Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Side Dishes

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

Been a while since we dipped into the Buffalo Chicken bank – we’re long overdue!  I hope you don’t mind that the next few recipes will be allllllll buffchick allllllll the time.

What’s come out of our Buffalo Chicken Bag of tricks in the past? So many things…Buffalo Chicken Stuffed PeppersBuffalo Chicken TacosBuffalo Chicken Egg Rolls – Buffalo Chicken Salad...drool…type….The idea for this little number though is totes stolen from one of my favorite guys on the planet, Trader Joe.  I really can’t say enough about him and his amazing ability to  reinvent food and make it fun, frozen (sometimes) and affordable!

What’s this rant about? Well, Dave and I are kind of obsessed with TJ appetizers.  We’ve been known to even have “TJ Appetizer Dinners” which consists of heating up the oven to 425 (because somehow, it seems that nearly every TJ appetizer magically requires a preheated 425 degree oven) take out a cookie sheet (unless Joe has provided a handy dandy one that you just pop in the oven) and 20 minutes or less later, dinner is SERVED.

Last time I was there, I stumbled apon a new appy from Joe, Savory Profiteroles with Spinach Artichoke Cheese Dip a combination of my two favorite things – hot and cheesy spinach dip and cute little puffs of dough!  And instantly I thought “ohhhh I know what I’m making this weekend for a hot new appy!” (no pun intended).

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

Buffalo Chicken Dip Profiteroles
*Profiterole recipe adapted from Anne Burrell

INGREDIENTS
*yields 2 dozen profiteroles with a little bit of dip left over, depending on how much you stuff them

For Profiteroles

   1 cup water

    1 stick butter

    2 Pinches salt

    1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch powdered dip mix
(the Dip mix, not the dressing mix)

  4 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2) In a small saucepan combine the water, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour and dip powder all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has formed a ball and has a slightly sweaty sheen to it and it has pulled away from the pan.

3) Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added. Using an electric mixer or lots of good old-fashioned elbow grease, beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Do not add the second egg until the first is fully incorporated.

4) Take 1 tablespoon of the dough and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.  Make sure to leave about an inch in between each ball as they’ll expand as they cook.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside. Cool on a rack before cutting.  While cooling, you can make your Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 tablespoon olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

2 stalks of celery, diced into small pieces

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 – 8oz block of cream cheese

1 cup of ranch dressing

3/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(I used an Extra sharp, but mild or pepper jack would work too)

1 cup of cooked, shredded cheddar chicken

1) Heat olive oil (or non-stick spray) in a medium sauce pan over low heat.  Once heated, add the celery and garlic and saute for about two minutes.  Add the cream cheese, ranch dressing and hot sauce, stirring until the 3 ingredients have combined together.  After everything has combined, add the cheddar cheese and chicken, stirring until the cheese has melted.

2) Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture on stove top for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to thicken.

3) In the mean time, your profiteroles should be cooled and ready to be cut.  Take each puff and dig out a small hole in the center of each one, almost as you would with a bread bowl, creating a space for the dip to ‘sit in’.  (slicing them in half won’t work as well).  Place each puff back onto you baking sheet.

4) Add about 2-3 tablespoons of Buffalo Chicken Dip to each puff and then put the top on each puff.

5) Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, just enough time to reheat the profiteroles.  The dip will be hot so you dont have to worry about that.

Thanks for the inspiration TJ – keep up the good work!

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

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Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

Worst part of this week = having to pack a lunch for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! It’s been weeks since I’ve put in a 40 hour’er – the joy of Christmas brings with it the joy of consecutive 4-5 day weekends.  But now, the grim reality that the next company holiday won’t be here until the snow is melted and my brown puffy down coat has been retired for the Winter.  Sigh.

Thank god I have these delicious Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quinoa bites to look forward to at lunch 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 34 bites

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small jar of roasted red peppers, chopped

2 cups frozen chopped spinach

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 eggs, lightly beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add chopped red peppers, spinach and minced garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes, until all the liquid from the peppers and spinach has evaporated. Remove from heat.

instruction1

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach/red pepper mixture and crumbled goat cheese.  Mix together to allow the goat cheese to melt.  Once the mixture has cooled a bit more (about 10 minutes), you can then add the eggs and mix together.  Season the mixture with salt & pepper to taste.

instruction2

4) Spray a mini-muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to spray the top of the pan as well to avoid the bites from sticking.  Place one tablespoon of the mixture in each muffin slot and bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

instruction3

These are a nice light option for lunch or even a snack.  They’d also be a great appetizer for your next ladies night! Healthy, yummy and would go nicely with red OR white 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites


Carrot Souffle

I’m sure you’re thinking “Carrot Souffle? What in the world?”

I know – I know – but bear with me here…

A few years back, Dave and I attended a holiday dinner party at his former bosses house, and his wife did a bang up job with dinner!  I remember sitting down to the table with bug eyes at how amazingly delicious everything looked – except for this one orangey looking thing, covered with nuts.  I started to sweat, because it’s really in poor taste to not try everything at a dinner party, so I scooped a little teeny smidgen of it, and went at it with my fork in one hand and my glass of wine in the other, just in case I needed an emergency wash down.

Carrot Souffle

I took my first teeny little bite, small enough that I could taste what I was eating but not so much so that if I was about to gag it would be totally obvious – and thought “oooh, mmmm….this is pretty good actually.”  My next bite was bigger, and after only a couple bites my small little scoop was gone – but I wanted more! So I took seconds….thought about thirds but didn’t want to embarrass Dave in front of his co-workers by stuffing my face.  I knew I had to have the recipe and finally, she emailed the recipe to Dave and he forwarded it to me, and since then, it’s become a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas, like the mashed potatoes or green bean casserole.  It’s a light and fluffy combination of pureed carrots and lots of other ingredients that are better not to know – but luckily for you, I’m gonna share them, right now!

Carrot Souffle
*Dave’s former bosses fabulous cook of a wife! (guess I should have gotten her name, eh?)

INGREDIENTS
*yields enough for a 9×13″ baking pan for a larger crowd – halving it would be just enough for an 8×8″ dish

4 lbs carrot, cooked and pureed

12 eggs
(I know – seems like a lot!)

1 & 1/3 cups sugar

8 tbsp flour

4 tsp baking powder

4 tsp vanilla

few dashes of cinnamon & nutmeg

For the topping

1 cup cornflake crumbs

4 tbsp. brown sugar

2 & 1/2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup chopped pecans

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your baking dish by greasing the bottom and sides with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

2) Cook the carrots in boiling water until fully cooked through.  Puree them with an electric mixer or food processor and allow to cool completely.  In the mean time while they’re cooling, you can prepare the topping by pulsing the corn flakes in a food processor (or just crushing with your hands in a ziplock), then adding them to the brown sugar, melted butter and pecans.

3) Once the carrots are completely cooled off (the eggs will cook when you add them to the carrots if they haven’t cooled enough), add all of the other ingredients and blend with a mixer until fully combined.

4) Pour carrot mixture into the dish and then top with cornflake/pecan topping.  Feel free to make more of the topping if you’d like – it is quite delicious!

5) Bake souffle in preheated oven for 1 hour.

This Carrot Souffle is a sweet treat for your tastebuds to take bites of in between the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and….

Is it Thursday yet?


Roasted Garlic Beer Bread

There are few things in life that make me happier than:

1) The weekend

2) Puppies

3) A delicious cold beer on a hot summer day

You may not believe this, but I just recently became a beer drinker.  In college, I was ‘that girl’ that went to a Keg party, pretended like there was Natty Ice in my red solo cup, but it was really a concoction that I made at home, stuffed in my purse, and poured in secret while no one was looking.  I always felt shame – why can’t I like beer? It’s the ‘popular’ drink in college – it’s cheap – it comes in massive metal barrels that you slap a tube onto and it flows like spring water all night – heck you can even make games out of drinking it!  But I just could not get past the taste of it – the smell of it – my taste buds were much more refined, and White Zin out of a box seemed to be one of the only things that would satisfy them.

