Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

With my new-found mission to a better healthier lifestyle, that rules out my love of frying and eating fried foods. After all , that is what got me where I was. Moderation is key, but having a good defense is the best offense! Meaning, I need a ton of good go to recipes that feel indulgent but aren’t. That way I can trick my body (and mind) into thinking I am eating things I shouldn’t be but am able to without regret and guilt. I initially founded this recipe with my daughter Jasmine as we were in final competition mode on the Rachael Ray vs. Guy Fieri cooking show. Our mission, was to cook the best chicken cutlet, which we did cuz we WON! Any who, that version was pan-fried and this one is low-calorie baked chicken tenders. Same great taste, without that pesky guilt I was talking about earlier 😀 Click here for the original version of the deliciousness!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 4

This version was obviously thought up since I am now eating healthier, but also was inspired by a secret ingredient swap. Some blogger pals got paired up and had to send the other one something that represented their state. I received this jar of golden deliciousness! Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard. As soon as I saw the jar I opened it, smelled it tasted it, smelled it tasted it and fell in ~love~

This jar came from Mishmawshandotherthings.

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 3

INGREDIENTS

8 chicken tenderloin breasts
1/4 cup golden deliciousness aka Raye’s Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard
2 cups pretzels, ground semi fine (salted or non salted per your preference) I use the matchstick kind and pulse them in the food processor until I get the consistency I like.
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS –  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Using a sheet pan, line the bottom with foil, and top with a bakers wire cooling rack. Spray rack with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add mustard and chicken. Mix together so chicken is well coated. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor pulse the pretzels and Parmesan cheese until desired consistency. I like mine chunkier to be able to taste the pretzels. Add pepper to taste (and salt if using unsalted pretzels)
  4. Add the pretzel coating to a bowl and take 1 chicken strip at a time and coat with it.
  5. Place the pretzel crusted chicken tender on the baking rack and repeat until all chicken is coated. Be sure to discard leftover mustard and pretzel mixture as you can’t re-use it do to be contaminated with raw chicken.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the chicken strips. You can use non stick spray for this too.
  7. Bake chicken for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked through. You will want to turn chicken over 1/2 way through and drizzle with olive oil to crisp both sides.
  8. Serve with Honey Mustard Dipper Sauce and sliced scallions!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

 

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Spicy Avocado Deviled Eggs

Spicy St. Patty's Day Deviled Eggs - sweetheatchefs.com

I found this idea from a friend, you can visit her page here. She had shared it on her Facebook page and I snagged it as soon as I saw it! If you don’t know I have decided to try to lose weight, and prepare for a 5K in 5 months, so I have been looking for alternative food options and low caloric fat content. Deviled eggs is so not on that list! Eggs in general are good for us, but when you add in mayonnaise (which I LOVE) it throws it back into oblivion.

Anyway, my kids all like deviled eggs too and they usually like the same old same old. I have tried making variations to no avail, they just want the “plain” way. So when I made this I didn’t even think of them, I was just thinking this would be lunch and snacks for the next 2 days. As soon as the kiddos came home they instantly saw them and wanted to try, I mean they are green right, cool color, to the yellow version. AND it is creeping up on St. Patrick’s Day, they think I am trying to be festive! I love it 😀 They all grab one and chow down…EVEN my, “I hate mayo kid”! “Hey Mikey, they liked it!” (remember that commercial?)

Spicy St. Patty's Day Deviled Eggs - sweetheatchefs.com

Needles to say my plan of snack and lunch for 2 days went down the drain at that point, but that is ok, a good fat & mayo free snack has now been added to our repertoire AND it is holiday friendly!

WIN WIN =  HAPPY MOMMA = HAPPY BLOGGING = HAPPY  YOU!

Click here for the original version. Read on for mine 😀

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1 fully ripened avocado; peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 tablespoon of my Home Made Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground brown mustard
  • 1.5 teaspoon Dijon mustard (recommend French’s Dijon with Chardonnay)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno; seeded, ribs removed, diced fine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion ( I use the microplane)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (I use the microplane)
  • Garnish: Finely diced jalapeno & dash of hot sauce on top when ready to eat (recommend Tapatio Salsa Picante)

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium sized bowl mash avocado and egg yolks until a creamy consistency.

