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coneysauce7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I was downstate last week for my son’s college orientation and it reminded me how much I miss the coney islands that are on nearly every corner around the Detroit metro area. When we lived there the coneys were our go-to, the best ones serve breakfast all day every day, so even the little people could always find something on the menu. They also have amazing greek salads, gyros and – yes, coney dogs.

I’m not enough of an authority to fine-slice the differences between the Flint and Detroit-style coney sauce, to me they are equally delicious. And if you order a proper Michigan coney it will arrive on a snappy Koegel dog with a soft bun.

This recipe is based on a post by goldendog in the Chowhound forum, and I’ve adjusted it a little bit. It may look red to you if you’re used to the brown stuff out of a can, but it’s got a nice balance of tomato, spice and kick. If you want more chili and less tomato use tomato juice instead. This would be a good crockpot sauce.

Coney Sauce, Michigan Style Makes about 1-1/3 c. sauce (enough for 6-8 coney dogs)

  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 lb. ground chuck
  • 3 T. chili powder
  • 1-1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1-1/2 t. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14-oz can tomato sauce

Peel and chop the onion, put it in a food processor bowl.

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Pulse the onion until it’s finely chopped. Add the ground chuck.

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Pulse again to a fine homogenous mixture.

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Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the meat and stir until browned.

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Add all the rest of the ingredients.

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Cook on a low simmer for about two hours. The sauce will get very thick. Remove the bay leaf.

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Serve the coney sauce on a freshly grilled dog. If you want a ballpark feel wrap it up in a piece of aluminum foil.

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The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about three days. Freeze in a ziplock for longer storage.

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Three years ago: Hamburger & Hot Dog Buns
Two years ago: Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa
One year ago: Double Berry Cookies


friedrice12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

We headed into this week coming off a grueling 18-hour roadtrip so easy comfort food has been the order of the day all week. This fried rice is amazing, adaptable and it makes the house smell great. I used brown rice, but you could also use jasmine or basmati. I chose vegetables that are nice with the ground pork, but change it up for whatever you have lying around – that’s the beauty of it!

The crumbled potato chips are a tip I picked up from Bon Appetit, a standin for the wonton crisps I suppose, but they will surprise you on how well they blend in to the whole. I like to cut the vegetables into different shapes for pretty. I used zucchini in place of bamboo shoots.  This all goes quick, so make sure you have everything ready to go before you turn on the heat.

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Fried Rice, Four servings

  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. ground gingerroot
  • 3 c. cooked rice
  • 1/2 c. sliced onion
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 c. celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, cut in thin slices
  • 2 baby zucchini, cut in matchsticks
  • 1/2 c. crushed potato chips
  • Ponzu and chili paste to taste

Brown the pork with the garlic and ginger. When it’s cooked through, set it aside.

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Heat the sesame and olive oil in a cast-iron (or other non-stick) pan. Add the onion.

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When the onion is fragrant, add the eggs.

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Scramble softly.

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Add the rice, cook for a minute or so, stirring occasionally.

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Then add all the vegetables except the zucchini. Toss until the rice starts to dry out, 3-5 minutes.

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Add the seasoned pork. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, tossing every so often. More tossing means softer rice, less tossing means some crunchy crust mixed in – however you like it done.

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Stir in half the potato chips, the ponzu and chili paste.

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Top each serving with some zucchini and a sprinkle of potato chips. Serve warm, hot or cold if that’s how you roll.

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Three years ago: Sweet Corn & Green Chili Tamales
Two years ago: Berry Crumb Cake
One year ago: Icelandic Almond Rolls

 

 

bulgogi9_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This is a favorite order of mine at Korean restaurants, and it’s a nice choice if you’re cooking out this weekend and want to mix things up. It’s best if you grill the meat over charcoal, but due to weather and other factors I had to cook mine inside. It was still delicious. This marinade recipe is based on one published by Maangchi on her terrific site. Start this a day or two before you’re ready to grill.

Bulgogi, Makes four servings

  • 1 lb. good quality sirloin steak
  • ½ c. applesauce
  • ¼ c. onion purée, or finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 t. gingeroot puree
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • Thin slices of carrot
  • Rice noodles
  • 1 pkg. Asian cabbage blend (optional)
  • Kimchee for the side

Put the beef in the freezer for an hour or so, until it’s nearly frozen through. Shave slices against the grain as thinly as possible and set them aside.

