Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Empanada de Puerco

My favorite way to end any weekend is to relax with a good movie.  After the bustle of a few jammed pack days we deserve it, right?  That is why I prefer to prepare some make ahead trays of finger food such as these Empanada Puerco.  This recipe makes 2 dozen which left plenty for Monday's sack lunch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Empanada Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3/4 cups of chilled butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cups water
1 additional cup of flour
1 additional stick of butter
Mix flour, salt, sugar and garlic in a large bowl (sugar and garlic powder are optional, but I think they add better flavor to the crust).  Cut in butter using a pastry cutter, or fork until dough is nice and moist.  Beat egg and stir into flour.  Slowly add water about 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is stiff and hard to stir.  You will probably not require all of the water suggested.  Cover dough and set aside while you prepare the filling.
Rallado Puerco
 2 lbs pork
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 green onions chopped
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper 
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup water
Salt & Pepper
Cook pork until soft enough to pull apart using two forks.  Continue pulling pork with forks until all pork is finely shredded as pictured.  Place all ingredients in a skillet and heat together for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Turn dough from bowl onto a heavily floured surface and kneed for abut five minutes.  Cut the dough in half.  Roll one of the halves until fairly thin (but not translucent).  It may take a few tries to get the feel of the exact thickness needed.  Using a large round object (my cereal bowl worked perfectly for the proper size) cut a large round disk from the dough.  Place 2 tablespoons (more or less as you prefer) spread along one side of the dough (as pictured).  Fold the unfilled side over leaving 1/2 inch of the dough exposed.  Fold the 1/2 inch of the dough over and pinch the two edges together (as pictured).  Continue the process until all dough is exhausted and you've used both halves.  You will need to make sure you have plenty of flour on had to cover the surface of the dough so it does not stick.  As you roll the dough it will become stiffer.  Add a few drops of water to the dough and knead again it so it will soften it up.  Than roll it and cut as before.
Once you have filled and rolled all empanadas place them on a large cooking sheet.  Gently brush on melted butter to both sides of each empanada.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and coat both sides again with melted butter. Serve warm, or cold with queso, or guacamole.

"Meat"ball and Bean Salad


1 lb bag of Meatless Meatballs (Mine were from Trader Joe's, but you can certainly pick some out for yourself or make your own)
1 Large Beefsteak Tomato
1 15 oz Can of Black Beans
1 Cup Raw Sliced Mushrooms (I used Button)
1-2 Chopped Green Onions OR 1 tsp of Onion Powder
1 Minced Garlic clove OR 1 -2 tsp of Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
2 tbsp of your favorite BBQ Sauce (I used a Sweet and Spicy flavor)
1-2 tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

If possible, cut meatballs in half (if not, that's fine. I waited until they cooked a bit and then cut them in half since they were softer by that point) and add to skillet with olive oil.Saute Meatballs, Green Onions, and Minced Garlic over Medium High until Golden Brown on all sides. If using onion and garlic powder, simply add to the saute while the meatballs are browning.

While Meatballs are sauteing, dice the tomato and add to salad bowl along with Mushrooms. Drain and Rinse the black beans. Add those to the bowl as well. Season with Chili Powder and Salt and Pepper.

Once Meatballs have browned, add the Barbecue Sauce to the Pan. Saute until Meatballs are completely coated.

Let the Meatballs Cool and add to the bowl. Toss, or mix well. Cover and set in Fridge overnight.

The Longer this dish has to marinate, the better the flavors have to develop, so I recommend leaving it in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shrimp Alfredo

When I fix a meal I look for five constant values
1)  It must be quick
2)  It must be easy
3)  It must include items I already have on hand
4)  It should include fresh crops from my garden
5)  Above all it MUST taste good

So here it is.  This one hits all five marks easily.  And when I can add "makes the house smell wonderful" to that list you know it's a winner. The Broccoli and Spinach out of the garden added great color and flavor. Shrimp Alfredo is one that my husband already ask for again.  I think that sums up number 5 on my list.  This is a two person serving. 

