Friday, March 28, 2014

Strawberry Club Sandwiches - Caity

My Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd are fantastic cooks. They live in Aurora, IL and I always look forward to visiting them; not just because I have a great time spending time with them and my cousins and grandparents, but also because I know I will be enjoying wonderful home cooked food. They are the one and the same Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd of "Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd's Chopped Salad" and "Barley Greek Salad". 

My parents and I visited last September and enjoyed several days of good food and great company. Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd have a really cool house and backyard with a pool, a big vegetable garden, and a chicken coop for their sizeable flock. I liked checking the hen house for eggs and feeding the chickens. Since it was late in the seasons, some of the tomatoes in the garden were rotting and you could throw them to the chickens and they would attack. Or you could toss them leftover bread and you'd think they had never eaten before by the way they jumped on the food. We spent the rest of the days doing all the things there are to do in Aurora like going to White Castle, feeling sick for several hours after eating White Castle, admiring the endless fields of corn and visiting the biggest cheese isle in a grocery store you will ever see at Woodman's grocery store (it was HUGE!!!!).

The best part of the trip were the evenings when everyone was home from work/school and the neighbors came over (my grandparents) and we chatted and drank Midwestern beer while Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd made dinner. They made great food every night and my favorite thing were these Strawberry Club Sandwiches. They are a great twist on a classic sandwich and especially tasty during the spring-time. The recipe comes from Rachel Ray and originally makes triple decker sandwiches but Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd made regular-decker sandwiches and I like them best that way. (And to respect Hank's wishes, none of the leftover chicken was fed to the chickens or else they would unknowingly become chicken cannibals.) 

Three years ago: Paprika Shrimp Pasta

what you'll need:

12 oz thick-cut bacon
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 avocado, halved and pitted
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonaise
8 slices whole wheat toast
2 cups baby spinach
1-1/2 cup sliced strawberries
salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor, puree the avocado flesh with the lemon juice until smooth. Add in mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. 

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towels. Pour off the fat from the skillet and heat the pan over medium heat. 

Slice the chicken breasts in half width-wise so you have thinner chicken breasts. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan, partially cover and cook, turning once until golden grown on both sides and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. 

Let chicken rest for 5 minutes then slice thinly. 

Spread 1 Tbsp of avocado mayo on each slice of toast. 

Divide the chicken among the 4 toast slices and top each with bacon. 

Layer with spinach and sliced strawberries and cover with another piece of avocado mayo toast. 

Cut and serve. 

Three years ago: Paprika Shrimp Pasta

Uncle Todd and Auntie Ellyn's backyard with the garden on the right and the hen house and chicken coop behind it. 

Feeding the chickens! 

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