Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quick and Delicious Chicken Empanadas

My daughter needed 15 culture points for Spanish and asked for ideas.  I said I had always wanted to try making empanadas.  What did she think?  She loved the idea.  I wanted to find a recipe that would be super simple as we didn't have a lot of time to really cook from scratch... after school... after track practice and before bedtime on a school night.  It had to be good though.
I found a recipe from "Semi-Homemade" Sandra Lee.  It really seemed very easy and I had all the ingredients but the pie crust.

I went one step further than Sandra Lee and I bought premade pie crusts from Pillsbury.  My folks use them at Thanksgiving for their pies and they always tastes just fine.  I didn't have time to mix and roll out pie crusts

This recipe was surprisingly SO delicious we are definitely going to make them again.  It was a great mother/daughter cooking project seeing as my daughter doesn't like to cook. 

We had an assembly line.  She worked on making the filling.  While she was doing that I cut out the pie dough.  After the filling cooled I would fill the pie dough.  It was a messy affair that took finding a technique to keep the filling in as I pressed it closed.  After wetting the edge of dough using my teaspoon cookie scoop I would plop the filling on the dough.  Then I would fold the piece in mid air with the fold facing the ground.  That way I used gravity to keep the filling in the empanada as I pinch it closed.  I would first pinch the dough closest to the fold on each side.  This made a cup like structure that made all the difference in the world in keeping the filling in.  I then gently pressed up to the top of the half circle evenly on both sides.  I handed the empanada off to my daughter who then pressed the edge with a fork and forked the top of the little pastry.  She lined them on on a cookie sheets and baked them.  Using 2 packages of Pillsbury pie crust and my 2 1/2 inch cutter I got about 64 empanadas.

They were a big hit at school.  She got 25 points for her Spanish sentences about making empanadas and the class got to eat them.

Chicken Mini Empanadas (with my tweaks)


  • 2 Pillsbury Pie Crusts
  • 1 11-ounce can white chicken meat, drained
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 3-ounce can sliced ripe olives
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken, salsa and olives. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Cool slightly.

On a lightly flour-dusted surface, unroll the dough that has been brought up to about room temperature. Using a 3-inch-round cutter (my cutter was about 2 1/2 inches), cut out 36 circles, rerolling the scraps as needed. Place about 1 teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of each circle. Moisten the edges with water. Fold the circles in half and pinch to seal. Pierce the tops with a fork.

Place the empanadas on a baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.
Lynne's note:  A couple of the empanadas didn't seal despite wetting the edge, pinching close and pressing edge with a fork.  It worked out OK as none of the filling came out.  We used these "ugly ones" to taste test.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zingy Zig Zags is finally finished!

Nearly 3 years later I finally got this finished.  I had connected this project with watching football.  So, it took several football seasons to get it done.  I only worked on it while watching football.  Since the 49ers were doing so well this season I got very close to finishing.  When the 49ers didn't make it to the Super Bowl I decided to go ahead and watch it and work on my afghan.  Still not finished I then decided to keep working on it until it was done.

Fringe and all it's done!

The only bad thing about his afghan is it's from a book about using up your scrap yarn.  I had to buy more yarn to finish it.  I was 10 inches away from finishing it and I just couldn't stop it would have been too narrow.  I can't believe my "use up the scraps" afghan has caused more scraps.  I have lots of yarn left over.  Considering making another afghan from the "Scrap Afghan" pattern book or will it be creating a vicious circle?  I was lucky this time that the colors of yarn were still being sold.  I may not be so lucky next time.

The one family member who I think loves afghans the most couldn't wait to relax on my nearly made blanket.  Turned my back for a second and who was already laying on it?  Yes, Poodle-Doo couldn't resist a finely crafted homemade afghan.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Recipe - Sticky Biscuits

We like to make Monkey Bread every now and then around here.  It's not complicated, but it is time consuming.  When I saw this recipe for using refrigerator biscuits it reminded me of Monkey Bread.  I had to give it a try.  The only minor problem I had was I only had 1/4 cup of pancake syrup.  I had considered using some pure maple syrup from the fridge.  Maybe combining it with some Caro syrup, so the maple flavor wouldn't be so strong.  In the end I thought there was so much butter and brown sugar it would be OK only using the 1/4 of syrup I had.

 I was right it was just as sticky as anyone would want it.
I love the toasted flavor of the nuts.  Personally I don't think they should be optional.  I used only almonds today, but pecans would be really good too.

I took the liberty of changing the name of the recipe.  It was originally called "Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring."  Check out her blog called "The Jones Way."  With a recipe this yummy, she's bound to have more great things over there.

Sticky Biscuits

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits
OR 1 1/2 tubes Pillsbury Grands! buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup pancake syrup (any brand you like
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
1/4 cup chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted/Bundt pan with non-stick spray

Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired).

Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy.

** I ended up using 1 1/2 tubes of the Pillsbury Grands! refrigerator buttermilk biscuits (1 tube didn't seem like enough) and baked it for about 30-40 minutes.

So simple.

So delicious!