Sunday, September 25, 2011

Creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Dip


Are you ready for some football??? The latest Taste of Home Cooking Recipe Swap celebrated the beginning of football season with a tailgating/appetizer theme. I was given a recipe for Mediterranean Dip from the blog Mrs. Regueiro's Plate.

After reading the recipe, I decided to both simplify it and change things up a bit, turning it into a creamier spread for crostini instead of a dip for pita chips (although I did also try it on pita chips). Instead of having a layer of feta at the bottom of the dip, I decided to blend my basil pesto with cream cheese and mayo as I thought too much feta would make the dip too salty. Additionally, feta doesn't fully melt, so I wanted something creamy as the base. I also didn't use full sundried tomatoes, but only the sundried tomato pesto. Finally, I didn't have much time so I used *gasp* store bought sundried tomato pesto... it worked just fine.


The result? A perfectly savory, flavorful, creamy, crostini topping/spread/dip..whatever you'd like to call it!

Here is my variation on the recipe.

Ingredients

  • Approximately 1/2 cup basil pesto (I made a pesto using one bunch of basil, 3 cloves of garlic, a touch of Kosher salt, and some olive oil - no pine nuts)
  • 1 block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 6 oz crumbled feta
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix basil pesto with the cream cheese and mayonnaise. Spread it in the bottom of a deep dish pie plate, or small baking dish
  • Next, spread a layer of sundried tomato pesto
  • Top with the chopped artichokes, then the feta cheese.
  • Bake for 15-20 min until hot and bubbly.

I will definitely be making this creation again!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

One Pot Cooking - Spicy Asian Chicken with Broccoli and Rice



I was about to make a chicken stir-fry tonight with broccoli and jalapenos, but last minute (meaning everything was prepped and my pans were on the stove and I was reaching to turn on the burner), I decided to pull out my Dutch oven and turn my stir-fry idea into a simple one-pot chicken dish.

I'm glad I did - I loved this. Jon thought it could benefit from maybe some cilantro or lime juice; I can see adding cilantro, but was also happy with it just how it was.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I had 3 small breasts and cut them each in half)
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 1 sm onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 c uncooked rice
  • 1 3/4 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
Directions
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan or Dutch oven
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; add to pan and cook 3 min per side then transfer to a plate
  • Add onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos to pan; saute 3 minutes
  • Add rice, stir 1 min
  • Mix the broth, soy sauce, and hoisin; add to pan
  • Bring to a simmer, then lower heat, return chicken to pan (nestled into the rice), put broccoli florets on top of everything, cover and cook over low heat (make sure it's still lightly simmering) approximately 15 minutes or until rice is cooked and the liquid has absorbed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baked Ham and Cheese Pinwheels


These little pinwheels look impressive, are delicious, yet are so simple to make. I have made them before using different ingredients for the filling - click here to see both Bacon-Cheese and Alouette Pinwheels. I have also made them using pizza sauce, cheese, and chopped pepperoni...yummy!!

Over Labor Day weekend, my parents had a barbecue and I decided to make an app. I wanted to do something hot since all of our sides and other apps were going to be cold. I mentioned baked pinwheels to Jon, and have to give him credit for coming up with the idea for the ham and cheese filling.

Making the Pinwheels

  • Open a can of crescent roll dough - you will most likely have 2 rolls once you open them (mine always split down the center, but this is perfect). Roll out each roll - each one will be a rectangle; keep the long side near you and pinch the seams closed.
  • Sprinkle them with a touch of dried thyme (I decided on the thyme because I use it when I make my Chicken Cordon Blue and love the flavor of the thyme with the Swiss and ham).
  • Layer Swiss cheese, sliced deli ham, then another slice of Swiss cheese. Roll towards you (you want the roll to be long and skinny, not short and fat) and pinch closed gently.
  • At this point you can wrap each long roll in plastic until you are ready to bake and serve them - that's one of the things I love about these.
  • When you are ready to bake them, preheat your oven to 350 degrees (I liked baking them at 350 instead of the 375 I did last time). Slice each roll into 1 inch pieces and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet with one of the cut sides facing up. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

That's it!

Along with the ham and cheese, I also made 2 others -
- Crescent dough with Yancey's Fancy Jalapeno and Cayenne Cheese
- Crescent dough with a mixture of Laughing Cow Cheese, Italian seasonings, and a touch of garlic powder