Recado Chicken Empanadas Recipe ~ So Flavorful “You Can Taste the Love!”

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Flavorful Recado Chicken Emapanadas

Jane and I have been blessed with an urge to travel. One of our favorite locations is the unbelievably gorgeous country of Belize in Central America. Belizeans know how to make succulent and flavorful stewed chicken rice and beans, empanadas, johnny cakes tostadas, tacos, pupusas, ceviche, burritos, salbutes, fry jacks, garnaches, and so much more!

"The Pupusa Lady"

“The Pupusa Lady”

Each time we go, I swear we spend half our time poking around the markets, looking for local ingredients and products. We visit small restaurants for simple but tasty local food. Most often, there is not line cooks, but a hard working Belizean woman doing the cooking. I always say to Jane, “Let’s go to a little local place where someone’s Mama is in the kitchen”.  I swear I can taste love in the food! ❤

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Jane excitedly waits for our shrimp burritos

After we return from Central America, the one food I miss most and cannot get in Suburban Pennsylvania is authentic zesty recado adobo chicken empanadas. What is better that yummy spicy chicken in homemade flaky pasty? They are the fast food of the gods, in my humble food opinion.

The recipe below is not an exact version of the Belizean empanada, but it is close, and very tasty. The flavor and aroma of these empanadas make me daydream about being in  Belize, where I am drinking a cold cerveza in a beach bar overlooking the Caribbean, my feet in the warm sand, talking to my friends while the music drifts lazily away with the tradewinds. Ahhhhh.

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Ambergris Caye, Belize

 Recado Chicken Empanadas

Makes 12 empanadas  *  Prep Time: 2 hours  *  Cooking Time: 20 minutes

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Perfect Flaky Dough

* Pastry Dough Ingredients: 

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted chilled butter, slice into 1/4 inch pieces

3 egg yolks

1 cup cold beer

* Empanada Dough Method:

  1. Place the flour salt and butter in a 12 inch metal or glass mixing bowl
  2. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to blend the butter into the flour.
  3. Mix the egg yolk together with the beer.
  4. Pour egg/beer into the flour. Work with your fingers to combine to make the dough.
  5. Sprinkle some flour on your work table. Knead the dough on your work table until it is no longer crumbly. Shape into a ball.
  6. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for at least thirty minutes.
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Mmm, Recado Chicken

* Empanada Filling Ingredients: 

2 Tblsp Oil

6 deboned and skinless chicken thighs

2 Tblsp either wheat flour or rice flour

1 small onion and one large green pepper, both diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp Recado , mixed with 1 Tblsp hot water (dissolved the Recado in the water  – or use canned chipotle chilis in Adobo, * see page bottom 

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp ground cloves or allspice

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp hot sauce (I prefer Marie Sharp’s either green or red)

1 tsp fresh lime juice

* Empanada Filling Method:

  1. Place a 14 inch sauté pan, or wok, on a medium flame
  2. Add the oil to the sauté pan. Dust the chicken in the 2 Tblsp flour. Place the chicken the sauté pan.
  3. When the chicken browns on one side, turn it over and do the same on the other side.
  4. Add the onions, peppers and Recado and turn flame to low. Stir all. When the chicken is cooked, remove all to a plate to cool.
  5. Into a clean mixing bowl, add the salt, chili powder, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, hot sauce and lime juice to the cooked chicken, onions and peppers. The filling is done.
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Preparing the chicken filling

* Making and Baking the Empanada

  1. Divide the dough in half (you cannot roll all the dough at one time) Place the dough in your hand and create a disc shape.
  2. Place about 2 Tblsp flour on your work table and place the dough on the flour. Be sure to dust both sides of the dough with flour before rolling the dough. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Using a round cutter that is about 6 inches wide, cut circles. If you do not have a metal cutter that large, use an inverted soup bowl. You should have cut at least 4 to 5 dough circles after rolling the dough
roll and cut the dough

roll and cut the dough

  1. Fill each dough circle with about 1/4 cup chicken filling
  2. Wet the edges of the dough using your finger or a small pastry brush. Fold the dough over the filling to make half moon shapes. Press the edges of the dough to seal. You may use a fork to crimp the edges, or you may crimp by creating folds.
  3. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper, or silicone mat. Using a sharp knife, make a 1/2 inch cut at the top of each empanada to allow the steam to escape when baking.
  4. Brush each empanadas with egg wash
  5. Turn oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat your oven.
  6. Using the other half of your dough, make more empanadas.
  7. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes
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Juicy & Delicious Recado Chicken Empanadas

 And there you have it! Zesty Recado Chicken Empanadas!

