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Chicken Vol-au-Vent

This is a favorite dinner party recipe
from many years ago.

It takes a little more time, but you can
make it ahead of time. 

I use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells.

Saute seasoned chicken thighs in butter.
Set aside to cool and remove the bone and skin.

I don’t know why this picture keep loading up-side
down, but I wanted you to see the breakfast
sausage I used to fill the chicken thighs.

Ingredients for the sour cream mushroom
sherry sauce.

Saute the mushrooms, blend in flour, add broth,
then sour cream and sherry.

Roll out the pastry shells on a
flowered surface.

Lay a chicken thigh on the pastry and place
a sausage where the bone was. Add a bit of
mushroom sauce and enclose.

I make these ahead of time.

Bake seam-side down at 400º until golden;
about 30 minutes.

Serve with rice and a fresh vegetable.

Spoon on the heated mushroom sauce.
I cut the recipe in half for just the two
 of us and we had the extra 2 bundles for
dinner on another night. That made us happy.

Perfect little bundles. Similar in
technique to beef wellington.

Chicken Vol-au-vent
2 pkgs. frozen patty shells (Pepperidge Farm)
8 chicken thighs, skinned 
8 brown and serve sausages
(prepared per package instructions)
1/4 C butter
1 C chicken broth
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, diced
1/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 4 t pepper
1/4 t paprika (optional)
1 C sour cream
1/3 C sherry
2 T milk
Thaw 8 patty shells. Seasoned the chicken thighs
with salt & pepper and brown all around in butter.
Cover and simmer for 20  minutes. Remove
chicken from the pan. Saute the mushrooms in
 the pan drippings. Blend in flour and seasonings.
Add broth and whisk until thickened and smooth.
Whisk in the sour cream and sherry. Turn off heat.
Remove the bones from the thighs and place a
 browned sausage in the bone cavity of each thigh.
 Roll each thawed patty shell into a 6″ square
on a lightly floured surface. Place a stuffed
 thigh in the center of each pastry square and top
with 2 T of the mushroom sauce. Fold pastry and
place seam-side down in a baking sheet. Brush the
 tops with milk. Bake @400º for 30 minutes
until golden brown. Serve with hot mushroom
sauce. Good with a green vegetable, salad,
 French bread, wine, white or wild rice.

Links: Facebook, Between Naps On The Porch,

Turkey & Rice Meatballs (Albondigas) – Perfect for Spanish Thanksgiving

Making delicious meatballs with fatty, flavorful beef is no great feat, but creating something as delectable using ground turkey is another story. As the old joke goes, it may be bland, but at least it’s dry. So, you’re going to need a very specialized strategy, and by “specialized strategy,” I mean some cold, leftover rice.

As these simmer in your sauce or soup, the grains of rice absorb moisture, swell up, and create a relatively tender, moist meatball. Above and beyond that, you’ll also want to look for ground turkey thigh meat (available at most of your higher-priced grocery chains).

By the way, like all meatball/meatloaf recipes, you can test your seasoning by cooking a small piece of the mixture before rolling your ball. Even though the meat hasn’t simmered in the sauce yet, at least you can see if it needs more salt. I’ll just fry up a little patty, and adjust if need be, and suggest you do the same.

I didn’t intend this recipe to be a Thanksgiving dinner alternative, but now that I think about it, these could actually work. Maybe you have a small group, or don’t like looking at a giant carcass on the table (hey, some people are weird like that), or your in-laws are Spanish, and you want to show them you can pronounce “albondigas.”  Whatever the occasion, I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 20-24 small meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey thigh meat
1 packed cup cooked white long grain rice
3 cloves crushed garlic 
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the sauce (I didn’t measure these ingredients, so these are just guesses)
2 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste
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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Smoked Tofu

These quinoa stuffed peppers with smoked tofu are jam-packed with flavor. They’re also high in protein, vegan, and ready in just 40 minutes!

Quinoa Stuffed peppers with Smoked Tofu

I’ve mentioned before that I attended an amazing photography workshop this summer. We stayed together in a gorgeous lake house (in Sweden…no big deal) and basically just ate and took photos for four days straight. What I haven’t mentioned – and what I didn’t know until I got there – was that the workshop was entirely vegetarian.

One afternoon we came in from a walk around the lake and were greeted by the mouthwatering smell of bacon. Of course, it wasn’t bacon – it was smoked tofu, and I became an immediate fan. The rich, smoky flavor is a great way to infuse a recipe with tons of flavor. I’ve been keeping an eye out for smoked tofu ever since, and was ecstatic to find it at Whole Foods a few weeks ago. I bought a few packages and couldn’t wait to start cooking.

These quinoa stuffed peppers might not look like much, but you’ll be blown away by how much flavor they have – from the smoky tofu to spicy serrano peppers and aromatic garlic, ginger, and scallions. Finishing the stuffed peppers under the broiler keeps the cooking time down (you don’t even need to fuss with a water bath) and allows the vegetables to char slightly, adding another flavor dimension.

If your peppers are on the smaller side, you might have some filling left over. Don’t throw it away – it’s delicious for lunch the next day.

Quinoa Stuffed peppers with Smoked Tofu

Looking for more stuffed pepper recipes? Try these, these, or these.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Smoked Tofu

Prep time

10 mins

Cook time

30 mins

Total time

40 mins

Author: Lauren Keating

  • 1¾ cups water
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 2 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 ounces smoked tofu, diced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 450ºF. Arrange the bell peppers cut-side up in a broiler-safe pan. Bake until slightly softened, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Turn broiler to high.
  2. Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a sauté pan set over high heat. Add the tofu and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until deeply browned. Stir in the cooked quinoa and the remaining ingredients.
  4. Spoon ½ cup of filling into each pepper half. Broil until warmed through and starting the brown, about 5 minutes.