Chicken with Tarragon and Mushrooms

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I have to admit that this photo is not mine. I just wanted to get this recipe online because I found it browsing through one of my “real” cookbooks with a “GOOD!” in the margin.  But now that I almost always just look for recipes online, I needed to get it in here or I’d never remember to make it again. Reading the recipe, I’m certain I didn’t use heavy cream as it’s not something I ever buy. (or did I when I was younger ??)  I may have used half and half or even a touch of milk.  I’ll have to make this soon and update.

However,  I came across another version of this recipe when I was looking for a photo to use here until I have a photo of my own.  I like the sound of it better as it has less fat with no cream and no bacon.  See the link for that recipe at the end of this one.

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  •  6 large (1.5 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  •  3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into quarter-inch pieces
  •  8 oz. fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  •  3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  •  salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken and half of the garlic.  Cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes each side turning once, just until browned. Remove chicken from the pan and drain on paper towels. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish; set aside.
  2.  Add the bacon to the pan and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes; drain the fat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the wine, tomato paste and tarragon to the pan; stir until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat and add the cream; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Bake, covered, for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Click the link for a slightly different version of a chicken, mushroom and tarragon dish from The Italian Dish blog: http://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2013/11/5/tarragon-chicken.html

So I did make this again and of course it is delicious. I realized there is no garlic in the recipe.  Have to add garlic!  I minced a large clove and put some of it in the pan when frying up the chicken and put the rest in with the mushrooms.  I used half and half instead of cream.  Very tasty.  Here is the photo. Doesn’t look as good as the one from the blog I used up top so I’ll leave that photo as an inspiration of what I would like it to look like.

 

tarragonchick

 

Published in: on December 3, 2015 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pecan-Crusted Honey Chicken

pecanfilets

Here is a quick and tasty chicken recipe that’s nice for dinners with company or any special night.

4 servings; Preheat oven to 375 F

  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. butter or margarine, melted

Mix mustard, lemon juice, and honey; brush onto both sides of chicken breasts. Place in single layer in shallow baking pan. Then combine breadcrumbs, pecans and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over chicken. Press lightly into chicken to secure.

Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes (depends how thick the chicken is) or until chicken is cooked through and reaches 170 F.

 

 

 

Published in: on November 28, 2015 at 3:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Spinach Lasagna with non-precooked Noodles

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I got this recipe from my friend Susan Baranowski back in the 70s when I had never heard of not needing to pre-cook lasagna noodles so it was an instant hit with me.  Now I see this as pretty common in recipes for lasagna, but I’ve always stuck to this one.

These days I normally use jarred marinara sauce rather than make the sauce the recipe calls for. The only problem is that jars only have 24 oz. and I think the sauce recipe below will yield a little more which you really do need. You need to have 3 layers of sauce so be sure to portion it out so you have enough for the third layer. If you like lasagna juicy, have a little more than the standard 24 oz jar on hand. (Or, stretch your sauce with a 1/2 cup of wine!) Actually it’s always good to have a little more on hand.  If you even slightly overcook it, it can be slightly dry and you’ll appreciate being able to top with a little more warm sauce when serving.

Sauce:

  • 1 (29 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan combine all sauce ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Lasagna

  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles (I put in as many as fit in the two layers. Don’t think it’s 1/2 lb, but it’s what fits in the pan)
  • 1 lb ricotta or cottage cheese (standard packaging has been reduced to 15 oz. these days)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package (10 oz?) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well so excess water is all gone (I’ve also used 16  oz. of fresh spinach leaves, chopped coarsely, wilted, and drained well)
  • Ev’s extras:
    •  2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped fairly small
    • mushrooms – as many as I have and want to add
    • 1 small Italian sausage (optional)
  • 1/2 lb sliced or shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Assemble lasagna.

