Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Category Archives: Appetizers

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

As you can see, it’s been a long time since my last post.  Summer was a crazy whirlwind that just flew by for me and now we are almost at the end of September!  Life just got in the way of my postings here.  Thank you to all of you who emailed me to ask if everything was okay.  I’m back to share some delicious recipes with you.

I’ll start by sharing one I know many of you have tried.  If you haven’t tried them, you must!  I’ve seen a number of recipes for these online and I actually have a traditional version of these Jalapeno Poppers I normally make.  The ones that you deep fry.  They are to die for as well, but I’ll share those with you on another day. 

This version I used was from Ree Drummond’s book The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I looked at them so many times and finally this summer I made them for the first time.  Ree is not lying when she tells you how addictive these things are.  I’ve made them several times since, and most recently to use up all the peppers I had overflowing my plants in the garden. 


Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

  • 18 Fresh Jalapenos
  • 1 – 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese ( I grated mine finely and probably used about 3/4 cup)
  • Green Onion, sliced (I omitted this)
  • 18 Slices Thin Bacon, cut into halves
  • Bottled Barbecue Sauce
  • 36 Toothpicks
  • **Rubber Gloves for working with peppers

**The reason I put those two ** next to “wearing gloves while working with the peppers” is because I’ve seen many people suggest this when working with hot peppers.  I have never had a problem using bare hands when cutting up hot peppers.  However, I’m probably just not sensitive to them as some people are, so if you aren’t sure or if you know you are sensitive to them, take the advice and use the rubber gloves.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  (Ree’s recipe suggests 275 degrees, but I found that to not work for me.)

Wash and dry the peppers and cut into halves.  I cut off the stems as well, but you can leave them on.

With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and membrane from each pepper and throw away.

In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and the green onions if you are using them.

Fill each pepper half with the cheese mixture and set to the side.

Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around each pepper.  Secure with a toothpick.

Brush each pepper with some barbecue sauce.

I place these on a baking rack and cover the sheet pan the baking rack sits in with aluminum foil.  This way when the bacon fat drips you won’t be scrubbing it off the bottom pan.  Just throw away the foil and your job is done.

Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes. 

Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and serve. 

I promise you that Ree is right.  There is no way you can stop eating these things!




Mussels In Spicy Tomato Sauce

I’m going to share something weird about myself with you today.  There are many weird things about myself, so this is really just one of them. I hate clams.  Don’t even eat an oyster in front of me.  Blech!

But, I LOVE mussels, and this is my most favorite way to eat them.  Simmered in some butter, wine and garlic isn’t bad either, but in a spicy tomato sauce will always be my first choice.

We made a large bowl of these and sat out on the deck just picking them clean. Delish!


  • 2 lbs. Cleaned Live Mussels **See below how to clean mussels
  • 1 – 24 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt, to taste

Begin the tomato sauce in a large skillet.  Add the oil, onion and garlic and sauté until just before the garlic begins to brown.

Add the wine and mix well, scraping up the bottom of the pan. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt to taste.  Stir well, place on simmer and cover, stirring occasionally so you don’t burn the bottom of the sauce.

Go through the bag of mussels and discard any mussels that have cracked and broken shells.  If you have any mussels that are slightly open, don’t discard them right away by assuming they are dead.  Tap the mussel several times.  If it’s still alive it will close immediately.  If it doesn’t close after a few taps, discard the mussel since it’s no longer alive.

In a large bowl filled with cold water (I actually use 1/2 of my double-sided sink), cover the mussels with cold water and allow to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain the mussels and remove the beards. The beard is a tough stringy substance stuck on the outside of some of the mussels. Grasp the edge of the beard and pull down firmly towards the hinge of the mussel and remove.

Scrub the outside of each mussel with a hard brush to remove any debris or barnacles on the outside of each shell.  Place in a colander and give them a final rinse under cold water and set to the side for a few minutes.

