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Smoked Salmon Salad

Hello Food Friends,

My roommate and I are trying to be super healthy, in part because of recent diet restrictions for us both (different reasons). One of the challenges we are both facing is finding filling food that is good for us, and tastes good.

So being the awesome person she is, my roomie has decreed if I make it she will at least give it a shot and we’ll narrow down our list of food yays and nays that way! Carte blanche on options to a fan of cooking….yeah I’m in creative heaven.

First up, we have a Smoked Salmon Salad that I made for us. This one is super easy as we just 1) prepare ingredients, and then 2) assemble ingredients, before 3) serving. Simple!

So prepping the ingredients. Here goes.

Smoked Salmon Salad Ingredient Preparation

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
1 zucchini
1 mango
1 package spinach/spring mix/other leafy greens (14 oz)
1 package smoked salmon (5 oz)
1 container baby/cherry tomatoes
2 cups fresh, uncooked snow or sugar snap peas.
1 container fresh sprouts (these are alfalfa sprouts)

Salad Assembly.
1. Heat 1 1/2 cups water, 1 tspn salt, and 1 tspn olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add peas and let cook ~10 minutes, until crisp but cooked fully.
2. Rinse the leafy greens and put into a salad keeper or salad bowl.
3. Slice the cucumber and zucchini into circle slices. Add to leafy greens.
4. Cut the mango in half, around the pit, and then dice (cut just shy of the skin for easiest way) the mango into little cubes. Add to leafy greens.
5. Rinse the tomatoes and add to the leafy greens.
6. Drain the peas and add to the leafy greens.
7. Rinse the sprouts and top the salad.
8. Slice the smoked salmon as desired (I did narrow strips), and top the sprouts with the salmon.
9. Serve and add dressing (a fruity vinaigrette tastes awesome with this one!)

Enjoy your creation!

Smoked Salmon Salad – Mmmm!

Serve, enjoy, and have leftovers for 3 days with the salad keeper preserving your yum-factor on your food! I wouldn’t go more than 3 days with smoked salmon. I will say, our salmon only lasted the day of and the following day, though the rest of the salad lasted another two days for both of us for lunches. Smoked Salmon. Mmmmm.

So hope you enjoy this one, and hope if you try this, or any variation thereof, that you’ll share it with me (and all the people who may read this post at any point in time)!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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Grilled Bruschetta Lamb

Hello Again Everyone!

I apologize for the downtime, I have been taking copious pictures, notes and brainstorming sessions down, and just have been completely slack about getting posts up here on the blog. I am making a promise now to do way better from here on out, I swear! 🙂

Anyways, I wanted to start us back on track with a meal I made the other night using a slew of yummy ingredients. I stopped by at my friends at The Enchanted Olive and they were teasing me a bit about my slackness on the blog. So thank them for the boost and post here!

In their honor, and to give them a ‘thank you’ for kick-starting me back into my blog posts, I am posting a recipe that I created using quite a few of their creations (oils & vinegars below are all theirs!). So here goes, the Grilled Bruschetta Lamb, all for you!

Grilled Bruschetta Lamb, Grilled Corn, Bruschetta Salad, with sliced cukes & bread on the side!

Ingredients:
3 lamb chops
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 very small onion, diced (you can add more or less depending upon how onion-y you want it)
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 teaspoons chopped basil
2 teaspoons Sundried Tomato, Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil
4 teaspoons Butter Olive Oil, divided
2 teaspoons Herbs De Provence Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Pecan Praline Balsamic Vinegar (specialty vinegar available only in the store, can substitute in any nutty vinegar instead though!)
2 teaspoons Fig Balsamic Vinegar
2 ears of corn, not shucked
2 cups Lettuce or Spinach

Directions:
*** Start your grill. Mine is a propane grill, so it didn’t take very long to heat, however if you have a charcoal grill – heat it up, heat it up! Once that is going, commence to making your food! ***
1) Drain your tomatoes, dice your onion and cucumber, and combine them in a small bowl. Add in your basil, olive oils (only use 2 tspn of butter) and vinegars and mix together until well blended. You now have your bruschetta!
2) Place your lamb chops on aluminum foil and top with the bruschetta underneath and on top. Let sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
3) Take your ears of corn, and drizzle 1 teaspoon into each at the top of the husk so that it flows down into the entire ear of corn inside the husk.
4) Place your ‘buttered’ corn, still in the husks, directly on the *hot-and-ready* grill rack. You can peel off the outermost layer only, if you choose, if you don’t want to grill the entire husk. Leave on the grill for approximately 20 minutes, turning at least once.
5) Add your lamb to the grill, still in the foil, and leave for 10-20 minutes, depending on if you want the lamb cooked medium-rare or well done. I did this right next to the corn, and they cooked well side by side.
6) Remove items from the grill, shuck the corn, plate with additional bruschetta on top of the lamb, and enjoy!
7) For the salad, add your remaining bruschetta and other 1/2 of the cucumber to the lettuce/spinach, then top with your favorite dressing. May top with cheese if you want, but not needed for this salad!
8) Homemade Dressing (Extra): If you prefer, you can just drizzle the salad with the Fig BV and the Sundried Tomato Oil for a quick and scrumptious fix!

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did when I made it, and for all of my friends at The Enchanted Olive – thank y’all for the inspiration you provide with your product selections!

Craft You Later,
Beth

TasteSpotting: Food Is Amazing

Hello Friends,

I apologize profusely for the radio-silence of the last week. Some things were going on that just made me go “hmmm” and hunker down to think. I promise you, though, that will be made up for this week!!!

I have found a new site that I am absolutely in love with, possibly even more so than Pinterest (I know!!!!). TasteSpotting. Memorize this name!!!! No, seriously.

Be forewarned, upon finding this site you will cease being productive. For at least 2 days. Maybe more.

You will also be very hungry. Non-stop. For at least 2 days as well. Maybe more, again!

Here is a snapshot of a Tastespotting search for “honey wheat”, whereupon I was trying to find a honey wheat bread recipe, or something equally yummy and inspiring:

tastespotting taste spotting honey wheat searches food foodie

Tastespotting View of “Honey Wheat” Hits

So one thing that I like better here than on Pinterest is the fact that when you click on a picture it takes you directly to the website (usually a blog) from which the item originates. I like this better because it allows only 1-click instead of up-to-15 (max for me!) to get to the “how do I make this?!?!!!!” instructions. I so far have seen only 1 picture lead to a photograph-only link, and considering how much I’ve been clicking, that is a good percentage for Tastespotting! 😉

So go explore and let me know what you think of this humdinger of a food-fan-dream site!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Swordfish with Island-Mediterranean Orzo

Hello Cooking Friends,

I was in the mood to clean out my freezer the other night, so I decided to make up some swordfish steaks I had sitting in there. I wasn’t sure about sides, but canned corn is always a winner for me, and so is orzo pasta mixtures. So voilà, that is what we’re cooking today. Or rather what I’m telling you about today that I cooked earlier this week. Details. Blech.

image

Swordfish Dinner, mmmm!

For any of you that have not had the pleasure of trying swordfish, this is a very meaty fish. Think more like chicken or pork in the consistency and thickness of flavor. It is delicious, not overly fishy at all (compared to tuna especially), and incredibly easy to cook.

I pan-seared the swordfish for this recipe, so for those of you who have always wondered how to do that – here we go. For everyone else, well, you’re stuck with us too! Hang on and enjoy….

What you’ll need (plus 1 skillet or frying pan and a wooden spoon):

– 2 swordfish steaks (thawed completely, preferably overnight in the refrigerator)
– 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile powder (like this), separated
– 1/8 cup Butter Infused Olive Oil
– 2 tablespoons Pineapple White Balsamic Vinegar, separated
– 1 tablespoons Blood Orange Olive Oil
– 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper, separated
– 3/4 cup uncooked Orzo Pasta
– 1 clove garlic (fresh), shelled and chopped into tiny pieces
– 1/2 cup frozen peaches, diced
– 13.5-oz can spinach, drained fully
– 1 + 1/3 cup water
– 1 can sweet crisp corn, drained
– 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Into a skillet over low-medium heat, pour your Butter Olive Oil, 1 tbspn Pineapple Balsamic, 1 tspn Chipotle Chili Powder, and 1 tspn ground pepper. Stir well until fully combined. Once heated enough where the oil starts to bubble, add your swordfish steaks. I was cooking for 3 so I sliced my steaks in half, but you don’t need to do that.

image

Searing swordfish....

Keep your skillet over low-medium heat for about 8 minutes. Every 2 minutes, flip your swordfish steaks. This will sear them evenly on both sides. After you’ve flipped them 4 times, reduce heat to the lowest possible, and flip once more for each side after 3 minutes of additional cooking. This allows for a total of 14 minutes of cooking, but promotes even searing and flavors on your steaks.

Warning: oil will splash while you’re flipping so be careful! Use a broad wooden spoon to flip easier and from more of a distance from hot oil.

Once you’ve finished cooking the steaks, remove to a plate to let sit. Keep the liquid in the pan, and keep the burner on low heat. Add 1 cup water to your pan, quickly, and stir the juices and water to keep the smoke to a minimum. Yes, that is experience trying to guide you away from my mistake. The stove fan may be needed above your oven for this for a few minutes!

Once you have your water added and stirred around, pour in your orzo pasta. This will not fully cover the pasta, but will more look like you’re soaking it. This is what you want. Up the heat to low-medium and let cook for 8 minutes or so, stirring every few minutes to keep pasta from sticking.

While you’re letting the pasta soak/cook, chop your garlic and peaches (in that order) and add to your pasta. Add in 1 tbspn Pineapple Balsamic, 1 tbspn Blood Orange Olive Oil, 1 tspn Chipotle powder, 1 tspn ground pepper, 1/3 cup water,  and your well-drained spinach. Mix well. Cook this for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute, until pasta is tender and garlic & peaches are softened. Remove from heat. Let sit for 3 minutes, stirring twice, to soak in the flavors.

image

Making orzo pasta!

While you’re letting this sit, pour your canned corn into a microwave-safe bowl, add 1 tbspn butter, and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir.

Once this completes everything is ready to serve. You may need to microwave your swordfish steaks for 30-40 seconds, if they’ve started to cool a bit. I didn’t time it the best when I did it, but that quick nuke did the trick and didn’t sacrifice flavor at all!

Plate your orzo mixture and place your swordfish on top. Plate your corn next to this. Garnish if desired with a thawed peach or sprig of parsley, but you don’t have to do that.

Enjoy!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Belgian Beef Stew

Hello Cooking Friends,

It is getting to be Fall, which is my favorite time of the year. And that means that stews and soups can come out of hiding and take center stage, woohoo! So my first fall stew was accomplished with a bit of this and a bit of that, as per the usual for me!

belgian beef stew egg noodles beef bacon onion garlic stew soup fall food parsley lemon juice

Belgian Beef Stew.

My brother wanted steak one night, so he had bought some steaks. Having only used 2 of them, I was trying to figure out what to do with the other 2 when it hit me: STEW!!!!! I was researching Belgian recipes for an upcoming Charlotte Beer Babes event, and found this Belgian Beef Stew recipe that sounded delicious-and-adaptable.

C’mon, you know I am almost physically incapable of following recipes all the way! 😉

Anyways, to start I took 1 lb. applewood-smoked bacon, chopped it up into 1/4-inch pieces and added to a crock pot with 1/2 cup light margarine (hellooooo Country Crock!). I cooked that over high heat for about 5 minutes. As that was cooking, I chopped up 15 peeled pearl onions, and added them and another 1/4 cup light margarine to the pot, mixing them all together. Then I chopped up 1 clove garlic, fresh, and added that and another 1/4 cup of light margarine to the pot. Remember to stir every few minutes! At this point you should be at around 10-12 minutes for the bacon cooking, and it should start to smell deliciously bacony!

Next, chop up your 2 steaks (believe me this yields plenty of beef!), into about 1/2 inch cubes. Add that to the bacon mixture and stir to mix well. Cook for about 10 minutes (still on high setting in your crock pot).

Now this should be getting some liquid gathering at the bottom of the pot, so take about 1 ladle full and pour into a cup to make a slurry (no, not a slurPee). Add 1/8 cup flour, 1 tspn salt, and about 3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper. Mix this all until completely combined, no flour chunks remaining. Add the slurry to the stew and mix well. Let cook about 5 minutes.

Next, pour in 1 12-oz bottle of a beer of your choice. Traditionally this should be a dark Belgian, however we had a Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout on hand that sounded delicious, so I used that instead. Mix this well into the stew, and it should be a dark color. Let stew for about 5 minutes. (Har har har!)

Meanwhile, chop up most of a 0.75 oz package of fresh parsley (produce section!), without the stems, until you basically can’t chop it any more by hand. Don’t process or blend this, as that will make it into a paste, but go ahead and use a chopper if you have one!

Add your parsley to the stew, and then grate 1 lemon (all of it) directly into the stew. Slice your lemon in half, de-seed it, then squeeze the juice into your stew. I know, I know, you think this is in the “WHY are you ruining a good stew?!?” but trust me – this makes it extra delicious!

Now you just need to let the stew sit for about 15 more minutes on high, then reduce heat to low and let sit 20-30 minutes more. This will fully incorporate the juices in the meats, as well as let the stew thicken.

When you’re about 10 minutes from serving, take 1 bag of Egg Noodles (like these) and cook with 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender. When drained and ready to serve, scoop some noodles into a dish (bowl or plate that has curved sides) and top with a few ladles of stew. Garnish with a sprig of reserved parsley if desired. Serve. Enjoy.

belgian beef stew egg noodles beef bacon onion garlic stew soup fall food parsley lemon juice

Observe, plated Belgian Beef Stew! Mmmm.

Craft You Later,
Beth

Easy Mini ‘Forest’ Soufflés

Hello Friends,

I am back with another installment of healthy and easy lunches for this week. My inspiration from this came almost fully from this EatingWell recipe. Being me, of course, I couldn’t by any means follow this exactly, so I added in a few extras of my own!

chicken broccoli cheese souffle

Easy Mini Forest Soufflés – YUM!

So here is my version (and it is filling, I promise you, deceivingly so!):

What You’ll Need:

  • 12-16 4-oz ramekins (depending how full you want them)
  • 1 medium-sized skillet with lid
  • 1 medium-to-large mixing bowl
  • Utensils: 1 wooden spoon, 1 paring knife and 1 whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter olive oil plus 1 teaspoon lemon pepper olive oil (chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic!Garlic! and 2 teaspoons Onion!Onion! Mixes (chicken)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 oz bag frozen chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups Skim Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Honey Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 large egg whites (plus the above 3 eggs’ egg whites)

So this seems like a lot, I’m sure, however it’s really pretty simple! Observe the building of the soufflé!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. In your skillet, combine Butter & Garlic Olive Oils and the Garlic!Garlic! and Onion!Onion! spices, and chicken over medium heat. Cook approximately 12 minutes until no longer pink at all but is still tender.
  • While chicken cooks, dump your frozen broccoli (chopped into smaller pieces and chunks if needed) into a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes, until a little tender but not fully cooked.
  • Once chicken cooks fully, drain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, remove your broccoli and let that cool as well.
  • In your skillet over medium heat, combine the 2 tablespoons of butter olive oil with 2 tablespoons of flour, whisking for 1 minute. Sauce will thicken slightly and be somewhat caramel-colored.
  • Add in 1 1/3 cups milk, 2 teaspoons Honey Dijon Mustard, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and whisk constantly for 2 minutes more. Sauce will thicken a lot more at this point.
  • Remove your your sauce from heat, stir in your 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 3 egg yolks until well combined and no streaks remain from yolks. Dump broccoli into mixture and stir well. Let sit to thicken.
  • Meanwhile, take your 5 egg whites in your mixing bowl (rinsed from the broccoli bits), and whisk constantly for approximately 15 minutes. I recommend a helper for this part. That way you can…
  • Take your chicken and put in blender (Magic Bullet Blender to the rescue!) for 15 seconds on pulse, to make into a shredded texture. Add to broccoli mixture and stir completely. Skillet will start to fill up at this point, that is expected.
  • Once you’re done whisking your egg whites into submission, you’ll notice they are frothy, white, and look airy instead of liquidy now. Once you hit this point, gradually add your broccoli mixture to the egg whites, stirring until fully incorporated.
  • Scoop your “Forest” mixture (hey, it’s green, yellow, white and a little brown from the flavors, so it looked like a forest to me!) into your 12-16 ramekins (sprayed with cooking spray). If you want them full, fill 12 almost to the rim (very little rising will take place). If you want more servings, fill 16 ramekins about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, until set and doesn’t jiggle. Again, the cream of tartar ommission doesn’t make these “rise” like a normal soufflé, which means they also won’t “fall” either. They will expand and set a bit from sitting out of the oven, but not by much. Also, this doesn’t make it taste different than a soufflé, just allows for those who don’t have cream of tartar (or don’t want the rise-and-fall effect) to make a soufflé!

So that is it. It seems like a lot, but I promise it’s pretty easy. Best part is that you cover them with some aluminum foil, refridgerate, and then take into work with you easily for reheating (just remove the foil!) in the dish in the microwave (I suggest 80 seconds on HIGH power). Simple lunch that has minimal clean-up and dirty dish factors involved!

Now just enjoy! Let me know what you think! 🙂

chicken broccoli cheese mini forest souffle

Mini Forest Soufflés!

I input everthing into a CalorieCount program, and this is the nutrition information it gave me back:

Serving Size: 1/16 of entire mixture
Calories: 104
Total Fat: 4.7 g (Saturated Fat 1.0 g)
Cholesterol: 63 mg
Sodium: 130 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 3.5 g (Dietary Fiber 0.9 g; Sugars 1.7 g)
Protein: 11.6 g
Vitamin A: 7% / Vitamin C: 19% / Calcium: 5% / Iron: 2%

Craft You Later,
Beth

Healthy Chicken Wraps

Hello Friends!

I have recently been trying to eat healthier at lunchtime, and have decided to share a few of the meal ideas with you this week.

healthy chicken wraps tomato cucumber cheese honey dijon chicken tortilla

First up we have Healthy Chicken Wraps.

Ingredients:
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced to approximately 1-inch cubes
spices (for flavoring chicken to your preference)
1 tomato
1 cucumber
Honey Dijon Mustard
Tortilla Wraps
Deli-Sliced Cheese of your choice (Provolone, Swiss, Colby-Jack, PepperJack, etc.)

Cook your chicken how you like it flavored. I cooked mine in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of Butter Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon of Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon Garden Veggie Dip Mix, and 2 teaspoons Diced Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix.

Cook over medium heat for approximately 12 minutes, until nice and tender, and no pink shows. Don’t overcook it though, as that will make dry chicken which is never good!

NOTE: Don’t heat olive oil before slicing chicken as that will cause smoke and fire alarms to go off, and other assorted irritants. Nope, I’ve never done that before, never! 😉

chicken skillet baked olive oil spices

Once done, your sliced chicken will look like this, or similar!

Store your chicken in the fridge in containers that will travel well with you to work (or wherever). I took one container, and put in all my chicken. Then in another container, I put a sharp paring knife, 1 tomato, 1 cucumber and my deli-sliced cheese. Since I love cheese, all kinds, I decided to do 1 slice of provolone and 1 slice of colby-jack per wrap. So I stuck 2 slices of each cheese in the container. Then I folded up 2 tortilla shells and stuck those in a plastic zippered bag to take in with me, as well as my bottle of honey dijon mustard!

Once you get to lunch, take your knife and dice up half of your tomato and a third of your cucumber into very small pieces. Trust me, it’s easier to eat as a wrap with smaller pieces, and spreads the taste around better!

Next, take your tortilla and spread the desired amount of Honey Dijon Mustard (this will have a kick, fair warning) all around. Place your 2 pieces of cheese in the middle (so the ends are cheese-less), top with a handful (or 2!) of chicken, your diced tomatoes and cucumbers, and fold like a burrito. And then….

chicken tomato cucumber tortilla cheese honey dijon healthy chicken wrap

Voilà! Healthy Chicken Wraps to enjoy for lunch!

So that is the first lunch item, stay tuned for more this week! Let me know what you think of this quick, easy, portable and healthy lunch idea!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Island Chipotle Kotopitas

Hello Entertaining Friends,

I had done my post yesterday about a couple simple appetizers that I made this weekend for an event. I actually made a third appetizer, which wasn’t so simple. I am calling them Island Chipotle Kotopitas. Just because I can. Plus the name of the ingredients is way longer than I want the blog entry name to be. So there!

phyllo wonton appetizer dark chocolate chipotle mango strawberry havarti chicken

Island Chipotle Kotopitas

So the event we were doing will be outlined in tomorrow’s post, but it was a Charlotte Beer Babes event at the World of Beer Southend where we did an IPA Beer Tasting. I had asked the WOB-Southend ‘teacher’ for suggestions of food pairings and he suggested bold and spicy foods. Doing the Citrus Habañero Asparagus and BBQ Rumaki covered the spicy and bold, respectively.

However I am a sweets girl (contain your shock please), and I wanted to do something that was a dessert in addition. So I thought “Dark Chocolate Chipotle Sauce” in my head, and over twitter, and it was approved by the powers that be so then I decided I needed to come up with a dish that would work with that sauce. Which, by the way, I totally made up from the top of my head.

While at the grocery store, I was thinking about what could possibly go with the sauce, and thought mangoes and strawberries. Then I thought, “what about doing that with chicken, and making it a true appetizer that isn’t a dessert, but just has a sweet aspect?!?”. So I then had to go gather the perfect cheese, with the help of the deli counter ladies: Havarti. I think brie (not baked), provolone, swiss or vermont sharp white cheddar would all have gone equally well. I intend to experiment in future to test that theory, haha!

So then my dilemma was how to package this. I must have been channeling my friends big-time as I decided to use phyllo dough and make little chicken phyllo pies…also known as kotopitas, in Greek (see how I did that naming thing?!?! Yeah, I’m good like that. HA!).

So I am not going to lie. The whole phyllo dough thing is incredibly time intensive, and can be frustrating if you’re not careful. So if you want to try this recipe and not deal with what could be ‘unnecessary stress’, I would suggest spending the extra money and buying the pre-made phyllo dough mini shells from the frozen food section. However if you want to do more wonton-looking appetizers, or bigger potpie-like entrées, then you will need to grin and bear it with the phyllo dough.

This recipe yields:
50 wonton appetizers OR
50 mini pre-made shells OR
3 potpie-sized entrées

Recipe Times:
Filling: 40 minutes
PLUS
Shells (pre-bought): 1 minute, plus thawing time
OR
Hand Wrapped: 90 minutes, plus thawing time

Utensils Needed:
2 Sharp knives, 1 paring knife & 1 steak knife
2 cutting boards, 1 for raw chicken, 1 for fruit & phyllo dough
1 5-quart saucepan
1 small spatula, 1 large spatula, 1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized mixing bowl
blender (I have my handy-dandy Magic Bullet Blender as always)
APPETIZERS: 2 11×7 pans in which to bake wonton/shells
ENTREES: 3 6″-diameter round aluminum pans (like this)

What Ingredients You Need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, raw and sliced into chunks
2 teaspoons each Garden Veggie Mix & Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
2 tablespoons Butter Olive Oil (for chicken)
1 package frozen phyllo dough (you’ll only use 1 of the 2 packages, and only half of that!)
1/4 cup Butter Olive Oil (for phyllo dough if making your own)
OR ~50 mini phyllo shells (frozen, pre-made)
1 quart strawberries, rinsed
1 medium-sized mango
3 tablespoons Smuckers Hot Fudge Sauce
2 teaspoons Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Blood Orange Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Ground Chipotle Chile Powder
4 pieces thin-deli-sliced Havarti Cheese

How To Make Everything:
1) Thaw your phyllo as instructed. Preheat oven to 350. Heat saucepan over medium heat.
2) Add the 2 tbspn butter olive oil, Garden Veggie and Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto mixes  to the saucepan, stirring until well-mixed. Add your sliced chicken (I did roughly 1″ pieces) and stir with a wooden spoon until fully cooked, about 12 minutes.

ground cooked chicken

Chicken after blender…

3) Remove from heat, drain and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, gradually add chicken to blender and process until almost a ground meat texture. Place in mixing bowl.

chopped mango

Chopped Mangoes…

4) Quarter mango around pit (be careful of slicing yourself here!), and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces without skin. It’s easier to quarter with skin on, then remove skin per section as you dice mango. Add to blender and pulse for 7 seconds, to make a thick purée. Add to mixing bowl using small spatula.

pureed mango chicken

Puréed Mangoes with Chicken…

5) Remove stems from strawberries and quarter. Add to blender for 3 seconds just on a bare pulse to make a little softer. Add to mixing bowl using small spatula.

strawberry mango chicken

Pulsed Strawberries with Mango and Chicken…

6) In a small bowl, heat hot fudge sauce until just fluid, about 40 seconds. Add Dark Chocolate BV, Blood Orange EVOO, chipotle powder and hot fudge sauce to blender and mix (full speed) for 30 seconds until fully blended. This will distribute the chipotle evenly, as you’d not want to bite into chocolate and get a mouthful of nothing but chipotle!

dark chocolate chipotle sauce

Mixed Dark Chipotle Chocolate Sauce…

7) Once sauce is fully blended, add to mixing bowl using small spatula and stir until everything is mixed together evenly. This may take about 3 minutes. This will also end up looking slightly mush-like, but trust me that it will taste amazing!

dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry

Island Chipotle Chicken Mixture…

8a) Shells: If using pre-made phyllo shells, once they are thawed according to instructions, continue to step 9a.
8b) Wontons: Once your phyllo dough is thawed, take 4 sheets of dough (these are super thin so this will not be very thick, just as a note) and place on your non-chicken cutting board. Using your 1/4 cup Butter EVOO (“butter” for this section), spread a very thin amount of “butter” over top layer of phyllo dough. Invert so that it’s facing the 2nd layer of phyllo. Flip the 4-pack over and repeat process for the opposite side. Cut into 6 squares. Repeat until have roughly 50 squares. Continue to step 9b.
8c) Potpie: Once your phyllo dough is thawed, take 6 sheets of dough, and place on your non-chicken cutting board. Using your 1/4 cup Butter EVOO (“butter” for this section), spread a very thin amount of “butter” over top layer of phyllo dough. Invert so that it’s facing the 2nd layer of phyllo. Flip the 6-pack over and repeat process for the opposite side. Repeat for other 2 ‘base shells’. Continue to step 9c.

phyllo dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry wonton kotopita

Building Island Chipotle Kotopitas (Wonton sized)…

9a) Shells: Place your shells in the pans and add 3/4 teaspoon chicken mixture for each shell. Top each shell with enough Havarti cheese to just cover the chicken mixture, about 1/4-inch square. Continue to step 11.
9b) Wontons: Place each square in pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon chicken mixture to center of wonton. Top each wonton with about 1/2-inch square of Havarti cheese to just cover the chicken mixture. Fold the phyllo together (brush with a little “butter” if needed to make it stay) until closed at top. Continue to step 11.
9c) Potpie: Place the phyllo dough in round pan so fits like a pie crust (doesn’t have to cover all sides though!). Add 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture to each ‘base shell’. Top each with enough Havarti cheese to cover the chicken mixture, about 1 1/3 slices.
10) Potpie: Take 4 sheets of dough, fold in half, then in half again. Place on top of potpie filling. Add a little “butter” to top and then fold the ‘base shell’ over so that it is closed fully and stays closed. Repeat for other 2 ‘top shells’.

phyllo dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry wonton kotopita

Buttered Island Chipotle Kotopitas (Wonton sized)…

11) Bake for 10 minutes for shells, 15 minutes for wontons, and 22 minutes for potpies.
12) Let cool, serve and enjoy! Best part, you can serve all of these in the very dishes that you’re baking them in, woohoo! Easy serve, easy clean-up!

phyllo dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry wonton island chipotle kotopita

Buttered Island Chipotle Kotopitas (Wonton sized)…

Now, I know this all seems super complicated, however I will tell you that I made 22 of the wontons and 2 of the potpie-sized dishes in about 90 minutes, from start to finish.

I actually did the potpie idea because I was running out of time to get to the event on time, and figured that would serve as lunch and dinner for this week! Perfect and easy, just cover and put in the fridge, then reheat (microwave for 2 minutes, oven at 250 for 10 minutes) and enjoy!

So these really aren’t as complicated as they seem, I promise!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Quick, Simple, Fancy Appetizers

Hello Cooking Friends,

I don’t know about you, but I love quick and simple appetizers that everyone thinks took you forever to make, and are super complicated.

Baked Asparagus Citrus Habañero

Citrus Habañero Asparagus

I have two standbys that I used this weekend for a bring-appetizers-to-share event. I would like to share with you because I got so many “how did you make this?!?!” comments this weekend. I am going to share multiple variations for both just to be fair to all palates!

#1) ‘Fancy’ Asparagus

What you need: 1 bunch of asparagus, flavored olive oils, flavored balsamic vinegars, and various spices, as desired.

Preheat your oven to 350, and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray (I prefer aluminum ones to bake-and-take-and-toss when I’m going somewhere not at a house).

Keep the rubber bands on your asparagus and rinse the stems in cold water for a few seconds. Then, using a very sharp and long knife (i.e. not a paring knife), cut the bottom 1 inch off the asparagus stems. This is key to taste and keeping the rubber bands on is key to sanity. It also lets you cut your asparagus to mostly equal length quite simply!

So now we have our rinsed, prepped asparagus, remove the rubber bands and dump the stems into your pan (layers are perfectly fine). Over top of this you will drizzle and sprinkle your olive oils and spices. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until they’re to your desired tenderness (18) or crispness (12). I usually do about 15 minutes, to get it right in the middle!

A) Citrus-Habañero: pour about 3 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil evenly over your asparagus. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of Citrus Habañero Olive Oil evenly over top you asparagus. Bake.

B) Peppery Citrus: mix together 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Olive Oil, and pour over top the asparagus. Using a peppermill or grinder, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper over top the asparagus. Bake.

C) Garlicky Mushroom & Fig: mix together 2 teaspoons each Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dill weed, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Pour over asparagus evenly. Bake.

D) Butter & Bacon: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons worth of Bacon!Bacon! over top, evenly. Pour 2 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil evenly over asparagus & bacon. Bake.

E) Garden Veggie: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons each worth of Garden Veggie and Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto mixes evenly over asparagus. Pour 2 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil, OR pour 1 tablespoon melted butter plus 1 teaspoon Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil, evenly over asparagus & spices. Bake.

**Note, 2 tablespoons butter olive oil is equivalent to just under 1/4 cup melted (unsalted) butter.

#2) Rumaki

BBQ Barbeque Rumaki Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

BBQ Rumaki

What you need: toothpicks, 1 package bacon, 2 cans diced & drained water chestnuts, sauce as desired.

Preheat oven to 350, and either line a cookie sheet with foil or use an 11×7 pan – spray either one with cooking spray.

The basics of what you will do: cut your bacon strips into thirds, and then wrap 1 of these strips around 1 diced water chestnut. Stick a toothpick through starting where the wrap ends, and going through the water chestnut to the other side. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bacon is to your taste (crisp or soft). This does 2 things for you: 1) this keeps the bacon from getting messy and going everywhere while baking, and 2) creates an instant ‘serving’ option for guests to enjoy these without getting more utensils dirty!

So here are some ways to flavor the rumaki!

A) BBQ Rumaki: Take a barbeque sauce of your choice, I used the Laurel Gray Crazy ‘Bout Butts BBQ Sauce, and pour about 1/4 cup into the bottom of your pan. Place your tooth-picked rumaki into the pan in rows, and then drizzle another 1/8 cup of the sauce over top of the rumaki. Bake.

B) Ginger-Soy Rumaki: Place your tooth-picked rumaki in the pan in rows. Meanwhile, mix together 1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Butter Olive Oil (or 2 tbspn melted butter), dash of cumin, and 2 teaspoons ground ginger. For the ginger, if you happen to have pickled ginger on hand, you could substitute either 1 teaspoon of the pickled liquid OR 2 teaspoons of blended pickled ginger (solids only) for the ground ginger. Mix this well. Pour over rumaki and bake.

C) Garden Veggie Rumaki: Place your tooth-picked rumaki in the pan in rows. Sprinkle Garden Veggie and 2 tablespoons Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil over the asparagus, evenly. Bake.

So I sincerely hope that you enjoyed these, and if you try them, please let me know which version you tried (even if it’s your own) and how you liked them!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Chicken Veggie Rotini

Hey Friends,

I had a dinner brainstorm a bit ago that I wanted to share with you. I was in the mood for a casserole style dish but nothing heavy or super creamy. And I wanted chicken and pasta. To be honest, I really wanted the Carmela’s Chicken Rigatoni from Macaroni Grill (a previous employer of mine), but was too lazy/cheap to drive and spend $14 on one meal at 9 o’clock at night. Hey, at least I’m being honest! 😉

Beth’s Chicken Veggie Rotini!

So the basics of what I wanted were a very light cream sauce, with lots of flavor, and a bunch of diced vegetables mixed in with diced chicken over pasta. Able to be taken in to work easily for lunch as well.

I came up with this (partly due to the specials on produce at the grocery store):

Ingredients
1 box Rotini Pasta
1 bunch fresh asparagus, ends discarded, stalks then chopped into thirds
1 vidalia onion, sliced length-wise into 3″ x 1/4″ pieces
1 apple, cored and diced (thicker chunks)
selection of olive oils and vinegars
1/4 cup mixed shredded cheese
1/8 cup low-fat milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced

Cook your pasta until Al Dente (just a little hard still), and then drain and put in a PAM-Sprayed 13×9 pan. You’ll need every inch of this, I promise!

In your same saucepan, over medium heat, bring 2 tspn Blood Orange Olive Oil, 1 tspn Serrano Honey Vinegar, and 1 tspn Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar to a simmer.

Cook your chicken until just barely done (don’t over cook it since you’re going to bake it). Add to your pan of pasta and mix together. Reserve the liquid in the saucepan!

Cook your apple and onion in your reserved sauce, and bring to a simmer (~5 minutes).

Add asparagus and cook an additional 5 minutes, until crisp. Do not drain your veggies, instead scoop with a slotted spoon and add the veggies to the pasta-chicken dish.

In the saucepan with the reserved sauce, add your milk and cheese and heat on low until just blended to make a slightly creamy sauce.

Pour this sauce over the pasta dish. If you want, sprinkle additional cheese over top the pasta dish. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Serve and enjoy!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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