Friday, June 28, 2013

Pecan Bacon Chicken Salad Sandwich


 Nutty, Creamy, Smooth!


I love a nice creamy chicken salad. I decided to take my traditional chicken salad and kick it up a lot! I started by roasting my chicken in a bunch of spices.

Next, I baked some nice crispy bacon and decided to go nuts, by adding a big handful of pecans to the mix. 


I must admit, sometimes I do make a chunky chicken salad. As I mentioned the other day, I have a bunch of my nephews staying with me for the summer and I needed a way to hide the veggies....by "blending" the veggies... they never knew it was full of vegetables. 


I saved some extra bacon and pecans to put on top of the salad before serving on freshly toasted Texas size bread.


Garnish with lettuce and tomatoes if you like, Big Goo was not having it, no lettuce and tomatoes for him and he added sliced cheese, go figure!


Pecan Bacon Chicken Salad Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast
1 1/2 cups pecans, diced
1 pack of thick cut bacon
1 1/2 cups Hellman's mayonnaise
1/2 cup relish
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon of black pepper
pinch of cayenne
extra virgin olive oil
Texas Toast

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all spices and set aside. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken on baking sheet and coat with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle seasoning blend on chicken covering both sides and life the skin lightly to get seasonings under the skin.

Reserve remaining seasoning blend. Roast chicken for about 35 to 40 minutes are until chicken reaches 165 degrees. Remove chicken from oven and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place bacon on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes are until nice and crispy.

To assemble salad. Add vegetables and 1 cup of pecans to a food processor or blender, and mix well, making sure to not mush the vegetables up. Place mixture into a bowl. Shred chicken, discarding chicken bones.

Add chicken plus skin to food processor and process until nice and smooth. Place mixture in the bowl with the veggies. Mix in mayonnaise, relish and remaining seasoning blend. Mix well. Fold in bacon and remaining pecans, chopped coarsely, and mix well.

Chill salad until ready to serve. Serve on nice toasted bread with lettuce and tomatoes. Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Roasted Chicken Tacos


Must LUV Tacos!


In my family, you must LUV tacos! Let me explain the taco luv happening in my family. I must make tacos at least once or twice a week. If I decide to wait a couple of weeks, the family goes a little taco crazy. Big Goo is the ring leader in the Taco Madness!

He doesn't care what kind of tacos I prepare as long as their spicy, he's eating them. I make so many varieties of tacos, I am really thinking about opening myself up a taco stand.

I think this must be a California thang. Growing up in California, taco stands are at every corner, and I use to eat tacos almost everyday.


These are my basic chicken tacos, it's starts with some spicy roasted chicken breast. I then shred the chicken, add some more spices and saute them in a little olive oil. 


I fried my taco shells in a little canola oil, but you can heat the shells up in the microwave for about 20 seconds and eat the tacos that way. It's just nothing better than a nice crispy taco shell. 


I thought you might like a close up! Can't you just hear the crunch......

Roasted Chicken Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients:

4 bone-in, skin-on, chicken breast
2 tablespoon creole seasoning
2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoon oregano dried
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil
canola oil
corn tortilla taco shells
cheese
lettuce
tomatoes
sour cream
taco sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse chicken breast and pat dry. Place chicken breast on a oven proof pan. Mix seasoning blend and set aside. Pour olive oil over chicken breast to coat on both sides. Sprinkle half the seasoning blend to coat both sides of chicken breast.

Roast chicken for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow chicken breast to rest for about 5 minutes. Remove skin from chicken and discard. Shred chicken removing bones.

Add a little olive oil to a pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add shredded chicken to pan, season with remaining seasoning blend. Saute chicken for about 5 minutes.

Add about 1/2 cup of canola oil to a skillet over medium heat. When oil becomes hot, fry taco shells about 1 minute on each side, drain and assemble tacos.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stuffed Chicken Jalapeno Popper Pretzel Puffs


Spicy, Buttery, Goodness!


I love spicy food, I love spicy food, I love spicy food! Yes, it deserves three praises...lol...but really I do love spicy food. When I say spicy,  I mean spicy in two ways. I want it flavored with lots of great spices but I also want some heat.


Not extreme heat, like I eat raw habaneros, but the kind of heat you get when you bite into your food and you say, oh this is not that bad, then the heat hits you and you get little beads of sweat on your face and you feel instantly warm. 


That's the spice I need in my life. These Pretzel logs accomplish that and more! 


I took my favorite pretzel recipe and decided I wanted to stuff them full, until they puffed, with  cheese, chicken and of course, a spicy jalapeno mixture.


The pretzels are stuffed full of goodness and basting them with a nice amount of butter, right out the oven, didn't hurt these babies at all. Let's EAT!

Stuffed Chicken Jalapeno Popper Pretzel Puffs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings:

Ingredients:

1 cup shredded chicken, roasted or smoked
1 8oz. pack Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/2 cups jack cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 jalapenos
2 Serrano
2 cloves garlic
extra virgin olive oil
pretzel dough (recipe below)
butter
sea salt

For the Pretzel Dough

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
butter
salt to top (optional)

soaking bath:

2 tbsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water.

Directions:

In a mixer with a dough attachment, mix all ingredients well then knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly floured freezer bag and allow dough to rest 30 minutes.

Mix baking soda with boiling water in a large flat bowl allow to cool while dough rest.

Remove dough from bag and on a lightly greased surface roll dough out.

Preheat oven to broil.

Place peppers and garlic on a pan, coat with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for about 5-7 minutes are until the peppers have blackened slightly. Remove from oven and remove seeds if desired.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place roasted peppers, garlic, chicken, cream cheese and 1 cup each of sharp and jack cheese in blender. Mix well. Fold in remaining grated cheese.  Roll pretzel dough out on a lightly greased surface, dough should be like a thin crust pizza but semi square.

Spread cheese mixture on  dough, roll dough into a log. Place dough in water bath and soak for two minutes basting dough as it sits. Remove dough from water bath.

Cut dough into logs around 2 inch wide. Place bites on a greased cookie sheet and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Bake pretzel logs at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and baste with butter and sea salt if desired.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Fried Chicken Pasta Salad



For the BOYS!


This has been one crazy week. Since relocating back to the west coast, let's just say we haven't been short on visitors. Being that I am the favorite aunt...lol...don't tell my other sisters, a few of my nephews came to visit me for a few weeks.

We're talking about big, teen boys who love to eat. I thought Baby Girl had high demands of 3 square meals and 2 snacks a day. These boys expect to eat all day and they want "man food!" They said, auntie we don't want any salads...yes, everyone knows how much I love my salads...


This leaves me to making fried chicken, which all the boys wanted. I fried so much chicken yesterday, I most likely will not be frying chicken again until Christmas. I made a big ole' southern Sunday dinner yesterday.

We had fried chicken, brown butter mac and cheese, from scratch yeast rolls and I topped that off with my Lemon Glazed Southern Tea Cakes.  I am here to inform you that the boys ate...and ate...and ate....some more.

They ate so much food, I am shocked I even had leftover chicken to make this pasta salad.


I took some fried chicken, cut it into chunks, try to keep the chicken skin attached. Boiled some eggs, mashed the eggs up with mayo, a bunch of spices, some veggies and tossed in some pasta and folded in the fried chicken chunks.

Don't forget to rinse the pasta in cold water.

The dish is that simple. If you don't have leftover fried chicken, you can always make a quick run to your favorite chicken spot.


Yes, this dish is fantastic. I would say it's perfect for a pot luck or picnic. The boys really loved it, so much, it's all gone. I am lucky I tasted it before I told them to come eat, because that was all I got was a small taste. I turned around they had disappeared and the bowl was empty!

Fried Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

8 pieces of leftover fried chicken or 4 cups cubed fried chicken
5 eggs boiled
1 cup hellmann's mayonnaise
1 lb rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons  relish
1 tablespoon creole mustard, or brown mustard
1/2 bell pepper, minced
1/2 small white onion, minced
1 stalk celery diced
3 stalks green onions, minced
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
extra virgin olive oil to toss cooked pasta in

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for about 7 minutes, drain, rinse, drain again and toss in olive oil to prevent sticking, set aside.

Add eggs to a medium pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover with lid, turn off heat, allow eggs to steam for about 15-17 minutes. Drain eggs, mash.

In a medium bowl, add eggs then add, mayonnaise, seasonings, relish, and vegetables. Mix well, fold in pasta and mix well. Add chicken mix well and chill or serve warm.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mango Ginger Green Iced Tea



Refreshing!

 
Refreshing, with a little spice is how I would describe this Mango Ginger Green Iced Tea. I love tea, and I must admit, it's a little addiction I have. 

I collect teas, and me and my Baby Girl have these little tea parties. We always make a nice cup of tea and little sandwiches and don't forget my Lemon Glazed Southern Teacakes. 


The key to creating a great cup of tea, well, is great tea! I love my Yogi Tea. I get motivation and a nice cup of tea in one sitting.


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the tea bags in the water, cover pot, turn off heat and steep for about 10 minutes. Pour the mango puree into the tea and add extra sugar if desired.


