- Brussels Sprout and Avocado Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing
- Chicken Burgers with Chipotle Guacamole
- Pistachio Encrusted Chicken
- Encrusted Parmesan Artichoke Chicken
- Honey and White Cheddar Apple Bites
- Spider Cakes (Golden Butter Cakes with Peanut Butter Icing)
- Black Bean and Mango Salsa
- Berry Studded Honey Cloud Pancakes
- Shredded Pork and Grilled Pineapple Tacos
- Sassy Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Shredded Pork
- Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Biscoff Milkshake
- Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Mango Salad
- Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing
- Chicken Wrap with Avocado Mayonnaise
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Category Archives: appetizers
It is that time of year when we are hosting more parties and bringing more cover dishes to events. One of the buffet dishes I look forward to every year is bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp. However they are sometimes a disappointment with under-cooked bacon or over cooked shrimp. See the two don’t really have the same cook time so it is hard to get bacon wrapped shrimp just right. However I have come up with a solution – a faster, easier, fool-proof BBQ Bacon Shrimp.
My secret is not to wrap the shrimp in bacon. I chop the bacon and cook it first. Then saute the shrimp in the same pan before adding the BBQ sauce. The results is flavorful perfectly cooked BBQ Bacon Shrimp. After the taste, the best part of this recipe is you can make the whole thing from start to finish in about 12 minutes.
This recipe works great as an easy entree or spectacular hors d’oeuvre (just add toothpicks!). Hope you enjoy it!
BBQ Bacon Shrimp
Prep: 2 minutes - Cook time: 12 minutes - Makes: 4 entrees or roughly 15 appetizer servings
- 4 pieces bacon
- 1 ¼ lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 ¼ cup BBQ sauce
Chop bacon into pieces. Place in a large skillet. Cook on medium-high heat until cooked (about 7 minutes). Scoop cooked bacon out with slotted spoon and set aside. Return skillet to the stove.
Add peeled deveined shrimp to skillet and cook until shrimp are fully cooked and opaque (about 4 minutes). Add BBQ sauce and bacon to shrimp and cook for 1 more minute. Serve and enjoy!
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Yesterday I read a great Op-Ed article from New York Times columnist Mark Bittman entitled, “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?”. His position (similar to mine) is that fast food is not really cheaper than healthy homemade food. I say it is time to break the fast food cycle and bring real home-cooked family dinners back into style! There are so many delicious, easy and affordable dinners you can make at home.
Last night I made Sesame Pecan Chicken Strips, a recipe I slightly tweaked from the original recipe from the Food Network Magazine. The original recipe was pan-fried. I wanted to “healthy it up a bit” by changing the recipe to an oven “fried” version. It takes a little longer to bake something in the oven, but your hands-on time for the recipe is less. You can walk away and do other things while your chicken is cooking in the oven.
I used bone-in chicken breasts (because they were on sale) to make this recipe and cut the breast meat off the bone myself. The next most expensive ingredients after chicken is the pecans. I buy them in bulk from a warehouse club store for less than a quarter of the cost of grocery store pecans. You could leave them out though if cost was a concern. I served my Sesame Pecan Chicken Strips with steamed veggies and brown rice plus some milk to drink. Total cost for my homemade meal for 4 was roughly $19 versus the $23-$28 Mark sited for a typical fast food dinner for a family of 4. (This could have been a $5 challenge meal!) Suddenly the value menu doesn’t seem like such a value does it?
What do you think – is fast food really cheaper than healthy homemade food?
Oven-Fried Sesame Pecan Chicken Strips
Prep time: 12 minutes - Cook time: 25-30 minutes - Makes: 4 servings
Chicken Strips Ingredients:
- 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, strips
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
- nonstick cooking spray
Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with a sheet of tin foil. Spray generously with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Mix the breadcrumbs, pecans, sesame seeds, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy.
Dip the chicken strips in the egg whites, shake off excess and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Press the crumb into the strips to help it adhere. Place each coated strip onto the prepared baking sheet. Chicken strips should not touch. spray strips generously with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked.
When chicken is almost done, place the sauce ingredients ( dijon mustards, apricot preserves, thyme) in a small bowl and whisk together. Season with a dash of salt if desired.
Serve fully cooked chicken strips with the apricot-mustard sauce and enjoy!
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I am all about the super easy dinner options for busy weeknights and I think I have come up with a great one here with my Inside-Out Chicken Egg Rolls. I love egg rolls but take-out egg rolls are pretty unhealthy and homemade versions take a lot of prep work and time. So I created a short cut version you can make at home in less than 15 minutes but with all of the great flavors of an egg roll.
There are two things that really cut the start-to-finish time of this recipe. The first one is I started with cooked chicken (from my Baked Smoked Paprika Chicken night this past weekend). The second one is I am skipping the the whole assembling and rolling up of the egg rolls. We are going to create this Inside-Out Egg Roll like a tostada with the crispy shell on the bottom and what would have been the inside of an egg roll on the top.
I kept my egg roll “filling” pretty simple with just chicken, cabbage and seasonings. You could make your “filling” more of a stir-fry version with other vegetables mixed. That is the great thing about recipes like this – there are endless opportunities to improvise based on your taste or what’s in your fridge at the moment.
I am still doing the Healthy Eats Brown-Bag Challenge. So even though my Inside-Out Egg Rolls make a great dinner options, they are actually going in my lunch for today. If you want to take this for a meal on the go, prepare the recipe as directed including baking the egg roll shell, but don’t assemble. Pack the chicken and cabbage mixture separately in a container for reheating. Let the crispy baked egg roll shell cool completely then pack it in a zip top baggie or other container. Don’t assemble your on-the-go Inside-Out Egg Roll until you have heated the topping and are ready to eat.
The Inside-Out Chicken Egg Rolls
Prep Time: 6 minutes - Cook time: 8 minutes - Makes: 4
- egg roll wrappers, uncooked
- non-stick cooking spray
- garlic salt
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 clove or garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups cooked chicken diced
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 scallion, diced
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously spray a baking sheet (or 2 if one isn’t big enough) with non-stick cooking spray. Add 4 sheets off un cooked egg roll wrappers to baking sheet in a single layer so that they do not touch spray both sides of the egg roll wrappers liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle a small dash of garlic salt over the wrappers. Bake for 7 minutes. Watch closely to make sure they do not burn.
While egg roll wrappers are baking, place a large skillet on medium high heat. Add canola oil. Add garlic and ginger and sizzle for 1 minute.
Add shredded cabbage to skillet and stir to combine the garlic and ginger. Saute cabbage for 3 minutes (or longer if you prefer softer cooked cabbage).
Add chicken, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes (leave the red pepper flakes out if you prefer no heat in your dish). Stir well and saute for 2 minutes. Then add toasted sesame oil, stir and remove from heat. Serve hot with the crispy egg roll wrappers. Assemble the Inside-Out Egg Rolls when ready to eat.
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