Chicken, Cream Cheese & Broccoli Puffs

Chicken, Broccoli & Cream Cheese Pillow Puffs

Chicken pillows are usually made with crescent rolls but I gave them a makeover by using puff pastry instead. I love breaking rules. 

Layers of buttery, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pastry wraps around a decadent chicken, broccoli and cream cheese filling that is crusted with Parmesan cheese then topped with a cheddar cheese gravy.

They’re ridiculously easy to make especially if you already have cooked chicken on hand. It’s a great way to re-purpose leftovers into an entirely different meal. No one will even know. Rotisserie chicken is perfect for this too. … 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cheesesteaks

Slow Cooker Chicken Cheesesteaks

Slow-cooked, seasoned chicken breasts piled high on soft, toasted hoagie rolls with cheese, roasted red peppers, jalapeños, onions and pickles. The crockpot makes the chicken so tender that the simple act of picking it up causes it to fall apart while simmering them in chicken broth ensures they’ll have a juicy outcome.

The broth is lightly seasoned with Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion powder plus I add a couple of jalapeño peppers to spice things up along with roasted red pepper and onion strips. I sauté the peppers and onions in a frying pan then add half to the crockpot and save the remaining half for serving. The crockpot makes them so soft they almost melt into the broth. The ones I set aside are for topping the sandwich to give it some texture.

Let’s talk cheese. I like American on these because of the way it melts. Provolone is good too or extra sharp cheddar. You can even use warm, gooey cheez whiz like they do in Philly.

This is one of my more versatile recipes, a base you can play around with and make your own. Just about anything goes. You can change the seasonings, add more of them, make it spicier or less spicy. . whatever you like in a cheesesteak or you’re in the mood for.

Crockpot Chicken Cheesesteaks

Slow Cooker Chicken Cheesesteaks

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 (8-inch) sandwiches

Slow Cooker Chicken Cheesesteaks

Slow-cooked, seasoned chicken breasts piled high on soft, toasted hoagie rolls with cheese, roasted red peppers, jalapeños, onions and pickles.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
olive oil, for sauteeing
1 + 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
2 large yellow onions, sliced in half moons
2 fire roasted (jarred) red peppers, sliced on the thicker side
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and stems removed, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
for serving:
hoagie rolls
butter, for toasting
american, provolone or sharp cheddar cheese
refrigerator pickles
hot sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add the broth, mustard, Worcestershire, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon coarse salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt), and about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to a crockpot(I use a 4 quart) set on high and whisk together.
  2. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper - if they're on the large side cut them in half - and nestle them into the crockpot.
  3. In a large frying pan or skillet heat 2 - 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion, both types of peppers and the garlic. Season well with salt and pepper, cook, stirring often until softened 5 - 7 minutes. Remove half the mixture to the crockpot and save the other half for serving - store in a small bowl, covered in the refrigerator.
  4. Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 - 8. During the last hour remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces or shred with 2 forks. Return back to the pot. If there is a lot of liquid left in the crockpot let it cook with the lid off for a little while to evaporate some of it off.
  5. You can reheat the onion mixture you set aside earlier in the same frying pan or add it to the crockpot now.
  6. Butter the insides of the hoagie rolls and toast in a hot skillet until golden brown. Lay your choice of cheese down then top with chicken, some of the onion mixture and pickles, hot sauce too - if you like.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/slow-cooker-chicken-cheesesteaks/

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder

Spicy Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder

Creamy, cheesy chowder with tender tidbits of chicken, potatoes and corn surrounded by a thick, creamy broth that is highly spiced with jalapeño peppers and sharp cheddar cheese for a play on nachos.

This hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup also has fire-roasted red peppers, garlic, onion and celery plus half & half to help make it extra thick and creamy.

This has a third of a cup of diced jalapeños in it making it fairly spicy. The heat level can vary from pepper to pepper, some will be hotter than others. Feel free to adjust the amount if you think it will be too spicy – or not spicy enough.

You can use fresh or jarred jalapeños. Look for the jarred ones by the pickles or in the Spanish section of your market. You can usually find the roasted red peppers there too. I like having them on hand at all times so I can use just a few as needed.

It’s fairly obvious that I look for any opportunity to scoop up my soup with tortilla chips! I love the combination, and lately I’m all about soups with a Tex-mex influence. They give you a double punch of cozy warmness, once from the steamy-hot soup and again, later, from the spicy pop of heat the peppers give it.