Pour tea over a picture of ice and garnish with mint and mango slices.


I have my cute little sandwiches, some hot fresh teacakes and my Mango Ginger Green Iced Tea. This is turning out to be a perfect Sunday!

Mango Ginger Green Iced Tea

4 mangoes, peeled, sliced or 2 1/2 c. mango puree
6 cups water
6 Green Ginger Tea Bags
1/2 cup sugar
fresh mint to garnish

Directions:

Puree mango in a blender with 1/4 cup of sugar and set aside. Pour water into a large pot and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, add tea bags, cover pot with lid and turn off heat.

Allow tea bags to steep for about 10 minutes. Remove bags from pot, pour in mango puree. Add remaining sugar and mix well.Pour mixture over ice, garnish with mint and serve chilled.




Saturday, June 22, 2013

Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto


Cover Story!


I cooked the cover, southern style!  Today, I am joining the cult following, of cooking the cover with bon appetit magazine. For the month of June, cook the cover goes to...drum roll please... Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto.


As everyone already knows, it's impossible for me to stick to any recipe. I decided my plan of attack for cooking the cover was to take the recipe and "creolize" it.


Substituting roasted pecans (it's a southern thang) for the roasted almonds, green onions instead of chives, a few of my favorite creole spices and some Tabasco, yes, hot sauce people!


And to top it off, I chose the ultimate in Italian cheeses, parmigiano-reggiano.


This pasta looks and taste great, bon appetit people!

Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto
adapted from bon appetit

Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti
2 cloves garlic
4 cups Italian Parsley, washed, drained
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano 
1/2 cup pecan, roasted
3/4 cup green onions
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoon Tabasco
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lemon, zested, juiced
pasta cooking water

Directions:

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, reserve cooking liquid to thin sauce.  In a blender, add pecans, chop finely, add garlic, cheese, green onions and parsley, pulse. Add seasoning, lemon zest and juice.

While pulsing, drizzle in olive oil to emulsify the pesto. Set pesto aside while the pasta cooks. Remove pasta from water, drain, rinse pasta in hot water, drain again. Place pasta in a large bowl, top with pesto sauce.

Toss pasta and pesto , add about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, toss again. Add more pasta cooking water if desired. I used a total of 1/2 c. of pasta cooking water. Serve with extra parmigiano-reggiano.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grilled Jerk Chicken with Spicy White Barbeque Sauce



Keeping it REAL with Hellmann's Mayonnaise! 


Hello people, I am on a mission to keep it REAL with Hellmann's Mayonnaise. Hellmann's is celebrating 100 years of pure goodness, and being a Hellmann's Mayonnaise addict, I am joining the party! I discussed my love of all things Hellmann's back when I posted my Creole Potato Salad recipe.

My family has used Hellmann's products for generations. I continue this tradition with my daughter. To spice this 100 years of Hellmann's party up, I decided to create a Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Spicy White Barbeque Sauce.


A great Jerk Chicken starts with a lot of great spices. As you already know, I don't skimp when it comes to spice and flavor.  I took my spice rub, added some habaneros, jalapenos, and Serrano peppers and blended the mixture together to coat the chicken with.


I decided to use chicken thighs because I love how they handle all these spices.  Please feel free to use whatever part of the chicken you enjoy. Just make sure you adjust the cooking time.


30 minutes before the chicken is done, I basted the chicken with the Spicy White Barbeque Sauce. 


It's all ready people. Don't forget to serve it up with extra sauce on the side.


Let's EAT!

Grilled Jerk Chicken with Spicy White Barbeque Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes or until 170 degrees
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes plus marinating time
Servings: 8 pieces of chicken

Jerk Chicken Ingredients:

8 bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs
2 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (wear gloves if possible when handling)
2 jalapeno pepper
2 Serrano peppers
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon allspice
2 tablespoon creole seasoning or seasoning salt
2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced, zested
1 lime, juiced, zested
Spicy white barbeque sauce 
extra virgin olive oil to coat chicken

For the Spicy White Barbeque Sauce
1 1/2 cups Hellmann's/Best Foods Mayonnaise
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon applewood smoked sea salt
1 lemon, zested, juiced

Directions:


Rinse chicken, pat dry, place in a large bowl and set aside. Coat chicken with extra virgin olive oil. In a blender add all remaining ingredients and blend well until pureed. Add pureed mixture to chicken and mix well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours, preferably overnight. 

Prior to grilling allow chicken to reach room temperature. Prepare grill and grill chicken for about 10 minutes on direct heat, then spread chicken out so it receives indirect heat to prevent burning. Grill chicken for about 30 minutes with grill lid closed, turn chicken over and grill another 30 minutes.

