Secret Ingredient: Chicken Patties (Quick Japanese Katsu, Curry, Parmesan and Cordon Bleu Recipes!)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We cook all the time at our house.  Sometimes, though, we need something fast and filling. Chicken patties are one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. Here are some ways to prepare them beyond the basic chicken sandwich!

Chicken Parmesan 

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • Pasta (to serve on the side)

Place frozen chicken patties in a baking dish.  Cover with tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. Serve over pasta.

Chicken Piccatta 

  • 6 Frozen chicken patties
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine (such as a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brined capers
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • Pasta (to serve on the side)

Bake the chicken patties to package directions, in a baking dish (you want them to be crispy in the end product).  In the mean time,  in a sauce pan, melt butter. Add stock / wine and lemon juice.  Reduce to half the liquid.  Stir in capers. Take the chicken out of the over just before it’s supposed to be done. Top with sauce and caper mixture.  Place them back in the warmed oven for another 5 minutes while the sauce absorbs slightly into the chicken. Before serving, garnish with parsley.  Serve with pasta.

Japanese Chicken Katsu

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Kikkoman Tonkatsu Sauce
  • Finely shredded green cabbage
  • Sesame vinaigrette dressing
  • Pink pickled Ginger
  • Rice (short-grained is ideal)

Start the rice. Bake the patties (or fry them if you have time) to package directions.  Shred the cabbage and mix with a tough of sesame vinaigrette dressing.

Plate the cooked rice for each serving, and place the shredded cabbage salad on the side.

When the chicken patties are done, cut each patty into strips that are about 1.5 cm wide.  Place the strips of chicken side by side on the rice so that they resemble the original patty, only cut into strips. Drizzle with tonkatsu sauce. Garnish with pickled ginger.

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • S&B Hot Curry Golden Sauce Mix (comes in cubes)
  • Vegetables for the curry (see curry package directions – usually variations of onions, bell peppers, carrots, potatoes)
  • Curry pickles aka Fukujinzuke (optional – find them at the Asian grocery store)
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Rice

Start the rice. Bake or fry the patties to package directions.  In a sauce pan, make the curry sauce to package directions.  (This usually involves sauteing vegetables, adding water and the curry roux, and then cooking until the sauce thickens.)  Plate the cooked rice into servings. When the chicken patties are done, cut each patty into strips that are about 1.5 cm wide.  Place the strips of chicken side by side on the rice so that they resemble the original patty, only cut into strips. Top with curry and vegetable sauce.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Garnish with fukujinzuke.

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Sandwiches…if you want!)

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Thinly sliced cooked ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sandwich Rolls (OR, omit the rolls and serve with buttered noodles and salad)
  • Dill pickle
  • Potato chips

Place the chicken in a baking dish.  Spread Dijon mustard on the patties. Place slices of ham on top of the patties. Top with swiss cheese. Bake according to the chicken patty package directions, so that the patties are cooked through and the cheese is melted and golden brown.  Place the Cordon Patties on rolls and serve sandwiches with a pickle and chips.



Sarah’s Mustard & Herb Beef Stew: Pressure Cooker Recipe

Last night, Tom and I went to see the Brandywine Roller Girls’ All Stars in Elkton, MD. While we had wanted to attend, we had a lot of work to do yesterday and actually going was a last minute decision. This meant that I was in a bit of a scramble for dinner… again.

I skimmed through my pantry and fridge, and whooped with delight over my remaining buy-one-get-one-free London Broil.

Utilizing the fast-acting magic of my trusty pressure cooker, below is the recipe I came up with… and it was so yummy, I had to write down for posterity’s sake.

This well-seasoned stew that tastes like it’s been roasting all day long. (Shh! It does! Pressure cookers really are magical!) The thickened stick-to-your-ribs broth is way more enjoyable than plebeian clear pan juices, not to mention much more fun to mop with a crusty piece of bread.

When washed down with some frothy autumn ale, you might even feel a bit rustic while you enjoy this meal and, for a moment at least, forget that your heating bills are about to increase.

Sarah’s Mustard & Herb Beef Stew

(Pressure Cooker – Approx. 30 min total cook time)
10 Servings

Main ingredients:
3 lbs London Broil, cut into 2″ cubes (Beef roast or other stew meat would work, too!)
4 lg celery stalks, cut into 2″ pieces
4 lg carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
10 medium thin-skinned potatoes, halved
1 large onion, thinly sliced
32 oz beef broth

Flavoring ingredients:
2-3 TB brown mustard
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
5 fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Prepare in Ziplock bag and SAVE remainder:
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 TB garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cooking oil

In small batches, place cubed beef into Ziplock bag and shake to coat with flour mixture. SAVE the remaining flour mixture!

Pour oil into the pressure cooker pot Рenough to coat the surface. When the oil is hot, saut̩ the onions to al dente. Remove the onions with metal tongs and set them aside in a mixing bowl.

