Tag Archives: party food

Chicken and Savory Waffle Bites

Chicken and Savory Waffle Bites

  • Servings: 14
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken and Savory Waffle Bites
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I have made chicken and waffles before in various forms. My favorite waffle batter contains three ingredients that separate it… cornmeal, jalapenos and extra sharp cheddar cheese. The cheese in the batter caramelizes into that perfect chewy crunchy bite that we all love in casserole edges or pizza edges. Looks slightly burnt but doesn’t taste like it.

The idea of these is to have one bite that contains a chicken nugget shrouded in a waffle coat. Now you could do these by covering the nugget in batter and dropping them into a typical waffle iron and they will turn out like flat blobs. Tasty blobs but you may struggle with uniformity. I found this waffle iron pan online that shapes them into walnuts. Now it isn’t an electric waffle iron but rather a plan you place on the stove or fire. This worked well for me and made perfect little bites that you could drizzle maple syrup or a special sauce over them. Link to waffle maker Walnut Waffle Maker

For the chicken nuggets… I saved myself some time and just bought them from Chick-Fil-A. I mean how can I compete with their chicken anyway. I swear if I could own one franchise it would be a Chick-Fil-A. Cars are lined up at everyone I pass anytime of the day. I digress. Below is the waffle batter I used.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 AP Flour
3/4 Cornmeal (yellow)
4 tsp of baking powder
2 tbs of White Sugar
2 tsp of Kosher Salt
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups of Buttermilk
5 tsp of melted non salted butter
2 splashes of Tabasco Sauce
2 cups of cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of diced jarred pickled jalapenos (I added an extra 2 tbs because I like the heat)

Directions:
1. About four hours before you serve them go buy your Chick-Fil-A nuggets. You can use another brand or even pick up some frozen in the store or search for a recipe and make your own.

2. Whip up your batter by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Set it fridge to set up for about 30 minutes.

3. Since I had my walnut waffle maker thing I coated the nuggets in the batter and dropped them into each walnut. I heated it over medium heat and cooked them about 3 minutes on each side. I turned the oven on 150 degrees and worked in batches dropping the cooked nuggets on a wire rack and popped them in the oven to keep warm.

I served them with maple syrup and made a mayo maple Dijon dipping sauce.

Tomato Bacon Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato Bacon Goat Cheese Tart

  • Servings: 4-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tomato Bacon Goat Cheese Tart
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This summer I have been loving tomatoes so I went to store thinking I was going to make a roasted tomato pasta with pancetta, basil and goat cheese. I just love that combo of the tangy goat cheese, sweet tomatoes and salty crunchy bacon/pancetta. I have been working this combo on sandwiches, salads and pastas all summer. So at the grocery store the pancetta just looked too fatty so I opted for bacon and trimmed it up a bit. When picking up some frozen fruit, I spotted the puff pastry and thought I would turn the meal in to a tart instead of pasta.

It turned out amazing and it has so many other possibilities You could cut them into appetizer portions which would be great for a party or finger food. You could make them into pockets or hand pies and obviously change up the ingredients. But why would you consider such insanity? Try it this week. You will not be disappointed.


Ingredients

Goat Cheese (one small package)
Handful of heirloom and cherry tomatoes
Fresh Basil
Three strips of trimmed butcher cut bacon
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic
Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp of brown sugar
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. In a medium low heated cast iron skillet add your trimmed and diced bacon and the shallot. Cook this low and slow until the bacon is crispy. Right before you remove it add your minced garlic and brown sugar and turn off the heat and let it cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Remove and set aside on a paper towel.
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2. While your bacon is slow cooking. Preheat your oven to 350-400 degrees. Slice your tomatoes and pat them dry. Sprinkle and drizzle salt, olive oil and balsalmic vinegar and roast them for about 20 minutes. Set them aside and pat some of the juice off of them. This will turn into a jam like mixture but you don’t want it too wet because the pastry will be too soft.

3. After your puff pastry has thawed for 20 minutes or so start the assembly process. I brushed some of the bacon fat on the edges of the pastry. Then I crumbled the goat cheese and spread the bacon mixture.
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Now add your tomato “jam” evenly and then top with some more goat cheese that you might have left, basil and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
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4. Bake for about 13 minutes or until the pastry is done. Slice, eat and enjoy.
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Asian Chicken Noodle Kale Salad

Asian Chicken Noodle Kale

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Asian Chicken Noodle Kale Salad
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We were watching Ree, the Pioneer Woman, the other day and her show was about using foods that represented the colors of summer. We hear all the time that foods that are colorful have more health benefits. Of course Kale makes an appearance because it is “such the thing to eat these days”. Truth be told I love collard and mustard greens more than Kale. I find it tough and too chewy so I cut it finely and use it as a supporting character vs the lead of my dishes. Maybe it’s a bit mental too, because the Kale zealots can really be annoying and I tend to have allergies towards people who take a food too far.

I took Ree’s idea and recipe and used it as my foundation. I marinated two chicken breasts overnight in soy and rice wine vinegar. The next day I hammered the to a consistent thickness and grilled them outside until done. I let them rest and sliced thinly and included them on the side of my salad.

Red Cabbage, carrots and Kale have a lot of structure but I found that the “dressing” mellows the stark rawness The flavors were terrific with blends of soy, Sriracha, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and hints of fish sauce and sesame oil. Really a nice healthy salad that can easily be converted to Paleo, Clean, Whole30 etc..

Ingredients:
2 free range chicken breasts
3 tbs of GF Soy
3 tbs of Rice Wine Vinegar

Salad
Pre-packaged Kale salad
1 small head of shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup of pre-shredded carrots
1 red pepper sliced thinly
Angel Hair Pasta for two (cooked and cooled)
handful of peanuts rough chopped
4 green onions (minced)
Handful of Cilantro (rough chopped)

Dressing
1/4 cup of Hoisin Sauce
1/3 cup of GF Soy Sauce
1/4 cup of Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbs of Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp of Fish Sauce
2 tsp of Sesame Oil
1 tsp of Chili oil
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
2 tbs of Brown Sugar
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbs of ginger minced

Directions
1. Marinate your chicken at least 3 hours and up to overnight in soy and rice wine vinegar.

2. Get your grill fired up to about 350-400 degrees. Put your chicken on the grill and while it is cooking get to chopping your veggies and dressing. IMG_0369

3. Make your dressing by mincing your garlic and ginger and then add the rest. Whisk it violently until it is well combined. Put it in the fridge and chop your veggies.

4. Boil your angel hair pasta (or any noodle you prefer) to package directions. When done, strain them and run cool water over them to cool them off.

5. So now you have your chicken chopped, your veggies chopped and in a large bowl, your dressing ready, your noodles ready and your rough chopped peanuts. Pour half the dressing into the veggies and toss them until well coated. Slowly stir in your cooked noodles. Taste it and dress accordingly (you can always add more dressing but you can’t undress and overdressed salad) I put a little dressing on my grilled chopped chicken and served it on the side of my salad so that I could control my protein/veggie bites.
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Buffalo Blue Chicken Egg Rolls

Buffalo Blue Chicken Egg Rolls

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium
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Buffalo Blue Chicken Egg Rolls
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Jill was traveling over the weekend and ended up stuck in Chicago due to their snow wallop. Given that I am the family traveler it’s me that is the one generally stuck or delayed. I was looking forward to picking her up and was planning to make her a nice “welcome home” gnocchi dish. Since that didn’t happen, I went dirty and dude on dinner and whipped up some buffalo chicken egg rolls.

Pretty darn tasty. You have the fresh carrots and purple cabbage with a blue cheese buffalo chicken mixture packed into a crunchy egg roll shell. Franks Red Hot is a must have in everyone’s pantry. I just love the vinegar, heat and blue cheese flavors.

