Meat Filled Piroshki

Meat Filled Piroshki

For years now I usually write about travel on my Wednesday articles.  Lately due to the worldwide Pandemic travel has become difficult and many times ill advised.

Many of us have chosen to stay home this summer perhaps planning our next trip whenever we feel safe enough to venture further away from home.  In our case I’m not really sure when that will be, specially since cruising is one of our favorite vacation travel.  Sadly the cruising industry has canceled cruises thru September and will likely cancel cruises thru fall and possibly the rest of the year.

Yes we’re sad and even restless.  We haven’t been able to visit our daughter and her family in Italy since last fall.  And yes we miss traveling.  That’s why I’ve been trying to bring a little bit of our travels in to our home.  What better way to “re-live” some of our favorite vacation spots than thru food.  I’ve decided to share some of our favorite cuisine which we discovered during our travels.  Because isn’t food a big part of traveling anyway?

So for the next little while on my Wednesday post I’ll share a recipe for a favorite food we discovered during our travels.  I hope it will inspire you to try something different and maybe make plans to visit one of the countries!

Today I’ll share this Piroshki recipe.  Piroshkis are very similar to American meat pies, British Pasties, Middle Eastern Fatayer,  and even Empanadas from Mexico, Spain, and other Latin countries.

Piroshkis are a popular street or comfort food in Russia and the Ukraine.  They’re fried or baked oblong buns (I prefer the fried) filled with a variety of fillings including beef, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and cheese.  In Russia they’re considered a main course when eaten with a soup or salad.  It’s often served with sour cream.

Today I’ll share a recipe for Beef or Chicken filled Piroshkis.  They’re not too difficult to make and if you’re not used to working with yeast breads this is a fine recipe to start with as it’s fairly simple.

Meat Filled Piroshkis

Ingredients for the dough:

4 cups flour

1 Tsp. Active dry yeast

1/4 Cup warm water

1 Cup Milk

3 Eggs

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Tsp. Salt

Filling Ingredients:

1 Lb. Ground Beef, Turkey, or Chicken

1 Large Onion very finely chopped

1/2 Cup Mushrooms very finely chopped

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Pepper

2 Tbs. Fresh Dill

1 Tsp. Dried Dill

1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic – minced

Oil for frying

Directions:

First prepare dough as follows:

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and place in a warm place until it’s frothy – about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan on low heat pour in milk and let warm up.

Whisk in the eggs, oil, sugar, and salt.  This mixture will be warm and lumpy.

Remove from heat.

Place 1/2 of flour in bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand).  Using the dough hook gradually stir in the milk mixture until fully combined.

Alternately add yeast mixture and rest of the flour, be sure you mix well between additions.

Mix well.

Knead until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to sides of bowl.  You may have to add some more flour (1 Tbs. spoon at a time) to get the dough to the proper consistency.

Cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. About 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

When dough has doubled in size place the ball into a lightly floured surface.

Pinch of pieces of dough to form a ball about 2″.

Flatten dough and using a rolling pin roll each ball into disks about 4″ in diameter.

Place a heaping Tbs. of filling in the center of dough.  Form filling into a line across the diameter.  Fold dough over meat and pinch both ends to seal.

Place filled piroshki on to a sheet with the seam side down and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat enough oil in a pan deep enough so that the piroshkis will be at least halfway immersed in oil.

Place piroshki in hot oil seam side down.  Fry until golden brown.

Gently flip over and fry other side.

Drain cooked piroshki on paper towels before serving.

Meat Filled Piroshki
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Pretzel Bites

Pretzel Bites

I love pretzels in any shape or form, what I’m not too thrilled about is the price of pretzels at the mall or the re-heated frozen pretzels they sell for a ridiculous price at the movie theaters.  That’s why I’ve been making my own pretzels for the past year or so.

In the beginning I thought pretzels were really hard to make at home.  The Alkaline Water Bath that gives pretzels that unique pretzel flavor and signature chewy crust seemed daunting.  So to avoid a procedure I thought would be messy and difficult I first made pretzels that didn’t require this dipping process.  Those pretzels were very good and seriously really easy to make!  Instead of the Alkaline Water Bath these pretzels were brushed with egg wash which gave them a shiny surface.  Click here for that no bath basic pretzel recipe!