Brown the floured beef in the hot oil in small batches until the meat has a bit of crusty goodness. Place browned meat in the bowl with the onions.

Deglaze the fond with the beef broth. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire and dried herbs. Add remaining flavoring ingredients and bring to a boil. TASTE and adjust seasoning (salt may be needed if your broth is bland) as needed.

Add to pot in this order: Beef cubes & onions, potatoes, carrots & celery. (The majority of the potatoes should be covered with the broth.)

Bring to a boil.

Secure pressure cooker lid and cook on high heat until the pressure regulator begins to rock. Lower the heat to medium, or enough to keep the regulator rocking gently.

Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Follow the procedures in your pressure cooker’s instruction manual to quickly depressurize your pot.

Using a colander, separate the cooked meat and veggies from the broth. Return the broth to the pot. Scoop out about 1 cup of broth into your mixing bowl and whisk in about 3 Tb of the reserved seasoned flour mixture. Add the flour slurry back into the pot of broth, and bring it to a boil to thicken.

Add the cooked ingredients back to the thickened broth.

Serve steaming hot with crusty bread and your favorite autumn beer.

Pepperoni Rigatoni : A One-Pot Meal

“I’m tired of my mother
in my dreams
playing Rita Hayworth leaping
on restaurant tables stomping
a fiery flamenco barefoot
on half-eaten pepperoni pizzas.”

Pepperoni Pizzas & Salsa Dancers (excerpt) by Bob Genevro

Sometimes 3lb bags of pepperoni at the bulk food store cost just as much as the half-pound bag at the regular-old-grocery stores.

According to my panel of five amateur food critics, today’s made-up dinner recipe needs to added to the list of acceptable weeknight dinner foods.

Pepperoni Rigatoni

2lbs of Rigatoni (2 boxes)
Jar of tomato sauce (about 3 cups )
1 cup mozzarella cheese (Stella is my favorite authentic-tasting brand)
Pepperoni (I used three Sarah-sized handfuls. I promise you, your hands are bigger than mine.)
3 TB olive oil (cheap stuff is fine)

1. Cook rigatoni according to package directions for Al Dente firmness, drain and set aside.
2. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of the pasta pot and add pepperoni slices. This releases the pepperoni’s flavor goodness into the oil and warms them through.
3. Add the pasta to the pepperoni and stir to coat with the pepperoni and olive oil.
4. Add the sauce and cheese. Stir until sauce evenly coats pasta and cheese is melted.

You could make this dish more gourmet by dumping it in a baking dish, topping with additional mozzarella cheese, and baking it at 350F for 20 minutes or until the cheese is a beautiful golden brown. However, if daddy’s not home… it’s perfectly fine to spoon it right into bowls :)

Serve with a side salad and a buttered piece of crusty Italian bread.

“Thanks, Mom! This is awesome!” – Tabitha
“Can my friend Ethan try this? I think he’d LOVE IT!” – Thomas
“I like this spice, Mom. May I have some milk?” – Micah
“Would it be okay if I had thirds?” – Leah
“Tastes kinda like pepperoni pizza… only it’s pasta.” – Aiden

“I am Assassin’s Creed II” said Leah, over Pork Mango Picadillo.

If you ask Leah what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll still tell you she wants to be an assassin.

Recently, on the xBox360, Tom and the boys have been playing Assassin’s Creed II.In it, Ezio, the assassin, has a poisoned blade he uses to poke targets. They die moments later, after he is long gone.

While I was making Elise Bauer’s Pork Mango Picadillo this evening, Leah snuck up on me and pricked me with her homemade poisoned blade, fashioned by Aiden out of masking tape and a chopstick. “Tsss!” she hissed, and then ran into the other room announcing, “Hey guys, I poisoned mom and she will be dying soon!”

To which, I screamed, grasping at my throat and falling to the floor, “HEY! Who is going to cook for you… aaaaaaaaaahhh!!! I’m dying!!!!!”

Apparently the promise of not killing me only applied to being mauled to death by tigers.

If it wasn’t for her bringing me back to life with her kisses, I’d still be dead and you wouldn’t be reading this. (Nope. Still dead. See? I can only open one eye!)

As she sat at my table eating her scrumptious dinner, poison blade still attached, she declared, “”Mom, the aliens in Mars Attacks said (alien voice and all) “‘We come in peace, we come in peace.’ But, they KILLED everyone so they’re LIARS!”

She’ll be different, of course.

She will only tell the truth as she kills people.

“I am Assassin’s Creed II,” Leah said, non-nonchalantly pointing to her contraption with her fork, as if I hadn’t noticed or remembered what it felt like to be poisoned.

“Even assassins need to eat their dinner,” I said as seriously as possible, hoping she didn’t notice me snickering into my armpit! I didn’t have to remind her twice, though. It was gone.

She wanted seconds.

So, I’ve eaten two plates of Pork Mango Picadillo… um… and a few bites right from the pot. Make this and you may just have some interesting dinner conversation, like we did. Then, stop over to Simply Recipes and tell Elise how amazing she is! You can also follow her (personal tweets) on Twitter @simplyrecipes and again at @recipeupdates (recipe feed).


Recipe: Sarah’s Garlic Harvest Beef Chili

Sarah's Garlic Harvest Beef Chili
Sarah's Garlic Harvest Beef Chili

This week, the tables at the local Japanese farmers’ market are overflowing with fruits, vegetables and especially garlic. My friend Atusko’s landlord is a farmer, and he gave her a bag containing 100 single cloves of garlic “seconds” that he could not sell. She passed the garlic on to me and it inspired tonight’s dinner.

With the autumn breeze dictating a sudden wardrobe overhaul, the season’s first steaming bowl of chili was like a promise of warmth on the cold nights to come.

Layers of flavors meld together for satisfying bite and a lingering, medium-spiced aftertaste. Red table wine brings out the hues of the tomatoes and beef, cumin seeds and crushed red peppers offer added mini bursts of flavor, and large chunks of garlic take the spotlight as they are slowly simmered to soft, mellow perfection.

My serving of Garlic Harvest Beef Chili was placed next to a paddle of rice and topped with shredded sharp cheddar, a dollop of real sour cream, and enough cilantro to make it obvious that fresh herbs make my heart sing.

Sarah’s Garlic Harvest Beef Chili
Serves 12
15 minute prep time
1 hour 15 min stove-top cook time

2 lbs London Broil, cut into 1 cm. cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
100 whole, peeled cloves of garlic (I cut some mutant cloves down to normal size!)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp kosher salt
26 oz. can of tomato sauce (I used Hunts Garlic & Herb)
30 oz. of diced tomatoes (or two, 15 oz. cans) with juice
5 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1 heaping tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red table wine
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup masa harina
water to make masa harina slurry

Steamed rice (5 cups dry)
Toppings (optional – see below)


Sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, and a bottle of hot sauce for the daddies and the shirtless egg-muscled sons who are trying to impress them


Prepare the rice in a way that it will be done at the same time as your chili – about 1 hr 15 minutes. (I love my Zojirushi rice cooker because I can prepare the rice way ahead of time and it will keep the rice warm for whenever I need it.)

In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions and whole garlic cloves in cooking oil until soft. Add the cubed beef and cook until browned. Stir in salt, spices, tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and water. Stirring occasionally, simmer, partially covered, for an hour or until the beef becomes tender.

Mix a little water with the masa harina to make a slurry (if you do not add water, you’ll have masa chunks in your chili… yuck.) and stir the slurry into the chili. Cook for another five minutes until the chili thickens slightly.

Place a scoop of rice and then add a serving of chili next to it, overlapping the rice slightly. Down the middle, sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Top with a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with cilantro (and hot sauce if you’re a show-off).

Will you share your favorite autumn dinner recipe with me?

* * *

If you love chili and are hungry for more…

Chili Nation is my favorite chili cookbook. The recipes are easy to prepare, yet please the palate of a chili enthusiast. The authors chose recipes from each state, and the very interesting story behind each recipe is recorded in the book. A few years back, the men in my husband’s Bible study took turns making a different recipe every week and brought them to share. All were excellent! My staple weeknight chili recipe from Chili Nation is the Tigua Indian Definitive Bowl of Red. It’s a spicy beef chili without beans. It gets its deep reddish color from several tablespoons of chili powder.

Recipe: Sarah’s Shrimp, Baby Clam and Kielbasa Jambalaya

This is my personal jambalaya recipe. Leftovers are fantastic because the flavors meld together soooo well. Be sure to post your favorite jambalaya story in the comments! Enjoy!

If it’s cooked correctly, you can cook the whole thing in one pot – a large Dutch Oven with a lid.

(Grouped into bowls by order of use to make adding the ingredients easier as you cook.)

BOWL 1 – Seafood + Kielbasa:
2 lbs medium raw shrimp (Save the peels to make broth)
1 – 10 oz can Bumblebee Fancy Whole Baby Clams (they are fully cooked)
1 pkg. Kielbasa Sausage – cut longways and then sliced into bite sized pieces.

BOWL 2 – Veggies:
1 large chopped onion
1 green bell pepper chopped
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 heaping tsp. minced garlic

BOWL 3 – Spices:
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1/3 tsp. dried thyme

BOWL 4 – Tomatoes & Broth:
Shrimp Broth (Set aside)
3 – 10 oz cans stewed tomatoes chopped

Misc. Ingredients (added individually):

3 c. Basmati or other long-grain rice, uncooked.

2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Tabasco Sauce

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