcorn

Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch

Yesterday, I went with our son Jesse to his Doctor appointment in Santa Barbara – and afterwards we stopped at Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch for lunch. They bill themselves as “Mesquite Bar-B-Q Chicken and Tri-Tip with an Authentic Mexican Flair.” Believe it or not – but this place was recommended by his “Nutritionist” at the Doctors Office. We both had a Combo Plate – with both Tri-Tip and Chicken. Jesse had both Beans and Rice, and I got double Beans and no Rice – topped off with some Mexican Sodas.

They are located at 2618 De La Vina Street in Santa Barbara. The first thing we noticed was the friendliness of the staff – very welcoming – and made you feel at home. It is very unassuming, and comfortable – and the restaurant was clean – and plenty of parking. It is setup like a typical “fast food” restaurant – where you order at the counter – then they bring the food to you.

You have a choice of dining inside or one the patio. It was such a nice day, that we ate on the patio. They have a “Salsa Bar” where you can choose between several different types of Salsas. We chose the Salsa Asada – a bit different than usual – but extremely good.

As you can see, they cook the Chicken in bulk – and based on the taste – they will need it all. The BBQ Chicken was grilled to perfection – tender, yet fully cooked, and the skin had a nice crunch on it. The Tri-Tip had a nice smoke ring – with that great Mesquite taste. I have always liked the taste of Mesquite Smoked Meats. The Tri-Tip was cooked well – not over-cooked – and tender. The beans were very simple – cooked Pinto Beans. They were simple, yet very tasty.

As for the price point – it is very reasonable. For Jesse and I, it came to just over $30.00 – and we left very satisfied. If you are in Santa Barbara, I would strongly recommend Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch as a place to dine.

#santabarbarachickenranch #santabarbara #bbqchicken #smokedtritip #chicken #tritip #mesquitesmokedtritip #beans #mesquitesmoke #mexicansoda #mexicancoke #bbqcooking #foodporn #foodie #greatfood #califood #cookedpintobeans

Easter Sunday Dinner

We had the family come over for Easter Sunday Dinner – with Smoked Tri-Tip, Country Style Pork Ribs, BBQ Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Ranch Style Beans, Corn, Micro Steamed Green Beans, and Bread. I started the day by Seasoning the Country Style Pork Ribs, and soaking the wood chips. I had some leftover Hickory Chips, and I picked up some Apple Wood Chips – and put them in water a few hours before starting the smoker. And I seasoned the Country Style Pork Ribs, with a mixture of Black Pepper, Garlic Salt, Onion Powder, Thyme, Ancho Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, and Ground Mustard.

I put the 2 Tri-Tips in the smoker around 3:00 pm – for about 2 hours. That will give them a good smoke ring, and will be Tender and juicy. I buy the Tri-Tip when it is on sale, and season them, wrap them individually, and freeze them. When I bring the. Out – they just need to thawed and cooked.

We put some large Potatoes in the over at 400 degrees for just over an hour for some good Baked Potatoes. Before baking them, we rubbed them with Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper. Then, they are ready for whatever toppings anyone wants.

I put the Chicken Thighs on the gas grill – after having been marinating in beer. I mix up some BBQ Sauce by mixing Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce with some beer and Chalula Hot Sauce. That gives the Chicken a sweet, yet spicy flavor. My grandson, Gunner, thinks it’s the best BBQ Chicken there is, lol. Also, since my daughter-in-law, Laura, doesn’t like Chicken with BBQ Sauce on it – I made 2 pieces with no Sauce, and I marinated them in Italian Dressing.

The final meat is the Country Style Pork Ribs. After applying the rub, I put half of them on the smoker, and the other half on the gas grill. This give 2 distinct flavors of the same meat. For the last 10 minutes, I put all of the Ribs in the smoker.

Then, we finished the meal off with some Ranch Style Beans, some Whole Kernel Corn, Micro Steamed Green Beans, and some bread. It was a very very tasty, and filling Easter Dinner. Since it was a smaller gathering than normal – there were a lot of leftovers, lol. Our oldest granddaughter, Chelsea, and her family now live north of Sacramento, and were not able to come. Here is a final picture of my plate of food:

#tritip #smokedtritip #bbqchicken #bbqchickenthighs #sweetbabyrays #countrystyleporkribs #smokedcountrystyleporkribs #smoker #applewoodsmoking #kingsfordcharcoal #kingsford #Chalula #chalulahotsauce #budlight #beermarinatedchicken #schwansmicrosteamgreenbeans #ranchstylebeans #greatvaluefrozencorn #bakedpotato #gasgrill #gasgrillcooking

Air Fried Halibut

So, today was an experiment – to say the least. I cooked some Halibut in the Air Fryer – and I am not a big fish eater. In fact, this is the first time that I have ever cooked fish – of any kind – other than “Fishsticks!” Lol One of the “good” things about not having ever cooked fish in that I don’t know what I “shouldn’t” do, lol. So, what I did was to take some Halibut Steaks and butterfly them – and put them through the egg wash and breading.