Add your fresh basil to the tomato sauce, stir well, and prepare to add your mussels.  Add all the mussels to the tomato sauce, stir gently and cover immediately.  Keep covered for 3 minutes.  Remove the cover, give another gentle stir, cover and allow to cook for an extra 3 to 4 minutes.  You don’t want to over cook these for any longer than a total of 7 minutes or the muscles will turn tough and chewy. 

Once done, remove any mussels that did not open and discard.  Take the remaining mussels and gently spoon them into a large dish and cover with sauce.  Serve with some sliced lemon for squeezing, sit back and enjoy.

Make sure to use that crusty Italian bread to soak up all that delicious sauce.

You could always serve these over some cooked spaghetti, but I prefer them just the way they are.


Broccoli, Chicken & Cheese Braid

If you have ever been to a Pampered Chef party you have probably eaten this simple but delicious dish.  The first time I ever had it was at my sister in law’s house one Christmas a few year’s back.  Not long after that I attended a Pampered Chef party my friend had and enjoyed it once again. 

If you have never tried it than you must.  It’s great as an appetizer or as a meal in itself.  Not to mention, it’s an easy way to get broccoli into your children without them complaining.   Even my husband who hates broccoli will eat this and not complain.

And don’t let the presentation intimidate you.  I’m far from artistic and even I can throw this together in a matter of minutes and have it look pretty.

Begin by mixing up all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Set this to the side.  On a large cookie sheet, or better yet, a baking stone, unroll the first package of crescent rolls.  Placing them with the widest part across the top of the cookie sheet. 

Open the second roll of crescent rolls and roll them out the same way, placing them directly under the first roll and pinching the seams together.  Roll out with a rolling-pin until all seams are sealed together and you have a large rectangle.  You can use your hands to shape this out better once you have rolled it together.

Using a sharp paring knife, begin slicing 1 1/2″ – 2″ wide by 3″ long strips down each side of the dough giving you 8 slits on each side.  This should leave you approximately 6″ of solid space down the center of the dough.  Place your filling in this center spot and shape into a rectangle.

Now begin your braiding from the top down.  At the very top you should have a small piece of dough in the center.  Take this and fold it up to the top of the filling.  Then take a strip from the left and cross it over to the right.  Take the strip on the right, and cross it over to the left, overlapping the first strip.

Continue this pattern until you have reached the bottom and have crossed all your side strips of dough over one another.

Once you reach the bottom, fold the bottom flap of dough up to the top and press together to form a seam.

When done, your loaf should look like this.  Or something like it anyway.

Beat 1 egg and brush along entire surface and sides of the dough.  Place in the oven and bake until golden brown.


Recipe from Pampered Chef

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Fresh Broccoli, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper (I just used 1 small red pepper)
  • 1 Garlic Clove Pressed (I used 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Dried Dill (they call for 2 tsp. of their own dill mix but it tastes just as good using just dried dill)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • (2) 8 oz. Packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 Whole Egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. Slivered Almonds (*optional I did not use them)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.. Chop chicken, broccoli and bell pepper and add to a large mixing bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients, except for the egg and the almonds.  Mix together well.

Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across width of 12″ x 15″ rectangle baking stone or cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Using roller, roll dough to seal perforations. On longest sides of baking stone, cut dough into strips 1 1/2 inches apart, 3 inches deep using a paring knife.. Spread filling evenly over middle of dough. To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in center, twisting each strip on turn.  Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends under to seal at end of braid. Brush egg over dough using pastry brush. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Using a thin spatula, gently run it along the bottom of the loaf on the pan to loosen.  Place on a cutting board.  Allow to rest for another 5 minutes.  Slice into pieces using a serrated knife. 



Buffalo Chicken Bites

Last night I made the easiest, quickest, kid-friendly meal.  It was a hit with everyone in our home.  This could easily be used as either an appetizer or a full dinner if you add some addtional items to your menu.  No matter how you make it, I bet your kids will love it.

