Friday, June 29, 2012

Fourth of July Food Flares

What will you be cookin' up to serve your family and friends for this years big fourth of July bang?! Will it be grilled goods with a variety of fresh sides? Or maybe you'll be pulling out the smoker for some succulent, finger-licking good eats. Either way you can't go wrong. Here are some of my favorite recipes that suit Independence Day perfectly...hence the red, white and blue colors throughout each dish!      

Firecracker Creamy Currant Stuffed Jalapenos with Bacon Crumbles

Serves: 4-6 (2-3 pieces each)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
6 jalapenos
1/2 c. cream cheese, softened
2 T. dried cranberries
2 T. dried blueberries
2 T. bacon bits
Preheat either an oven to 350 degrees or a grill over medium. To prepare jalapenos slice off the stems and cut in half. Using a small spoon scoop out both the seeds and insides unless you want them to be extra spicy, then leave some in.
In a bowl combine cream cheese and dried berries and mix until evenly combined.
Begin stuffing each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture then place on a baking sheet if using an oven or straight onto the grill. Cook until jalapenos are tender about 20 minutes.
Let jalapenos rest a few minutes for filling to set then evenly sprinkle each half with bacon crumbles and serve.
* For bacon you can either cook bacon slices in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes or until crisp, drain on paper towel then chop into bits or use store bought bacon bits.

California Dreamin' Blue Chicken Bake

Serves: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and pocketed
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cracked pepper
3-4 firm tomatoes, sliced in rounds
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ c. shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 pieces bacon, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced and pasted
¼ red onion, minced
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
¼ c. blue cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (garnish)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Trim away any fat from the chicken and create a pocket in each breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. Clean and pat dry chicken breasts, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place breasts in a lightly oiled 9 x 13
baking dish.
Evenly stuff each breast with the avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle chicken with olive oil, top each breast with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella and bake in pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
In the meantime add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium sauce pan and heat over medium. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel and set aside. Pour out enough bacon grease so it just coats the bottom of the pan and add garlic and onion. Let cook 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent also being careful not to burn garlic.
Add butter to sauce and pan let melt. Next add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly while cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Begin adding milk, 1 cup at a time and again whisking constantly to prevent clumps from forming. Bring mixture to a simmer and let cook until thicken 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in blue
cheese crumbles until melted throughout and season with salt and pepper. Return bacon to sauce and serve over baked chicken. Garnish with fresh

Cooling Cranberry Sunflower Broccoli Purple
Cabbage Slaw

Serves: 2-4
Prep: 20 minutes
Chill: 20 minutes or more
4 c. broccoli stems, grated
4 carrots, peeled and grated
2 c. purple cabbage, grated
1 c. dried cranberries
½ c. sunflower seeds
¼ c. Greek yogurt, honey flavored
2T. vegetable oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. lemon juice
½ T. sugar, or honey
1/2 t. salt
¼ t. cracked pepper
For the dressing in a small bowl combine mayo, oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper; mix well and set aside.
For the slaw in a large bowl combine broccoli, carrot, cabbage, cranberries and sunflower seeds; drizzle in dressing and toss gently to coat evenly.
Let chill 10 to 20 minutes, or for a few hours, before serving for flavors to meld.

Baked Red, White and Blue Potato Chips with Creamy Onion Dip (Published in Taste of Home magazines and cookbooks)

Serves: 3
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

2 T. vegetable oil
1 1/8 lb. red, gold and purple potatoes, sliced paper thin
2 t. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 scallions, sliced (green and white separated)
1 ¼ c. Greek yogurt
¼ c. mayo
¾ t. onion powder
¾ t. garlic powder
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Using a mandolin slice potatoes paper thin and place into a water bath to prevent from turning color. Remove and dry between paper towels. Place potatoes in plastic bag with vegetable oil and toss to coat evenly.
Lay potato slices flat on baking sheets and bake until crisp about 25 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Remove, season with salt and set aside.
In the meantime for the dip heat oil in a small skillet over medium and add onion and the white parts of a scallion. Cook about 3 minutes until tender seasoning with salt to help the process. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl combine sautéed onion and scallions with remaining ingredients, including green parts of scallion. Mix well and serve with bake rainbow potato chips.

American Cherry, Blueberry and Apple Dessert Pizza with Mint

Makes: 1 mini pizza
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

1 store-bought mini pizza
1/4 c. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. fresh red sweet
cherries, pitted and quartered
1/3 c. fresh blueberries
1/4 Granny Smith apple,
peeled, cored and diced
1 T. agave nectar
1/2 T. fresh mint, minced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place pizza crust on a pizza pan or baking sheet and evenly smear with mascarpone cheese. Top with cherries, blueberries and apple. Drizzle with agave nectar and bake about 10 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Remove, sprinkle with mint and let rest about 5 minutes to cool slightly
and for toppings set. Using a pizza
cutter slice and serve!

*Perfect dessert for the kids!

Italian Cranberry-Blueberry Cream Soda

Serves: 1
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: N/A

ice, as needed
1/2 c. cranberry blueberry juice
1/2 c. sparkling water, or soda water
2 T. heavy cream
2 T. dried blueberries

Fill glass with ice. Pour in juice, then sparkling water and top with cream. Add dried blueberries and stir to mix.

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