Monday, November 3, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Jalapeno Poppers

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 small jalapeno peppers, roasted with stem and seeds removed
2-3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Frank's Buffalo Hot Sauce
8 slices bacon
Blue cheese or ranch for dipping


Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Pound the chicken very thin. If making appetizers, cut each breast into four pieces. Season with salt & pepper and lay a roasted jalapeno pepper and some cream cheese over the top.

Roll each one into a little bundle and coat in Buffalo wing sauce. You can marinate the bundles in the sauce, but it's not completely necessary. Wrap in bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour a little of the wing sauce in the bottom. Place bundles in the dish without crowding. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is starting to get crispy, turning once if necessary.

Serve with blue cheese or ranch.

{Food for Thought}

Next time, I may place the cream cheese in the jalapeno before putting it in the chicken, because I found both the pepper and cream cheese to be very slippery. Also, this could prevent the cream cheese from oozing out of the chicken too much.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nutella Brownies

I am not a big brownie person but was intrigued when I saw these somewhere on the internet. And since my mom and MIL are chocolate lovers, I thought these would be perfect for dessert one Sunday dinner. These are a dense kind of brownie and everyone really loved them. I will definitely be making them again. 




1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup Nutella
2 tbsp brewed espresso
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tblsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Nutella and espresso until well combined. Pour butter mixture into a large bowl. Beat in cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.

Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until just combined. Spread into prepared pan (batter will be very thick and sticky) and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. The edges should be set and the center should still look slightly moist, but not uncooked. 

Cool on a wire rack. Don’t cut until completely cooled.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Parmesan Crusted Potato Halves

What an awesome variation to the baked potato. I absolutely love these! Wish I had better pics but the craving for these suckers took over & I didn't make time for photos with them as the focal point.



{Printable Recipe Here}

6 small potatoes, scrubbed & cut in half
1/4 cup butter
Grated parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
Other seasonings (to personal preference)
Sour cream for dipping 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for at least a FULL 5 minutes before removing from the pan, otherwise the parmesan crust won't stick to the potato. Serve on a plate with a side of sour cream for dipping. 

Food for Thought

Obviously use less butter if you are using less potatoes and a smaller pan to cook them in. These are simply incredible and nice variation to a baked potato.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken

This is all over the internet under the name "Melt In Your Mouth Chicken" and as much as this is a wonderful & quick way to make chicken for the convenient weekday meal, the chicken doesn't really melt in your mouth. Perhaps it does with the original recipe which calls for mayo instead of the yogurt but this is the healthy version that is also popular. Still, the hubs really enjoyed it and I don't want to lose track of it. I also made a variation or two, noted below.

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{Printable Recipe Here}

1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 c Greek yogurt -plain
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 chicken breasts

Combine the first  5 ingredients and spread all over chicken breasts. Bake at 375 for about a half hour. Check for doneness. 

Food for Thought

My variation includes not measuring precisely on the garlic powder as I like to be very liberal with it. I also add  some Italian seasonings to each breast & on occasion, breadcrumbs. If using breadcrumbs, I like to throw chicken under the broiler for a couple minutes to brown nicely.

Goes wonderfully with Parmesan Crusted Potatoes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuna Cilantro Dip

What an unexpected wonderful dip. Sister Lau brought this camping one day and we were blown away. There is a nice heat to it from the jalapeño and it is awesome served with any kind of corn/tortilla chips. This would also be great on a sandwich. 



2 (6 oz) cans Albacore tuna in water (drained)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

Combine all ingredients, chill for an hour. If you like a little more heat, add another jalapeño or leave in some seeds from the one jalapeño. Garnish with fresh cilantro. We love this served with tortilla chips. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grilled Sriracha Shrimp

I make so many variations of grilled shrimp, throwing together whatever spices I am in the mood for. But when I made these as a Christmas appetizer, the consensus was they blew away all the others. Can't go wrong with these babies!




4 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus some for garnish
1 lb extra large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails on
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper




Combine Sriracha, honey, lime juice, garlic & cilantro in a bowl. Set aside a few tablespoons for brushing the shrimp after they are grilled. Toss the shrimp with mixture & let marinate for 1/2 hour. If there is no time then no worries. 

Thread shrimp evenly among grilling skewers, pouring marinade all over the skewers. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Grill the shrimp over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp are firm and opaque in the center. Brush with remaining marinade that was set aside. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

Food for Thought

I know it's messier but I prefer tossing the shrimp in the marinade before putting them on skewers because the shrimp really gets covered well. If you prefer skewering & then brushing the marinade on that is fine too.  If you don't have fresh cilantro, dried works well, just use 1/3 of the amount.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chicken Pasta Primavera in a White Wine Garlic Cream Sauce

Inspired by a meal the hubs had while traveling out of town, of all places, a Hilton Garden Inn. After explaining what he had I put together this creation and he loved it. 



1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
Olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
8oz pkg sliced mushrooms
1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small Vidalia onion, sliced thin
White wine, such as Chardonnay, 500ml, about 3 glasses.
½ can of low sodium chicken broth
1 tblsp cornstarch mixed with about ¼ c water
A few bunches of fresh spinach, sliced
1 lb of fettucine or favorite pasta
Splash of cream (a little less then 1/4 c)
Fresh parmesan cheese
Shaved almonds (for garnish, optional)

Place chicken between 2 pieces of wax paper. With a mallet, flatten out chicken just to uniform thickness. This helps the chicken cook evenly as well as come out tender. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder & Italian seasoning. Let sit at room temp for ½ hour (my number one rule when cooking or grilling any meat).

Heat up water to boil for the pasta so you don’t have to at last minute. Heat a little olive oil in large sauté pan. Heat garlic until fragrant. Add the vegetables except for spinach and sauté until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove & set aside. Heat a little more olive oil in same pan. Add chicken breasts & cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Set aside on plate to rest so all juices return to center.

Your pasta should be up to a boil now.

Your pan should be nice & brown. This is when you deglaze the pan to get up all that goodness. Pour in the wine & chicken broth & scrape up all the brown bits. Heat to a boil.  Meanwhile, slice the chicken on a thin slant.

Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the wine broth mixture & let it continue to boil for a minute or two. This is to thicken liquid just a little although this is not a very thick sauce. Add the cream, salt & pepper to taste. Add in the veggies, sliced chicken & spinach. Allow to heat through for a minute. Lower heat and add your pasta. Toss until thoroughly coated. Add some fresh parmesan cheese.


Garnish with shaved almonds and serve with more parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.


Food for Thought

Use any pasta you'd like. Our fav for this dish is fettucine. Also, feel free to use the frozen pkg of bell peppers & onions for the veggies. This includes green & red pepper. You can add a little butter to the sauce to make it a little richer. It just depends on how healthy you want to keep it. I omitted the butter and it was just as good. This dish is even better the next day!