Place all ingredients for barbeque sauce in a blender, blend well, cover, refrigerate until ready to use.

Baste chicken with spicy white barbeque sauce and grill another 30-40 minutes, until chicken thighs reach a temperature of 170 degrees.

Remove chicken from grill, allow chicken to rest about 10 minutes and serve with more Spicy White Barbeque Sauce on the side.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Steak and Sausage Hash


Leftover Goodies!


Hash is one of those dishes that can take on a life of it's own. If you have some leftovers and some potatoes you can create a hash out of this world!

My Baby Girl cooked her dad a beautiful rib eye for Father's Day, hence the steak added to the hash.

Then yesterday I made Smothered Grits with Jalapeno Sausage which gave me all the perfect meats for my hash today. 


I boiled the potatoes for about 5 minutes to soften them up. If you have time make the potatoes in advance then allow them to chill overnight.

I find that cold cooked potatoes makes the hash crispier.


I sauteed all the precooked ingredients in a pan with olive oil.  Chilled precooked ingredients work best.


I topped the hash with lots of pepper jack and cheddar cheese. I layered the cheese so each bite is cheesylicious!


Doesn't this look divine! And Big Goo claims he doesn't like leftovers, but he loves my hash. He never realized I made it with leftover food...lol...

Steak and Sausage Hash

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 cups 1 inch. chopped steak, precooked
2 cups chopped sausage, precooked
3 Idaho potatoes, peeled, chopped 2" chunks
1 cup sharp cheese, shredded
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 pack of bacon, diced, precooked
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
  
Preheat oven to broil.

Peel potatoes, diced and place in a large pot covered with water. Boil potatoes for about 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet heat about 3 tablespoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, add potatoes, season with all the spices.

Saute potatoes for about 5 minutes, turning carefully. Add vegetables and cook for about 3 minutes more. Add steak and sausage and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Cover with cheese and broil for about 3-5 minutes.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Smothered Grits with Jalapeno Sausage and Bacon



Spicy Bowl of Goodness!


I would like to inform you that today's dish was  based solely on some dishware I purchased from Pier 1 Imports. Yesterday my goal was to purchase dishes for Asian food.

I love Asian food, and I wanted to have dishes dedicated to the cause. I found all these cute unique dishes with pure Asian flare.


But as we all know, I can't just stick to cooking one type of food. Which meant these dishes must serve more than one purpose.


I stared at my beautiful new dishes all night, yep, all night people, finally I decided that I know for sure, some good ole' Creole Grits would look super cute in the middle of the bowl, minus the chopsticks.

It's time to start cooking!



After frying some nice crispy bacon, I added some sausage to the reserved bacon grease, browned those up for a few minutes and added an abundance of fresh veggies. 


Next we started on some grits. Yes, it says quick cook and NO, it's not even remotely possible to cook good grits in 5 minutes. Add around 15 to 20 minutes on that time for nice creamy grits.


I told you, look at what we have here. And people, please taste the grits as they cook, they should not be "gritty." You're looking for a nice creamy bite.


Place the hot cheesy grits in the middle of the new beautiful bowls, and smother them with sausage, cooked veggies, and loads of bacon.


I have my fork ready, and it's time to dig in!

Smothered Grits with Jalapeno Sausage and Bacon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb. smoked jalapeno sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch on the diagonal
1 pack of thick cut bacon, diced
1 tsp. creole seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 fresh jalapeno (seeded), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced green onions
extra virgin olive oil
cooked grits (recipe below)

For the Grits

1 c. grits
1 stick butter
1 c. heavy cream
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. creole seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 c. jack cheese, grated
1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

Add a couple of tablespoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add diced bacon and fry until crispy. Drain bacon, reserve a couple of tablespoonfuls of bacon grease.

Add sliced sausage to pan and cook for about 7 minutes until sausage is browned nicely. Add all vegetables and seasonings to pan except garlic.

Cook for about 5 minutes, add garlic, cook for a couple of minutes more.   Serve over grits. Topped with bacon.

To prepare grits, in a large pot bring all liquids to boil, add butter and seasonings. Slowly stir in grits while whisking nonstop for about two minutes.

Reduce heat to low and cook grits, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Adding extra broth as needed to keep the grits thin. Add cheese and whisk well, add more broth if needed and eat up!

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I must confess I love great food. I decided to create The Creole Contessa blog after cooking and eating a great meal with my family Big Goo the hubby of almost twenty years and my lil’ Contessa Summer aka “Baby Girl." I told Big Goo and Baby Girl, it is just not fair to not share these great recipes with the world; and the Creole Contessa blog was born.

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