My family really loves those pretzels which I switch up with different flavors including a Cheesy Garlic Pretzel and a cinnamon sugar one. But delicious as they are they lack that true pretzel texture and flavor.  So I decided what the heck, let me try to make “real” pretzels.  I didn’t want to be too ambitious, I seriously thought the bath dip was very difficult, so I figured I’d start with Pretzel Bites.  Dipping small pieces of dough had to be easier and less messy than dipping and entire pretzel!

Once I got the Alkaline Water Bath going, which by the way is just a fancy name for a Baking Soda dip, I discovered this step was pretty easy.  And believe me the end results were so worth the extra effort!  The Pretzel Bites turned out EXACTLY like the ones sold at the mall!  My homemade Pretzel Bites had the same flavor and texture; they’re crust has a bit of crunch when you bite it yet it’s chewy too.  In short they were perfect.  My grandsons love them!

So next time you have a yen for Pretzel Bites don’t run to the mall just whip up a batch at home!  Believe me you won’t regret it.  Here’s the recipe!

Pretzel Bites

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Tsp. Yeast

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Tbs. Butter, melted

2 Tsp. Brown Sugar

1 Cup Warm Water

Kosher or Coarse Salt for the topping

2/3 cup Baking Soda in 10 Cups water for the Bath

Directions:

Mix together flour, yeast, 1 Tbs. of the melted butter, brown sugar, and water. If using a stand mixer use the dough hook attachment to mix.

Once the ingredients are well combined knead with dough hook for about 5 minutes or by hand for 12 minutes.

Dough should be very soft and smooth but not sticky.  If too sticky add more flour 1 Tbs. at a time until it’s no longer sticky.  If the dough is too dry add more warm water 1 Tbs. at a time until it’s soft and smooth.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.  Let rise until it’s doubled in size, about 30-60 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine baking soda and water for the bath in a large pot and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile punch down dough and divide into 10 equal pieces.

Let rest for 5 minutes uncovered.

Roll each piece into long rope on a lightly floured surface.

Cut each rope into 1″ pieces.

Drop pieces into boiling baking soda bath 2-3 pieces at a time.  make sure they aren’t crowded together or at sticking to each other.

Let dough sit in the baking soda bath until they float.

Remove each floating dough piece from baking soda bath and place on baking sheet about 1/2′ apart.

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve either by themselves (they’re delicious) or with your favorite dipping sauce like mustard, cheese, marinara sauce or ranch.

 

 

 

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Ham & Cheese Sliders

Ham & Cheese Sliders

Looking for something fun and simple to make for lunch this summer?  Something the kids and adults will love?  How about these Ham & Cheese Sliders?

These Ham & Cheese Sliders are super easy to make and they’re great for lunch, snacks, and even potlucks.  We serve them during pool parties, the kids and adults love them.  Best of all they’re very easy to make and can be prepped ahead of time.  Just pop them in the oven about half an hour before serving.  They’re great hot or cold.

Here’s what you need to make them!  I’m sure your family will love them as much as mine does.  The kids usually fight over the left overs!

By the way you can use  ham or if you prefer turkey or turkey ham.  I use King’s Bakery Hawaiian Sweet Rolls but if you can’t find them any kind of sweet dinner rolls will work.  I also use the ham and cheese I have sliced at the deli, I like the slices a bit thicker; but you can use the packed have you find at your grocer’s refrigerated case like Oscar Mayer or whatever brand you prefer.  I use Munster Cheese because it melts well and has a mild flavor everyone enjoys, but you can use whatever cheese you like.

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Ham & Cheese Sliders

2 Package King’s Bakery Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

1 Lb.  Sliced Ham

1 Lb. Sliced Munster Cheese or your preferred cheese

1/2 Stick Melted Butter

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tbl. Chopped fresh parsley

Cooking spray

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Cut dinner rolls in half horizontally.

Place bottom of rolls tightly against each other in the pan, you should be able to fit 36 rolls.

Cut Ham and Cheese slices into squares about the same size as the rolls.

Place 2-3 slices of ham and 2-3 slices of cheese on each roll.

Place Roll tops on the cheese filling.

Mix garlic powder and parsley into melted butter.

Brush butter mixture on the rolls.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve hot or cold.


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Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels – Easy Finger Food

Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels – Easy Finger Food

Looking for something simple, light, and tasty for lunch?  These no cook Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels are a hit with kids and adults alike.  They’re easy to make, require absolutely zero cooking skills, and are really good.

