Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New-to-me Recipes

How time flies . . .

Hailey, Riley, Cassidy - 2006(?)



New-to-Me Recipes

As I've mentioned before, I am addicted to recipes. I tell myself I'm not buying another recipe magazine at the grocery check-out counter, but my resolution fails, time and time again. I save recipes from the newspaper, scribble them down from magazines in waiting rooms . . . Well, you get the idea. But I have a never-ending treasure trove to choose from when teaching the grandgirls to cook. But recently, Cassidy ended up teaching me. When asked if she wanted to make bread or scones the next day, she replied, "Empanadas." Huh? She had to be kidding - her gringa grandmother never made an empanada in her life. But with the aid of Google, Publix (grocery store), and a bit of improvisation, we made 20 empanadas, 10 bacon & cheese (the improvisation) and 10 chicken & olive (from a recipe found on the Net). The chicken & olive recipe will be found below.

Another item I'd eaten at restaurants but never made was Flatbread, but as I went through the Publix check-out, there was this magazine, "Mediterranean Recipes." Oops. And flatbreads were prominently featured. Sigh. Another challenge to be met.

As for the last recipe . . . I admit to making beef stew a time or two, but I had never made Hungarian Beef Stew, a wholly different beast. This recipe I found last week in the Orlando Sentinel, just crying to be tried. No improvisation on this one - I made it exactly to the recipe, and it was the best stew I ever tasted. Perhaps not completely authentic Hungarian Golash, but absolutely amazing. Try it for yourself & see.

        Chicken and Olive Empanadas with Chimichurri Sauce

I was fortunate enough to have all the herbs for the Chimichurri Sauce in my herb garden. But where, oh where, could I find empanada wrappers? With the help of one of Publix's famously helpful employees, I found “discos grandes” in the "International" frozen foods section (10 wrappers to a bag). There were also packages of smaller wrappers, and I think I’ve also seen empanada wrappers in the refrigerated section of the store. You will NOT, however, find them among the dry goods in the Ethnic Foods section.

Note: the following recipes are adapted from those found on the Internet.

Chimichurri Sauce:

1¼ cups lightly packed parsley leaves
1 cup lightly packed oregano leaves
½ cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
6 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil


1 pkg. chicken tenders
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
a few sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf (dried)
1 tablespoon Crisco or vegetable oil
½ small yellow onion, diced

c. ½ cup Swiss cheese or mozzarella, shredded (optional)
Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped *

*I used sliced olives right out of the jar


Chimichurri sauce: Combine parsley, oregano, cilantro, garlic, red pepper & c. 3/4 teaspoon salt in food processor.** Process until coarsely chopped. Add vinegar & pulse to combine. Scrape mixture into a bowl & whisk in oil & 2 tablespoons water. Set aside. Note: The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before serving.

**Original said 1½ teaspoons salt. Also, in my mini processor I chopped the ingredients separately, mixing them later.

Filling: Put rack in upper third of oven, preheat to 425°. Place chicken in a large sauce pan. Add chicken broth, parsley & bay leaf. Cover and simmer on medium-high about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat into large pieces (I used a fork). You should have about 2 cups. Place in a medium bowl. Reserve ½ cup broth.

Wipe out saucepan; heat it over medium heat, add Crisco. When melted, add the onion, season with salt, stirring until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with cumin and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in flour. Whisk in the ½ cup broth and let it bubble and thicken, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add chicken and olives; mix. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.

Empanadas: Place a small bowl of cool water by your work surface. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Working with 1 wrapper at a time and keeping the rest covered, brush a little water on one edge of the wrapper. Put 2 tablespoons* of filling in the center of the wrapper & fold in half. Use your fingers to press out the air, making a border of about ½ inch around the filling. Press with a fork to seal edges. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining wrappers & filling.

Grace note: if using shredded cheese (not in original recipe), sprinkle it on the flatbread before adding the chicken mix.

*Probably for smaller empanadas than the “discos grandes” Cassidy and I used. Our bacon & Swiss cheese empanadas were "thin." The chicken & olive recipe, however, made 10 fat empanadas.

Egg wash (optional) : In a small bowl, whisk one egg; add ½ cup water. Whisk together. Brush egg wash on top of empanadas.

Bake empanadas until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Serve warm with chimichurri sauce.

Grace note: other empanada recipes can be found on the Internet, including one called, Spanish Beef Empanadas with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.


Grace note:  You can find recipes for Flatbread dough on the Internet, but most of us are too busy. I recommend buying pre-made flatbread from your local grocery or, as I prefer, Naan bread. Both are perfectly sized for individual servings. Flatbread toppings are as many as your imagination will allow. I've copied two of those I most enjoyed below.

Smoked Salmon (Lox) and Chard Flatbread

2 Tbspn. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. rainbow (or red) Swiss chard, stems removed & chopped
½ cup golden raisins
1 5.2 oz. pkg. semisoft cheese with garlic & fine herbs
4 oz. smoked salmon, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp. purchased balsamic glaze*

2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts**
Ready-made flatbread or Naan

*found in the vinegar section of larger supermarkets
**I did not bother to toast the nuts

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion & garlic; cook & stir 3 minutes. Gradually add chopped chard stems; cook 10 minutes or just until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chard leaves in batches, stirring until wilted before adding next batch. Add raisins; cook 5 minutes or until chard is tender, stirring occasionally.

Warm purchased flatbread in microwave. Spread cheese over flatbread. Top with salmon & chard mixture. Drizzle with balsamic glaze; sprinkle with pine nuts.


Pesto-Prosciutto Flatbread
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
3 Tbsp. dried tomato pesto
4 oz. provolone cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup baby arugula
Ready-made flatbread or Naan  

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add prosciutto. Cook, stirring occasionally until brown & crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Spread pesto over dough. Sprinkle with prosciutto and cheese. 
Sprinkle cornmeal on sheet pan, top with flatbread. Bake c. 6-8 minutes until flatbread is heated and cheese melted. While flatbread is in oven, whisk together 1 remaining Tbspn. olive oil and lemon juice. Add arugula, toss to coat. Top flatbread with arugula mix. 

Hungarian Beef Stew

Sorry, no photo available - frankly, it doesn't look like much, but the taste is marvelous. And so very easy, except patience is required for the time needed to cut up the veggies!

1¼ pounds beef stew cubes*
1 lb. fresh carrots, sliced or in small chunks
2 med. onions, thinly sliced
3 cups thinly sliced cabbage
½ cup dry red wine
1½ cups water
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 envelope dry onion-mushroom soup mix
1 Tbspn. paprika
1 tspn. caraway seed
1 cup reduced fat sour cream

*My current Publix provides perfect bite-size beef cubes with little fat. This isn't always true. You may need to buy enough to cut cubes smaller & trim the fat.

In a 4-qt or larger slow cooker, combine all ingredients except sour cream. Mix well. Cover & cook on Low for 8 hours. Turn off cooker; stir in sour cream & serve.

Suggest you have a loaf of crusty bakery bread or perhaps cheese biscuits on hand to serve with the stew.


Sorcerer's Bride is on sale this month - 99¢. For a link to Amazon, click here.

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Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  

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