Chicken Salad Wraps

Earlier this summer I was in search of an appetizer I could bring to an outdoor BBQ party when the weather was nearly 100 degrees and I knew most people would be walking around with a plate and not sitting down for a full meal… I knew it needed to be something that didn’t require a fork and knife, and better yet, no plate, and might even be considered refreshing given the heat and humidity.  Where did this search and such challenging requirements land me?  Chicken Salad Wraps, my friends, that’s where.  These little guys go by a lot of names – some people call them “Pinwheels” while others opt for the less-traditional but very funny “Redneck Sushi” name.  

One of the things I love about making these is that you can switch up the ingredients depending on your audience or what you have on hand – easy to swap out mozzarella or cheddar slices for swiss, or instead of chopped chicken breast you could use ham, turkey or roast beef.  Want to add some more flavor to the mix?  Add some dijon mustard to the cream cheese and mayo or even a little horseradish. 

With no further ado – there’s some instructions and the recipe!  Even though temps of 100 degrees are now a distant memory these are still delicious and would be perfect for an after-school snack or during a football game.

First, prepare the filling for the wrap.  Lay out a tortilla with 3 slices of cheese, then spread the prepared filling evenly over the center of the tortilla, leaving the top and bottom sections without any filing.Chicken Salad Wrap 1

Carefully roll up the tortilla, pushing the filling out evenly towards the end of the tortilla.  Once fully rolled, let the tortilla rolls rest while on the end, letting it seal.

Chicken Salad Wrap 2

After about 10 minutes, use a serrated knife to cut the sandwich rolls into slices, roughly 1-2 inches wide.

Chicken Salad Wrap 3

Chicken Salad Wrap 4

 

Enjoy!  If you have ideas or suggestions please leave a note in the comments! 

Chicken Salad Wraps
Serves 10
These little sandwich wraps are a delicious appetizer that's easy to prepare!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large flour tortillas
  2. 9 slices of cheese, mozzarella or cheddar
  3. 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  4. 1/2 cup mayo
  5. 1 cup cooked chicken breast, diced
  6. Ground black pepper
  7. 1 cup lettuce, shredded
Instructions
  1. To prepare the filling, mix the cream cheese, mayo, chicken breast, black pepper and lettuce until thoroughly combined.
  2. Lay a tortilla out, then lay 3 slices of cheese across the center of the tortilla.
  3. Scoop a third of the filling and place in the center of the tortilla, spreading out, leaving the top and bottom of the tortilla without any filling.
  4. Starting at the bottom of the tortilla, carefully roll the tortilla towards the top, being careful to not roll too tightly so as the squeeze the filling out. Let sit for 10 minutes for the ingredients to set.
  5. Cut the tortilla rolls with a serrated knife into 2 inch slices.
  6. Set tortilla sandwich wrap slices on a plate to serve.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Veggie Pizza Appetizer

This time of year the calendar is packed with fun summer outings, picnics, parties and the like, and in the spirit of making it easy, most of the events on our calendar tend to be potlucks with everyone chipping in and bringing something to share.  One of my favorite go-to recipes is a veggie pizza appetizer because it’s easy to prepare, light and downright delicious.  

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The time saver in this appetizer comes from using a roll of refrigerated crescent dough, and rolling it out into one thin, solid piece of dough on a cookie sheet.  After baking and cooling, the flaky dough is topped with Chive & Onion cream cheese, cheddar cheese and a variety of chopped fresh veggies.  Let this chill in the refrigerator for an hour before serving and you’ve got yourself a real winner – the dough is light and flaky, the cream cheese is cool and flavorful and the toppings add tons of flavor and crunchiness.

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Veggie Pizza Appetizer
Serves 15
A light flaky dough topped with cool cream cheese and lots of veggies is the perfect start to an outdoor meal!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of refrigerated crescent dough
  2. 1 package of chive and onion cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1 cup shredded carrots
  5. 1 cup bite-sized cauliflower
  6. 1 cup bite-sized broccoli
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, open the can of dough, lay flat on the paper and roll out into one thin, solid sheet of dough.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to turn light brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the baked dough cool completely.
  5. Once the dough is cool, spread the cream cheese over the entire surface.
  6. Top with cheese and veggies.
  7. Chill for at least 1 hour, then cut into 3x3 inch squares for serving.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Marinated Cheese

Hello there!  Who loves cheese?  I certainly do.  For a few years I battled lactose intolerance and the only thing I really missed eating was cheese… not ice cream, milk or yogurt.  Just cheese.  Now that I’m back on the dairy bandwagon I eat cheese with reckless abandon (all for the sake of calcium, right??) and this recipe is one of my favorite ways to gobble it up.