So let me tell and show you how I did it.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (diced small)
Egg Roll Wrappers
5-6 green onions
Diced carrots
Diced purple cabbage
Cream Cheese
Blue Cheese
Franks Red Hot

Directions:
1. I diced up the chicken breasts into small pieces. I also took the white and light green parts of the green onion and piled them into a pan on medium heat. Add a little oil.
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2. Once the chicken and onion mixture is fully cooked, I added Franks Red Hot. Probably about 5 tbs. The idea is to cover the chicken and then let it simmer and reduce until fairly tight.
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3. Once the chicken and red hot mixture is tight, turn off the heat and add blue cheese. Probably about 3 tbs. Stir it in until the mixture is mixed well. Let it cool.
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4. Roll em up. My wrappers were not square so it was a little odd wrapping them. That said I am not that great at it even if they were square. I added carrots, purple cabbage, green onion and a little cream cheese.
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Now add your cooled buffalo chicken blue cheese mixture.
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Roll it up by taking one corner and wrapping it around the mixture. Wet the remaining corner with a water/flour mixture. Tuck the sides in and continue you roll until your wet edge sticks and finishes the roll.
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5. I made a simple sauce by taking sour cream, a shot of ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles and some Franks Red Hot. Stir and chill while frying your rolls.

6. Finally in a medium high heated cast iron skillet cover the bottom in canola or peanut oil. Wait until it is near smoking hot. Add your rolls. These go quickly so baby sit them. I like mine crunchy and well done. If you want you can lower the heat to medium and cook longer.
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IMG_9323YUM.

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas
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Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Jill bought me Ina Garten new cookbook “Make it Ahead”. I’m not a make it ahead kinda guy but I see the point when you are entertaining etc… She has a Ham & Leek Empanada recipe that looked good so I decided to give it a go. Wow they were amazing. Ina has always had great recipes but I think her last two books are her best. She is doing such a great job with simplicity but special recipes. Can’t wait to try some more.

People..these are for real! Pretty easy to make and the payoff is off the charts. I changed it a little bit but these babies are automatically on my “best of list”. After one try. You have a flaky delicate puff pastry filled with shaved ham and creamy Gruyere with the soft onion notes that leeks provide along with some spinach. I think the spinach was added to satisfy “healthy” guilt. She added basil that I excluded. I also doubled up on the mixture amount for each. Typical dude move.

I can see the ladies serving them at parties, showers, bible studies, book clubs, Downton Abbey watch parties, Easter etc.. Guys will like them too because they are really tasty. Gotta give em a try. Ina nailed this one.
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Ingredients:
Frozen Puff Pastry(I used 1 package, Ina used 2)
4 oz of deli shaved ham
4 oz of shredded Gruyere cheese (I used a Cheddar/Gruyere)
1 1/2 cups of Leeks (small diced the white and light green parts)
2 oz chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbs of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of creme fraiche
AP flour for dusting pastry to avoid sticking
1 egg beaten with 2 tbs of milk for egg wash
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Defrost your puff pastry

2. Thinly cut your leeks (in half and then diced into fingernail looking pieces). Wash them well and drain the water. In a medium heated pan, melt your butter and add your leeks. Stir until soft and then remove from the burner and add the creme fraiche and stir for a minute.

3. In a large bowl add your ham and Gruyere and top with the leek mixture. stir until combined and then add the spinach and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
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4. Dust a board or your counter with flour. Whisk your egg wash but adding an egg and milk and beat until well combined. Unroll your puff pastry sheet and cut into four squares. Roll each out. Add your filling. Apply egg wash to the outer edges. Given I used all the mixture and half the puff pastry as Ina, I packed mine pretty full. I balled up the mixture so it was tight and then lifted the pastry square in one hand and folded the edges and gave them a pinch. Once sealed, I put them back on the board and used a fork to seal the edges and make them look better.
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5. Place your empanadas on the parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t crowd them or have them touch each other. Brush on the egg wash to the tops of each one and then lightly salt and pepper them.
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6. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let them rest for 5 minutes.
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Khao Khat Pork Tenderloin Bahn Mi

Khao Khat Pork Tenderloin Bahn Mi

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Khao Khat Pork Tenderloin Bahn Mi
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Khao Khat means “crave” in Vietnamese. I have another Bahn Mi sandwich in my blog that is similar to this one. I crave this sandwich. I remember when Jill and tried this for the first time we both looked at each other after the first bite with that look of “holy cow that was good”.

