Stuffed Buffalo Chicken

A few weeks ago, I was all set to make a quick, healthy dinner of Buffalo Chicken Salad.  But, while scanning at work, I discovered THIS and my plans were altered.  It uses all the same ingredients as the salad, with a few extra staples that I had in the fridge or pantry.  I made a couple modifications, removing bleu cheese and adding some extra hot sauce. It was delicious, cooked up quickly and was still a light and healthy meal. 

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken

Adapted from

  • 1/4 cup shredded 2% cheddar
  • 3 wedges Laughing Cow garlic and herb cheese 
  • 1/4 cup green onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup carrot, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package thin boneless chicken breasts cutlets
  • 1 cup corn flake crumbs
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 6 tbsp Franks hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp light butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly coat your baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix cheddar, laughing cow cheese, green onion, carrot, salt and pepper in a dish.

Lay out the chicken cutlets, placing even amount of mixture in the middle and spread in the center.

In one bowl make a breading station out of corn flake crumbs. In another bowl combine mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of hot sauce, and lemon juice.  Roll chicken breasts in the mayonnaise mixture, then into the crumbs, and put on a lightly greased pan, seam side down.

Lightly spray top of chicken with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes. While the chicken cooks, melt butter and mix with the remaining hot sauce and garlic powder. Drizzle buffalo sauce over finished chicken breast and serve.


Pepperoni Chicken with Zucchini “Noodles”

Have I talked about carbs?  I probably have.  What girl hasn’t had the internal carbs monologue…are these the “good” carbs or the “bad” carbs? What’s the difference between whole wheat and whole grain? What’s gluten and why is it terrible?  Does wine have carbs? Is butter a carb? 

Honestly, I can’t really answer your questions, except to say if wine has carbs, they are always good, and butter is most definitely a carb.  I am firmly in the “all things in moderation” camp of eating, but sometimes everyone needs a break from heavy, starchy meals.  These zucchini “noodles” are a great summertime pasta substitute, and are so very easy to make.  The secret is using a julienne peeler.  Mine is Swissmar, and I got it in a three pack from Williams Sonoma.  It makes the process simple…just grate a whole zucchini, skin and all, into a bowl and top it with your favorite pasta sauce! 

If you prefer to cook the zucchini, add the “noodles” to a hot saute pan with a bit of olive oil and cook for a few minutes, until slightly softened.  They are delicious both ways, and a really satisfying, yet light, substitute for pasta.  I topped mine with the always awesome Pepperoni Chicken, which is one of my husband’s favorite recipes. 

Pepperoni Chicken

adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • ½  white onion, chopped
  • 2-3 oz pepperoni, coarsely chopped (I usually use turkey pepperoni)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼  teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½  cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil , plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets (or you can cut regular chicken breasts in half)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler to high.

Heat one teaspoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and pepperoni.  Cook 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften, stirring frequently.  Add oregano and red pepper flake and stir to combine. Add marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Heat remaining olive oil a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt pepper, and add to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning after 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil.  Serve immediately with pasta or zucchini noodles!

Glazed Chicken and Szechuan Noodle Salad

I am really bad at this blogging thing.  I get busy, it gets cold and dark, and the next thing you know, it’s been 7 months since the last time I blogged.  No excuses, just going to take another stab at it.  I hope at least a few people are still reading this…

My love of Cooking Light Magazine has been documented on this blog in the past, as many of my recipe adaptations start there.  While not always the most gourmet dishes in the world, Cooking Light is a great resource for quick dinners and lightened up versions of classics.  Most of the recipes are very simple, and leave a lot of room for interpretation…adding spice, herbs, and proteins to your taste.  (I am not being paid by Cooking Light.  Obviously.)

That said, I pretty much followed the recipe on this one.  As you can see from the pictures, we decided to chop up the grilled chicken at the end and tossed it in with the noodles.  The recipe calls for bottled Szechuan sauce, and I found something the in the Asian aisle of the grocery store called Spicy Szechuan Stir Fry sauce, so I used that.  It. Was. Spicy.  So, tread lightly with that one!  We added a side of simply roasted broccoli (head of broccoli cut into florets, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, Roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes) for a complete meal.

Glazed Chicken and Szechuan Noodle Salad

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I used the thin sliced breasts, so the cooking time was reduced
  • 6 ounces uncooked udon noodles (thick, fresh Japanese wheat noodles) or whole-wheat linguine
  • 1/4 cup bottled Szechuan sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat creamy peanut butter  
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice  
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots (I used bagged, shredded carrots)
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut green onions

Combine ginger, hoisin, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce in a medium bowl; stir well. Add chicken; toss to coat.  You can allow to marinate for up to an hour, but it is not necessary. 

