Holiday Veggie Appetizer Wreath

Holiday Veggie Appetizer Wreath
recipe courtesy of Pampered Chef

1 pkg. (340g) refrigerated flaky rolls
1 container (250g) chive and onion soft cream cheese
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 C. broccoli, chopped
1/2 C. cucumber
2 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and choppedPreheat oven to 400°F. Separate rolls horizontally in half to form 20 rolls. In center of a round stone, arrange 6 rolls in a circle and add 1 in center with edges touching, in another circle around ring of rolls.

Using lightly floured pizza roller, flatten and roll rolls together to seal, leaving outside edges scalloped for petal effect. Bake 11-13 minutes or golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully loosen and slide onto cooling rack it cool.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic and dill weed.

Score cucumber lengthwise; remove seeds. Slice cucumber; cut slices into quarters. Chop tomato.

Return crust to crust to cooled stone; spread evenly with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with broccoli, cucumber and tomato. Arrange 3 seeded and scored cucumber slices at top to create bow effect, if desired pull rolls apart. Yields 20 servings.

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Chicken & Broccoli Appetizer Wreath

Chicken & Broccoli Appetizer Wreath
recipe courtesy of Pampered Chef

1/2 C. red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C. broccoli, chopped
1/4 C. water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 T. onion, chopped
6 oz. cooked chicken breast, chopped
2/3 C. cream of chicken soup
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (8 oz.) pkg. refrigerated crescent rollsPreheat oven to 350ºF.

Chop pepper, broccoli, water chestnuts, onion and chicken. Combine all ingredients except crescent rolls in medium bowl.

Unroll crescent rolls and arrange triangles in a circle on a 15″ baking stone with the bases overlapping in center and points toward the outside. Scoop filling mixture onto widest portion of each triangle. Fold points of triangle over filling and tuck under base at center. (Filling will not be completely covered.) Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Fresh Vegetable Pizza Squares

The following recipe was made for my guests during my Fall Snacks cooking class. You can read and view links to other recipes I made HERE.

Fresh Vegetable Pizza Squares
Recipe adapted from HERE

2 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
– Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
– Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix.
– Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust.
– Arrange carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes.
– Sprinkle cheese over top.
– Chill in the refrigerator and cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Things You Can Caramelize

What food comes to mind when you think of caramelizing? Let’s see… there’s onions, shallots, nuts, apples, creme brulee, etc. Have you ever considered tofu?

I know it’s a bit odd, but hear me out! Tofu is one of those foods that might require some extra coaxing for folks to try. But perhaps caramelizing them to give them more depth, flavor and color will help you to consider trying this recipe for Caramelized Tofu.

For lunch today we wanted to use up some bok choy and tofu we purchased last week. Thanks to my friend, Elly, she shared the site of 101 Cookbooks with me for a pancake recipe. On the same site, my eyes found this dish. I made some adaptations to use what I had on hand and overall, its a great way to use tofu. It made the tofu both sweet and salty – a great combination for most foods. To pair with this, I served it with steamed vegetable dumplings and a simple homemade ponzu sauce.


Here is my adaption of Caramelized Tofu with Bok Choy:

7 – 8 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into thin 1-inch segments
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple sprays of cooking spray
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
3-4 baby bok choy , washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons
salt & pepper to taste
few drops of sesame oil

Cook the tofu strips in large hot skillet (or pot) with a bit of salt and a sprays of cooking spray. Saute until slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in sugar. Cook for another couple of minutes.

In the same pan, add a touch more sprays of cooking spray, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the chopped bok choy. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until softened.

Return the tofu to the pan with the bok choy and toss together with salt, pepper and sesame oil before serving.

Serves 2 – 3 as a main, 4 as a side

*I’m also submitting this to the Bookmarked Recipes blogging event, hosted by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments. This is a great weekly blogging event so join in the fun or check out the round up every Monday on Ruth’s site!*

Pad Si Ew

The following recipe was featured for my Thai Cooking Class. You can read and view other recipes from the class HERE.

Pad Si Ew
(sweet soy sauce noodles)
Joelen’s recipe
1 onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons oil
1 lb sliced chicken, pork or beef (your choice)
4 tablespoons black soy sauce
4 tablespoons regular or lite soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 package wide rice sticks (pho noodles)
2 cups frozen broccoli

To prep rice sticks, boil water in a dutch oven. Once water has come to a boil, turn off heat and place dried rice sticks into the water. Let it sit for 5-7 minutes until it softens. Drain & set aside.

In a large wok, heat oil. When hot, add onions & garlic.
Once onions have softened, add meat (chicken, pork or beef) and saute for 3-5 minutes.
After 3-5 minutes, add soy sauces and sugar.
Stir and reduce until sauce is slightly thick, about 5-7 minutes.
Add broccoli & toss to heat through.
When broccoli is heated through, add drained rice stick and toss gently.
To serve, place noodles on platter and garnish with fresh bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and/or sliced green onions.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cheese & Rice Casserole:

Tonight is focused on my Traditional fare menu and some desserts. Everything is set for the most part… and I approached it as if it were just one of my cooking class events where everything is prepped and ready to assemble. Here are recipes of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes on my menu.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cheese & Rice Casserole:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 lb fresh broccoli, parboiled
1 lb fresh cauliflower, parboiled
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
In a sauce pan, melt butter.
Sautee onion and garlic until softened.
Sprinkle flour into pan and stir to form a roux.
Slowly add the half & half until slightly thickened.
Add chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese and rice.
Toss gently to combine.
Place in casserole dish and top with crushed butter crackers.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.

Creamy & Delicious Shortcuts

It’s Friday night and after a busy day of running errands, I wanted something quick and easy for dinner. Fortunately I defrosted a whole chicken earlier which I seasoned and baked in the oven. From that chicken alone, I’m able to make a few dishes for future meals. (A big reason why I *love* already cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket!) Speaking of which, I highly recommend this book – which I found at a dollar store of all places!
Here’s the super quick Chicken Fettucini Alfredo w/Broccoli (w/ lots of shortcuts!):

handful of dried fettuccini
water for boiling pasta
chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1 cup frozen broccoli florets
1/2 – 2/3 cup prepared alfredo sauce (or homemade if you prefer)

Boil water & cook pasta until tender.
Drain pasta and return to pot.
Add chicken, broccoli, and alfredo sauce.
Warm up all ingredients on medium low heat until fully warmed.