These are a great weekend treat any time of year. Our whole family loves them! Hope you decide to give it a try!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

+++ PURCHASE “Red Recado” Here: Buy Red Recado from Belize OR HERE: Buy Recado Rojo +++

* Can substitute the Adobo Sauce in canned Chipotle Chilis OR…

     Make your Own! Here’s a few to check out on the web…

     – Recado Rojo Recipe

     – Recado Rojo Recipe #2

     – Red Chili Adobo Sauce Recipe

* Edited for Additions 11/2/13

Travel Cooking with Bruce ~ Fried Chicken Sandwiches … in Beautiful San Pedro, Belize!

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Tonight we had Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwiches for dinner, and it reminded me of our Chicken Sliders in San Pedro Video.

Fried Chicken Sliders in San Pedro, you ask? San Pedro…In Belize?

Yep. Last year, we made a few impromptu vacation cooking videos –

“Impromptu” meaning Bruce was cooking already, and I picked up my phone and started taping him.

I was just goofing around here, but he actually shows, start to finish, how to coat and fry perfect chicken tenders.

We like our on rolls, but they can also be eaten as is with your favorite dipping sauce (or 3),

or are delicious sliced on top of a spinach salad with our “Easy Honey Mustard Dressing Recipe“,

which I also used as a tangy, juicy spread on our sandwiches tonight!

These are Yummy, and Everyone who eats chicken LOVES them! Hope you give it a try!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Pico de Gallo Verde (Green Salsa) ~ A Bright & Flavorful Tomatillo Chip Dip!

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Pico de Gallo Verde

We try to follow the Chef’s Rule of buying what looks fresh at the market, rather than going in with ideas. This week, the market had glorious looking Tomatillos. They were begging me to put them in my cart.

Here is what Wiki says: “The Tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be several colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Mexican and Central-American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green color and tart flavor are the main culinary contributions of the fruit.”

We don’t use tomatillos very often, but I knew they are used for Salsa Verde. We prefer chunky, hearty dips over thin salsas, so I did a little Google searching until I found what I wanted to make: Pico de Gallo Verde.  The recipe closest to what I had in mind was Foodista’s Fresh & Spice Tomatillo Pico de Gallo. I didn’t quite have the ingredients in their Recipe, so again, I adapted it to what I had on hand. And again, it come out pretty good! Here, I share with you my adapted, easy to prepare:

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Beautiful, Fresh, Natural Ingredients

Pico de Gallo Verde

Prep Time: 30 minutes (20 if you chop veggies faster than I can!)

Makes 2 Meal-Sized, or 4 Appetizer-Sized Servings

Ingredients:

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Finely Chopped Cilantro

5 Ripe Tomatillos

1 medium Plum Tomato

1/4 Green or Red Pepper

1/4 Cup Chopped Onion

1 Clove of Garlic

1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves

Juice of 1 Small Lime

1/4 tsp Lime Zest (optional)

Dash Ground Chili Powder (or small diced jalepeno or serrano pepper, but I didn’t have one)

1/4 tsp White Pepper, AND 1/4 tsp Sugar, AND 1/4-1/2 tsp Salt (or to Taste)

1/2 tsp Green Chili Sauce (we use Marie Sharp’s Green Habanero)

Method:

Dice or chop all vegetables into small, even pieces, to be easily scooped with a chip. Place diced veggies in a mixing bowl. Toss in salt, sugar, white pepper, chili powder (or diced chili), lime and Green Hot Sauce. Mix well. Taste Test, and add a dash more white pepper, salt or hot sauce if needed. (* see note) Mix again. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few hours.

