Posts Tagged 'olive oil'



Phyllo Cups with Chicken Salad

 

The point of having a party is getting to spend time with your friends … not be slaving away in the kitchen.  Your guests will appreciate all the time you spend preparing for their arrival … but I can guarantee that they will appreciate spending time with you more.

When designing a menu, always look for items that can be prepared ahead of time.  And remember, just because a dish can be prepared in advance, doesn’t mean it can’t be impressive.

Phyllo cups can help make a simple dish look extraordinary on your table.

What is phyllo you may ask?  It is the flaky, paper-like dough most of know from baklava. Phyllo is very easy to work with and can be found in the frozen food section of most supermarkets.

The phyllo cups in this recipe can be made up to a day in advance.  Just store them at room temperature until ready to use.

You can fill your phyllo cups with just about anything. Chicken salad, crab salad, shrimp salad … even chocolate ganache … are tasty options.

To take the stress out of entertaining, I usually just pick up my favorite chicken salad from a local cafe. (I normally use the Curried Walnut Chicken Salad from Cheffie’s Cafe.) I assemble the appetizers a couple of hours before serving (stored in the refrigerator of course to keep the salads fresh) and my work is done. It’s a bite-size treat that is infinitely easier than it looks.

Enjoy!

Phyllo Cups stuffed with Chicken Salad

2 cups chicken salad (store-bought or homemade)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
20 sheets frozen phyllo dough (9”x14”), thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Lightly brush mini-muffin pans with butter-oil mixture.

Layer 5 phyllo sheets, brushing each with the butter-oil mixture. Cut four, 4-inch squares from phyllo stack. Place phyllo squares in the pan. Carefully push phyllo into pan, leaving the points sticking up. Repeat process to make 24 shells.

Bake empty phyllo shells in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove shells from pans.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling into each shell.

Makes 24 appetizer portions.

 

 

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I have always loved a light and refreshing Tomato and Cucumber Salad.  It is so easy to make and truly lets the flavors of summer produce shine through.

Two years ago we planted our first garden.  No one told me that 8 cucumber plants is way too much for a family of four!  So needless to say I was whipping up this salad every week with tomatoes I bought at the farmers market.

Last year we added tomatoes to our garden but they didn’t fare so well with the extreme heat we had in Tennessee last summer. (I have to admit it may have also had something to do with the fact that we didn’t add any compost or lime to the dirt!)

This summer is our third year of gardening and it looks like we are finally getting the hang of it! We are already on to a bumper crop of tomatoes of all varieties … and I only planted 3 cucumber plants (which will still be more than enough to feed our family!).

To make my version of this “fresh from the garden” salad, I love using all types of tomatoes … heirlooms of all shades and sizes. I also throw in sweet Vidalia onions in lieu of the white onions the classic recipe calls for.  Fresh basil from the garden also adds a delicious touch to this dish.

Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

4 small Kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4 heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1/4 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onions
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and basil and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: If you can’t find heirloom tomatoes near you, this salad would also be delicious with any ripe tomato from garden or market.

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce

I am always looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and are dishes that my whole family will love.  This recipe that I found at www.Frenchs.com fits that bill.  And as an added bonus, all the ingredients are ones that I always have in my pantry!

Enjoy!

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons French’s® Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup cream cheese spread, softened
1 tablespoon minced herbs (parsley, basil, or chives)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon minced garlic

In a small bowl mix the broth, mustard, cream cheese, and herbs until well blended; set aside.

Cook the chicken in hot oil in nonstick skillet until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the mustard sauce and garlic. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly and flavors are blended, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Substitute 2 tablespoons prepared pesto sauce for the herbs.

Oven Bake: Mix the sauce ingredients. Pour over chicken in greased baking dish. Bake at 375 °F for 30 min. until cooked through.

Asparagus, Roasted Red Pepper, and Arugula Salad

Asparagus, Roasted Red Pepper, and Arugula Salad
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

This tasty salad makes an elegant presentation for a dinner party first course.  Arrange on a platter for a wonderful buffet offering.

