Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meet Senorita Empanadita

So fun to make!  I could not resist doing a character out of this little opening in my empanadita. 

I bought this magazine- and could not resist making some of the things i saw in there.  Everything looks so scrumptious.  I had mentioned it before when I made pepperoni bread, which is totally something I would make again.
Recipe largely adapted from Better Homes, link here.

16 ounces lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup golden raisins

Empanadita Pastry

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

For pastry:
In a food processor or a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add milk and beaten egg; stir until just mixed. If making in a bowl, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 10 to 12 strokes. If using a food processor, switch to dough blade and whirl with 10 pulses. Divide dough in half. Roll one portion of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch rounds; re-roll scraps and cut enough additional rounds to make 18 total.

For filling:

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, and garlic until beef is brown. Drain off fat. Stir in cumin and red pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in olives, tomato sauce, and raisins. Set aside.
Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling in the center of each dough round. Moisten edge with water; fold in half, sealing edge with tines of a fork. Prick dough several times. Place on ungreased baking sheet.

To make the egg wash- stir together the egg and water; brush onto empanaditas. Bake in a 425F oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wheat Berry Salad

Summer salad time!  Yeah.  Veggies. Cool and refreshing.

I saw this nice little recipe on The Kitchn and I have to say that this dressing is phenomenal.  I imagine many ways I can use it.  It is a flavor fortune. It has miso paste in it so the umami quotient just goes up.  Love it!

My recipe for the salad is loosely based on the recipe.  I used wheat berries instead of brown rice because I have a ton of them and I like them.  The salad dressing I quadrupled and glad I did because even on a plain bed of lettuce it is super outstanding.

And to my friend from retreat, I used the dried fruit that you didn't particularly care for in this recipe.  It was perfect.  The dried cherries that were kind of sour to you became slightly plump and sweetened a bit.  They were a nice foil to the salad.

Wheat Berry Salad
Loosely based on this recipe from the Kitchn.

1 cup of dried wheat berries
2 cups broccoli
1/3 cup mixed dried fruit
1/4 cup chopped chives


4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons honey
1 heaping tablespoon yellow miso paste
8 tablespoons safflower oil
8 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Boil the wheat berries in water for about 45 minutes until fairly soft.  Set aside to cool.

In a blender add garlic, chop and then add the remainder of ingredients except the oil.  Blend well. In a thin stream add the oil to the dressing as the blender runs.  This is particularly easy to do if you have a little hole at the top of your blender.

Chop broccoli and chives and mix with wheat berries.  Toss with dressing and add in mixed fruit.  Chill.  Good the first day- even better the next.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

EASY PEASY Salsa Chicken

This is the Easiest recipe and so tasty.  This recipe is the kind you want in your repertoire if you like that South west taste.  It is so good and virtually no fuss.
If you want to take it to the next level you can by adding some fresh mango salsa.  It is not necessary but it adds a nice bit of fresh to the meal.

Salsa Chicken

1 jar of salsa (I used a pint of my salsa)
4-6 frozen chiken breasts (yes no need to worry about getting it out of the freezer before hand)
1 can of black beans
1 can of corn (I used my frozen corn that I freeze in the summer)

just before serving- about a half of an hour add
4 ounces of cream cheese (more if you like but I thought this was plenty to give it that rich creaminess.)

Add all ingredients, except cream cheese to crock pot and cook on high for four to five hours.  Or cook on low for 6 or 7 hours.  Add in cream cheese just before serving.
Yes, I forgot to add it in- no worries it was all good.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Growing up my family would host family reunions at our house.  My Mom pretty much would do all the cooking.  We had family in from all around.  Ohio, Virginia, Arizona...  People slept in tents in our backyard, and all around our house.  The kids would sleep in the living room, just a pile of us on the floor.  No one cared- it was all a lot of fun.
One of the things my Mom always made for these events was a couple slabs of pie.  She didn't do the lattice thing but rather a smooth top. Inside was the latest fresh fruit filling.  Whatever was in season.  Usually peaches or cherries because these reunions would inevitable take place in July.

I have the recipe and really must locate it.  In the mean time in the latest issue of Taste Of Home I saw a recipe for slab pie.  But I forgot where I put it and ended up doing a search online and found this recipe.

Its a winner of a recipe. Very delicious and even though I accidentally did not get the butter properly mixed- had to over mix a bit- it still came out tender and delicious.  I did make a few changes to the recipe which you will see below.

Make this.  It truly is a joy.  Goes super with a cup of tea or coffee.

While my lattice does not exactly look perfect- it's rustic and I love it.  One of my first times doing it.

Slab Pie
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes version, adapted from Taste of Homes Baking Book.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces cold butter
4 ounces lard (I never use vegetable shortening- I prefer the real stuff)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can of raspberry pie filling

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar baking powder and salt; add butter and lard in pieces. Process until it resembles coarse meal- this should be quick.  In a separate bowl combine the eggs and vanilla; add to processor and blend until a dough-ball forms.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate half of the dough for at least 45 minutes.

After dough chills, roll out half of dough and lay in an ungreased 15-x10-inch baking sheet. Spread pie filling over it.  Roll out remaining half and place over filling or you can make a lattice top by cutting in strips and laying over top of filling, pinching the edges as you go.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cheese Dippers

Around this time of year I have run out of ideas for lunches.  I don't like to pay for my kids lunch- money wasted for junk going into my kids bodies.  Sometimes is okay but not on a regular basis.

But that does not mean that they dont bug me for what the other kids have for lunch.  Like the easy- peasy- cheese dippers.  I have been tempted to buy them but, good gats- lots of money, lots of wasteful packaging, not to mention -is there any real cheese in there?  I am quite sure there is not.

