Author Archives: Juliana Goodwin

About Juliana Goodwin

I've been a professional food and travel writer for nearly two decades. I'm a syndicated food columnist and my column appears in newspapers in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Iowa. I have published a cookbook and my writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines all over the country. I LOVE to travel and have been to every continent on earth, but I also LOVE living in the Ozarks. I have a wonderful daughter who is more than I could even pray for. Entertaining is a big part of my life. I grew up in a family who entertained all the time and many of my favorite memories come from the kitchen. I want to encourage others to bond over food.

Barbecue Chicken Flatbread with French’s Fried Onions

 

BBQ chicken

Flatbreads are the perfect solution for quick weeknight dinners, snacks, or entertaining.

It only takes about 15 minutes to  whip up a delicious flatbread, so I keep ingredients on hand all the time for these creations.  I use naan for my crust and it freezes well. You can make a basic flatbread with sauce and cheese,  but I prefer innovative bites.  Any one of my recipes this week would make great Super Bowl party fare.

I made an amazing Barbecue Chicken Flatbread. I love barbecue style pizzas and flatbreads but there are a lot of mediocre ones out there. This one is topped with thick Kansas City style sauce, chicken, corn, bacon, a hint of onion, cheese and it’s all topped  off with French’s Fried Onions- which makes the dish. The smoky bacon, sweet corn, and crispy onions make this flatbread stand out. It was wonderful and great party option. I can’t wait to eat it again.

You can also use leftover pulled pork or brisket.

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Barbecue Chicken Flatbread

Makes 1 flatbread

1 small plain naan

3 tablespoons Kansas city style BBQ sauce

2/3 cup sliced chicken breast or rotisserie chicken

2/3 cup shredded  Monterey-Jack cheese blend

2 slices of cooked bacon

1 ½ tablespoons canned corn, drained

1/2 cup French’s Fried Onions (or more)

1 tablespoon minced red onion

Cilantro to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread barbecue sauce over the pizza.  Chop chicken breast and spread it over the sauce and then top with cheese.

Crumble the bacon and spread it over flatbread, along with corn. I drained the corn and dabbed it with a paper towel to make sure there was no more moisture. Top with both sets of onion.

Bake 7-9 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro, optional.

BBQ chicken slices

 

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Easter Nests with Almond Bark

nests

The best part of any holiday is family gathering in the kitchen.  I’ve always loved cooking and baking. Growing up, I couldn’t wait to share traditions with my future child. I would help both my grandmother and mother in the kitchen.

My grandma lived on a farm and I’d help her clean green beans, collect eggs, and bake German Chocolate Cake. I cherish those memories. My mother is an amazing baker and she would create elaborate cakes for our birthdays – remember the Barbie cakes? I had several of those.

And I also teach my 6-year-old how to cook and bake. But I am a modern woman and so we focus on fun and easy recipes.

Many families make Easter nests, which are candy nests made with chow mein noodles (although there are other variations).  Most people I know use chocolate in their recipe, but I like to work with almond bark  because it is more forgiving. It also sets faster which means we can eat these sooner.

I use both vanilla and chocolate almond bark for variety. I add coconut to the chocolate, and pretzels to the vanilla because the vanilla is sweeter and it adds a salty crunch. I love sweet and salty combinations. I hope you make these with your children!

Almond bark nests

 

Almond Bark Nests

Makes 20 nests

5 squares chocolate almond bark

5 squares vanilla almond bark

3 cups chow mein noodles

½ cup shredded coconut

½ cup broken pretzel pieces

Wax paper

Jellybeans or chocolate eggs

This makes 10 chocolate nests and 10 vanilla.

Spread wax paper out over two cookie sheets. Set aside.

Place chocolate almond bark in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir and then microwave at 20 second intervals until the chocolate has melted. Stir in 1 ½ cups of chow mein noodles and ½ cup shredded coconut. Stir to coat.

Use two spoons to grab a mound of mix and place it on wax paper, try to make an indentation in the center so you can place a jellybean there later. Allow to cool for 40 minutes.

Place vanilla almond bark in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir and then microwave at 20 second intervals until the bark has melted. Stir in 1 ½ cups of chow mein noodles and ½ cup crushed pretzels. I used mini rods.  Stir to coat and when the mixture is coated in bark, spoon onto wax paper. Try to leave an indentation in the center. Cool. Once mixture has hardened, place one or two jellybeans in the center.

 

 

Lemon Blueberry Tart

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Lemon and spring are the perfect pairing.

I adore lemon- the tart, bright flavor. And lemon desserts make me swoon. This lemon tart is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EASY! If you’re not a baker, this is your dessert because it is simple.