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Combine all the marinade ingredients and stir well.

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Add the beef to the marinade, cover it well and refrigerate it until you’re ready to barbeque – but let it sit in the marinade for at least a day.

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When you’re ready to cook, cook your rice noodles according to package directions and set them aside. I like to drizzle them with a little sesame oil to keep them from sticking together.

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Remove the meat from the marinade. The easiest way to grill it is to thread the pieces on skewers, but I had to cook mine on the stove so you always have that option as well. I started by stir-frying some Asian cabbage in a skillet with a splash of sesame oil.

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Then I stir-fried the meat until it was no longer pink (about three minutes).

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Marry the meat and vegetables together quickly. Divide the noodles between bowls and spoon the meat mixture over them.

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Serve with kimchee and extra hot sauce on the side.


Two years ago: Moroccan Baked Chicken
One year ago: Wild Mushrooms Florentine

manicotti7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris-Brady

There were quite a few new baking likes this morning so I hope that you are all having a lovely time baking your way into spring! I apologize for the single post this week, I’ve got some lingering cold that I’m trying to fight off. Speaking of cold, if it’s still chilly where you are this manicotti is a great way to warm up. You can make the sauce while you’re at work, assemble it and have a nice pan of fresh manicotti for dinner – or, just substitute two jars of your favorite marinara for the sauce.

Baked Manicotti & World’s Easiest Marinara, Makes one 13 x 9 pan (about 10 servings)

Marinara

  • Two large cans (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 5 T. butter
  • 1/2 onion, peeled but still intact

Manicotti

  • One package manicotti shells
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan
  • 3/4 c. ricotta or other soft fresh cheese
  • One egg
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 8 oz. mozzarella

Combine all the marinara ingredients in a slow cooker. Turn it on low, cover it and come back six hours later.

Cook the shells according to package directions. While the shells are cooking make the filling.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the turkey. Cook it thoroughly. Add the garlic during the last minute.

Combine it in a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients except the mozzarella. Stir well.

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Preheat the oven to 375. Drain the shells and set up your assembly area. Discard the onion from the marinara sauce and spoon enough sauce into your pan to cover the bottom.

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Stuff the shells with the turkey filling. I had a little extra filling left so I put it on top.

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Cover the shells with the rest of the sauce.

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Slide the pan into the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Put the mozzarella on top for the last few minutes.

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Serve hot with a fresh salad. Refrigerate any leftovers. This keeps well and I think it’s actually better the second day.

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Two years ago: Chorizo Burgers
One year ago: Dulce de leche Ice Cream Sundae

burmesechickensoup8_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

We have a new Asian market in town and I went a bit crazy, so in order to use up all the ingredients you’ll be seeing quite a few Asian-theme posts leading up to Chinese New Year next week! This soup is sunshine in a bowl, and if you like Thai curries you’ll like this one. You can adjust the amount of heat to your liking by changing the amount of chili paste. Either way there’s lots of layers of flavors with lemon, lime, coconut milk and chicken.

This recipe is a compilation of several I found online. The only special-special ingredient is the fresh tumeric, which I found at my local mega-grocery. And if I can find it here in the wilds of the northern Michigan woods I bet you have it somewhere nearby too! It’s a strange looking ingredient:

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When you peel it you see the bright orange inside, which makes the bright yellow.

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Tumeric is rumored to be very good for you, but if you have a sensitivity to it then of course you’ll want to leave it out.

Burmese Chicken Soup, Makes about six generous servings

  • One pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 t. ground tumeric
  • 2 T. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 2 t. garlic, minced
  • 1 t. chili paste, or to taste
  • One can of coconut milk
  • 2-1/2 c. chicken stock
  • One stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • One fresh tumeric root, grated
  • 2 t. fresh ground gingerroot
  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 2 T. cornstarch or chickpea flour
  • One package of udon noodles

Garnishes, optional:

  • Deep-fried onion
  • Boiled egg
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Wedges of fresh lime
  • Chili paste
  • Strips of roasted red pepper

The day before you want to make the soup marinate the chicken. Combine the first three ingredients in a plastic bag, knead them together well and refrigerate overnight.

