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Category Archives: Pampered Chef

Kat’s Easiest Appetizer (Ever) – Baked Brie

Brown sugar, Dijon, and Almond baked brie

We’ve never been a family that traditionally has appetizers on Thanksgiving. We usually put out a pupu platter of olives, pickles and baby corn to let people graze before the main feast.

If I was going to make an appetizer, it would definitely be this baked brie. I’ve brought it with me to countless gatherings, large and small, and it has never failed to be a hit. People are always coming up to me (usually with a mouth full) raving over the brie! The beautiful thing is you can adjust the recipe for anything from a 8 ounce to a 16 ounce wheel of brie with ease.

The Pampered Chef offers a few variations which I posted about earlier this year. For purposes of Thanksgiving you could easily swap out the apricot preserves for cranberry sauce. Top with walnuts instead of pecans and you have a yummy appetizer that takes minutes to prepare and only 10 minutes in the oven. What is not to love about that??

Apricot preserves, jalapeno and pecan Brie

Version 1 – Apricot preserves or cranberry sauce:

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves or cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 4-inch round (8 ounces) Brie cheese with rind, room temperature

Version 2 – Brown Sugar Dijon Brie:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds. Reserve 1/4 cup of the almonds for the top and chop the remainder for the mix.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Cut brie in half horizontally. Place bottom half, cut side up, on large stone or cookie sheet.
  3. Mix jalapeno and preserves – or – brown sugar and Dijon. Add half of the nuts and mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread half the mixture on the bottom half of the brie round. Replace the top, cut side down. Spread the other half the mixture on top.
  5. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until center is soft and gooey. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

(Optional) Toasted baguettes:

Slice one small loaf French bread into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly brush with oil. Place bread rounds around the brie before placing in the oven.

Makes 12 servings

Kat’s tip: They aren’t kidding when they warn you to wear gloves when deseeding a jalapeno. Last time I made this was at a friend’s house and I didn’t have any gloves. I must have sneezed about 30 times because of the jalapeno fumes. Jalapeno oils get in your skin and under your finger nails, too. I felt their effect for a few days afterwards ever time.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Appetizers, Holiday, Pampered Chef

 

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Chicken Piccata Pasta

One pot cooking

Lemony chicken piccata

Creamy and lemony, this dish is a fresh take on piccata and is made in a fraction of the time! Although this can be made from boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you can also save money by cooking a whole chicken in the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker and using the resulting juices instead of canned broth*.

Regardless, with cooked chicken and broth on hand, you can whip up this dinner quickly. It’s an impressive crowd pleaser and elegant enough to serve to guests. If pairing with wine, a Pinot Grigio will go well with the flavor of the lemon and artichoke hearts.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 oz uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or 3 14.5 oz cans)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 oz (not 2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • Chopped fresh parsley and grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken into 1-in. pieces on Cutting Board. Combine chicken, 1 tbsp of the oil and rub in Stainless Mixing Bowl; toss to coat.
  2. Heat remaining oil in 12-in. Skillet over medium-high heat 1–3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken to Skillet; cook and stir 10 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and centers are no longer pink. Remove chicken from Skillet; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, pour broth into Large Micro-Cooker®; microwave, covered, on HIGH 8–10 minutes or until broth comes to a boil. On clean cutting board, chop onion using Food Chopper. Add onion to Skillet; cook 10–20 seconds or until onion is fragrant. Carefully add broth and pasta to Skillet; cook, uncovered, 7–8 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Zest lemon with Microplane® Adjustable Grater to measure 1 tbsp Juice lemon withJuicer to measure 2 tbsp.
  5. Add zest, juice and cream cheese to Skillet; stir until cream cheese is fully incorporated.
  6. Add chicken and artichokes to Skillet. Cook, covered, 1–2 minutes or until heated through. Remove Skillet from heat; stir in capers. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Kat’s tip: If you use the pan drippings from a whole chicken, just add enough water to measure out 6 cups. The chicken stock is rich enough that this will work.

Kat’s second tip: Two of those cute little bags of cut pasta from the Latin Foods aisle would work great in this recipe. It’ll be off 2 oz of pasta but as I’ve already proven, the extra 2 oz won’t even be noticable.

Serves six

Nutritional information – values per serving are approximate:

Calories 367.3 Total Fat 8.3 g Cholesterol 56.5 mg Sodium 1,369.1 mg Potassium 662.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 43.8 g Protein 29.2 g

Inspiration: Pampered Chef Season’s Best Recipe Collection – Fall/Winter 2010

 

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Artichoke Tapenade

Artichoke and green olive tapendade

Once a month my wine club goes out for a food/wine pairing dinner. My heart sings with delight when a dish is perfectly paired with the wine we’re drinking. Whilst preparing this dish, I was inspired to pull out a bottle of Pinot Grigio to go with it and the results were delicious. Lemon adds a refreshing lightness to this dish which paired *really well* with the wine pictured in the background. I used the olive salad left over from this weekend’s mini muffalettas and omitted the capers because I’m not fond of them. My taste tester couldn’t wait to get her hands on this appetizer.

