Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese Empanada

One beautiful Sunday afternoon, me and one of my best friends ate the most amazing empanada from a food truck, and as is the story of my culinary life, I couldn’t wait to replicate it at home. I created all the filling first, and then my husband and I as a team built our empanadas.

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This recipe makes only six empanadas, so again please double it if you want more. Also, after make it the first time, there are a few things I would change the next time I make it (and there will be a next time!). For one, I would make the empanadas bigger, and maybe added a little more spice to the chicken mixture, and possibly some grilled red onions. This is why food never taste the same twice in our house…

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  • 2 boneless-skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 c buffalo sauce (we used Frank’s Redhot Buffalo Wing Sauce)
  • 1/4 c blue cheese crumbles (add more or less, depending on how you feel)
  • 2 oz cream cheese, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg white
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
  • already rolled, pre-made pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder mixture. Melt the butter in a heated skillet, with 1 tbsp olive oil, and place the seasoned chicken thighs in the pan. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side, aiming to flip the chicken only once.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan, and place on a cutting board, making sure to reserve the juices from the pan. Chop the chicken into small pieces, and place in a bowl. To the same bowl add the buffalo sauce, and the remaining butter chicken juice.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the blue cheese and cream cheese, and using the back of a spoon smash the blue cheese to better mix it with the cream cheese. (Add some more blue cheese or cream cheese if you want, just remember you don’t want to make too much)
  5. On a flour-ed surface, unroll the dough and using a bowl (approximately 4 inches in diameter), use the bowl like a cookie cutter and cut stencils in the dough.
  6. Take each section of the dough and brush the edges with egg white. Place approximately two spoonfulls of the chicken mixture, and one  spoonful of the cheese mixture on half of the dough. Then fold the dough in half, and close the edges using a fork to close the empanada. For additional assistance, please follow this link.
  7. Place a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet, and spray with cooking spray (you really don’t want them to stick, because there is nothing worse then an empanada thats split in two). Lay each empanada on the cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. Because it depends on the size of the empanadas, and the thickness of the dough, the time may vary a little. Just make sure to remove them when they are brown and flaky.

 

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Slow-Roasted Pork Belly

As some of you know, I live near a plethora of Korean grocery stores and restaurants. I have recently fallen in love with sliced pork belly (which is super popular in Korean food)…its sooooo yummy! So recently there was a sale on pork belly at my favorite Korean grocery, and my husband bought a bunch, so I have been learning new recipes to cook all this yummy meat. Now I recognize that unfortunately pork belly is not available everywhere, so if that is the case for you…I’m very sorry, you’re really missing out.

My favorite is to season the meat really well, and slow cook it in the oven until its melt in your mouth tender. The very easy recipe is as follows. I normally freeze most of the meat I buy shortly after purchase, so its easy to start off this recipe with frozen meat.

  • Four slices of pork belly, each sliced approximately 1/2 inch thin, and 12 inches long
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoky flavor
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat even to 300 degrees
  2. Remove the meat from the freezer, and place directly on a large piece of foil.
  3. Season the meat with 1/2 of the above seasoning, and 1/2 of the olive oil
  4. Flip the meat in the foil, and season with the remaining half of the spices
  5. Tent the foil around the meat, and place the meat and place in a clear baking dish, and place in the oven
  6. Cook for 3 hours, 30 minutes
  7. Enjoy!

 

Stewed Beef with a kick, alongside Creamy Cheese Grits

I had originally seen this recipe on The Pioneer Woman‘s blog, but as usual there were a few things I didn’t like so I changed a bunch.  I grew up eating grits for dinner (now what is a grit you ask, click here for the southern girl’s explanation), but as I got older, I realized that grits are so good, why restrict yourself just to dinner? That’s like limiting wine and cocktails to happy hour? Nonsense!

photo 2, beef

photo 1, beef

Stewed Beef with a kick, alongside Creamy Cheese Grits

2 tbsp butter
2tbsp olive oil
1 lbs stew beef
1/2 can chipolte peppers in adobo sauce
3c beef broth
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2c red wine, dry wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
onion powder
garlic powder
pepper
salt

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2 c grits
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/2 c half and half

1.  Heat a dutch oven on the stove on medium heat, add butter, olive oil and beef cubes.  Stir the beef until the butter melts and the olive oil fully coats the beef.  Using a wooden spoon, pick up the beef stuck to the bottom of the pot, stir the beef until it is browned on all sides.

2. Sprinkle the beef with garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.  (Since you are going to use beef broth, its best you wait until the end to add the salt.)  Add the chipolte peppers to the same pot, and stir until they fully cover the beef.  (The peppers will make the beef spicy, so if you want to make it less spicy add less peppers… more spicy add more peppers.)

3. Pour 2 cups of beef broth over the beef cubes, and bring the pot to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce pot to low, and cover.  Cook for approximately 2-3 hours.  Lightly shred the beef and peppers, and add salt to taste.  Simultaneously, in a separate pan sauté the chopped onions  and bell peppers with olive oil for approximately 10 minutes, add garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes.

4. Once the beef is soft, using a slotted spoon, remove from the beef from the pot and add it to pan with garlic and onions. Sauté until the juices are evaporated.

5. Turn the dutch oven onto med-high heat, and add 1/2c red wine to the beef juices, and cook until reduced by half.

Now on to the Grits…

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Cheesy Grits

1. Cook 1c of grits as directed on the package.

2. Once the grits are completed, add the mozzarella cheese, and half and half.

3. Serve the dish with the grits on the bottom, beef on top, and then lay the sauce over the beef.  Enjoy!