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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Tex-Mex Pizza on a Bisquick Crust

This week we tossed together a delicious pizza (pizza’s big on the menu with a teenager in the house) with a Tex-Mex twist.  The photos didn’t turn out well, so you’ll just need to use your imagination!  It’s worth the effort – this is going on my go-to list!

The baking pan we used was one of those large oven sheets that usually comes with your oven; for that size you’ll want about 4 cups or more of bisquick, with enough water to knead it into a springy dough.

Tex-Mex Pizza

 

Mix the Bisquick dough (click here for a DIY mix) with enough water to make an elastic dough, then roll it out and put in onto a buttered pan (I use coconut oil).  You can either leave it raw to top with the ingredients, or pre-bake it a bit.

 

Pan Dish:

2 Chicken breasts, diced and cooked with:

2-4 shallots, sliced in thin rings

a handful of freshly chopped coriander

lime juice – a good dose to sauté into the meat and onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté this mixture together until the meat is cooked through, and remove from heat.  Into the warm mixture, toss:

1 small can of garbanzo beans

1 small can of kidney beans

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

spices to taste (fajita spice mix, or chilli powder, or a bit of mesquite spice)

Toss to combine, then set aside.

 

1 avocado

a handful of black olives, chopped

300 gr. grated cheese of choice (Cheddar would work great, but there are several Swiss cheeses that are great alternatives too)

Preheat your oven to 220°C (430°F)

Slice 1 avocado in “half-moon” slices, and chop the olives; distribute both over the crust.

Pour the pan mixture over the avocado and olives, spreading it out to the edges evenly.

Top with the grated cheese and pop into the oven.

Bake ~20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browning slightly.

 

En Guete!

 

 

Lavadino Della Cucina d’Italiana

Pastas 2Sometimes you just have to experiment, right?  And sometimes, it’s worth repeating.  In English the idiom “Everything but the kitchen sink” means that something is a conglomeration of, well, nearly everything.  In our house, when a recipe contains “everything but the kitchen sink”, I usually include the sink in the name, just to be thorough.

Tonight I made a dish that was literally tossing things in that needed to be used up; the result was scrumptious, and I have to admit, the ingredients that I was doubtful about as to whether or not they’d taste well together ended up enhancing the flavours, adding a spritz that will definitely be worth repeating!

Since the resulting dish had a decisively Italian touch, I’ve named it the Italian equivalent of “kitchen sink” – it just sounds so much more sophisticated in Italian.  Enjoy!

Lavadino Della Cucina d’Italiana

4 chicken breasts, diced

1 cube Feta cheese, diced

10 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

¼ – ½ C. Any pasta sauce (I used Peperoncino, a bit spicy)

½ jar of Preiselbeeren sauce (Lingonberries, but you could use cranberry sauce)

2 leeks, sliced in thin ringlets

150 gr. Sour cream

¼ C. pitted black olives, halved

Italian spice, salt & pepper to taste

 

To serve with:

Pasta of choice, cooked el dente

Grated Parmesan cheese

 

Toss it all together, and simmer slowly until the meat is tender and cooked through; keep the lid on when not occasionally stirring, to keep the moisture in.  Take the lid off and let the liquid reduce slightly, before serving.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta of your choice until done.

 

Serve hot, topping the pasta with the meat mixture and sprinkling on Parmesan cheese.

Serve with a chilled white wine such as Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

Apple & Date Chicken Curry

This is a lovely dish with vibrant colours and a great combination of sweet and savoury.  You can either make this the traditional way – cooking on the stove, or as I did, in the crockpot / slow cooker; this latter method allows me to throw it together and get on with the appetizer and dessert, then take a break from the kitchen and get to work on my next novel.  The side dish of rice is made just before serving, and the whole meal will be hot and ready by the time the guests arrive.

As a complete menu idea, I served this dish with the following:  As the appetizer, Salted Stuffed Dates with Feta Cheese; as the side dish, smoked (or normal) Basmati rice; for dessert, the Apple Tiramisu.  The latter is a “multi-culti” jump; if you prefer to stay Middle Eastern / Indian, you could perhaps serve it with the Moroccan Pineapple and Banana Pudding or the East African Sweet Potato Pudding, though I tried to stay with the date and apple theme of the meal, so it worked very well together!

Apple & Date Chicken CurryApple & Date Chicken Curry

800g Chicken Meat, diced

3 Apples, peeled, cored & diced

Lemon Juice, to taste

~100 gr. white raisins

~ 200g Dates, pitted & halved

1 bundle Spring Onions, finely chopped

A dash of Garlic Oil

Curry Sauce:

In a bowl, mix together:

½ tsp. Cumin

½ tsp. Turmeric

½ tsp. Paprika

½ tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Ground Pepper

½ tsp. Ground Coriander

¼ tsp. Ground Mace

½ tsp. Ginger, finely diced

2 Cloves Garlic, smashed & finely diced

1 Tbs. Curry Powder

1 can Coconut Milk

1-2 C. Chicken Broth

Stove-Top Method:

Sauté onion, ginger, garlic & spices together.  Add meat, cook until no longer pink; add in apples, cook til almost soft, then throw in the dates.  Pour in the liquids and simmer until warm through. Spice t.t.

Crockpot Method:

Stir all ingredients together thoroughly to combine; make sure that the meat is covered by the liquid (pressed down into the coconut milk & broth).  Cook on Low for 4-6 hours.

Serve with Basmati rice.