I wisked together 2 eggs and mixed together some Panko Bread Crumbs and some Canola Oil and mixed them into a sort of “crumble” breading. Then, I dipped the Halibut pieces in the eggs, then into the Panko mixture.

I cooked them in the Air Fryer at 360 degrees for 11 minutes – flipping them half was through. Then I let the cool for a few minutes before trying them. I was very pleased with the results – the Halibut was crispy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside. The Halibut pieces were very flaky – and nearly melts in your mouth.

Since I had never cooked fish before, I didn’t cook a full meal – just the Halibut. Now, I will do some research to determine what I make to go with the fish – the next time that I make it – because I will definitely make fish in my Air Fryer again.

If you don’t have an Air Fryer, I would encourage you to get one, and learn how to use it. Remember, I was a HUGE skeptic of the Air Fryer – but, now I am a big advocate of it. Everything that you normally fry, you can cook in the Air Fryer, and most things taste much better from the Air Fryer.

#airfryer #powerairfryer ##airfryercooking #friedfish #friedhalibut #Halibut #fishrookie #firsttimecookingfish #crispyairfriedhalibut

LA Rams Clock

Now, for some woodworking – a LA Rams Clock. This is truly a new venture for me – because it involves more “art” than actual woodworking. I never was known as much of an artist – but, I gave it a try – and although not perfect – I am happy with the end result.

I started with one of the older LA Rams logos, cut it out with matte photo paper, then cut it out with MDF.

Then, I took one of the 3 paper templates and cut out all of the “white” parts to start, then laid the template over the MDF form (like a stencil), and traced out the white parts.

Then, I started to paint the blue and the gold. This was a huge challenge for me. Finally, I decided to use some tape to help with the lines – but with only mediocre results. So, I got some 1/4 inch wide masking tape that they use in the Autobody industry – and that made a big difference.

As you can see, the lines were extremely rough – but, they do get better. I would go over with the Gold to smooth the lines, then go over with the Blue to further smooth the lines, then go over with the White, etc until I got to the finish.

Then, I drilled a hole for the clock mechanism to come through the inside of the Ram’s horn.

Once the hole was drilled, then I marked out for the clock mechanism on the back of the clock, then I clamped the clock down, and took my router and routered out the spot for the mechanism to fit into. Then, I attached the numbers to the face of the clock.

Then, I applied a clear coat to the back of the clock to start, then after it dried, I applied a clear coat to the front of the clock. I used a water based polyurethane (called Polycrylic) because the oil based Polyurethane has a slight hue to it, and can cause the colors (especially the White) to have a tint to them. While the Polycrylic dries “crystal clear” – with no yellowing.

I applied the clear coat over top of the numbers to better hold them in place.

Then I put the clock mechanism in place, tightened it up, and put the hands on it.

After I applied the clear coat – my lack of artistic talent really showed through – with all of the mistakes being highlighted by the clear coat. After that, we are done – just need to let the clear coat dry completely. As I said, this was a definite challenge to me – but, I think I met the challenge.

One thing that would change, if to do it again, would be to use Silver numbers instead of Black. I was hoping that the Black letters would show up better against the blue background – but, that’s one of the challenges to being colorblind.

This was another fun (and challenging) project that I enjoyed.

Next, on to a Cowboys clock for one of my granddaughters.

#woodworking #clocks #clockmaking #artist #clockpainting

Air Fried Chicken Parmesan and Cauliflower Rice

I had never made Chicken Parmesan before, and I saw an episode of Rachel Ray last week where she made some, and it looked good – so I thought I would try it. I changed things a bit – because Rachel used some ingredients that I did not have readily available – but, it turned out AMAZING! I started out with some Boneless Chicken Breasts, which I butterflied, and pounded out to about 1/4 inch thick. Then, I put some Salt and Pepper on them, and progressively put them through All Purpose Flour, Egg Wash, then a mixture of Italian Bread Crumbs, Panko Bread Crumbs, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Powder, Red Chili Flakes, and Oregano – then they were ready for the Air Fryer.