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I am probably too well known for serving a cheese platter with crackers and meats when hosting at my house and this recipe makes serving such a simple appetizer feel a little more special – and the prep is really simple!  Just make sure you allow at least 4 hours for this cheese to marinate in the refrigerator so that the garlic, herbs and oil can mix together and infuse into the cheese.

A big thanks to my friend Ann for sharing this recipe with me!

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Marinated Cheese
Cubes of Monterey Jack cheese marinated in garlic, herbs and olive oil.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
4 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
4 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 8oz Monterey Jack cheese, block
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil, good quality
  3. 2 gloves garlic, finely minced
  4. 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  5. 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  6. 1/2 tsp dried basil
  7. A pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Cube the cheese by slicing the block into long slices, then cut each slice into 3-4 long sticks of cheese. Cut these sticks into cubes of cheese.
  2. Place cubes of cheese in a medium bowl, then top with herbs, garlic, salt and olive oil.
  3. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature with toothpicks. Great on an appetizer platter with other meats, crackers, dips and cheeses.
Notes
  1. If you cannot find a block of Monterey Jack cheese you can use Mozzarella instead. Also, the infused olive oil is delicious to use as a dip for slices of baguette!
Adapted from Ann LaPorte
Adapted from Ann LaPorte
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Tomato Bruschetta

Have you ever tried an item of food and once you do, wonder how you made it this long without it in your culinary life?  That’s how I feel about tomato bruschetta, oddly enough.  That’s not to say I had never tasted bruschetta but it had always been in a restaurant or not up to par with this recipe, so in my mind, it’s like I had never tasted it until this version waltzed into my life.

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A year or two ago my little family headed to my parents’ house for a day of sun, food and relaxation and my mom made this as an appetizer for us, served with crackers and slices of bread.  We were hooked (not just me – the Mr. too!).  It’s incredibly simple to make – just a bit of chopping required – and soon you’ll have tomatoes, parmesan, basil, garlic marinating in olive oil and waiting to be served on just about anything.  Anything can involve toasted bread, a baguette slice, grilled chicken breasts or a beef loin.

This dish is perfect to make ahead as it keeps in the refrigerator for at least a few days.  Feel free to experiment with the amount of oil and garlic, as well as with using grated or shredded parmesan.  

 

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Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 4
This tomato bruschetta is delicious as an appetizer dip served on crackers or slices of bread or served on top of grilled chicken or steak.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tomatoes, finely diced
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  3. 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  4. 10-15 basil leaves, rolled into a chiffonade and sliced thinly
  5. 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  6. 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  7. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop tomatoes, dice garlic and mix in a medium sized bowl with the parmesan, basil and olive oil. Add the salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Notes
  1. This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days if kept in a sealed container.
Adapted from Pat Remes
Adapted from Pat Remes
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Layered Chicken & Veggie Spread

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When a recipe post starts with a good photo it’s hard to drag the reader through too much written content… except that’s what I do most of the time.  Ha!  This time, I’ll try to restrain myself.  Looking at this photo makes me want to stand up, head to the kitchen, prepare this appetizer and then eat the whole thing.  Please forgive the fat kid moment I just had there.

My girlfriend Kristine introduced me to this appetizer a few years back and I love it – it’s got a great combination of veggies, meat and dairy.  You’ve got carrots, broccoli, green onions piled on top of chive & onion cream cheese with grilled chicken to boot.  Filling, delicious and not too guilty with all those veggies.  If you want to get crazy you could also pour a little sweet & sour sauce over this appetizer, which is heavenly, but missing from these photos because I forgot to pick some up at the store.  Alas.  Enjoy this spread with pita chips or crackers, or maybe even over a piece of toast. Easy to make and so delicious, you’ll find yourself making this recipe time and time again.  And hopefully not eating it all yourself, like I’m considering right now.

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Layered Chicken & Veggie Spread Appetizer
Serves 6
This spread starts with flavored cream cheese and is topped with chicken and veggies, and optional sweet & sour sauce.
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Ingredients
  1. 8oz chive and onion cream cheese
  2. 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
  3. 1 head of broccoli, diced
  4. 1 carrot, shaved or shredded
  5. 3 green onions, diced
  6. Sweet & sour sauce, optional
Instructions
  1. On a large plate, spread the flavored cream cheese.
  2. Top with chicken.
  3. Scatter veggies over plate.
  4. Pour sweet & sour sauce over the spread, if desired.
  5. Serve with pita chips or crackers.
Notes
  1. You can use any variety of vegetables in this recipe - try with diced peppers or cauliflower.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

 

Artichoke Dip

I don’t know when I became a big snob about artichoke dip but a few years ago I realized I had become strangely particular about what I defined as “good” artichoke dip.  That’s not to say I won’t eat any variety put in front of me, because I will, but somehow my mind became instilled with this lofty aspirational ideal of what this dip should be.

