Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs + Movie Night Entertaining #UnlockYourChef

I don’t know if I’m swooning more over creamy, velvety Castello cheese or the new Bradley Cooper movie, Burnt, that opened in theaters nationwide on October 30th. Which would you prefer, a hunk of Havarti or a sizzling hot chef?  I say YES to both!  Oh, and in addition to the movie night entertaining fun, there’s also a fabulous sweepstakes to enter – read to the bottom for details.

Bradley Cooper in Burnt

Castello® cheese is ready to “Unlock Your Inner Chef” and help you make everyday occasions delicious, indulgent and special. Bradly Cooper can do that too, but I think it will be easier to get your hands on Castello® cheese – it’s available in the fine cheese section of a variety of retailers nationwide.  Making cheese since 1893, Castello brings both innovation and tradition to the art of cheese making – Havarti, Blue cheese and Crème cheese are their specialty.

Castello Havarti with Jalapeno Cheese

Plan to go see Burnt movie on your next girl’s night out, that way you can drool at all the yumminess (and I don’t just mean food) without offending your date. In the meantime, I created a delicious appetizer recipe that will heat up your movie night entertaining at home – Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs.

Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs

close up gavartiThis recipe uses the Havarti with Jalapeno Castello® cheese. The mild, butter taste of Havarti is kicked up with spicy jalapenos and is yummy served on a cheese board in cubes or ooey-gooey and marvelously melty in my easy appetizer recipe.

 

The Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs are super simple to make and take only five minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to bake.  Basically, by the time your “coming attraction” previews are over, these melted cheese stuffed rolls are ready to serve.

Jalapeno Havarti Bombs

Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs Recipe

  • 6 ounces (approximately) Havarti with Jalapeno Castello® cheese, cut into 10 cubes
  • 1 can refrigerator biscuits, 10 per package (regular size, not “grand” size)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fine in a food processor or mini-chopper
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 10 jalapeno slices

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Slightly flatten each biscuit with fingers. Place a cheese cube in the middle and wrap the biscuit dough around the cube, sealing the edges. Roll between palms to make uniform ball shape. Repeat with remaining cheese and biscuits.
  3. Roll the cheese wrapped dough with your hands to make a ball shape. Complete this step with all the dough and cheese before going on to the next step.
  4. In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, approximately 20 seconds. Set aside.
  5. In another small bowl, combine the crushed tortilla chips, Parmesan and dried cilantro.
  6. Roll each cheese bomb in butter and then roll or dip in the crumb mixture
  7. Place each cheese bomb on the baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Lightly press a jalapeno ring into the top of each
  8. Bake on the center rack for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  9. Makes 10.

Castello and Burnt SweepstatkesVisit the Castello & Burnt site for more delicious inspiration and recipe ideas inspired by the film Burnt — and also to enter the Unlock Your Inner Chef sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes. Prizes include a private cooking class for two and a year’s worth of Castello cheese.

So, what is your favorite thing to snack on during movie night at home? Who is your favorite hunky, heart throb actor? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Love a Loaf | Herb Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

you hate me breadBread is not necessarily the enemy. True, some people have Celiac disease and legitimate allergies to gluten and really cannot consume it without serious health repercussions leading to malnutrition. I understand. Recently though, I’ve noticed a wave of worriers, let’s call them gluten alarmists, who won’t touch traditional bread, pasta or other foods containing gluten with a 10-foot pole – in public, anyway. These folks might truly believe they are taking the healthy and virtuous high ground, but little do they realize that some (not all) of the processed gluten-free products marketed to them are filled with more calories, sugars, fillers and carby stuff.  You’re better off just eating the bread or making your own gluten-free goodies (check out this chocolate chip cookie I make for a special kid with allergies).

litehouse jennifer fisher bread and iitalian herb butter panini 700I also don’t have a problem with “carby” stuff – people always think I’m no-carb, low-carb, Paleo diet, Atkins, the Zone or whatever. True, I do typically eat a lower carb and higher protein diet, but not exclusively. I eat a what seems like an elephant’s portion of complex carbs daily in the form of vegetables and fruit, but when I want a sandwich, I eat it on bread. When I eat a burger, I have it on a bun. Okay, sometimes just one side of the bun, I’ll admit – but that’s so I can enjoy the sweet potato fries too! Plus, as an athlete, I require carbs as a quick source of energy – when the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance came out, the authors finally acknowledged that the right carbs have a time and place.

