Bacon Wrapped Chicken

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Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 4 pieces, lengthwise

1 1/2 C brown sugar

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 pound bacon

1/2 C favorite BBQ sauce

1/4 C water

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees…or decrease to 400 AFTER  you take your artisan Couronne with Everything bagel topping out of the oven!

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YUM! That’s another post. Anyway, place a rack on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray. Combine the brown sugar, Cajun seasoning and paprika in a shallow dish. Roll chicken strips in brown sugar mixture, shake off excess and wrap with one to two strips of bacon, depending on strip size. Set on rack with loose bacon ends underneath chicken strip.

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***TRICK*** I found instead of securing bacon with toothpicks in the center where the two strips meet, that If I brush the ends with a glaze, they stick together!!! Here’s where your BBQ sauce and water come in…combine the two into a thin glaze, brush the tops of your bacon wrapped chicken with this before placing in the oven. It’s a delicious SEALANT that helps keep the bacon in place!! Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. I like to turn the broiler on for about 3 mins after to make the bacon extra crispy! ENJOY!

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Christy’s Buffalo Chicken Dip

This dip is sooo easy and soooo good! I actually like it a little bit better with celery than tortilla chips, but I forgot the celery so I “suffered” with only chips. I like this dip because you can make it your own…extra sauce for a spicier dip, substitute ranch for bleu cheese if you like that better. I lean towards bleu cheese, but it’s delicous both ways!!

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(I did a half batch, the kids aren’t big fans of the spicy)

Ingredients:

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained, smashed with a fork

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 Cup Bleu Cheese or Ranch Dressing

3/4 -1 Cup Franks Red Hot (I like the buffalo wing sauce)

1 bunch of celery, cleaned and cut

Some of your favorite chips

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium low heat, stir in cream chesse and dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. You can serve it immediately or place into a crockpot on warm to keep it warm and gooey!

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BBB bread of the month: Nutella Brioche Flower

I LOVE this group on Facebook and their awesome website: http://www.breadexperience.com

Every month they post a new recipe/method for some sort of bread and I always enjoy making these (if I have time) or at least looking at everyone’s awesome creations.

I made time this month and I am submitting it late but it was fun to make and delicious I’m glad I did it. It’s measured by weights rather than cups but it is a more accurate measurement. I use my old Weight Watchers scale (which I’m sure goes against the entire WW lifestyle by using it to measure ingredients for delicious breads)

Ingredients:

Sponge:

64 g bread flour

1 1/4 tsp instant yeast

110 g milk, lukewarm

Dough:

3 large eggs, slightly beaten

390 g bread flour

40 g sugar

1 tsp sea salt

110 g unsalted butter, melted

1-2 tsp milk, if necessary to form a smooth dough

Filling and glaze:

Nutella

1 Tbsp milk plus 1 tablespoon water for glaze

The sponge: stir together the flour and yeast in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Pour in the milk and whisk the ingredients together until all of the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the sponge rises and falls when you tap the bowl.

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Mine didn’t really fall, but it had puffed up and there were some popped bubbles and it seemed to be ready.
The dough: add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue mixing with the paddle on low speed for about 5 minutes) until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to begin to develop the gluten.
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Then mix in the melted butter by hand, using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk or with the mixer on medium speed using the dough hook. Add in a couple of teaspoons of milk if the dough is too dry.

Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  It shouldn’t be too sticky too handle. I used setting 3 on my mixer for 9 minutes with the dough hook to knead.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl.  It doesn’t need to be oiled.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Let the dough bulk ferment in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile place some baking paper on a baking sheet.

To shape the flower, once risen, turn the dough out onto a surface, knock it back knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each piece into a ball.
Roll a ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 25 cm in diameter. The dough should be about 3-4 mm thick. Place the dough onto the baking paper and spread on a layer of Nutella, leaving a small gap at the edge. Don’t make the layer too thick but be sure to evenly cover the dough. Roll out a second ball of dough, place it on the first layer and spread with Nutella. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough but do NOT spread Nutella on the final layer.

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Cut the brioche into 16 segments but leave a small (3 cm/1½”) area in the centre of the dough uncut. Take a pair of adjacent segments. Lift and twist them away from each other through 180°. Lift and twist through 180° again, then twist through 90° so that the ends are vertical. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat this process for all pairs of segments.