* NOTE: The flavors will all combine, meld, and ‘come up’ in the fridge, so keep that in mind when tasting and adjusting!

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Yum! All mixed up and Ready to Marinate in the Fridge!

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All-Natural & Healthy Snacking Alternatives! 🙂

An hour later, I pulled the mixture out of the fridge

and gave it s stir.

It smelled great!

We were eating ours for lunch,

so I sprinkled some Multi-Grain Chips with

Shredded Cheddar Jack cheese,

placed in the broiler for 3 minutes, and…

 

TAH DAH! Healthy, Fresh, Bright, Light and Full of Flavor “Pico de Gallo Verde” with Multi Grain Nachos!

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Delicious Pico de Gallo Verde Nachos

I thought this would just be a ho-hum meal, but it was anything but! It was a tasty and satisfying lunch.

Best of all, we feel so good after eating fresh, raw foods like this. Hope you decide to give it a try.

Cheers, and Happy Eating! 

The Tomatillo

The Tomatillo

~ Our Pico de Gallo Verde Recipe was based on the original recipe found here:  http://www.foodista.com/recipe/23YW8QDM/fresh-and-spicy-tomatillo-pico-de-gallo

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Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter ‘Love Bites’ ~ A Sinfully Scrumptious All Natural Treat!

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Scrumptious Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Last night, I was craving a decadent sugary treat. Specifically, I wanted peanut butter cups. For the past two years, we no longer buy processed candies or junk foods.  Time to get creative. I know I have [organic] Peanut Butter in the cupboard, and a bag of [all natural] chocolate chips, and I’m pretty sure I have some [organic] powdered sugar left. A little creative thinking, an idea that led to a better idea, and two or three Google searches later…I decided to make all-natural Frozen Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bites! That should fit my craving bill!

I looked at a few recipes on Google. One had WAY too much butter! Two called for wax for the coating. Several called for hydrogenated candy melts. No, no and no! I wanted Natural Ingredients. So again getting creative, I took the best parts of the recipes I read, and made my own. And you know what? They came out pretty good!  As usual, it was not hard. They are similar to our Chocolate Butter Creams Recipe. If I can make these, so can you. It just takes desire and a little time – or what i call “Putting Love Into It”. Well, enough about that…Let’s Get Cooking!

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Mmmm, Love Bites!

Frozen Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter ‘Love Bites’

Total Prep Time, Start to Eating: 1 hour

2 TBSP Butter, Softened

1 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 tsp Real Vanilla Extract

1 1/4 Cups Chocolate Chips

Baking sheet, lined with lightly buttered waxed paper

Cream 2 tbsp softened butter with the peanut butter & powdered sugar. I used a small processor, but it can also be done by hand. Taste mixture, and if desired, add a little more sugar, vanilla or pb to your personal liking. The mixture should not be too loose to handle.

Roll mixture into 3/4″ balls, or drop by half spoons, onto buttered waxed paper lined sheet. Place PB Balls in freezer for 10 min.

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Heat 1 cup of choc chips on double boiler (or in microwave) till not quite melted.  

Remove from heat & stir until fully melted. Add 1/4 cup more chips, and stir till melted again.

Remove pb bites from freezer, and dip in – or spoon chocolate over – till all are covered.

 Freeze again for 15 more minutes… and they are READY!

They melt quickly so eat them immediately. Store any remaining Bites in the freezer. They are even better the next day. 🙂

I made this recipe by combining others to making my own liking. Everyone’s taste is different, and you can feel free to adjust yours to your own tastes. Try topping with chopped nuts or toasted coconut. I find that making my own treats feels rewarding, rather than cheating.

Smooth Creaminess Enveloped in Decadent Chocolate

These are Really delicious, and would be a fun recipe to do with kids. Hope you decide to give this recipe a try!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Asian Pear, Ginger and Vanilla Bean Jam ~ The Most Favorful Jam, Ever!

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ELEGANT ASIAN PEAR, HAWAIIAN GINGER AND BALI VANILLA JAM

Today I am Re-Posting this Pear, Ginger & Vanilla Bean Jam Recipe for you.

