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Summer Snack #3 Blackberry Ice Pops

Blackberry ice pops

When you’re blessed with lots and lots of fresh blackberries, it’s time to make blackberry ice pops!!

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’cause you’ll need a lot more that just one.

To make approximately 12 pops, use 4-5 cups

Blackberry ice popswash them well

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place them in your blender with sugar and water. If you have a blender like mine,  the berries should probably reach the 5 cup line on your blender.

Blackberry ice popsSet the blender to do it’s job

Blackberry ice popsPour the mixture into you pop molds

Blackberry ice popsOr if you don’t have pop molds….use something less conventional

Blackberry ice pops but, if they’re this small, you’ll need several (or half the recipe)

freeze in molds until solid (5 or more hours)

Blackberry ice popsand then enjoy!!!

Blackberry ice pops

Ingredients:

makes approximately 12 blackberry ice pops

  • 18-24 ounces (4-5 cups) of fresh blackberries
  • 2/3 cup- 3/4 cup sugar depending on berries and preference
  • 1 and 2/3 cups of water (4 cups of berries) or 1 and 3/4 cups of water (5 cups of berries)

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash and pick through your berries. Removing any that may look questionable
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. use a spoon to taste mixture for desired sweetness. Add sugar if needed.
  4. Pour mixture into molds, place lids, and freeze until solid. If you are not using molds, pour mixture into glasses and freeze for about 2 hours. Add Popsicle sticks and then continue freezing until solid.
  5. To enjoy, run the mold/ glass under tepid water for several seconds just until it’s loose enough to remove your ice-pop from its mold.
  6. EAT!!!!

 

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Empanada Dough: Cooking with leftovers

 

chicken empanadasMmmmm…..Empanadas…..made from leftovers!

Empanadas leftovers

The two thing I like best about cooking with leftovers:

  1. The work’s already been started, cutting back on time and effort.
  2. Redemption!!! It you weren’t too thrilled with how something turned out the first time, here’s your chance to cook it up again and make the modifications you feel it needs.

Well, upon wanting to use leftovers from a dinner where I may have over done it on the appetizers, I came across a recipe for empanada dough that I’m quite pleased with. I had to make adjustments due to my need to use what I already had in the fridge,  my unwillingness to  do anymore grocery shopping, and the size/ quantity of the recipe. I’ve noted these adjustment below, in the event that you too need to make some adjustments. The empanada shells came out tender but flaky and buttery. I think it creates a lovely texture and the dough it easy to work with and stretch over your filling.

My left overs this weekend consisted of :

GREEN SALSA and COOKED ONIONS

I had made two kinds of green salsa, one that I clearly liked better than the other. I used the one I favored less for my empanada filling…it seemed like a good alternative to letting it sit sad and alone in the refrigerator as I proceeded to finish the little I had left of my favorite.

Leftover_Chicken_Empanadas-7938

 

COOKED (and under seasoned) SHREDDED CHICKEN

In fear of doing my usual over seasoning, this poor chicken was left with a little less flavor than it deserved. The green salsa and onions really helped it out. Yay! happy marriage.

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CHEESE!!!!!

It’s a pretty big bag for two people. I may need to come up with several creative uses.

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And so….I made dough and then empanadas

 

empanada dough

Empanada Dough adapted from Macheesmo

Makes enough dough for approximately 25 – 4 inch rounds

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter – does not need to be softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup heavy cream (The original recipe calls for milk. All I had was cream. I had a scant cup of heavy cream to which I added a splash of water to complete the 8 0z)

Procedure:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, the flour, the salt, and the seasoning.
  2. cut the butter into large cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, combine the butter into the flour until the texture is that of small crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk and the cream or milk to the flour mixture. Using a spoon or silicone spatula, mix and combine the ingredients until a dough begins to form.  Use your hands to kneed the dough a few times and create a smooth dough. Separate the dough into two equal pieces.
  4. Cover and refrigerate dough while you work on your filling.
  5. When you are ready to make your empanadas, place one piece of dough onto parchment and roll out to 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Using a round cutter cut out your rounds and place them on a baking sheet.
  7. Place your filling onto the center of each round of dough.
  8. Fold the dough over the filling, pinching the edges to create a seal, and forming a half circle shaped hand pie.
  9. Using a fork, press down along the edges of each pie to improve the seal and poke holes on the top of the pie.
  10. Repeat steps 5-9 with the remaining dough
  11. Now you may either freeze or prepare your empanadas for baking.