2. Add yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper, jalapeno, onion, & garlic; mix thoroughly.

3. Spoon or pipe back into egg white shells, dividing equally. Garnish with jalapeno and hot sauce before serving. Should last 2 days, crossing fingers!

Spicy St. Patty's Day Deviled Eggs - sweetheatchefs.com

If you like this recipe you might also like:

Bacon Guacamole…yes you heard right…BACON!

bacon guac - sweetheatchefs.com

There is one thing my household loves more than avocado and that is bacon. That is why when I saw this recipe I instantly knew I HAD to make it, and soon.

This recipe is from my sweetest and most awesome friend Bernadette. Her fabulous blog is Rantz From My Crazy Kitchen. You can find many amazing recipes there including a page with 58 bacon recipes from breakfast all the way through to dessert, which means you can have a PORK PARTY all day! You can view Bernadette’s recipe for her outta this world guacamole here. Below is my version with just a slight modification.

bacon guac - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 avocados
  • 4 slices thick center cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup purple onion, diced fine
  • 3/4 tablespoon jalapeno, diced fine 
  • 4 heirloom cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (small cloves or 1 big one)
  • handful of freshly chopped cilantro
  • dash of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut up bacon in bite sized pieces and fry the bacon with the onions until crisp. (this is money right here, in the voice of Guy Fierre!) If you prefer less done/burnt onions, remove as you are cooking. I enjoy crispy bacon and crispy onion and they cooked together the entire process in a pan of marriage bliss! Drain everything on a paper towels when done.
  2. In a small bowl mash the avocado
  3. Next add; tomatoes, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  4. Stir in the bacon and onion, cover tightly with plastic wrap pressed right on top of the guacamole and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. 

This recipe fed 3 of us, 2 boys and myself. We ate every last drop.

bacon guac - sweetheatchefs.com

I TEENY TINY PIECE OF ADVICE ON THIS RECIPE…..The yield here is NOT enough, plan to quadruple it for your first try. That way you won’t be licking the container clean just to get a little bit more.

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers5 - sweetheatchefs.com

Using leftovers in my house is ALWAYS a chore. 1:  My kids and hubby hate leftovers, 2:  it is hard to make only myself leftovers while they eat crap (aka boxed mac-n-cheese or cup of soups which my kids would live on if I’d let them) So today I decided I wouldn’t tell them I was using leftovers to create this dish, and see how that went over.

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers2 - sweetheatchefs.com

I had leftover ground turkey and some sweet peppers. I am rummaging through my fridge to see what I can make to go along with it. I always turn everything into a Mexican type meal so I was determined NOT to make this dish that way. Now I see your brow furrowing and your mind racing saying…wait the name of the dish begins with Mexican.

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers - sweetheatchefs.com

And…You are right, because there is simply no way for me to NOT make a Mexican based dish, I simply love it way too much. My favorite quote of the night was from my daughter, who upon returning home from the mall, ate dinner and stated: “It tastes like a party in my mouth” I do not know 1 chef who would not like that type of review! #missionaccomplished!

Now, this dish is packed full of flavor and guess what? FULL of nutrients too! How awesome is that?! Common, get your shopping list ready and get this dish done!

INGREDIENTS

  • 18 sweet peppers, cleaned, top off and de-seeded
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I use microplane)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro chopped & washed
  • 1/2 cup Red Quinoa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup jack cheese, shredded

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers4 - sweetheatchefs.com

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a sheet pan with foil and drizzle olive oil over it, about 2 tsp.
  2. In a skillet brown ground turkey
  3. Add garlic, onion powder, and salt/pepper.
  4. Once almost browned, add lime juice and green chilis.
  5. Continue to cook over medium high until thoroughly cooked.
  6. While cooking stuffing mixture, rinse  1/2 cup red quinoa in a strainer
  7. Add to pot with beef broth.
  8. Bring to boil and reduce heat cooking on low simmer for about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  9. Once stuffing mixture is finished remove from heat and let cool.
  10. Once quinoa is finished add 1/4 cup to stuffing mix, combine well and add 1 tbs chopped cilantro.
  11. Using a teaspoon measure stuff the peppers until filled to the top.
  12. Roll in olive oil on sheet pan and continue until all peppers are stuffed.
  13. Top all peppers with shredded jack cheese evenly. (I push them all together to cheese is not wasted on pan, but ooey gooey goodness all over peppers) 
  14. Bake for 10 minutes on 375 degrees, then broil for 5-7 minutes.
  15. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Serve peppers on top of remaining red quinoa and remaining cilantro, and prepare to lick your plate clean!

