Sunday, September 30, 2012

Soup Sunday: Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Mole Spiced Nuts & Lime Crema

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Mole Spiced Nuts & Lime Crema
I have a love for sweet potatoes. I would live off of them for the rest of my life. A couple years back when I was in the hospital, all I wanted were sweet potatoes. Finally, when I was allowed to eat food, I made sweet potato soup for every single meal and enjoyed it for about 2 months. That's just not normal. So, this soup would go down as one of my favorites. This is obviously a little bit different from the last time I made it because it has chipotle peppers to make it extra spicy. Then, the soup is topped off with a nut crumble that is extra special because it has the sweet flavors from a traditional Mexican Mole sauce. For some acidity, it is drizzled with a Lime Crema and garnished with fresh chopped cilantro. This soup is spicy, sweet, and creamy and just warms you down to the core. So go on and make this for yourself and a cold, lazy Sunday!! Enjoy :)
For Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup:
4 Sweet Potatoes, Peeled & Cubed
3 Stalks of Celery, Diced
1 Large Vidalia Onion, Diced
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
4C Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2C Heavy Cream
2-4 Chipotles in Adobo, Roughly Chopped
1t Cumin & Cinnamon
½t Ground Cloves & Ginger
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For Mole Spiced Nuts:
¼C Dark Brown Sugar
¼C Sugar 
2C Whole Nuts, Toasted (I used a mixture of Pecans, Walnuts, & Almonds)
1t Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
½t Cinnamon
½t Chipotle Powder & Paprika
Pinch of Cayenne
1 Egg White, Room Temperature
Salt & Pepper, To Taste (I did a good bit of salt for a sweet & salty combination)

For the Lime Crema:
8oz Mexican Crema or Sour Cream
2 Limes, Zested
1 Lime, Juiced
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

1. For the Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup: In one large soup pot, sauté the onions, and celery in 2T melted butter for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the sweet potatoes, broth, chipotles, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm or simmer until you are ready to serve.
2. For the Mole Spiced Nuts: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mix together the sugars, salt & pepper, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, and cayenne, making sure there are no lumps. Set it aside. Beat the egg white until frothy and add in the toasted nuts, and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle the nuts with the sugar-spice mixture and toss until evenly coated again. Spread the sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with a Silpat. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, roughly chop the nuts and set aside until you are ready to garnish the soup.
3. For the Lime Crema: Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl until incorporated and smooth. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
4. Serve the soup with a drizzle of Lime Crema and roughly chopped Mole Spiced nuts.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Creamy Chorizo-Corn Dip

Creamy Chorizo-Corn Dip
I never get sick of dips. Like ever. I pretty much make a dip every week during football season. I mean, you can get sit and snack on it all day and it never gets old. Well, one of my tried and true recipes is my Spicy Sausage Dip. It is so easy to make, but everyone always gobbles it down. So, I thought I would change it up a bit and use spicy chorizo sausage in the dip instead. I also added some charred corn and diced pimentos for sweetness. Serve this dip warm or cold and with chips for dipping. It surely won't disappoint!! Enjoy :)
A Yummy & Easy Dip
For the Dip:
1 Sweet Onion, Sliced & Caramelized
1lb Ground Chorizo Sausage
8oz Diced Pimentos, Drained
2T Candied Jalapenos, Diced
1C Fresh Corn, Grilled or Charred
2 8oz Packages of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
Hot Sauce (to your liking)
Chips, For Serving

1. In a large skillet, caramelize the onions until golden brown & sweet. Drain from the pan into a bowl and set aside. Next, cook the chorizo in the same pan over medium-high heat until evenly browned and no longer pink. Once cooked through, drain the sausage into the same bowl with the onions (discarding the excess oil). Reduce the heat to low and add the onions & sausage back into the pan with the pimentos, candied jalapenos, corn, cream cheese, and hot sauce. Stir until evenly blended and creamy. Cook until just heated through.   
2.  Serve warm with some chips. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Souffléd Cornbread-Mole Chili Casserole with a Pimento Cheese Surprise

Souffléd Cornbread-Mole Chili Casserole with a Pimento Cheese Surprise
It's casserole season y'all. Did you know? Of course. But, breaking news, I'm not a fan of casseroles. Just never have been, and I don't know if I ever will. Don't get me wrong though, the occasional baked dish will hit the spot. A family favorite of ours was always chili-cornbread casserole. I made my rich, mole chili for the bottom layer, and then I topped it with a layer of homemade pimento cheese and a souffléd cornbread topping. What's special about this cornbread you ask... Well, it's gently folded, so that when it is baked it is light & fluffy (instead of dense and grainy). This would be a great meal to feed the family on a week day or something to make at a tailgate party. Just sit back and relax with this meal on a cold, winter day and trust me you'll be happy!! Enjoy :)