You can’t go wrong.

Nacho Cheese and Chicken Soup

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: makes 6 servings

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder

Creamy, cheesy chowder with tender tidbits of chicken, potatoes and corn surrounded by a thick, creamy broth that is highly spiced with jalapeno peppers and sharp cheddar cheese for a play on nachos.

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil, for sauteing
2 stalks celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 fire-roasted red pepper (jarred), diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup diced jalapeño peppers, fresh or jarred, ribs and seeds removed
1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1.25 pounds boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 + 1/2 cups peeled and cubed russet potatoes
1 + 1/2 cups corn
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup half & half
2 heaping cups shredded sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese
plain corn tortilla chips, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat about 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, red pepper, garlic, jalapeños and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until tender about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan or remove to a bowl, add another tablespoon of oil and the chicken. Cook, turning to brown on all sides.
  3. Add the vegetables back in with the broth, potatoes, corn and parsley. Season with about 1 teaspoon coarse salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table/fine salt) and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the half & half and the cheese. Bring back to a simmer and let cook 5 - 10 minute longer, until cheese is completely melted and the soup slightly thickens. Taste and season as needed before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/nacho-cheese-chicken-chowder/

Baked Sweet & Sour Chinese Chicken

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

Chinese-style chicken with pineapple chunks and red bell pepper tossed in a sticky sweet & sour pan sauce and served over rice. The chicken is baked instead of fried, a trade-off that makes it easier, less messy and a lot quicker without sacrificing on taste. This is restaurant quality, if not better.

When I order this as take-out from my favorite Chinese restaurant they put the piping-hot, fried chicken into a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. There’s no venting of the steam resulting in soggy, chewy, disappointing chicken. It’s definitely not the same quality as dining in.

You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs. The recipe starts with cutting the chicken into cubes and tossing it with cornstarch. It’s spread out on a baking sheet and baked until cooked through.

While the chicken cooks you whisk together the sauce, made mostly of pantry ingredients including orange juice, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, a touch of sugar and Worcestershire sauce. It’s tangy and sweet with a pop of citrus that makes the flavors come alive.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

The dish really starts coming together once you sauté the bell peppers, garlic and ginger together. Bite-sized pineapple pieces  and the sauce along with a cornstarch slurry is whisked in to help thicken it up. The chicken gets tossed around for a few minutes to coat it completely in the sauce and help form a glaze.

One thing I should mention is you don’t want to overcook the sauce. As it reduces the flavors intensify and will reach a point where they become too strong. If the sauce looks a little thin keep in mind it will thicken as it stands. I like to remove it from the heat and let it sit for five minutes before I serve it. You will see that it thickens up considerably as it starts to cool.

The sauce is perfectly balanced and not overly sweet like some sweet & sour sauces I’ve had before. I’m thinking you could use pineapple juice in place of the orange juice in the sauce if you prefer but you may want to cut down on the sugar a little because it has a naturally sweeter flavor.

Of course baking the chicken doesn’t give it as crispy a coating as frying but I’ll tell you what: this fried-food-lover right here didn’t miss it all. The chicken turns out tender and succulent with a slight crispness to it on the outside that is every bit as good as the fried version.

Chinese takeout from your own kitchen will make soggy chicken a thing of the past.

Score.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Baked Sweet & Sour Chinese Chicken

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 - 5 servings

Baked Sweet & Sour Chinese Chicken

Chinese-style chicken with pineapple chunks and red bell pepper tossed in a sticky sweet & sour pan sauce and served over rice. The chicken is baked instead of fried, a trade-off that makes it easier, less messy and a lot quicker without sacrificing on taste.

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken:
olive oil, for greasing the pan and sauteing
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Sauce:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons rice wine or white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the saute:
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 + 1/2 cups fresh or canned bite-size pineapple chunks, drained
Slurry:
1 + 1/2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
For Serving:
white sesame seeds, for optional garnish
cooked brown or white rice, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet from edge to edge.
  2. Add the chicken to a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, toss well. Sprinkle with half the cornstarch, toss then sprinkle with the remaining half and toss again (it will get thick and sticky).
  3. Use tongs to place the chicken on the baking sheet, close together but not touching, once you set them down don't move them. Bake until cooked through the center, 8 - 14 minutes depending on their size.
  4. While the chicken cooks:
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk all the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  6. In a large skillet or wok heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat and cook the bell pepper, stirring often, until tender. Add the garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant about 2 minutes.
  7. Add pineapple and sauce, turn heat up to medium, stir to coat and let cook 2 minutes. In a small bowl whisk the cold water and cornstarch together to make the slurry. Mix it into the sauce.
  8. Turn the heat back down to low. Use a thin metal spatula to scrape the cooked chicken up off the pan and add it to the sauce. Toss to coat well and keep tossing until a glaze starts to form - about 2 minutes. Don't cook much longer than that or the sauce will reduce down too much and the flavors may become too strong. Remove the pan from the heat. Let set 5 minutes to thicken up further.
  9. Sprinkle the chicken with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Notes:

