Category Archives: Appetizers

Easy Empanadas

A couple of weeks ago, we Kitchens went out on the North Fork of Long Island to take advantage of the lovely not-quite-Fall weather, wineries and pumpkin picking.   Restaurants aren’t exactly plentiful for a good portion of the wine trail on the North Fork, so I thought it might be a good idea to pack snacks.  (Otherwise we’d be two car-fulls of drunks on a Sunday afternoon.)  I decided on empanadas because they pack a pretty filling punch and are fairly easy to make in decent size numbers.  The wineries were super gorgeous! There were pumpkins and delicious looking squash and acres and acres of beautiful vineyards.


Now, I know I’m going to catch flack for my recipe.  I don’t use chorizo because I find a lot of it too greasy.  I also buy the dough — I’m sorry, but I’ve tried making it and no amount of kneading or tampering with recipes can get the dough to be like La Fey’s.  So do yourself a favor and just go and buy La Fey discs for these.  Trust me, it’s 10 times easier and they work beautifully in the oven. Goya also makes a decent empanada dough.

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

Chicken & Sausage Empanadas

The Dough/Discs

2-3 packages of the large La Fey discs.  The filling recipe below makes enough for about 24  (20 if you’re packing it in)  Extras can be frozen.

The Filling

4 chicken breasts (medium/large size), cut into small chunks

5 – 6 Italian sausages (hot), diced/chopped into small pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup Chardonnay or other fairly dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 large Spanish onion (diced)

2 heaping tablespoons garlic cloves (diced)

3 Bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup Spanish green olives with pimentos (pitted)

1/8 cup capers

1 green pepper (diced)

Egg Wash

1 egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water


I find that most of the La Fey discs are pretty well frozen when I buy them, so let these defrost while you’re cooking the mixture.  For the filling, in a large (12-14″ pan), heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and add diced onions and garlic and saute until onions are softened (5 minutes).  Add diced chicken and sausage and cook on medium high heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes.  Add wine, chicken stock, pepper, cumin, bay leaves, green pepper, olives, capers, salt (basically all remaining ingredients).  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until meat is cooked and sauce has thickened (about 30 mintues).  After it’s cooked, let the mixture cool uncovered for about 20-30 minutes.

Take this time to pull apart the dough discs.  If you’re using La Fey, they’re generally not separated in the package by wax paper, so be very careful when pulling them apart or the discs will tear.  Preheat the oven to 350°.   Prepare baking trays for cooking — if you’re making 24 empanadas, you’ll likely need three pans.  Lightly lightly grease the pans.   For filling the empanadas — if you’ve got a calzone mold, this will be super easy.  Place the disc in the mold, spoon in about 3 tablespoons filling and close the mold, which will seal the seams.  If you don’t have a mold, it’s really just as simple.  Spoon the mixture on to one side, and fold the other half over so it forms a half-circle.  Use a fork to seal the edges (just like you would a pie dough for a two-crust pie).  Place on baking sheet and repeat for remaining empanadas.  Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden. You can serve these warm or at room temp, and they freeze beautifully!

Onions for empanadas

Onions for empanadas

Chicken and sausage empanada filling

Chicken and sausage empanada filling

Filling the empanadas

Filling the empanadas

Molded empanadas

Molded empanadas


Chicken and Sausage Empanadas



Filed under Appetizers, Baking, Chicken, Dinner, Party Food, Pork, Recipes

How to Clog Your Arteries Part 1

For the past couple of years, one of my friends has thrown a Bacon Party.  (She’s evil, but obviously well-loved.)  If you don’t know, a Bacon Party is a potluck party featuring only foods that contain bacon (or fake bacon for the vegetarians).  Each year I gain at least 3 lbs from this party.  Let me tell you – it’s totally worth it.  This year I made a couple of dishes to add to the melee — bacon cheddar knots and a pumpkin pie topped with walnuts, brown sugar and, of course, bacon.   Sadly, Mr. Kitchen had to miss the party because he was working.  Luckily I came home with two giant Tupperware containers filled with treats.  (I know, I’m totally evil, but if I’m not gonna fit in my wedding dress — he’s not fitting into his kilt.)

The cheddar bacon knots were surprisingly easy, though in preparation for that and the pie, Mr. Kitchen and I fried up an entire package of bacon.  I could feel the cholesterol and fat seeping into my pores — kinda gross, but damn tasty!  For any of you who are thinking that a bacon party is a brilliant idea, it is, but I would recommend starting on some sort of cholesterol medicine now, followed by lots of fiber.   On the plus side (like bacon needs another plus side), at least I couldn’t actually feel the presence of my gallbladder after this year’s party.

