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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

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

To Olive or to Vinegar…

Hey everyone!

I am taking a break from beer today to discuss a new cooking shop find, courtesy of my friend Mary. We went a long period of time without seeing each other so, as friends, decided to remedy that last night. We also decided to get productive for her pre-wedding craft preparations.

 

Please Note: Mary has 2 cats who are adorable but insane (as cats are prone to being). 😉 Love you Dom & Bob!!!! So she needed someone there who they are timid around so we could actually get the crafts done without them becoming cat toys!

So I agree to bring a bottle of wine and Mary says she’ll feed me for helping her out. Because I really need incentive to a) see my friend, or b) be crafty. Hah! Again, I say HA! 😉

So without spoiling the craft ideas that she came up with for her centerpieces, which we put together, let me just say that the stuff she found at Hobby Lobby is freaking perfect for her. They are doing a Rockabilly/Rocker style wedding, and not so surprisingly Hobby Lobby had a slew of great stuff for this color and pattern wise. So we had fun doing that. But no pictures or more details until later… 😛 Nice try, though friends.

No, this entry is about food. Yummy delicious food. And a new take-all-my-money-and-give-me-yummies website that I found. In her travels, Mary found this GREAT shop in Santa Cruz, California, called The True Olive Connection. I. Am. In. Love. And so is my tummy.

So Mary made a delicious chicken, melt-on-your-tongue delicious chicken. To accompany this chicken, she steamed cauliflower and topped it with a bit of Brummel & Brown’s Yogurt Spread. Delicious again.

Then she poured some Serrano Honey Vinegar into a saucepan and sautéed some spinach. This added a bit of a zing to the spinach that was tempered by the sweet. It wasn’t too sweet, and it wasn’t too spicy – it was a perfect subtle balance of flavor. And delicious again.

Then we had the toasted bread and dipping sauce. You’ve seen many Italian restaurants (large and small) doing this – you combine olive oil with spices and sometimes balsamic vinegar, swirl it all together, and voilà – a dipping sauce that is heart healthy. This is even better. This is a dipping sauce to write home about. Truly. I did, twice, today.

Combine the following in a dish that has a lip around the edge – or a bowl: a few spoon-fulls of Blood Orange Olive Oil and half that amount of Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Taste this and make sure you are sitting down. You will have a moment, I promise you. It’s like dessert but not. It’s bread with all the flavors of dessert and none of the calories of adding it in. It is heart healthy ambrosia. It is delicious. Oh, and I dipped my chicken in this wondrous concoction also – heaven! I love my dessert, but I didn’t need any after this. Just a nap. 🙂

To go with this awesomeness, I brought a 2009 3 Muses California Merlot (we had an accidental theme going here for Cali!), which was very yummy, slightly fruity with undertones of chocolate.

So yes this is Mary, not me, who is creating this wonderfulness, however we both love to cook. So when Mary saw my face, she had to show me the store name, and add in that they ship. So there goes part of a pay check, haha!

I am placing this order this week, and I plan to experiment weekly with these wonders – and have no fear, I will keep you in the loop on them! 😉
Medium Bottle Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
Medium Bottle Blood Orange Olive Oil
Medium Bottle Serrano Honey Vinegar
Sample Bottle Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar (1/6)
Sample Bottle Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar (2/6)
Sample Bottle Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (3/6)
Sample Bottle Chipotle Olive Oil (4/6)
Sample Bottle Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil (5/6)
Sample Bottle Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil (6/6)

I am already imagining different pairings for chicken, pork, turkey and ham for these delicious options. So keep watching to see what I come up with. But in the meantime, check out this little shop in Santa Cruz and see what you can think of to try. Let me know if you come up with any good concoctions!

Craft you later,
Beth

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