  1. Saute onion in a little olive oil briefly until just starting to get translucent.  Add garlic and mushrooms.  Stir and cook another minute or two until mushrooms get slightly soft. Mix into drained spinach.
  2. Combine Ricotta and Parmesan cheese with Spinach mixture and mix well.
  3. Cover bottom of a 11-3/4 X  7 1/2  X  1-3/4 inch baking dish with sauce.
  4. Arrange uncooked noodles to fit on top of sauce. (Usually 3 fit with 3rd one needing a trim.) Press lightly into sauce.
  5. Cover lasagna with more sauce. (If adding sausage, put it in with sauce) (The sauce cooks the noodles so don’t be too stingy.)
  6. Spoon 1/2 of the ricotta/spinach mixture over noodles.
  7. Place second layer of noodles; add another layer of sauce, then rest of ricotta/spinach mixture.
  8. Cover with remaining sauce.
  9. Cover top with Mozzarella.
  10. Cover with Aluminum foil. (This will stick to the cheese as it cooks so I always put 4 toothpicks in the lasagna to keep the foil off the cheesy top.)
  11. Bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes.
  12. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more. Let stand before serving.
  13. May be frozen after baking in individual portions. (never did that, but sounds like a good idea)

lasagna

Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken and Aspargus Casserole Almondine

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Just as the photo suggests, this is a recipe for cheesy, creamy, comfort food that tastes just as good in summer as it does on a cold winter day.

  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces (no thick ends) – (very thin or slightly pre-cook regular thick asparagus
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, slightly blanched
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheese (Swiss was also very good)
  • 2 cups pre-cooked diced chicken  (or just quickly saute a couple of seasoned chicken breasts and chop)
  • 1 can reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crunched up potato chips (good, but optional)

Lightly grease a 2-quart Pyrex dish. Sprinkle half of the potato chips in dish. (Sometimes I just take a handful and break them into the dish.) Layer with asparagus pieces, mushrooms, onions, chicken and almonds in that order. Cover with remaining potato chips. (optional, really)  Pour the chicken soup and milk mix over the entire casserole. (Sometimes this just stays on top so I take a fork and make some holes so the sauce will drain down to the bottom.)  Bake for 25 minutes at 350. (I always cover it, but directions don’t say this.) When sauce is bubbling (may be longer than 25 minutes, depending on your pan) sprinkle cheese over top and bake another 5 minutes. Sometimes I put under broiler to let it brown on top a little, but be careful not to burn!  Let it set about 5 minutes after coming out of the oven.

I always serve this over boiled potatoes. We love the crunch of the onions and the almonds!

Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Shrimp and Feta Cheese Casserole

Shrimp Feta Cheese CasseroleEasy, fast and very tasty way to serve shrimp. I usually serve it over rice.

  • 3 TBS olive oil
  •  2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 – 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (optional; I usually don’t have this on hand and just add a bit more dill)
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 cups tomatoes or 16-ounce can of Italian peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of Tobasco
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until onion is soft. Add the herbs, tomatoes, and tomato paste, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes (or until they just lose translucence).  Add red pepper or Tabasco to taste.

Pour the mixture into a well-greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle top with the feta cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted (and shrimp is cooked through.)

Serve hot, to 4 as main dish, or 8 as appetizer.

Notes: I usually use a can of tomatoes, but recently had a lot of grape tomatoes so I sliced them once and cooked as directed in recipe.  It was delicious!  Best ever.

I have also just cooked everything on the stove top and skipped the oven.  I just cooked the shrimp longer to make sure they were cooked (but never overcooked!) and added the feta cheese, stirring it into the hot mix.  It melts pretty quickly within a minute or so.  You don’t want it completely melted into the tomatoes.  Try to keep it so there are lumps here and there as in photo.  Time the addition of the cheese so you don’t overcook the shrimp trying to get the cheese to melt.

Other variations of this recipe call for grated lemon peel and oregano rather than dill. We are very partial to the dill, but variations are also very good.

 

Published in: on February 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beef Kaftas

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Some years ago we had a coupon to a Lebanese restaurant and we ate Kaftas for the first time. We loved them so I looked them up on the Internet and came up with this recipe. I’m not a big fan of lamb so I  normally make them with just beef, and/or turkey or chicken. I also normally shape them like short, kind of flat cigars, but tonight I just made small patties for easier handling on the grill.