You simply bake a store bought crust, fill it with a luscious mixture of lemon curd, lemon zest, mascarpone and powdered sugar. Then top it with blueberries. Chill and serve. Yes, it’s that easy.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s a nice addition to the Easter table.

Lemon Blueberry Tart

1 (9-inch) tart pan

1 store bought pie crust or favorite pie recipe

1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 pint  fresh blueberries

TIP: If you want a no bake dessert, use a premade graham cracker or shortbread crust. Shortbread crusts are not as easy to find, but I prefer it over the graham cracker.

Directions:

Fill tart pan with store bought pie crust, be sure to overlap the crust around the pan because if you don’t, it will sink down while you bake it.

If you don’t have a tart pan, you could use a shallow pie pan (must be shallow).

Bake pie crust according to package directions, and be sure to pierce it repeatedly with a fork before baking.

Cool completely on the counter before filling.

For the filling, stir together mascarpone and powdered sugar, then stir in lemon curd and zest. Spread into the tart pan. Top with blueberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until time to serve.

blueberry tart

   

The Easiest Ultimate Coconut Cake

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Easter would not be Easter without coconut cake.

What am I saying? Any day is a good day for coconut cake. The problem is most recipes are time consuming or call for multiple layers, which means there’s a higher probability that something can go wrong.

I have the solution. A simple white coconut cake that is delectable! It starts with a boxed white cake and then I make it similar to a tres leches cake but I use coconut based milks instead of cow’s milk.

Tres leches translates into “three milks” and it’s a dessert usually made with sweetened condensed milk, regular milk or cream,  and evaporated milk.  The mixture is poured over a cake and the cake soaks it up. For my coconut version, I use cream of coconut (it comes in a can and is used to create pina coladas);  coconut milk (the refrigerated variety not a can), and then top the cake with homemade whipped cream.

This cake is delectable. It is best made a day in advance which is perfect because you’re not fussing with it on Easter day. It’s a sheet cake so it’s not as pretty as a layered cake, but the flavor makes up for the presentation.

The coconut milks soak into the cake overnight transforming it into a light, fluffy bite of coconut heaven.

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Coconut Tres Leches Cake

1 box vanilla cake

3 eggs

½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 cup water

½ cup canola

1 (15-ounce) can Coco Lopez cream of coconut

2/3 cup refrigerated coconut milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or coconut extract

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

It is very important you use cream of coconut, not a can of coconut milk. Cream of coconut is thick, very sweet with a strong coconut flavor, whereas coconut milk is thinner and not sweet. Cream of coconut is the goodness that goes into a Pina Colada so sometimes you will find it next to the alcohol mixers or in a liquor store.

The recipe calls for refrigerated coconut milk, not canned. If you cannot find refrigerated variety, you can substitute whole milk or use equal parts milk and coconut coffee creamer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together cake, eggs,  ½ cup shredded coconut, water and oil. Pour into a greased in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake according to package directions.

When it has cooled, poke repeatedly with a fork and poke it all the way to the bottom.

Whisk together cream of coconut with coconut milk or plain milk. Pour over the cake.

Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy whipping cream on high speed. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and vanilla extract. Whip until mixture thickens. Then spread over the cake. Top with 2 cups shredded coconut.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.

 

Transform Boiled Eggs into Five Delicious Appetizers

 

array of toastsI am already up to my ears in boiled eggs.

In my household, we get an early start dying eggs so by the time Easter rolls around, I’ve been through three of four dozen. I have to get creative with ways to use them.

Since small bites, crostini and toast appetizers are so popular, I thought I’d transform my boiled eggs into a variety of those for Easter. You can serve these as appetizers or make them after Easter for a casual dinner.

I have several suggestions because they are so easy.

Most of these recipes were made with a loaf of pre-sliced Italian bread; I simply popped the slices in the toaster instead of using the oven. It was so quick and easy. The serving sizes assume you use an Italian loaf; a baguette would yield more portions.

If you read my column last week, you saw my deviled eggs with Yum Yum sauce. Those were so divine I wanted to transform it into an egg salad. I served it on toasted bread as an appetizer, but you can serve it as  a sandwich, too. For low carb eaters, serve it on a slice of cucumber or daikon.

I love avocado toast so that was a must on the menu. It takes half an avocado for a piece of toast so this recipe only makes two slices. I simply topped the avocado toast with chopped eggs, bacon, diced grape tomatoes and salt and pepper. It was so simple and delicious. This is a great breakfast option.

A very popular choice was the simplest recipe of all: I toasted Italian bread, smeared store bought pimento cheese dip on it, topped it with sliced eggs, salt and pepper and a sweet and spicy pickle. It was a huge hit.

Be sure to add salt and pepper to your eggs once the egg is one the bread.

Another simple recipe was one I topped with onion and chive cream cheese, sliced eggs and tomatoes, salt and pepper and drizzled it in balsamic vinegar.