I made two versions of this to suit the tastes in my family, and to accomodate the spicey factor for my younger kids.  The first version was used with buffalo wing sauce, and the second was just done plain for dipping in ranch dressing.  It made everyone happy and worked out perfectly.  The heat from the buffalo wing sauce might be too much to handle for those who don’t like anything hot and spicey and it’s definitely something most younger kids won’t eat.  But, you could also easily substitute a sweet barbecue sauce for the wing sauce to make everyone happy.  Choose what works for you and  your family.  The world is your oyster!

Serve them up with some ranch or blue cheese dressing along with some celery and carrot sticks for dipping.  And if you stick some colored cocktail toothpicks into the chicken bites your kids will love you even more. 

Buffalo Chicken Bites:

Serves: 6

Adapted from Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, “Double Date” episode.

  • 3 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Box Shake N Bake Extra Crispy
  • 1 Jar Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce (or any wing or barbecue sauce you prefer)
  • Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing for dipping
  • Carrot and Celery Sticks (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Begin by trimming chicken breasts of all fat.  If they are very thick, filet them before cutting them into bite size pieces.  Cut each chicken piece into bite size pieces and place in a Ziploc bag.

Pour both packets of Shake N Bake Extra Crispy coating into the bag and shake the bag around to coat each piece of chicken evenly.

Lay the chicken bites out on a large baking sheet in a single layer.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done.  Do not turn or move the chicken bites while they are cooking.

Just before removing chicken from the oven, pour the entire bottle of sauce into a microwave safe bowl and heat until warmed through.

When chicken is done, immediately remove from baking sheet and place in the bowl of wing sauce.  Turn to coat each piece evenly and remove from sauce with a slotted spoon to a serving platter.

Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping with some carrot and celery sticks on the side. 


Note:  If you have children that would prefer their chicken bites plain, just leave some set to the side after you remove them from the oven and dip the remaining chicken in the sauce of your choice.


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Roasted Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)

I’ve seen roasted chick peas all over the internet for awhile now and have been wanting to try them.  I love chick peas in salads, hummus, or straight out of the can, so I had no problem imagining I would love them roasted.

Not only were they a great crunchy snack to munch on, but you can use your imagination to season them anyway you want to.

I opted for a somewhat spicey version and they were perfect. The version I based these on came from a sweet lady named, Lillian (LillianCooks) Roasted Garbanzo Beans.

I viewed many recipes online and saw big variations in the roasting process.  Some use olive oil and some use cooking spray.  The consensus for those using the cooking spray seemed to yield a crunchier final version so I went with that.  Your roasting time will vary based on the instructions below.

Roasted Chick Peas:

  • 2 Cans of Chick Peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse and drain chick peas.  Make sure to drain well since you want them as dry as possible when you roast them.

Place drained chick peas on a large baking sheet with sides and spread them out into an even layer. 

Place baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven.

Roast the chick peas for a total of 15 minutes make sure to shake the peas every 5 minutes so they don’t burn and will roast evenly.

In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together, stir well and set to the side.

After 15 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven and give a quick spray with cooking spray.  Give the baking sheet a good shake to cover evenly.  Evenly sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the chick peas shaking the baking sheet several times to cover evenly.

Return baking sheet to oven and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, being sure to continue to shake the baking sheet every 3 to 5 minutes to prevent burning.

If the chick peas have not reached the desired “crunchiness” you want, continue roasting in 2 minute intervals, continue to shake the baking sheet each time until the desired crunch is achieved.  Be careful to watch them in this final stage of roasting as they can burn quickly.

Once done, remove from the oven and allow them to cool slightly on the baking sheet.  Once cooled slightly, scoop them into a serving bowl and enjoy.

Note:  I don’t like things overly salty so I’ve used the seasoned salt sparingly.  If you prefer them saltier, add extra seasoned salt as needed.

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