For the Mole Chili Filling:
2T Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1T Garlic, Chopped
1lb Ground Beef Chunk (80/20)
2-28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1C Water
1 4oz Can of Chopped Green Chiles
2 Jalapenos, Seeded & Diced
3T Chili Powder
1t Paprika
½t Dried Oregano
½t Cayenne Pepper
1t Cumin
¼t Pumpkin Pie Spice
½t Salt
1t Onion Powder
1t Garlic Salt
2t Brown Sugar
¼C Creamy Peanut Butter
2T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1-2T Hot Sauce
1t Worcestershire
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Souffléd Cornbread Topping:
½C Yellow Cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 ½C Buttermilk
2T Unsalted Butter
1C Corn Kernels
½t Sugar & Salt (as well as fresh cracked pepper to taste)
Pinch of Cayenne   
2 Large Eggs, Separated
1/8t Cream of Tartar

For the Souffléd Cornbread-Mole Chile Casserole:
Prepared Mole Chili Filling
1-2C Pimento Cheese
Prepared Souffléd Cornbread Topping
Optional Toppings: Diced Raw Onions, Green Onions or Chives, Grilled Corn, Salsa, etc.

1. For the Mole Chili Filling: Heat the olive oil in a big pot on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, then add in the garlic and diced jalapenos and cook for about 2 minutes. Next, add in the ground beef and cook thoroughly through. Add in the water, crushed tomatoes, and green chiles. Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes, then stir in chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, cumin, pumpkin pie spiced, salt, onion powder, garlic salt, and brown sugar. Let this mixture cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes. After it has simmered, stir in the creamy peanut butter, cocoa powder, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Once again, cook on simmer for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before layering it into the baking dish.
2. After the chili has cooled, pour or spoon the chili into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Layer or dollop on 1-2C of pimento cheese on top of the chili, making sure that it is in an even layer. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the baking dish aside.
3. For the Souffléd Cornbread Topping: Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the yellow cornmeal and ½C + 2T buttermilk, and then set it aside. In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the corn until it begins to brown and soften, about 5-10 minutes depending on the type of corn you use. Stir in the sugar, salt, cayenne, and the remaining 1C of buttermilk, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the corn-milk mixture until smooth. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce heat to low, and add in the cornmeal-buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Once thickened, let this mixture cool completely to room temperature. Once cooled, whisk in the egg yolks. In a bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, and then fold it into the corn mixture, a third at a time. Gently pour the batter on top of the pimento cheese-mole chili filling. Bake for 25-35 minutes.
4. Spoon the casserole into large bowls and garnish with any other toppings you like. Serve immediately while still warm.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chewy Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips, Birthday Cake Oreo Truffle Pieces, & Cheesecake Filling

Chewy Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips, Birthday Cake
Oreo Truffle Pieces, & Cheesecake Filling
I've been wanting to make Red Velvet Cookies for a while now, but homemade... all from scratch. No box mixes. I struggled for a while trying to make a recipe that would yield chewy cookies because all of the other ones I had made were quite cakey. No thank you. Don't y'all worry your little hearts, I finally got one for ya! And trust me, they are worth it. The dough is a bright red color, which is exactly what I wanted, but it also has Birthday Cake Oreo Truffle Pieces and white chocolate studded throughout. Yes, you heard me right... BIRTHDAY CAKE OREO TRUFFLE PIECES in a cookie. This is perfect because it gives the cookie a chocolate flavor (that is known for from red velvet cake) and it also lends a slightly "birthday cake" taste to it. The fun doesn't stop there because when you bite into the center, there is a creamy cheesecake filling. We loved these cookies, even though it took me three previous batches to perfect it, and I can't wait to make them again. And for all y'all Alabama, UGA, and Falcons fans out there, it'd be a perfect tailgatin' dessert. Oh, don't you forget about Christmas either because these will definitely be on the list!! Enjoy :)
Those Dark Areas on the Cookies are Birthday Cake Oreo Truffles  
Don't forget the white chocolate chips...
Ain't that red color purdy??