This delicious, savory spread is a simplified version of a classic French recipe, which is served as a condiment or appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tbls capers
  • 2 tbls olive oil

Directions:

  • Zest lemon until you have 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Juice lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.
  • Drain artichokes in mesh strainer and rinse with water.
  • Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until blended completely.
  • Serve on toasted baguette slices.

Toasted Baguette Slices

  • 20 slices French bread cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 2 tbls olive oil (I used the oil reserved from the olive salad)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread rounds on stoneware or cookie sheet. Lightly brush bread with olive oil. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Adapted from The Pampered Chef Season’s Best Recipe Collection – Spring/Summer 2011

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Appetizers, Artichoke hearts, Pampered Chef

 

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Mini Kalamata & Cheese Bruschetta

Kalamata olive appetizer

Savory appetizers that are surprisingly easy to make

Family legend has it that when I was about three or four years old, my grandmother left me unattended with a bowl of unpitted black olives. I’m seriously not sure what she was thinking because I ate the entire bowl, pitts and all. Obviously I survived the incident unharmed but this was surely the start of my life long love affair with olives. In the years to come, at every birthday my grandmother would give me the standard family gift: a birthday card with a crisp $20 bill in it, except mine came accompanied by two cans of pitted black olives.

Fast forward many decades and olives are still one of my favorite things in life. Therefore, I couldn’t wait to try this Pampered Chef appetizer…and it didn’t disappoint.

Rich, buttery mascarpone cheese complements the tart flavor of the kalamata olives. Note from Kat: I used a leftover mini French baguette instead of white bread (ick) and these turned out great.

Ingredients:

  • 7-9 slices white sandwich bread
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed, divided
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut 36 rounds from bread, avoiding the crust (or cut French baguette into 36 thin slices). Place rounds on a Cookie Sheet or Stoneware Bar Pan. Brush rounds with olive oil using Chef’s Silicone Basting Brush. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove toast rounds from Cookie Sheet to Stackable Cooling Rack; cool completely.

Meanwhile, dice parsley and set aside. Finely chop olives using Food Chooper. Juice lemon with Juicer to measure 1 1/2 tbls. Add olives, juice, one garlic clove pressed with Garlic Press and 1/2 tsp black pepper to parsley. Mix well.

Add remining pressed garlic clove, remaining black pepper, cheese and salt to Large Batter Bowl; mix until smooth. Attach open star tip to Easy Accent Decorator; fill with cheese mixture. Spoon a scant 1 tsp of the olive mixture onto each toast round. Pipe cheese mixture over olive mixture. Garnish with additional fresh parsley if desired.

Yield: 36 appetizers

Cook’s tip:

Do not soften mascarpone cheese in microwave. It can become grainy when heated.

Mascarpone cheese is a fresh Italian cheese with a soft, creamy texture and buttery flavor. It can be found in the specialty cheese department of most grocery stores.

If desired, cream cheese can be substituted for the mascarpone cheese.

Recipe from The Pampered Chef Season’s Best Fall/Winter 2010 Recipe Collection

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Appetizers, Pampered Chef

 

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Juicy chicken in 30 minutes in the microwave

Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker
Juicy chicken from your microwave in 30 minutes

I was rushing to get home one night so I stopped in a grocery store to purchase a rotisserie chicken. Healthy, right!? I’m beginning to think not so healthy since I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of salt I tasted. That led me to wonder what else was lurking in the chicken that had been sitting under the warmers in the middle of the store for who knows how long.

Vowing never to purchase another rotisserie chicken again – and wondering how I could pull off healthy meals in minimal time without turning on the oven – I was super excited to try out a whole chicken in the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker.

I can guess what you’re thinking…”chicken in the microwave!???” Before you judge, I must confess I woulnd’t have tried it unless my team leader didn’t demonstrate this at one of our PC meetings.

Super easy, super good and prolly a whole lot healthier than something that has been sitting around for hours.

Directions:

  • Clean one whole, thawed chicken in cool water until the water runs through clear.
  • Use kitchen scissors to trim as much skin off as possible. Leaving some on the legs and wings is OK.
  • Quarter a fresh lemon and stuff it, along with fresh herbs if you have them, inside the cavity.
  • Flip the bird breast-side down into the Deep Covered Baker. This cuts the cooking time.
  • Sprinkle the top side with dried herbs. Lemon pepper or an Italian mix works great.
  • Cover and microwave for 30-35 minutes
  • Retain juices for another recipe

Please note cooking times may vary. Professionals will tell you to use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked.  I usually slice into the breast and look for pinkness. I assume this is a no brainer for most of us but please cook responsibly…I don’t want to get sued if you give yourself food poisoning.

Photo credit: http://www.pamperedchef.com

Shopping: http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=13833&catId=9&parentCatId=9&outletSubCat=

 

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