My most popular freezer meal, Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, was inspired by one of my favorite chicken dishes of all time- the original Chicken Cordon Bleu itself, in all its glory. The first time I had it was on a dinner cruise in elementary school, and although the one I had was what we consider “chicken twinkies” (the frozen ones you buy at the grocery store), I was instantly hooked. Restaurants make this differently depending on where you go. Some just use the chicken twinkies, while others roll their chicken breast up with ham and swiss, and some make it somewhat like a ham and swiss sandwich with the fried chicken being the bread. Oh, and don’t forget being smothered in bearnaise sauce. You had me at bearnaise sauce.
While attending culinary school, this was an assignment that I pounced on as soon as it appeared on the list…only it was made with veal and was deep fried. Either way, the recipe itself inspired the at-home version that I make for our family as a special treat. In fact, it’s on the menu for Valentine’s Day this year…along with whipped mashed potatoes, garlic green beans, and white chocolate raspberry cheesecake for dessert. Reservations required, but I can’t promise I’ll share. So, here’s how you can spoil your family at home:
First, trim your chicken breast of excess fat.
Place 1 piece of plastic wrap both under and over the chicken, then pound it to 1/4 inch thick. Don’t be afraid to really pound it out, it won’t hurt the chicken. It’s already dead.
Place 1 piece of ham and 1 piece of swiss cheese on top, making sure it’s not the same width as the chicken. As you can see here, I tore the cheese to make it even with the slice of ham.
Roll the chicken up tightly (like a burrito) with the ham and swiss, making sure to tuck in the sides. Place in a baking dish in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Prepare your dredging station– Three containers for seasoned flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs.
First, roll chicken in seasoned flour, then egg wash, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure the entire piece of chicken is completely covered by all three. Return to refrigerator for another 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a saute pan with canola oil about 1 inch deep. Turn heat to low/medium. Make sure oil is hot before placing chickens in there to fry. Fry to a golden brown on each side (about 2-3 minutes), return to baking dish. Bake in oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees in the very center of the chicken (VERY IMPORTANT, NOBODY WANTS FOOD POISONING FROM UNDERCOOKED CHICKEN). Culinary school scared the poo out of me with undercooked food and food poisoning.
Make your other side items and bearnaise sauce while chicken is baking. You can make your bearnaise sauce from scratch, or buy one of those little packets at the grocery store and whip it together. That stuff is awesome and super easy to make. When the chicken is done baking, top it with the bearnaise sauce or serve it on the side for dipping (sometimes I even pour some over my mashed potatoes…don’t judge).
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you want them to be large pieces)
4 slices swiss cheese
4 slices ham
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten (with 2 tablespoons water)
1 cup breadcrumbs
First, trim your chicken breast of excess fat. Place 1 piece of plastic wrap both under and over the chicken, then pound it to 1/4 inch thick. Place 1 piece of ham and 1 piece of swiss cheese on top, making sure it’s not the same width as the chicken. Roll the chicken up tightly with the ham and swiss, making sure to tuck in the sides. Place in baking dish and in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Prepare your dredging station- Three containers for seasoned flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs. Whisk together the flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. First, roll chicken in seasoned flour, then egg wash, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure the entire piece of chicken is covered by all three. Return to refrigerator for another 15 minutes. In a sauté pan, fill with canola oil, about 1 inch deep. Turn heat to low/medium. Make sure oil is hot before placing chickens in there to fry. Fry to a golden brown on each side, return to baking dish. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until internal thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees. Top with prepared béarnaise sauce (I just grabbed a packet of the instant sauce at the grocery store).
**IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO DO ALL OF THIS, CHECK OUT THE EASY RECIPE FOR CHICKEN CORDON BLEU CASSEROLE!!**
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN CORDON BLEU CASSEROLE!
Freezer Meal Instructions: Prepare chicken as directed above, but individually wrap the chickens in plastic wrap after frying them (just make sure they’re cooled off, first!). Place in ziplock freezer bags and store in freezer for up to 3 months. Pull out to thaw overnight in refrigerator, bake as according to directions above.
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