Thursday, January 29, 2009

Warm Chicken Sandwiches with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Fontina

There's something to be said about a really good sandwich. The first time I saw the recipe for this sandwich in Bon Appetit, I just knew I had to make it. Something about it said, "You know I'm that good!"

Hubs and I have determined that really, all one needs to make any version of this sandwich are 4 things: a protein, some sort of sauteed or grilled veggie, a soft, meltable cheese, and a condiment.

I can't remember if the name for this sandwich is called Warm Chicken Sandwiches with Spinach, Mushroom, and Fontina, but I do remember that it had the word warm in it. That's all it took.

Warm Chicken Sandwiches with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Fontina
Recipe Source: Bon Appetit

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T of olive oil
1 container fresh, sliced mushrooms (the ones found in the produce section)
1 bag fresh spinach
Spicey mustard (we used Zatarain's Creole)
2 cups shredded Fontina cheese
4 medium sized hoagie rolls

Take chicken breasts and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. We put ours in a gallon sized ziplock, one at a time, and flatten/pound with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer. Season chicken breasts and sautee with olive oil in a medium/high skillet till cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add mushrooms to skillet and sautee till they release their juices, add spinach and sautee till wilted and cooked through. Preheat oven to 325°, slice hoagie rolls down the center without cutting through, and the toast rolls in oven.

When rolls are toasted, remove from oven and slather a tablespoon of spicey mustard in each roll. Cut chicken into pieces, add to rolls, top with mushroom spinach mixture, and top that with shredded cheese. Wrap each sandwich in tin foil and place in oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven, add salt and pepper if desired and dig in! These reheat in the oven very nicely.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hey Ya'll, Back from Savannah

Before I got sick last week, hubs and I used the MLK holiday weekend to drive up to Savannah for some R&R. Of course we HAD to check out Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons restaurant. I would have to say the dinining experience there was more of a novelty than really good. The food was...meh. Okay. It came across as more Cracker Barrel than anything else, but it was one of those "try it once" experiences.

We checked out her gift store and I bought her memoire. That woman sure has worked hard for where she is today! She suffered from agoraphobia for almost 20 years. We also went to her brother's restaurant Uncle Bubba's Oyster House and it was FABULOUS!! It was so good, we went there twice! I highly recommend it, especially the chargrilled oysters!

We did a lot of touristy stuff, sight seeing and such. It was COLD for us Floridians, let me tell you! I had to buy a scarf and we layered up. Hey y'all up north, don't laugh!

I even got a picture of a ghost, I think. We were doing one of those ghost tours inside the Sorrel-Weed house, which is supposedly an actual proven and documented haunted house. The Sci-Fi channel did a story on this house or something. Anyway, we were in the basement and it was pitch black...there were no lights except the ones coming in from the patio. I took this picture in the dark with my flash and I think there is an "orb" right about where the door handle is (a little above to the left).

Either that or it's dust. :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Was it irony, divine intervention, karma, or intuition that kept me home "sick" on Tuesday? I really wanted to stay home and watch the inauguration, so I called my boss and told him I wasn't feeling well. Cough. Party on!

Two hours later, I had my head in the toilet and my butt cheeks clenched tight. Something got a hold of me and I really WAS sick with some sort of intestinal bug. I felt perfectly fine that morning, thinking I'd be able to enjoy the day watching history being made. Three days later and I'm still unable to keep solids down. Bleh!

How does the universe know these things?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wrapping Things Up

Like most red-blooded, patriotic Americans, I made a string of resolutions for the coming year, one of which I will be starting tonight. I signed up for a local walk/run training program that will meet twice a week and teach us how to go from 0 – 3 miles in 10 weeks! I did great on the Couch to 5K program, but got stuck on week 6. That whole, run-for-twenty-minutes-straight thing hung me up. Almost half fail.

Secondly, I signed up for a community education class in digital photography! I start that on the 26th and it’s 6 weeks of introducing myself to my new camera. I can’t help it; the thing scares me with its ISO settings, aperture, and what-nots. I really want to learn how to take good pictures, and I think I will. I need a mentor.

