June 28, 2011

Beef Empanadas

Yield: 26 to 28 appetizer-sized empanadas

Prep Time: 1 hr Cook Time: 25 min
These are a classic Argentine beef empanada with green olives and yellow raisins in the filling. They're served warm with a wedge of lime to squeeze onto each bite.


1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (about 1 large)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (use 85% lean, not the super-lean)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup pimento-filled green olives, sliced
1 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
several dashes of hot sauce, to taste
3 large eggs, separated

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, at room temperature (don’t use low fat)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1 teaspoon kosher salt

lime wedges, for serving


1. Prepare the filling: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion & bell pepper and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened.

Raise heat to high and add beef. Cook, stirring constantly, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the liquid; discard. Stir in cumin, olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Cook until the meat is golden brown, liquid has evaporated and flavors have blended, about 4 more minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Stir in 3 egg whites when mixture is cool.

2. Prepare pastry: Process butter, cream cheese and cream in a food processor or electric mixer. Add flour and salt and mix just until combined and dough holds together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into three pieces.

Flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If the dough is chilled overnight, take it out for about 15 minutes before rolling out.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter baking sheets or line with parchment.

4. Dust a rolling pin with flour. Working with one dough disk at a time, place the disk on a clean, well-floured surface (I use a silpat mat).
Roll gently from the center of the dough to the top and bottom edges and from side to side. Reflour the work surface and/or rolling pin, as needed. You want the dough to be thin but not transparent.

5. Assemble the empanadas: Use an overturned bowl (about 4 inches across) to cut out circles. Gather scraps together, re-roll and cut more circles until you’ve used up all the dough. Scoop some filling into the center of the dough circle (about 2 Tbsp.).

Wet the edge of the dough with water, using your finger to to rub. Fold the dough over to form a half-circle. Crimp edges with a fork, or fold over decoratively (using more water, as needed, to act as ‘glue.’) Repeat the process until all of the filling is used.

The empanadas can be frozen at this point, or placed onto a baking sheet. If baking right away, chill the filled empanadas for a few minutes.

Prick the top of each empanada twice with a fork. Beat 2 egg yolks with 2 Tbsp. water and brush egg wash over each empanada. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with lime wedges.

June 27, 2011

Killer Meatloaf and Mash Potatoes

1 lbs lean ground beef
1 lbs ground pork (or 1/2 lbs ground pork + 1/2 lbs ground veal)
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/2 C grated cheese (I used plain old cheddar cheese, but I think Parmesan would be great, too)
1/4 C whole milk or cream (I used skim milk because that’s what I had on hand and it was still delicious)
2 Tbs minced parsley (I used dried parsley)
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp sage (optional – I used it but I had to go to the store to get it specifically, so if you don’t want to do that you can just leave it out)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

for rolling
3 slices thick cut bacon
1 red bell pepper roasted, peeled and cut into strips (optional)
3 boiled eggs (To boil eggs, place them in a pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover for 10 minutes. Remove from the hot water and place in a bowl with ice and water and allow to cool in there for about 10 minutes. Remove, pat dry, and use immediately or refrigerate).

for glaze
1/4 C ketchup
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Wostershire sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position.

2.Add all the ingredients for the meatloaf into a large bowl and use your hand to mix everything together.It should be well combined, but not pasty.

3.Lay down a few sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface then spread the meat mixture into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle about as wide as 1 strip of bacon. Lay down alternating rows of bacon and peppers (if you have them). Make 3 little divits in the meatloaf then stick the eggs in them.

Roll enough meat loaf around the eggs to cover them, then gently squeeze the roll to fill in the gaps between the eggs. You should have a solid bar of meat with the eggs slightly peaking out with no air pockets. Finish rolling the loaf making sure there are no air pockets then tidy up the ends. You should have a uniform, slightly oval cylinder of meat.

4. Place the meatloaf seam side down on a broiler pan or some other pan that will drain the fat coming out of the meatloaf (this is important). In a pinch you can use a wire rack over a baking sheet covered with foil with slits cut into the foil (this is what I did and it worked perfectly!). Bake for half an hour.

