We’re back to school (yay!), summer refuses to go (booo!), and I still feel like I’ll melt any moment now. Here we are, back to breaking our noggins, trying to come up with decent ideas for the merienda.
What if I told you that these great little bites are going to be a success with the kids, and grownups too? I got your attention, huh? And what if I tell you that the whole thing can be put together in 15 minutes with a minimum of hassle? You’ll be putting the ingredients for this Spicy Chicken Cracker Toppers on your shopping list right now, aren’t you?
Did you see that word there? Merienda? I am pretty sure you know it, but just in case…
Merienda is an afternoon meal, a light one, something to tide us over till dinner time, because our tradition is to have lunch at noon. 12 o’clock, to be exact, and not a minute later — this is sacred and inviolate. If you’re a Dominican you know what I mean.
We’re more flexible with our merienda. It can be any time between four to five, and mostly it’s meant for kids, who have probably already burned all the calories from lunch by 4:00 PM. The tradition is to serve some juice, and a light but nutritious dish. Something they’re inclined to eat is, of course, best.
When Nabisco invited me again to write a recipe with their product RITZ Crackers, they gave me an extra challenge: start with an existing recipe (Pulled Pork-Sofrito RITZwich) and give it my own twist, and make something that both kids and grownups are inclined to eat. That was actually pretty easy, as challenges go.
I switched the pork for chicken, because I can find rotisserie chicken in my neighborhood supermarket every day, pork, not so much. Chicken is lighter, and my daughter likes it better. I threw in some incognito vegetables (hey, you have to add vegetables when you can!), and there you have it. An easy, fun, tasty merienda that also looks very pretty, feel free to serve as party food too.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ red onion minced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon of spicy pepper flakes
- ½ red bell pepper, minced
- 1 plum tomato, seeded and minced
- 1 cup of finely-shredded supermarket rotisserie chicken breast
- ¼ cup of tomato sauce
- 3 slices of jalapeño Monterey pepperjack cheese
- 1 doz Nabisco RITZ Crackers
- 1 tablespoon of minced parsley or cilantro (both work)
- ½ cup of sour cream
- To cook the chicken: Heat oil over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion and cook until they start to become translucent. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes, cook stirring for half a minute. Add bell pepper, tomato and chicken. Stir to mix. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to mix. Cover and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
- Cutting cheese: Using a cookie cutter, cut the cheese into 12 small circles (about the size of the crackers), if you don't have a cookie cutter just cut the cheese into squares.
- Serving: Arrange chicken, cheese, crackers, parsley and sour cream on a tray. Right before eating assemble by placing cheese on a cracker, topping with chicken, followed by a small dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with parsley. The cheese will prevent the cracker from becoming soggy with the chicken juices, but is best not to pre-assemble.
Nabisco provides a variety of products that fits into your Latino-inspired meriendas, and that all family will love. Visit Nabisco’s website or my Pinterest board to find inspiration and recipes.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nabisco. The opinions and text are all mine.