Quick & Easy Snacking – American Idol Top 6

Out of 125,000 hopefuls American Idol has whittled it down to 5 contestants. With the season finale quickly approaching I can honestly say I have no idea who’s going to take the Season 10 Idol crown. Unfortunately, it will not be Casey Abrams. Casey has been one of my favorite contestants this entire season. Not only is he, hands down, the most talented musician out of the whole bunch, but he always kept a level of surprise and excitement each and every week. He will definitely be missed.

The theme last week was songs from the queen of folk-rock herself, Ms. Carole King. Carole has written songs for just about every genre and the most talented musicians over the last 5 decades. Keeping with the theme of the week I decided to recreate some popular dishes from the Hard Rock Cafe menu in honor of Ms. King’s song of the same name.

Every week this Idol season I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to Yahoo’s Lyndsey Parker and her blog, Reality Rocks. Last week I was serving up some healthy dishes in honor of the “Songs from the 21st century” theme with Black Bean & Avocado Sliders and Chicken & Shrimp Lettuce Wraps.

I have to say, the Spring Rolls are one of my favorite creations to-date, and the mushrooms are simple, quick, and delicious. So give these recipes a try and stop by Reality Rocks next Wednesday to see what I’ll be serving up for songs from “Now and Then”.

Happy Eating!

Southwest Chicken Spring Rolls

Makes 10-12 spring rolls


▪ 1 package spring roll sheets, thawed
▪ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
▪ 1 Serrano chile, minced
▪ 1 shallot, diced
▪ 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
▪ 1 large garlic clove, minced
▪ 1 tomato, seeds removed, chopped
▪ 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
▪ 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
▪ 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
▪ 1 tsp cumin
▪ 1/4 tsp kosher salt
▪ 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
▪ 1/2 tsp chile powder
▪ 1 rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed, chopped
▪ flour and water
▪ 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce

▪ 1/2 cup light ranch
▪ 1/2 cup light sour cream
▪ 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
▪ 1/2 chile in adobo, seeds removed, diced
▪ 1 tsp lime juice
▪ dash of cumin

Thaw the spring roll sheets according to the package directions and wrap in a damp towel.

Chop the veggies.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chile, shallot, and bell pepper and sauté until soft, around 2-3 minutes.

Add the garlic and tomato and sauté for 30 seconds.

Rinse the black beans and corn.

Combine the veggie mixture in a large bowl with the black beans and next 7 ingredients, through the chicken. Mix until well combined.

Set up a prep station with spring roll sheet, veggie mixture, and flour and water mixture for sealing.

Using one spring roll sheet at a time (place in a diamond shape in front of you), spoon two heaping tablespoons of mixture right below the center of the sheet. Fold the bottom tip over the mixture.

Fold the left and right corners. Using a basting brush gently brush the top corner with the flour and water mixture. Roll the spring roll from the bottom, sealing closed.

 Set the rolls aside.

In a large bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix until well combined.

Heat a cast iron skillet with the vegetable oil over high heat.

Lightly fry the spring rolls until golden brown, around 1-2 minutes on each side.

Serve with the dipping sauce! (Excuse the crappy pic – my camera dyed right at the end)

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

Yields 4 servings (2 mushrooms per person)


▪ 8 baby portobellos, caps removed
▪ cooking spray
▪ 8 stems, finely chopped
▪ 1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
▪ 2 green onions, chopped
▪ 1 garlic clove, minced
▪ 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
▪ 1 tsp thyme, chopped
▪ 1/4 tsp red pepper
▪ 1/8 tsp kosher salt and pepper
▪ 1 tbsp olive oil
▪ 1/4 pd italian sausage (casings removed)
▪ 1 tbsp bread crumbs
▪ 1 tbsp shredded parmesan, plus more for dusting
▪ sherry wine


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Mix the mushrooms caps (stems) through the kosher salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and crumble with a wooden spatula. Cook the sausage until browned, around 2-3 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture and sauté until fragrant, around 2-3 minutes. De-glaze the pan with the sherry wine to pick up the brown bits (flavor). Add the cheese and breadcrumbs and sauté until thoroughly combined. Remove from the heat and slightly cool.

Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps. If it’s a bit too crumbly, add some more breadcrumbs until the desired consistency. Dust with the additional Parmesan.

Reduce the heat to 450 degrees and bake until the mixture is browned and crispy on the edges, around 6-8 minutes.

Santigold is one of my favorite female artists and I’ve been dying for new music since her debut album, Santogold, was released in 2008. Check out her latest single “Go” featuring the fabulous Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!! I can’t wait for this album!


2 responses

    • Thank you so much! I have to say…the spring rolls turned out sooooo good! You have to try them. James was such a talented guy, and at this point, everyone is so talented. It’s hard to see people get cut. I definitely think we’ll be seeing more of him though.

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