Thirdly, hubs and I have come to terms with our blubber and have started a NEW! IMPROVED! diet regimen. All the good cooking and drinking that’s been going on at our house has paid its toll. I think we’re off to a good start and he’s down 4 lbs. and I’m down 3.1 lbs. so far.

Forthly, I would like to turn JTRS into a real, honest-to-God website this year and free myself from the Blogspot oppression. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been great, it’s just I want more. We can be friends, o.k.? But I just need more and it’s not working for me. You’ll find something better Blogspot and I’ll never forget you. It's not you, it's me.

Fifthly, It’s time for me to rethink the path my life is going down. I know that sounds waaaay too heavy for a morning post and I appologize, but it has occurred to me that you, my dear readers, have no clue as to what I do for a living. I will talk all about that soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It Gets Better!

I bet the principal came to work on Monday and was like "WTHOMFGBBQapocalypse! CHANGE IT NAOWWWW!!!"

"Hmmm...holli...holla...holly...Aw hell, NO SCHOOL"

"Fo' shizzal my dismisal"

Do they have Sonny Tannen filling out the announcement boards or something? This happens all the time. I weep for the future.

Also, is it me or does it seem like kids get waaaaaay more time off from school these days? We never got inauguration day off!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Why Some Florida Schools = Fail

What's wrong with this picture? I took it over the past weekend. For realz.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year: Wine In Review

This past year has been an exciting journey into wine making. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I saw myself making wine, GOOD wine, I'd say you were crazy. So far (knock-on-wood), all my experiments have been delightful, with some even good enough to be repeated or improved upon. Of course, wine tastes are subjective and what I think is good could taste like the back of an L.A. schoolbus to another. Thankfully, I have good friends who are more than willing to be guinea pigs.

Here's to another great year filled with good friends, love, health, and good wine!

“Cock of the Walk” Cherry Red – A semi-dry, vanilla-oaked cherry wine made with organic cherry juice, dried cherries, cranberries, and raisins. This batch was made in June and when tasted in December, it had strong potential to age into a nice Pinot Noir type red. It is still very young and probably won’t be drinkable for at least a year. The original recipe said it would be “drinkable in 6 weeks”…HA!

Florida “Spiced Orange Meade” – A sweet honey wine made with Florida oranges, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and organic, Florida honey from Frederickson Apiaries in Eustis. This is a sweet desert wine that can be served chilled or heated for those frigid Florida winters! I made two batches of this meade this year, one with raw honey and one with filtered honey. Both turned out beautiful.

Florida “Strawberry Muscat” – A semi-dry, blush with a wonderful strawberry bouquet and a delicate strawberry flavor. I made and bottled this in April and it needed a good 6 months to age to perfection. This wine surprised people, as they expected a wine that was sweeter and not as complex. It was blended with a Black Muscat from Washington State and was outstanding when chilled. Will definitely make a bigger batch this year!

Kathy’s “Lemongrass Mint” – An herbal wine made from my own recipe of organic lemongrass and spearmint. It turned out to be very crisp, dry, with a clean lemon flavor, and was spectacular with any kind of seafood, or spicy dish such as Latin, Thai, or curries. However, I felt it needed some more body, a little less acidity, and more of the mint to shine through. I’m starting my second batch this week, which will be made out of lemon balm and mint from my garden.

Mary’s “Harvest Fig Blush” – This wine was inspired by a dear friend that lives in Deland. Every year she blesses me with fresh figs grown on her property, so it seemed perfectly fitting to make a wine in her honor. This wine was started in August and bottled in October and we haven’t tried it since bottling, but it appeared to be drinkable even then! I can’t wait to really taste it in a few months. It was made with fresh figs, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, oranges, lemons, and dried fruit.

Kathy’s “Banana Grigio” – This wine should really be called a banana Chardonnay, as it is extremely full bodied. I made this in May and when tried in July, it nearly punched me in the mouth! I didn’t like it! However, after 6 months of aging, we tried it again and were completely BLOWN away at how good it turned out. It mellowed out into a full bodied, almost-desertish fruit wine. The banana is definitely there, but it’s not cloying and would be phenomenal with any kind of Latin food.

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