Heat the grill or grill pan to medium high. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill until done. The thin cut breasts will cook in 3-4 minutes per side, larger pieces of chicken could take up to 15-18 minutes total.  I recommend a meat thermometer for this!  Remove from grill; cover.

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Combine Szechuan sauce, peanut butter, remaining soy sauce, and juice in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add noodles, carrots, and green onions; toss and serve immediately with chicken on the side, or cut chicken up and stir into the noodles.

Tamale Pie

Not to sound too much like Garfield here, but I don’t like Mondays. I seem to always work late-ish, the Metro is always backed up (you dont SAY!), the gym is crowded and I am just generally bummed to have four more days until the weekend.  No matter how much I like to cook, on Monday nights it is a struggle to not just order pizza or eat cereal.   Unless I have something in the crockpot.

Oh how I love my crockpot…when I remember it exists. This recipe is based off something I saw over and over again on Pinterest.  I hope you are familiar with Pinterest, the biggest time-suck since peoples profiles on Facebook were public. Follow me! So, on Pinterest, I have seen many different versions of Tamale Pie.  Real tamales are delicious, but not exactly weeknight food, so I was intrigued.  I modified basic idea (cornbread crust, topped with a filling) into a BistroBess original by incorporated the crockpot, which makes this a 20 minute meal.  Perfect for a Monday night, and leftovers for the rest of the week!

Keeping Thanksgiving in mind, this would be a fantastic leftover turkey recipe!  Just saute all the filling/topping ingredients together with the leftover turkey instead of using the crockpot, and then make as directed.  Fabulous!

Tamale Pie

  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used yellow)
  • 2 16 oz jars salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 4oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)

Put the chicken, onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, salsa and corn in the crockpot and cook at high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10.  I did 10 hours, so it would be ready about the time I get home from work…do whatever works for your schedule.  When it is cooked, take off the lid, and shred the chicken with two forks.  Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed.  Leave in crockpot on warm.

Heat the oven to 400.  Mix the Jiffy mix with the egg, milk, chiles and 1/3 cup of cheese.   Pour into a Pam-ed casserole dish (I used an 11×7, 2.2 quart Pyrex) and bake for about 15 minutes, until set.

Liberally pierce the surface of the cornbread with a fork, and then top with the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle the top with chopped cilantro and the remainder of the cheese.  Bake until the cheese is melted and heated all the way through, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm!

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Hello to everyone who found BistroBess in the past few days!  Being “Freshly Pressed” certainly upped my readership and the pressure is on!  Please keep checking in, I really appreciate it the support.  But enough with that, on to the food!

I seem drawn to big bowls of comfort food these days, and this stew is no different.  After a very successful trip to Wegman’s last weekend (crowded but fabulous…why isn’t there a Wegmans in Arlington?), I found myself with 4 pork tenderloins, 2 per package.  I roasted off two of them earlier this week, and was trying to think of a creative use for the remaining tenderloins. 

Inspired by something on the Food Network about green chiles, I decided to try my hand at a green chile and pork stew.  I love the New Mexico/Tex Mex flavor of green chiles, and I knew something like this would be perfect for an afternoon of football watching with some friends.  I browsed a few recipes online, but didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I improvised. 

Lucky for me (and my friends), it turned out really well!  The stew was thick and hearty, good for my husband who doesn’t love thin soups.  It was spicy, but not overly so, with a great chile flavor, and the pork was wonderfully tender.  It may take a bit of time to simmer, but comes together quickly.  We served it with a dollop of sour cream and some tortillas, but I think it would be great over rice, or even as an enchilada filling. 

Pork and Green Chile Stew

a BistroBess original

  • 2 small pork tenderloins (from one standard grocery store package), cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 2 4 oz cans diced, roasted green chiles
  • 1 15oz can hominy, drained
  • 2-4 cups chicken broth (this will depend on how thick you want the soup)
  • Olive oil
  • Flour for dredging
  • Salt and pepper

Coat the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil over medium heat.  Place about 1 cup of flour into a bowl.  Salt and pepper the pieces of pork, then dredge in the flour a few at a time.  Remove the pork from the flour, shaking off the excess, and place into the dutch oven.  Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch, until all pork has browned.   Remove from the dutch oven and set aside.

Add a little bit of olive oil to the dutch oven, if needed.  Add onion and poblano and cook for several minutes, until soft and translucent.  Add garlic, cook for 2 more minutes.  Pour in can of enchilada sauce and, using a wooden spoon, get all the brown bits by scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add the cans of chiles, hominy and the browned pork.  Stir to combine, and add some chicken stock, about 2 cups, to just cover the mixture.  

Cover, turn heat to low, and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for an hour or more.  I cooked mine for closer to two hours, and stirred every 20 minutes or so.  Add more chicken broth along the way to get the consistency you would like.* Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper.   Serve warm with tortillas, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, etc. 

*If you would like to use this for a taco or enchilada filling, I would suggest starting with 1 cup of broth and going from there.

Turkey Chili

My obsession with fall foods continues.  Is there a more fall-ish food than chili?  I doubt it.  Its warm and cozy, great for tailgating or game watching or just an easy dinner.  Added bonus? Freezes and reheats like a dream.

 I love stuff in my chili…meat, veggies, beans, tomatoes…which I know is not for everyone.  So, this is my hodge podge, kitchen sink turkey chili recipe. Omit that which you do not love, or add something you do.  Be warned, this recipe makes enough chili for an ARMY.  I would say 12 servings, at least. Feed a crowd, or enjoy the leftovers!

Turkey Chili

a BistroBess original

  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used yellow)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (use one if you like less spice)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 12 oz bottle beer
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans mild Rotel (tomato and chili mixture)
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons masa (corn flour) dissolved in cold water (optional)
  • Sour  cream, shredded cheddar, chips or cornbread for serving

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the onions and peppers, cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic, cook another minute or so.  Add chopped chipotle, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, cook for 2-3 minutes. 

Push the veggie spice mixture the edges of the pot to make a well.  Add the turkey.  Making the well allows the turkey to make contact with the bottom of the pot and brown.   Cook for about 5 minutes, until the turkey is about half way done, and then mix in with the veggies.   

Add the beer, crushed tomatoes, Rotel and about a cup of chicken broth. Allow to come to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more chicken broth if needed.  The consistency is really a personal preference, depending on if you like a thick chili, or a slightly soupier version.

So, if you would like to add a bit of corn flavor goodness, and tighten up the liquid in the chili, stir in the masa/water mixture.  This acts much like a cornstarch slurry in Asian cooking, helping to thicken.  If you want to add the corn, do so now.  Allow to simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Check the chili for seasonings, add salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve the chili hot, with all the fixings! 


Butternut Squash Tortellini

According to the calendar and my festive harvest display, fall is here.  According to the weather, it is still August.  This late season heat wave has really put a damper on my attempts at seasonal cooking! Despite the heat, I forged ahead with this recipe and am certainly glad that I did.

I will admit right now, I have never made homemade pasta.  I know it isn’t supposed to be hard, but I don’t have the correct equipment, and honestly, usually don’t have the time.  I’ve wanted to try my hand at making tortellini or ravioli before, but the pasta making element has deterred me.  Then I came across this recipe which brilliantly uses wonton wrappers for the past shells.  They work really well, and make this recipe pretty simple.  It is still a bit time intensive, but not hard.  If you have a few hours on a crisp Saturday or Sunday, take some time to whip these up.  They are delicious!

 The original recipe called for a sage brown butter sauce, which sounded great.  I had a couple pieces of bacon I needed to use, so I invented this bacon sage sauce, which was delicious.  I could see using any variety of butter, cream or wine based sauce with these.

Butternut Squash Tortellini

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1 butternut squash, approximately 2 pounds, cubed (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 large shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 package small wonton wrappers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. On a baking sheet toss together the butternut squash, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bake in the oven until soft and golden, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the shallots and garlic until lightly golden, about 3 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the butternut squash mixture, the shallot mixture, and the ricotta cheese and pulse a few times to blend. Add the brown sugar and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse until smooth.

To make the tortellini, lay out 6 wonton skins, keeping the remaining skins inside the package or under a very lightly dampened paper towel. Place 1 tablespoon of squash mixture in the middle of each skin. Dip a pastry brush in a little water and wet the edges of the skin. Gently fold the square wrapper into a triangle, making sure the edges are securely closed and there are no air pockets inside. Dampen the two bottom corners of the longest side of the triangle and gently bring them together, pressing lightly to secure. Place the formed tortellini on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Before laying out another 6 wonton sheets, be careful to dry the work surface. This will help keep tortellini from sticking to the baking sheet. Continue until all the butternut squash mixture is used. There should be approximately 36 tortellini. I had several more, but I think my squash was more than 2 lbs. (The tortellini can be formed, frozen on the baking sheet, transferred to a tightly sealed plastic bag or container and stored for up to six months. To cook, simply toss the frozen tortellini into the salted boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.)

To cook and serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the tortellini.  They are done when they float to the top, about 3 minutes.

Bacon and Sage Cream Sauce

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth (may use less)
  • 6-8 sage leaves, chopped
  • Splash of cream

Cook the bacon until crisp, remove from pan to drain, and crumble.  Mix flour into the bacon grease to create a roux.  Pour in about ½ cup of chicken stock, whisking to combine.  The mixture should begin to thicken.  Add more broth if it seems too thick.  Add sage leaves and cream, whisking again.  Continue to add broth to reach desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning.  Drizzle over tortellini, and top with the bacon crumbles.