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Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled film. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours to prove.

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Brush with the glaze then bake at 180°C conventional oven for 25-35 minutes.

Place the bread on a wire rack to cool.

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Pinwheels

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These are my favorite things to stick in my face! So Good! We are having a Christmas Eve potluck at work today so I went with these. I haven’t made them for a while.

Ingredients:
2 8 oz bricks cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pkg dry ranch mix
2 oz pimentos, drained
2 oz chopped black olives
1 cup chopped banana peppers
About 2 1/2 9 oz packages of your favorite lunch meat (I use turkey and ham)
1 pkg Spinach Mission Wraps
1 pkg Sun Dried Tomato Basil Mission Wraps

Ok so I broke my own cardinal rule yesterday, and bought an off brand cream cheese rather than Philadelphia. In my defense, I was in a rush on my lunch break and this couple was camped out in front of the cream cheese and wouldn’t move their butts so I grabbed what I could. The reason it’s a cardinal rule is because I have found the off brands never seem to blend well and become smooth.

Exhibit A:

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Granted, there is pimentos, olives, and banana peppers in there but the big chunks are non smooth cream cheese!!! Ok I know it’s not that big of a deal and they turned out good, so I’ll move on.

Mix cream cheese and mayo then add ranch and mix well. Add in pimentos, olives and banana peppers and mix.

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Spread cream cheese mixture with a spatula in a layer over wrap, then cover with lunch meat.

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Roll up as tightly as possible but don’t squish out the cream cheese! YOU WILL RUIN IT! Stop trying to ruin them!! Ok, sorry, Ive had to much coffee. After rolling, I like to reuse my wrap packaging to place the rolled up wraps to set overnight in fridge. You can also roll them individually in plastic wrap but that takes a bit longer. They do turn out rounder that way though.

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Let them sit in fridge overnight or at least 6 hours. Remove fridge and cut into 1 inch slices. I usually eat the ends or save them for later, this morning, Cleo dog and I are very full. We also found a few that looked funny, so we obviously couldn’t serve those to people so we had to eat those as well. These never disappoint I promise! Happy Holidays!!

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Easy Low Fat Crispy Chicken Fingers!

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Here’s one for the kiddos! (Even the kiddos that are taller than me now)

Ingredients:

3-4 Chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 C flour

2 eggs

1/4 cup water

2 C panko bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place rack on cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Get 3 shallow containers (I like to use pie pans) and place flour in one, sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder and paprika…mix with a fork. Next whisk eggs and water together and place in the second pan, then panko in last pan with salt and pepper. Roll chicken in flour mixture, then dip in egg, then finally roll in panko mixture. Place strips about a half inch apart on your rack and bake for 20 minutes with about 2-3 minutes on broil at the end to achieve a light brown color. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and tonight we had smiley fries and carrots too! Enjoy!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

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Ingredients:

2 small chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

2 cups diced ham

2 packages bacon recipe pieces

8 ounces swiss cheese, freshly shredded

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

About 12 oz Penne pasta, boiled (I usually boil a 16 oz pkg and reserve the rest)

1 8 ounce package cream cheese

16 ounces heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons dried parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1 1/2 teaspons garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

I usually boil my chicken in a pan just covered in water about 20 minutes until cooked through, then chop it up. While cooking chicken boil the pasta with a little oil until done then drain, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the sauce; melt cream cheese on medium low in pot. Add cream, about an ounce at a time, whisking into cream cheese. Once they are combined smoothly, add garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Whisk. Then add in 4 ounces of your freshly shredded Swiss. Don’t use the preshredded stuff, it doesn’t melt well. Let it simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes, whisking often. You want to be able to pull the whisk up and not have a long string of cheese hang off. It takes a little while to fully melt it.

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While you are simmering cheese sauce, assemble the pan. I use a 9X13 nonstick casserole. Layer the bottom with the pasta, then top with chopped chicken, diced ham, and bacon bits.

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Once cheese sauce is of the right consistency, pour evenly over pasta mixture. I usually gently tap the whole thing on the counter a few times after I add the sauce to push it through to the bottom. Top that with the rest of your shredded cheese, parsley, and breadcrumbs.