Lastly, I chopped eggs, bacon and tomatoes and tossed it all in a store bought honey mustard dressing. Then I topped the toasted bread with romaine lettuce and served the egg concoction in the middle. It was fantastic.  You could make it low carb by serving it in lettuce like lettuce wraps.

Hopefully this gives you plenty of options to use your eggs this Easter.

I hope you enjoy the recipes.

egg salad appetizer

Yum Yum Egg Salad

Makes 8-10 pieces

5 large hard boiled eggs

2 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup minced celery

2 tablespoons shredded carrots

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

½ cup Yum Yum sauce

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

¼ cup almond slivers

Mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted bread.

 pimento eggs

 

Pimento Toast with Sweet & Spicy Pickle

Makes 4 pieces

4 slices of French or Italian bread

Prepared pimento cheese spread

2 boiled eggs

4-8 slices of sweet and spicy pickles

Toast the bread. Peel and slice the eggs. Spread a generous amount of pimento spread on each piece of toast. Top with eggs. Add salt and pepper. Top with one or two slices of sweet and spicy pickles.

 

avocado toast

Avocado Toast with Bacon, Eggs & Tomato

Makes 2 pieces

2 slices of toasted bread

1 avocado

1/8 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1 boiled egg

2-4 grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon real bacon pieces

Peel avocado and smash it with a fork. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Divide it between two slices of toasted bread. Chop egg and tomatoes. Divide between avocado toast and top with bacon. Serve.

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Honey Mustard Bacon and Egg Spread

Makes 4 pieces

2 boiled eggs

5 grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons real bacon pieces

2 slices Romaine lettuce

Toast or French bread

¼ cup or more honey mustard dressing

Peel and chop eggs. Set aside. Chop tomatoes and toss with eggs and bacon. Add honey mustard dressing and toss to coat. Add more, if desired. Spread a piece of lettuce over the toasted bread. Top with egg filling and serve.

cream cheese eggs

Chive Cream Cheese Crostini with Tomato & Egg

6 slices of toasted bread

Chive & onion cream cheese

Sliced heirloom grape tomatoes

2 boiled eggs

Balsamic vinegar drizzle

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Toast the bread and then top with a very generous smear of cream cheese. Slice the boiled eggs and divide the slices between the bread. Add sliced tomatoes. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.

vertical array

Pimento Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Pickled Okra

DSC_0552It’s Easter week and if you’re on the hunt for great recipes for the day, I have some. This year, I’ve created a variety of deviled eggs and this is one of the more unusual recipes.  The pickled okra is key in this recipe and ties it all together, so don’t skip it.

Follow your favorite method for boiled eggs.

Pimento Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Pickled Okra

6 large boiled eggs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons drained pimento

2 tablespoons shredded cheddar

White part of a green onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Spicy pickled okra

Celery salt or seed

Place eggs yolks, mayonnaise, pimento, cheddar cheese and white part of a green onion in a food processor  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add salt and pepper to taste but don’t go overboard on the salt because you will sprinkle these will celery salt or seed before serving.

Fill the eggs back with pimento mixture.

Cut a couple slices of spicy or regular pickled okra. Add a slice to each egg. Sprinkle with celery seed or celery salt before serving.

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Deviled Eggs with Yum Yum Sauce

eggs on platterI don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, deviled eggs made with Yum Yum sauce. Yes, you know the delicious pinkish sauce you get at Japanese steakhouses? The one you drown your shrimp in.

I’ve written a food column for more than 15 years, which means 15 years of Easter stories.  After that amount of time it’s easy to get in a rut, so this year I challenged myself to rethink deviled eggs.

And this is one of the results.

I created Asian  inspired deviled eggs that are easy and amazing. I used Yum Yum sauce for the base and skipped mayonnaise or mustard.

I topped it with wonton crisps for crunch (you can find these with salad condiments), and a little green onion. If desired, add some chopped cilantro. These are fantastic. I will definitely serve these again outside of Easter. They were my husband’s favorite, too.

As a side note, after filling the eggs I had leftover yolk mixture and spread it on a piece of toast for breakfast. It was lovely.

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This is the new deviled egg recipe to try. It’s awesome!

Asian inspired Deviled Eggs

6 large  boiled eggs

1/4 heaping cup Yum Yum sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Wontons crisps

1 green onion

Cilantro (optional)

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Slice eggs in half, and place egg yolks in a bowl and smash with a fork until the yolks are crumbs. Then stir in Yum Yum sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.

Take a green onion and slice the green part only- don’t use the white because it will be too strong. Fill the eggs with the yolk mixture, top with wonton strips, green onion and if desired, cilantro. Serve. If you are not serving these immediately, leave off the wontons until the last minute.