For the Birthday Cake Oreo Truffle Pieces:
21 Birthday Cake Oreos, Finely Crushed
4oz Cream Cheese, Softened

For the Cheesecake Filling:
4oz Cream Cheese, Softened
2C Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
2T Powdered Buttermilk (optional, this can be left and the texture is still great)
1t Vanilla

For the Chewy Red Velvet Cookies:
2 ¼C AP Flour
1T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
½t Baking Soda
1t Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel (scant)
1 ½ Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened
1C Light Brown Sugar
½C Sugar
1 Large Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
2t Vanilla
1oz Red Dye (to the color of your preference)
12oz White Chocolate, Roughly Chopped into Chunks
Prepared Birthday Cake Oreo Truffle Pieces
Prepared Cheesecake Filling, Chilled

1. For the Birthday Cake Oreo Truffle Pieces: Line a small baking dish with foil and set it aside. Crush Oreo cookies in a food processor or blender until finely ground, and then in a medium bowl, mix with softened cream cheese until truffle forms. Press into foil-lined baking dish and flatten with hands. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Once chilled, remove the Oreo truffles from the freezer and cut into small pieces. Keep chilled until you are ready to fold into the cookie batter.   
2. To Make the Cheesecake Filling: Using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, powdered buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a plate. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have as many as you need for the cookies (I made about 25). Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours. After they have chilled, I rolled them with my hands, so that they were a smooth, round shape.  
3. For the Red Velvet Cookies:In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add in the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, making sure each one has been blended completely before adding the next. Add in the vanilla and the red dye and blend until everything is incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend in this sifted flour mixture into the red batter until just incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate chips, followed by gently folding in the Oreo Truffle pieces (make sure not to blend too much or they will mix into the cookie dough). Chill the cookie dough into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
5. To Assemble the Cookies: Take about 1 scoop of the red velvet cookie dough and flatten it in your hands. Place one of the cheesecake filling balls in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Bake for 10-14 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie dough balls) or until the cookies have started to set in the center, but are crisp on the outsides.
6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Let the cookies set before enjoying.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soup Sunday: Sherried Tomato-Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sticks Fried in Herbed Compound Butter

Sherried Tomato-Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sticks Fried in Herbed Compound Butter
Soup Sunday is officially back for the fall y'all!! I will still be posting a few brunch recipes here and there, but Sunday has always been our day to sit back and relax and eat some good ole' soup. I have a mild obsession with trying to find the perfect tomato-basil soup recipe. I've actually made a few different recipes on the blog already, but this soup, it's wayyyy better than those. It's creamy and comforting and just plain delicious. I was inspired by the Pioneer Woman's Tomato Soup with Sherry, but I adapted it some to make it my own. I think I'll tinker with it a little more in the future, but it's damn good. I always have to top my tomato-basil soup with crumbled goat cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and fresh basil. But this time, I decided to serve it with a grilled cheese. Hello childhood, I've missed you sooooo. I made a homemade herbed compound butter, and then fried the slices in the butter. Um, amazing. You get all the goodness from the herbs, but the classic taste of a grilled cheese. I opted for Mozzarella, but Cheddar or Gruyere would be swell as well! And to make it extra cute, I cut our sandwiches into sticks that are just perfect for dippin' y'all... I'm tellin' you. If you make one soup this fall, I'd urge you to make this. I honestly lived off of it for a week, no lie. I hope y'all had a great weekend and Happy Fall!! Enjoy :)

For the Soup:
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted
1 Medium Sweet Onion, Sliced & Cooked until Caramelized
4 Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced
28oz San Marzano Tomato Puree
28oz Cans of Whole, Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes
3T Tomato Paste
1T Homemade Pesto
4C Chicken Stock
3-6T Sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
¼t Dried Oregano & Red Pepper Flakes (or a little less for not as spicy soup)
1C Cooking Sherry
1 ½C Heavy Cream (or Half & Half can be substituted)
Chopped Fresh Basil (to taste, plus extra for garnishing)
Crumbled Goat Cheese

For the Herbed Compound Butter:
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Extremely Soft
2T Olive Oil
2T Fresh Basil, Minced
1T Fresh Rosemary, Minced
1T Fresh Thyme, Minced
1T Fresh Parsley, Minced
2 Roasted Garlic Cloves, Mashed into a Paste
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Grilled Cheese Sticks:
Slices of White Bread
Slices of Mozzarella Cheese
Prepared Herbed Compound Butter, Cut into Tabs

