Chicken Schnitzel with Spaetzle

Well, I finally made it! I think I’ve put this on the last 4 monthly menus. It’s not because this is a difficult recipe to make, quite the contrary, but life has a way of getting in the way and so I’ve not been able to make this meal before now.

Spaetzle is a yummy pasta alternative. Small and firm, it goes great with a little butter, salt & pepper, and as a side to schnitzel.

Schnitzel, of course, is merely a way of cooking. Commonly made of pork or chicken, the thin cutlets are pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness and then dredged in flour, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, and then lightly pan-fried. Salt and pepper are definitely in order as they are the prime seasoning agents.

Schnitzel Recipe

3 slices day-old wheat bread*, torn

1/2 cup flour (1/2 unbleached, 1/2 whole wheat)

salt & pepper

2 eggs

3/4 cup EVOO

4 chicken breasts, butterflied (if necessary) and cut into cutlets

1. Using a food processor, pulse the bread until finely ground. *You can use panko in place of the bread crumbs, or use a combination of both. The bread crumbs give this dish a more authentic flavor so I would suggest combining the panko or leaving it out all together this time. Place in a shallow bowl.

2. Season the flour with salt and pepper and place in a second shallow bowl.

3. Whisk eggs with 1 tsp EVOO and place in a third shallow bowl.

4. Place the chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap and pound into 1/4-inch thick cutlets. Dredge each cutlet in the flour; dip into the egg and then coat with the bread crumbs. Place on a wire rack or non-stickable surface.

5. Heat remaining EVOO in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the cutlets to the hot oil and cook, turning once, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Spaetzle

I used a boxed spaetzle. I hope you didn’t think I was going to make those from scratch! I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment yet :) The spaetzle came from Harris Teeter, though I’ve heard some stores carry a frozen version. I’ve yet to find that, but the boxed kind is not  bad. I’ve used it twice now; once for this and another time for my Chicken Spaetzle Soup. The key is to make it with chicken broth if you can and then stir in a few pats of butter before serving.

Chicken in Cream

I might have mentioned before that I am part Ukrainian, and thanks to my grandmother I grew up eating some wonderful food. This dish was as popular in the Ukraine as fried chicken is here in the US. There is a slower, more authentic version, but I normally make it more simplified. My recipe is as follows:

Chicken in Cream

1 whole chicken, cut up, with or without skin (now you know me- boneless, skinless breasts only. I usually cook 1 breast per person)

2 or 3 celery tops with leaves

1 onion cut into rings

Dill weed (fresh sprigs if you have)

Parsley

Salt & Pepper

1 pint Half & Half

Put washed chicken in a casserole dish and top with veggies. Sprinkle on dill liberally and then the parsley, salt & pepper to your liking. Pour the half & half over it all and bake at 350* for 1 and a half hours.  (If using a whole chicken cook for 2 hours).

Once cooked, remove the vegetables and discard. If you left the skin on it will be icky and should be discarded as well.

*We don’t eat a lot of potatoes around here but this dish demands a good serving of mashed potatoes for all that awesome, buttery, curdled sauce that you will end up with. Also perfect for dipping bread into!

Make this soon! It’s easy and your whole family will LOVE it!

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

Everyone knows what Chicken Noodle Soup is; a wonderful, comforting creation that NO ONE doesn’t like. But how about a slight twist? I like soups with pasta. There is just something about it that makes it teeth-sinking wonderful. Spaetzle is a great alternative to noodles because it’s got a thickness and a texture unlike any regular pasta. Be sure to serve Corn & Wild Rice Muffins with this soup. They go great together!

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

1 to 2 Tbsp. EVOO

1 large onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

1 medium carrot, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 medium stalk of celery, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use 1/2 & 1/2 mix with whole wheat)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh or 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 cups diced cooked chicken (or turkey)

6 cups chicken broth (two 32 oz cartons)

1 bag (12 oz) frozen spaetzle (or cook 1 box dried according to package directions)

Chopped parsley, if desired

1. In 4-qt saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic, carrot, and celery until tender crisp, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Gradually stir in flour, thyme and pepper; cook and stir about 1 minutes. Stir in chicken and broth; heat to boiling.

3. Stir in frozen spaetzle. (*If cooking dried separately do not add yet) Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until spaetzle are tender. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy.

*When adding a pasta, or pasta-like ingredient- to a soup, I recommend adding it separately into each bowl right before serving. When storing leftovers, keep the pasta/spaetzle separate so that it doesn’t absorb all the broth, making the soup mushy. When prepared and stored this way, leftover will be as good as when it was made fresh!

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Lazy Holubsti & Pittihe

Thanksgiving is almost here!

My grandmother was 100% Ukrainian. We grew up eating some wonderful authentic dishes that have become mainstays in our holiday fare. Most years my mom includes at least one of our favorites, usually Holubsti (hole-lub-chi), which is a rice mixture rolled up in cabbage leaves.

Then there’s Pittihe (pit-a-hey), a dumpling filled with any of the following: cabbage, potato and cheese, or sauerkraut. I grew up on the potato and cheese, and it’s customary to fry chopped onion in butter and serve it on the side with some sour cream. Pittihe is actually Ukrainian slang, similar to us calling potatoes spuds. There are other names for this dish, such as Pierogi or Varenyky.

Both of these recipes are rather involved (especially the Pittihe) so we have nice, easy, lazy versions of them :) And when you set your Ukrainian table, don’t forget the {turkey} polish keilbasa.

Lazy Holubsti

1 cup rice, cooked

4 T. butter, divided

1 med. onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

3 cup shredded cabbage

salt & pepper to taste

~ Cook rice first with water and 1 T butter. Cook onion in 3 T. butter until tender. Add cabbage and cook until wilted. Mix in 1/2 cup tomato sauce and save the rest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange cabbage and rice in alternating layers in buttered baking dish. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350*.

 

 

Lazy Dumplings

2 cups dry cottage cheese

1 T. melted butter

3 eggs, beaten

1 t. salt

3/4 cup flour

~ Press the cottage cheese through a sieve. Beat in the butter, eggs and salt. Mix in flour. Place dough on a well floured surface and shape into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Cut the slices in half to make half-moon shapes. Bring water, seasoned with salt, to a boil. Simmer the dumplings until they float, about 5-6 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon. Dribble with butter to keep them from sticking. Serve with fried onions and sour cream.

Happy cooking and extra happy eating!