Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!

I love chicken empanadas.  I can't get enough of them, but I know they aren't that good for me.  That is why I was thrilled when I found a less fattening recipe at the Short Stop blog complete with an awesome tutorial!!  Her pics are a lot better than mine and you'll love her story to go along with the recipe, so check it out!  I believe Paula Deen, the southern queen, has a recipe like this as well.

You'll get a lot of these little devils, but you can bake and freeze them.  They reheat easily in a 400 degree for 8-10 minutes.  I can make and freeze them a week or two ahead for a dinner party, freeing up a lot of time on the day of the party.  The other great thing is that you can use whatever kind of ingredients you can imagine.  Fill them with chicken, cream cheese, ranch dressing mix , bacon, green onions and cheddar or use chicken, cream cheese, italian dressing mix, olives, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and mozarella or parmesan cheese...

It takes a little practice to get the knack of shaping the empanadas, but once you do, they're pretty simple.  You'll just have to eat the ugly ones yourself to hide the evidence.  ;)  The main trick is to roll them pretty thin so that you can taste more than just the pie crust.  Not that there's anything wrong with eating pie crust... hehehe, but you'll want to taste that filling you've spent all that time making!

Serve these as an appetizer with queso or with my Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup.

2 cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped (2 1/2 - 3 cups)
8 oz Mexican blend cheese, shredded
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup bell pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup onion, finely diced or 1 tsp onion powder
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 (15 oz) pkgs refrigerated pie crusts
  1. Mix all ingredients except pie crust in a medium bowl with hands or spatula.
  2. Unroll pie crust and roll until it's about 14 inches in diameter. You need it to be thin so that you can taste the filling.  Otherwise, it will just taste like a mouthful of crust. 
  3. Use a large round cookie cutter- at least 4 inches and make your cuts.  Fill with a heaping tablespoon of chicken mixture.  Be careful not to overfill or the filling will ooze out and stick to your pan.
  4. Dip your fingertip in water and wet the edges of the dough.  Fold dough over and seal the edges with a fork.  Make sure you seal them tightly so they would come apart.  
  5. Reroll your scraps of dough and start over.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Cool on a wire rack.
Source:  Adapted from Short Stop's Chicken Empanadas Ole'


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