I cooked the pounded out and coated Parmesan Chicken Cutlets in the Air Fryer at 380 degrees for 8 minutes – flipping them at the half-way point. Then I put them in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm while I finished cooking the rest of them. Here is the finished product – before adding the Mozzarella Cheese in the Broiler.

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While I was continuing to cook the Chicken Cutlets in the Air Fryer, I began to prepare the Arrabiata Sauce for the Parmesan Chicken. I started with some Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, Chili Paste, Chicken Stock, Crushed Tomatoes, and Salt. I let that simmer on the stove top for about 20 minutes.

Then, I shredded some Cauliflower in the Food Processor, and fried it in the Cast Iron Skillet, with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and Butter. I cook it for about 5 minutes.

I also made a second sauce – a Chili/Honey Sauce. This Sauce is a mixture of Chili Paste, Honey, and Chicken Stock. The interesting story of this Sauce started a few days earlier. We had some Bees in front of our house, and had to call someone to have them removed. We kept some of the Comb Honey. A friend of mine, Anthony Lopez, mentioned that it would be a cool story, if I could use some of that Honey in one of my recipes – which is what I did. Thank you, Anthony, for the suggestion.

We also, made some Corn on the Cob and some Ranch Style Beans.

When everything else is about finished, I covered the Chicken Cutlets with Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, and put them in the oven on the broil setting until the Cheese was melted, and starting to bubble. Then, I added the Arrabiata Sauce to those 6 pieces. The other 2, I covered with the Chili/Honey Sauce – for Jesse and I – This Sauce was very hot, and Jesse and I were the only ones that wanted it.

Here are the Chicken Parmesan after coming out of the broiler.

Here is the final meal – with the Chicken Parmesan, Ranch Style Beans, Corn on the Cob, and Cauliflower Rice. This plate shows the Chili/Honey Sauce. The Chicken Parmesan was crispy on the outside, and amazingly Tender and juicy on the inside – with the Chili/Honey Sauce being a great combination of the heat and the sweet. It was a big hit for everyone.

#castironskillet #castironcooking #caulifowerrice #cornonthecob #ranchstylebeans #chicken #chickenparmesan #chilihoneysauce #rachelray #foodie #airfryer #airfryercooking #powerairfryer #powerairfryerxl #oillessfrying #healthyfrying

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Those who know me, know that I like Pizza – most styles of Pizza – New York, Chicago, Pan, Thin, Hand Tossed, etc. But, my favorite is Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza. So, last night, I decided to make some – from scratch. I started by making the dough – a fairly simple dough – with All Purpose Flour, Cornmeal,Yeast, Sugar, Salt, Water, Butter, and Olive Oil. A quick spin in the Stand Mixer, and we are ready to place it in an oiled bowl to rise for one hour.

While the dough was going through its first rise, I made the Pizza Sauce – with Olive Oil, Butter, Minced Onion, Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Peppers, Minced Garlic, Crushed Tomatoes, Sugar, and Basil.

I cooked it on medium / low heat for 39 minutes, then removed it from the heat, and covered it.

Then, I took the dough that had been left to rise at room temperature, and rolled it into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle, then spread butter onto the dough. Then I rolled it into a tight cylinder, then flattened it into a 18 x 4 inch rectangle. Then I took each half, folded it in thirds, then pinched the seams together to form 2 balls. I then placed the balls back into the oiled pan, and placed in the refrigerator for the second rise.

While the dough was going through its second rise, I cooked the Sausage and grated the 1 pound block of Mozzarella Cheese.

After the dough was in the refrigerator for about 50 minutes, I took it out, and rolled each ball into about a 13 inch circle. I liberally coated 2 nine inch round pans with Olive Oil, and put the dough into the 2 round pans.

Then I began to assemble the 2 Pizzas – with the Mozzarella Cheese first, then the Sausage, the Pepperoni, the Mushrooms, the Canadian Bacon, and finally, the sauce on the top. I topped it off by sprinkling some grated Parmesan Cheese.

I put the 2 Pizzas in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, then removed from the oven.

I let the Pizzas comfortable about 15 minutes, then removed them from the round pans onto a Pizza Tin, and sliced.

The Pizza was very enjoyable, however, I think I will back of on the Garlic in the Pizza Sauce next time – it was sort of over-powering – but, still good. It was even better, as leftovers today. If you have not tried Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza, I would encourage you to try it – it is very good.

#chicagostylepizza #chicagostyledeepdishpizza #pizza #deepdishpizza #panpizza #pepperoni #sausage #Mushrooms #canadianbacon #goodfood #goodpizza