After college though I decided it was time to join the masses, and living on a ‘post-grad’ budget, $1.50 Bud Light drafts became very pleasing to my wallet, and eventually my taste buds.  And then I met Dave, and my world of beer drinking was rocked.  In our first couple of dates, he ordered beers that I always saw in the rainbow of taps on the bar, but never in a million years thought to order.  Beers that were so dark, they looked like tar.  Dave would say “Just try it”  and I’d take a sip of them, to be nice and make a good impression, and I’d force it down my throat, trying to find my happy place, saying “Oooh yeah, that’s interesting” thinking to myself “What is WRONG with this person? This tastes like toilet water”.  And then 4+ years later, I married this crazy person, and share many of the same favorite beers with him – funny how things change eh?

So we’re cookin’ with beer this week folks, and first on the menu is Roasted Garlic Beer Bread – three of my favorite things in one magical loaf 🙂

Roasted Garlic Beer Bread
*Women’s Health Magazine

INGREDIENTS

2 whole garlic bulbs  

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour  

1 cup all-purpose flour  

2 Tbsp sugar  

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil  

1 Tbsp baking powder  

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary  

3/4 tsp salt  

1 & 1/2 cups lager or pilsner

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the papery covering of the garlic and slice off the tops. Wrap heads in foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until garlic is very soft. Let cool.

2 Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, squeeze out the soft garlic pulp and mix with flours, sugar, olive oil, baking powder, rosemary, and salt. Add beer and stir until just combined (don’t overmix). Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before unmolding and slicing.

If you’re looking for a hearty bread packed with flavor (and beer!) than this is a winner! And if you’re not 100% on the garlic train, I think even just using one bulb of roasted garlic vs. two would still give it that same great garlicy flavor.  And if you are a garlic person and decide to use the 2 bulbs, pass the altoids 🙂


Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese

This is it for Goat Cheese Week (er…week and a half…) – don’t be sad!  What’d you think?  We covered a lot of bases with this tangy treat!  Let’s recap, shall we?

Goat Cheese Week

Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta

Fried Goat Cheese Balls

Fried Goat Cheese Balls

French Toast with Goat Cheese Drizzle

French Toast with Goat Cheese Drizzle

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Brownies

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Brownies

And we’re gonna round home base with this recipe for Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese, adapted from Martha Stewart.  Even though summer is disappearing rapidly, there’s still time to get those classic summer-time favorites in.  And on a hot summer night, potato salad and well-done hot dogs off the grill go together like peas and carrots.  I liked the looks of this the minute I saw it, and personally, cold potatoes give me the heebee-jeebees sometimes, so the fact that it called to be served warm sounded perfect! You could serve it cold though too (or maybe room temperature if you also get the heebees from cold potatoes).

Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese
*Adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 4 servings

2 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks

2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

3 tbsp. E.V.O.O

3 oz. goat cheese

1 celery stalk, chopped fine

1 small shallot, chopped fine

2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced

salt and pepper to taste

1) Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan; season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon cooking liquid. Let potatoes cool for 5 minutes.

2) Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and reserved cooking liquid. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified.

3) Transfer potatoes to a bowl, and drizzle with vinaigrette. Gently stir in goat cheese, celery, shallot, and dill. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm (or cold).

I gotta say, I got some mixed reviews about this, but I personally thought it was de-LISH! The goat cheese and the dijon worked really well together to pack a real tangy punch.  And like I said, served warm right away while the goat cheese was still all melty (melty?) and creamy, oooh.  Baby.

Well I hope you all got some goat cheese inspiration this week and learned that there’s a lot more you can do with it than spread it on a cracker!

Thank-you Billy 🙂

Goat Cheese

“Glad you like my cheese”


Fried Goat Cheese Balls

It’s installment numero dos of Goat Cheese Week, and apon exploring the world of Goat Cheese Recipes, I’ve realized that it’s gonna be a tough week picking from so many delicious looking ones!

Although, I gotta say this 2nd one was pretty darn easy –

Step 1: www.pinterest.com

Step 2: Enter ‘Goat Cheese’ in search bar

Step 3: Behold a recipe for ‘Fried Goat Cheese’ – DING DING DING we have a winner!

This recipe from The Hungry Mouse has been liked, pinned and repinned over and over again –  that + the word ‘fried’ was good enough for me.

Fried Goat Cheese Balls

I added just a couple touches of my own – instead of slices of goat cheese, I rolled each slice into a small ball instead.  Another thing I did, which I really think made a delicious difference is to mix the Panko Breadcrumbs with crumbled Funyuns – yes – Funyuns – the salty, dried onion ring from Frito Lay that is a snack that I believe is often overlooked, but everytime I revisit it, I think to myself “man, I gotta eat these more often”.

