Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

The name Le Cordon Bleu was used for the first time in relation to culinary excellence in the 16th century when King Henry III created one of the most important orders in France, “L’Ordre du Saint-Esprit.” Symbolizing this order was the cross of the Holy Spirit which hung on a blue ribbon or un cordon bleu. Due to the prestigious nature of this Order and the decadent feasts accompanying their ceremonies, the name Le Cordon Bleu became well recognized and celebrated.

Le Cordon Bleu, as a culinary arts school, was founded in Paris in 1895 by the journalist and publisher of La Cuisinière Cordon Bleu magazine, Marthe Distel. On January 14th, 1896 the first cooking demonstration ever to be held on an electric stove was staged at Le Cordon Bleu in an effort to promote the magazine and launch the Paris cooking school. From this point on, the international reputation of Le Cordon Bleu spread rapidly. Great chefs came to the school to teach students further contributing to the world-renowned reputation of the school. As a result, students from a variety of countries were enrolling in classes as well as notable figures including Julia Child in 1950.

Chicken Cordon Bleu is a dish that very few who are looking to eat with fewer calories and lower fat content in their diets would ever think to prepare.  It's breaded and stuffed with cheese.  How can this be healthy?

Judy and I found a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu that not only fulfills all of the taste expectations one would hope for in a meal, but has a relatively low WW point value.

It's a little tricky, but fun, and definitely worth trying.  This recipe earns the Blue Ribbon, Le Cordon Bleu 

Chicken Cordon Bleu


4 Chicken breast halves, each sliced into 3 thin cutlets. (This is the tricky part.  We ruined the first two breasts trying to slice them so thin.  Finally we found that buying already sliced "Chicken Cutlets" made the process so much simpler.  However, the pre-sliced cutlets are larger, so the points value should be adjusted accordingly)
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp water
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
12 thin slices of Deli Ham
12 slices of reduced-fat Swiss cheese. We used Jarlsberg Lite.
Cooking Spray


Preheat oven to 350

Mix 2 eggs and Tbsp of water and set aside for later

Slice chicken breasts into thin cutlets, about 3 per breast.  (OK at this point you'll want to use the already sliced cutlets you found at the store. If your store doesn't carry the already sliced "Cutlets", ask your butcher for help.) Place cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound until about 1/4 inch thin.  This makes it easier to roll up the breast after stuffing it.

Place a slice of ham on top of the cutlet, top with a slice of cheese (cut each piece of cheese into 4 squares and place on top of each other).

Wrap the chicken around to completely cover the cheese.  Fold in the sides and secure the roll up with toothpicks.  Make certain there are no holes so the cheese won't ooze out.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Dip roll ups in egg mixture to coat and then breadcrumbs.  We added a little Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs for flavor and a somewhat cheesy texture.

Spray a cookie sheet with oil and place chicken on sheet. Lightly spray chicken with oil. Bake about 25 minutes or until cooked.

Serve with vegetable and/or brown rice. Don't forget to remove the toothpicks.

These may even be better a day or two later simply reheated in the oven.  You'll have plenty of leftovers, so please ENJOY!!

Makes 12 servings. Level of difficulty is moderate. WW PointsPlus value = 5 per roll up.

Prep time 20 - 30 minutes. Cooking time 25 minutes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bring out the Bar-B, It's a Sunday Two-fer

It seems like Summer has just begun, and we're 3 days in to Fall.  So, today's meal is going to bring back that mid-Summer feeling with a refreshing Ginger-Mint Pineapple Salad, followed by a Mixed Grille with Apricot-Soy Sauce.  It's quick. It's easy, and it's so delicious.

Pineapple is one my favorite, if not my most favorite, fruits. Whenever I eat Pineapple it always makes me feel like I'm in the Islands.  Who wouldn't want that?  This Pineapple salad can be served as an appetizer a side dish, or even a delightful dessert.

Ginger-Mint Pineapple Salad


6 cups pineapple, fresh, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp lime zest, freshly grated
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh ginger root, fresh, grated
2 Tbsp mint leaves, fresh, slivered (plus extra for garnish)


In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients, refrigerate, tossing occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture is well-chilled, about 15 minutes.

To serve, spoon 1 cup of Pineapple Salad into each of four glasses or dessert bowls, garnish with mint sprigs. Yields 1 cup per serving. Each serving has a Weight Watchers PointsPlus value of 3.  Prep time is 12 minutes.

Note; For a little extra "Island Flavor", when serving this as a dessert add a little rum to the mixture.  However, keep in mind that every ounce of rum has a point value of 1.5.

Mixed Grille with Apricot-Soy Sauce


1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cups apricot preserves (Yes, that's right, Apricot Jam!!!)
2 Tbsp soy sauce (we prefer to use the low sodium type)
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
1 & 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs. (8) 2 & 1/2 oz. thighs.        (Breast meat can also be used, cut into 2 & 1/2 oz. chunks.)
3/4 pounds lean pork tenderloin, cut into 8 cubes
12 oz raw turkey sausage, sweet or spicy. Four links
1 & 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground. Or to taste.
1/3 cup cilantro, fresh, minced or torn


Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add preserves, soy sauce, vinegar, mustard and ginger. Cook until bubbly, stirring frequently, about 5 - 7 minutes; set aside and keep warm.

Thread pork onto two metal skewers. Season Skewers and Chicken with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Grille pork, chicken and sausage until finished, turning once or twice, and brushing meats frequently with glaze during the last 2 minutes of cooking, about 8 - 9 minutes for pork, 10 minutes for chicken and 12 minutes for sausage.

Make sure to flip meats often during the last 2 minutes of cooking to help the glaze stick.  Brush meats with any remaining glaze; sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Yields 1 piece chicken, 1 pork cube, and 1/2 sausage per serving.  Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving is 7. Prep time is 12 minutes, cooking time is 19 minutes and level of difficulty is easy.

 Note; Add bell peppers and onions to skewers, but remember this may slightly affect points value.

Bonus; We added grilled corn on the cob to our meal.  This is really quick and easy.  Wrap a corn cob, cleaned of leaves and silk, in aluminum foil with 1 teaspoon sized pat of butter. Place on grill over indirect heat for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Grilled corn, 7" cob, with 1 tsp of butter is 2 points.

Enjoy the weather, enjoy the meal and please come back.

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