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Knots Dough (Adapted Heavily From Nick Manglieri)

4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 packet active dry yeast

1 2/3 cups warm water

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus oil to coat a baking (jellyroll) pan

3 baking (jelly roll) pans

Bacon Cheddar Filling

3/4 package bacon, cooked

1 8 oz package cheddar cheese (or any cheese you prefer)

Egg wash (1 egg, mixed with about 1 tablespoon water)

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix yeast into water and let stand for a few minutes until the water fizzes a bit (stir if it doesn’t begin to fizz). Whisk oil into water/yeast mixture.  Make a well in the flour and pour water into center.  Using a rubber spatula, begin to fold the flour into the water center, gently incorporating and mixing outwards until all of the flour is combined.  The dough will be very soft.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit until the dough has risen to double its size (approx 2 hours).  After the dough has risen, scrape it into an oiled jelly roll pan.  Lightly oil your hands and press the dough into the pan so that it is evenly filled. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (oiled) and let the dough rise again, approximately 1 hour.  While the dough is rising, cut the 8 oz block of cheddar into approximately 2 dozen pieces.  After the dough has risen for the second time,  use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into approximately 24 squares (6 length wise, four depth wise).

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cover 2 baking pans in foil and lightly grease.

Take a square of the dough and place about half a strip of bacon and 1 piece of cheese in the center.  Fold two of the opposing corners over each other.  With the other two opposing corners, twist them together, forming a knot on top.  Place the piece in the pan.  Repeat with remaining 23 pieces of dough.  Brush all of the knots with the egg was and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Bacon Cheddar Knot Dough

Bacon Cheddar Knot Dough

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Finished bacon cheddar knots

Finished bacon cheddar knots


Filed under Appetizers, Baking, Party Food, Recipes, Tidbits

Are You Ready for Some Football?

I mentioned last week that I am dying for fall to begin.  It coincides with all my favorite things — the weather finally turning from ungodly to tolerable and then downright pleasant, the return of hearty recipes, sweaters, school supplies and football.  I love football.  I’m one of those crazy people who yells and screams at the TV during games, because in my sports-induced insanity, I think the players can actually hear me.  (I’m looking at you Manning.)   Mr. Kitchen and I started getting serious right around the start of football season,  and he says he was really pleasantly surprised when he found out I was a fan of the game.  He gets a kick out of my insane TV ranting.  So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to game-time snacks, I’ve got em covered.  Trust me, even if you hate the game, if you’re dating a sports-guy, you’re gonna end up at  at least one game.  You’re likely going to a Super Bowl party if nothing else.   Make these, and you are insta-Sports Girlfriend Goddess.

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Makes 2 thin loaves

I am including a recipe for the dough that has been adapted slightly from Nick Malgieri’s “The Modern Baker,”  but if you are short on time, most supermarkets carry pizza dough.  (Pillsbury makes a dough if you’re really short on time.)

Bread Dough

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt**

2  1/2 teaspoons active yeast (one packet)

1  2/3 cups warm water

3 tbsp oil  (olive is best, but vegetable will do)

Additional oil for coating the pan


3/4 lb very thinly sliced pepperoni

3/4 lb very thinly sliced provolone


* 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese optional (shredded) for top of bread

1 Egg, beaten for wash

** The recipe would normally call for 2 teaspoons salt, but I find that the pepperoni is salty enough on its own to balance out the bread, especially if you’re topping the bread with Parmesan.

The Dough — Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir well to mix.  In a separate bowl, whisk the yeast into the water and whisk in the oil.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour liquid into center.  With a spatula, begin stirring in the center of the bowl, gradually stirring from the center outward, incorporating more and more flour as you go.  Once the flour is totally incorporated, the dough will still be very soft.  Knead the dough very lightly, by folding the outside edges into the center — keep folding until there are no dry bits left.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk (generally 1-2 hours depending on the air temperature).  Lightly oil your hands and turn the dough over once.  Cover again and let rise, approximately one hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 º.

The Roll — Once the pizza dough is prepared, roll out half the dough flat into a rectangle approximately 18 inches wide and 12 inches long.   Lay out slices of provolone in one layer across surface of dough.  Layer pepperoni slices on top of provolone.  Starting at the top of the dough, roll edges downward horizontally so that dough forms a roll.  Press down on seam and twist ends to seal dough.  Place the roll on a tin-foil lined cookie sheet in a U-shape, seam-side down.   Repeat rolling, layering provolone and pepperoni and sealing for remainder of dough.   At this point, you can sprinkle shredded Parmesan on top of rolls and press cheese gently into dough.  Brush egg wash across entire top surface of each roll.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until dough is golden.  Let cool on pan for 15 minutes, then slice into 1″ wide slices.

Pepperoni provolone bread

Dough rolled out for Pepperoni provolone bread

Pepperoni provolone bread

Layer the cheese then the pepperoni for Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Rolling the dough for the Pepperoni Provolone Bread -- I ran out of provolone in the second loaf, but you can easily mix in some mozzarella.

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Brushing the egg wash on the Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

Pepperoni Provolone Bread

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Filed under Appetizers, Baking, Party Food, Recipes