Friday, July 17, 2009


Last night I made a delicious sandwich. It's called the DaSpot Chicken Sandwich by Aaron McCargo (NFNS of last season). It was a best seller at the restaurant called DaSpot that he worked at in Camden, NJ. I was a little nervous using the jalapeno along with the chipotle peppers. I decided that I would follow the directions exactly this time and I can tweak it the next time if needed. I even used the Tabbouleh Salad that I was kind of thinking of passing on. It turned out GREAT! Everyone loved this sandwich! To make things easier, you can make the chicken part ahead of time and refrigerate it until you're ready to bread them. The Chipotle Mayo Sauce can also be made ahead of time and put in the fridge. * One note, I ran out of Panko bread crumbs so I put some sliced white bread in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes to crispin it up. I then stuck them in the food processor to make coarse crumbs out of them. Pictures below!
DaSpot Chicken Sandwich
Recipe courtesy Aaron McCargo Jr.
4 to 6 servings
Canola oil, for frying
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (3 to 4-pound) store-bought rotisserie chicken (I used my leftover chicken from a roast)
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 jalapeno seeded and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon granulated chicken bouillon
Pinch cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
Chipotle Mayo, recipe follows
1 pint store-bought tabbouleh salad
4 to 6 Portuguese rolls, split

1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs, in shallow dish

Chipotle Mayo, recipe follows

Preheat a deep-fryer with canola oil to 350 degrees F.
Pick the chicken from the bones and add to a large bowl. Set aside.
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the peppers, onions, jalapenos, and garlic and cook until slightly caramelized. Stir in the bouillon and cayenne and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place pepper and onion mixture, picked chicken, egg and bread crumbs into a food processor and pulse until well incorporated and slightly chunky. Form chicken mixture into burger-size patties. Put the flour into a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the eggs and bread crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Bread the patties by dredging into the seasoned flour, then the eggs and finally through the bread crumbs. Transfer to a platter.
Fry the patties until crispy and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread Chipotle Mayo on both sides of the Portuguese rolls. Add the chicken patties to the bottom of the rolls and top with a good spoonful of tabbouleh. Cover with the roll tops and serve.

Chipotle Mayo:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, minced
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients until well incorporated. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Peppers, and Feta

I made this pasta salad for Scott and Alyssa to take with the to Linda's house in Rhode Island this weekend. I saved a little for me to have for lunch today and that is the reason it made it to the blog. It was sooo good! I'm not a fan of Feta Cheese or Kalamata Olives either but I knew that Linda's family likes them so why not give it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised and how good it was! Maybe because it was a day later and the flavors melded. Whatever the reason, I will be making this again!
***As usual, I did change something. Instead of using the oven to BAKE the veggies and shrimp, I GRILLED them outside. I think that little bit of charring really made it!

SUBMITTED BY: USA WEEKEND columnist Pam Anderson PHOTO BY: DeAnna

"The ideal outdoor meal: this colorful main-course pasta salad chock-full of protein, vegetables and bold flavorings. For fresh flavor and peak texture, toss the salad right before serving. Pack the dressing in a jar and the salad ingredients in a gallon-sized zipper bag. When ready to serve, drizzle on the dressing, close the bag and squeeze it all over until the dressing completely coats the salad. Pour into a serving bowl."

Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Peppers, and Feta


Dijon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
Big pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta Salad
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium yellow pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
2 tablespoons salt for pasta water
1 pound medium pasta shells
1 pound cooked shrimp, halved lengthwise
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup coarsely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 small red onion, cut into small dice
2 teaspoons dried oregano

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the first five ingredients, then slowly whisk in the oil for a thick consistency. Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid to transport it to the picnic.
Adjust oven rack to highest position and turn broiler on high. Toss zucchini and bell pepper with olive oil, salt and pepper, and arrange on a large baking sheet with sides. Broil eight to 10 minutes, until spotty brown, turning zucchini slices and pepper halves once. Set aside in a large bowl to cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
Bring 1 gallon of water and 2 Tbs. of salt to boil. Add pasta; boil using package times, until just tender. Drain thoroughly (do not rinse) and dump onto the baking sheet. Set aside to cool.
Put vegetables, pasta and remaining ingredients (except dressing) in the bowl or a gallon-sized zipper bag (can be refrigerated for several hours). To serve, add dressing; toss to coat.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Many years ago Kris introduced me to a great pasta salad recipe. We both made it for many dinners and gatherings. I had wanted to make it for one of my kids confirmations but couldn't find the pasta anywhere! I borrowed Kris's last package! When I went to replace it, I searched high and low and couldn't find one. It turned out the Mullers stopped making it! So for the coming years, I tried a few different brands but they weren't too good.I found the recipe the other day and my quest has started again! I mentioned it to Kris and LouAnn this morning and LouAnn suggested to throw in a packet of Lipton's Garlic & Herb soup mix.
I thought that was a great idea! So I made it and think it turned out GREAT!!!!

Warm Bacon & Spinach and Pasta Salad
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 knorr chicken bouillon cube (I actually used chicken stock)
1 TBSP cider vinegar
6 oz Muller's Savory Collection Roasted Garlic & Herb Rotelle, cooked and drained ** they don't make this pasta anymore so you'll need to find another brand OR add one packet of Lipton Garlic & Herb soup mix to the simmering bouillon.
4 oz fresh spinach, torn into bite size pieces

1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until browned. Drain bacon on paper towels; set aside. Pour off all but 3 TBSP of the drippings.
2. Add onion, and carrots to the drippings; stirring frequestly, cook 4 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of water and bouillon cube; bring to a boil; stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar.
3. In a large bowl combine pasta and spinach. Add carrot mixture and bacon; toss to coat. Makes
4 servings Prep time: 15 minutes