5.Mix the ingredients for the glaze then coat the meatloaf with the glaze. Return it to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer (inserted between the eggs) reads 160 degrees F.
6.Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 stick of butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Carefully drop in the potatoes.
2. Lower the heat to medium-high and allow to boil for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
3. Place the potatoes into a large (oven safe, if you can) bowl and mash (or beat with your mixer) the potatoes with the butter, garlic, milk, salt, and pepper. Add more garlic, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
4. Cover the potatoes with foil so they stay warm. If you can, place the bowl on the bottom rack of your oven to keep the potatoes warm.

June 26, 2011

BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Sweet Slaw

3-1/2 pounds beef chuck roast
1 cup water
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 cups ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic (minced)

1. Place the roast into a slow cooker along with the water. Cover, and cook on LOW for 4 hours, or until beef can be easily shredded with a fork.
2. Shred the beef, removing fat as you go. Remove 1/2 cup of the broth from the slow cooker, and reserve for later.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, brown sugar, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, honey, salt, pepper, cayenne, crushed red pepper and garlic. Stir into the shredded beef so that the meat is thoroughly coated.
4. Cover, and continue to cook beef on LOW for an additional 4 to 6 hours. Add the reserved broth only if necessary to maintain moisture.

Serve on mini buns, such as King’s Hawaiian rolls and top with cole slaw.

Sweet Cole Slaw
1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

1. Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.
2. Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

June 25, 2011

Crockpot Cranberry Pork Roast

Yield: 12 servings (Serving size: 3 ounces pork, 1/4 cup sauce)

Prep Time: 25 min Cook Time: 7 hrs
Easy recipes like this are nice for busy days when you just need to come home to a dinner that has already been cooked. This pork turns out tender and the sauce is delicious too!


3 pound lean, boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of fat and cut in half crosswise
16 ounces canned whole berry cranberry sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water


1. Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Add roast halves, browning on all sides. Place roast halves in the insert of a slow cooker that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix cranberry sauce, brown sugar and mustard; pour over the roast in the crockpot. Cover with lid; cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce to LOW and cook 6 hours. Remove roast from crockpot, reserving cranberry mixture in crockpot. Set roast aside; keep warm.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until well mixed. Scoop cranberry mixture into the large bowl and then whisk cornstarch and cranberry mixture together. Place in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes, or until thickened.

4. Place pork roast on platter and use two forks to shred it apart. Top with cranberry sauce and serve immediately.

June 23, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Yield: 8 Servings

Prep Time: 25 minutesCook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
This is a really good, lower-fat version of the chicken enchilada casserole...


1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup beer
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced (divided)
2 (2 1/4 ounce) can sliced olives, drained (divided)
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies, drained
5 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 cups 1% low fat milk
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut in half
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup salsa


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 2 1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat until hot. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side, or until done. Remove chicken from skillet and let cool. Shred chicken with 2 forks; set aside.

3. Re-coat skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add shredded chicken, beer, red pepper and tomatoes; cook 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Reserve 1 Tablespoon green onions and 1 Tablespoon olives for garnish. Stir in remaining green onions, olives and chilies into chicken mixture; set aside.

4. Combine flour, salt, cumin and coriander in medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Place over medium heat; cook 7 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg whites, stirring constantly with whisk. Set aside.

5. Place cheeses in bowl; toss well and set aside.

6. Spread 1/2 cup white sauce in bottom of casserole dish. Arrange 4 tortilla halves over sauce; top with 2 cups chicken mixture, 1/2 cup sauce and 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with sauce. Set aside remaining 1/2 cup cheese mixture.

7. Bake, uncovered, or 40 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, reserved green onions and olives; bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

June 21, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pasta

serves 2-3

4-5 ounces boneless chicken breast, shredded

3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce

1 small onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup skim milk

2 ounces shredded smoked cheese (I used cheddar, gouda and gruyere blend)

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare pasta and shredded chicken and set aside. In a small sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced onions with a sprinkle of sea salt and let caramelized – about 10 minutes. During this time, combine shredded chicken with 2 tablespoons bbq sauce. Once onions are caramelized, set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Immediately add skim milk and turn down to low heat. Add 1 ounce cheese and stir until cheese is melted and mixture thickens – about 2-3 minutes.