Fried Goat Cheese Balls
*Adapted slightly from The Hungry Mouse

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 16 goat cheese balls

1 – 8oz log of goat cheese

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup crumbled Funyuns
(you could pulse in the food processor for a few minutes for a fine crumb, or just crumble w/ your hands)

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground ground black pepper

pinch of kosher salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup of flour

olive oil

1) In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko, crumbled funyuns, parsley, tyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

2) In another small mixing bowl, beat the two eggs and set aside.

3) Put the flour on a small plate or shallow bowl.  Set aside.

4) Slice your goat cheese into 1/4″-1/2″ thick slices.  Take each slice between the palms of your hands and roll into a small ball.  This will get pretty sticky so you could put some flour on your hands to try to decrease the stickiness.  Place each goat cheese ball on a wax or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

5) Fill a non-stick skillet with about an inch or so of olive oil.  (Since the goat cheese is in balls vs. slices, the thicker your oil, the easier it is to get an even ‘fry’ on all sides).  Once the oil is heated, drop each goat cheese ball gently into the olive oil, turning occasionally with a pair of tongs or spoon, until golden brown on all sides.  Try not to crowd the balls – I’d say maybe put about 6-8 in at a time.  If they’re too crowded, you’ll get more of a ‘steamed’ cheese ball vs. a ‘fried’.

6) Remove each ball from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool for a couple minutes.  Best served warm!

Fried Goat Cheese Balls

Pretty sure you’re going to love these 🙂 Perfect appetizer that’s easy, delicious and made with FUNYUNS!


Roasted Corn & Tomato Salsa

Do you ever have those moments where something happens and you’re like “Woahhh – WEEEEIRD” – coincidences always blow my mind!

Sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy store when I start looking for new recipes to try – there are just SO many creative, fun and absolutely delicious recipes out there.  People’s imagination with food makes my head spin (in the good way!)

Last week, I was cyber-stumbling over all these great looking recipes that I wanted to try.  One of them being from Erin at Naturally Ella for Roasted Tomato and Corn Salsa.  I love fresh salsa, especially in the summer time.  I could eat it with a spoon, a fork, a knife, but prefereably with nice salty tortilla chips and frosty margarita.  The salsa sounded delish, and the blog post associated with it was even cuter, as she dished to readers about her surprise engagement!  Love engagement stories!  So I added it to the recipe ‘que’.

Then yesterday, who popped up right next to me on Tastespotting? Erin and her Roasted Tomato and Corn Salsa! Weeeeeird right? So I took that as a sign and while there were no chips or margharitas to accompany it, it was a perfect accompanyment to an otherwise unexciting piece of grilled chicken.  Modified it a tad (mostly to save on time) but it was awesome.  Thanks Erin and congrats on your engagement! Let the wedding planning begin 🙂

Roasted Tomato & Corn Salsa (the quick version)
*Adapted from Naturally Ella

INGREDIENTS

12 oz package of heirloom tomatoes, chopped
(or just plain roma – I personally like the orange and red combo)

3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced

1 ear of sweet corn
(remove corn from cob)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. chili powder

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic for about a minute, until fragrant, then add chopped onion and cook for about a minute more.

2)  Add the tomatoes and tomatillos to the onion & garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes become tender, but not cooked through.

3)  Add the corn to the mixture last, and sautee for about a minute more.

4)  Transfer the tomato/onion/corn mixture to the food processor.  Add cilantro and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.

5)  Transfer the pureed salsa mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.  Then season with chili powder, lime juice and salt and pepper.

Oh boy was this yum! By sauteeing the vegetables, I saved a little bit of time vs. roasting them in the oven, but was still able to get that ‘roasty’ flavor vs. when you make the salsa with the vegetables in their raw form.  It’s crazy the difference in taste between the two!

Roasted Corn & Tomato Salsa

I was so preoccupied with Salsa, I didn’t even see my little buddy getting himself stuck underneath the shelf – someone apparently doesn’t know just how big he’s getting!

Roasted Corn & Tomato Salsa



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