Adapted from Appetite for China

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/baked-sweet-sour-chinese-chicken/

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken Tacos

Chicken breasts slow-cooked in salsa with black olives, red onions and pickled jalapeno until it’s so tender you can shred it easily with a fork. It’s then mixed with cheese and stuffed into taco shells or made into rice bowls you can garnish with all your favorite Tex-Mex toppings like sour cream, avocado and lettuce.

I love all those toppings but the truth is it doesn’t even need them. So flavorful, you will be just as happy eating it over some rice. As is. It’s also great for soft tacos, burritos, enchiladas or quesadillas. You can even make nachos with it.

This really is one of those crock-pot meals that doesn’t take a lot of prep. It’s fuss-free and easy. There’s no meat to brown or vegetables to sauté. Just a bit of chopping and everything goes into the pot where you can forget about it for a couple of hours while magic happens.

This dish is entirely dependent on the salsa. You have to use one you love. One that won’t let you down. One with lots of flavor.

You can spice this up as much or as little as you like with pickled or fresh jalapenos, a chipotle pepper, red pepper flakes or by using a spicy hot salsa. If you do use a salsa that’s on the hot side you can leave out the jalapenos.

Or not.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Rice Bowls

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 - 5 servings with rice or makes about 8 or 9 tacos

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Chicken breasts slow-cooked in salsa with black olives, red onions and pickled jalapenos until it's so tender you can easily shred it with a fork. You can use it for tacos, rice bowls, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas and nachos.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (16 ounces) salsa (I like Green Mountain Gringo or Newman's Own )
1 can (6 ounces) large black olives, sliced
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapeno or 1 fresh, optional (omit if using a "hot" salsa)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between fingertips
1 cup finely shredded cheddar or monterey jack (or a mix), plus more for serving
1 cup corn, optional
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
For Serving:
1 cup dried rice, cooked
or
taco shells
or both!
sour cream, for serving
diced avocado, for serving
shredded lettuce, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add the salsa, 1/4 cup water, olives, onions, garlic, jalapeno, vinegar, chile powder, cumin, oregano and corn, if using, to a 3 - 5 quart crock pot set on high. Mix well.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts in half and season well with salt and pepper. Nestle them in the sauce.
  3. Cook on high 3 - 4 hours or low 5 - 6. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board and shred or chop into bite-sized pieces. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Mix the chicken back into the sauce with the cheese. If the sauce is watery - cook with the lid off for 15 minutes or so to evaporate some of it off.
  5. Serve over cooked rice with extra cheese, sour cream and/or avocado. Or make tacos with your favorite fixings.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/slow-cooker-salsa-chicken-tacos-rice-bowls/

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

Chunks of chicken are simmered in tomato sauce until tender and tossed with chewy, twirly spaghetti noodles in this classic family recipe I’ve been eating my entire life.

The sauce has onion, garlic, lots of Italian seasoning and two types of peppers in it – green bell and fire roasted red peppers because I love lots of peppers in my chicken sauce. They’re so delicious together – the peppers are kind of sweet against the acidic backdrop of the tomatoes and add a ton of flavor that plays well with chicken.

This is just the kind of dish you want to curl up with in the middle of a snow storm. Or make for a Sunday supper when the entire family has time to eat together. It’s also easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Italian Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Chicken Spaghetti

Chunks of chicken are simmered in tomato sauce until tender and tossed with chewy, twirly spaghetti noodles in this classic family recipe I've been eating my entire life.

