Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breakfast Empanadas

When we think about Empanadas, it's probably in the context of a sweet dessert, maybe served with ice cream. However there are savory kinds as well. In this recipe the saltiness of bacon goes really well with the creamy scrambled eggs and tangy salsa. With Cinco de Mayo a couple weeks away, this is definitely a recipe you should plan for!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound bacon (about 10 slices)
  • 1 package (15 oz) of refrigerated pie crust
  • 9 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups Mexican style shredded cheese
  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • all purpose flour (optional)
Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F. Cook bacon on a cooling rack in a sheet pan until crispy. Chop into small pieces. Set aside. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. cut pie crusts in half to make 4 semi circles; place on baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine 1 egg with water and beat until well blend; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining 8 eggs with salt and pepper and beat until well blended. Place large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add butter; when melted, tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Sprinkle bacon evenly into skillet. Pour eggs into skillet and cook without stirring for 2 minutes; gently stir until eggs are forming large curds and are still slightly moist. Transfer to plate to cool.

Spoon one fourth of the cooled scrambled egg mixture onto half of each semi circle of pie crust. Sprinkle all but 1/4 cup cheese evenly over eggs, Spoon 1 table spoon salsa in center od each mound of eggs and cheese

Using a pastry brush, brush inside of each semicircle with reserved egg-water mixture. Fold dough over top of egg mixture and seal edges with a fork, making four empanadas. (Flour fork tines to prevent sticking.)

Brush tops of empanadas with remiaing egg-white mixture and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Bake 15- 20 minutes or until golden.

Tip: These can be prepared early in the day and reheated in an oven set to 350 for 20-25 minutes.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saffron Chicken

Casseroles are not a major staple in our home, but this one is wonderful. I do not recommend substituting any other kind of rice, as shorter grain varieties of rice would be too gummy.

Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables:Broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms & onions
  • 14 ½ oz can roasted garlic flavor chicken broth (or roast 3 cloves, mince & add to chicken broth)
  • 10 ¾ oz low fat condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 10 ¾ oz low fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz uncooked saffron yellow rice mix w/ seasonings
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray; set aside
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides; drain fat.
Meanwhile, combine vegetables, chicken broth, soups, rice mix, water and salt in large bowl.
Place mixture in prepared casserole. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
Cover; bake 1 ½ hours or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Catalina Dressing

The other day my wife and I threw a little party for some friends. I was preparing the salad, and I noticed that we didn't have very big selection of dressings (just ranch). Rather than run out and buy some, I decided to whip up a couple. Italian vinaigrettes are pretty easy - just mix good olive oil, vinegar, and whatever seasonings you like (or a packet of Good Seasons dressing mix). The Italian dressing finished, I moved my attention to the Catalina dressing. Basically a sweetened vinaigrette thickened with ketchup, I've never been a huge fan of Catalina (or French) dressing. The bottled stuff is always too sweet and one-dimensional. However, I discovered that as long as you lay off the corn syrup, the addition of ketchup gives it a nice texture and flavor, making it smoother and more emulsified than a regular vinaigrette. If I can master the art of ranch, I may never buy another bottle of salad dressing again!

PS: Apparently, we actually did have more salad dressing in the pantry. According to my wife, she told me this while I was getting the salad ready, but I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't hear her. Oh well, I'm glad my lack of attention allowed me to discover this recipe!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (as you like it)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh onion (use less if the onion is really strong)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Canola, safflower, or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions

Put the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, onion, paprika, and Worcestershire in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle in the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.

Note: The seasoning choices are easily customizable. You could replace (or augment) the paprika with celery seeds, curry powder, creole seasoning (Bam!), chili powder (great for taco salads), or whatever goes well with the rest of your meal (although all of the above would probably not be good). Feel free to explore!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

It's that time of year for Girl Scout Cookies. We got our supply of Tagalongs, Samoas, and Thin Mints. Surprisingly, after a week we still have 1/2 of the boxes we ordered. This just is does not happen!! We gobble them up. I guess I should say I gobble them up, but if I have one then I share with everyone else. Unfortunately, I haven't been eating them. Cursed pregnancy-induced heartburn!!! Chocolate exacerbates it, so I've been avoiding the stuff. But I wanted some yummy delicious cookies! I've been meaning to try this recipe for awhile and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Ingredients
  • 18 ounces of your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe - we use the recipe on the Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats lid, it's safe for the 3As : Awesome Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Ensure oatmeal raisin cookie dough is at room temperature (about a 15 minute rest on the counter if using refrigerated dough).

Combine dough; flour and egg in large bowl; beat until well blended. Stir in cranberries and pistachios. Dough will be sticky. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake about 15 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to wire rack; cool completely.