  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef (or half and half)
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 bunch minced parsley (maybe a cup?)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • yogurt as condiment

Mix all ingredients (except the yogurt). Roll into cigar shapes. Grill or broil. Serve with yogurt.

It’s important not to overcook as the meat will get tough. The yogurt is great. You can also use tzaziki or just add some mint to yogurt.

I just looked up the recipe again as I’ve had this one for so long and found the following.  It has no cinnamon, but all the other stuff along with the more traditional egg and breadcrumbs.  I’ll try this next time and if it doesn’t work, will delete it.  In the meantime you can try one or the other and let me know which worked best!

Lebanese Kofta (or Kafta) by Michigal

This Arabic meat mixture has been made in my family for generations. We make it on skewers to grill on the barbecue, but this recipe can also be used for hamburgers (lamburgers). It’s amazing served with tzatziki or Arabic garlic spread. We usually serve it with hummus and tabbouli as side dishes. The 1/2 lamb, 1/2 beef mixture is simply to keep the cost down. Feel free to adjust to 100% lamb. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • ½ pounds Ground Lamb
  • ½ pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ cups Finely Chopped Parsley
  • ½ cups Finely Chopped Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Allspice
  • 2 cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Paprika
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ⅓ cups Bread Crumbs
  • 1 whole Egg

Preparation

Soak bamboo skewers for 30 minutes before prepping (or use stainless steel skewers).

Preheat an outdoor grill to high heat.

Mix all of the ingredients above thoroughly in a large glass bowl.

Wet fingers and hands (or coat fingers and hands with a bit of olive oil) and mold meat mixture around skewers in a long, oblong log shape. (You can also mold this first, and then thread the skewer through them, but the other way is easier).

Grill until meat is no longer pink. Do not over grill, but ensure that the meat is cooked thoroughly.

Serve hot.

**********************

I’m going to copy Michigal’s (she must be from Michigan) recipe for “Cool Garlicky Cucumbers” too because it sounds so good. Will have to try next time.

Cool Garlicky Cucumbers

Description

This recipe is like a crazy version of the old fashioned “cucumbers and sour cream” with a Greek tzadziki flair. We absolutely love this in the summertime, as it’s a very cool, refreshing side dish. It’s a fantastic complement to zesty or spicy meats or legumes. We love it best with a really flavorful barbecue-grilled steak and corn on the cob. Just try it once—I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Fage Or Oikos Greek Yogurt (MUST Be Greek)
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • 1 whole Very Large Cucumber (or Two Regular Sized Ones), Peeled, Seeded And Diced
  • ⅓ cups Red Onion, Diced Finely
  • 3 cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced
  • ½ teaspoons White Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Dried Mint (or Two Tablespoons Fresh Mint, Chopped)
  • ½ teaspoons Or More Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 2 pinches Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preparation

In a medium-sized glass mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, yogurt, minced garlic, salt, sugar, pepper and white vinegar. Mix well. Then add the mint, crushing it between your fingertips as you sprinkle it in the bowl, allowing the oils to release and making the mint more potent. Then add the cucumber and onion, mixing well. Taste, and add more salt if you think necessary. Don’t be afraid of the salt (unless you have high blood pressure or heart problems)—it really brings out the flavor of the yogurt and garlic. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and chill for at least one hour before serving.

 

Published in: on June 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Herb-Marinated Chicken

marinated chickenJust an easy marinade from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook via the newspaper that works every time giving you a moist, tasty chicken that pairs well with anything. I make lots of changes, but will post the original recipe first and then the changes I have made.

  • 2 to 2 -1/2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 TBsp olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 TBsp vinegar
  • 2 tsps. dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried oregan or or tarragon, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

Skin chicken, if desired. Rinse chicken. Set heavy resealable bag into large mixing bowl and place chicken in bag. In a bowl, combine wine, oil, vinegar, basil, oregano or tarragon, onion salt and garlic. Pour over chicken in bag.  Close bag and turn to coat chicken well. Marinate 5 to 24 hours in refrigerator, turning bag occasionally.

Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Place chicken (skin side down if skin is left on), on unheated rack in broiler pan. Brush with marinade. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat about 20 minutes or until lightly browned, brushing often with marinade. Turn chicken and broil 5 to 15 minutes more, brushing often with marinade, until tender and no loner pink.

** My variations on this theme **

I usually only use large skinless chicken breasts, bone in or boneless. I never buy with skin, but recipe calls for it, so also possible.

For the marinade, I include all the dried herbs, but if I have fresh parsley or basil, I will add those as well, chopped fine. I don’t normally have onion salt, so will substitute with regular salt and /or Mrs. Dash’s Onion and Herb spice or dried onions, or finely chopped scallions.

I bake the chicken at 400 degrees, covered, until the internal temp (use thermometer) is about 160. (Removing from marinade and placing in a baking pan with no prep to the pan, but pouring some of the marinade over it so there is moisture in the pan.) When it reaches around 160 degrees, I take the cover off and pour more marinade over it and broil for about 5 minutes until it gets a little brown and I figure the internal temp has reached around 175 – 180.

The last time I made it I had leftover marinade so I made a sauce with a little roux (butter and flour), the juices from the chicken pan, the leftover marinade, some vegetable water I happened to have, and of course a splash of wine! Keep it at a low boil, stirring, to reduce and thicken. It was very tasty!

 

 

Published in: on June 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Kale, Lemon Chicken, and Bacon Risotto

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I looked at a variety of recipes and, as usual, made one up. My basic philosophy is use more or less of what you like or don’t like. Like more kale or chicken? Add it. Don’t like a lot of bacon, or love bacon? Adjust according to your taste. Here is what worked for our tastes.

  • 1 cup arborio rice (works with orzo too)
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock (used about 2 cups with orzo)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 pieces of bacon (according to taste)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) coarsely chopped crimini mushrooms
  • about 4 – 5 cups of chopped kale (I had lacinta or tucson Kale)
  • a little lemon juice
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup (leftover) chicken cubes/pieces cooked with lemon pepper or any seasoning. I squirted them with lemon juice to give them a fresh lemony taste.

Though you are only frying a couple of pieces of bacon, use a pan big enough for the whole dish. I used a 10-11 inch frying pan. Fry the bacon, remove, and once it cools, tear in little pieces. Pour off the excess bacon fat, leaving about 1 tsp fat to sauté the chopped onion in the same pan till onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic for the final minute. (if dry, can add a tsp. of butter,oil, or bacon fat)

Add the cup of rice and stir to coat with the fat over medium heat. (If you need to add more fat, do so, but only as much as needed to coat the rice.) Keep stirring to try to get the rice translucent with white in the middle, but not burned. (After what seemed like 10 minutes I didn’t see too much translucence and remembered a comment on one of the recipes I read said hers didn’t get translucent but she carried on and it was fine so I did the same.) There were a few odd rice grains that did have that tranlucence after about 10 minutes so I decided it was time to continue. (When I tried this with orzo, I didn’t wait for the translucence; just sauteed for a few minutes.)

Add the wine, stir and cook till the wine is gone. All recipes say the broth should be heated, but not boiling so I just nuked it to make it very hot.  Pour about 1/2 cup on the rice (about enough to cover) and let it bubble up while stirring.  (One of the recipes said you didn’t have to stir constantly so I did walk away and prepare the kale while it simmered, but watched from the corner of my eye.)  You want the rice cooking gently, but not burning on the bottom. When the liquid is gone, reheat another 1/2 cup or so of broth and pour in enough to just cover the top of rice and stir. Repeat this with the second cup of broth, remembering to heat your broth before adding to the pan. This may all take about 35 – 45 minutes. (Orzo option: I had read that you can pour in all the liquid with orzo and not spend the time stirring.  I still poured only about 3/4 cup warmed broth at a time and did a little stirring, but not much. I did check to see if orzo was just about cooked before going on to next steps.)