empanadas

Freezing your empanadas

  1. To freeze your empanadas, place your prepared but uncooked empanadas on a baking sheet, in a single layer.
  2. Place the sheet with the empanadas into the freezer and freeze until firm.
  3. Transfer the frozen empanadas into a freezer bag, for prolonged storage. Write the date on the freezer bag.
  4. Use within a month’s time

 

Baking your empanadas

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Prepared empanadas

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush each empanada with an egg wash (make the egg wash by mixing one egg with a tables spoon of water)
  3. Bake freshly made (unfrozen) empanadas for approximately 25-30 minutes
  4. Bake frozen empanadas for approximately 35 minutes

chicken empanadas

Filling:(if you’re wondering)

For the filling, I just used leftovers. I reheated the chicken with the “salsa verde” aka green salsa, and caramelized onions.

I then set the meat mixture aside to cool for a bit, as I prepared my cheeses.

In a small food processor, I combined fresh mozzarella, low moister (aka regular) mozzarella, and the shredded cotija. I processed the mixture until the cheeses achieved a soft pliable texture of large crumbs. It will first form small crumbs (I didn’t want to use small crumbs of cheese because I thought they would roll off the top of my empanada filling), just keep processing. Then, it will eventually form larger crumbs. And if you process it long enough….you could possibly end up with a big soft cheese ball/ cheese dough. How fun!!! The amount of time it takes to form the larger crumbs, or a cheese dough….depends on the amount of moisture.  If it’s taking too long, just add more fresh mozzarella.

 

Happy Empanada Eating!!!

leftovers empanadas

 

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Summer Snack #2 -Frozen Grapes

frozen grapesWhat’s not to like about frozen grapes in the summer time????

  • They’re like mico-mini Popsicle! But, healthier.
  • They keep you cool on a hot day,
  • They last longer than grapes that aren’t frozen (no more old wasted grapes),
  • And they’re super easy to make….because well….you’re not really making anything. But, it sorta feels like you are!

Yay!!!!! TO GRAPES!!!!!!

grapes

All you need to do is….

  1.  Remove grapes from stems
  2.  Wash the grapes
  3.  Place grapes on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and place the sheet of grapes into the freezer until firm and frozen (This step is optional. Just know, if you skip this step your grapes will stick together while freezing. If you don’t intend on sharing your frozen grapes with anyone, this shouldn’t be an issue.)
  4. Transfer frozen grapes into an airtight container or freezer bag for long term storage.

frozen grapes

summer snack

Happy Summer and happy grape eating!

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Summer Decluttering – The Refrigerator

kitchen organization

I think I do a so-so job of throwing out the old as the weeks and months go by. However, I think even the most organized of us needs to take a couple days a year to go through the Refri and finally throw out those old things you didn’t have a heart to toss.

Well, that’s the chore I gave myself today. HAPPY SUMMER VACATION!!!!

In addition, I treated myself to a couple of refrigerator organizers.

One to put my cheese and small yogurts in (If I lived in a magazine, the container would probably be filled with identical little yogurts or juice boxes all lined up in a row. So pretty. Too bad I live in a world where my purchases aren’t all identical). This handy little container also allows me to pull out my entire cheese collection at once AND….  serves as a partition between the dairy and non-dairy liquids 🙂

kitchen organization

And another, larger one, to put my produce in

Kitchen organizationCreating a nice space for My husband’s sandwich supplies and another for my salsa verde

refrigerator organization

You can find these types of  storage containers at stores like the Container Store or Target. I purchased mine from Target.  They’re a little pricier  than I had hoped they would be. Hopefully they’ll help me stay organized.

Last but not least, I re-purposed a shelf insert from Ikea(originally intended to create more space in the kitchen cabinets). Now it’s a tortilla shelf and egg nook!!!! I just hope it doesn’t rust.

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It may not look like much, but I’m hoping we will have a nice and happily organized refrigerator from here on out.

 

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