We used to buy them by the tray at Costco.  We all loved them and they were always a big hit at potlucks.  But it seems the price went up on a try, either that or I finally paid attention to the price.  Whatever the case may be $40 for a tray of something we can easily make at home seemed a bit steep.

So we’ve been making these pinwheels at home.  I’ve actually had my grandsons making them.  They put them together and I slice them.  We recently hosted a pool party in our backyard and these Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels were on the menu.  The kids had some for lunch and snacked on the rest all afternoon.

These Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels are ideal for lunch, snacks, as appetizers, and for potlucks.  Best of all  you can whip a tray up in no time!  Here’s what you need to make them.  Feel free to adjust the amounts needed to suit your needs.

Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels

Ingredients:

1 Pkg. 10″ Flour Tortillas (or you can use Spinach Tortillas)

1 Container Strawberry Flavored Cream Cheese Spread

1 Lb. Sliced Turkey Breast (I like to use the roasted turkey breasts from the deli, I have them sliced a little thicker, but you can use any brand of pre-packaged Turkey Breast)

1 Lb. Sliced Swiss Cheese

Lettuce Leaves (I use the Mizuna lettuce I grow in my garden because they are flat, but you can use any type of lettuce or even spinach leaves)

Directions:

Spread cream cheese evenly on a tortilla.  Spread to about 1/4′ from the edge.

Place turkey slices on top of cream cheese, you will need more than 1 slice to fill the surface of the tortilla.

Place Cheese over the turkey slices.

Gently flatten lettuce leaves and place on top of the cheese.

Roll the tortilla jelly roll style.  Make sure you roll the tortilla tightly so that it won’t unravel when you slice it.

Seal seam to the roll with a dab of cream cheese to keep it from unrolling.

Slice off both ends of the roll.  Slice it so that both ends are straight and show the filling.

Slice the roll from left to right making sure each slice is about 1″ wide.  You should get about 6 slices.

Place pinwheel slices on serving platter and repeat process until you have enough pinwheels for your needs.

If you have leftovers you can store them in the fridge in airtight containers.

Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels - Easy Finger Food
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Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

I love roast chicken but many times we can’t finish a whole one and end up with chicken that won’t quite be enough for another meal but a shame to waste.  That’s when I make Chicken Salad.

I use the left over chicken meat from my Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken to make this delicious Chicken Salad. It’s very tasty because the left over chicken is very tasty, and it’s a great way to avoid waste and make use of leftovers.  You can make Chicken salad with any type of roast chicken including the rotisserie chicken you buy at Costco and Sam’s Club.

Chicken Salad is a great idea for lunch or tea.  You can serve it with greens for a light lunch, use it to fill your favorite bread or tortilla to make a sandwich or wrap, or use it to make those cute tea sandwiches for a tea party.  I adore tea parties!

Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

Left over roast chicken – diced

1/2 to 1 Cup Mayonaise depending on how much chicken you have – remember the more mayo you use the creamier your salad will be.

1/4 Cup Fresh Dill chopped

1 Tbs. Dried Dill

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix very well.

Make sure the herbs and spices are evenly distributed and the chicken and mayo are mixed together well.

Use a scoop over salad greens for a light lunch salad; or as a sandwich or wrap filling.

Store in airtight container in the fridge.  It will store for about 2-3 days.

Chicken Salad
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Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

Mango, the king of fruit as it’s known in many parts of the world, is not high in calories and is an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin A, and potassium.  It’s also very delicious!

Now that we are in peak mango season my husband has been bringing home loads of this sweet juicy fruit.  We love them fresh but also love to make them into different desserts.  This year’s bumper crop has allowed me to whip up all the recipes my family loves and create a few new ones.

This Mango Cream Cheese Dessert is a long time family fave!  I got the recipe years ago from a cookbook my aunt gave me.  It’s one of those loosely bound cookbooks the local churches publish every so often to sell in a fund raiser, it contained a compilation of their members’ favorite recipes.  This cookbook was published in 1985.  My cherished copy is in poor condition, missing it’s covers, grease stained, fading, and taped up; it’s moved with me from Hawaii to Texas and back twice!  Old as it is the recipes are still our favorites.

This dessert takes a bit longer to make as it is made in 3 layers and can take all day, you have to wait for the crust too cool and the layers to set.  I tweaked it a bit to make it a bit simpler.  It is definitely worth the effort!  You end up with a refreshing creamy dessert on a cookie crust that is perfect for summer barbecues or any other time!

