Sunday, March 29, 2009


Make the dough, choose a filling and then fry, bake, or freeze this delicious dinner. Great when served with sour cream and avocados.

Empanada Dough

3 cups Flour
½ teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Shortening
1 Egg
2/3 cup water
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening. Add 1 egg and mix well. Add 2/3 cup water stir until mixture forms a ball. Make filling 1 or 2 below.
Roll out dough into eight 4 inch circles. Place filling in circle, brush outer edge of circle with water, and fold in half. Press edges together to seal. Put a small cut in the top of each empanada.
Bake at 375° for 20 minutes (until golden brown)
Fry in hot oil for 3 minutes on each side (until golden brown)
Filling 1
1 cup Onion
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cups Spinach
1 cup Carrots
2 cups Cheese
Heat oil in a large skillet. Chop onions to desired size. Cook onions in oil till soft. Add spinach and carrots to onion and cook for 5 min. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese.
Filling 2
2 cups Black Beans
3 cups Cheese
2 Peppers
1 Onion
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onions and peppers in oil until soft. Remove from heat add black beans and cheese.

Note: Empanadas are wonderfully easy to freeze. Before cooking place empanadas in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen place empanadas in a container for freezer storage. When ready to eat place frozen empanadas on a baking sheet and Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Another quick and easy dinner. The whole meal is done in the time it takes to boil pasta.

Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

2 cups Penne Pasta

1 cup Cream

½ cup Sun-dried Tomatoes

1 7.5 oz jar Artichoke Hearts

2 teaspoons Parsley

½ cup Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta adding the sun dried tomatoes when there is about 2 minutes left. Heat the cream in a pan until boiling. Add the artichoke hearts and parsley, cook 1 minute more. Mix together the cream and pasta top with Parmesan cheese.

Serve with salad, biscuits or garlic bread.

This week I was out of Parmesan cheese and so I used 1/4 cup mizithra cheese instead, it was great.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Veggies and Couscous

This is an incredibly quick and easy dish to make. Kids love it, although the little Couscous pasta can be slightly messy.


1 cup Couscous

1 ¼ cup water

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon butter

½ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup veggies

1 cup Parmesan (Real Parmesan not the Kraft stuff)

Steam veggies or add them with the garlic and saute. Finely grate the Parmesan cheese. Sauté garlic in butter add water, veggies, and spices and bring to a boil. Add couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 min add Parmesan and mix.

Some veggies to try- broccoli, peas, bell peppers, onion, carrots, squash, zucchini, green onions, celery, acorn squash, raisins

Experiment with adding your favorite spices and herbs or other cheeses like Ramona or feta.

Or forgo the cheese and mix in a vinaigrette like the one below.

1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pizza Crust

I always make my Pizza Crust while the kids are napping, then it is super easy to put the topping on and throw it in the oven for dinner.

Pizza Crust

2 tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

½ cup warm water about 80°

1 cup All-purpose Flour

2/3 cup Wheat Flour

½ teaspoon Salt

2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 package active dry Yeast

Bread Maker- Place ingredients in as listed, wet ingredients first and then dry ingredients. Set to Pizza Dough setting.

By Hand- Mix the flour, yeast, and salt. Make a well and add the oil and water. Work in the flour to make soft dough.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Rub a little olive oil on the dough and place in a bowl covered with a towel. Let rise for 1 hour until double in size.

Use or freeze.

To use- Pull and stretch or roll dough to desired thickness. If time allow cover the dough to sit and rise again for 30-40 min. Brush with a little olive oil and place toppings on top.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 min.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pizza Sauce

Make and freeze for quick pizza making.

Pizza Sauce
2 cloves Garlic
¼ small Onion
½ teaspoon Rosemary
½ teaspoon Thyme
¼ teaspoon Oregano
¼ teaspoon Basil
¼ teaspoon Marjoram
1 ¾ cup Diced Tomatoes
½ table spoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Honey

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil till soft. Add tomatoes, herbs, and honey. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally. Let cool slightly and place in blender. Blend until smooth.
Depending on the extra veggies I have on hand I usually add 1 cup of extra veggies in with the onion. Spinach, carrots, and zucchini all work well. Just finely chop add with the onion to saute and soften they will not be noticeable once the sauce is pureed.

Makes about 1 cup sauce, enough for two pizzas.

Enchilada Sauce

I love making enchilada sauce because I can make it as mild or spicy as I want. THis sauce freeze wonderfully.

Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic
¾ small Onion
½ teaspoon Oregano
¼ teaspoons Chili powder
½ teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers
½ teaspoon Basil
¼ teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Parsley
2 teaspoon Cilantro
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Tomato Puree
1 ¼ cup Diced Tomatoes
1 ½ cups water

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the pepper and sauté for a few minutes more. Add the spices, tomato puree, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Place in blender and blend to desired texture.

Makes 3 cups sauce.

Marinara Sauce

This is perfect over spaghetti noodles as a simple dinner. While heating up the sauce just before serving add a bit of cream for a wonderful creamy marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic
½ small Onion
2 finely diced Carrots
3 finely diced Celery stalks
28 oz Diced Tomatoes
2 cups Tomato Puree
2 teaspoons Basil
2 teaspoons Parsley
½ teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Bay Leafs
1 cup water

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for a few minutes more. Add the spices, tomato puree, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Place half of the sauce in a blender and puree until smooth. Mix sauce together.

Makes 6 cups sauce.

I freeze this in 2 three cup servings for use later or to use to make lasagna.

Chocolate Layer Cheesecake

This is one of my favorite desserts for gatherings. It is a combination of three different recipes that I combined into a wonderfully rich dessert.

Chocolate Layer Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups crushed chocolate gram crackers
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 eggs
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F if using a 9-in. silver springform pan (or to 325°F if using a 9-in. dark nonstick springform pan.) Combine crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of pan.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.
Remove 1 cup of the batter to small bowl; stir in cocoa. Pour into crust; top with remaining plain batter.
Bake 45 to 50 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around side of pan to loosen cake. Cool completely.
Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan on low heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until completely melted. Cool slightly. Pour over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove side of pan before serving. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.
For the leaves I melted white chocolate and colored it with food coloring. Then I poured it on to wax paper when it had cooled a little I used a knife to cut out leaf shapes a small cookie cutter would also work. I then let the chocolate cool completely before putting them on the cake.