Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Typical Me



Before my husband and I moved to West Texas for his job transfer/promotion, I was a court reporter in Fort Worth.  It was a rewarding job, but after 14 years of it I was burned out. My husband told me when we moved that I should do whatever I like for work.  So I went to work for a cafe and bakery, and I absolutely love it.  There are times when we are extremely busy and have to really hustle, but there are also times when we have a lot of fun.  My boss is really great to work for and is quite the character.  We all joke around and pick on each other, but all in good fun.

One time my boss and I were standing on the line talking when something crazy happened.  There is a soup warmer on a table on the line, and it shorted out and caught on fire. It made a terrible noise and smoke started coming out of it.  I was closest to it, and my reaction was to push my boss out of the way and run!  I guess I'm an "every man for himself" kind of person.  Anyway, the whole thing was so funny that we laughed so hard that we cried.  My boss, being a very animated story teller, loves to tell that story to this day.  

A woman named Deanna that used to work with us was terrified of bugs.  My boss would hide plastic bugs in the box of bacon to scare her when she would cook it.  He even chased her through the back of the restaurant with it.  Good times.

But this post is really about what we ate for dinner last night, not our work shenanigans.  If you are a follower of mine, then you'll know I love to stuff things and smother things.  I made a really great dish last night that I'm going to call Chicken Rellenos (pronounced ree-ain-yos).  My husband said it was fabulous and raved on and on about it.  Rellenos means stuffed in Spanish.  I stuffed my Chicken Rellenos with a jalapeno popper, coated it with a cornmeal mixture, and baked them.  And what stuffed chicken would be complete without my Cadillac Queso.  That link will take you to the full recipe of the queso, but I will include a half batch here. These were so good and easy to do and I actually baked them instead of frying.   And they're darn tasty!

CHICKEN RELLENOS
FOR THE CHICKEN:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 large fresh jalapenos
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 C shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese
2 C cornmeal
1 packet taco seasoning
2 eggs
12 toothpicks

FOR THE CADILLAC QUESO:
One 1-lb block Velveeta, cubed
1 poblano
1/4 C shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 can Rotel
2 T C cilantro, chopped
1/4 C heavy cream
1 bulb roasted garlic, squeezed from the skins and chopped
1 serrano, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the stems off of the jalapenos and knock the seeds out.  Place the jalapenos and the poblano for the queso on a sheet pan.  Roast the peppers, turning occasionally, until they are black and charred all over.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off of the poblano and remove the stem and seeds inside.  Chop the poblano and set it aside.  Leave the jalapenos intact.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 350 degrees.  Butterfly the chicken most of the way through but not all of the way.  Blend the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan, garlic powder, and onion powder in a food processor.  Put the cream cheese mixture into a zipper bag and cut off one corner.  Squeeze as much of this mixture as you can into each jalapeno.  Reserve the remaining cream cheese mixture.  (If the cream cheese mixture is too stiff, put the bag in the microwave for about 15 seconds.)

Squeeze the remaining cream cheese mixture down the center of each chicken breast.  Lay one stuffed jalapeno in the center of each chicken breast.  Secure each chicken breast with three toothpicks to close them up.  Mix the cornmeal and the taco seasoning together.  Whisk the two eggs with a splash of water.  Dip each stuffed chicken in the egg wash and then into the cornmeal mixture, pressing down to coat and covering all sides of the chicken.  Spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray.  Also spray the tops of each stuffed chicken with nonstick spray and lay the chicken on the sheet pan.  Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, put all of the queso ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Cook in three-minute increments, stirring in between, until the Velveeta and cheese are all melted.

When the chicken is done, serve the chicken with the queso and taco sauce and sour cream, if desired.  Remember to tell your eaters to watch out for the three toothpicks.

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