Baker’s Delight: Kazakh Cheese Pastries

These savory pastries would be perfect for brunch or a snack or a dinner or any time. They are seriously delicious! They were a hit with children and adults alike. The buttery, flaky crust with the creamy cheese filling was pretty much perfect. I’m think these may be added to the Easter brunch menu this year.

adapted from Cooking for Kaz: Meals for Hope, Volume 2
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1 ½ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cream of tartar
8 Tb. butter
¼ c. ice water

Place flour, salt, cream of tartar, and butter in a food processor, Blend until texture is coarse and add water. Blend just until the mixture is combined and begins to mass together (add more water if needed). Place on plastic wrap, flatten to disk and wrap airtight. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out 24 circles with 3 inch water glass or biscuit cutter. Pleat edges of circles and fit in bottom of muffin tins. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cheese filling:
1 egg
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp & 3-cheese blend)
3 T. grated parmesan cheese
2 Tb. parsley, chopped
2 T. chives, chopped

Beat egg in bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Spoon 2-3 tsp. filling in each pastry shell; spread level. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the filling is golden brown. Cool on rack and serve warm.

*These could be made ahead, refrigerated and warmed in the oven.

Simple Supper: Meatballs for the Freezer

It’s always nice to have something in the freezer that can be pulled out and turned into dinner quickly. Meatballs are a great option to have stashed in your freezer. You can make a big batch at once and freeze them in dinner-sized portions. And, you don’t need to limit yourself to spaghetti and meatballs when you do pull them out. Think beyond spaghetti sauce to sweet and sour meatballs with stir-fried peppers over rice, meatball sandwiches, meatballs in brown gravy over mashed potatoes, barbecue meatballs, meatball stroganoff, and meatballs tossed with pasta, cheese and roasted veg.

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1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (to make gluten-free use gluten-free oatmeal or crumbs made from gluten-free bread)
3 Tbsp. dried minced onion (or you can use 1/4-1/2 cup fresh minced onion)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. This is usually best done with your hands. I often make 3-5 pounds of meat at once, just multiplying each ingredient by whatever number of pounds of ground beef I have.

Line baking sheets with foil and place meatballs on top. I use a cookie scoop to scoop out one to one and a half inch meatballs. Bake the meatballs at 350F for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool. Freeze or enjoy right away.

I usually plan on a pound of ground beef per meatball meal for my family of 6.