I make it in a 9″ x 13″ pan, the number of servings will depend on the size you cut it, in my house that means it will barely serve 6.  Whenever I make this it never stays in the fridge for more than a day or two, it’s that good!

If you can’t find fresh mango you can use peaches or your favorite fruit, just change the jello flavor to compliment the fruit.

Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

3/4 butter – softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

3 boxes (3 oz. size) lemon jello

4  cups boiling water (divided into 1 cup & 3 cups)

1  8oz. cream cheese – softened

1 cup sugar

1  8oz. container cool whip – thawed

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water at room temp.

4 cups sliced mangoes (about 3 medium sized mangoes)

Directions:

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

Crust:

1.  Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour in large mixing bowl until it is crumbly.

2.  Press into 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Be sure you get it all the way to the sides and into the corners or the other layers will seep under the crust and you will end up with an upside down mess.  (It will still take great, but will look unappetizing)

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely before proceeding to the 1st. layer.

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

1st. Layer:

Before you start this layer dissolve 1 box of lemon jello in 1 cup of boiling water.  Let cool completely to room temperature.  Stir every so often to keep it from hardening.

1.  Beat cream cheese with sugar.  Fold in Cool Whip.

2.  Slowly pour COOLED jello into the cream cheese mixture.

3.  Gently stir the jello/cream cheese mixture.  It will be a bit loose with a few clumps but that’s ok.

4.  Pour into the crust.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 -3 hours.

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

2nd. Layer:

Before you start the next layer dissolve 2 boxes of jello in 3 cups boiling water; soften unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup water at room temp.; add softened gelatin to jello until dissolved.  Let cool completely to room temperature.  Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from setting.

1.  Arrange sliced mangoes on top of 1st. layer.  It doesn’t have to look neat as the fruit may float when you pour the jello over it.

2.  Pour COOLED jello mixture over mangoes.  BE SURE your jello is completely COOLED before pouring over the mangoes!!  If the jello is hot or warm it will dissolve the cream cheese mixture and you will have a mess on your hands.   Refrigerate until firm, I usually leave it overnight.

Cut into desired size and serve.  Lifting the first piece out of the pan is the hardest part, be sure you cut clean thru to the crust and use a cake server to get under the crust and lift the whole piece out.
My first piece usually falls apart so I use it to “taste” the dessert.  Once you get that first piece out the rest is easy, just remember to cut thru to the crust every time.

This dessert will keep in the fridge for several days, that is if you can refrain from snacking on it.  At my house this dessert rarely lasts more than a day!


Mango Cream Cheese Dessert
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Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Mango Cream Cheese Dessert
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Squares
Instructions
Crust
  1. Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour in large mixing bowl until it is crumbly.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  2. Press into 9" x 13" baking pan. Be sure you get it all the way to the sides and into the corners or the other layers will seep under the crust and you will end up with an upside down mess. (It will still take great, but will look unappetizing)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before proceeding to the 1st. layer.
    Mango Cream Cheese
1st. Layer
  1. Before you start this layer dissolve 1 box of lemon jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Let cool completely to room temperature. Stir every so often to keep it from hardening.
  2. Beat cream cheese with sugar. Fold in Cool Whip.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  3. Slowly pour COOLED jello into the cream cheese mixture.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  4. Gently stir the jello/cream cheese mixture. It will be a bit loose with a few clumps but that's ok.
  5. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 -3 hours.
2nd. Layer
  1. Before you start the next layer dissolve 2 boxes of jello in 3 cups boiling water; soften unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup water at room temp.; add softened gelatin to jello until dissolved. Let cool completely to room temperature. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from setting.
  2. Arrange sliced mangoes on top of 1st. layer. It doesn't have to look neat as the fruit may float when you pour the jello over it.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  3. Pour COOLED jello mixture over mangoes. BE SURE your jello is completely COOLED before pouring over the mangoes!! If the jello is hot or warm it will dissolve the cream cheese mixture and you will have a mess on your hands. Refrigerate until firm, I usually leave it overnight.
  4. Cut into desired size and serve. Lifting the first piece out of the pan is the hardest part, be sure you cut clean thru to the crust and use a cake server to get under the crust and lift the whole piece out. My first piece usually falls apart so I use it to "taste" the dessert. Once you get that first piece out the rest is easy, just remember to cut thru to the crust every time.
Recipe Notes

This dessert will keep in the fridge for several days, that is if you can refrain from snacking on it. At my house this dessert rarely lasts more than a day!

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