Almond Chicken Tenderloins

March 8th, 2019

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Porch meals are important to us.  Summers at the lake are spent on the screened in porch for meals, reading, games and sleeping.  That is why I am so glad that the house we are renting in Florida for the Winter has a very comfortable porch.

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We have had a few cool days, but for the most part eating on the porch has been a part of our days.  I have even been able to grow pots of sage, basil and rosemary.  Simple meals have been the rule.  The Almond Chicken Tenderloins came from Joanna Gaines new cookbook, Magnolia Table.  It is basically chicken fingers but with a flavorful difference.  We have been using a lot of almond flour because David is on a low carb diet.  Joanna uses a mixture of almond flour and regular flour in her recipe.  I tweeked it to include mostly almond flour.  The other difference is the sliced almond sauce drizzled over the top of the tenders.  It is buttery and lemony; a perfect combination.

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I served the chicken with my Zoodle Mixed Salad.  Publix Supermarkets now sells Zucchini ribbons in the produce aisle.  We will return to Lake Lure the first of April.  It may be too early then for porch meals, but I could also enjoy this simple fare in front of the fireplace.

ALMOND CHICKEN TENDERLOINS

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pound chicken tenders
1 1/2 tsps. kosher salt
8 Tbls. butter
4 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbls. Chopped parsley or spring onions for garnish

On a plate, stir together both flours, the garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and pepper.

Season the tenders with the salt, then coat evenly in the flour mixture, pressing to help adhere.  Set aside in a single layer.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat.  When sizzling, add half of the tenders in a single layer, taking car to not crowd them in the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, flip once with tongs, and cook the other side until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  Watch them carefully because they can scorch easily.  Transfer to a serving platter and tent with foil to deep them warm.

Wipe out the skillet if any of the flour mixture has scorched.

Repeat with 2 tablespoons butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and the remaining chicken.  Transfer to the platter.  Wipe out the skillet.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat.  When the butter is foaming, stir in the almonds and cook until golden, stirring often, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.  Pour over the chicken.

Sprinkle the parsley or spring onions over the top and serve warm.

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Carol

February 25th, 2019

Carol Lane

I should not be the one to write this tribute to Carol.  She had so many friends who would have been the ones to do her life honors. But I feel a need to express my admiration.  I’m sure her friends will have much more to say in their own words.

For a very short time (2 weeks recently) we finally got to know Carol and Larry here in New Smyrna Beach where we all stay for the Winter.  We live in Lake Lure and Carol and Larry owned a Bed and Breakfast in our adjoining town of Chimney Rock. Because they were so busy with their very successful business, they had little time to make friends in our community.  Carol was a breakfast genius cook for the bed and breakfast and a marketing maven for their shop.  In spite of her busy schedule, she made friends with a close group of women.  I wish I had been one of them.

When we came to New Smyrna Beach for the winter, Larry and Carol invited us for a boat ride on the Indian River with them.  It was a warm day and a lovely time.  Carol was fighting cancer, but feeling strong. I was immediately drawn to her sweet personality. Unfortunately cancer took her quickly.

My mind is full of regrets. So many times we keep to ourselves instead of reaching out to friends and neighbors. We have so much to lose by not getting to know those around us.  I missed getting to know a genuine angel.

The last time I saw her in the hospital she said “I love you”. Her spirit was inclusive and kind.  My heart goes out to you Larry. Carol cannot be replaced.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Ball

February 12th, 2019

 

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It would appear that I am on a roll with recipes with “ball” in the title.  While searching for a new appetizer to serve to company, I found this tasty cheese ball recipe on Cafe Sucre Farine’s website.  Chris always has terrific ideas for what to serve.  When I made it for friends everyone said it was a winner.  I have a confession to make.  Not sure if I have mentioned it before but I am not a cheese lover.  I love melted cheese but usually avoid cheese boards.

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But that doesn’t mean I don’t serve cheese to my guests.  This cheese ball is filled with goat cheese, cheddar, cream cheese, roasted red peppers and garlic.  The pecan and rosemary coating makes it interesting.  It is easy to mix all of the ingredients by hand if you don’t have a food processor. But I do miss my stand mixer here in Florida.

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We have many occasions for get togethers while in the Sunshine State.  High School friends from Michigan are in New Smyrna Beach for Race Week.  The beginning of Nascar’s Daytona Five Hundred is coming up this weekend.  After that New Smyrna Beach celebrates Mardi Gras with a parade on Fat Tuesday.  Then in March, Bike Week will bring our motorcycle group to our house for the event.  Lots of entertaining is in our future.  Glad I have this cheese ball recipe in my repertoire.

