Do you guys remember that movie Julie and Julia? It stars Amy Adams and Meryl Streep and intertwines the life story of Julia Child with an everyday woman named Julie who decides to cook her way through Julia’s quintessential cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I wholeheartedly credit this particular movie with sparking the love of cooking within me. I know this sounds really stupid, but just stick with me here.
In the movie, Julie is frustrated with her life, feeling unfulfilled by her career, and hating her new apartment in Brooklyn. She realizes that the main solace in her life, besides her husband, is her love of cooking. The irritations of the day melt away when she’s standing in front of the stove (gosh does that ever sound familiar to me). So, in an effort to find some semblance of purpose in her life, she decides to cook every single recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook. All 752 pages worth. And then blog about the experience. Yikes.
So, I was watching this movie by myself one night a couple of years ago while drinking a bottle of wine, and out of nowhere, the cooking bug jumped up and bit me. This wasn’t exactly the first time I’d seen the movie, and I already liked to cook here and there, but I hadn’t yet developed the love for the kitchen that I have now. The next thing I knew, I had ordered a bunch of cookbooks off of Amazon, Mastering the Art of French Cooking included. And so, my journey in the kitchen truly began.
In the beginning, I spent a lot of time perusing those cookbooks. Nowadays, I tend to get most of my inspiration for meals from the internet (gotta love Pinterest and my food blogs!). I found this French-inspired recipe (see how I tied it all together there?) on Skinnytaste, and it is soooooo good. Seriously, the first time I made it, Peter and I couldn’t stop talking about it. We were literally laying in bed, about to go to sleep, and he said “I really can’t believe how good that chicken was.” The cheese becomes all gooey and melty in the oven and the panko give the chicken just the right amount of crunch.
When making this chicken, I use my tried and true Rachael Ray method of baking it on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. This ensures that the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the chicken stay crispy and don’t get soggy. (See this post for the explanation)
I’m also a fan of stretching my dollar wherever I can, so instead of using 2 chicken breasts and pounding them into thinner cutlets, I use 1 larger breast and cut it in half thickness-wise (which is another trick my good buddy Rachael taught me). In order to do this, place the chicken on a cutting board and hold in in place by placing one hand on top of the breast. Then, use a very sharp knife to cut the chicken breast in half thickness-wise and open it up like you’re opening up a book (it’s the same concept as butterflying a steak, except with this, you cut it all the way through). Then you have 2 thinner pieces of chicken that will be the same size. You still have a good sized piece of meat, but for half the cost! I’ve often found that a whole chicken breast is too much meat for me to eat in one meal anyway, so these thinner cutlets work perfectly for me.
The original recipe called for rolling the chicken and fillings up into a rollatini, but that was way too fancy for the likes of me. Rolling it up doesn’t make it taste any differently, so why frustrate myself trying to make it to stay in a roll? I have better things to do with my time! Instead, I fold it in half, pop it in the oven, and set my sights on preparing some sides. I served this delicious chicken cordon bleu with some steamed asparagus and my mashed sweet potatoes.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 slices deli ham (I use Hillshire Farm Lower Sodium Honey Ham)
- 3 slices thin-sliced baby swiss cheese (I use Sargento)
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup plain or Italian-flavored panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp parmesan or romano cheese
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450. Place a cooling rack on a baking pan and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg whites. In a separate shallow bowl, mix together breadcrumbs and cheese. Set aside.
- Using a sharp knife, cut chicken breast in half thickness-wise. Season each cutlet with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, as desired. Place 1 slice of ham and 1 1/2 slices of cheese on the top of each cutlet. Fold in half.
- Dip each chicken breast sandwich into egg whites, then breadcrumb mixture. Place on cooling rack/baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
Inspired by: Skinnytaste