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The next day, remove the chicken from the marinade and lay it in a greased baking dish. Bake the chicken at 325 for about 35 minutes, or until firm and no longer pink in the center. Chop the cooked chicken and set aside.

To make the soup, add two teaspoons of peanut oil (if you have it, if not use any lightly flavored oil) in a large saucepan. Saute the onion, chili paste, ginger and garlic until fragrant.

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Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, tumeric and the chopped chicken. Simmer 10 minutes.

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Add the chicken stock. Stir the cornstarch into the fish sauce and whisk it into the soup.

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I used ready-to-eat udon noodles, like so. Add them to the pan and taste the soup.

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I decided to pump up the chicken flavor a little bit so I stirred in a tablespoon of this chicken stock base.

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Simmer for another five minutes and serve.

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Refrigerate any leftovers.

Two years ago: Ono Butter Mochi
One year ago: Chocolate Souffle

creamytomatosauce10_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

There are lots of creamy tomato pasta sauces on menus out there, but it’s super-easy to make your own, requiring little more than a can of well-balanced tomatoes. I’m using San Marzano tomatoes here, but if you are loyal to another brand or type that’s between you and your saucepan. There’s also room for changing up the meat, adding other veggies, cheeses – it’s all good.

Creamy Tomato Sauce, Makes about four generous servings

  • One 28-oz. can plum tomatoes
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 2 T. finely chopped onion
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. butter
  • 8 oz. uncooked fettuccine (fresh or dried)
  • Olive oil

Add-ins:

I included two fresh spinach and feta chicken sausages, diced and 2 cups of fresh Italian baby greens.

To make the sauce:

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion.

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Stir until fragrant. Add the can of tomatoes. Fill the can half up with water and add that to the pan too.

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Simmer on medium, give it a stir every now and then, and break the tomatoes up with a spoon as you go. Let it bubble away until it’s reduced by half.

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Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cream.

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Simmer for another 10 minutes and adjust the seasoning to taste.

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At this point you can refrigerate the sauce if you’re making it ahead. To proceed, cook your pasta according to package directions.

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Drain and toss it with the butter and cheese.

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Heat up another tablespoon of olive oil and brown the sausage if you’re using it, then add the greens to wilt alongside.

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Add the tomato sauce back to the pan.

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Heat through and pour the sauce over the pasta. The cheese will melt and mix with the sauce. Serve with lots of freshly cracked black pepper.

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Two years ago: Cake Cookies
One year ago: Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies

chickenmarsala7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Hopefully you all had the chance to eat, drink and be merry over the holidays – and now, if you’re anything like me, you’re in a quandry. There’s a part saying “juice, salads, cleanse” – then there’s the part that looks outside at the single digit temps and double-digit snowfall, and says “get real”. The answer, today at least, is chicken marsala.

It’s still rich and hearty enough to stand up to the cold yet it’s low in fat and high in protein. This goes fast once you get started so it’s best to have everything ready and within arm’s reach when you start cooking.

Chicken Marsala, Four servings

  • One pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • One 8 oz. package sliced button or portabella mushrooms
  • Half a bottle of Marsala
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 T. butter
  • Olive oil

Pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/2″ thickness between sheets of waxed paper, then dredge them in flour.

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Heat the butter along with 2 T. olive oil in a heavy skillet. Brown the chicken well on both sides.

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Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside. It won’t be quite cooked through but that’s okay.

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Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and brown them well. Then pour in the marsala.

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Turn the heat up and quickly reduce the wine by half. There will be little bits of flour in the pan and they will help thicken the sauce a bit.

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When the wine is reduced return the chicken to the pan. Give each piece a turn to coat it with sauce.

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Simmer for about five minutes until the chicken is cooked all the way through. I like to use my deep pasta bowls for serving to help keep the chicken and the sauce warm. I served it over spinach with a side of parmesan risotto.

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Two years ago: Chocolate YOLO Grenades
One year ago: Cassoulet, Leelanau Style

moroccan9_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

For the main course I changed up the traditional roast bird to this tagine. It’s a great way to use up leftover roast poultry, or you can do a spice rub and roast your bird (or tofu) specifically for the dish. In the photo above you can see that I used a larger Israeli couscous, but feel free to use any type you prefer.

For the large family meal I served all the meat, vegetables and sauce separately so people could skip the sauce if they wanted. For the spice lovers in your family you can also include a shot of harissa on the side.