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil, for sauteeing
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 (jarred) fire-roasted red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 + 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
12 ounces spaghetti (like whole-grain Barila)
fresh grated Parmesan, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan heat 2 - 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and about 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring often until they start to soften about 10 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and add to the pan with the vegetables. Add the remaining teaspoon Italian seasoning and cook, stirring often until the chicken is white on all sides.
  3. Push the chicken and vegetables to the sides of the pan and add the tomato paste to the center. Let it cook for a minute in the center before mixing the vegetables and chicken into it.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf and season again with more salt - about a teaspoon and black pepper - about 1/4 teaspoon. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Maintain a simmer for about 35 - 45 minutes, stirring often. Taste and season the sauce, if needed, halfway through. If it seems too thick mix a little more water into it. If it's highly acidic mix a teaspoon of sugar into it. Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.
  6. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water to al dente according to package directions. Drain and mix with sauce just to coat. Serve topped with more sauce and lots of Parmesan cheese.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/chicken-spaghetti/

Lemon Ricotta Chicken Parmesan

Lemon Ricotta Chicken Parmesan

A combination of panko and seasoned bread crumbs form the crunchy coating on chicken cutlets that are pan-fried  and topped with lemony ricotta and mozzarella cheese. They then bake until the ricotta reaches a molten hot state and the mozzarella melts and gets some wonderful caramelized spots on it.

Rather than the traditional tomato sauce chicken parmesan is served with, the very same one I’m bored with, this has a lemon sauce that you can add a little white wine to. . . or not. It’s perfectly delicious all on its own flavored with a little garlic, a little parmesan cheese, chicken broth and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Bright, fresh flavors that make old-fashioned chicken parmesan new again. Chicken parmesan reinvented.

You’re welcome.

Lemon Ricotta Chicken Parmesan

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 - 5 servings

Lemon Ricotta Chicken Parmesan

Crunchy chicken cutlets topped with lemony ricotta and mozzarella cheee served over with linguine with lemon sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

2 eggs
1/2 cup panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
vegetable oil, for pan-frying the chicken
1 + 1/4 pounds chicken cutlets
salt and fresh black pepper
1 + 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest (just the yellow part not the white pith)
1 teaspoon fresh grated parsley
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 can (14 ounce) chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine, optional
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
12 ounces linguine (I like whole-grain Barila)

INSTRUCTIONS:

    Make the chicken:
  1. Set up a dredging station: beat the eggs with a tablespoon of water in a wide, shallow bowl. On a large dish mix the panko and seasoned bread crumbs together.
  2. In a large deep-sided saute pan or skillet (big enough to pan-fry half the chicken at once) pour in enough oil to generously cover the bottom (about 1/8-inch) and heat over medium heat.
  3. Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper and working one at a time, using tongs, dip them in the egg, allow excess to drip off then coat them with the bread crumbs, patting them on with your hands.
  4. Cook 2 - 3 minutes until golden brown then turn over and repeat. You don't have to cook them all the way through you just want to cook until crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain. Add more oil to the pan as needed and cook in batches.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large roasting pan or baking sheet with sides lightly with oil. Place the cooked chicken on it an inch apart.
  6. In a small bowl mix the ricotta with the lemon and parsley. Spoon it over the chicken and spread across the top edge to edge. Top with mozzarella. Bake about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted with some brown spots.
  7. Meanwhile make the sauce and cook the spaghetti:
  8. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat, add the garlic and saute 1 - 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking 2 - 3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth then the wine, if using.
  9. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Maintain simmer for 3 minutes, stirring often. Whisk in the Parmesan and continue cooking 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
  10. Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water before draining.
  11. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce with the reserved cooking water. Set the pan over low heat. Gently stir to coat the pasta with the sauce, continue for 2 minutes or so then remove from heat.
  12. To serve: top the pasta with a chicken cutlet and lots of fresh grated Parmesan.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/lemon-ricotta-chicken-parmesan/

Cranberry, Apple & Walnut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

A chunky chicken salad packed with chewy dried cranberries, fresh tart apples, crunchy walnuts and the subtle bite of red onion. It’s held together with mayonnaise and a touch of mustard seasoned with sweet dill, salt and pepper. It is the best chicken salad I ever made. Or ate.

The success or failure of any chicken salad, in my eyes, depends completely on the quality of the chicken you use. I used a leftover, roasted, organic chicken that was so tender and juicy it melted in my mouth. You know that saying it melted like butter? This was that chicken. A rotisserie chicken will work well too. Just don’t use dried up, tough, tasteless chicken. Save that for the soup pot. … 

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