Plated + Served: Fast Chimichurri Beef Empanadas


Empanadas are the world’s go-to fast food: a baked or fried hand-held pastry that can be stuffed with anything you might ever want to eat (and probably some things you wouldn’t).

In Afghanistan they’re called bolani and filled with veggies. In Malaysia, epok epok is sometimes stuffed with canned sardines. Curaçao’s pastechis have a Gouda cheese filling, while in Ghana, they’re simply called meat pies and made with corned beef.

Making empanadas are truly a labor of love because the dough is usually homemade, which takes a little bit of time. When I’m in a hurry, I get a little help and use pre-made empanada dough, which you can find in the frozen-food aisle of almost any ethnic or specialty grocery store.

Using the premade dough really DOES make these a fast food…

Chimichurri Beef Empanadas



Plated + Served: On the Seventh Day of Christmas…


How about Seven Swans a-swimming in chocolate sauce?

Oh, and they’re filled with little scoops of vanilla ice cream rolled in coconut.

This is the kind of dessert that, when you bring it to the table, everyone is dumbfounded that YOU actually made it.

Honestly, making this recipe isn’t that difficult. The hard part is convincing yourself that the swans don’t have to be perfect.

Come to think of it… as we head into a new year, that’s a pretty good lesson for all of us!




Plated + Served: Puff-Pastry Straws


Here’s a fun and familiar recipe for your weekend celebration.

But first, a question: Are Puff-Pastry Straws a light snack to enjoy before dinner? Or do you serve them with the meal as the bread pairing?

Regardless, this Puff-Pastry Straw recipe is so easy to make you should enlist one of the older kids (or a volunteer) to do the honors. (I will admit that these directions are very detailed because Mama ALWAYS has issues making any kind of bread and I want to spare you that pain.)

But who ever is tasked with making the Straws, you might ask them to double the recipe… everyone seems to devour these right out of the oven, before they ever get to the dinner table!



I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: