Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chicken and Ranch Pinwheel Appetizers

I love pretty little appetizers - especially this time of year.  A favorite dinner here is a tapas or small plates night and I love mixing meatless and chicken/pork based appetizers for a great dinner with friends.  During Lent, any recipe I can convert to meatless becomes my new BFF and while this does feature chicken, it can be almost as tasty without it.

I love the look of a classic pinwheel but some of the ones I've had in the past are either too bland or they can taste like health food....which is never a good flavor.  Ever.  Here is a little twist on a classic pinwheel using a few of my favorite flavors: ranch, chicken, and roasted red bell pepper.

8 oz cream cheese, softened ($1.00)
1 T. each: parmesan and butter ($.25)
1/2 packet ranch or buttermilk ranch salad dressing mix ($.30)
1 clove garlic, minced ($.05)
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, minced ($.15)
3/4 C. shredded or finely chopped cooked chicken ($.50)
2 packages premade crescent rolls ($2.00)
Ranch dressing for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix all ingredients except crescent rolls together until well blended.
Divide mixture in 2 equal parts.
Press seams together on crescent roll dough and spread evenly with mixture.
Roll each rectangle into a tight spiral, and brush the edges with water.  Press seam side to make a tight seal.
Cut into 8-12 slices - place spiral side up on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until crescent rolls are nicely browned. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping, if desired.

Yields: 16-24 appetizers
Cost: $4.25
Cost per pinwheel: $.26

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Quick and Easy Taquitos

I love making potato and/or ground turkey taquitos!  I first tried this at my MIL house and even though hubby is sort of ambivalent towards these, every now and then I just have to make them, if only for myself.

If you need an easy, go-to recipe for a crowd and you are on a budget, this recipe is easy to tailor to suit your favorite meat eaters, a group of vegetarians, picky teens and adults and everyone in between.

I've got 4 different filling ideas for these yummy taquitos, though you can always do combinations of each.  My two favorites are the potato and cheese and the ground turkey and refried bean mixture.

Taquito Basics:
24-36 corn tortillas ($1.39)
1 to 2 C. shredded cheese ($1.50)

Ground Turkey Filling:
12oz. ground turkey ($1.00)
1 small onion, minced ($.10)
3 cloves garlic, minced ($.05)
1 tsp. each: oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder ($.05)
1/2 tsp. each: paprika, chile powder, salt, and pepper ($.05)

Brown turkey in a nonstick skillet with all other ingredients.  Drain and cool 5 minutes.

Potato Filling:
2-3 medium sized russet potatoes ($.50)
pinch of salt
1 T. cream cheese ($.10)
1 T. butter ($.10)

Boil unpeeled potatoes until just fork tender.  Drain and cool.  Peel potatoes and lightly mash with all remaining ingredients.

Refried Bean Filling:
16 oz. can refried beans ($.75)
2 T. shredded cheese ($.10)
1/8 C. salsa ($.15)

Mix well all ingredients and microwave on high for 45-60 seconds, until mixture is warm through and stirs easily.

Chicken Filling:
2 C. cooked chicken, shredded or chopped well ($1.00)
3 cloves garlic, minced ($.05)
1 T. butter ($.10)
salt, pepper, and oregano to taste ($.05)
1-2 T. cheese, optional ($.10)

Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat with butter, once butter is melted, add garlic and saute 30-45 seconds.  Once garlic is fragrant, add all other ingredients, cook over medium low until chicken is heated through.

Warm tortillas until pliable (either in the microwave in batches of 6-8 until well steamed or on a griddle pan over mediu, high heat until soft).

Fill corn tortilla with 3-4 T. of filling and 1 T. shredded cheese.

Roll, place seam side down on a large baking sheet (ungreased), drizzle with olive oil (optional) and bake at 400 for 7-10 minutes, until tortilla is firm and lightly crispy.  Serve with salsa, sour cream, etc. for dipping.

Yields: 24-36 taquitos
Cost: $3.89 to $4.19
Cost per taquito: $.17-$.20 (depending on filling)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Red Raspberry and White Chocolate Crumb Bars

I was looking for a recipe that used raspberries for the holidays, aside from my favorite thumbprint cookies and I happened upon a gem from the Hershey's cookbook I picked up on the bargain table of Barnes and Noble a few years back.  I made a couple of tweaks to fit what ingredients I happened to have on hand and this turned out amazingly well!

2 2/3 C. flour ($.25)
1 C. sugar ($.10)
1/2 C. chopped hazelnuts ($.15)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg ($.05)
1 egg, slightly beaten ($.10)
2 stick butter, slightly chilled ($1)
1 1/8 C. raspberry jam or sauce ($.40)
1 C. white chocolate chips ($.50)

Heat oven to 350.
Grease a 13x9" baking dish.

Stir together flour, sugar, nutmeg, and hazelnuts.  Stir in egg - mixture should be very crumbly.  Slowly work in the butter, mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.

Reserve 1 1/2 C. of the crumb mixture.  Spread the rest of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Spread evenly with raspberry jam or sauce.  Top with white chocolate chips and reserved crumb mixture.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top of the bars is lightly browned.  Cool completely and cut into small bars.

Yields: 36
Cost: $2.55
Cost per bar: $.07