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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Spinach & Mushroom Pockets

Last night I made spinach & mushroom pockets for dinner. Store bought food pockets are readily available in grocery stores with the most common filling being pizza ingredient based. They come frozen, sealed in cello wrap then packaged into a box using 6 or 12 to box. They are marketed as pizza pockets or pizza pouches. The price starts somewhere around $4.99 on sale and higher when not on sale. Essentially there is a limited variety of fillings, preservatives, salt, sugar and over packaging. So why limit yourself when food pockets can easily be made at home with quality ingredients for a fraction of the cost? The filling possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination. Even the dough used can be changed for a different taste. An inexpensive dough press kit streamlines making food pockets easy. Make extra and flash freeze after cooking for home made convenience quick meals.

Preparation

Food pockets have a bit more in the way of preparation. First decide on what kind of filling you want. In this case I decided I wanted to use ground beef and spinach so the rest of the ingredients just fell into place. Any ingredients that need cooking before filling the pocket should be cooked then cooled. This adds to the prep time however, you could use home canned or frozen fillings that will save time when making food pockets. Quick starts like home frozen browned ground beef with onions also speed up the prep time. Once the filling is prepared it is time to make the dough. I used my standard pastry dough for the spinach & mushroom pockets. A quick prep tip when using pastry doughs is to take an afternoon and make a few batches. Cut into the appropriate size round. Stack the rounds with a piece of wax paper or parchment in between each one then freeze. Thaw as needed.

Pictured are the food pockets as they are being made. The dough is placed into the form with the filling in the centre. Then the form is closed to form the pocket. The pocket is removed from the form and placed on a baking sheet. I used a silpat on the baking sheet.

Spinach & Mushroom Pockets
recipe by: Garden Gnome

1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 rib celery, chopped fine
½ c green pepper, finely chopped
7 oz (198 g) fresh spinach
500 ml roasted tomato sauce
1½ c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
olive oil
2 x pastry for 10-inch two crust pie

Brown the ground beef in little olive oil. Drain and set aside. Slice the mushrooms then sauté in a little butter or olive oil, set aside. Wash spinach and steam. Remove from steamer basket. Chop. Gather into a ball and lightly press with hands to remove excess liquid. When beef, mushrooms and spinach are cooled, mix together by hand in mixing bowl. Prepare vegetables. Stir into the beef mixture. Stir in herbs. Stir in half of the roasted tomato sauce. Shred cheese and set aside. Prepare a double recipe for the pie crust (link in recipe). Divide the dough into four equal sized pieces. Roll out the dough to about an eighth inch thick. Cut the dough with the bottom of the dough press to form large rounds. Place a round in the top of the dough press. Place 2-3 tbsp of the filling in the centre of the dough. Top with cheese. Wet the edges of the dought. Close the press to form a sealed pocket. Remove pocket and place on silpat on baking sheet. Bake at 350ºC until golden brown.

Yield: 18

Spinach & Mushroom Pockets

The spinach & mushroom pockets were well worth the extra prep work. They had a lovely flavour and were quite filling. I served them with roasted tomato sauce in a dipping bowl. The recipe made 18 pockets so after dinner, I packaged a couple for my husband's lunch and froze the rest.

In terms of cost, the homemade pockets were less expensive. Store bought on sale at $4.99 works out to 41.5¢ each while the homemade worked out to 33.5¢ each. The most expensive ingredient was the ground beef but really the ground beef could easily have been reduced or even substituted with black turtle beans. While I was making the pockets, several ideas for fillings came to mind. I will post these as I make them.


9 food lovers commented:

SheR. said...

This looks delicious! I love mushrooms! And the thought of the tomato sauce to go along is superb! :)

Garden Gnome said...

Thank-you Sher :)

LaTease said...

you just gave me an idea for dinner! thanks...

Garden Gnome said...

Latease, I hope you enjoy your dinner. Please let me know.

Garden Gnome said...

Thank-you for your kind compliment, unitedstatesairforceauxiliarymember! I hope you enjoy your visit here and find a few useful recipes or tips.

Garden Gnome said...

jj, I'm a spinach lover especially steamed but I work it into a lot of foods like meatloaf, lasagna and salads. Once steamed it is so reduced, it is easy to work into many entrees. I'm glad you found the information useful and please do stop by again.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks so much athinker! I hope you enjoyed your visit and please stop by again. This blog changes almost daily depending on what I'm up to in the kitchen :)

Saph said...

Mmmm, yummy!! Would definitely like to try this.
Love your blog! Full of yummy info!! =)

tweezle said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I was given a set of these a while ago and never got around to trying them out. Now, after seeing your yummy post, I must get them out and try them!