#EVOOChallenge: Olive Oil Crackers

Today marks day 1 (of 5) of the #EVOOChallenge. This challenge, in which we make foods with the only cooking fat being olive oil, was issued by Spartan Olive Oil. The goal is to highlight the benefits of using olive oil over its less healthy counterparts, I’m looking at you butter and vegetable oil. Search the hashtag on social media to see more great recipes!

While both olive oil and vegetable oil have 120 Calories and 14 grams of fat per tbsp, olive oil has 10 grams of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) whereas vegetable oil has only 3 grams of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is actually good for your health; it reduces bad cholesterol and provides vitamin E. (Source: American Heart Association)

This unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil is made from the olives of 700 year old trees in Sparta, Greece. The flavorful oil has a rich golden color and smooth texture. I wanted to highlight the nutty, fruity flavor of the oil in my recipes this week.

To kick off I’m sharing Olive Oil Crackers. As I was rolling out the dough my husband jokingly asked if I was making gingerbread crackers, after all it had finally snowed! I said that actually wasn’t a bad idea and pulled out an airplane cookie cutter that I’ve had for 6 years and never used. My 18 month old had fun helping me press the cutter into the dough. Unfortunately, that first batch ended up burnt so I ended up with less than 10 airplane crackers. (The majority of the dough was cut into squares because it was much less time consuming!)

Originally, I followed the recipe directions to sprinkle the herbs over the crackers before they go into the oven but they simply didn’t adhere. My husband had another good idea to roll the herbs into the dough. It definitely worked and tasted better, too! Having the herbs and salt baked in the cracker brought out the beautiful flavor of the olive oil.

These crackers are perfect for dipping in hummus!

Olive Oil Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt, divided use
  • 1 C warm water
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Steps:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook combine the flour and 1 tsp salt. Slowly add in the water and oil while mixing at medium speed. Mix dough until it comes together, it will be a little tacky.
  2. Divide dough into 8 balls, cover and let rest 45 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl combine oregano, thyme, and 1 tsp Kosher salt.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Roll each ball dough out as thinly as possible, cut crackers, poke with a fork, and place on prepared cookie sheet. Options: Sprinkle cut crackers with seasonings or roll seasonings into the dough before cutting.
  6. Bake 8 minutes until crispy – keep an eye on them, they’ll burn quickly.

*This recipe is adapted from Lacey at http://www.asweetpeachef.com/snack/olive-oil-herb-crackers/*

Olive Oil Crackers for the #EVOOChallenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: By participating in this 5 day challenge I received a bottle and pouch of Spartan Olive Oil. 

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Today is my beautiful sister-in-law’s birthday. Audrey is another member of the Auburn family. She is finishing up her last year in Hotel & Restaurant Management. I have to admit, I am jealous of her path. She absolutely loves her classes and her job (working at the Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center. With her experience working the both hotel & restaurant sides of the conference center, the whole world is open to her following her graduation. Literally. She’s expressed dreams of running a hotel in Vegas, of working on a cruise ship, or even moving overseas. And here’s for my big head-in-the-clouds dream: Someday she’ll open up her own hotel and I’ll be the chef in her restaurant. 😉

AudreyWedding Photography by Cher Hanna

When I asked Audrey what recipe she’d like featured on Sew You Think You Can Cook for her birthday she responded with “Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole.” There wasn’t any hesitation, there wasn’t any doubt. This dish is her favorite – and I can see why! The creamy chicken casserole uses few ingredients, is easy to assemble, is full of flavor, and definitely qualifies as comfort food. We served it with broccoli and crescent rolls to sop up the extra sauce.

This recipe comes from one of my mother-in-law’s friends and looks to be an adaptation of a Paula Deen recipe. I made a few tweaks – I halved the recipe and it fed 3 perfectly. (To serve 4 I’d add another chicken breast but keep the sauce quantities the same.) The recipe I have calls for cooked, shredded chicken. But we decided instead to cut chicken breasts into tenders, brown, and then layer into the casserole dish. If you opt to use shredded chicken I highly suggest serving this casserole over rice. We liked the adjustment of chicken tenders because it gave the illusion of a lighter meal, providing the opportunity to have as much or as little of the sauce as desired.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into tenders
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 – 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Season chicken with S+P. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat brown chicken in olive oil.
  3. Place chicken in a lightly greased 7×11″ casserole dish.
  4. Combine sour cream and chicken soup. Pour over chicken.
  5. Place crackers in a plastic bag to crush into crumbs. Add the poppy seeds and combine. Top casserole. Drizzle with melted butter.
  6. Bake 35 minutes, until bubbly.

Note: This recipe feeds 3. To feed four add another half or whole chicken breast but keep the remaining ingredients as indicated.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole