Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poultry, Projects and Planning

I went to an all girl Catholic high school and even as late as the end of the 90's Home Economics was still a required course. Instead of spending time wrapped up in the sexist aspect of the course requirement, I spent the entire semester loving the field of study. The course work was divided into three different focuses over the semester with one big project at the end of each of the curriculum. There was sewing and textiles, interior design and and home furnishing, and my favorite of course - cooking and nutrition. During the cooking and nutrition portion we had a classroom concentrated few weeks where we learned about nutrition, meal planning, time management and kitchen safety. During the last few weeks we had class everyday in a big room full of kitchen stations as we practiced our techniques we had learned earlier in the classroom. Our final project was to prepare an entire meal with our group in an allotted time frame. Prior to the big day we had to present our menu, our time phased cooking plan and a mock up of our table setting. And on the final day we had to execute the plan and serve our meal to our group and our teacher, Mrs. Mooney. Although the physical resemblance was absent, Mrs. Mooney was very Donna Reed-ish and taught us several things during the semester that I still recall. I don't remember very many details about high school, but some of the things we learned in Home Ec have never left my mind. One of the details I still remember is that the entree to our final project was pan seared chicken smothered with cheese. When I made the recipe below I reminisced fondly about that meal and the preparation that went into pulling it off.

Easy Skillet Cordon Bleu
Adapted from Southern Living December 2007

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 chicken tenders (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 Canadian bacon slices, cut into thin strips
  • 4 Smoked Fontina cheese slices, halved

1. Combine breadcrumbs, pepper, and salt in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag or a shallow bowl.

Rinse chicken tenders, dredge in milk

and coat in the bread crumbs.

2. Melt butter with oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Arrange Canadian bacon strips over chicken in skillet,

and top each with 1 cheese slice.

Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. If you are not sure if your skillet is broiler proof, wrap the handle in aluminum foil before placing the pan in the oven.


Mary Ellen said...

What a great, easy way to make chicken cordon bleu!

I went to an all girls Catholic high school as well but they didn't even offer home ec!!! They taught us that we were going to be rich and powerful and have people to do that stuff for us...sheesh!

Stacey T said...

we were in the same group for that project! miss you!

Woody said...

Since I am officially in charge of safety in our house, I fully approve of this blog entry and Mrs. Mooney's teaching.

Remember kids, don't leave cabinets or drawers open because that is how accidents happen.

Krista said...

As a former high school home ec teacher, this post made me smile. I actually taught foods and nutrition, fashion and textiles, housing and interior design, and child development at different points in my career, so this post brought back memories for me. I'm so glad you enjoyed your time in "home ec". I think it's so important to teach kids life skills. Too bad they've taken most home ec programs out of schools these days. : (

Oh, and your chicken looks yummy! Thanks for sharing it.

Melanie said...

Aww I love Ms. Mouney too!! And home ec. The lesson I use most from that class is that in parties of 8 or more, it's ok to start eating before everyone's food is served.

Hilary said...

I would have loved to have taken Home Ec in HS, but my dad deep sixed that idea...I think he was focusing on the sexist aspect. It sounds like a fun class!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I wish my school would have offered Home Ec. Seems like you have wonderful memories.

Your chicken looks so topshelf! i'm always looking for new chicken recipes.

Juliana said...

These chicken tenders look delicious...yummie!

Spryte said...

Great story! My home-ec teacher was Mrs McCarthy... and I always think of her when I see Beef Pinwheels!