Counting Down to Christmas with Jorj’s Chicken Rolls

Counting Down to Christmas with Jorj’s Chicken Rolls

It’s Sunday afternoon, and you still have plenty of time to pull off another awesome SUNDAY BEST Dinner! Here’s my recipe for Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Rolls with a Side of Tahini Squash. Busy shopping weekends require an easy chicken dish that comes with a special side; in this case, it’s squash made with tahini sauce! This chicken dish works as a guideline to help you create your own favorite dish; you can literally put anything you like in these sumptuous chicken rolls. ROLL WITH IT BABY!

If you want to customize your dinners, so that your family wants even more, my book is full of ways to do that. There are plenty of recipes in SUNDAY BEST DISHES that allow home cooks to easily create other great chicken dishes during this busy holiday season…which ain’t over until somebody sings in Times Square. Order your copy with my autograph before the year is done. Love ya all!

This recipe photo of your next great December dinner, are how my chicken rolls look right before they go in the oven:

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Rolls

with a side of Tahini Squash

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

 

Chicken

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons butter

½ pound fresh assorted wild mushrooms, sliced, about 2 cups

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, preferably purple basil

½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

4 (1-ounce slices) Provolone cheese

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of parchment paper.  Use a meat mallet to gently pound to ¼-inch thickness.

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the basil and herbs de Provence.  Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the bread crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the bread crumbs. Pressing the crumbs into the chicken.  Lay each onto your work surface.  Place a slice of cheese in the center of each breast.  Top with mushrooms.  Carefully roll up the chicken breasts around the filling.  Place, seam side down into a baking dish, coated with vegetable oil spray. Bake the chicken until the tops are just golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.

————————————————————————————————

Squash

1 medium acorn squash, seeded, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon tahini paste

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon Ponzu sauce

4 to 5 green onions, cut diagonally, thinly sliced, about ½ cup

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

            Preheat oven to 400°. Place the squash pieces onto a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.

Whisk together sesame oil, tahini paste and ponzu sauce. Stir in green onions and crushed red pepper. Pour the sauce over the squash and place the pan back into the oven. Cook until the squash is very tender, about 5 minutes more. Serve alongside your stuffed chicken rolls and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Backyard Steak House Party

Backyard Steak House Party

It’s that time of year when we Floridians host our “Up North” friends, as they ditch their wintery blusters and head south for a weekend visit. Friday is usually “entry night”, when we stay in for a feet-on-the table kinda comfort food night. But, this past weekend was a bit different. Turns out the visit was planned around a girlfriend’s birthday, and, well, that just spells P A R T Y!!

One invite led to another, and before you know it my stay-in entry night included a crowd coming for dinner. Being the party girl that I am (wink wink), my plan was to make the meal ahead, so that I could enjoy visiting with my pals. Default to steakhouse fare: salad starter, shared sides, and a hot-off-the grill perfectly cooked steak. My menu was simple: Antipasti appys, my famous Caesar salad, au gratin potatoes with cheese and bacon, creamed spinach topped with sautéed mushrooms, grilled steak and really, really chocolatey cake. Is your mouth watering yet??? The secret to my stress-free evening is that EVERYTHING can be prepared in advance…except the steaks, but I had lots and lots of grillers in attendance!

In order to guarantee a perfect meal, I chose “spinalis” as my steakhouse star. If spinalis sounds unfamiliar, you may have seen it on restaurant menus in its other form “butter steak” or “cap steak”. So, what is this fabulous find, and how do you get your hands on it?

P.S. Here’s a visual to help you out

Spinalis is the marbled cap of a bone-in Ribeye. Visualize a thick slice of prime rib roast. The cap piece has a little more fat than the center piece, and is much more flavorful. In order to prepare the spinalis as a cap steak, the butcher purchases a whole ribeye, then removes the spinalis from the top. The remaining beef is cut into the bone-in ribeye steaks. The butcher then rolls the spinalis into what looks like a long log. He ties it at intervals with butcher twine, and then slices it into rounds. Voila – you have a beautiful cap steak.

Let’s take the process one step further. If the spinalis comes from a Prime Rib Roast, then it is a prime cut of cap steak. Only about 3% of the beef in America is graded USDA prime, carried by only the finest butchers and restaurants. Often rib roasts masquerade as prime rib in supermarkets, which typically carry USDA Choice, but not USDA Prime meats.

Where do you find this well-marbled, tender, favorable steak?? Run, don’t walk to your local COSTCO. Yes, COSTCO. Go to the very back of the store where they offer USDA Prime cuts of beef, like sirloin, fillet and ribeye steaks and look carefully. There they are, rolled and tied, trimmed and inviting! Because the steaks are round they look like filet mignon, but they cook quicker and more evenly, making those guest grillers the star chefs of the evening.

You don’t have to entertain weekend guests to host your next steakhouse party. And you certainly don’t have to have it on your back deck in balmy breezes. A steakhouse menu is just as ideal served indoors, next to a toasty fire. As long as there are good friends involved, a party is a party wherever you have it!

Grilled Cap Steak

With Creamed Spinach and Sautéed Mushrooms

Serves 4

30 Minute Cuisine

Here’s an update on your favorite steakhouse meal. Choose the perfect steak and combine two side dishes to create one special meal.

For spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced

2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, about 8 cups

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated, about ½ cup

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

½ pound fresh assorted wild mushrooms, sliced, about 2 cups

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about ½ cup

For Steak

4 (6 to 8-ounce) prime cap steaks

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Soy sauce

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the spinach leaves and cook until they just begin to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sautéed spinach to a baking dish. (For a fun twist, divide the spinach into individual casserole dishes.)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the Gruyere cheese. Pour the cream sauce over the spinach and toss to combine.

Use the same skillet that you used for the spinach to melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan. DO NOT TOUCH THEM until they are deeply golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the mushrooms over and sauté on the second side until golden, about another 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mushrooms over the spinach. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake the spinach until the cheese is melted and the spinach is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Marinate the steaks in a large bowl or dish by seasoning with Worcestershire, Soy, garlic and onion powders. Prepare an outdoor grill, or grill pan on top of the stove to medium high heat. Just before grilling, season the steaks with salt and pepper. Cap steaks will cook more quickly than their look alike filets. Grill for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, and then check for doneness. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving.