Monthly Archives: January 2015

Puff Pastry filled with Chicken, Artichokes, and Cheese — pairs beautifully with wine

ATTENTION EXCLUSIVE WINE LOVERS. Have you ever noticed that nachos or wings, typical Super Bowl fare, doesn’t pair that well with a glass of red or white?

I have, and so I usually drink beer or margaritas during the game, but if you only like wine, then this appetizer is for you.

Golden, buttery puff pastry is wrapped around chunks of artichokes and chicken tossed with creamy mayonnaise, cheese, a hint of salty bacon, and accented with Italian seasoning. It’s lovely.

This also makes a quick dinner. If you serve this for dinner, I’d suggest serving grilled asparagus and salad or sautéed spinach on the side. DSC_0144 (2)

Puff Pastry filled with Chicken, Artichokes and Cheese

1 puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm is my favorite)

1 cup drained artichokes

1 cup chopped boneless, skinless rotisserie chicken breast

1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese (could substitute Parmesan if you can’t find Asiago)

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon or real bacon pieces (optional)

Dash of garlic salt

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drain artichokes, pat with a paper towel to dry and roughly chop artichokes. Stir together artichokes, chicken, cheeses, mayonnaise, bacon and Italian seasoning. Top with a dash of garlic salt.

Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, this will help prevent the puff pastry from sticking.

Unfold puff pastry and remove the paper. The pastry will naturally be divided in thirds and all you want to do is fill that middle third with the chicken mixture. So carefully spoon all the mixture down the center of the pastry and fold the sides up and over to seal. Dip your fingers in water and seal the edges so the cheese doesn’t bubble out.

Bake 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with a glass of Sauvingnon Blanc or  Chardonnay; or any red from a Pinot to Cabernet. Cheers to drinking wine and eating food that pairs well with it during the Super Bowl.

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Easy Enchilada Dip

This dip screams “Make me for the Super Bowl.”

Super Bowl Sunday is America’s second largest food consumption day, after Thanksgiving. So there’s a lot of competition for good food, but this dip will get attention.

If you’re not a good cook, this is the dip for you because it’s so easy!

You can use red or green enchilada sauce, whatever you prefer. Just be sure you use a sauce you like because it will heavily flavor the dip.

I love cumin, so I personally would use cumin seed because when you bite into it, it explodes with flavor, but the ground cumin is probably better for a crowd.

If you don’t like cilantro, you can garnish this with chopped avocado, or buy premade guacamole and drop a pile of that in the center.  You can also add shredded iceberg lettuce in the middle.  Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Leftovers are good warmed in the microwave (but don’t reheat the entire dip, just scoop out what you need).

I love this dip and I hope you will, too.

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Enchilada Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

¾ teaspoon ground cumin (substitute cumin seed if you love cumin)

1 ½ cups refried beans

2 1/3 cups rotisserie chicken

10 ounces red or green enchilada sauce (this recipe works with either; just be sure you like the sauce)

½ cup drained corn

2 cups Mexican shredded cheese (or Taco style cheese)

Cilantro to garnish (optional)

Tortilla chips for serving

Directions:

Set cream cheese on the counter for 30 minutes to soften it and make it easier to spread. If you forget that step, it will still spread, but it’s a little harder.

While cream cheese softens, pull both breasts off the chicken and shred breast and thigh meat. Do not use any skin. Chop chicken, place in a bowl and cover with enchilada sauce and set aside.

Drain corn and set aside.

If you plan to garnish with cilantro, cut off the stems and chop cilantro. I like to use about half a cup and pile it in the center, that way anyone who doesn’t like it can avoid it. If you know everyone likes it, or don’t care, then chop as much as you want.

Preheat oven to 400.

Spread cream cheese into the bottom of a deep dish pie pan. Sprinkle with cumin.

Spread refried beans over that layer. Spread corn over beans. Then spread chicken over that. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 22-25 minutes.

When done, garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

ench enchilad

Buffalo Chicken Pizza (5 ingredients)

Are you looking for the perfect Super Bowl recipe? Here it is.

My Buffalo Chicken Pizza is the perfect blend of spicy sauce mix, creamy cheese, chewy pizza dough and heavenly cream cheese. Yes, I use cream cheese as the base and then top that with chicken breast tossed in wing sauce and cheese.

I am a big believer that cream cheese makes the world better.

With only 5 ingredients, this is EASY and scrumptious.

One of the keys is to use Ott’s hot sauce, it has amazing flavor and a perfect balance of heat for most people. If you can’t find Ott’s, then use your favorite wing sauce. I try to make this spicy, but not unbearable because people like all different heat levels and if you have a party, you never know what people like.

Anyway, as you gear up for football this weekend, consider this recipe. It’s lighter than wings. I like the flavor of wings, but hate the fattiness and skin. This is skinless chicken and is soooooooooooo much better. Try it and let me know what you think

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 ready made pizza crust or naan bread (Stonefire is my favorite)

1 1/3 cups chopped skinless rotisserie chicken (I like to use breast for this)

1/2 cup Ott’s hot sauce, plus more for drizzling

8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss chicken with hot sauce, stir to coat and set aside.

Spread cream cheese evenly over your pizza crust. When covered, spread chicken out across the pizza.

Top with cheese and then a slight drizzle of more hot sauce.

Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted to your desired consistency.

Note: Not every store carries Stonefire Pizza Dough, which also makes naan. It’s usually kept next to the Naan. It’s awesome though.

Chicken and Andouille Po’ Boy with Horseradish Slaw

This was one of my favorite inventions of 2014.

This photo does not do the level of deliciousness justice. The chicken is hidden under the slaw and sausage is never sexy to photograph.

BUT, the recipe is FABULOUS!

If you like a little kick, and it’s only a little, you have to try this!

I love Louisiana food. My husband is from there and we visit every year, but long before I met him, New Orleans was one of my favorite food cities.

So last summer, I wanted to invent an easy Po’Boy, which is one of my favorite sandwiches.

All my favorite Po  Boys are fried and I wanted something lighter, so I decided to mix lean chicken breast with spicy Andouille and top it with a spicy slaw.

The horseradish slaw makes this dish!!! It’s fantastic. You will have leftovers of this slaw, so I often plan either a barbecue meal the next day or even a salmon sandwich. This slaw is great on pork, brisket or salmon. The slaw is best made 2 hours in advance to let the flavors marinate. If you don’t have that time, make one and a half times the dressing recipe for the slaw so there’s more sauce on it.

Andouille is a smoked, pork Cajun sausage and it’s traditionally spicy.  If you or your children don’t like a lot of spice, you could use Johnsonville New Orleans style Andouille, which is not very spicy; or even use kielbasa. If you do like a little kick and you’re in the Springfield area, try Circle B Ranch’s Andouille. Circle B. Ranch is a humanely raised certified hog farm in Seymour. I’ve been there and the hogs graze freely. I like that. You can find the product at Harter House or the Greater Springfield Farmers Market. One bite and you can tell there are not fillers, but it is spicy, so keep that in mind, if you’re sensitive to heat because the slaw has a little kick. You can find more information about Circle B Ranch and where to buy their pork: http://www.circlebranchpork.com

Chicken and Andouille Po’ Boy with Horseradish Slaw

1 (14-ounce) bag cole slaw mix (I like the tri-colored, but plain is fine)

½ cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons Sandwich Pal Woeber’s horseradish sauce (if you substitute another horseradish, just taste as you go because sauces vary a lot in terms of heat)

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Assemble

6 hoagies or sausage rolls

6  Andouille sausages

2 breasts from the rotisserie chicken, sliced and skin removed

For the slaw: in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar and horseradish. Salt and pepper to taste and cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

Remove the chicken breasts from the rotisserie chicken and cut into slices.

Cook Andouille according to package directions. I often slice it in half just so it lays flat in the bun.

I like to heat my hoagie rolls or sausage buns (I prefer sausage buns), but that is up to you. If you do heat them, I would put them in a 400 degree oven, keep the bread closed, and toast for 3 minutes.

When done, place Andouille in hoagie, top with sliced chicken and then add a big pile of horseradish slaw.  Enjoy! This is a delectable sandwich.DSC_0713 (2)

Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville, Ark.

I didn’t make this chocolate, caramel, date piece of HEAVEN, but I can tell you where to get it.

dessert

This dessert is worth every calorie. It’s called  Trot on Over Here and it’s sticky pudding cake flavored with coffee and medjool dates topped with chocolate sauce, caramel and maple bacon brittle ice cream. The ice cream was scrumptious!!! This smooth buttery, caramel ice cream had lovely chunks of maple bacon brittle adding perfect contrast to the texture.

The fried mint on the side did nothing for it and actually distracted from it. I pushed it aside.

This treat was voted Best Bacon Dish in the South by Southern Living Magazine.

It’s available at the Tusk and Trotter in downtown Bentonville, Ark. http://www.tuskandtrotter.com/

trot

We stopped Sunday for brunch there and  had a good meal. The main courses (Eggs Benedict and eggs gratin) were just ok, but the appetizer of risotto balls was fantastic. Creamy risotto, was mixed with ground meat, homemade sausage, herbs and cheese and then rolled in balls and fried. FAB-U-LOUS. Don’t these look good?

risotto balls

We had a nice mimosa. I did not like the Bloody Mary because it was thin, but my husband prefers thin mixes so he liked it. They have an array of Bloody Mary’s to choose from from pickles to bacon to ghost pepper. That’s just personal taste.

The Pomme Frites covered in Herbs de Provence were also fantastic. They had a sticky sauce on them and I didn’t think I’d like it, but I did.

But the dessert was the highlight! And they have a biscuit covered with “chocolate gravy” and served whipped cream and strawberry ice cream. That’s on my list next time. I was stuffed! Next time, I will order the risotto balls, a salad and go for two desserts. I am not kidding. I don’t eat a lot of dessert, but when I do, I go all out!

Here is the interior of the restaurant.

We took a day trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and had brunch in Bentonville. Both are fabulous!

Creamy, Chicken and Dumpling Soup (SUPER EASY)

I wish I could take credit for this brilliant, delicious Creamy, Chicken and Dumpling Soup, but I can’t. My husband’s cousin’s wife made a version of this a few years ago. I don’t remember the original recipe. but she used flour tortillas to make the dumplings, which I thought was brilliant. That soup served as the inspiration for this one/

I normally hate Chicken and Dumpling Soup, but this is creamy and absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s SUPER EASY.  It’s perfect for a cold winter day. Your family will love it.

Creamy, Chicken and Dumpling Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion

2 stalks celery

2 bay leaves

1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 soup can filled with water

1 1/ 3 cups mixed frozen peas and carrot

2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

3 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Chop onion and celery. Set aside.

Place tortillas on top of each other and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut into ½ inch rectangles or squares. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. When hot, add onions, celery, bay leaves and cook 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add chicken stock, soup and then fill the soup can with water and add to pot. Toss in frozen peas and carrots and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce to strong simmer and add chicken and tortillas. The tortillas serve as dumplings. Cook 5  minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and then serve. Serve with a roll because you will want to sop up all the deliciousness that is this soup.

This easy version of Chicken and Dumpling Soup is pure comfort food

This easy version of Chicken and Dumpling Soup is pure comfort food

Day Trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

If you haven’t been to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, you really should go. Last week was my husband’s birthday, so I surprised him with a trip there. I’ve been to 45 states, so I feel comfortable saying this is one of the most beautiful museums in America. There are iconic paintings like Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter and modern artists, too. But the architecture will wow you as much as the paintings inside the building. There are walking and biking trails around the museum, and the restaurant, Eleven, was good. Here are some pictures from our lovely afternoon …

Isn’t this one wild? I took it as we drove away/ It was a gorgeous day.

One thing I love about this place is the use of natural light and nature. This is one of the hallways at the museum. It’s actually a series of buildings, some connected by bridges. Arkansas is a stunning state and this place showcases that beauty.

We have typical Ozarks weather that day. One moment it was gorgeous, the next it was cloudy, and then it was pretty again. I love the gray tones and shadows in this photo. I didn’t tone anything. All of these were shot on my iPhone. Gotta love modern technology.

The entrance to the museum. I love this silver tree. See, gorgeous weather one minute.

The restaurant has amazing natural light and good food. The menu is limited, but we both had an Ozark Harvest Salad and it was excellent. I am going to try to recreate the dressing.

Painting by Thomas Hart Benton. I love his stuff.

So many people take pictures of the building. It’s awe inspiring.

As my husband would say “Trippy cloud formation.”

That’s all I had time to download. It was a wonderful day. And the museum is FREE, so you can take the entire family and enjoy a free day of entertainment. I am proud to have this in the Ozarks.