Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mini Spicy-Cilantro Chicken Empanadas

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Although I am sad to see Winter gone - Spring ain't half bad! With Spring comes longer days, blooming flowers, the smell of fresh Spring air and my favorite - eating outdoors. Oh how I have missed taking in the sights and sounds of Spring while enjoying a delicious meal on our back patio. Whether it's a family meal or an afternoon snack with friends, there is just something about all of us sitting around that patio table that makes life seem momentarily perfect. To kick off this season of awesome produce, baby animals and outdoor eating I decided to whip up some munchies for our little family of 6 to enjoy in the backyard. These Mini Spicy-Cilantro Chicken Empanadas were a perfect bite to savor while enjoying the beginnings of the season in our own yard. To wash down those spicy little treats we sipped on ice-cold refreshing lemonade made-easy with the help of Country Time Lemonade Starters. Talk about a perfect Spring afternoon!

I just recently learned about Country Time Lemonade Starters but I can already tell that they are going to be saving me a ton of time in the upcoming warm months. These lemonade starters help making lemonade both easy and convenient, whether it's a glass or a whole pitcher that I want - just add water and I have a quick, refreshing beverage that my whole family will enjoy! In a perfect world I would always have the time to squeeze lemons and make fresh lemonade, but that just isn't the case. I am loving the idea of keeping a few of these Country Time Lemonade Starters on hand this Spring/Summer for impromptu guests and meals - they really are the perfect solution for a quick beverage that is sure to please.

And of course - I'll also be keeping the recipe for Mini Spicy-Cilantro Chicken Empanadas on-hand to serve during this fabulous time of year! It's a simple recipe that is only made a bit time consuming by the folding of the empanadas, however the quick prep time and bake time make up for that one slow-down. {here is a video to help a little with the folding!} To get started, I processed the "spicy-cilantro" portion of the recipe in a food processor until smooth - then set it aside to allow the flavors of cilantro, chipotle peppers, lime, onion and garlic to mesh together.

Then I prepped the bread portion out of pie crust. That's right! Good ol' store bought frozen pie crust. It's so easy to use!! Just take it out of the pie pan, roll out a touch and cut out circles using a cookie cutter. Put all the scraps together, roll it out and cut out more circles. So easy!

Then fill with spicy-cilantro chicken mixture and fold up, placing on baking pan. Make sure to cut a few slits in the top of each empanada to allow steam to escape and then brush on an egg wash. Bake for about 12 minutes and be ready for taste-bud pleasing Mini Spicy-Cilantro Chicken Empanadas!!

Then serve with your favorite refreshing ice-cold beverage to make sure no one's mouth stays spicy hot for too long. An awesome bite to eat that will leave everyone thinking you spent hours in the kitchen!

Mini Spicy-Cilantro Chicken Empanadas
makes approximately 30 mini empanadas
3 chipotle peppers
1 tablespoon adobo sauce {sauce that peppers are packed in}
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup onion, chopped
10 sprigs cilantro
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 frozen pie crusts, thawed in refrigerator.
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
2 cups chicken, chopped
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1. Process peppers, sauce, garlic, onion, cilantro and lime juice in food processor until smooth. Scrape down sides if needed to ensure texture is smooth. Place in small bowl, cover and place in refrigerator.
2. Carefully remove pie crusts from pans, one at a time. Roll out on flat surface and cut out circles using a 3⅜” circle cookie cutter. Place in empty tin of pie crusts. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes and remove spicy-cilantro mixture.
3. Heat oven to 450.
4. Mix together-spicy cilantro mix, chicken and cheese.
5. Whisk together egg and water to create egg wash.
6. On flat surface, place a pie crust round down. Brush ½ of border with egg wash. Place about a tablespoon {I use a cookie scoop for this part} in middle and fold empanada. {helpful video!} Place on greased baking pan. Repeat until all pie crust rounds have been used. Cut 3 slits in to the top of empanadas and brush on egg wash. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Enjoy! {serve with guacamole and sour cream to help manage the heat!}

I found the Country Time Lemonade Starters in the juice aisle of my local Walmart. Make sure to check out the Kraft Food page at Walmart's site for more delicious products and creative recipe ideas!


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