ROASTED RED PEPPER CHEESE BALL  (Cafe Sucre Farine)

Ingredients
For the cheese filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese regular or lower fat, not fat-free)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 ½ cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 ounce jar roasted red peppers
For the pecan coating:
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces fairly finely chopped pecans or pecan chips
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Drain roasted red pepper well and then roll in several thicknesses of paper toweling to remove any excess liquid.

  2. Combine cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and crushed red pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Line a medium-size bowl with plastic wrap then add the cheese mixture and pull plastic wrap over the top of the cheese. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
  4. While the cheeseball is chilling, prepare the pecan coating by melting butter in a small non-sticking sauté pan until bubbly and beginning to brown a bit. It will have a nutty aroma. Add olive oil and pecans and stir to coat pecans. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4-6 minutes until pecans turn golden. Remove from heat and set aside to cool then add the 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary and stir to combine.

  5. Pull the cheese out of the bowl with the plastic wrap and use the wrap to help you shape the cheese mixture into a ball. Roll the ball in the pecan mixture and shape again by gently pushing the sides to form a rounded ball. Place on a serving tray and sprinkle with a bit more chopped fresh rosemary, for garnish, if desired. Serve with crackers and/or celery.

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Sausage, Cheese Balls (Lower Carb)

January 30th, 2019

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With the Super Bowl approaching, I wanted to make an appetizer that my husband would enjoy on his low Carb diet.  Over Christmas I made sausage cheese balls the way most people make them with Bisquick, sausage and cheese.  We both love this old standby.  I decided to experiment with lessoning the carbs by using almond flour.  But almond flour does not have a leavening agent like Bisquick.  After several attempts, I settled on a combination of almond flour, baking powder and Bisquick.  I halved the amount of Bisquick and combined the baking powder with the almond flour for the other half of the dry ingredients.

IMG_8862I loved the results.  Another tip for mixing the ingredients is to bring the grated cheese and sausage to room temperature before mixing them together.  Then add the dry ingredients.  All of this should be done by hand.

Deland ShoppingA friend and I spent a day in DeLand, Florida, a small inland community about 20 miles from New Smyrna Beach.  It is a vibrant community with lots of shops and restaurants.  One of my favorite shops is Anna Bananas. The subheading of the shop is Recycled, Repurposed and Reclaimed.

Anna Bananas

The owners build furniture using antique elements and creative uses of old wood.

Deland Lunch

We had lunch al fresco at a delightful restaurant (BakeChop) in a spiffed up alley.  It was a warm and sunny day; one of few that we have had in Florida lately.   The BLT on sourdough bread was great, but the chickpea salad with Brussel sprout leaves, tomatoes and red onions was a real winner.  The chickpeas were crispy and the dressing light.  I will have to experiment with duplicating this take on three bean salad.

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Enjoy the Super Bowl.  Hope you give this adaptation of Sausage Cheese Balls a try.

SAUSAGE CHEESE BALLS (LOWER CARB)

1 Pound Breakfast Sausage (Hot or Mild or a combination)
8 Oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Bisquick Baking Mix
1 cup Almond Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

Grate the cheese into a large bowl and bring to room temperature.  At the same time, bring the sausage to room temperature.

While cheese and sausage are resting, combine the Bisquick, almond flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

With your hands, combine the cheese and sausage until well blended.  Add the dry ingredients and roll and squeeze until the flour is fully combined with the cheese mixture.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick baking sheet.

Form mixture into about 1 inch balls and line baking sheet with them.  I can get 24 balls unto the pan.  The recipe makes about 48 balls.

Bake for 15-17 minutes.

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P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

January 22nd, 2019

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There are several recipes on the internet for this copycat recipe for Chicken Lettuce Wraps from P.F. Chang’s.  I used the recipe from Averie Cooks.  David is trying to reduce carbohydrates in his diet so anything wrapped in a lettuce leaf is a winner in my book.  Crispy butter (Boston) lettuce is the perfect vessel to hold this flavorful mixture.

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The ground chicken is paired with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and chili garlic sauce.  Crunch is provided by water chestnuts.  I served it with roasted butternut squash.  It was a quick and easy meal.

P.F. CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken (I’ve also used ground turkey with good results)
  • 1 medium/large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, diced small
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, or to taste
  • one 8-ounce can water chestnut, drained and diced small
  • 2 to 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • butter lettuce leaves, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

    1. To a large skillet, add the oils, chicken, and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through; stir intermittently to crumbly while cooking.
    2. Add the onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, stir to combine, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent and most of the liquid has been absorbed; stir intermittently.
    3. Add the garlic, ginger, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
    4. Add the water chestnuts, green onions, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Taste filling and make any necessary flavor adjustments, i.e. more soy sauce, hoisin, pepper, etc.
    5.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the lettuce leaves to serve. Recipe is best warm and fresh but filling will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.