Doing this blog pushes me to find new recipes and to try new things that I don’t get to make some of my favorite “tried and true” recipes as much. It’s always fun to go back and tinker with some of my faves.

I use pork tenderloin which often gets overlooked or crowded out by chicken and/or beef. Pork tenderloin is such a great cut of meat that is as lean as a chicken breast but remains super tender. The soy, sesame, fish sauce gives it that saltiness. Paired with the pickled slaw that awakens it up with vinegar. Then the heat from the jalapenos makes your eyes water (in a good way) but Duke’s Mayo saves the day to tone it all down. Such a great sandwich.

You could lose the bread and mayo and switch to lettuce if you were trying to cut calories or gluten. That said, I just love how Dukes Mayo plays in this one… West meets East.

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Ingredients
Pork Tenderloin
French Baguette
Cilantro
Dukes Mayo
Chili oil

Marinade
4 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Fish Sauce
2 glugs of Sesame Oil
2 tbs of Maple Syrup or Honey
1 tbs brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic (minced or pressed)
1 tbs of minced ginger
4 green onions (diced)
Kosher Salt

Pickled Veggies
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
2 tbs of Shredded purple cabbage
3-4 radishes (thinly sliced)
1 jalapeno (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch of Kosher Salt
2 tbs of sugar

Directions:
1. Prepare your tenderloin by removing in any fat or silver skin. Cut the loin into 1/2 inch “medallions” (like you would cut cookies from a package of cookie dough). Place these medallions between plastic wrap and tenderize them with a smooth sided meat cleaver/mallet. Lightly pound them to a 1/4 inch thickness.
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2. Now add these into a Ziplock bag with the marinade for at least 1 hour and hopefully overnight.
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3. Slice your carrots, purple cabbage, jalapenos and radishes. Whisk the water,vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Pickle the veggies overnight along side the meat.
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4. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, add a little chili oil. When the pan is nice and hot add your marinated pork medallions and sear them on both sides. These are thin so you only need to cook them 2 minutes on each side.
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5. Prepare your roll by slicing it and coating both sides with Duke’s Mayo. Overlay your medallions and top with the pickled veggies and cilantro, sriracha. We added a side of Sriracha Kettle chips.

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Bacon Butter Cracker Caramel Bites

Bacon Butter Cracker Caramel Bites
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Over the holidays I made these little guys for a party I hosted and I am happy to say that not one was left on the plate. The recipe came from Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman show but I changed it up just a bit by not using an entire slice of bacon for each cracker but instead cut it to cover one side of the cracker.

I’ve covered the magic of roasting bacon and how the fat renders out beautifully leaving you with a perfect bite. The brown sugar and bacon fat creates a caramel type effect. It all absorbs into the cracker and leaves you with something between a sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy and spicy bite.

An easy and great appetizer for any party.

Ingredients:
Butter Crackers (I used Kebler’s Town House )
Good thick bacon
Brown Sugar
Sriracha or cayenne

Directions:
1. Cut your bacon to cover your cracker. There will be slight shrinkage. ( I was in the pool!!!) Top the bacon that is atop the cracker with a dusting of brown sugar and a little Sriracha or cayenne. Cayenne is powerful so be careful if you are not used to using it.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your crackers on a wire rack atop of baking sheet. This is necessary to prevent burning the bottom of the cracker. Cook for 40-55mins until bacon is crispy but not burned. Keep an eye these after 30mins. Every oven is different.