1. For the Soup: Caramelize the sliced onions in the butter and a sprinkle of salt over medium-high heat until golden brown and beautifully caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Toss in the garlic and sauté for a couple minutes until it is fragrant. Add the whole tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, homemade pesto, chicken stock, sugar, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring the pot to a near boil, and then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add in the basil and cook on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and creamy (do this off the heat). Next, add in the sherry and heavy cream and stir. Keep warm until you are ready to eat.
2. For the Herbed Compound Butter: In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter, herbs, roasted garlic paste, and seasonings to taste. The butter should be smooth and the ingredients should be incorporated throughout. Roll the compound butter into a log and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm again.
3. For the Grilled Cheese Sticks: Assemble the sandwiches with white bread slices and mozzarella cheese. Bring a small sauté pan to medium heat and add in a tab of the herbed compound butter. Let it completely melt and heat through. Fry the sandwiches in the butter for a couple minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown & crispy and the mozzarella has melted. Remove from the heat to a cutting board, cut off the crusts, and then cut into sticks. Serve immediately with a bowl of soup.
4. Garnish with the soup with some basil Chiffonade and crumbled goat cheese, along with the grilled cheese sticks on the side.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brown Butter Baklava with a Spiced Honey Soaking Syrup

Brown Butter Baklava with a Spiced Honey Soaking Syrup
Brown Butter is singlehandedly the most delicious ingredient I cook with. I mean, if I'm making a dessert, most likely brown butter will be included. It's especially important in my favorite chocolate chunk cookie recipe, and it ain't too shabby in savory recipes either, honey! Well, I had been wanting to make Baklava for a while now, but I had to wait until autumn because it just seems like the perfect comfort food on a cold day with a glass of hot coffee. And trust me, we snuck a little triangle at every meal. So, why not add brown butter to each & every layer of Baklava? Brilliant I tell, friggin' brilliant. It seriously enhances the already-bold, nutty flavor from the roasted pecans and walnuts. Then, you add in honey, vanilla beans, warm spices, and citrus... and you got one balanced Baklava, people. The whole pan disappeared within a day, and I was tempted to make another, but I knew my body would completely shut down on me if did. Although some people are intimidated by Baklava recipes, I really didn't think it was difficult at all. Just make sure you have everything ready and prepped, so you can keep layering at a steady pace. Aren't y'all glad fall is finally back? I have missed it soooo!! Enjoy :)
Look at that deep golden brown color...
And those flaky, soaked layers...
And that crispy top...
For the Spiced Honey Soaking Syrup:
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Browned & Cooled Slightly
2C Orange Blossom Honey
½C Water
½C Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped for Seeds & Saving the Pod (or you can use 1T Vanilla Bean Paste)
½t Cinnamon
¼t Ground Cloves, Ground Cardamom & Ground Nutmeg
1 Lemon Zest, Peeled
1t Orange Flower Water
¼t Sea Salt

For the Brown Butter Baklava:
1 Package of Phyllo Dough, Defrosted Overnight & Brought to Room Temperature for Hour
2C Roasted Pecans, Finely Ground in a Food Processor
2C Roasted Walnuts, Finely Ground in a Food Processor
½t Cinnamon
¼t Sea Salt 
1 ½ Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Browned & Cooled Slightly
Prepared Spiced Honey Soaking Syrup, Cooled Completely Before Using
Melted Dark Chocolate, For Drizzling (optional)

