About The Saturday Chef

Midwest, United States
I am NOT a professional chef. I am what I affectionately dub a Saturday Chef—a weekend warrior of the culinary variety, fortified by the education I have gleaned from two high school cooking classes, the Food Network and my own gastronomical experiments. While I’m not ashamed to spend all day making bagels by hand, and proudly call myself a foodie, I’m not a food snob. I enjoy an Extra Value Meal as much as the next girl. My culinary escapades are still relegated to the weekends, but my love for cooking is stronger than ever, galvanized by more successes than failures, and the beautiful fact that the more I cook, the more people there are to feed. So please stay tuned for fun recipes, inevitable disasters and hopefully, a lot of good food.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Perfect Quick Meal: Lemony Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad

Thanksgiving is probably one of the foodiest days of the year as the entire tradition revolves around good eats and lots of it. Some meals are planned weeks in advance and all of the focus is on Thursday. Turkey Day (or for our family this year, Chicken and Pork Roast day!). Sadly, there has been little thought, at least on the cooking shows or in magazines, to the day BEFORE Thanksgiving.

With company arriving and the start of meal preparation, the day before Thanksgiving can be hectic with little thought to the meal served that night. Usually, we order out for chinese or pizza.

Not this year.

I found a perfect recipe for the night before Thanksgiving that simple, flavorful and always a crowd pleaser. Lemony Chicken Milanese is bright from the lemon juice, peppery from the arugula and has that satisfying, seasoned crunch of breaded, sautéed chicken. It is a wow dish that will please arriving company still miffed from TSA pat-downs and body scans.

*garnished with tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese

Lemony Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad
Adapted from recipe at epicurious.com

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Seasoning Salt
Garlic Salt

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2 cups (packed) baby arugula leaves (about 2 ounces)

Using meat mallet or rolling pin to tenderize and flatten chicken. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend.

Season chicken to taste on both sides. Dip chicken in beaten eggs; turn to coat. Dredge in breadcrumbs, coating completely.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plates; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Toss arugula with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining lemon juice, season lightly with salt and pepper.  Mound arugula salad ontop of chicken breasts, garnish with tomatoes and a bit of grated parmesan if you like, and enjoy! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Decadent Monster Cookies

*Recipe revised on December 24th.

I’m leaving for Las Vegas—my first real vacation in six years—so it is fitting that the theme of this post be overindulgence. The most decadent thing I’ve made in recent memory has to be a recipe I adapted from Paula Deen’s Monster Cookies (Do you say Paula Deen's name in a southern accent?  I do!). This cookie combines peanut butter, oats, candy, and pretty much whatever else you want into a squishy, flourless cookie dough that’s as fun to play with as it is addicting.

I started making these with my niece when she was five. Most children are masters in overindulgence. When they dress themselves, they want to wear the purple pants, the green tutu and ALL of their necklaces. When they make cookies, they want to add all of the chocolate chips and candy pieces in the WHOLE WORLD and seventy bazillion cups of whatever else they love. These cookies are designed to take it.

And it works in the way that purple pants-green tutu on an adorable four-year-old works.

These cookies are an addiction in our family to the point that we make them even without the munchkin around.

So while I’m gambling away my cash or partying all night in Las Vegas, you can have a little indulgence of your own in a flourless cookie!  Hee!


Monster Cookies

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup M&Ms, optional (about two regular-size bags)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup toffee

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 cups old-fashioned oats


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 9 to 13 minutes until cookies are light golden brown. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in a large airtight container.

Yes, it looks weird.  It's supposed to!

Oh, pretty colors!  Let's add MORE STUFF!

*This recipe is gluten-free if you use GF baking soda and oats.