There is cheese in these that I made. Trust me these are easy peasy and very cheesy- real cheesy.

In a food processor, grind cheese (about 4 ounces, depending on how much you want to make) until it is very crumbly.  Add in cream cheese (same amount, I did 4 ounces)and VOILA!  Serve it up with some pretty little dip sticks and crackers and there you have it- lunch fun.  Way more wholesome.

You could go creative here and add in chives or garlic for the adult set. I am thinking my kids would not go for that.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pepe Salad

Happy Mother's Day! Here in the US it is Mother Day.  I plan to have a nice day enjoying Spring with my family.  I hope to get through the day without washing one dish...

Guiding Light Mom
Mom, from the time I was really young,
I realized I had,
who always cared,
who always protected me,
who was always there for me no matter what.
You taught me right from wrong,
and pushed me to do the right thing,
even when it was hard to do.
You took care of me when I was sick,
and your love helped make me well.
You had rules,
and I learned that when I obeyed them,
my life was simpler, better, richer.
You were and are
the guiding light of my life.
My heart is filled with love for you,
my teacher, my friend, my mother.
By Karl and Joanna Fuchs

The recipe here is a nice picnic recipe or a nice brunch recipe. Maybe you are thinking why is this salad called Pepe Salad.  My Aunt lovingly called it that. It's one of our picnic favorites.  Why is it such a favorite?  Its creamy, fruity and totally refreshing. 
I changed it up a bit because the recipe actually calls for whipped topping that has multiple stabilizers and such.  And since the day some of it spilled on my parents lawn and laid there for days, not melting or moving, I decided I would never eat the stuff again.  At first she thought it was going to rain and then it kinda sat there, not melting as anticipated.  Then it kind of became an experiment.  It was gross. Finally they hosed it down. Ugh.
So I replaced the stuff in the tub with the real thing- whipped.  What could be better?

Pepe Salad

What's needed:
1 pound Ancini de Pepe, cooked and cooled

8 ounces heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 can mandarin oranges, drained reserving liquid
1 can crushed pineapple, drained reserving liquid
1 can fruit cocktail, drained (do not use this juice-use it for something else)

3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons flour
juice from drained pineapple and drained mandarin oranges
1 cup sugar

Drain fruits, setting the juices aside.

Cook pasta, drain and cool.

In a saucepan combine corn starch, reserved juice, sugar and lemon juice.  Temper egg and add to the heated mixture.  Whisk together and heat until thickened. Chill overnight.

Mixing in the Ancini de Pepe to the sauce.
Add drained fruit. Decorate with a few mandarins and cherries if desired.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Breakfast Cheese Delicacy

Wow.  Just for chance, I tried to sign in to Blogger this morning and guess what?  I. am. in.  YES!  Finally.  Whatever the issue it seems to have vanished.  I am kind of scared it may not last but I am just going to have faith that the fix is here to stay.

Now that I am able to get in on my computer you will actually be seeing more posts!  Wahoo!  Woot, woot! Uh huh Uh huh. Happy dance.

And boy do I have a stash of recipes to share with you.

This one here is amazing.  May sound a bit strange with its cottage cheese contents but trust me- its delicious.  It may look dry but it far from it.  And I did not really have the time because- honest to God- it was gone in twenty four hours but it goes great with a fruit salad or a bunch of strawberries. 

I found this recipe in one of my Aunts recipe books/binders.  I copied it and have made it about three times since I got it.  A lot of times I just don't buy cottage cheese so I don't tend to make it as much.  And I tell you- you will not find it on the internet.  I tried to see if I could find it on the internet just to check one of the directions for it because I did not copy it perfectly.  Couldn't find it.  Combed the internet and nothing.

One of a kind.

Breakfast Cheese Delicacy
Recipe from my Aunt D. An excellent brunch type dish.  Serve chilled with fresh fruit.

for crust:
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
8 ounces butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

for filling:

1 3/4 cup cottage cheese, small curd
lemon zest
2 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300F.  Prepare a 9 x 13 with cooking spray or lightly grease it.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Spread 1/2 of mixture evenly in a prepared 9 x 13 pan. In another bowl, beat cream cheese. Fold in cottage cheese, lemon zest and juice and sugar with a pinch of salt. Gently spoon and spread this filling onto previous layer.

Spoon on remaining crust mixture over the filling.  Dont get crazy- it will seem darn near impossible but do your best.  As long as you get most of it covered your good.

Bake for .... I wish I had timed this better- about a half of an hour.  This is what I was trying to find out when I looked it up.  You want to take it out when it just starts to get golden.  Cool to room temperature and then chill, if you can stand it.  It tastes better chilled though. 

When I was doing Weight Watchers Point System, I prepared this with fat free cream cheese, Land O Lakes 1/2 butter and 1 % cottage cheese.  It was very good.  54 points for entire recipe.  Divide into however many point pieces you want.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ceaser Salad with no egg

Fine Cooking sends out recipes if you sign up for their newsletter.  I love Fine Cooking's recipes.  I havent hit a bad one yet.  I saw this one and knew I had to make it.  I have been craving Ceaser salad for a while and this one was askign to be made.

I mainly used the dressing part.  And then threw in my own fixings- no croutons- bummer and I was too hungry to make some. Had to have that salad immediately.

Ceaser Salad Sans Egg
Via Fine Cooking 83 pp 42

1 lemon
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbs. mascarpone (or cream cheese)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, chopped, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt, and mashed to a paste
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Couple dashes of Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add this stellar dressing to some Romaine- with maybe some onions, extra parm and in my case- some sirloin.  Moa ha ha.  I rarely have beef - this so hit the spot!