Tag Archives: chopped

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Buffalo Sauce, Poppy Seeds, Coconut and Apple Butter

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, chicken tenders

Oh happy day, it’s “Chopped Challenge Thursday”!

This weeks “Mystery Basket” included Buffalo Sauce from Paul Kim, Coconut from Amy Black, Poppy Seeds from Dottie Warmbier and Apple Butter from Whitney Hicks.

coconut, buffalo sauce, apple butter, poppy seeds

Coconut, apple butter, poppy seeds, I could have practically made my Passion Fruit Poppy Seed Muffins with these ingredients. I couldn’t believe it when I saw both coconut and poppy seeds in my “mystery basket” this week. Up until last weekend I had never cooked with either ingredient! I feel like I have a certain psychic connection with my loyal blog followers (or “bollowers”) a lot of the time!

Now the ingredient that threw me for a loop this week was the buffalo sauce. Not because I don’t know how to use the ingredient, I think it’s pretty obvious from my extensive list of buffalo recipes that I not only know how to use the ingredient, but also have a slight obsession with it. From buffalo chicken pasta to buffalo potato salad to buffalo chicken burgers and buffalo macaroni salad.

Even with almost a dozen buffalo dishes under my belt, I have never combined the delicious sauce with poppy seeds, coconut or apple butter!

After much deliberation I decided to make a coconut and poppy seed crusted chicken, then combine the buffalo sauce and apple butter into a dip… say what?  I know, it sounds weird and to be honest, I had no idea if it was going to be the greatest discovery ever or taste like a third-graders science project, but somehow I made it work!

The final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week Four: Coconut Poppy Seed Popcorn Chicken with Buffalo Sweet Sauce

rice chex, coconut, poppyseeds, coconut milk, eggs, chicken, buffalo sauce, apple butter, ground ginger, flour

Ingredients – Popcorn Chicken

  • 2 lbs chicken breast (cut into cubes)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 6 cups rice chex
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 eggs (whisked)
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Buffalo Sweet Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Start by using a food processor to turn the rice Chex into a fine crumb mixture. After no large pieces of cereal remain, add the coconut to the food processor.

coconut, rice chex, crumbs, gluten free, chicken breading

Pulse for 15 seconds then place the coconut crumb mixture in a bowl, add the poppy seeds and mix together.

coconut, poppyseed, rice chex, crumbs, breading, mixture, crust

Next, set up the chicken breading station. Start by placing the flour in one bowl, in another bowl combine the eggs and coconut milk.

flour, coconut milk, eggs, rice chex, coconut, poppy seeds, chicken breasts

Bread each little piece of popcorn chicken by dipping it in the egg and milk mixture, then in the flour, back into the egg and milk, then over to the coconut poppy seed mix.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, crusted chicken

Place the breaded chicken onto a wire rack on top of a baking sheet so that any excess breading falls through the rack and onto the baking sheet.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, how to, crusted chicken

Place these little nuggets in the oven at 375° for 25-30 minutes.

While they’re in the oven, it’s time to prepare the Buffalo Sweet Sauce.

Start by combining the apple butter and buffalo sauce.  I know, this sounds really weird, trust me, I had my reservations, but once I tasted it I knew that it could work!

buffalo sauce, apple butter, spicy apple buffalo sauce, spicy apple butter sauce, sweet buffalo sauce

Next, whisk in the ginger, allspice, apple cider vinegar and sour cream. The sauce is now complete and once the chicken is crispy, the dish is ready to be served!

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, oven fries

Baking the chicken instead of frying it reduces the calories by 30% and cuts the saturated fat in half.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce

These would be a great snack for a party…

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, fried chicken basket

… or an easy weeknight dish that the whole family would love!

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple butter sauce

I also added some oven fries by simply slicing up a couple of potatoes, drizzling olive oil on top and sprinkling with salt.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, oven fries

♣ Vegetarian Option: Use vegetarian chicken breast substitutes for the chicken to make this dish vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Rice Chex is gluten-free, so simply substitute the flour for a gluten-free flour alternative, such as coconut flour, to make this dish gluten-free!

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Mozzarella, Thyme, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Rhubarb

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto

It’s that time of the week again, time for “Chopped Challenge Thursday”!

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risottoThis week the first four responses came from Miss Muffet Bond (yes, my Mom!) with Mozzarella, Amanda Kamermayer with Thyme, Liz Ragland with Sun Dried Tomatoes and technically the fourth came from DeAndre Matthews with Kumquats.  Unfortunately kumquats don’t come into season until November, so I had to go with my number five response from Amy Black with Rhubarb.

I had already decided on a Kumquat Thyme Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto when Rhubarb came into my life.  Now what? I decided to stick with the plan yet replace the kumquat with lemon and top the chicken with the rhubarb.  I cooked the rhubarb in red wine vinegar, brown sugar and lemon to give it a sweet, tart and acidic bite on top of the chicken.  The result ended up being so delicious, I was actually glad I was thrown that Rhubarb curve ball in the last hour!

The final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week Two: Lemon Thyme Chicken topped with a Rhubarb Date Chutney on a bed of Sun Dried Tomato Mozzarella Risotto

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto, recipe, food, Italian


Lemon Thyme Chicken

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large chicken breasts

Rhubarb Date Chutney

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb rhubarb (sliced thin)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 cup dates (pitted and chopped)

Sun Dried Tomato Mozzarella Risotto

  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)

Start by making the marinade for the chicken.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour over the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or shallow dish.

Marinade, Lemon, Thyme, Chicken, Olive Oil, GarlicCoat well then place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.  Next, begin making the chutney.

Start by bringing the red wine vinegar, water and brown sugar to a simmer.  Next, add the rhubarb.

Red Wine, Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Rhubarb, ChutneySimmer for 8-10 minutes or until the rhubarb has softened.  Next, mix in the chopped dates, lemon juice and thyme sprigs.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Red Wine Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Lemon, Thyme, Date, Rhubarb, Chutney, RecipeNow, it’s time to throw that chicken on the grill! The grill should be heated to medium and chicken should be cooked 10-12 minutes per side.

Chicken, Grilling, Recipe, Lemon, Thyme, Olive oil, lemon juice, garlicWhile the chicken is grilling, it’s time to get going on the risotto.

Start by bringing the chicken stock to a boil in a large sauce pan.  On the next burner heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook down for 5-7 minutes.

onions, olive oil, garlic, chicken stock, risotto, recipe

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Next, add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes.

onion, rice, risotto, garlic, olive oil, recipeNow start adding the chicken stock in one ladle at a time.

risotto, rice, chicken stock, how to, recipe, garlic, olive oilAs soon as the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, add another ladle of chicken stock.  Continue this process for the next 15-20 minutes or until the rice is soft and the risotto is creamy. Continue stirring throughout the process so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Don’t be scared of risotto, it’s not hard to make, it just takes some love and attention (like me, hehe!)

Taste the risotto as you go, if you run out of chicken stock and it still isn’t to your creamy, delicious standards, don’t fret, just add water to the boiling pot and ladle that in until the risotto is perfect. You will know,  I did a little happy dance when I tasted mine and it was perfect!

Also, don’t forget about the chicken on the grill while making the risotto.  It only needs to be flipped once, so I give you permission to leave the risotto unattended for 60 seconds to flip the chicken!

To finish the risotto add in the salt, pepper, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risottoStir to combine well.

At this time the chicken should have those perfect grill marks and be ready to go.

Chicken, Lemon, Thyme, Garlic, Olive Oil, Grill, Recipe, Food

Plate up the dish by placing the risotto on the side or under the chicken breast, then spoon the sauce from the chutney over the chicken, it gives it an amazing juiciness.  Next, place the chutney on top of the chicken and serve!

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto

I’m loving the results of these Chopped Challenges, I could definitely eat this dish over and over again!

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto, recipeIf rhubarb is out of season or not available in your area, tart apples can be substituted.

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto♣ Vegetarian Option: Use vegetarian chicken breast substitutes and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Since rice is naturally gluten-free, so is risotto, that makes this entire recipe gluten-free!

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Lemon Curd, Bacon, Sage and Escargot

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

I am BEYOND excited to share with you all the results of my first “Chopped Challenge Thursday”.  In case  you missed the 1 Year Anniversary post explaining the concept, on Monday I made an announcement on Little Leopard Book’s Facebook Page asking for the four “mystery” ingredients for my “Chopped Challenge Basket” this week.

Bacon, Escargot, Lemon Curd, Sage, Chopped Challenge, Basket, Week One, Ingredients, Food Network

The first four responses came from Cindi Bogue with Lemon Curd, Kyle Baker with Bacon, Brian Spracklen with Sage and Krista Lombardi with Escargot. Lemon Curd, Bacon, Sage, I can make something happen with this… ESCARGOT, what the heck am I going to do with escargot? Thanks to Krista for throwing a curve ball at me on week one!  Although it wouldn’t be called a “challenge” if it were easy!

I knew I wanted to make the lemon curd and sage into a sauce. First thing I thought of was bacon wrapped scallops with a lemon sage reduction, but then Krista threw the escargot at me and my plans changed.  This change actually led to the development of an amazing lemon sage alfredo sauce. The only way I knew to cook escargot was with some garlic and wine so I thought, let’s go pasta here!

I wanted to use a large noodle to hold up the thickness of the alfredo and meatiness of the bacon wrapped scallops and escargot, so I chose Pappardelle, a broader, larger fettuccine egg noodle.

So the final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week One: Pappardelle tossed in Lemon Sage Alfredo topped with Seared Bacon Wrapped Scallops and White Wine Garlic Escargot

scallops, pappardelle, white wine, sage, parmesan, butter, lemon curd, bacon, escargot, cream, nutmeg, garlic


White Wine Garlic Escargot

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 7 0z can escargot

Lemon Sage Alfredo Sauce and Pasta

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp lemon curd
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 8 oz package pappardelle

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 fresh large sea scallops
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter

We’re going to start with the escargot. I mean why not?  Who doesn’t just love themselves a little afternoon snail on top of their pasta 😉

I will admit that prior to this meal I had never cooked, nor eaten escargot and that I was much more concerned about the actual eating part than the cooking part!

I opened them up and surprisingly they looked and smelled so much more appetizing than they sound…. NOT!  They are scary looking!

At this point, I feel like everything I’ve said above is going to come back and bite me in the butt some day when I end up on Food Network and they make fun of me for not being super excited to eat the delicacy that is escargot!

Any who, I drained the little buggers using my strainer and then place them in a bowl full of cold water to rid them of the canned taste (because that’s really going to help the cause here!)

soak, escargot, can, water, bowl

Yes, that is a hot pink plastic Wal-Mart bowl from college.  I feel like everything looks less scary in hot pink! I mean really, would you be scared of someone breaking into your house in a hot pink jumpsuit?  I think not!

As the snails squirmed over on the side I began their sauce bath by melting the butter in a large skillet, then adding the garlic.

Sauté the garlic for 2 minutes, then add the white wine, salt and pepper.

white wine, sauce, garlic, butter, escargot

Allow the sauce to come to a light boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Next add the escargot.

escargot, white wine, cook, garlic, butter

Now, what do you do with the rest of the bottle of wine you ask?  Drink it while these guys are cooking so that you have the courage to eat them when they’re ready (at least that’s what I did!)

Alright, one chopped basket ingredient down, three to go. Lets make some sauce!

Start out the lemon sage alfredo by pouring the cream and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat, cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next, add the butter and allow to melt.

butter, cream, lemon, alfredo, sauce

Once the butter has melted add in the lemon zest, nutmeg and lemon curd.

lemon curd, alfredo, sauce, cream, butter, sea salt, pepper, sage

Lemon curd is VERY sweet, the first ingredient in lemon curd (also known as the dominate ingredient) is, none other than our friend sugar. I counterbalanced the sweetness with the sage and sea salt.

