Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daring Bakers - Empanadas

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

Back to the Daring Bakers challenges after a two month break and it feels good! Our September challenge was to make Empanadas. I had heard of these before but had yet to make one. Well, nothing like making both a savory and sweet version on the same day, right?

I wanted to make a savory version for dinner. This recipe was fabulous because it actually used things out of my pantry. Have you ever tried to make a recipe that says that it uses ingredients out of the pantry yet you run across something that just isn't in a normal person's pantry? I know that sounds a bit silly, but this recipe actually used things from my pantry. No extra trips to the store!

I chose to make the wheat flour Empanada dough and fill it with shredded chicken, black beans, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, and cream cheese. Yum, yum, yum! The flavors melded together beautifully! The dough was a dream to work with. I didn't even use any extra flour because it wasn't necessary.



 (By the way, the dog bone on top is in celebration of our dog's 8th birthday - the day of our Empananda smorgasboard!)

Savory Empanada Dough
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon of liquid fat (I used olive oil)
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika

Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add all of the ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until all of the ingredients have been incorporated.

Turn dough onto the counter and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Shape into a ball and allow to rise covered with a cloth for 30-50 minutes before using.

While the dough is rising, mix up the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the pan (round or square, approximately 9x9). Divide the dough in half. Roll out bottom crust (it will be slightly larger than the top piece). Place bottom crust in pan; add filling. Roll out top crust; place on top. Pinch seam of top and bottom crust. Use extra crust for decoration on top. Pierce top crust with fork for venting; brush with egg wash.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove and serve warm.

Empanada Filling
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
tomatoes, diced
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

*****              *****            *****             *****

The apple pear empanada was also amazing! It tasted just like apple pie. I made the crust thin enough that it wasn't too bread like and was very similar to pie crust. It wasn't quite as flaky as my traditional pie crust but it was delicious. I would definitely recommend this! Enjoy!


Sweet Empanada Crust
Same recipe as above, just add 2 tablespoons of sugar to dry ingredients.

Apple Pear Filling
Source: Vegephant

2 apples
3 pears
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour

Cut apples and pears into slices or chunks. Mix together. Drizzle the fruit with agave nectar and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and flour on the mixture. Mix and let set.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blueberry Peach Smoothie

You can tell that the blueberries color this smoothie, that's for sure! Very tasty. Enjoy!

Blueberry Peach Smoothie
1/2 cup grapes, red or green
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 medium peach
1 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Halfway through summer my mom retired from her job. You can't have a retirement without a celebration so we hopped up to Vancouver for a girls' getaway. Before leaving my boys at home I baked up a batch of fresh muffins so they would have something tasty for breakfast the few days they were on their own. We just happened to have enough that we could take a few with us too. I'm glad we did because they were so good! The recipe said that I would only get 12 but they must have used large muffin cups whereas I must have medium sized or something. I ended up getting more like 18. Like I said earlier, I sure am glad I did. Enjoy!

Lemon Raspberry Muffins
Source: Eating Well

1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor or blender; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.

Combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.

Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

Makes 12-18 muffins (depending on size of muffin cups)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peach Raspberry Smoothie

Summer isn't quite just a memory since we are still having warm, sunny weather. And for us, summer meant a smoothie marathon! What that means is that I will have a smattering of smoothie posts in between some other genres of food over the next few posts. I hope you get to try a few new flavors! You don't even need a high powered, expensive blender. We've made some of ours in an inexpensive $20 blender in the past (although now we have a workhorse blender).

This smoothie was delicious! I was surprised that it turned out so dark because with peach as the first word in the title of the recipe I was expecting it to be more orange or peachy in color. It had a great combination of flavors. We actually made two batches, one with honey and one without. I was served the one without and thought it tasted just fine, my husband though said that the honey did make it a bit tastier. Enjoy! 
Peach Raspberry Smoothie
2 cups water
2 cups grapes, red or green
2 cups frozen unsweetened peaches
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey, optional

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Makes 3 servings

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oven "Fried" Chicken and Baked Beets


Yah! I have actually found some time to do some posts. I am so excited! Photos have just been sitting on my computer for a few months now, stacking up and making me feel guilty for neglecting my blog. I finally found some time to just sit and do nothing but watch a movie and get some posts written.

So, now that I'm back in the swing of things, here is another one of those main dishes where the picture doesn't look very appetizing but the food tastes pretty darn good! This was not a difficult recipe to make and I like the fact that it is baked, not fried. I guess that gives me some feeling of it being healthier even if it is isn't. We also baked some beets fresh from the garden. Yum! Enjoy!

Oven "Fried" Chicken
Source: Food Network

1 1/3 cups rice-corn crispy cereal (I used Crispex)
2 1/4 cups broken bagel chips
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 skinless chicken pieces, bone in or boneless (about 6 ounces each)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set a rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Spray the rack generously with cooking spray.

Finely grind the cereal and bagel chips together in a food processor or blender. Transfer crumbs to a large gallon size plastic bag. Add the oil, salt, cayenne, paprika, and ground pepper and toss to mix thoroughly.

Whisk the light mayonnaise and Dijon mustard together in a medium shallow bowl. Add chicken to mayonnaise and turn to coat all the pieces evenly. Drop the chicken into the plastic bag, seal and shake until each piece is evenly coated.

Place coated pieces on the prepared rack. Bake until the coating crisps and browns and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pieces registers 160 degrees F, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes about 4 servings

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach Mango Smoothie

This summer we enjoyed A LOT of smoothies! Not only did we drink our usual, the green smoothie, but we actually branched out and tried a few different flavors. This one, and another similar variation, were two of the best. They definitely taste like summer! Enjoy!

Peach Mango Smoothie
1 cup water
1 mango, peeled, pitted
2 peaches, halved, pitted
1 tablespoon honey (you don't have to put this in)
2 cups ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend thoroughly.

Makes about 4 cups