Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches

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Something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on this blog before is that I enjoy musicals quite a bit.  I admittedly don’t have the Broadway cash to be able to get out and see the majority of the ‘newer’ ones that have come out- but when it comes to certain classics that have either been videotaped and sold or broadcast on PBS or, made into actual cinema movies, I’ve got quite a few favorites.

For me, the #1 spot permanently belongs to “Phantom the Opera” (by Lloyd Webber). I fell in love with it from that very first time I watched it/heard the music and no other  musical is ever going to take its place.

“My Fair Lady” is a very close second, though. I went through a phase where I kept the VHS of My Fair Lady semi-permanently set out next to my tv because I would watch it at least several times a week. To this day the song “On the Street Where You Live” is enough to always make me smile and pull me out of the worst moods.

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“The Wiz”, “Chicago”, “The Slipper & the Rose”, “RENT”, “Carmen Jones”, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”, “Grease”, “Gigi”, “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Ain’t Misbehavin”, “Annie”, “Sweeney Todd”, “West Side Story”.

Love them all.

I could go on, but you get the picture, right? I really love musicals.

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So, what do musicals have to do with today’s post?

There IS a connection, actually. You may have noticed that in my little list of favorite musicals, I left one out- possibly one of THE most well-known and popular musicals of all time.

Calling all theater nerds: which one did I leave out?

Yep. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”.

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If for nothing else, many people are familiar with The Sound of Music for the song “My Favorite Things” that (for some reason that I never have really understood) has become a song that’s sung here in America at Christmastime.

I have only, ever, and always thought about one thing when I hear(d) the word ‘schnitzel’.

Just one thing, period.

Maria von Trapp-the main character who sings the song “My Favorite Things”.  I kinda knew about schnitzel with noodles before I even knew just what the heck schnitzel was. I knew it was probably some kind of meat since it was being eaten ‘with’ noodles, but besides that- not a clue.

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Eventually when I became a foodie and started cooking I found out what it was, but still wasn’t very interested in it. It was one of those foods I saw come out around October for Oktoberfest with a bunch of other German/Austrian foods. And for some reason, there’s a restaurant in my area that has a schnitzel special come out around St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not typically a huge fan of German food so I never had much of a reason to try schnitzel, whether it was made by me or someone else.

Recently, I was thumbing through an issue of Food Network Magazine and I came across a recipe for Pretzel Rolls that really stuck out to me-enough so that I decided to go ahead and try it out for myself. It was a marvelous success, and the subject of my last blog post. Directly opposite the pretzels rolls in the magazine was a recipe for Schnitzel Sandwiches that they suggested you pair with the rolls.

Well lemme tell you guys, the schnitzel in the magazine looked SO tasty alongside those pretzel rolls that I just couldn’t resist following that recommendation. I went to the store and bought myself chicken and decided to give it a try for myself.

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And now, I really do understand why schnitzel made the list of Maria’s favorite things. I SO get it now.

If you buy meat that’s already been pounded thin for you, then this dish is actually really easy and relatively quick. The seasonings are also pretty simple, but they yield such wonderful results. The coating fried up SO golden brown and crisp, and it stayed on like glue even while frying (I’m pretty sure it was because of the chilling given to the cutlets before they get to the pan, so I wouldn’t skip that step if I were you.) I ate my chicken on a golden brown pretzel roll just like the recipe suggested, served alongside some potato chips sprinkled with malt vinegar.

SO GOOD, y’all.

Heck, even when I was eating the leftovers (after the crispiness had left the coating for obvious reasons) I STILL thought this dish was awesome. So awesome, that I’m bringing it to this week’s Fiesta Friday #91, co-hosted this week by  Juju @ cookingwithauntjuju and Indira @ I’ll Cook, You WashI’m pretty sure I’ll make all of us schnitzel-lover converts by the time the party’s over 😉

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Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches


Recipe Adapted from Food Network Magazine

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • kosher salt & black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds or combination of the three
  • 8 chicken cutlets
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 8 pretzels rolls (see recipe)

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Combine the breadcrumbs and seeds in a third dish; season with salt and pepper.

Lightly dredge each cutlet in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat both sides.

Arrange the cutlets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour. (It helps the coating stick to the meat)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the cutlets until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side, sprinkling with the parsley during the last minute of cooking. Remove to a rack or paper-towel lined plate to drain. Season with salt.

Sandwich the schnitzels on the pretzels rolls (you may need to cut the bigger pieces of meat.) Top with pickles, red onion, lettuce and/or mustard.

Sesame Glazed Sweet Potatoes

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I’ve mentioned to you guys before that when I find a new habit or trend, or something  in general that I like, I will wear it out TO DEATH until I’m either sick of it, or until I find a new something to wear out to death.

Me and my twin sister Jas are really alike in that (among other things: our DNA  also happens to be exactly the same.) Take movies for instance; when we were growing up, we went through a phase where when we found a movie we liked, we watched it every chance we got. I find a new favorite song and it gets put on constant repeat on my iPod . I find a new interesting tv show and will faithfully watch it ever week, or if its old, I will have entire marathons of it on Netflix until I get through it all.

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So far as good goes, I’m on a root vegetable kick right now.  For a long time, I’ve just always wanted to eat a side of root vegetables with my dinner. Mostly it’s been a mix between rutabagas and sweet potatoes. I can decide which I like more honestly. Although it may not seem like it, rutabagas too have a unmistakable sweetness to them that’s so clearly highlighted when they’re roasted. If you guys don’t believe me, then you should try this recipe for Herb Roasted Rutabaga that I posted a few weeks ago- if you’re not typically a fan of them, I promise you: I’m going to make you a ‘believer’ with 2 rutabagas, and a handful of dried herbs. Because I’m a miracle worker….okay not really, but I am a pretty good cook 😉

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 I’m experimenting with different recipes to mix things up so that I don’t get too bored. After all, variety’s the spice of life. Right now, this is my new sweet potato recipe that I’m really fond of.  Trust me, it tastes every bit as good as it looks.

I never would have thought initially to apply Asian style flavors to sweet potatoes. But let me tell you guys, it REALLY works. The saltiness of the soy sauce is perfect with the sweetness of the honey as well as the natural sweetness of the potatoes. The sesame seeds give it a subtle earthy and almost nutty aftertaste. I served them with a chicken stir-fry that I made my family for dinner ( the recipe and pics are very soon to follow).

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Random/Embarrassing Fact: About a year ago, I was on another carrot/sweet potato kick and I ate so many of them that I LITERALLY started turning orange. Seriously. I’m not joking. I went into my doctor for a general check up and she literally gasped and asked what happened to me. I didn’t notice until I stood under a fluorescent light in her office and held out my hands: my palms were the color of a carrot. My skin is naturally kind of yellow, so…suffice to say it just wasn’t a good look. I had no idea that consuming too much Vitamin A (which is dominant  in carrots and sweet potatoes) can do that. Now I do. So as delicious as these sweet potatoes are, I do try to be a little more careful to not make them take up the most space on my plate.

I try. I may not always succeed. Try this recipe and you’ll definitely understand why.

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Sesame Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe Courtesy of Cookstr.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  5 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (yams), peeled
  •  2 tbsp olive oil
  •  Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  •  2 tbsp sesame seeds
  •  1 tbsp honey
  •  1 tbsp soy sauce

 Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until almost tender.

4. Mix together the sesame seeds, honey, and soy sauce. Pour  over the sweet potatoes, and toss.

5. Roast 20 minutes more, or until well glazed and tender.

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Maple Chicken

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Have any of you guys ever come across a recipe on television, in a magazine or cookbook and been super excited to try it out, then looked at the ingredients list and did a little sigh inside. Not because you thought that the recipe looked too difficult, but because one (or maybe even more than one) of the ingredients was just a liiiittle bit more pricey than you were willing to pay? That happens to me quite a bit, especially in some of my more ‘swanky’ cookbooks, or also in recipes from the ‘swanky’ chefs.

I did a quick Google search of some of the more common ingredients that I see in recipes that I really want to try, but haven’t as of yet because my wallet is still giving me a resounding “No, Jess!”

  • 1 Gram of Saffron: $8.95 , 2 Grams of Saffron: $13.00, 1 Ounce of Saffron: $58.00 (I get it: a little of this stuff goes a long way, but come ON!)
  • 2 Vanilla Bean Pods: $9.95 (I know that the comparison of vanilla beans to vanilla extract is like comparing cubic zirconia to diamonds. I also know that $9.95 is enough for me to buy two jars of vanilla extract that will last me more than just two uses.)
  • 8 oz. Pine Nuts: $12.63 (No. Just…just no.)

