Puff Pastry-My new discovery

You know how they always say the French women are thin because they eat full fat foods, like cheese, but only a small bit?  I have yet another French staple that I have typically Americanized and eaten way too much of-the puff pastry.  You can, however, follow the more healthful route and just add a bit to your meal, offset by tons of greens or fruits, and you have a secret weapon.

Last night I decided to try Rachael’s Love Birds -Chicken in Pastry, thinking it was time for my family to try something new and different for us.  I would never normally buy puff pastry dough-no, I am a strong believer in doing everything from scratch or not doing it at all.  But seeing as I barely have time to make dinner during the week, let alone make puff pastry from scratch, I went ahead and bought a pack of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry sheets from my corner grocery store:

and although I am afraid to look at the nutritional information on this box, I feel I have been awakened to a new guilty pleasure.  Well done, PF!

Following Rachael’s recipe, I cut chicken breasts into strips and cooked them in a skillet for a few minutes each side with nothing but salt and pepper.  I then cut the pastry sheets into 3-4 inch squares and tried a variety of spreads on the sheet before adding a piece of chicken and then folding the whole thing up into a little bundle.  First I tried honey-Dijon mustard with a slice of cheddar cheese, then I tried a spread of sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese that I made in a food processor, I also tried a Dijon mustard and capers spread, brie and figs and a few others.  I baked these at 400 F for 15 minutes and served them with a salad of beets and arugula.  Although these tasty pockets were admittedly decadent, making them small makes it acceptable because you can serve someone one or two with a big salad or side of asparagus and then it adheres to the French philosophy of everything in moderation.  Why deny yourself something rich and delicious if it’s just a bite.

I had four so I can’t claim to have obeyed this rule.

But my family loved the meal, including one of my kids and my husband, but not the other kid, who is retreating into a pickier mode by the day.  But with a 75% success rate, I am happy.

Here are some other Rachael dishes that use puff pastry in moderation for a touch of decadence.

Mushroom Not Potpies with Cheesy Parmesan Crust(photo above, all photo credits from this blog-Tina Rupp)

Lemon Chicken Not Potpies with Poppy Crust

Salmon in Pastry Sacks

This dish especially makes an elegant brunch choice and is akin to Salmon en Croute

Asparagus Roll Ups

A great passed appetizer

Spiced Pork Tenderloin Wellington with Red Onion Wilted Spinach

Ground Beef Not Potpies with Caraway-Salt Crust

French Onion Soup Bites

I haven’t even touched on the subject of using puff pastry for dessert.  I’ll save that temptation for another day, but in the meantime, you can view all of our Rachael Ray recipes using puff pastry here.

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