Why?

Because it was AHHH-Flippin’-MAZING! We just finished ours up, and I am already pining for more.

While simple to make, it is by far the best tasting jam we’ve ever made. If I paid $10 for a li’l jar at a specialty shoppe, we’d say “Wow! The gourmet quality and exquisite taste was worth it.” BUT… why pay $10? It’s not at all hard, nor messy.

Go get some pears (any kind will work) and ginger, and Make This! I am totally going to again, asap!

Use a pretty jar, make a cute label, tie on a decorative bow, and THIS is would make a fabulous Home Made Christmas Gift Idea for your ‘Foodie Besties’. I bet they will love you for it! ♥

So, without further adieu, An Encore Presentation of our Highly Endorsed and Recommended

Pear, Ginger & Vanilla Jam!

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It’s Apple & Pear Season here in Southeast Pennsylvania. Bruce bought some Local Asian Pears at a nearby farm market yesterday, but was not sure what to make with them. I suggested a jam, and he was all in.

I open the fridge to see the AMAZING looking “Hawaiian Ginger” grown by another nearby farm we frequent. It was probably picked just days ago. Asian Pear and Hawaiian Ginger. That sounds good. I went in the pantry to grab the sugar, and remembered I had a few Organic Vanilla Beans left from our trip to Bali. Asian Pear, Hawaiian Ginger and Bali Vanilla? Now, THAT Sounds FANTASTIC! So, Let’s Get Cooking!

 

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Heating the Pears and Sugar

Asian Pear, Hawaiian Ginger and Bali Vanilla Jam Recipe

Cook & Prep Time: 45 Minutes   *   Makes 2 Cups of Jam

* Ingredients:

Image4 Cups of Diced Asian or Regular Pears

2 Cups of Sugar (we use Organic)

1/4 Cup Water

1 Tbsp Grated Fresh Ginger (peeled) + 1 small chunk

1 Real Vanilla Bean, Split (or 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract)

Clean Jar with Tight Fitting Lid

* Method: 

Place diced pear, sugar and water in saucepot, over medium low heat.

Stir until sugar starts to dissolve. Add the grated ginger to the pot; stir. Toss the small chunk in too. Make sure it is large enough to find later!

Cut vanilla bean in half width-wise. Then, starting one inch from end, cut each half again lengthwise, splitting the bean into a V-shape.

Add the 2 split bean halves to the pot. You will see the tiny black seeds come out. Simmer on a low boil, stirring often. It will begin to smell AMAZING.

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CUT REAL VANILLA BEANS LENGTHWISE TO EXPOSE SEEDS

Jam will foam up, then begin to reduce.

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Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove Vanilla Pod Halves (* see note) and Ginger Chunk.

Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and reduces by about half.

This should take about 15 additional minutes, or 30 minutes total reducing time .

Remove from heat, and set aside for 5 minutes.

That’s It! It’s Done!

Spoon warm Jam into the clean Jar.

Place jar in the fridge, but leave the lid off overnight to avoid condensation.

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OOOH, SWEET,GOOEY AND FULL OF VANILLA SEEDS!

Cover tightly with lid the next morning.

Assuming you don’t polish it off in a few days, the Jam should keep in fridge for several weeks.

‘DELICIOUS ASIAN PEAR, GINGER AND VANILLA BEAN JAM’

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This Jam is light, delicious and complex. We hope you decide to give it a try.

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

“What’s For Dinner?”

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Seared & Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Shiitakes, Onions, Garlic & Pineapple

Bruce finishes the last sip of his Starr Hill Brewery Pils after a very busy work day and says “Ok, I’m going down to make dinner.”

Me: “What are we having?” Him: “I don’t know.”

~ I’m hungry, and whatever it is he’s making suuure is starting to smell good. My belly is rumbling!

I could not wait. I had to go downstairs to see What was Cookin’.

Seared & Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Shiitakes, Onions, Garlic & Pineapple served with Pan Fried Herb Red Potatoes in pan juices, Local Apple and Spring Mix & Bok Choy Salad. Not bad for an “I don’t know” [what I’m making for dinner] dinner!