Unless it’s a medical concern, let’s not worry so much about the gluten or the carbs. Instead, the best bet for a long life of living well focuses on a balanced diet that includes an allowance of carbs . . . and this means bread! When choosing breads, select whole grains whenever possible – whole grain products are higher in fiber and other nutrients than their bleached white counterparts and have been shown to play a role in the reduction of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic issues.  I was shocked to find out that only 3 percent of adults and 8 percent of kids are getting the recommended 3 servings of whole grains per day. Even though I already was a fan of whole grain bread, I completely switched over to serving whole wheat pasta and brown rice about five years ago and this just seems normal to the kids now.

Here’s one of my favorite easy, weekday bread treats:

jennifer fisher litehouse herb parm monkey bread

 Herb Parmesan Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

  • 2 14-ounce cans “grand” or “jumbo” style refrigerated whole wheat biscuits*
  • 3 Tbsp. Italian Herb Blend*
  • 2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. finely diced fresh garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup butter

1. Cut each biscuit into quarters and separate pieces.

2. Mix all herbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add dough pieces and toss around to coat evenly.

3. Layer pieces in a 9” x 9” baking dish or Bundt pan.

4. In microwave-safe dish, melt butter on and pour over dough pieces.

5. Bake in 375 F degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 *Granted, these are only made with “some” whole wheat flour – but still a good compromise to scratch baking or going with an all bleached and enriched convenience product.

 **I am fond of Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh freeze-dried line of herbs and herb blends.

Hearty & Healthy | Ranch Panzanella Salad with Roasted Chicken

jennifer fisher litehouse panzanella plated

Winter is almost here and big salad for dinner might sound a bit out of season. However,  I’ve tossed together a fabulous entrée salad for Litehouse Foods that will have you crawling out of hibernation during the calendar’s cooler months. My Ranch Winter Panzanella with Chicken is inspired by bread salad renowned in the Tuscan region of Italy that most often features sun-ripened tomatoes, lettuce and basil drizzled with a vinaigrette. However, my sweater-weather version of this signature seasonal course includes chicken breast along with roasted winter vegetables caramelized to sweet, earthy perfection — and finished with a creamy Greek yogurt ranch dressing. Baby Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, red onions and spinach are all in the mix, but swap out or add to the robust medley with any favorite ingredient — most root vegetable will win raves.

jennifer fisher litehouse panzanella platter 1

Roasting vegetables is super easy. Coarsely chop up potatoes, squash, onions, Brussels sprouts, carrots or whatever hearty veggies you love and top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Roast for 30 minutes in a 400 F degree oven, stirring halfway through.

thefitfork panzanella ingredients bowl big

Mmm, you don’t want to miss the full recipe for this salad. Visit the blog at Litehouse Foods for all the delicious details.

 

Ranch Winter Panzanella with Chicken

Ingredients

  • ½ loaf (about 8 ounces) day-old French or Sourdough or Rustic bread (cut into 1” cubes)*
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 4 Tbsp dried Italian Herb Blend (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (divided)
  • 1 10-oz package frozen cubed butternut squash
  • 1 lb fresh baby Brussels sprouts (halved)
  • 1 large red onion (peeled and cut into 1” chunks)
  • 1 lb pre-cooked chicken breast (cut into large chunks)
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup Greek-yogurt based or light Ranch Dressing

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Add bread cubes to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Italian Herb Blend and 1 teaspoon of the salt.

3. Toss together to coat bread. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet and bake uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven to cool on paper towel. Keep oven heated.

4. In large bowl, add cubed squash (okay if still frozen), Brussels sprouts, and onion. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Italian Herb Blend and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Dust off crumbs from crouton baking sheet and spread out vegetable mixture in single layer. Roast uncovered in 400 F degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring gently halfway for even cooking.

5. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool down for approximately 15 minutes. Add prepared bread croutons, cubed chicken and spinach to pan; toss together. Transfer to serving platter and drizzle with Ranch Dressing or serve on the side. Best served warm or at room temperature.

*tip: frozen French bread is very easy to cube

 

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