Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hot Creamed Chicken in Puff Pastry Shells

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this month and I guess I'm waxing sentimental with this dish, but this is what we picked to serve the guests at our wedding reception. We did not actually get to eat the creamed chicken in pastry shells, because we were busy talking with all the guests and dancing and all, but man it looked good! I remember even getting my plate of food from the caterers (creamed chicken in a puff pastry shell, melon slices on a leaf of lettuce, 1 strawberry, and lovely little chocolate truffle in a white paper cup) and setting it down next to my sister with a determination to eat it... I was hungry! Then I started chatting with someone and then someone else and so on. Next I knew they had cleared all the plates to get ready for the cake, which I also didn't eat (well I guess I ate part of the piece that my loving new husband smashed in my face). What is the deal with not eating at your own wedding?? I don't know. But last night we finally got around to eating our creamed chicken in puff pastry! Oh it was good!! My kids loved it, like licking their plates loved it. Maybe they'll have it at their weddings and not eat it too. This is my slightly modified version of the real recipe from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City.

Hot Creamed Chicken in Puff Pastry Shells

10 puff pastry shells, baked (recipe below, but if you can find frozen puff pastry shells at your grocery store and bake them that would be the easiest - no such luck at my grocery store)

Creamed Chicken:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
3-4 cups cooked and cubed chicken
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan or dutch oven melt butter. Add onion and saute until onion is softened and cooked, but not browned. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk. Slowly add chicken stock, whisking. Add heavy cream, thyme, and chicken bouillon granules and cook, whisking, until thickened. Add chicken and salt and pepper to taste and cook until heated through. Serve in prebaked puff pastry shells, or over noodles, rice, biscuits, or crescent rolls.

Puff Pastry Shells (made with puff pastry sheets):
1 package puff pastry sheets (to make about 10 small shells)
egg wash (1 egg whisked with about 1 tablespoon water)

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. On a lightly floured surface roll out 1 pastry sheet to about 1/8" thick. Cut into 10 rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place these 10 rounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly flour surface again and roll out other puff pastry sheet. Cut into 10 rounds with the same biscuit cutter and then cut out a small circle in the middle of these rounds with a much smaller round cutter. Take egg wash and brush the bottom of the rounds on the baking sheet. Put the doughnut shaped rounds over the egg washed rounds. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Once you take them out of the oven cut out the little bit of puff pastry left in the middle to make little bowls. Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Sesame Green Beans

This is a super easy and tasty way to jazz up a package of frozen green beans. I got the recipe from the back of a whole green beans package and I think I'll use it a lot!

Sesame Green Beans

1 family sized package of frozen whole green beans (fresh greens beans would work wonderfully)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Place green beans in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for about 3 minutes or until done to your liking. Drain green beans and put back in pan. Add butter and soy sauce and toss until butter is melted and green beans are coated. Add sesame seeds and toss.

Beef with Snow Peas

Beef with Snow Peas is my all time favorite Chinese restaurant dish. I just love it! So I was so pleased to try this at home version from Pioneer Woman. It is delicious! And really tastes similar to what you'd get at a Chinese restaurant. Yay! The beef is so tender. Once you have all the ingredients ready to go the stir-fry part is incredibly fast. Definitely an under 30 minute meal. Just be sure to get your rice cooking before starting (rice cookers are the best!).

Beef with Snow Peas

1 1/2 lb flank steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons cooking sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
8 oz snow peas, ends trimmed
5 green onions, cut on the diagonal into 1/2" slices
3-4 tablespoons peanut oil, or canola oil
crushed red pepper
cooked rice for serving

In a bowl mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Add the sliced meat to the bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of peanut oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove from heat and lift snow peas out with a slotted spoon onto a separate plate. Set aside.

Put pan back on heat and allow to get very hot again. With tongs, add half of the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half of the green onions. Spread meat out int he pan, but do not stir for a good minute. Turn the meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate. Set aside.

Add a little more oil to pan if necessary. Repeat process with other half of the meat and green onions. After turning the meat add back in the plateful of cooked meat, the rest of the marinade from the bowl, the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds or so until everything is cooked and combined with the sauce. Check seasoning and add a little more soy sauce if necessary. Serve immediately over rice. 

Creamy Pesto Ravioli

I love a good cream sauce. Who doesn't? This cream sauce is great because of the pesto and sun dried tomatoes. You can use any kind of ravioli you like. This time I used fresh grilled chicken and mozzarella ravioli from Costco, but plain old cheese ravioli would work great too. Oh and I forgot to mention how quickly this dinner comes together. It's done in the time it takes to cook the ravioli. Wonderful!

Creamy Pesto Ravioli

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
6 oz light cream cheese (3/4 of a 8 oz block)
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (the packed in olive oil kind)
salt and pepper
36 oz fresh ravioli (I used a double pouch of fresh ravioli from Costco)
Parmesan cheese

Take sun dried tomatoes and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30-45 seconds or until the tomatoes are hot. Place hot sun dried tomatoes into a food processor and process until the tomatoes are chopped into small pieces (you may need to get out scissors and chop us stubborn ones by hand). Set aside.

Boil ravioli according to package directions and drain.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or dutch oven melt butter. Add flour and whisk. Slowly whisk in milk and cook until thickened. Add cream cheese, pesto, chopped sun dried tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked ravioli and toss until coated. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese topping individual servings.