Chicken Taco Pizza

Today I was in the mood for a pizza, but also Tex-Mex; so why not combine them?  I hunted around for a simple recipe and found a lot of complicated ones, so I came up with my own.  This literally has 4 simple steps – the meat, the base, the topping prep, and baking, DONE!  So without further ado, here it is:

Chicken Taco Pizza

Chicken Taco Pizza

The Meat:

600-800 gr. Chicken meat, diced

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Taco spice * to taste

Toss into a pan & turn the stove on high.  Stir, cooking until the meat is done; set aside to cool.

Mix into the meat:

~ ½ C. mayonnaise or sour cream or plain yoghurt, along with a squirt of lemon juice and about 1 garlic clove’s worth of garlic paste.

The Base:

Instead of the typical pizza base of tomato sauce, essentially this is a bean sauce.

1 tin of beans, drained – either white beans or kidney beans; if you’re daring, a tin of refried beans!

Pop the contents into a blender, sprinkle in a few chives & a bit of seasoning or lemon juice, and blitz until a smooth paste.

The Toppings:

Slice any or all of the following toppings:

6-8 button mushrooms

10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Black olives(pitted), chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 avocado, halved, pitted & peeled, and sliced thinly

~1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

On a tray, roll out your phyllo dough onto a sheet of baking paper, and spread the base mixture from edge to edge.  Pour the meat mixture on (drain, if too juicy) and spread it out, then toss on the toppings, and top with the cheese.

The Baking:

Pop it in the cold oven, and 45 minutes to an hour before you’re ready to eat, turn the oven on to 180°C (350°F).  Serve hot, and enjoy!

Can be served with tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole, or just as-is!

 

*You can use any taco or fajita spice you like; if you don’t have access to such a spice in the store, or you want to make your own to ensure you know what’s in it, click here for a DIY recipe.

Dietary note:  For those who are lactose intolerant, Cheddar cheese is naturally lactose-free; the yoghurt or sour cream can be the LF variety, and you’ve still got a tasty meal!

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Puff Taco Strudel

Today I pulled some ground beef out of the freezer and had a pastry dough to use up, so I went to my Pinterest board for savoury baking and decided to go with “Puff Taco Strudel”.  Obviously, I adapted the recipe – I refuse to use pre-mixed, chemical-laced products; making them myself is just as fast and a whole lot healthier.  So here’s my version (photo, courtesy of Pinterest):

Puff Taco Strudels

450 gr. ground beef

1 stalk of leek, thinly ringed

1-2 beefy tomatoes, finely diced

Black olives (amount to taste), coarsely chopped

Taco spices to taste

———————-

~100 gr. grated cheese

1-2 puff pastry doughs, rectangular OR Bisquick dough, rolled out

2 eggs

a bit of milk, egg, or Ranch dressing diluted with a bit of milk for a dough wash.

Combine the first ingredients into a frying pan, until the meat is browned (no butter or oil is necessary unless you’re using lean meat; then I would recommend a bit of virgin coconut oil).  Remove from heat.

Stir in the cheese while it’s still warm, and then the eggs.  Spoon along the centre of a rolled-out puff pastry sheet or rolled-out Bisquick dough; fold over and pinch to close, then flip the strudel seam-side down.  poke a few air holes along the top, then brush with your choice of wash – I used a bit of the Ranch dressing with milk.

Pop into a pre-heated oven at 210°C for 20-40 minutes (depending on your oven), until golden brown.  Serve as-is, or with the typical Tex-Mex side dish of guacamole, salsa, or a salad of your choice.  Enjoy!

Puff Taco Strudel

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Baked Apple Turnovers

I made these turnovers last week as I had a bag of frozen apple slices that wanted using, as well as a puff pastry dough that had been sitting in the fridge a couple days while I decided what to do with it.  These turned out delicious, and well worth keeping the recipe on hand for the next time – and so I share it here!  I found several recipes online, but most call for deep-frying; I don’t do grease.  Baking them is healthier, ecologically as well as medically, and they come out tasting like the apple pie pockets from a well-known fast-food chain restaurant – except I know exactly what goes into these, no chemicals or unpronounceable ingredients involved. They only take about 10 minutes to prepare and would be a great dessert for guests, or a quick toss-together when you’ve got withering apples to use up.