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers6 - sweetheatchefs.com

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers7 - sweetheatchefs.com

Additional Hint:

IF your kids are anti-peppers (I have 2) whether they are sweet or otherwise, wrap the filling into a corn or flour tortilla and heat up and roll like a burrito. They will be just as pleased with the dish as you. You still are getting that quinoa in them and a healthy meal!

 

Yummy Pics

Loaded Bake Potato Soup Crock Pot Style

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INGREDIENTS

6 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2″size
1 large onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1/4 cup butter (REAL butter)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream or 1 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup sour cream (optional)
8 slices bacon, fried & crumbled
cheese, for sprinkling

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DIRECTIONS

Combine first seven ingredients in a large crock pot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender).

Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thick. If you want it thicker, add 1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes.

Stir in cream, cheese and chives.

Top with sour cream (if used), sprinkle with bacon and more cheese.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Candy Brandy Pecans

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INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
5 tbs brandy
2 tbsp Gingerbread Spice Mix
10 oz-bag whole shelled pecans

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non stick spray.

Melt butter in sauce pot on medium heat.

Add brown sugar, brandy and Gingerbread Spice Mix, cook for 1 minute until bubbly stirring constantly.

Add pecans and stir until all coated.

Spread out in an even layer on cookie sheet with rubber spatula and bake for 20-25 minutes stirring several times throughout.

Remove from oven to cool and in medium bowl combine:

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp Gingerbread Spice Mix

Pour pecans in bowl and stir until all coated with sugar mixture. 

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Let cool completely and store in airtight container. I put mine in decorative mason jars for Christmas gifts. This would also be good for birthday gifts, hostess gifts, parties, baby showers, Thanksgiving snacks, mother’s day gifts, and father’s day gifts

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This recipe is being shared at Foodie Friends Friday

 

Gingerbread Spice Mix

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This is the beginning of so many things you can create. This Gingerbread Spice Mix is versatile for gift giving and for making different recipes out of it, some of which I have in this post for you. 

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup ground ginger
6 tbsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container  until ready to use.

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Bag up and give as gifts for Christmas or any event that calls for one! This does not have to be a holiday only gift!  

I gave mine as Christmas gifts, added tags with the recipes below and tied on to the bag with a decorative ribbon. This gives the recipient an idea of what to use it with and get creative in the kitchen!

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You can add this mix to the following recipes: (more coming soon)

Crispy Gingerbread Treats

3 tbsp butter, melted
1 bag (10 oz) mini marshmallows
1 tbsp Gingerbread Spice Mix
6 cups crispy rice cereal

Melt and mini marshmallows in a large sauce pot over medium heat stirring occasionally. Stir in Gingerbread Spice Mix and crispy rice cereal. Press into a greased 13 x 9″ baking dish. let cool and cut into squares.

Do you have a recipe to make with this? I’d love to share it and see what you come up with. Leave me a comment below with the deets and you could be featured on SHC in the near future!

Cranberry Rosemary Dip – EASY & QUICK

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries ( I course chop them, but you could leave them whole)
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary ( I used the spice grinder)
  • fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt (to taste)

Place all ingredients in bowl and using a spoon smooth, smash and stir together all ingredients until well combined. Taste it with a cracker and see if you want to add more of any of the ingredients! Place back in refrigerator covered for about 1 hour before serving with crackers. Garnish with a few whole cranberries and a sprig of Rosemary. Super easy, beautiful in color and a HUGE hit! Enjoy 😀

 

 

Focaccia – Don’t miss this!

