Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chipotle Chicken Tostada Cups

Hi World! It's me, the blog deserter. Y'all still there? :)

chicken tostada cups
Shortly after catching my breath following hubby's graduation bash, I realized that doom and gloom was lurking on my doorstep. In all my excitement to come up with a fancy schmancy menu for the party, I had forgotten about an (expensive) certification test I was taking in just a few short days. Luckily, I can tell you all that I passed! ...And now back to my normal life.

While still coaching my parents on the wonders of uploading digital photography, I have just a few photos to share with you from the party. A coworker brought these yummy apps to a potluck and I immediately knew I wanted to make them for the party.

chicken tostada cups

In true Sharon style, I kept meticulous grocery list spreadsheets and a timed cooking schedule, but somehow forgot to buy the main ingredients for the base of these tostada cups - a guacamole-esque mixture. After at least 6 separate grocery trips in one week, I am not sure how this happened! Needless to say, I powered on and just made the chicken filling for the tortilla cups and topped them with a sprig of cilantro so they wouldn't look too plain. Since the party was an all-day affair, I also skipped the sour cream topping.

I heard these were yummy, but I never got a chance to try them! It's quite an easy, fancy looking recipe that everyone loved. The cups are made by baking flour tortillas in muffin cups for a few minutes in the oven and topped with a chipotle chicken filling. I found that these browned up very quickly so watch them!

Now that I have my life back, I hope to be posting much more often. I also owe you the winner of the reader recipe contest so stay tuned!!

Chicken Tostada Cups sans avocado
Adapted from Cuisine at Home

3 flour tortillas (8")
3/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped (remove some of the seeds if you're a wuss like me!)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (used combo of breast and thighs)
cilantro for topping
sour cream, if desired
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Coat both sides of tortillas with nonstick cooking spray. Stack the tortillas and cut into 8 wedges. Push the tortillas into muffin cups. Bake for about 5-6 minutes or until golden. Watch the tortillas carefully. Remove tortillas from oven and allow to cool slightly.

In a small saucepan, simmer ketchup, sugar, chipotles & adobo sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, chili powder, and chicken over medium heat. Cook until chicken mixture is syrupy.

Top each tortilla cup with chicken mixture. Top with a cilantro sprig and a touch of sour cream, if desired.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Salsa Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to lucky #31, Eru who won the salsa giveaway! Eru, please send me an email so I can send your salsa goodies!

Thanks to all who entered. You all have some tasty salsa concoctions! Emily drizzles salsa on salads (brilliant!) and Valerie slow cooks pork with salsa verde. I need to try both of these ideas very soon.

coming up... photos & recipes from hubby's graduation party AND the winner of the
graduation party recipe contest! First, I need to teach my parents how to send me the photos from their camera! :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dr Tyler's Chicken Meatball and Tortellini Soup

Most of the country has probably phased out of "soup season," but here in San Diego we have a pesky little phenomenon called June Gloom. Though not too chilly, many of the June days in this otherwise eternally sunny city are spent overcast and gray. I am quite positive that those of you who've just emerged from months of tundra-like conditions do not have much sympathy!

Last week, we experienced a few of these gloomy days which coincided with hubby getting a bad cough. I happened to be flipping through Tyler Florence's Dinner at My Place and saw a recipe for Dr. Tyler's Chicken soup that Tyler claims can pull him from the depths of a miserable cold.

Tyler Florence is a magical kind of man, but now he can cure illnesses too? Amazing! His soup healing soup claim piggybacks on the belief of many, including scientists, that chicken soup can cure the common cold.

Whether it cured hubby or not, we decided that Dr. Tyler certainly did something right: this was one of our favorite soups we've made! We loved it so much that we made it for the second week in a row. Tonight's version shown above (used smaller tortellini and more carrots this time around).

A combination of apple chicken meatballs, tortellini, carrots, celery and a delicious herb broth make for a very tasty soup. For those of you not already in the thick of summer, I highly suggest trying this hearty and filling soup.

**If you haven't already, check out my giveaway post! You have until midnight on Thursday to win some tasty salsa!**

Dr. Tyler's Chicken Meatball and Tortellini Soup
Adapted lightly from Tyler's Dinner at My Place

Chicken Meatballs
4 links chicken apple sausage (uncooked) We ours from Henry's and they are BIG so if you have small ones, consider using a little more
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices bread)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus 2 extra tbsp for sprinkling

Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 large carrots, cut in circles
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
Kosher salt
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound refrigerated tortellini

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 black peppercorns

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare meatballs by combining chicken meat (discard casings), bread crumbs,milk, egg, parsley & 1/4 c. Parmesan in a large bowl. Mix well with hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roll meatballs and place on cooking sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle lightly with oil and sprinkle with 2 tbsp Parmesan. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

While meatballs are cooking, prepare the soup by heating a large stockpot over medium heat. Add a few rounds of olive oil to the pan, garlic, and thyme. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onion, carrot and celery. Continue to saute for about 4 minutes. Add zucchini and saute for another 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and peppercorns. Add bay leaf and parsley to the soup. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Once meatballs are cooked, drop them into the soup and add the tortellini. Allow soup to return to a boil and boil for several minutes or until tortellini are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste & sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spicy 'n Sassy Salsa Giveaway!!

In honor of their new specialty salsa line, Pace Salsa is giving away a sweet prize pack to one of my lucky and awesome readers! A few of their delicious new flavors include Pineapple Mango Chipotle, Black Bean and Roasted Corn, and Tequila Lime. Yum!

I personally love using salsa as an ingredient in a whole host of delicious foods. My current favorite is to add a few dollops of pineapple salsa to vegetable chili. I know this sounds strange, but it adds a good dimension of flavor and a little bit of sweetness to cut the spicy kick. We err on the side of spicy wusses in our household, though I'm slowly but surely coming around.

If you want to try these great new flavors, just leave me a comment letting me know your favorite thing to make using salsa. It can be anything really, and if it sounds good I'll probably harass you for the recipe! :) Any background, funny stories about the recipe, or general humor will make you even more entertaining.

I'll pick a winner using every blogger's favorite, the
random number generator. The giveaway starts today and ends on Thursday, 06/11/09 at 11:59pm pacific.

If you don't have a blog, please leave me your contact information!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with Rice Krispy Treat Topping

It's quite possible that my entire party's menu will consist of food blog recipes. You all are a creative bunch! It's also quite possible that both hubby and I gain at least 10 pre-party pounds since I just have to do a trial run of every delicious thing I consider making. Really, I'm not a control freak, I just like an excuse to make us indulgent food. Exhibit A, for example:

Cookie Cups
I spotted these ridiculously cute cookie cups topped with rice krispy treats(!) on Jenny's amazing blog, Picky Palate. She never ceases to amaze me with the delicious treats she comes up with that also leave me wondering, "why didn't I think of that?" all great inventions do.

Simplicity at its finest, these treats require you to use your favorite cookie dough recipe and bake the dough in muffin tins. I baked the cookies a little longer than usual to ensure the cookie cups were sturdy and could hold a mountain of rice krispy treat :) After baking and letting cool slightly, top with a little caramel sauce and try not to eat them all at this stage:

Cookie Cups with Caramel ToppingI had some fancy cinnamon caramel sauce that was given to me by a friend, so I clearly dealt the caramel with a heavy hand. I'm sure simple caramel sundae sauce would be just as good.

Proceed to whip up a batch of Rice Krispy Treats which after years of making for hubby, I now use no measurements to make. In my opinion, go heavy on the marshmallow to cereal ratio. We like 'em gooey.

Finally, drizzle some melted semi-sweet chocolate chips over the top and you're ready to impress!

Cookie Cups with Rice Krispy Topping

Cookie Cups with Rice Krispy Topping
Here's a link to Picky Palate's original post. I followed her recipe but didn't add any oil to the melted chocolate chips. Also, when shaping the rice krispy treats, I found it helpful to have a wet towel to wipe my hands off and prevent stickiness.