Friday, October 24, 2008

Chicken Crescent Pouches

I think everyone has some version and different name for these things but they sure are good. My boys love these. When I'm not feeling too lazy, I make a gravy or use some cream of chicken soup as gravy. Don't let my pictures scare you! I left them in the oven to keep "warm" while I delivered some to a friend and they continued to cook and got a little "dark." They were still good though! I also read of some variations that sounded tasty: adding apples and onions to the chicken filling, adding green chiles and sharp cheddar, or chopped broccoli and tomatoes. Also, for a little added flavor, marinate or season your chicken well before cooking. A little extra seasoning never hurt...

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat (canned chunk chicken makes this recipe super easy and fast)
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped pimento peppers (optional)
1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3/4 cup crushed croutons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine until smooth. Add the chicken, onion, salt, pepper, milk and pimento. Mix well.

Separate crescent dough into four rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to center of chicken mixture and twist firmly. Pinch edges to seal.

Place sandwiches on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops of sandwiches with 1 tablespoon of melted butter or margarine; sprinkle with crushed croutons. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Dinner Group 10/23: Rotisserie Chicken, Carrots in Dill Butter, and Zuccini Bread

I've had a recipe for rotisserie chicken for some time now that I've been wanting to try and finally found the opportunity. I absolutely love the rotisserie style chicken you can get at the grocery store but it's getting more and more expensive. I made it with mashed potatoes, Lemon-Dill Carrots and Zucchini bread Thursday night and it was one of my favorite dinners so far! You definitely have to try the chicken. It was super easy, super fast, and super tasty. It's definitely going to be a regular occurrence in this house as my boys recently love to eat "chicken on the bone." This had the perfect blend of seasonings and the slow roasing on low in the oven left it tender and moist. Also, I'm not a big fan of steamed carrots... I really don't like soft carrots, but I had a whole bag of them I needed to use and these turned out pretty tasty as far as steamed carrots go. Even Caden and Gavin ate them. As for the zucchini bread, I've had problems with my staple recipe lately and wanted to try something new. It was pretty standard but I found it really easy to substitute in some whole wheat flour and applesauce for the oil. The boys loved this one, too. All the recipes except for the mashed potatoes came from Allrecipes, which is quickly becoming my new favorite recipe site. You can find the recipe for anything and everything with tons of reviews and ratings which always makes me feel better about trying a new recipe. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Best Ever Mashed Potatoes (here on blog)

Rotisserie Style Chicken (Love, love this one!)
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper (I omitted this because I don't have any)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I had to use red pepper flakes instead since I was out)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 onions, quartered
2 (4 pound) whole chickens

In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours. (A side note here: I was only able to refrigerate mine for about 3.5 hours and it still turned out very flavorful. But I'm anxious to try it overnight and see if it's even more flavorful; also, I used one rotisserie chicken but the same amount of seasonings... what can I say... I like things seasoned!)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving. (Another sidenote: My 3 pound chicken only needed about 4 hours; make sure you use a meat thermometer... you won't be able to tell by color because the paprika stains the chicken breast a pinkish color. Also, the drippings in the bottom of your pan make the best gravy. Plus, if you pour it over the chicken, it will give it the nice glazed look.)

Carrots in Dill Butter
1 (16 ounce) package baby carrots (I used regular big carrots that were sliced on the diagonal)
2 tablespoons margarine (I used butter)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (about 3/4 to 1 tsp. dried)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I only used about 3/4 Tbsp.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place carrots in a saucepan with enough water to cover. (Steam them to keep more nutrients!)Bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, and drain. Gently toss with margarine, dill, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Another Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour (feel free to use 1 cup whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (another way to make it healthier is to use 1/2 applesauce)
2 cups white sugar (I used 1 cup brown, 1 cup white)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (Of course I had to substitute chocolate chips here to get the boys to eat it!)

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Easy Breadsticks

Truly easy, fast, not too messy, and got the "you made these?" yummy response. Why was it that I thought breadsticks were too much work for dinner? Yum! Thanks, Angie.

1 T yeast
1 1/2 c warm water
2 T sugar
3 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 stick butter (can use less or more)
parmesan cheese
garlic salt
dried herbs (basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano)

Mix yeast, warm water, and sugar together. Let sit until yeast activates (gets bubbly). Add flour and salt. Knead for 3 minutes (I do this all in my kitchenaid). Let rise for 10 minutes. Pres into a 12 x 7 pan. Melt butter and pour over dough. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and herbs (to your liking). Let rise 15 minutes. Cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies

I had Jalapenos in my garden this year for salsa and ended up with quite a crop. The Pioneer Woman posted this recipe not to long ago and I've been dying to try them. My DH has a real thing for not liking anything hot or spicy and so I finally made a few of these just for me. They were delish!!! I must admit I did use turkey bacon as I have a thing against real bacon, but they were still super yummy and probably saved on a few calories. Try 'em! Yum!

Fresh jalapenos 2-3 inches in size
Cream cheese (softened)
Thin, regular bacon, sliced into thirds.

Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane. Smear softened cream cheese into each half. Wrap with bacon and secure with toothpick (At this point you can freeze them, uncooked, in a ziploc bag for later use).

Bake on a pan with a rack in 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. You don't want the bacon to shrink so much it starts to squeeze the jalapeno. If, after 20 minutes, the bacon doesn't look brown enough, just turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish it off. These are best when the jalapeno still has a bit of a bite to it. Yum!