Beef Empanada (from

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings:4 servings

1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces diced green chiles
4 ounces diced pimento peppers
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or Mexican blend
2 refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, whisked
Guacamole, for serving


Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.
Unroll pie crusts on a clean, flat surface. Use a 3-inch round pastry cutter to cut circles from the dough. (If desired, combine scraps, roll out, and cut again.)
In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef.
Stir in onions, cumin, chili powder, salt, green chiles, and pimento peppers. Saute 2-3 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, followed by the cheese. Remove from heat.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture into the center of each pie crust circle.
Fold dough over and use a fork to seal the dough all along the curved edge.
Arrange in a single layer, not touching, on prepared baking sheet. Brush empanadas with egg wash.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool slightly before serving with guacamole.

Chinese Almond Cookies (from:

makes about 5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup Crisco shortening (Crisco really is the best brand for this but if you cannot find it, just any shortening will do, and don’t substitute with butter or you will not get the texture right)
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola but any vegetable oil will do)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180 C).
2. Sift flour, salt and baking soda (sometimes I get lazy and don’t do this step but it does help the cookie bake up better).
3. Combine all the ingredients and mix until it forms a dough.
4. Roll the dough into balls about the size of large marbles
5. Place them on cookie sheets about one and a half inches apart.
6. Indent the center of the cookie using the back of a chopstick that has been dipped into red food coloring. Press down about halfway through the thickness of the cookie. Alternately, you can put a half slice of almond in the center in place of the red food coloring.
7. Bake 10-15 minutes until the cookies are just lightly golden brown around the edges.
8. Transfer to wire rack and cool.

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls (from:

Prep 5 min
Total 15 min
Servings 8

1 (8 ounce) can of refrigerated crescent roll dough
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar together and mix well. Place the unrolled crescent rolls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread about a 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each triangle and sprinkle with an even layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Roll from the bottom of the triangle to the point. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

Cheese Fondue (from:

For the fondue:
1/3 pound firm alpine-style cheese such as gruyere
1/3 pound fontina
1/3 pound gouda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Assorted fondue dippers:

Boiled baby new potatoes in their skins quartered if large
Lightly steamed broccoli florets
Lightly steamed cauliflower florets
Lightly steamed asparagus
Button mushrooms wiped clean and stems removed
Cherry tomatoes
Sliced firm apples such as Granny Smith
Cooked sliced hot sausage
Cubed French, sourdough, and/or pumpernickel bread

Grate all of the cheeses. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses with the cornstarch, tossing thoroughly to coat all pieces.
In a stove-safe fondue pot or large heavy saucepan, bring the wine, garlic, and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheeses to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, mustard, and nutmeg.
Arrange an assortment of bite-size dipping foods on a platter. If necessary, carefully pour the fondue into a fondue pot. Serve with fondue forks or wooden skewers. Dip and enjoy!

Pepperoni Grilled Cheese (from:

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 slices white bread
12 slices low-moisture mozzarella cheese
24 slices pepperoni

Mash the butter with the Parmesan, garlic, parsley and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
On a work surface, lay out 4 slices bread. Top each piece of bread with 2 slices mozzarella, 6 slices pepperoni, 1 more slice mozzarella and another slice of bread. Spread some of the herb butter on each sandwich.
In a large nonstick skillet, cook the sandwiches in batches as needed over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Season with salt.

Licorice Caramels (from:

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon anise extract
black paste food coloring


Line a 9×9-inch dish with buttered foil.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugar, milk, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue to heat, without stirring, to 242 to 248°F (116 to 120 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a firm but pliable ball. Remove from heat and stir in anise and food coloring. Pour into prepared pan. Let cool completely, several hours.

To cut, turn out of pan and peel away foil. Cut with a buttered knife. Wrap pieces in waxed paper or candy wrappers.