Chef’s Corner Recipes – week 2

During week 2 in Chef Corner at Camp Riverbend we made pocket foods. What do we mean by pocket foods? Why a pocket of dough filled with something delicious, of course! Many cultures across the world have foods that are portable and what could be called pockets. From dumplings to pierogies to gyoza to meat patties, they are to be found everywhere.

The majority of our campers made guava cheese empanadas. This recipe is courtesy of Food Network Magazine.

Empanadas waiting for the hot oil.

Empanadas waiting for the hot oil.

Guava Empanadas

makes 10 pastries


  • 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 large egg (for those with egg allergies, we just omitted the egg)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3/4 cup guava paste (check the Goya section)
  • 1 14-ounce package frozen empanada wrappers, thawed (we used Goya)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


Pulse the cream cheese, egg, sugar, lime zest and lime juice in a food
processor until smooth. Put 1 tablespoon guava paste in the center of each empanada wrapper, then top with 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges with a fork to seal. Our plastic forks kept breaking while doing this, so we switched to pressing close and folding over the edges with our fingers.

Heat about 11/2 inches vegetable oil in a wide saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the empanadas until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Return the oil to 350 degrees F between batches. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  You can also try baking them!

Finished guava cheese empanada

Finished guava cheese empanada

Our Super Choice campers also made a variation of Japanese Gyoza on Wednesday.


A wonton wrapper waiting to be folded.

A wonton wrapper waiting to be folded.

Substitutions: verify that soy sauce and rice wrappers are gluten free OR make as a dip to be eaten with GF crackers. Substitute olive/canola oil for sesame oil. Omit meat for vegetarian option.

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (we omitted due to allergy concern)
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (10 ounce) package wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • grated ginger (optional)


What the finished gyoza looked like.

What the finished gyoza looked like.

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Mix in cabbage, onion, garlic and carrot. Cook and stir until cabbage is limp. Mix in ground turkey and egg. Cook until turkey is evenly brown and egg is no longer runny.
  2. Preheat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the cabbage and pork mixture in the center of each wrapper. Fold wrappers in half over filling, and seal edges with moistened fingers.
  4. In the preheated vegetable oil, cook gyoza approximately 1 minute per side, until lightly browned. Place water into skillet and reduce heat. Cover and allow gyoza to steam until the water is gone.
  5. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add ginger, if wanted. Use the mixture as a dipping sauce for the finished gyoza.
gyoza waiting to be cooked

One of our campers, who makes dumplings with her grandma, showed us how to make them beautiful like this!

Last, but certainly not least, on Friday the Super Choice campers got to make their own pocket.  We gave them empanada wrappers, because they cook quickly.  They had a choice of different cheeses, pepperoni, veggies, and tomato sauce. They were a HUGE hit!

The filling choices!

The filling choices!


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One Response to Chef’s Corner Recipes – week 2

  1. Pingback: Chef’s Corner Recipes – Week 3 | Camp Riverbend

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