How to keep the dazzle in dinner!

Chicken / November 24, 2014

I love sunsets. Just not at 6 p.m. I’m a perpetual summer girl, wearing flip flops into November, and therefore refusing to even take my winter coat out of its plastic covering until at least January. But there are few thing I do  in the kitchen that can keep the evenings bright and exciting.

First is my twist on the chicken pot pie. Try making the shells, using packaged pie crust mix, in muffin tins. Then simply ladle in your filling. It’s elegant and easy. And you’ll find that you can even put a twist on the filling by adding artichoke hearts and herbs de Provence seasoning. Over the top yummy.

Next, the popular and suburban salmon patty is elevated to greatness when it’s, well, elevated! Try adding some new flavorings like ginger, curry and coriander. And then place it on a bed of sweet Thai chili sauce mixed with mustard. Bite size amazing.

Check out these dinner options next time you find yourself in the ‘dark’ about dinner.


Mini Chicken Pot Pie Cups with Artichoke Cream Sauce

Makes 4 servings of 2 crust cups each plus!


Ingredients:

1 package Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix
1/3 C ice cold water
1/3 C + Flour for dusting rolling area
1 C +/- milk or heavy cream
3 medium carrots diced small
2 medium stalks of celery diced small
1/3 C white onion diced
Half a 14 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3 large chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small chunks, a little less than 2 C
Parsley to garnish
1 T Herbs de Provence
Salt and Pepper
3 T + more Butter for greasing muffin pan
2 T oil (I used sunflower)


Direction:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease or butter generously the insides of a regular sized, 12 slot muffin pan. Mix pie crust, using whole package, according to directions and roll out to about the size of an 11 by 17 pan. Using a knife, cut circles about 1 inch larger than the diameter of the opening of the muffin cups. Press the crust dough inside and form a cup, with a bit of a lip over the top. I was able to get 9 cups. Take a fork and prick the bottom of the crust dough 2 or three times each. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees F and cook again for about 14 minutes or until browned. Take out and cool. Twist a bit and remove carefully and place on a wire rack.
  • Heat a large saucepan, pour in oil, and add the vegetables. Sauté until the onions are a little bit tender. Remove from pan, wipe out. Melt 3 T butter then add the 1/3 C flour. Make a roux. Cook it for about a minute or two to remove the raw taste. While still whisking, add the milk/cream a little at a time with the heat on medium. When the mixture just barely starts to thicken, add in the chicken, the sautéed veggies, and the artichoke hearts as well as salt and pepper and the Herbs de Provence. Heat through on low heat. Add a bit more cream if it gets to thick.
  • To plate put two of the empty crust cups on the plate, ladle the chicken mixture, garnish with parsley.

Chinese Salmon Patty Towers with Sweet Chili Mustard Sauce

Makes 12 towers


Ingredients:

12 Pepperidge Farm pre-cut puff pastry cups, thawed and cooked according to directions on package
1 14.5 oz can good quality alaskan salmon, drained, bones removed, and broken into small pieces
¼ C white onion diced
2 small celery stalks diced
¼ t each ground coriander, ground curry powder, and ground ginger
1 egg
3 T Italian bread crumbs
Milk to moisten, (I used about ¼ C)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 C salted roasted peanuts, cut into small pieces
3 T oil
2 parts spicy brown mustard to 1 part sweet thai chili sauce
Fresh parsley OR fresh cilantro to garnish
Sriracha sauce to garnish


Direction:

  • Mix salmon, egg, bread crumbs, coriander, curry, ginger, salt and pepper, and milk thoroughly so that you can see it will stick together and form balls. Then form into 12, 1 ½ inch balls. Heat the oil on medium high in a large saucepan. Cook the salmon patties, making sure there is plenty of room between each ball, until golden browned, about 1 or 2 minutes per side.
  • In another bowl, mix the sweet Thai chili sauce and the brown spicy mustard.
  • To plate, put a smear of the mustard sauce on the bottom. Put three of the puff pastry cups on the mustard. Take your finger and lightly indent the top of each of the cups. It should break easily. Then, top each with one of the patties. Place another dollop of mustard sauce on the top, and a drizzle of Sriracha, sprinkle top generously with peanuts, and then garnish with the parsley (or cilantro.)


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