Here's a hot and spicy chicken dish that uses soup, chips and ready-made salsa. For extra oomph, place a layer of fresh crumbled chips on the plate before ladling on the entree. We served ours with fresh chives, but a scoop of guacamole or sour cream would also taste wonderful. The recipe is from Connee Sheckler of Arbutus. It's for Maggie Gates of Hampstead.
South of the Border bake
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1 10-ounce package tortilla chips, crushed
1 10 1/4 -ounce can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
6 ounces salsa
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Slice chicken into bite-size pieces. In skillet, saute chicken in oil until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Divide chips, arranging half on bottom of 2-quart baking dish. Combine soup and salsa; fold in chicken. Spoon mixture over chips. Sprinkle cheese over all; top with remaining chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
There are lots of variations on this easy and elegant appetizer.
Clara Hudson of Baltimore says she tops her brie with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and 2 tablespoons chopped pecans before wrapping it in puff pastry. Mary Connor spreads 2 to 3 tablespoons sweet and sour sauce on the brie and then sprinkles it with chopped almonds and -- of hot pepper for an Oriental flavor.
Puff pastry is very versatile. Our recipe recommends cutting and shaping the pastry to fit the brie. An easier method, which Ms. Connor recommends, is to roll the pastry out as thinly as possible. Place the brie in the center and top with any special ingredients as suggested above. Fold the sides of the pastry into the middle of the brie and tie with kitchen twine. Spread the outside of the pastry with one egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water. This gives it a golden glow, she says.
For best results be sure to defrost the puff pastry as directed on the package. The recipe is from Iris Yuska of Catonsville. It's for Dot Baker of Baltimore.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1 8-ounce round brie
Let pastry stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Unfold and roll on lightly floured surface until thin. Cut two rounds, each 1/4 -inch larger all around than brie. Cut a rectangular strip of pastry about 1/4 -inch higher than sides.
Beat egg yolk and water with a fork.
Place one pastry round on an ungreased cookie sheet. Center brie on pastry. Brush sides of brie with egg yolk and wrap pastry strip around brie; press firmly, then brush with egg yolk. Place second pastry round on top of brie. Press edges of rounds to sides. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With tip of knife cut small decorative diamond-shaped slits into top of pastry. Do not slice into cheese. Brush top and sides with egg yolk. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned.
* David Johnson of Baltimore wants a grilled tenderloin recipe that will feed a crowd. The tenderloin is marinated in a soy or teryaki sauce overnight, he says.
* Michelle Husam of Milton, Pa., is searching for a pocket steak recipe. "I read about this recipe about a year ago in a popular woman's magazine, and the only ingredient I can remember is taco sauce."
* Andy Brizzolara of Pasadena is looking for a "slim gourmet" recipe called Baghdad Chicken.
* Marla Berker of Bel Air wants a recipe for individual crab souffles. She says the recipe may have come from Gourmet or Bon Appetit magazine several years ago. The crab souffles became very puffy when baked.
* Anita Weintraub of Aberdeen wants a Nesselrode pie recipe.
* Cathy Weinberg of Baltimore wants a stuffed shrimp recipe using crab imperial.