Tagine Style Stew, Makes eight generous servings

  • 3 c. chopped roast poultry (chicken or turkey)
  • 4 c. diced vegetables
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. coucous, steamed/cooked according to package directions
  • One large can (14 oz.) red ripe tomatoes
  • One large can (14 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 2 t. cracked pepper
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Pita bread (optional)

Make the sauce. (You can do this a day ahead of time.) Combine the whole tomatoes and the tomato sauce in a deep pan. Add the seasonings.

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Simmer for at least an hour, until the sauce is reduced by 1/3 and the whole tomatoes are melting into the sauce. While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 and clean the veggies. I used sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes and parsnips.

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Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put them in the oven to roast. Stir them periodically so they cook evenly and remove them when they are just tender all the way through.

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At this point the vegetables and sauce can be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready for them. To proceed with the recipe, combine the turkey, vegetables and sauce. Heat it through in a dutch oven (375 for 45 minutes) or on the stovetop in a large deep pan (medium for 30 minutes).

Serve the stew over the couscous. If you like, sprinkle each serving with feta cheese and serve with a side of pita bread.

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Two years ago: Danish Peppernut Cookies

One year ago: Lemon Poppyseed Scones

chinesesliders_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Okay, so during the previous post we went over making steamed buns – today we’ll get to the filling. I used ground pork so I could get more of a patty but you could use ground chicken, ground beef or a slice of extra firm tofu – whatever suits your fancy.

If you follow this recipe you’ll have about half of your steamed rolls left over. They freeze well, so you can have a batch on hand – this filling goes together in about 15 minutes so if you have a batch in the freezer it will make a quick meal to get on the table. Otherwise, if you’re having a larger gathering, just double the quantities below.

Asian Sliders, Makes enough filling for about 10 sliders

  • One pound of ground meat (or extra firm tofu slices)
  • 1 c. baby carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 a red pepper, cut in strips
  • 1/2 c. sliced onion
  • 1 small head of baby bok choy, sliced with leaves set aside
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. minced ginger
  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • 3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 t. red chili paste (or to taste)
  • 10 steamed buns (previous post)

Heat a saucepan over medium high and a tablespoon of olive, peanut or sesame oil. Saute the carrots until they are crisp-tender.

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Add the onion, red pepper and bok choy. Continue to saute until the pepper slices are crisp-tender.

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Set vegetables aside. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan.

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Followed by the ground meat.

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Stir in the spices and brown the meat thoroughly.

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When the meat is brown, wilt the bok choy leaves on the side.

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Make the sauce: Combine the peanut butter and chili paste in a small bowl.

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Stir in the soy sauce. At this point you can also add some fresh cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, whatever.

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Split the buns and spread the sauce on the bottom of each one. Then top it with some of the meat.

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Add a large spoonful of veggies, ending with the bok choy leaves.

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Top it off and you’re ready to serve!

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One year ago: Soft Pumpkin Cookies

chickenfajitacups1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Stateside we are all deep in the heart of football tailgating season, and these little appetizers are a yummy yet healthier alternative to the usual array of greasier fare. (But if you want something REALLY cheesy the cheese fondue at the end of this post is great with fresh apple slices.)

These cups are low in fat and you could swap out the flatbread for a gluten-free option too!  To save time you could use a cooked rotisserie chicken from the market. These are two-bite size, and the recipe is based on one from Men’s Health magazine. You can make the cups and the filling a day ahead and assemble them right before serving.

Chicken Fajita Appetizers, Makes about 36 mini appetizers

  • 1 c. steamed sweet corn, cooled
  • 1 c. cooked chicken, cut in small dice
  • 1 small can of black beans, washed
  • 3/4 c. salsa (your choice)
  • 1/2 c. non-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pkg. sundried tomato flatbread

Combine the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl, stir and refrigerate (for up to a day in advance).

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Make the cups: Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a mini-muffin pan (or several if you want to do them all at once). Cut the flatbread into 2-1/2″ rounds, and press them into the pan.

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Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp. Turn the cups out and cool them on racks. Store them in a ziplock bag if you’re not using them right away.

To serve, add a tablespoon of filling to each cup.

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One year ago: Cheese Fondue

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My Favorite Movies/Shows – Food Related

  • Chef's Table (!)
  • Chocolat
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  • Ratatouille
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
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