In the casserole dish, alternate layering pasta, bbq chicken, and onions. Add cheese mixture about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, throughly mixing to act like glue and hold the pasta together. Top with additional cheese sauce, remaining shredded cheese, BBQ sauce drizzles and panko bread crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

June 19, 2011

Honey Dijon Chicken

makes 4 chicken breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1-2 tablespoons spicy mustard

salt & pepper

Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add olive oil. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel so it is very, very dry. Season with salt and pepper generously. Add chicken to skillet and brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes each, depending on the thickness.

In a bowl, combine honey and both mustards. Whisk well.

Remove chicken and while it is still hot, brush on mustard.

June 17, 2011

Hot-And-Spicy Short Ribs

3 lbs. Beef short ribs *

*cut in 1-in lengths 4 Garlic cloves

- peeled and minced 2 1-in cubes ginger

- peeled and minced 3 medium Scallions; trimmed & minced

2/3 cup(s) Soy sauce

2 tbs. Sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp. Spicy sesame oil

1 tbs. Sugar

2 tbs. Cider vinegar

1 tbs. Mirin (sweet rice wine)

1/4 tbs. Freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs. Toasted sesame seeds

TOAST THE SESAME SEEDS by spreading them over the bottom of a pie tin. Roast them at 300F for 12-to-16 minutes. Stir sesame seeds often, until they are golden. With a very sharp knife, score the meat on each short rib in a crisscross pattern, making the cuts about 3/8-inch apart and cutting almost to the bone. This will allow the marinade to penetrate and help tenderize the meat. Place the short ribs in a large shallow baking pan.

Combine the rest of the ingredients, pour the marinade over the meat and toss well to mix. Cover and refrigerate the ribs for 24 hours, turning them in the marinade several times. When you are ready to cook the short ribs, preheat the oven to 325F. Arrange the ribs on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush ribs with a little of the marinade. Roast them uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the ribs and brush them with the marinade. Raise the oven temperature to 500F.

After the ribs have stood for 10 minutes at room temperature, return them to the oven and roast them for 5 minutes. Turn them again, baste them lavishly with the marinade and roast them for 3 to 5 minutes longer for rare, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. Brush the ribs with any remaining marinade and serve them with fluffy boiled rice and a crisp salad. Makes 4 to 6 Servings

June 10, 2011

Deviled Ham Stuffed Eggs

Prep: 15 mins. 8 servings

8 hard cooked eggs
1/4 c. deviled ham spread
1/4 c. finely chopped green onions
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
1/3 c. finely chopped celery
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

   Slice the eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set the whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork. Add the next eight ingredients; mix well. Stuff or pipe into egg whites.
   Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with paprika.

Creamy Deviled Eggs

prep; 15 mins. 2-3 hours. chill time. 36 servings.

36 hard cooked eggs
1 pkg.(8oz) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sweet pickle relish
1/3 c. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Paprika and sprigs fresh parsley,
stems removed

    Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set yolks and whites aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, relish, mustard, salt, pepper and reserved yolks;
   Mix well. Stuff or pipe into egg whites, Garnish with paprika and parsley.
Refrigerate several hours before serving.

June 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Bake time: 20 mins. Prep Time: 5 mins. Makes: about 4 cups dip.

1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. any flavor Hot sauce
1/2 c. blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
2 cans. (12.5 oz. each) premium chunk chicken breast, drained
Assorted fresh vegetables and crackers for dipping.

Stir cream cheese in 9" inch deep dish pie plate with fork until smooth.
Stir in dressing, hot sauce and blue cheese.
Stir in chicken.

Bake at 350F. for 20 minutes. until hot and bubbling.
Stir. Serve with vegetables and crackers.