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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

Baked Lamb à la Beth

Hello Cooking Friends,

I was in the mood for lamb the other night, and happened to have 4 lamb shoulder chops in my freezer. So I thawed them out, then went hunting some recipe ideas. I looked around for some inspiration of lamb chops, and really just decided to wing it… According to my brother, that turned out to be a good call. Whew and Yay!

Baked Lamb à la Beth!

First take your raw lamb (defrosted if had been frozen), and place in a pan to bake. I ended up using two 8×8 cake pans, because I was planning on doing nut and nut-free versions. Once the meat is in the pan, do the following for EACH lamb chop, in this order: pour about 1 tablespoon of Garlic Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Sundried Tomato, Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Blood Orange Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar, 3 shakes Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix, and 2 shakes Garden Veggie Dip Mix. I’m including the links for 2 reasons: a) you can go buy these exact items if you so chose, and b) so you know what they are & what’s in them so you can find an appropriate substitute! 

Back to cooking. Next, top your lamb-in-the-pan, evenly distributed across all chops, with 1/2 cup diced green pepper, 6 oz diced mushrooms, and 1/2 cup Walnut Chips (1 small package). If you’re only doing half of the lamb chops with nuts, like I did, then just use 1/4 cup Walnut Chips. 

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, and this will get you a medium-well lamb chop dish. Now, before we go on I need to explain something. I do NOT eat any meat raw-in-any-part except sushi. I get my fish well-done, my poultry extra-well done, my lamb and other red meats well done, hamburgers well-done, and so on. I saw the outside of this lamb (granted partly concealed by so much yummy vinegar-oil-veggie goodness), after 30 minutes, and thought it was well done. I sliced into it and it was still a little pink, but I tried it on a whim. It was delicious. My brother likes his meats medium-rare, but he really liked the way it came out as well. So I figured I’d let you all know in case you are in the WELL family like me! 

We had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and microwaving it for 90 seconds made the meat into well done state (but not dried out), which was still just as delicious since the juices of the oils-and-vinegars were still surrounding the meat and veggies.

Lamb with mushrooms, green peppers, oils & vinegars, oh my!

So that is how I made my lamb chops, and they turned out really well, so I recommend you try something along these lines if you like lamb (or steak or whatever other red meat you so chose), particularly with the Dark Chocolate Balsamic added – that just made it, for me. Not too sweet, but not too chocolatey either. Mmmm. 🙂 Let me know what you think! 

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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