With so many Summer activities going on, I've been looking for more delectables to fit my on-the-go lifestyle. My new favorite snack is empanadas. The savory delicacies are not only perfect for portable snacking, but they're an easy way to use up leftover ingredients, and double as an appetizer for impromptu gatherings. Simply keep uncooked ones in the freezer, and bake them as necessary. Strapped for time or new to cooking? Take advantage of premade pizza dough to make mini-pockets in minutes. Or set aside a few hours to mix together homemade pastry dough — it'll make the crust extra flaky. Decide which recipe suits you best.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package refrigerated pizza dough (about 1 pound)
Flour for the work surface
1 16-ounce can refried beans
1 1-pint container fresh salsa
1 8-ounce package shredded Cheddar
Sour cream (optional)
- Heat oven to 400° F. Spread 1 teaspoon of the oil on a baking sheet. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each into an 8-inch round on a lightly floured surface.
- On half of each round, spread some of the beans, then top with 1½ tablespoons of the salsa and 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Fold over the other half of each round, covering the filling, and press the curved edge with your thumb to seal. Lightly brush the tops of the empanadas with the remaining oil, then transfer to the baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired. (Perfect complement: the salad of avocado, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice pictured here.)
Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 485, Fat 20g, Fiber 6g, Protein 21g, Saturated Fat 9g, Sodium 1482mg
- Appetizers, Puff Pastry
For the dough:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and crumbled (drippings reserved)
1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, washed
1/3 cup minced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cottage cheese, farmer's cheese, or ricotta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until very smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as necessary. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour, little by little, and the salt, and process until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured surface and knead lightly. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of the reserved bacon drippings in a medium nonstick skillet and, when hot, add the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted and has released its liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander to drain. When the spinach has cooled enough to handle, squeeze to release any excess water, then transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Set aside.
- Add 2 more teaspoons of the bacon drippings to the same skillet, then add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved spinach, crumbled bacon, cottage cheese, salt and pepper to taste and nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, working on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch thick. Using a small bowl or saucer as a guide, cut the dough into as many 5-inch circles as possible. Gather the scraps of dough together and knead lightly to reform the dough into a disk. Roll out as before and again cut as many rounds as you can. You should be able to get 10 to 12 rounds. Divide the spinach filling evenly among the dough circles. Using your fingers, lightly moisten the edges with some of the beaten egg, then fold 1 side over so that the edges meet, and press to seal. Crimp the edges using the tines of a fork and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the empanadas are assembled. Brush the tops of each empanada with some of the beaten egg and bake uncovered until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Serve either warm or at room temperature.
Makes 10 to 12 empanadas.
- Appetizers, Puff Pastry