Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chicken in Creamy Rondele Sauce

I love Rondele, Boursin, flavored cream cheeses -- anything cheese-based that's spreadable and tastes good, basically. Rondele was on a rare buy-one, get-one deal at Publix yesterday, so I grabbed a couple of containers for our game watch that night. Because I (as usual) made WAY too much food (including my Mediterranean Spinach Dip), they weren't touched. So I decided to use one to make a light, creamy, flavorful sauce for chicken tenders. This is really easy to make - once the chicken is browned, you do nothing for 15 minutes but look at it once in a while to make sure it's not cooking down too much. After that, it's about 3 minutes to done! I served this with brown rice for JC and steamed kale for me. The sauce was delicious with both!

Rondele makes several flavors of spreadable gourmet cheese, including Herb and Garlic, Artichoke and Garlic, Garden Vegetable, Chipotle and Tomato and Roasted Tomato and Basil. I used Herb and Garlic because I thought JC would like it the best, but this is so basic that the cheese really controls the flavor of the dish, so use whatever you like. You can make this regularly, with different flavors of cheese, and it will be a completely different dish each time.

To make 4 servings:

  • 8 chicken tenders 
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sea salt 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 3/4 cup any flavor Rondele Gourmet Spreadable Cheese 
  • 6 green onions, sliced, dark green parts reserved
  • Rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, gnocchi or steamed greens, to serve

Lay a large sheet of waxed paper on the counter. Lay the chicken tenders on it and sprinkle them generously with pepper and just a touch of salt. Sprinkle with the flour and coat well on both sides.

Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Brown chicken on both sides, working in batches if needed to avoid crowding it in the skillet. Add the white and light green parts of the sliced green onions to the skillet, and pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the level of broth, because the flour on the chicken will make it thicken. Add more if it seems to be cooking down too quickly.

Carefully remove the chicken pieces from the thickened broth and set aside. Stir the Rondele cheese into the broth, letting it melt and blend well. Stir in the reserved dark green parts of the green onions, and add the chicken back into the skillet. Let simmer for a minute and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bacon-Cheddar-Ranch Potatoes

These are great for breakfast or brunch, perfect for a tailgate and would make an excellent side dish for pork chops, burgers or BBQ chicken. I came up with these for a tailgate a few weeks ago and they were a huge hit. I made them again, and they disappeared even faster the second time. If -- ESPN forbid -- we have another noon game this year, I'll double or triple the batch! They're THAT good!


  • 1 32 ounce bag southern-style hash browns, thawed 
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided 
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour 
  • Large pinch chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 8 ounces sour cream (light or regular) 
  • 2 3 ounce pkgs real bacon pieces or 1 cup crumbled cooked bacon 
  • 1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix 


In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat and cook the red bell pepper and onion, covered, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and milk, then the chile powder, garlic powder and pepper. Cook until you have a very thick sauce, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream until well-blended.

While the vegetables cook, mix the thawed potatoes, bacon pieces, 1 1/2 cups of cheese and the ranch dressing mix in a large bowl. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pour over the potatoes. Mix the cooked sauce into the potatoes. Pour into a greased casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the rest of the cheddar over the top and bake another 15 minutes. Stand back to avoid getting trampled once they're out of the oven!

PRO TIP: Skip the onions and peppers, and swap the southern-style hash browns for Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brien. They include the onions and peppers, saving you a step, and the cubed potatoes hold up better than hash browns if the dish needs to travel or stand for a long while before serving.