For a real treat, serve these warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.  Enjoy!

Apple Turnovers

Baked Apple Turnovers

3-4 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry

A bit of milk or cream for brushing

Prepare the apples as instructed; then toss together with the sugar and spices.

Roll out the pastry dough, and score with a knife to cut into 6 squares.

Spoon a bit of the mixture into the centre (off just a bit, as you’ll fold it at the centre), keeping it away from the edges.  Fold over corner-to-corner into a triangle, and press the open edges together with the tines of a fork.  Repeat until all are done, spreading them evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Brush the tops with a bit of milk or cream (or egg wash).

Bake at 180°C (350°F) for ~30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 6 turnovers.

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Marronikuchen (Chestnut Torte)

marronikuchen

Credit:  Coop

It’s been quite some time since I added a new recipe; I’ve been quite sick since mid-November (respiratory infection), so I haven’t really felt like experimenting in the kitchen – I’ve encored several of the recipes that already appear in the archives here.  Today, however, I spent a couple hours doing crafts with some women from our church, and one of them brought a wonderful cake; I asked her for the recipe so that I could present it to you, and make it available to add to our Pinterest boards!  It was a recipe that appeared in the Swiss Coop grocer’s online magazine back in October 2013, so I offer you the original German version along with my English translation and conversions.  It’s a delicious torte well worth making!

 

In case you’re wondering what the difference between a cake and a torte is, the latter is a rich, dense cake made with relatively many eggs and little to no flour; that also means that you’ll want to serve smaller portions!

Marronikuchen

4 Eier (Eigelb und Eiweiss trennen)

200 gr Butter

1 Päckli Vanillezucker

150 gr Zucker

350 gr Marronipurée

50 gr Mandeln

½ Päckli Backpulver

Zubereitung:  Butter schaumig rühren, Eigelb, Zucker, Vanillezucker zugeben, weiterrühren.  Marronipurée, Mandelm und Backpulver zugeben.  Eiweiss zu Schnee schlagen und vorsichtig unter die Masse heben.  In einer eingebutterten Springform bei 180°C ca. 50-55 Minuten in der unteren Ofenhälfte backen.

Chestnut Torte

4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)

200 gr. (7 oz.) butter

7 gr. vanilla sugar, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

150 gr. (5 oz.) sugar

350 gr. (12 oz.) chestnut purée (in Switzerland, also known as “Vermicelles”)

50 gr. ground almonds

7 gr. (1½ tsp.) baking powder

Preparation:  Beat the butter until foamy, then stir in egg yolks, sugar & vanilla; blend thoroughly.  Add the chestnut purée, almonds & baking powder.  In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until foamy; carefully fold into the first mixture.  Pour into a buttered springform pan and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 50-55 minutes on the lower rack of the oven.

Chicken, Mozzarella & Gorgonzola Strudel

Strudels are a versatile bunch, really – they can be sweet like the traditional apple strudel, or savoury with either meats or simply vegetarian.  I keep phyllo dough on hand in the freezer for a quick make-ahead meal; I mix the stuffing together in the afternoon and roll it up into the dough, flip it seam-side down on an oven tray lined with baking paper, then score a few steam-vent gashes with a knife, brush it with a bit of cream or whipped egg, and pop it in the cold oven.  When it’s time to bake, I turn on the oven and let it bake for ~50-60 minutes.  Wah-la!

Here’s a mixture I put together yesterday; it was fabulous, and I promised to write down the recipe so that I could make it again! The image below is not mine, but it represents how it comes out looking, sans sauce on the side; if you want to add a sauce, start off with a good Belchamel sauce, and perhaps toss in a bit of thyme and a grainy mustard to give it pizazz!

This amount makes 2 strudel, which will feed 6-8 people.  Without further ado, here it is:

Chicken, Mozzarella & Gorgonzola Strudel

800 gr. chicken, finely diced

5-6 small spicy sausages, finely chopped

1 onion, finely diced

2 leeks, finely sliced

~5 small potatoes, finely chopped

200 gr. Gorgonzola (bleu cheese), cubed

400 gr. Mozzarella, finely chopped

2 eggs

Thyme, salt and pepper to taste

2 x rectangular phyllo dough (flaky pastry dough)

In a pan, slowly cook the chicken, sausages, potatoes and onions until done; season to taste (the thyme gives a nice rustic accent to the meats).  Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, chop up the cheeses into a large bowl, and whip in the eggs.  Pour the warm meat mixture into the bowl, and stir thoroughly.

Roll out the first pastry dough, and line half of the mixture down the centre, leaving a finger or two’s width at each end.  Fold the sides of the dough in; pinch the ends together, and, using the baking paper that the dough is wrapped in, fold it under to flip the dough into place (seam-side down) on the baking tray at one side (leaving room for the second).  Score the dough along the top, then brush with a bit of cream or beaten egg.  Repeat for the second strudel, laying it along the opposite side of the tray.

Pop into the oven.  Bake at 190-200°C (375-390°F) for 50-60 minutes.

chicken-strudel

Source:  Pinterest

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OLD-FASHIONED CAULIFLOWER PIE with POTATO CRUST

Old-Fashioned Cauliflower Pie with Potato CrustI recently made this for dinner, and loved it!  It takes about an hour to pre-prepare, but the potato crust is well worth the effort.  I prepared it when I had time in the afternoon (you could do so the evening before as well), and then did the final baking before serving dinner.

POTATO CRUST

2 firmly packed C. of grated raw potatoes

½ tsp. salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 C. grated onion

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the raw potato strings in a colander. Add salt to the potatoes & let them set for 10 minutes, then, using your hand, squeeze out the excess water.

In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, & the onions & stir to mix well.  Pat the potato mixture into the greased pie pan gently with the back of a spoon.   Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove the pie pan from the oven & let rest & cool a bit before adding the cauliflower mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

 FILLING

½ tsp. salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 C. half & half cream

2-3 Tbs. Mascarpone (cream cheese)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

Make the potato crust & bake it while you are preparing the pie mixture. In a small bowl, beat together the salt, eggs, half & half, pepper & paprika, then set aside.  You may be tempted to make more liquid than this, but believe me, this is enough!

3 Tbs. butter

½ C. onion, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp. seasoned salt

1 tsp. savory

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets

In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté the onions, garlic & seasoned salt until the onions soften & the garlic just begins to colour.  Add the savory, thyme, oregano, parsley & cauliflower & cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

1 C. grated Swiss cheese

Paprika, for garnish

Optional:  Top with pretzels, coarsely crumbled, for a nice crunch

Layer the baked potato crust with half of the cheeses, then the cauliflower-herb mixture, then all the remaining cheese.

Pour the cream mixture over the top.  Bake 35-40 minutes at 180°C (350°F), until the pie is firm & set & the top is just beginning to brown up.  Remove the pan from the oven, let sit for 10 minutes to firm up, sprinkle with paprika & serve.

Quick & Easy 3-Bit Frosting

FrostingThis frosting is so stinkin’ easy, it’s really my only go-to frosting when I want to top off a great cake or cupcakes!  No cooking, no fuss, no special ingredients – just straightforward frosting, whether you need a lot or a little.

Quick & Easy 3-Bit Frosting

1 pint (~475 ml.) heavy cream, well chilled
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the chilled cream until frothy.  Add the icing sugar and vanilla gradually while beating.  Add in your preferred flavourings, and whip until light and a thick enough consistency to spread as an icing.  Chill until ready to use, and spread onto a cooled cake or cupcakes.  Serve immediately, or keep in a cool place (or the cream will melt).

Additional Possibilities:

CHOCOLATE 1
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted in with the icing sugar

CHOCOLATE 2
1/2 bar of your favourite chocolate, gradually melted/stirred/melted stirred in the microwave on a low setting.  Pour into the basic mix, and whip again until stiff.  Adjust sugar downward accordingly.

COFFEE
1 tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in the cream

LEMON
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 finely grated lemon, rind of, in place of the vanilla

ORANGE
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 finely grated orange, rind of, in place of the vanilla

NUT
1 teaspoon almond extract, in place of the vanilla
3/4 cup minced nuts, of your choice, folded in

TIPSY
1 -2 tablespoon brandy or 1 -2 tablespoon rum or 1 -2 tablespoon Bourbon, in place of the vanilla (For extra tipsy, pierce the cake layers and dribble with more of the same type of liquor and let stand)