Last month, I joined a challenge board called Daring Cooks. All members of Daring Cooks are given the same recipe to make, and everyone reveals the recipe on their blog on the same day. It’s super fun! I’m excited to try new things that are outside of my cooking comfort range. There is also a Daring Bakers challenge, but I’m not ready to make the jump beyond cookies and cupcakes just yet. :o)
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com! There are some really creative entries!
Parmesan Frico Cups were the first thing that came to mind when the theme was revealed. They’re a snap to make (although the first few tries were a pain in the butt) and are great for party appetizers. I made Caesar Chicken Salad to fill them with since I really wanted to highlight the flavor of the parmesan.
Caesar Chicken Salad in Parmesan Frico Cups –
For the Parmesan Frico Cups – adapted from Martha Stewart:
- 1 Container (about 6 oz.) Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium. Sprinkle about a handful of parmesan into the skillet, making a short pile that is round in diameter. Cook for about 3 minutes, until starting to firm, then flip carefully using a thin spatula and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer frico to a small bowl and press into the interior to shape (you can also drape them over an upside down muffin tin). Let cool completely before serving.
For the Caesar Chicken Salad: adapted from Cooking Light via My Recipes
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt (or light mayonnaise)
- 2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Anchovy Paste (*can be found near the canned tuna at the grocery store)
- 1/2 tsp. Bottled Minced Garlic
- 1/2 Cup Romaine Hearts, chopped
- Pepper, to taste
Combine chicken with 2 tsp. of the lemon juice and the soy sauce. Place into a ziploc bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, turning once.
Cook the chicken using your preferred method (I pan-fried) and let cool. Dice into bite sized pieces.
Combine chicken with the remaining 1 tsp. of lemon juice and the remaining ingredients and mix together. Serve in Parmesan Frico Cups.
I first encountered fruity guacamole at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Zocalo, a few years ago. The Husby and I quickly devoured it. There was just something so perfect about the balance of savory and sweet that made it irresistible.
So when both avocados and mangos were on sale at the grocery store, and there was a football game to be watched on tv, I knew I had to tackle (no pun intended) this treat.
While it didn’t turn out entirely like the one at Zocalo (I think they might use papaya), it was still really good. I liked the crunch of the apple against the creaminess of the avocado. I think next time I might add pomegranate seeds and serve with plantain chips instead of tortilla chips.
Apple and Mango Guacamole – inspired by Zocalo Restaurant
- 2 Ripe Avocados
- 1 Mango, diced into small chunks
- 1 Golden Delicious Apple, diced into small chunks
- 1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 Lime, juiced
- Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- Salt, to taste
Mash avocado with a fork in a medium bowl. Add mango, apple, red onion, garlic, lime and cilantro and season with salt, to taste. Mix until well combined.
Jalapeño poppers are your standard appetizer, but this dip elevates it to the next level.
I made this dip to eat while watching the Bears vs. Packers game in which sadly, our Bears were not victorious, but it would be a great addition to your Superbowl spread.
I did have some dip leftover, so I stuffed it into a chicken breast and it was delicious! I love food that multitasks!
On another note, here’s the link to the roundup from January’s What’s Baking. There were some really yummy looking treats made last month!
And make sure you keep your eyes posted to the blog tomorrow for an extra special post!
Jalapeño Popper Dip – slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats
- 1 Block Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
- 1 4 oz Can Chopped Green Chiles
- 1 4 oz Can Diced Jalapeños, drained
- 1 Package Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (about 2 Cups)
- 1 Cup Panko
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Cooking Spray
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine cream cheese, yogurt, green chiles, jalapeños and cheese in a baking dish until well combined. Spread the mixture out evenly in the dish.
Combine panko and parmesan in a small bowl and mix until combined. Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Bake for 30 minutes until the dip is hot and the topping is golden. Serve warm with your favorite accompaniments.
Whenever I host a party, I always make artichoke dip. It’s a classic dish that people love, and everyone has their own variation. This one is mine.
This time around, I had some extra wonton wrappers (from making Mexican Chicken Wonton Rolls) and thought that they could be a great vessel for delivering the artichokey goodness into one’s mouth. Man, was I right.
Artichoke Dip (in Wonton Cups) – I use a recipe that my mom gave to me and I’ve tweaked throughout the years. I was inspired by this recipe to use the wonton cups.
- 2 Cans Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
- 2 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
- 4 oz (1/2 block) Cream Cheese
- 1 Package Shredded Italian Cheese Blend (about 2 Cups)
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika, plus more for sprinkling on top
- 1 Package Wonton Wrappers, if using
Preheat oven to 350.
If using the wonton wrappers, spray one side of each wrapper with cooking spray, then press greased side down into a mini muffin tin. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Combine first 8 ingredients in an oven safe round casserole dish. If not using the wonton cups, bake for 35-40 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.
If using the wonton cups, scoop unbaked mixture into each wonton cup and bake for 6-8 minutes.
**I had enough artichoke mixture to fill the wonton cups and bake the rest as a dip.**