With rants like this I should have a been a philosopher.

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And so began a quest for the perfect dip.  Should it include spinach?  The Mr. and I decided no, it made it the dip too watery with all that extra liquid.  Should it include mozzarella or parmesan?  Parm, it is – less melt, more bite.  And then I got stuck determining the right ratio of cream cheese to mayo – and should I add sour cream in place of the mayo, or substitute half the mayo for sour cream?  My life is full of really difficult quandaries and decisions, can’t you see?

So, here we are people.  Years of trial (I’m not exaggerating, sadly), lots of inspiration from various online recipes, a dutiful and honest taste tester in my other half, Mr. Krentz, and we have arrived at what I think an artichoke dip should be.  The artichoke hearts are cut in two and stirred into the creamy mixture to maintain their form and texture, add some lemon juice and red pepper flakes to cut the creaminess of the dip and add some heat, and use a 50/50 ratio of cream cheese to mayo.

Enjoy this bad boy with carrots, celery, a baguette or by the spoonful – whatever makes you happy.  And if by chance you think this dip leaves something to be desired, please tell me in the comments!  I’m an open minded gal and would love to improve this appetizer if possible.

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Artichoke Dip
Serves 4
Served hot or cold, this artichoke dip hits the right balance of artichoke and creamy dip - enjoy with veggies, crackers or slices of baguette.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 can artichokes, drained thoroughly, and cut in half length-wise
  2. 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  3. 2 green onions, roughly chopped
  4. 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  5. 1/4 cup mayo
  6. 1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  7. 1/4 lemon, juiced
  8. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor place the garlic and green onion and pulse 10 seconds, until finely minced.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl (cream cheese, mayo, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and red pepper flakes) and pulse 10-15 seconds until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the halved artichoke hearts to the bowl and combine by hand with a spoon until incorporated into the mixture.
  5. Spread the dip in a greased 10" ceramic dish.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbling.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve with carrots, celery, crackers or slices of bread.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.
  2. This dish is great prepared in advance - once the dip is in the dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes until browned and bubbling.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Guacamole!

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I’ve gained a reputation for being a bit heavy-handed in serving Mexican food when people come over… to be fair, this isn’t a complaint but more of an observation. If it’s a popular Mexican food, I’ve probably made it for you. Tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, carne asada, Mexican chicken soup, the list goes on and on.  I find Mexican food is one of the only universally popular cuisines for all ages and palates – what’s not to like about family-centered meals that are easy to make, have a little spice, can be made ahead and are usually topped with cheese??  Additionally (and selfishly), almost all Mexican dishes are inherently gluten free or can easily be adapted to exclude gluten so not only does everyone get to enjoy a delicious meal, I can eat it as well and not feel as though the group is making a flavor sacrifice on my behalf.

Avocados are a multi-tasking vegetable – they can be used for a face mask, as baby food or for my favorite use – guacamole!  Why the exclamation mark?  Well, because this guacamole is just that good, I could eat it straight from the bowl, forget your chips for dipping. The avocado is refreshing and smooth, and with a healthy dose of fat will keep you full for quite some time (or until dinner is served) and with the addition of tomato, shallot and lime juice you get extra texture, bite and great flavors.

But, I digress.  The title of this post is “Guacamole” so lets get to it.  Any good meal starts with an appetizer, which brings me to guacamole, my standby appetizer for any Mexican meal that I serve.  Regardless of the season or the main entrĂ©e this fan favorite is easy to make, delicious and can easily be made for a gathering of 2 or 20.

Serve this guac with tortilla chips, sliced bell pepper or jicama – incredibly delicious, any way you eat it.

 

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Guacamole!
 
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Bryna Krentz
Prep time:
Total time:
This guacamole is simple to make, incredibly fresh and can be served as an appetizer or topping on your main entree!
Ingredients
  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
Instructions
  1. Slice the avocados in half, length-wise, and scoop the flesh into large bowl.
  2. Using a spoon, lightly cut the avocado to begin mashing it, being careful to not over mix or beat the avocado. You don’t want the avocado to be totally smooth, you’re looking for a slight mash while maintained some chunkiness of the avocado.
  3. Add the diced tomato, shallot, cilantro, salt, pepper and lime juice to the bowl, stirring to combine, being careful to not over mix or beat the guacamole – you want this to still have some moderately sized chunks of avocado still visible. Taste for flavor, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips, sliced bell peppers or jicama. Great on tacos, fajitas and nachos!