Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

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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


Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Cookies

So I just got all the Saltine Toffee Brittle out of my system, so onto the next sweet treat!

Everyone has that one thing that indicates that the holiday season has begun –  it could be black friday shopping – putting up your twinkle lights – hanging your stockings by the chimney with care or ornaments on your newly cut christmas tree.

For me, it’s when that one thing I’ve waited for all year dawns the shelves at Trader Joe’s – their Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s.  And all of a sudden, I’m a kid again on christmas morning who just opened their brand new Nintendo Power Pad! (orrr um….iPad…right…iPad!)

There’s those special treats reserved for the holiday season that never taste quite as good at any other time of year as they do those few weeks leading up to Christmas.  And Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s are no different – Trader Joe makes them specially (just for me) for the Christmas season, and that alone is what makes them taste soooo good.  That and the fact that it’s a combination of 2 of my favorite things on earth – chocolate and cookies.

But, another good thing about them is that they’re easy as pie to make! I mean no offense TJ, but I could whip these bad boys up in no time.  And that my friends, is exactly what I’m gonna do.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Cookies
*Inspired by Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 2 -1/2 dozen

30 (or so) Double Stuff Oreo Cookies or Trader Joe’s Joe Joes (their version of the Oreo)

1 lb. dark chocolate
(I used the Trader Joe’s 1lb Dark Chocolate Bar)

1 tsp. mint extract

6 or 7 large candy canes, crushed

pepporeoswithinstruction

1) Line a wire rack with wax paper and lay out your Oreo cookies.

2) In a double boiler (or in the microwave), temper your chocolate.  To temper, take about 2/3 of the chocolate and place it in the double boiler (or microwave-safe dish).

3) When the chocolate starts to really melt, remove it from the heat and add the remaining unmelted chocolate to the pan, stirring constantly until it melts into the melted stuff.  The tempering will provide a nice shiny looking chocolate and avoid those unsightly little white spots that can sometimes pop up on chocolate.  When the chocolate is just about all melted, you can mix in the mint extract.

4) Place your candy canes in a ziplock bag and with a hammer or the butt of a large knife, crush them into tiny pieces/crumbs and set aside.

5) With a pair of metal tongs, give each cookie a ‘bath’ in the mint chocolate (best.bath.ever), covering it completely with chocolate.  Let the excess chocolate drip a bit, and then place them back on the wax paper.  When all have been ‘bathed’, sprinkle the tops with peppermint crumbles.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Cookies

For the cost of 1 package of TJ’s version, you could make almost THREE TIMES as many of these yourself in the comfort of your own kitchen!

And then, after you eat about a dozen yourself, making sure they’re just right, wrap them up and give them away – but, make sure you wipe the ‘evidence’ off your chin 🙂



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