I have made this recipe a few times now and each time it just gets better since I get more comfortable with the whole dough making business. A baker, I AM NOT, N-K?! So..if I can do this ANYONE, can do this. I follow this dough recipe to the “T” and then add the other stuff to suit mine and my families taste. I found this recipe at this amazing blog…ready for the name?….The Barefoot Kitchen Witch! Love her name, love her blog, check her out and you’ll see why. While you are there tell her we sent ya over 😀

Ok, back to the Focaccia yumminess. I could eat these things as a meal in-and-of-itself, however to save face and not look like a total carb overload eater, I make this with either a veggie packed salad or delicious soup, like my Creamy Chicken Veggie & Rice Soup.

Let your heart and tummy guide you through this process of what to top it with. Your options are as vast as your imagination on this one, that is half the fun coming up with toppings and combinations. Just imagine yourself biting into a light warm crispy and soft doughy bite filled with your favorite toppings….now your talking!

Take your time with the recipe, nurture it, follow it and enjoy the outcome when finished. I will guide you through a step by step process that will ensure complete success!

Things to know about this recipe:

  1. Kids love helping with this; let them dimple the dough, let them pick their own ingredients and let them top their own with what they picked!
  2. The dough is sticky; keep flour out until  you are done with all the handling of it
  3. Small kitchen? Make sure you have room for 2 sheet pans and a cutting board and a floured surface all at once.
  4. Use a kitchen aid (or whatever brand) stand up mixer for this, a hand held mixer will not work.
  5. If you want smaller portions, I have made this recipe into 18 focaccias, it is possible.
  6. Pre cut your parchment paper and set out on sheet pans ahead of time or during the rising process.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2  1/2 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast or 1 small cake (18 grams) fresh yeast
  • 1  cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup milk (warmed in microwave for about 1 minute)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 1/2 T lard, at room temperature (I used vegetable shortening)
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Olive oil for brushing the tops
  • Salt for sprinkling the tops
  • Cornmeal for dusting the bottoms before baking
  • Toppings – thinly sliced vegetables, grilled or sautéed to intensify the flavor.  Garlic, Cheeses, Whatever sounds good.

DIRECTIONS:

Stir the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand until creamy, 10 minutes. 

Stir in the oil, and lard with the paddle. 

Add the flour and mix at low speed about 2 minutes. 

Change to the dough hook and knead 4 to 5 minutes. 

Add the salt and knead another 1 to 2 minutes.  The dough will climb up the collar of the hook, and you will have to stop several times to push it down.  The dough should be smooth, velvety, and softer than bread dough but firmer than croissant dough.

First Rise:

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap (don’t forget to spray the plastic wrap), and let rise until doubled, 2 hours.

Cut the dough into 6 pieces (or however many you want to make, remember I made mine into 18 once) on a lightly floured surface and shape into balls. Let rest under a towel for 15 minutes.

Dimple the dough balls (remember kids love this part, no matter what age!), spreading each into a circle, and let rest under a towel another 15 minutes. 

Dimple tops with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt alone or your seasoning. (Here I used basil and salt) Place the dough circles on parchment-lined or oiled baking sheets or baker’s peels sprinkled with cornmeal.

Second Rise:

Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Dimple the dough again with your fingertips, stretching it as you go.  Sprinkle with salt and brush with oil. 

Mist water very lightly over the top to cover and trap the oil and then cover with the toppings of your choice.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. at least 20 minutes before you plan to bake.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes.  Immediately brush the surfaces with oil.  Serve hot, or cool on racks to room temperature.

This recipe is being shown over at Thursday’s Treasures!!

Jalapeno Popper Cornbread Pop’ems

INGREDIENTS

2 cups Marie Calendar cornbread mix

1.5 cups heavy cream

1/4 pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 jalapeno, diced and seeded

1/4 cup jack cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons honey

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl until all combined.

Spray mini muffin tin with non stick cooking spray

Add 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin spot

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Let cool for 3 minutes and using a knife go around edges to loosen poppers, they should fall out after that.

I drizzle a little honey over the top and serve warm!

The warmth of the freshly out of the oven muffins, plus the warmed honey on top paired with the spiciness of the jalapeno creates an intensely packed pop of flavor in this little bite.

WARNING: You won’t want to stop popping at just 1 they are addictive little suckers! Perfect for snacking on at Game Day, your guy will LOVE these!!