Slice the kale in strips. (I put it in a big bowl with about 1 tablespoon of chicken broth over it and microwaved for about 1 minute at medium.  It was slightly wilted. (I have also put in raw kale with the last cup of broth and it worked just fine; no need to wilt first.)

Heat the 3rd and final cup of broth.  Add 1/2 cup and throw in the cooked chicken, bacon bits, and a squeeze of lemon. Stir while it cooks and the liquid disappears.

Put the kale in the risotto with the last half cup of liquid. (if using unwilted kale, put it in with chicken)  I added a few squeezes of lemon too, but this is optional. Keep stirring to make sure nothing burns. Stir in about 1/8 cup of parmesan. (more if you like it cheesier) Add salt carefully because bacon, chicken broth, and cheese can be salty.

Serve with more grated parmesan on top. I squeezed a bit more lemon on mine because I liked the fresh lemon taste with the kale. Add salt and pepper to taste.

How many people can you feed with this? The recipes I consulted may have said serves 4. Well, we get about 3 dinner servings out of this recipe because we really like it. (So we are piggies…)  I served with a tomato (and onion) salad.

Published in: on May 9, 2014 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken Filets stuffed with Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese

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I don’t normally photograph raw meat, but in this case I was totally making this up so I thought I needed to document the steps. In the end I was so eager to taste the dish that I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.

This turned out so good that I don’t want to forget it.  I marinated 2 chicken filets in store-bought Italian salad dressing for about 10 – 15 minutes. I put one of the filets on a big sheet of aluminum foil and topped it with a generous layer of baby spinach.  Then came slices of mozzarella cheese. (See in the photo they were not thin slices.) I think I sprinkled a little oregano on the cheese. I then put the other filet on top and wrapped it all up in the aluminum foil so it was a  little closed package. It went into the oven at 400 degreees and baked about 25 minutes.  When I opened the package I cut into the bottom filet because that was the thickest.  It seemed to be cooked to perfection so I took it out.  What I didn’t realize was that the top piece, though thinner, was not completely cooked.  I’m not sure if my oven isn’t working correctly or if it bakes from the bottom up, but make sure BOTH pieces of chicked are cooked completely.

Anyway, it was delicious! The marinade was just right to give the chicken a little taste, but not overwhelming. The spinach and creamy mozzarella were wonderful!  Will make this again and get the photo of the final product if we can wait for the photo before gobbling it all up!

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

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I inherited a box of jalapeño peppers from my friend Laurie when we visited her and Frank in Palm Springs. She needed one to make guacamole and bought a whole box.  In the end she forgot to put it in, so the entire box was left unopened and she was headed back to Wisconsin.  I didn’t know what I’d do with them as I’m not a big fan myself though I must say I love the jalapeño poppers they have at the supermarket. So, with the idea of gooey cheese in the middle I looked for an easy recipe. I came across crab-stuffed peppers which intrigued me as something a little more interesting than just cheese as a filling.

I have a favorite recipe for crab enchiladas so I thought I’d try some of that filling. I washed the jalpenos, cut them in half lengthwise, and cut out all the seeds and the veins in the middle (I thought). I put the crab enchilada filling in one, and in the other I simply mushed together some cream cheese and crab and sprinkled some chopped olives on all of them.  I put them in the pre-heated (400 degree) toaster oven on a small baking sheet and baked them about 20 minutes.

They were surprisingly good! I actually liked the ones that were just cream cheese and crab best. I don’t know what I missed in the cleaning, but a couple of them had a real “bite” to them and that was good.  The ones that I cleaned perfectly had no spice to them and were almost boring. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to advise on keeping the right amount of spice. 😦

I just experimented with 2 of the jalapeños and I still have the rest of the box, so I’ll  keep experimenting to see if I can come up with a recipe that I’ll want to add here. But my sense is that you can put anything in the middle and bake them and they’ll be a delightfully different appetizer or snack. Thanks for the inspiration, Laurie!

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm  Comments (2)  
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