There is something wonderfully old fashioned about roasting a chicken. It’s the kind of thing that people do all too rarely, it seems to me; resorting instead to cooking the ubiquitous boneless skinless chicken breasts. But dimes for dollars, as with most things, you’ll get more value by buying and cooking in bulk, and a whole chicken can’t be beat! The classic seasonings
Once I moved to the South, a good chicken salad sandwich quickly turned into one of my favorite standbys for lunchtime. My first manager took me to lunch at one of his neighborhood favorite spots, Nashville’s “The Picnic Café,” where they make what I’d consider to be the quintessential chicken salad sandwich. This is my homage to that delicious recipe, perfect for a “picnic” of your own!
Maybe it’s because it has a fancy, French sounding name, but chicken cordon bleu has gotten a reputation for being a difficult-to-make, fancy, decadent dish. Well, not to go all French on you, but au contraire, my friend. Chicken cordon bleu is, essentially, just a chicken cutlet pounded out, stuffed with ham and cheese, and coated in bread crumbs. With a few simple steps, you can not only make your own at home, but you can lighten it up, too: this cordon bleu is baked right in the oven. With a simple salad of lightly dressed summer greens, this is a perfect weeknight dinner that’ll have everyone in your family asking for seconds.
Okay, I know that Nashville isn’t considered Cajun or Creole country, but hey, country singers haven’t traditionally sung to digital drum loops either so what’re you gonna do? I, for one, can’t limit my jambalaya intake to time spent on the Gulf coast and the bayous (y’know, “True Blood” territory.) And once you try this stick-to-your-ribs, cures-what-ails-ya recipe, you won’t want to wait either. If you don’t already own a cast iron skillet, here’s your excuse to go get one. Seriously. I swear by them, as do most other cooks in the South and across this great land. I’m so passionate about my cast iron skillet that I wanted to stop at the Lodge cast iron factory here in Tennessee, en route from Chattanooga. (Alas for me and luckily for my driver on that journey, it was a Sunday so the factory was closed.) Whether you buy one pre-seasoned or inherit one that’s been seasoned with lard by the previous four generations of your family, this is one cooking implement that no kitchen–Southern or not–should be without.