1. Remove the Phyllo dough package from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours in order to thaw. The next day, remove the package from the refrigerator 1 hour before using, so it can come to room temperature. When working with the Phyllo dough, only remove the sheets you immediately need, keeping the other sheets covered in plastic wrap, and then cover with a damp cloth.
2. For the Spiced Honey Soaking Syrup: Bring a pot over medium-high heat and whisk in the orange blossom honey, water, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean pod, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange flower water, salt, and peeled lemon zest strips. Whisk until smooth. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, whisk in the brown butter.  Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture has become slightly thickened into syrup. Place a strainer over a mixing bowl and strain the syrup into the bowl (this will help remove the vanilla bean pod, lemon peel, and any other gritty spice pieces). Let this mixture cool completely before pouring over the baklava.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the nuts onto a baking sheet. Roast the nuts until toasted and fragrant, but make sure not to burn! Just until the oils are beginning to release and they are warmed through. Let the nuts cool to room temperature. Next, using a food processor, pulse the roasted nuts until they are finely ground into small pieces, but do not pulse too much because they will turn into a paste. Pour the ground nuts into a small bowl and toss the nuts with the cinnamon and sea salt until combined. Set it aside.
4. For the Brown Butter Baklava: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly brush on some of the melted brown butter into a 13x9 baking pan. Brush the top sheet of Phyllo with melted brown butter, and then grab it and the unbuttered sheet bellow it. Set the two sheets in the pan, buttered sheet face down. Press lightly into the pan. Repeat this twice more, so that you have six sheets of Phyllo in the pan (three sheets of buttered & three sheets of unbuttered). Sprinkle on a third of the nut mixture to make a single even layer. Drizzle some more brown butter on top of the nuts. Butter two more sheets of Phyllo and place them on top of the nut layer. Add another third of the nut mixture, followed by two buttered sheets of Phyllo. Repeat this one last time, making sure to use up the last third of the nut mixture and one last layer of buttered Phyllo. Finish the baklava by adding 6-8 more layers of buttered Phyllo. So that there is roughly 8-10 layers of buttered Phyllo dough finishing the baklava. Brush on any extra brown butter over the top to make sure that they brown beautifully in the oven. Using a sharp knife, cut through the layers, forming a diagonal or triangle pattern.
5. Bake the Brown Butter Baklava for 45 minutes to an hour or until it is flaky and the top layers are a dark golden brown color. Once browned, remove the baklava from the oven and immediately drizzle half of the cooled Spiced Honey Soaking Syrup evenly over the hot baklava. Allow it to sit and absorb the syrup for a minute or two, and then drizzle on more of the syrup until it is thoroughly moistened. You can either use all of it for a really, really sticky baklava or just have some of the syrup left over for cooking other recipes. Allow the baklava to cool completely, uncovered, for at least 3-4 hours.
6. Once it is cooled, soaked, & sticky, carefully remove from the pan and enjoy immediately.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Revamped: Bruschetta Chicken with Pesto Marinated Chicken, Breaded in Parmesan-Panko Breadcrumbs, Topped with Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta, & a Balsamic Reduction Drizzle

Revamped Bruschetta Chicken
I made Bruschetta Chicken a while ago, like a long, long time ago. But, it was grilled and healthy-ish, and could easily be improved upon. And this recipe is definitely better. Well, to start off, it's breaded & crispy, which is always tastier in my book. I kept the chicken marinated in pesto because I like the depth of flavor it provides. The biggest change came in the bruschetta topping, which is made with ripe, heirloom tomatoes... and it's perfect. This recipe is truly revamped in every manner. Although it's quite a lot more work than the previous one, but I promise it'll pay off in the end. I really think it would be great during any season, but would certainly be a great comforting meal in the fall!! Enjoy :)

For the Pesto Marinated Chicken:
1C Homemade Pesto
4 Chicken Cutlets
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Bruschetta Topping:
1 Pint of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Cored & Sliced into Quarters
½C Red Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
¼C Fresh Basil, Chiffonade 
1T Olive Oil
1T Red Wine Vinegar
¼t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Parmesan-Panko Breadcrumbs:
½C AP Flour
1 Egg
¼C Milk
1C Italian Panko Breadcrumbs
¼C Finely Grated Parmesan

For the Balsamic Reduction Drizzle:
¼C Balsamic Vinegar
1t Honey

For the Bruschetta Chicken:
Pesto Marinated Chicken Cutlets Breaded in the Parmesan-Panko Breadcrumbs
Olive Oil, For Frying
Prepared Bruschetta Topping
Prepared Balsamic Reduction Drizzle
Shaved Parmesan, For Garnishing
Fresh Basil, For Garnishing

1. Place the chicken cutlets into a plastic bag. Add in the pesto and a pinch of salt & pepper. Toss the bag, making sure the cutlets are completely covered in the pesto. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
2. For the Bruschetta Tomato Topping: Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until everything is incorporated. Let the mixture sit at room temperature to allow the flavors to meld.
3. For the Balsamic Reduction: Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to a small saucepan and cook to reduce for 3-5 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Set this aside until ready to use.
4. For the Parmesan-Panko Breaded Cutlets: Preheat the oven to 400 and put a rack on a baking sheet (so the chicken can drain of excess oil). Next, you have to set up a battering station. I use 3 pie tins. For the first station, I mix the flour with salt and pepper. For the second station, I whisk together the eggs and milk. For the third station, pour the contents of one box of Italian Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Now, place the pesto marinated chicken cutlets into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally the panko (making sure they are completely covered). In a sauté pan, heat about one inch of olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry the breaded chicken cutlets for a couple minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy. Place the fried chicken cutlets on the rack and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes (or keep them warm while you are done cooking).
5. Once the chicken cutlets are cooked through & golden brown, take them out of the oven and place them onto a serving plate. Top each piece with the Bruschetta topping, making sure to cover the entire chicken breast. Drizzle with some of the balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh Parmesan and Basil.