Upscale Pigs in the Blanket (Chicken Sausage-Cranberry Pigs-in-Blankets)

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I found this recipe in a mini appetizer book.  It is an upscale mini hot dog with a nice blend of sweet and tangy flavors.  It is always well received.  Kids can help make them in the kitchen.  This recipe can easily be doubled and leftovers can be frozen.  If I know I will be freezing portions to be reheated later I slightly undercook.   Often I need to make this recipe without the nuts because of nut allergies.  I personally think the recipe is more tasty with the almond slivers but it is certainly still good without nuts.  Exact measurements are not required.  Prep time for a double recipe is about 20 minutes using a Cuisinart.  Cleanup is very easy especially if you throw your Cuisinart pieces in the dishwasher.  Cooking time is 20 minutes.  Make sure you allow 30-40 to thaw your dough.  Do not prematurely pull out the dough from the freezer.  If the dough gets too soft, making the hot dogs will become difficult.

Ingredients for 1 batch:  Yields 25-30 mini dogs

1/3rd cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves – do not substitute dry

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup grated Gruyere Cheese

1 teaspoon whole-grain or creamy dijon mustard (if I am doubling the recipe I use one heaping teaspoon of each)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

2-3 links PRE-COOKED apple flavored (or other) chicken sausage.  The package I show requires just two links given the thickness of the links.

 

Directions:

Defrost Pastry Dough (allow 30-40 minutes).  Open box.  Set on counter.  Do not try to unroll dough until fully defrosted.

Combine cranberries, parsley, almonds, cheese, and mustard in a food processor fired with a metal blade and process to coarse paste.  It takes about 30-60 seconds.

Place pastry dough on work surface (cutting board works well).   Cut into 3 long strips (10 inches) and then 8-10 approximately 1 inch cuts across.

Cut sausage links in half lengthwise and then cut each link 5-7 slices the other direction depending on the brand.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a small bowl of warm water and set aside.

Press about a half teaspoon cranberry mixture onto center of each pastry strip, leaving the sides empty of paste.

Top each with piece of sausage.

Slightly wet the sides of each strip (using your water bowl).

Bring the ends together up and over the sausage.  Press firmly to seal and place on a non-stick baking sheet (I usually lay some parchment down or spray some cooking spray but neither step is necessary).

Do not crowd dogs and bake for 20 minutes if serving right away or 18 minutes if freezing for later cooking.  The pastry at either time should be baked through but at 20 minutes the dough will be a slightly darker color.

Serve piping hot with additional mustard.

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Sausage – notice words at bottom fully cooked.  I did remove the small amount of casing.  Not not all precooked sausage has a casing film.

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Parsley, Cheese, Cranberry Paste

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Prepping Pastry

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Prepping Dogs

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Preparing the Dogs

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Precooked

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Cooked cooling on a baking rack

 

Rice (Brown or White) Black Bean Chicken Enchilada Casserole – Skill Easy

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Ingredients:

Approx. 5 cups of cooked brown or white rice – Get your rice started early especially if using brown rice

1 Can of Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed

1 Cup of Corn (frozen fine)

2 cups chopped vegetables + 1 cup diced onion

1 8 to 12 ounce bottle of enchilada sauce

1/2 cup low fat shredded cheese

2 cups already cooked shredded chicken (see previous post on gimmeoven’s awesome slow cooked shredded chicken or pull to pieces a store bought fresh rotisserie chicken)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees

Cook rice (highly recommend a rice cooker for perfect rice every time)

Saute with oil the vegetables for 10-15 minutes on low to medium low heat while the rice is cooking

Mix all ingredients in a VERY large bowl except for cheese. Make sure to stir the enchilada sauce well into the ingredients. I add my last.

Pour mixture in a large baking dish (at least 9 x 13) or a very high sided smaller casserole dish.

Bake for 20 minutes or a bit longer if using a smaller but deeper casserole dish

Remove dish from oven an sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake for another 10 minutes or until is melted and serve.

The dish is easy to freeze and defrost at a later date. Rewarm low heat 300/325 or use the microwave.

This dish is healthy especially with brown rice and tastes very good. Best of all you can be cleaned up quick before the final dish comes out of the oven.

Enjoy!

FYI When I make the slow cooker chicken, I freeze the leftovers in two cup portions. The morning before making this casserole I defrost one of the bags with two cups of chicken. While the dish works without chicken, it adds a little more heft to the meal.

Pair with fresh sliced tomatoes drizzled with oil, balsamic glaze and a dash of kosher salt and ground pepper.

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken / Soft Chicken Tacos

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/slow-cooker-chicken-recipe.

This was great and made a ton of chicken which we used for chicken tacos, and Chipotle Chicken and Rice Soup.

[www.gimmesomeoven.com/chipotle-chicken-and-rice-soup]

 

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken from gimmesomeoven.com

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 4 1/2)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • (optional) 1/2 cup water or chicken broth (**see note below**) – I used water.

Method

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker, and sprinkle with seasonings (and liquid, if using). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. (*If making a smaller batch, keep an eye on your slow cooker as the chicken will likely need less cooking time.)   I set my slow cooker with 4 1/2 pounds of chicken to 6 hours low and then let it go to warm for an hour.

Remove the chicken with tongs, and shred using two forks or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Use immediately, or freeze in ziplock bags or a sealed container.

Chicken was great and I put in my kitchen-aid with paddle to shred it – on lowest setting in two batches.

This recipe worked great.

Chicken Tacos:

1 tortilla

Spread 2 tablespoons of refried bean (got from Whole Foods, private label small can)

Add some shredded chicken

Add shredded cheese from store.

Fold Tortilla and place on Panini maker or Breville grill 5 minutes on about 370 degrees.  (Flip halfway)

Add fresh salsa.

Yum.

Crunchy Coated Chicken Cutlets using Small Square Cheese Crackers

Simple recipe that will make about 4 kid servings for toddlers – super tasty and easy to make and clean up.

Ingredients:

Around 1 cup and a half of cheese crackers like cheese-its (the small square crackers)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best vs canned parm)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon of onion flakes (if you have them)

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound of chicken cutlets or 4 boneless chicken breasts

2 generous tablespoons of Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Line rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil, spray lightly with non stick spray
  3. Put the crackers in the plastic bag and break them into small crumbs or just pulse them down some in a small cuisinart
  4. Empty the crumbs in a shallow bowl.  Add parm cheese, thyme, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Also add the onion flakes if using.  Mix throughout.
  5. Add the olive oil over the crumbs and mix throughout.
  6. Cut cutlets in desired sizes.
  7. Spread some mustard over each piece.
  8. Dip chicken pieces into cracker mix and coat the crumbs on both sides.
  9. Place coated chicken on the pan.
  10. Sprinkle left over crumbs if more seem needed.
  11. Bake chicken until no longer pink in the middle when cut in the middle (about 25 minutes)

Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches via Slow Cooker

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches – Very Easy! Fast Prep!

Yield: 12+ meaty sandwiches

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 6 hrs

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts + 1 pound boneless, skinless thighs
2 cup (16 oz) barbecue sauce (a flavor you like)
2/3 cup Italian dressing – good brand
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons chicken broth (I have used water too but chicken stock is more flavorful)
additional barbecue sauce, if desired
rolls, for serving as sandwiches
bread and butter pickles, optional

Directions:

1. Place chicken in the slow cooker.  You should enough meat to cover the bottom layer of your cooker.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

2. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and chicken broth (or water). Stir it into the sauce in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the sauce is thickened and heated through (10 to 15 minutes). Meanwhile, use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and stir. Add additional barbecue sauce if more sauce is needed or desired. Cover and continue cooking on low for 45 minutes. Serve chicken piled onto rolls. Add pickles, if desired.

tips:

*The brand of barbecue sauce that you use can make a big difference in the flavor of the chicken.  Many people on line like Sweet Baby Ray’s!

Source:  RecipeGirl.com (Adapted slightly from All You)

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Close Up Look

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Getting ready to freeze leftovers.

Crock Pot Applesauce BBQ Chicken.

I tried this Applesauce BBQ dish recently from a women named Lori.  I was very intrigued by her concept of making 40 Meals/4 Hours Recipe Collection and this was one of them.  I have also tried her orange chicken recipe and that was pretty tasty as well.  I prepped both chicken dishes the same day freezing the chicken for the BBQ for a later date.  (What a helpful tip).   However move the frozen chicken to the fridge at least 24 hours before using it.  I used chicken breasts for the recipe sited below as it calls for that.  My husband and brother-in-law clearly would have preferred the dish made with thighs.  I personally like white meat better but each to his own.  I am sure the dish made with your preference will turn out great either way.  I made this dish in my : All-Clad 7-Qt. Deluxe Slow Cooker with Cast Aluminum Insert from Williams-Sonoma.  If you have the money, this is an awesome slow cooker.  The insert comes out and can be used to brown meat on a burner and it can go in the oven.  It is a time saver and the cleanup is always easy using this gadget.

Lori’s recipes – 40 –   http://whoneedsacape.com/2012/11/crockpot-freezer-cooking/

The Crock Pot Applesauce BBQ Chicken Dish (Note she credits this recipe to someone else herself)

http://whoneedsacape.com/2013/01/crockpot-applesauce-bbq-chicken/

Ingredients – sized for the way I made it.

  • 3 pounds of breasts cut in large chunks)
  • 1 t ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup times 2 of  chunky applesauce – I used regular and threw in some peeled diced apple chunks for 1 apple
  • 2/3 cup BBQ sauce times 2 (I used Wegmans)
  • 4 Tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of chili powder

Instructions

  1. Spray Crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, or use a Crockpot liner for easy clean-up.  With my slow cooker I skipped this step and had no problems.
  2. Place chicken breasts on bottom.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients together, and pour over chicken.  I then stirred the chicken and sauce some so some stuff was below the chicken layer.
  4. The sourced recipe calls for 6-8 hours on crock pot low setting. Serves 8+.  I found after 5 hours the chicken was more than done and suggest not cooking it as long as the recipe calls for.
  5. I served over rice.

Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooker:

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-deluxe-slow-cooker-with-aluminum-insert/?pkey=e%7Cslow%2Bcooker%7C8%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Feature_Recipe_Rule-_-