Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweet Empanadas


A couple of weeks ago I made savory empanadas with beef and other yumminess.  Over the weekend I made sweet empanadas - cherry, blackberry, and cinnamon and sugar.




If you're interested, these are super easy.  The dough is the exact same cream cheese dough as for savory empanadas, just with about a teaspoon and a half of sugar added into the butter and cream cheese.

For the filling, I just used canned pie filling.  The cinnamon and sugar set were a bit different, though.  I coated a marshmallow in butter, then a sugar mixture and then folded them into the dough.  They exploded while baking, but were still really good.  Next time, I'll use small marshmallows, not giant roasting ones.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


First, there is a lot of sweet stuff on this blog. Second, I need to stop taking pictures with just my phone.


Third, though - I had a little church party on Tuesday night and I wanted to make something yummy. The activity required that people bring pies. I don't like pie. I do however like cake.

I made these - they were delish.

For the cupcakes -
1 box chocolate cake mix, any brand you like. Follow the directions on the box except for the following:
add 1 cup sour cream
add 1 package instant chocolate pudding
use milk instead of water (or buttermilk if you have it)

Bake as directed

For the icing -
2 sticks butter - room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
a little bit of milk
a lot of powdered sugar, 4 cups or so.

cream the butter and peanut butter. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you get the icing consistency you'd like. If it gets to thick, add milk...or more milk.

Top with chopped up PB cups (store bought or home made) if you're so inclined.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups


When I was a little girl, my grandma would, on Easter and Christmas, make homemade peanut butter cups. I lived for the chocolate bunnies and trees and whatever else she would make. Seriously. Lived for them.

Now, I'm a fan of the store bought PB cups as well, and in my youth, was known to eat dozen upon dozen of the miniatures.

Nothing beats making your own though. Nothing is faster and tastier either.

What you'll need:
Peanut butter
Powdered sugar
Melting chocolate

In a mixing bowl, add equal parts peanut butter and powdered sugar. Mix thoroughly until incorporated. If the PB is still sticky to your touch, add a little bit more sugar. You don't want the PB stick at all.

Next, melt some chocolate.

While you're melting chocolate, get your molds, paper cups, whatever your going to use ready.

When the chocolate is melted, pour a little bit into the base of your container. next, add a hunk of PB sweetness then cover with chocolate.

Refrigerate to set.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beef Empanadas

Another yummy recipe from the Mad Hungry cookbook.  Seriously, go and buy it today.  You'll thank your self later.

This recipe was really pretty easy, but much more time consuming than I normally would go for on a week night.  But, since my husband is a work-a-holic and we've been eating dinner an hour later than normal, I had the time.

Anyway - for the first time, it took me two hours from start to finished and on the table.  Was it worth it?  Oh yes.  So worth it that I might make them again next week - but actually figure out how to make a side dish, too.  Not that these babies need anything else.

First, you need to make the pastry.  At a minimum, the pastry needs to chill for thirty minutes.  Mine chilled for about 8 hours and then needed to sit on the counter for a good 15-30 before it was ready to roll out.

Cream Cheese Pastry
8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
4 oz cream cheese at room temp
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt

cream the butter, cheese, and cream with an electric mixer.  Add the flour and salt until incorporated.  Split the dough into two equal sections, form into two disks and wrap each one separately in plastic wrap.  Place dough in the fridge.

Beef filling
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small green pepper, chopped fine
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup olives, chopped (green or black)
3/4 cup raisins (I didn't use these)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dashes of hot sauce to taste
2 eggs, separated

Chop the onion and the green pepper and start to saute them in a very hot pan, in the olive oil.  When the onions are starting to get translucent, add the beef.  When the beef is almost 100 % cooked, add the olives and raisins (if you like), the honey, the cumin (I didn't have cumin so I just used a whole butt load of different seasoning salts), the honey, salt, pepper,  and hot sauce.  Let cook until the beef is completely finished and turn off the heat.

The beef needs to cool completely in the fridge.  After it has cooled completely, stir in the egg whites from your two eggs.

While the beef is cooking, get out your cream cheese pastry so it can warm up a bit.  Once the beef is in the fridge to cool, it's time to roll out the dough.