Serves 4-6

Malaysian Salted Soy Bean & Cashew Chicken

I haven’t post in a while; during my summer holidays I sustained an injury that’s taking quite some time to let me get back to normal; I haven’t had energy to do a lot of cooking, so we’ve been supporting our local restaurants!  If you’re curious to know what happened, just click here.

Salted Soy BeansThe dish I’d like to share with you today is one I’ve made for years; it all started when a friend from Malaysia was visiting, and we went to an Asian supermarket together; she pointed to the jar pictured and said, “Oh, that’s good!  One of my favourite dishes!”  So I bought it; when we got home, I asked her how it was fixed, and she said, “Oh, no idea – my mother always did it!”  So we fiddled around to recreate her mother’s dish, and this is the result.  It’s very simple, though the right ingredients are essential; a jar of this can be stored in the refrigerator once opened, and will keep ages, as it’s salted.

Because it’s so salty, very little is required; if you need to stretch the meal, add lintels, tofu, more chicken or cashews, and an addition of neutral ingredients such as bamboo sprouts or water chestnuts.

Malaysian Salted Soy Bean & Cashew Chicken

800 gr. chicken meat, diced
~2 – 3 Tbs. salted soy beans (can be found in an Asian supermarket)
cashew nuts, about 1-2 cups (amount to taste)
onions, diced
sesame oil
Jasmine rice

In a bowl, take a spoon and smash the soy beans into a paste.  Saute the onions & meat together in a bit of sesame oil. When meat begins to brown, stir in the mashed soy beans, & then the cashew nuts (cook just until tender, but still a bit crunchy). Serve on top of boiled rice.

If it’s too dry, add cream or coconut milk to the cooking process.

Coke & Cashew Chicken

Here’s a dish I served up last week, and it’s an unusual combination but delicious!  The coke tenderizes the meat while the soy sauce, garlic & ginger counter the sweetness of the soft drink.  This is a simple dish that you can toss together the night before to let it marinade, or can toss together a couple hours before you are ready to cook.  As you can tell by the image, I also added a can of bamboo shoots.

Coke & Cashew Chicken Watermarked

Coke & Cashew Chicken

450 gr. chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 C. soy sauce
½-1 C. Coca-Cola
½ C. dried cranberries
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper, & chili powder to taste
1-2 tsp. coconut oil
1 C. Cashew nuts, tossed in toward the end of cooking

Combine all marinade ingredients & marinate chicken overnight (or several hours). In a deep pan, simmer the mixture, marinade and all, until the sauce has reduced, then turn up the heat and let the chicken brown-glaze in the sauce.

Serve with either fried rice, or Jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN PIE with MINT & CORIANDER SAUCE

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Pie WatermarkedThis typical Middle Eastern pie is crammed with lovely contrasting flavours, and a main dish well worth the effort!  It looks complicated, but it’s really not – put on some good music, and enjoy the experience!  If you want to spread this preparation over two days as I did, then you can dry-roast the spices, toss the meat mixture together raw, and keep chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to put it all together; then, cook the meat mix, wilt the spinach and toss into the meat mixture, along with the roasted spices.  When you’re ready to bake it, follow the assembly directions as below.

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN PIE

 

1) Dry-Roasted Spices

2  tsp. coriander seeds

2  tsp. cumin seeds

1  tsp. paprika, plus extra for dusting

½  tsp. ground cinnamon

140  gr. whole blanched almonds

140  gr. pistachios, shelled

In a pan, dry-roast the spices and nuts together, stirring regularly.  It only take a couple minutes – be careful not to allow them to burn.  This process brings out the flavours.  Set them aside to cool.

2) Wilted Spinach

A dash of olive (or coconut) oil to sauté

225  gr. fresh spinach

A dash of salt and pepper

Sauté the fresh spinach leaves with a bit of oil and salt and pepper; pour into a bowl and set aside for now.

3) Meat Mixture

2-3  shallots, quartered

4  cm gingerroot, finely chopped

1  tsp. ground cumin

2  whole garlic cloves

A dash of olive (or coconut) oil to sauté

900  gr. chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks

75  gr. dried cranberries

6  Tbs. clear honey

400  gr. canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed (either as-is, or blend into a paste)

3  Tbs. lemon juice

4  Tbs. fresh coriander, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).  Sauté the shallots, ginger, garlic and cumin together with the chicken; when the meat is nearly done, add the remaining ingredients and heat through, adding the roasted spices and the wilted spinach, tossing well to mix.  Set all aside while you prepare the pastry.

4) Pastry

100  gr. butter or coconut oil

2 flaky rectangular pastry doughs

A bit of cream to brush

Grease a rectangular casserole dish and line with one of the rectangular pastry doughs.  Poke with a fork a few times.  Pour in the filling mixture, and top with the second dough; pinch the edges together and trim off any excess dough.  Brush the top of the dough with a bit of cream, and then pierce several places with a fork.

Bake at 200°C /400°F for 35-45 minutes, until the dough is golden brown.  Serve with the Mint & Coriander Sauce.

MINT & CORIANDER SAUCE

Moroccan Mint & Coriander Yogurt Sauce Watermarked

100  gr. low – fat Greek yoghurt

50 gr. Plain yoghurt

1-2 mint tea bags – contents only, or 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves very finely chopped

3 sprigs fresh coriander, finely chopped

¼ C. Red bell pepper, finely diced

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Prepare the ingredients and toss all together, stirring thoroughly to blend.  Serve as a side sauce, chilled.