I have been thinking that my blog might come to an end when 2007 is over. But, no. That wouldn't be very fun. I am just getting started. Dinners for a Year will continue to exist in 2008. It will just be Dinners for the Years. I may also be interspersing some different posts along with dinners at our family table. Today's post will be such a one.
I am a personal chef and usually spend a couple days a week working for clients in their homes. Today was one such day. My client wanted some appetizers for Christmas that she could just pull out of her freezer and reheat on Christmas Day. I suggested Spinach and Parmesan Balls, Italian Stuffed Mushrooms, Chicken Hot Pockets (and not the ones from the freezer section of the grocery store), Mini Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, and Mahogany Wings. I've already posted about my Crab Cakes so you'll have to do a search for those. The Balls were good, but not worth your time - skip them. The remaining three recipes would make a nice addition to your Holiday Table. Pick one, or two or all three. You won't be disappointed. Today's guest reviewer is my client who likes to eat as I am preparing the food as well as me.
Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
makes about 36 good sized mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
36 large mushrooms (about 2-inch-diameter) stems removed and chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
3/8 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 1/2 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup grated Fontina cheese or crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/8 cup chopped fresh basil (packed)
1 extra large egg
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish with oil. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped mushroom stems, fennel, tomatoes, and garlic. Sauté until stems and fennel are tender and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes; transfer to medium bowl. Cool 10 minutes. Mix in cheeses, then basil. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in egg. Arrange mushroom caps in prepared dish, cavity side up. Brush mushroom cavities lightly with additional oil. Mound filling in mushroom cavities, pressing to adhere. Bake until mushrooms are tender and filling is heated through, about 25 minutes, and serve.
Source - Bon Appetit 2003
Review - "Ohhhhh! These are really good! What's in these? Can I have another one?" I liked the cheese combo and the sun dried tomatoes. a change of pace from the regular stuffed mushroom.
makes 48 wings
24 chicken wings, split and tips discarded
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup honey
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Place chicken in a shallow, medium dish. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, hot sauce sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger and garlic. Pour the mixture over the chicken reserving about 1/2 cup to brush on wings while baking. Cover and refrigerate approximately 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large baking dish, arrange chicken in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 60 - 75 minutes, brushing with remaining soy sauce mixture often and turning once, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. the wings should be a deep mahogany color and crispy when done.
Source - Me
Review - "Can I eat one now? These are delicious!" Great color and flavor. I like that they are baked and not fried. Not as much mess for me to clean up after cooking all day. I did have to throw the baking sheet out that I cooked the wings on because the marinade seeped under the foil. There was no way I was spending an hour trying to clean that.
Chicken Hot Pockets
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
3 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend cheese and 3 tablespoons of the butter together. Add chicken, salt, pepper, and onion and mix well.
Unroll dough. Firmly press perforations to seal. Cut into 8 squares. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture onto center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to center of chicken mixture; twist firmly. Pinch edges to seal. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops of sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted margarine; sprinkle with crushed croutons.
Bake 12 - 16 minutes or until golden brown.
Source - Pillsbury website with some minor changes by me.
Review - I had these for dinner tonight. I usually don't make recipes with packaged crescent rolls. Not that I'm a foodie snob, but I don't think they are the most healthy thing to eat. I'll make an exception for recipe research. These are fantastic. Much better than the ones you get at the grocery store. My Oldest said they are "really cheesy" and I think she meant that in a good way.