For the White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For salad:

1 bunch (about 1 pound) asparagus, tough woody ends snapped off and discarded
1 package (5 ounces) Baby Arugula salad blend
1 roasted red bell pepper, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

For the White Balsamic and Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar and mustard.  Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until vibrant green and crisp tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again and set aside

On each plate, place a bed of arugula. Layer the asparagus on top.  Arrange the peppers on top of the asparagus. Generously drizzle with the vinaigrette to taste.  Garnish with the olives and red onion.

Makes 4 appetizer salads

 

 

 

Herb Roasted Potatoes

Herb Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the potatoes, oil, rosemary, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread out the potatoes in a single layer.

Roast, stirring once halfway through cooking, until potatoes are golden brown and crisp outside and tender inside, about 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Fresh thyme is a delicious addition to the mix or substitute for the rosemary.

 

Vegetable Beef Soup

I love soup.

On a cold day, not much else can warm you in the same way.

Vegetable Beef soup is one of my favorite one-dish meals.  It’s chockfull of vegetables, hearty thanks to the beef, and totally satisfying.

It’s also super easy to make.

You can always use fresh vegetables if you prefer, but I just love the ease of using frozen vegetables.  In addition to no chopping, there no need to thaw the frozen vegetables. They will thaw as they cook.

As an added bonus, did you know that some products in the frozen food section may even be healthier than the fresh variety? Several research studies show that freezing vegetables and fruits “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables that are often picked weeks before they make it to the grocery store aisles.

I always have several containers of this soup in my freezer.  It is my healthy “go-to” meal when I don’t have time to cook.  Think it may become the same for you!

Enjoy!

Vegetable Beef Soup
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1 pound beef chuck roast or stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
6 cups chicken stock

Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and generously season with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and reserve. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved meat, peas, green beans, corn, lima beans, carrots, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the flavors have melded, about 45 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve hot.

Cooking Tip: You can always use fresh vegetables if you prefer, but I just love the ease of using frozen vegetables.

Some products in the frozen food section may even be healthier than the fresh variety. Several research studies show that freezing vegetables and fruits “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables that are often picked weeks before they make it to the grocery store aisles.

Time-Saving Tip: No need to thaw the frozen vegetables. They will thaw as they cook.

Freezes well.

 

 

 

Creamy Tomato Soup

A steamy bowl of creamy tomato soup and a warm grilled cheese sandwich is a marriage made in heaven.  Nothing can satisfy me more on a cold, wintery day.

But you know, it is amazing to me how different tomato soup recipes can be.

For years I used a recipe that called for roasted Roma tomatoes as the base of the soup.  Supposedly, roasting the tomatoes intensified the tomato flavor of the soup.

Then one day, I was craving a bowl of tomato soup but only had canned tomatoes. I decided to give it a try with the ingredients I had on hand.  And guess what?!  It was just as delicious.  When you think about it, it makes since.  Canned tomatoes are picked and then canned at the peak of ripeness. The reason for roasting was to transform those bland winter tomatoes into tasty summer ones.

So glad I experimented with what was in my pantry.  Now I can make one of my favorite soups in 45 minutes less time than I did before! And now you can too!

Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cans (28-ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or fork. Add the oregano, thyme, and sugar and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the tomatoes have softened and the soup has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until smooth. Whisk in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can easily puree this soup in a counter-top blender. Whenever pureeing hot liquid in a blender, remove the heat cap in the lid and cover with a towel to prevent the mixture from exploding all over you and your kitchen. Work in batches, only filling the blender half full. Also be sure to hold the lid down tightly while pureeing.

The granulated sugar in this recipe helps balance the acidity of the canned tomatoes.

Freezes well.

 

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Nothing is more Southern than the combination of black-eyed peas and greens.  For a lighter version, I substituted tender baby spinach leaves for the traditional collard greens.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
2 cans (15-ounces) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bag (6 ounces) Baby Spinach salad blend, coarsely chopped

To make the Red Wine Vinaigrette: Place the vinegar in a small bowl.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the salad: In a large salad bowl toss together the black-eyed peas, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the spinach among the plates.  Top with a generous spoonful of the black-eyed peas.  Serve immediately.

Makes 6 side salads

Tips: For an authentic Southern touch, add a dash of hot sauce to your black-eyed peas for a little extra zing.

This Black-Eyed Pea Salad also makes delish dip served with Fritos!

Flank Steak Roulade

I love dishes that look so much harder than they are to make!  When I serve them, my guests ooohhh and aaahhh over how impressed they are with my cooking skills.  Little did they know, the dish was so simple, my daughter could have assembled it!

My flank steak roulade is the perfect example of such a dish.  It makes a beautiful presentation at the table, has a delectable combination of flavors, and is a cinch to prepare!

Here’s the trick.  You take a flank steak and place it on a cutting board. Generously season it with salt and pepper to taste, layer your favorite filling ingredients, and then roll it up like a log.  Finally, I tie it up with cooking twine to ensure it holds it shape. That’s it. See, I told you it was simple!

I prefer to brown the roulade on all sides before placing it in the oven.  I think it adds flavor and texture to the meat.

For the filling, I like to use ingredients that add flavor, texture and color.  Vibrant spinach and roasted red peppers make a statement.  French fried onions add both flavor and texture to the mix.  Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese add creaminess.

Feel free to substitute ingredients that you have on hand. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese and fresh herbs are all delicious filling alternatives.  Worried about fat?  Omit the cheese.

This delicious dish that is much easier than it looks will definitely impress your company.

Enjoy!

Flank Steak Roulade

1 flank steak, pounded about 1/3-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
1/2 cup drained and diced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the flank steak on a cutting board.  Generously season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach in an even layer over the steak. Next layer the FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese on top of the spinach. Roll the steak tightly into a log.  Tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches along the length of the roll. Generously season the outside of the roulade with salt and pepper.

Place the oil in a large, oven-proof sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the roulade until well-browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the roulade in the oven to finish cooking, about 20 to 25 minutes for medium. (If you like it more well done, leave it in longer.)

Let the roulade rest for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the kitchen twine. Slice into 1-inch thick slices and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Be sure to let the roulade rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This ensures a juicy steak.

Variations: For the filling, feel free to substitute ingredients that you have on hand. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese, and fresh herbs are all delicious filling alternatives.

Do Ahead: The roulade can be assembled and refrigerated one day in advance.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette

 

Some of the best recipes always start as a mistake.

I know it’s happened to you before … you go to make a recipe and realize halfway through that you don’t have that key ingredient. Then you start fumbling through your pantry to find a substitute.

Well … that’s how my family’s favorite salad dressing was discovered!

My go-to salad dressing used to be a grainy mustard vinaigrette.  The three ingredients were staples I always had on hand … that is until one fateful Sunday afternoon when I went to whip up a dressing for my family’s lunch.

Seems someone (couldn’t have been me!) had used up the grainy mustard and had not added it to the grocery list! As I was lamenting over what to use instead, my Dad said, “Why not use French’s mustard?”  I’m sure I had a funny look on my face.  Yellow mustard for a vinaigrette? Yes, it’s delicious on just about everything, but would it taste good with balsamic vinegar?

So, being adventurous, I gave it a try.  And you know what …. it was delicious!

Since the flavor of the yellow mustard was a little more mild than the grainy mustard, my kids actually preferred it!

A few weeks later my Dad said he was making our new vinaigrette and decided to add apricot preserves to the mixture. Again, I am sure I had a funny look on my face.  Jam in salad dressing?!  Well, of course I tried it … and was pleasantly surprised to discover … I loved it.

The preserves add a sweetness that really rounds out the tangy flavors of the vinegar and mustard.

I always now tell people … if you have a well-stocked kitchen with good quality staples, you will always be able to make a flavorful dish with what’s on hand.  Even if it’s an unlikely combination of ingredients!

Enjoy!

Sweet Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
1 tablespoon French’s Yellow Mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, apricot preserves and yellow mustard. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6.

 


Jennifer Chandler

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