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Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes to heat through thoroughly and melt cheese. Put oven on broil for about 1-2 minutes at the end to brown the top. Be careful…oven temps vary so keep an eye on it.

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I like to garnish with a little extra bacon and as usual, green onion. Today I didn’t have time to make fresh bread, so I made some boxed Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits to go along…these ARE SO GOOD. I recommend these highly. About 20 minutes from box to table and delicious!

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Best Freaking Chocolate Chip Cookies On The Planet

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon course (Kosher or Sea) salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

18 ounces (about 1 1/2 bags) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preaheat oven to 360 degrees. Mix butter, white and brown sugars until creamy and smooth. (I use speed 3 on my mixer for 3 minutes) Add eggs and vanilla, stir.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, stir with a fork to combine dry ingredients well. Add to sugar mixture. Stir well until combined. Add chocolate chips. I use a small scoop works out to be like one heaping tablespoon of dough and place about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I use the large ones and bake 2 dozen at a time. Bake at 360 degrees for about 12 minutes. I set the timer for 10 and check them to make sure they aren’t browning too fast. Happy Holidays!!

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Crock Pot Vegetable Soup

This stuff is better than Popeye’s spinach. Chock full of goodness. Perfect post Thanksgiving week dinner! Which is part of the reason I made it. I had a lot of half packages of veggies left over from turkey day and wanted to use them up!

Ingredients:

3 Roma tomatoes, gutted and diced

2 heads broccoli, chopped

1/2 package of portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 small bag baby carrots, chopped

6 stalks celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, pressed

1 pkg bacon recipe pieces

4 cubes chicken bouillon

46-64 oz can vegetable juice

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Put everything in the crockpot and cook on low for about 10 hours or high for 6. It smells like an Italian restaurant in the house. I work a weird noon to 10pm so I prepped it at 11:30 pm, put it on low,  then went to bed. I made sourdough in the morning and left the dough to rise for a few hours and turned the soup up to high. I made a couple of sourdough baguettes and flew out the door to work with a tupperware full of soup. VERY GOOD. Keeper recipe. Cleansing recipe!

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Results: I garnished with green pepper and bleu cheese crumbles. It was amazing!!

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Steak Fajita Rolls

Ingredients:

~ 4 thin skirt steaks
~ 1 onion sliced
~ 1 green pepper sliced
~ 2 jalapenos, de-seeded and sliced (optional)
~ 3/4 cup feta cheese
~ 1 tablespoon olive oil
~ 1 bottle of your favorite Chicken Fajita Marinade
~ Salt and Pepper to taste

Marinade skirt steak in a ziplock for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350, heat oil in skillet, add onions, green pepper and jalapenos and sautee until tender. Remove from heat. Pull steaks out of marinade and top with vegetables. Add feta crumbles on top of the vegetables.

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Roll up length-wise and tie with uncolored cotton thread or kitchen twine, and sear in pan you cooked veggies in until nicely browned on all sides. Place pan in oven and finish cooking for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how well you like your steak done.

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Remove string and slice into bite sized pieces. I made mine with crockpot refried beans and some homemade flour tortillas. DELICIOUS!!

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Muffins

Chicken Cordon Bleu Muffins

This is another staple in my house. I got the idea from a recipe that originally was deep fried appetizers without the cheese or bacon.

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chicken
2 cups finely cubed ham
1 package real bacon or recipe pieces
1 cup panko bread crumbs
About 4-6 oz Swiss cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a couple muffin tins with cooking spray. Combine all the ingredients minus the cheese in a large bowl and mix well. I usually use my hands to get it thoroughly mixed.

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Grab a small handful of meat mixture, and form into a patty. Place a piece of cheese in the center, then wrap meat around cheese.

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Pat ball into greased muffin tin. I usually end up with 14-16, depending on how big I make them

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Place tins in preheated oven. Bake for approx 30 minutes, then turn the broiler on for about 2 minutes at the end to brown tops. I usually push the cheese on some of them that melts out of the tin back onto the muffins while they are hot. I run a spoon around the side to scoop them out just to make sure they aren’t sticking. Enjoy!!!

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