Work with one disk at a time and roll it out like you would for sugar cookies.  Make sure you have a clean, well floured work surface and a good rolling pin.  Roll the dough pretty thin and then use a medium bowl (about 5 inches across) as your dough cutter.  Place the bowl on the dough and with a knife, cut around the edges.  Repeat the process, only re-rolling each piece of dough once.

If you do it right, you should end up with 10-12 circles of dough.

To assemble the empanadas, place a couple small spoonfuls of meat filling onto one half of a dough circle.  Wet the outer edge of dough with some water and fold it over, pressing each edge together gently.  Then with a fork, crimp the edges together.  Do this for all of your dough circles, making little half moon pies.

Once all are finished, place them on a cookie sheet and stick them back in the fridge while the oven heats up to 375 degrees.

Once the oven is hot, take the empanadas out of the fridge and poke some holes in them with a fork.  Then, take the two egg yolks, mix them with 1 tbsp of water and give each empanada a quick egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Let them rest for about 7 minutes before you devour them.  They will still be super dooper hot.

So yummy, so yummy.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Italian French Fries

I have a new cook book.  Mad Hungry!  The book?  Holy cow.  Reading it is like reading a novel that I cannot tear myself away from, except that my mouth is watering the entire time.

The recipes are amazing, yummy and fantastic.

I'm making a couple of the recipes this week and the first was last night - Italian fries.

Super easy and they were awesome.

Here you go.

Russet potatoes (for our little family I used 3, but use enough for all the people you're going to feed)
dried oregano
dried thyme
garlic salt
Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

heat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly coat a cookie sheet with olive oil.

wash, dry and slice your russet potatoes like french fries.  I left the skin on mine.

arrange your potatoes on the cookie sheet - they can overlap - and generously season with the oregano, thyme and garlic salts.

once seasoned, sprinkle the shredded Romano cheese all over the top.  Then, using about 2 tablespoons of butter, spread little pats of love all around the pan.

coat the top with a little drizzle of olive oil and put them in the oven for about 45 minutes.

At this point, for me, the potatoes were done, but the cheese wasn't yet crusty so I turned my broiler on high and broiled them for about 5 more minutes.

Serve and enjoy.  They were so good I'm tempted to fix them for dinner tonight, too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pasta tonight!

Generally, I plan meals in advance so I know what's going to happen in the kitchen when it's time for dinner.

After a busy and sleepless weekend and a day ravaged by allergies and arthritis, I wasn't quite sure what to fix when the dinner bell would start to ring.

After poking around a few recipes I was inspired to make up my own thing.


It was pasta with bacon and leeks and Parmesan cheese and sauteed chicken.

Phew. Got all that?

Here's the low down if you want to try it on your own.
6 slices bacon, cut into chunks.
2-3 leeks sliced thinly
1/4-1/2 cup white cooking wine
3/4 cup milk (heavy cream would have been better but I didn't have any)
Frozen chicken tenders thawed, about 3 per person
Pasta of your choice (I used penne).

For the Pasta
First - start boiling water for your pasta and cook it following the directions on the package.

1 - slice your bacon and throw it into a hot skillet. Cook until almost completely browned, 5-7 minutes.
2 - remove bacon from the pan and add a tablespoon of butter to the bacon grease and all your thinly sliced leeks. Cook the leeks until they start to brown on the edges and get really soft.
3 - add the bacon back with the leeks and drench in the cooking wine. Let it cook and simmer for about 2 min, then add your milk/heavy cream. Let the sauce simmer until the edges start to boil. Once the boil gets to the middle, turn down the heat and keep stirring.
4 - when the pasta is completely cooked, drain the water and add it to the pan with the bacon and leeks. Stir everything around until it's all nice and happy and let it sit a few minutes so the pasta can soak up some of the sauce.

The chicken
While your pasta and sauce are cooking, start working on the chicken.

In a medium sized bowl add flour and any/all seasoning salts you like. Lightly coat each piece of chicken on both sides with the flour mixture.

Place the chicken in a lightly olive oiled (or buttered depending on how you groove) saute pan and brown it on both sides (3-4 min each) until it's beautifully golden brown.

Put the pasta and chicken in a bowl and enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When the kids are sick - make cookies

When other people in my life are stressing me out, I feel an overwhelming need to bake.  Cookies always make things better.