Thursday, March 17, 2011

Girls Night - "Kinda" Empanadas and Homemade Mexican Rice

Last night was Wednesday night.  That means "bowling night" for Big Daddy and Girls Night for us girls.  Well.. daughter #1 likes to hang with the big dogs so she went to the bowling alley with her Dad.  Daughter #2 and I decided to make some "ultra" fun food since the two pickiest eaters would be at the bowling alley and to eat while we were watching American Idol.  It was tremendous.  We have so many favorites we just don't know who is likely to win!

We made a recipe I had written down in my cabinet called "KINDA" EMPANADAS.  I have to confess that I have never eaten an authentic empanada so I had no point of reference in it being "kind of" an empanada.  All I know is that we LOVED them!  Basically they are a buttery pastry crust (like a meat pie) filled with seasoned hamburger, onion, and cheese),  They were a teensy bit of work but very much worth the effort.  The crust that these little babies are made with was a prize in itself and you can bet next time I make Kinda Empandas, I will make sure to fold up some apples or cherries in that crust because that would be a little piece of paradise!  This crust is flaky, buttery, and crispy.  Just so GOOD!

In addition to the "KINDA" EMPANADAS (I realize this should be "kind of", but my recipe does say "KINDA"), I quickly scanned one of my favorite blog haunts for homemade mexican rice.  I found it at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.  Her recipes are always right on for things my family will like!  This rice was perfect!  We loved it and again - who needs to buy those little sodium laden packets filled with all kinds of ingredients none of us can pronounce when you can make something this easy and this REAL!

Here's how I made "KINDA" EMPANADAS and HOMEMADE MEXICAN RICE - At Home My Way!

I should have taken a picture showing the filling.  These were just really great and a fun supper for "Girls Night"!

"Kinda" Empanadas


3 cups flour
3/4 cup cold butter / margarine (which is equal to  1/2 sticks)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk

Meat Filling:

1 pound ground beef
1/4 to 1/2 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup water

Other ingredient:

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Dough instructions:

Mix flour, baking powder, salt.  Cut in butter/margarine.  Add milk.  Knead to form a big ball of dough.  (I think this whole process would work much smoother and easier in a food processor but I didn't think about it and did it the old fashioned way.)

Meat Filling Instructions:

Place meat and onion in a skillet.  Brown.  Drain,  add spices, stir.  Add water.  Stir.

Preparing the meat pie:

Form the dough into balls -a little smaller than a "shooting pool" ball.  Roll on floured surface with floured rolling pin thicker than a pie crust - like you are rolling cookie dough.  Roll like a small tortilla size.

Spray a cookie sheet (or two).  Place dough disc on the cookie sheet.  Place a scoop of meat on half, top with grated cheese, fold over and fold the dough up to make a pinched crust all around the round side of the now half circle.

Place in PREHEATED 400 degree oven about 15 minutes or until browning.  

Let cool 5 minutes or so before serving.  We at these like hot pockets!  They rocked!
This is my version of a recipe I found at

I will be keeping these leftovers in the freezer for re-warming in the oven on days when I need some lunch or a quick supper.  They were just excellent!  

Money saving tip:  I had not really used cumin other than the cumin that is already present in my chili powder.  When I went to buy some for making this recipe, of course I didn't want to spend a fortune!  I found bulk spices in the health food section of our Gerbes grocery store.  I put a small amount in a baggy and when they rang it up at the register it was $.05.  Wow!  5 cents!  What a deal - no little jar to add to the trash pile at a later date and how much cumin would I use.  This way I can buy a little bit - fresh - and it saves me money.  A win/win as far as I'm concerned.

Homemade Mexican Rice

  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used 8-oz can of tomato sauce and saved the rest for another use)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I used a 12-oz can of chicken broth because I didn't have any thawed from my freezer)

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add rice.  Cook, stirring CONSTANTLY, until puffed and golden.  While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.  Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes!

I found the recipe for the Mexican Rice at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures here.

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