Continuing on with last week's "tea party" recipes, in this column I want to share with you a delicious recipe for Smoked Almond and Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches. I wanted to add some visual variety to the tea tray, and so I served this salad in the mini-phyllo shells that are made by Athens and that you'll find in the frozen food section of most supermarkets.
Once you discover the adaptability of these little shells, I think you'll realize that you need to always have several boxes of them in your freezer to pull out for last minute appetizers or desserts. The Athens website, www.athensfoods.com, has a wide variety of recipes that should inspire you to start experimenting and treat your family and guests to some fun food.
Have fun deciding what else you can do with these cups. Mix together equal amounts of lemon pie filling and whipped dessert topping that has been thawed. Spoon into shells. Top with lemon zest and refrigerate for an hour or so. Start creating and enjoying!
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Smoked Almond and Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches
3 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped up
1 c. dried, sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chopped smoked almonds
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Pepper to taste (NO NEED to add salt as the smoked almonds are salty)
1 1/2 to 2 cups good quality mayonnaise
Combine chicken, cranberries, chopped almonds, chopped onions and cheese in a large bowl. Add pepper to taste. Stir in enough mayonnaise to moisten the ingredients to your taste. Cover and chill before using for sandwiches or in the phyllo cups.
Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites
3 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 (2.4-ounce) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 8 to 10 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Stir together sugar and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans, eggs, butter, vanilla extract and salt. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoonful pecan mixture into each pastry shell and place on two large baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
1/3 cup whipped or regular cream cheese, softened
Page 2 of 2 - 1/3 cup Rotel original tomatoes
1/3 cup refried beans
Shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (2.4-ounce) frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cream cheese, tomatoes and refried beans to blend. Spoon mixture evenly into phyllo shells. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake on cookie sheet for 5 to 7 minutes.