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While for the most part, I’m  willing to remain frugal on certain ingredients, there are others that I’m willing to be more flexible about- it all depends on the day and what kind of mood I’m in, honestly. If I’m caught on a good day, I’ll probably be more willing to splurge. If I’m having a bad day, then Scrooge is my middle name.

Confession alert: I’m one of those idiots that usually buys and settles for the cheap ‘syrup’ from Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin when eating her pancakes and waffles. I know, I know. Feel free to pelt me with tomatoes for that one. I deserve it. But here’s the thing: maple syrup- the REAL Grade A and B maple syrup, isn’t cheap where I come from. I’m talking a bare minimum of $10.00 dollars for a 12 oz bottle. And if you want to buy it Organic? An automatic average of $10-$15, and that’s only at the general grocery store. The Better Health store thinks they have the right to charge $20.00. It’s rough out here in these Lansing streets, you guys just don’t know.

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Maybe some of you are thinking: “Well , gosh Jess, isn’t 12 oz enough to eat with waffles/pancakes?” My answer would be, maybe if I lived by myself. But I don’t. I live with a whole house full of other people who happen to share my habit of dousing her pancakes or waffles in puddles of syrup. When there are three other people that are doing this at the table, that 12 oz bottle of maple syrup doesn’t last very long. So typically, I just don’t buy it.

However, I recently had a very good day where I was smiling and feel like a Super Foodie and I happened to come across this recipe when brainstorming what I was going to cook for dinner. Long story short, I suckered myself into buying a $12.00 bottle of maple syrup. On the way home, I consoled myself with the thought that so long as I reserve it for very important recipes (and not just for my pancake/waffle baths), it was a worthwhile investment.

After eating this dish, I strongly second that consolation. And third it. And fourth it.

Real maple syrup is worth the money, if only to make Maple Chicken. I’m Jess(ica) and I approve this message.

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Maple Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Great American Recipes

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
  •  1 tbsp vegetable oil
  •  1 tsp paprika
  •  1 tsp salt
  •  1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  •  1/2 tsp ground cumin
  •  1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  •  1/2 tsp. black pepper
  •  2 tbsp maple syrup
  •  1 tbsp. butter, melted

 Directions

 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the vegetable oil.

2. Combine the paprika, salt, cinnamon, cumin, tarragon and pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. Coat the chicken evenly with the paprika mixture and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Combine the maple syrup and butter in a small bowl. Brush half of the mixture evenly over the chicken, return to oven and bake for 5 minutes.

4. Turn the chicken over and brush with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Bake until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

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Roman-Style Chicken

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If you guys have read my ‘About’ page, then you already know that I’m a self-professed Food Network addict. That was not an exaggeration. I definitely am. The default station that I always turn to on my television is Food Network. I know all of the tv personalities and their shows. I splurge and buy the Food Network magazine every single month. I’m also a member of their website and frequently save and try recipes that I see on TV or see online. One of my goals for the blog is to have a themed recipe series for each one of my favorite Food Network stars, where I only cook about 3-4 of some of my favorite of their recipes and share them with all of you. It’ll happen. I’m determined. Stay tuned.

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One day I was perusing the Food Network website for ideas of what to do with the standard package of chicken breasts that I bought from the grocery store (that I always end up buying every week). There was a side bar that showed the current most popular/saved recipes at present. One of them was given 5 out 5 stars and had 1,151 reviews. It was a recipe called Roman Chicken from Giada de Laurentiis.

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I literally couldn’t find anyone that said anything negative  about this recipe. Everyone on Food Network’s website said that it was just awesome, and even better (and perhaps most importantly), I had all of the ingredients to make it already on hand in my kitchen/pantry. So I gave it my best shot.

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I  love when I decide to try a completely new recipe and it turns out exceeding my expectations, and this chicken was definitely one of them. I usually don’t care much for Italian-style food, but I could eat this dish all day long. The name is so befitting of it, as it really reminded me of a rustic Tuscany evening. The sauce is super flavorful and it just screams to have a loaf of crusty, Italian-style bread on the side to dip it into- which I also happened to have on hand.

This is an easy dish, but it’s also one that I would serve to guests or a significant other to impress. Moral of the story: when not in Rome, make Roman-Style Chicken and you just may feel like you are.

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Roman-Style Chicken

Recipe Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 3 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Directions

1. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and bacon and cook until the peppers have browned and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve.

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