Chicken and Asparagus Wrap

I’m not gonna lie – I pretty much like anything wrapped in puff pastry.  This tasty wrap hits almost all of the food groups and isn’t too bad for you…  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. – 1  1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut it into 4 pieces and pound it until it’s at most 1/2″ thick – you’re going to be folding these over in 1/2 so they need to be thin enough to do that
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, whole but smashed with the heel of your hand
  • 1 large pinch dried thyme
  • 1 large pinch dried sage
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 spears of asparagus
  • 4 slices of ham (I like to use proscuitto)
  • 4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted and cut into 4 rectangles
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1 tbsp water (egg wash)
ALTERNATIVE METHOD FOR APPETIZER VERSION 
  • 1 lb. – 1 1/2 lb. chicken breast – cut into approximately 16 pieces, pounded thin
  • Approximately 8 slices of ham, cut in half (I use prosciutto or honey ham)
  • Approximately 8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese, cut in half
  • Approximately spears of 16 asparagus
  • 2 sheets Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted and cut into 16 pieces
  • Dried thyme and sage for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1 tbsp water (egg wash)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper
  • Dredge the chicken in flour and shake off any excess
  • Heat the butter, olive oil, garlic, thyme and sage over medium-low heat in a large frying pan – saute the garlic until it’s very fragrant and begging to brown, then remove
  • Add the chicken breasts and saute for 2 minutes on each side (they will not be cooked through)
  • Set the half-cooked chicken aside in a dish and let it cool
  • Place the asparagus in a bowl of water and put in the microwave for 2 minutes
  •  Lay out your chicken breast and wrap 3 spears of asparagus with ham – place the wrapped asparagus in the middle of the chicken breast and top with the cheese
  • Fold the chicken over so the asparagus, ham and cheese is sandwiched inside and stick a toothpick through it to keep it together
  • Repeat this with the remaining 3 chicken breasts
  • On a lightly floured surface, use your fingertips to spread the puff pastry into the shape you need to wrap it around the chicken breast, while leaving the ends exposed
  • Place the chicken breast on the puff pastry (remove the toothpick) and wrap it with the puff pastry – try to get the seam on the bottom
  • Repeat this with the remaining chicken breasts and then arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray)
  • Brush the puff pastry with the egg wash
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
ALTERNATIVE METHOD FOR APPETIZER VERSION 
  • Lay out your pieces of pounded raw chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and sage
  • Next, put down the ham, then the cheese and lastly the 2 pieces of asparagus
  • Roll each bundle of raw chicken up and stick a toothpick in it to hold it in place while you prepare the puff pastry
  • Remove the toothpick and place the chicken bundle in the center of the puff pastry; fold the dough over the sides and pinch the ends to seal (basically, wrap it up like a package)
  • Place your chicken “packages” on a parchment paper lined (or greased) baking sheet; brush with the egg wash and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until golden brown

Pesto Palmiers

These tasty appetizers can really be made with anything inside.  They’re quick and easy to make and can be done ahead of time and frozen for whenever you need them!

INGREDIENTS

  • Pesto sauce, store-bought or homemade (1/2 cup per puff pastry sheet)
  • Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (each box has two sheets), defrosted but still chilled
  • Parmesan cheese
Instead of pesto, try…
    • Olive tapenade
    • Sweet red peppers and olive puree (just place peppers and olives from Sweet Red Pepper and Kalamata Hummus recipe in a food processor)
    • Chopped sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and parmesan
    • Ham and swiss cheese

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Lay out the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface
  • Evenly coat the puff pastry rectangle with approximately 1/2 cup of pesto sauce – you want it to be thoroughly covered
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the pesto
  • Begin rolling up the puff pastry, starting with the side closest to you – roll it up tightly, halfway
  • Spin the puff pastry sheet around and roll up the other side until it meets up with the rolled side
  • Repeat this with the remaining puff pastry sheet(s), if desired
  • Turn the roll over and place it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  • Place the rolls in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes (you can also refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes)
  • Remove the rolls from the freezer and cut 1/2 in. wide slices down the roll
    • If you’re planning on making these ahead of time, just place them back in the freezer after you’ve cut them
  • Place the palmiers on the parchment paper  (or a greased baking sheet) at least 1 inch apart – these will grow!
  • Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown

Modern Beef Wellington

These individual portions are perfect for a small dinner party.  You can make this ahead of time and just pop them in the oven when you’re ready!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 – 6 oz. filet mignons
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Boursin cheese
  • 2 sheets Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry (thawed, but still cold)
  • Mushroom Duxelles*
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
*MUSHROOM DUXELLES
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 2 tbsp shallots, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp garlic, pressed
    • 10 oz. button mushrooms, finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp white pepper
    • 2  1/2 tbsp dry white wine (one you would drink)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Season both sides of each filet with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat
  • Add the filets and sear for 30 seconds – 1 minute on each side (the cook time depends on the thickness of the steak – when using 1 in. thick filets, I cook them for 30 seconds per side to get medium rare).  Transfer to a plate and cool completely
  • Roll out one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface – cut it in half
  • Spread approximately 1 tbsp Boursin cheese on top of the filet, then top with 1/4 of the Mushroom Duxelles
  • Place the filet on the center of the puff pastry rectangle and pull one side of the the puff pastry over the top of the mushrooms.  Then pull the other side over the puff pastry you just pulled over.  Basically, you fold the pastry over the filet like you’re wrapping a package and press or pinch the edges to seal.  You’ll need to trim some dough off the sides because if it’s too thick, it won’t cook completely.
  • Place the packages on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of each package and bake at 425°F until the pastry is golden brown – approximately 20 minutes for medium rare
MUSHROOM DUXELLES
    • Heat the butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat
    • Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds
    • Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper – reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and they’ve begun to caramelize (about 10-12 minutes)
    • Add the wine and cook on medium-high heat, stirring to deglaze the pan, until all of the liquid has evaporated
    • Remove from heat and let it cool before using



Mini Hot Dogs

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy mini hot dogs?

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. cocktail franks (you can also use miniature turkey or tofu dogs)
  • 2 packages Pillsbury crescent rolls or 1/2 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (thawed, but still very cold)
    • 1 large egg if using puff pastry
  • Ketchup and mustard for serving

HOW TO MAKE IT

USING CRESCENT ROLLS

    • Lay out each piece of dough and cut it into three separate triangles
    • Place a miniature hot dog at the widest end of a triangle piece of dough
    • Roll the dough around the hot dog
    • Place the wrapped dog with the tip of the triangle face down on a baking sheet
    • Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and hot dogs
    • Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown

USING PUFF PASTRY

    • On a lightly floured surface, roll one sheet of the puff pastry out into a 14 x 11 inch rectangle.  Cut lengthwise into seven  1  1/2 inch wide strips.  Cut each strip crosswise into four rectangles, each 3  1/2 inches long.  (You’ll end up with 28 rectangles, each 1  1/2 in. x 3  1/2 in.)
    • Make an egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 tbsp water)
    • Place a miniature hot dog on the narrow end of the puff pastry rectangle and roll to enclose, seal it with a dab of the egg wash
    • Repeat with the remaining dough and hot dogs
      • If the puff pastry becomes too soft and difficult to work with, chill it for 15 minutes
    • Place the the rolled dogs on a greased (or parchment paper lined) baking sheet and brush with the egg wash
    • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Serve with ketchup and mustard
  • This is a great make-ahead appetizer.  I usually make them in bulk and freeze them so that they’re ready to go whenever I need them!