Next, add the sage, salt and pepper.

Sage, Alfredo, Butter, Cream, Parmesan, Lemon, Sauce, Savory, Pepper

The sage was actually an amazing addition to the sauce. The savory, peppery flavor complimented the cheesy rich alfredo and balanced the sweetness of the lemon.  Thanks Brian 🙂

Finally, add the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine well and make sure no chunks of cheese exist.

lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon curd, sage, alfredo, parmesan, cream, nutmeg, butter

Simmer on a burner for 15-20 minutes while the sauce thickens.  In the mean time, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pappardelle 10-12 minutes.

At this point, the escargot is simmering, sauce is thickening, pasta is boiling and I’m drinking the rest of the wine, oh wait, no I’m making bacon wrapped scallops!

Start by placing the bacon in a 375° oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you would like it). I learned this trick somewhere, sometime, that I don’t recall, probably Food Network, but you place the bacon on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, that way the grease drips off the bacon instead of swimming around in it!

bacon, how to, cook, oven, grease

You want to cook the bacon slightly prior to wrapping it around the scallops because scallops cook much quicker than bacon and if you don’t pre-cook the bacon, you will end up with one of two things:

  1. Overcooked scallops… $17.99/lb people, just saying, overcooking something that expensive and delicious should be a crime!
  2. Undercooked bacon… no one likes soggy bacon, let’s be real!

So while the bacon is in the oven, lightly salt and pepper the scallops on each side.

Next, remove the bacon from the oven and wrap one slice around each scallop, securing with a toothpick.

Next, add the butter to a warm cast iron skillet and watch it melt. (OK, you don’t have to actually watch it melt, but it’s quick and exciting so why not!) As soon as it is melted spin that skillet around to allow the melted butter to cover the bottom. Add the scallops to the pan.

Cook for 5-7 minutes then use tongs to flip.

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. The scallops should be a nice white color with a light brown caramelization on top.

Chopped Basket Ingredients have been used, stove burners are full, kitchen smells amazing, I think it’s time to plate this baby up!

Are you ready?  Ready for what you ask?  To be bombarded with pictures!

This recipe was so fun to create, from the incoming Facebook comments with ingredients, to the recipe coming together in my mind, to the ingredients coming together in the kitchen, I am proud of this dish and took enough pictures to show it 😉

I want to grab the scallop right off my computer screen and eat it!

For some reason I feel the need to write something between each picture, so we’ll just say YUM!

Lets check out the inside of that scallop.

Buttery, creamy, mouth-watering amazingness!

Now about that escargot…

Yeah, that’s them, sitting over there by their lonesome, tossed to the side, haunting me with their presence on my plate.

I have to eat them, right?  I mean I did spend $12 on a tiny can of them.  I have to try.. at least one… maybe half one.  Maybe if I wrap it in a noodle, top it with bacon and smother it with sauce I can bare it!

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

Yes, that was the first bite I was able to muster up the confidence to eat. A tiny little sliver of escargot, covered in my porky BFF, bacon.

It wasn’t that bad, the taste was salty and the texture reminded me of a portobello mushroom.

Although I will probably not put escargot on my weekly shopping list, it was a fun experience and I’m glad I can say I’ve both cooked and eaten the french delicacy!

Over all this dish was delicious.  I would eat the sauce, pasta and scallop combination pretty much every day!

If you’re feeling super adventurous in the kitchen, prepare this dish as is.  If you’re feeling a little less likely to want snails on your dinner, discard the escargot and enjoy the amazingness of the bacon wrapped scallops!

If you’re on a budget (or vegetarian), escargot and scallops may be a little out of your price range but never fear, the sauce in and of itself is so delicious it could be a meal on its own with the pappardelle!

♣ Vegetarian Option: See above ↑

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute the pappardelle with a gluten-free pasta such as corn spaghetti from Trader Joe’s. You can also order gluten-free pappardelle online or find it in specialty stores.