1 cup water
1 3oz package of cream cheese (or 1/2 of an 8 oz package will work fine)
1/2 cup Roasted Garlic Dip
1 TBS Tomato Chicken Bullion
2 TSP Onion powder
1 TSP Oregano
Pinch of Salt
1 TSP Pepper
2 cups chopped Broccoli
2 cups baby Spinach leaves

3 cups salad size shrimp
1 6 oz pkg Vermicelli Pasta

In sauce pan heat water until boiling.  Stir in cream cheese, garlic dip, bullion, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.  Wisk briskly until cream cheese is completely melted.  Toss in Broccoli and Spinach.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook package of Vermicelli according to directions (about 10 minutes).  Add shrimp to broccoli and cover pan simmering for 10 minutes.  Remove lid.  Let shrimp set for 10 minutes so it will slightly thicken.  Serve over pasta. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sweet Pepper Chicken and Pasta

.Why not make a quick dinner that's hard to forget?  Seriously. 20 minutes and dinner is ready! How about a dish that is so good, it's even  better when it's left over.  The sweetness of the red and orange peppers with the chicken is so good.  Makes a great brown bag lunch that you're co-workers will envy.  Serve this easy dinner with a batch of make ahead Easy Breezy Southern Biscuits.  This recipe will serve four (or two with plenty of leftovers)

1 Tablespoon seasoned Olive Oil (see below)
1 1/2 cups each:
Diced Red Peppers
Diced Green Peppers
Diced Orange Peppers
Diced white onion

3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 TBS Knoors Tomato Chicken Bullion
4 Cups cooked and diced Chicken (I used leftover smoke chicken)
salt & pepper
1 16oz Package vermicelli

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add peppers and onions.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add add chicken broth to vegetables.  Once the broth begins to bubble and bullion and sour cream.  Add diced chicken, salt and pepper to taste (tip: the bullion is high in salt so you won't need much).  Set temperature to low and cover.  Cook package of vermicelli according to package directions (about 10 minutes).  When done drain but do not rinse the vermicelli.  Add to peppers and chicken stirring well.  Remove skillet from heat and cover. Let stand 10 minutes until nice and thick.

Seasoned Olive Oil

Add 1 tablespoon crushed hot peppers, minced garlic and diced onion to a 17OZ bottle of Virgin Olive Oil.  Set overnight before using.

I put his together and have used it for everything from scrambled eggs to a coating on chicken legs.  I keep it on hand at all times right by the stove.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tortilla Bowled Southwest Chicken Salad

It’s hard to beat a good salad.  Unless, of course you make it in the perfect bowl.  I had always been curious about the “Tortilla Pan Set” advertised but didn’t feel they were worth paying the advertised price.  When I saw them on mark down from $12.99 to $3.69 I had the perfect opportunity to see what these little pans could do.  They were easy to use, and I go toasty tortilla shell bowls to mix my salad in.  So here is my take on a delicius Southwest Chicken Salad. This recipe will make 4 delicious salads.

Place one burrito size flour tortilla shells in each of the four tortilla pans.  You may also try using a small round baking dish, such as Pyrex of corning ware.  Even a small cooking pan without a handle works very well.  Just be sure to coat with plenty of cooking spray.  Cook until shells are golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.
3 cups of chopped Southwest Chicken:  I used leftover grilled chicken that had been rubbed with a blend of southwest seasoning.  If you prefer to use canned add chili powder, garlic salt, onion powder, lemon pepper, cilantro and mesquite seasoning mix.  Heat on medium for 10 minutes stirring once.  Set aside and let cool.

4 cups lettuce
1 large tomato diced
2 green onions chopped
2 cups black beans drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh yellow corn

½ TBS Cilantro
Corn Tortilla strips
Roasted Garlic Dressing

In a large bowl toss together chicken and first five ingredients with two spoons mixing thoroughly.  Divide equally among the four tortilla bowls.  Top with a sprinkling of cilantro, corn tortilla strips and dressing

Roasted Garlic Dressing:  Add four minced garlic cloves that have been roasted in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to one 16oz container of sour cream. Stir in one tablespoon of garlic powder, one tablespoon onion powder and 1 teaspoon cilantro.  Set in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving