Marinara Dipping Sauce

Sometimes you really need a tomato sauce and you don’t have one.  Maybe you made calzones or mozzarella sticks.  It’s tempting to just pick some up at the store but if you want to save some money or if you just don’t want to go to the store, it’s easy to make a tasty tomato sauce at home.

Sometimes you really need a tomato sauce and you don’t have one.  Maybe you made calzones or mozzarella sticks.  It’s tempting to just pick some up at the store but if you want to save some money or if you just don’t want to go to the store, it’s easy to make a tasty tomato sauce at home.  Plus, you also get to be all cool and tell everyone “oh yes, I made this sauce from scratch” and everyone will be impressed even though it only took you a few minutes to stir everything together.  Impressing people is always fun.  It’s even more fun if you can be lazy AND impress people.  I think I might have a problem…  I do a lot of things just to impress people.  Anyone else in the same boat?

I recently told someone that I’ve run a half marathon (13.1 miles) and she didn’t believe me.  She actually thought I was lying and asked my boyfriend if it was true.  I can’t really blame her for not believing me since I’m necessarily the most in shape.  I don’t look like a runner.  Much to her surprise, and my own surprise really, I have run two half marathons.   She was impressed (score!) and when she asked why, I told her that it was mostly to say that I did it.  Running a half marathon to impress people is much more of a challenge than making a 5 minute marinara sauce.  What’s something you’ve done just to say you did it?  Do you have  a go to impressive fact about yourself?  I want to hear it!  (Yes, I’m inviting you to brag about yourself.)

Auto Draft

Active Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

A quick, easy, and versatile tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 - 1 cup water depending on desired thickness (or substitute 1 can tomato sauce for water and tomato paste)
  • 1 tsp oregano + extra for topping
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (add less for less of a kick)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch suger

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together until uniform.
  2. Add water until it reaches desired consistency.

Notes

Feel free to add chopped tomatoes, onions, or garlic for a chunkier sauce. Traditional marinara sauce simmers down for a long time. This is just a quick way to make a tomato sauce in a pinch. Enjoy!

https://hollyshelpings.com/marinara-dipping-sauce/

Broccoli Pesto Bake

Sometimes at the end of the week I’ll end up with really weird things left over. A tiny little bit of cheese, a handful of chopped onion, you know what I mean. Random odds and ends of food that didn’t get used up. Instead of tossing this all away there are two things I always make with these left overs: frittatas and pasta.

Sometimes at the end of the week I’ll end up with really weird things left over.  A tiny little bit of cheese, a handful of chopped onion, you know what I mean.  Random odds and ends of food that didn’t get used up.  Instead of tossing this all away there are two things I always make with these left overs: frittatas and pasta.  Today we’re talking pasta.

There’s this delicious restaurant in Phoenix called Oregano’s and they have the best pesto bake ever and really inspired this.  Theirs is still a little better, but this gets pretty close.  It’s hard to go wrong with cheese and pasta.  Plus, I added broccoli and theirs doesn’t have any veggies.  Mine is healthier (sort of…I added a LOT of cheese).

If you have some precooked pasta in your freezer (and why wouldn’t you since it makes weeknights so easy), this is the easiest thing in the world to make.  I can never get enough pesto bake.

Broccoli Pesto Bake

Inactive Time 25 minutes

Active Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Easy pasta bake for any day of the week.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked pasta
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large head broccoli chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • parmesan for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degree F.
  2. Cut a little more than half of the mozzarella into small cubes (about 1/2 inch).
  3. Combine the pasta, cubed cheese, pesto, and broccoli in a 9x9 baking dish.
  4. Add the rest of the mozzarella on top.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked through.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese while cooling so it melts on top.

Notes

I really failed at measuring and timing for this recipe so this is mostly guesstimates. Pasta bakes aren't difficult though, so you'll be fine. 🙂

https://hollyshelpings.com/broccoli-pesto-bake/

Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Everyone needs a good tomato sauce recipe. This red wine tomato sauce one is my favorite since it can be used for anything from pastas to dips and even on pizza. I think pizza is probably my favorite application of tomato sauce….and cheese…and bread.

Everyone needs a good tomato sauce recipe.  This red wine tomato sauce one is my favorite since it can be used for anything from pastas to dips and even on pizza.  I think pizza is probably my favorite application of tomato sauce….and cheese…and bread.  Pizza is amazing.

But back to this red wine tomato sauce.  It has a great depth of flavor and the red wine really brings out the tomato flavors.  You can also never go wrong with a lot of garlic (unless you’re a vampire, I suppose).  For us regular people, this tomato sauce is loaded with garlic and that makes it extra tasty.  The carrots and celery might be a little unexpected, but they are used as a foundation for the flavors.  You don’t taste them individually in the sauce, just the delicious tomatoes.

Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Inactive Time 30 minutes

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 14 oz can pealed tomatoes with juices
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • salt to taste
  • optional: crushed red pepper, honey

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery to the oil and cook until the onion just begins to brown.
  3. Add in the minced garlic and the dried herbs. If using, add in the crushed red pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour in the red wine and stir.
  5. Add in the pealed tomatoes and crush them with your hand as you pour them in. Stir in the tomato paste.
  6. Allow to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  7. Taste and add salt as needed. If you like your sauce a little sweeter, add a small amount of honey.
  8. If you want a smooth sauce (perhaps for pizza), pour this in a blender and blend until smooth.
  9. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
https://hollyshelpings.com/red-wine-tomato-sauce/

Tofu Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

So there were 3 good reasons to make stir fry. Use my new knife, make the peanut sauce, use my new specialty (and local) olive oil. Tofu stir fry had to happen.

I recently received a Wüsthof  Chai Dao knife to review.  This post isn’t even part of my review, but that knife is the reason I made this stir fry.  I wanted to chop a lot of vegetables and there is no better way to do that than with stir fry.  I also needed pictures for my super amazing Asian peanut sauce recipe.  I also also wanted to try out some garlic olive oil I bought at the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  If you’re in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend checking it out.

So there were 3 good reasons to make stir fry.  Use my new knife, make the peanut sauce, use my new specialty (and local) olive oil.  Tofu stir fry had to happen.

Tofu stir fry is really healthy.  There are a ton of vegetables in there.  Plus, it’s super easy.  Heat oil, chop veggies, cook veggies (and meat or tofu, if you want), sauce, and serve.  It’ll be ready in like 20 minutes tops (especially if you have a good knife).  Sometimes all you want is to make something easy that isn’t going to give you a heart attack.  This is your answer.

Tofu Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Inactive Time 10 minutes

Active Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 large servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped to bite size pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and then halved (to prevent them from being too long)
  • 1 package tofu (about 12 oz)
  • 1 cup peanut sauce
  • optional: rice or noodles to serve with on the side.

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or a wok to medium-high heat.
  2. Add all the vegetables and tofu at the same time.
  3. Cook until tender, but still slightly crisp.
  4. Remove from heat and put on plates or bowls.
  5. Top each with sauce.
  6. Optional: Serve the tofu stir fry with a side of rice or noodles on the side if you want. I usually skip this since this is one of the few meals I don't miss the grains.
https://hollyshelpings.com/tofu-stir-fry-with-peanut-sauce/

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

My absolute best friend in college came to me with a recipe request. She loves butternut squash, but all the frozen butternut squash meals don’t have enough and the veggies get gross.

My absolute best friend in college came to me with a recipe request. She loves butternut squash, but all the frozen butternut squash meals don’t have enough and the veggies get gross.  So she requested a recipe for a butternut squash pasta that was low calorie and simple enough for her to make (she’s in graduate school now and spends all her time in lab).  I came up with this butternut squash pasta sauce.

I had a lot of fun with this!  Usually when I make something it’s like “Ok, what would be cool to post about?”  or “What do I want to eat for dinner?”  But this was a like a mini little food challenge.  I tried to find ways to add a lot of butternut squash flavor into a sauce without adding a ton of calories, and I think I was rather successful.  Since this was so much fun, I’ve added a link at the top navigation menu called “Recipe Suggestion Box.”  If you have an idea for something you want, send it to me.  I’m not asking for a full recipe to post about, I just want to have a new food challenge.  I’d also be open to a drink challenge (I’m not against trying multiple variations of a drink to find the perfect one).  So, have any crazy ideas for something you’d like to see me post about?

What I love about this butternut squash pasta sauce recipe is that you can take a lot of the ingredients out to make it really basic, and still have an awesome sauce.  The hardest part is cutting the butternut squash, but you can find bags pre-cut squash in a lot of grocery stores now.  To cut out calories, I used vegetable stock instead of milk or cream.  Lower fat and still super tasty.  If you want to add more veggies into your diet, sauté some on the side and add them to your cooked pasta.  I’d recommend broccoli or mushrooms with this butternut squash pasta sauce.

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Inactive Time 30 minutes

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • ½ a medium butternut squash (or 1 bag of the pre-cut squash)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 - 1-1/2 cups parmesan cheese, shredded (to taste)
  • 1 cup reduced sodium vegetable (or chicken) stock (or you can use all water to make it really simple)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp rosemary (optional)
  • 1 tsp thyme (optional)
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • 4 cups dried penne (or any other pasta or your choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If using a whole butternut squash, peel the butternut squash. Using a really sharp knife (because butternut squash sucks to cut) cut the squash into 1” cube-ish pieces.
  2. Place the cubes of squash (pre-cut or what you just cut up) into a medium bowl and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the top of the squash. Add the salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and the whole cloves of garlic (peeled). Toss to mix. Lay out on a cookie sheet and place in the heated oven. Bake until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil on the stove and add the onions. Saute until brown (about 5 minutes).
  4. Cook the pasta according to package instructions
  5. In a blender, add the cooked squash mix, the sautéed onions, the shredded parmesan cheese, the water, and the vegetable stock. Puree until smooth adding more water if necessary.
  6. Pour over the cooked pasta and mix. Top with extra cheese and toasted pine nuts.
  7. Enjoy your butternut squash pasta sauce!
https://hollyshelpings.com/butternut-squash-pasta-sauce/

Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I learned something new today.  There are sweet potatoes that are not orange.  I was making this recipe, I cut off the tops of the sweet potatoes, and….they were white.  I was mad at myself because I thought I accidentally got russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.  I sampled them and they tasted like sweet potatoes.

I learned something new today.  There are sweet potatoes that are not orange.  I was making this recipe, I cut off the tops of the sweet potatoes, and….they were white.  I was mad at myself because I thought I accidentally got russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.  I sampled them and they tasted like sweet potatoes.

I was so confused.  Why does it look like a russet potato, but taste like a sweet potato?  I found out that there are white sweet potatoes.  Cool!  So I continued on with the recipe (a version of this recipe from Our Best Bites) and made egg stuffed sweet potatoes.

I have no idea if it tastes better or worse with regular sweet potatoes, but these were amazing.  I love every single thing about them and as I’m typing now, my mouth is watering.  With sweet potatoes, spicy chipotles, melted cheese, and smoky bacon, these egg stuffed sweet potatoes are the perfect blend of flavors.

I’m probably going to have these again everyday for the next week.  No lies.

Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Inactive Time 1 hour, 30 minutes

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 2 stuffed sweet potatoes

Serving Size: 1 stuffed sweet potato

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes (I used white flesh sweet potatoes)
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • [optional] 1 Tbsp cilantro for topping
  • [optional] 1 tsp adobo sauce from chipotles for topping

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Prick holes in the sweet potatoes using a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour until they are fork tender.
  2. While the potatoes are baking, cook up some bacon. My favorite way to do this is put the bacon in a cold skillet and then turn on the burner to medium-low heat. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes, then flip and turn up the heat. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place on some paper towels once it reaches your desired crispiness level. Set aside the fat leaving about 2 Tbsp in the pan.
  3. In the potato drippings, toss in the onion and cook until it begins to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until it smells like heaven. Remove from heat. Everything is fine to sit around until the potatoes are done. Just make sure no sneaky dogs or children try to steal the bacon.
  4. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and allow to cool until they are good to touch. Cut off the top of the potato and scoop out the insides. Leave at least 1/2 inch all around, but you just need enough space to fit an egg so don't go too crazy.
  5. Brush the insides with some of the reserved bacon drippings. Add half the onions and garlic mixture. Crumble 1 slice of bacon and add half to the bottom of each. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese to each as well. Crack open one egg and pour into the potato. Top with the rest of the cheese. Brush the outsides with more of the bacon drippings.
  6. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are no longer runny. Bake for less time for runnier eggs.
  7. Top with more bacon, cilantro, and brush with adobo sauce for a little extra kick. Eat immediately because these are amazing.
https://hollyshelpings.com/egg-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/

Calzones

Calzone recipes are good for a lot of things (like filling hungry bellies), but they were especially handy last week. I was traveling for work for a few days.

Calzone recipes are good for a lot of things (like filling hungry bellies), but they were especially handy last week.  I was traveling for work for a few days.  It was exciting because it was my first business trip and I felt super official plus I was going to Washington and got to see a few friends while I was up there.

Whenever I’m gone though, I worry about my boyfriend.  It probably doesn’t help that one time I was away he ended up in the hospital getting stitches after tripping on a dog toy (don’t worry, he’s perfectly fine aside from a few scars). Someone tell me I’m not alone in worrying  about things at home while traveling!  How do you deal with worry?

In preparation for being gone, I always make sure there are lots of easy meals for him to prepare himself.  One less thing I can worry about!  Usually I buy frozen meals or make things he can just reheat in the microwave really easily.  This time I tried something new.

I made calzones the night before and half-baked some of them.  I then froze them so he could stick them in the toaster oven or regular oven and have fresh baked calzones.  I fully baked some as well (so we could have them for dinner) and so he could microwave them if he was feeling extra lazy.

Calzones

Inactive Time 15 minutes

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 calzones

Serving Size: 1 calzone

Homemade and fresh calzones are easy to make and easy to store.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Filling of your choice (I like onions, jalapenos, and I'll add bacon for meat eaters)
  • Tomato dipping sauce

Instructions

  1. Prepare pizza dough if needed following the instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with a baking stone in it if using.
  3. If using my pizza dough recipe, divide dough into 8 equal portions after the first rising.
  4. Roll out the dough to be about 1/4 inch thin (about 6-ish inches in diameter).
  5. Fill with toppings and add cheese on top so it melts throughout the inside.
  6. Seal the edges by rolling them or by pressing them with a fork.
  7. Lightly cut the top with three strikes.
  8. Sprinkle the baking stone with cornmeal if using. If not using, lightly grease a baking sheet.
  9. Place the prepared calzones on the baking stone or baking sheet. Calzones do not spread much so you can place them fairly close to one another.
  10. Bake for 7-8 minutes.
  11. Remove if half baking and allow to cool before freezing.
  12. If fully cooking them, brush tops with olive oil. Place back in oven and bake for another 7-8 minutes until tops are golden brown.
  13. Allow to cool slightly to avoid burning your mouth and then serve immediately with a side of tomato dipping sauce.

Notes

Total time excludes preparing the dough.

https://hollyshelpings.com/calzones/

Naan – Third Time’s a Charm

Some failures, I post about here (like how I failed and then succeed at making my own pasta). Other failures make me sad and so I just pretend they never happened and don’t post about them. I failed at making naan (twice) and never posted here about it because it was just so sad.

Some failures, I post about here (like how I failed and then succeed at making my own pasta).   Other failures make me sad and so I just pretend they never happened and don’t post about them.  I failed at making naan (twice) and never posted here about it because it was just so sad.

Today, I managed to make naan that tasted like naan, had the texture of naan, and looked like naan.  Hooray!  For those that don’t know, naan is delicious Indian flat bread that is often served with curries or other dishes.  It’s delicious.  The first time I tried to make it, I ended up with weird puffy dry bread.  It was not good and it was not what I wanted.  The second time I tried to make it, I ended up with flat little crisps of bread.  Also not good, and also not what I wanted.

This time, I made naan that actually resembled naan.  It was good, too!  The trick is to not bake it.  I don’t know how tandoori ovens work, but my regular oven does not work the same.

Naan – Third Time’s a Charm

Inactive Time 2 hours

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 16 small naan or 8 large naan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2-1/2 tsp yeast
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add the yeast to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Set aside. Add all the other ingredients together and begin to mix them together. Add the yeast mixture and mix the ingredients until they are all combined. Add more milk if the dough is not soft or coming together.
  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is soft and smooth. Place in a large bowl and cover. Let rise for 1.5-2 hours or until it has at least doubled in size. Knock the dough back and divide it into 8 or 16 even portions (they do not have to be round). Allow to rest again for 1/2 - 1 hour.
  3. Roll out on of the portions into a teardrop shape. Roll from the center and do not roll back and forth. Start in the middle and just roll one way. Roll it thinner than you think you should. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat or (if you have an electric stove) heat a burner to medium heat. Brush one side of the rolled out naan with water and place either directly on the burner or on the cast iron pan. It should cook for about 30-45 seconds on one side and begin to brown. Flip it over and cook it on the other side. If it is cooking to quickly, turn down the heat. If the center is not cooked all the way, try rolling the dough out thinner or turning down the heat. Once both sides are cooked, remove from heat and begin the next one
  4. Brush with a little bit of butter and enjoy with some delicious Indian food!
https://hollyshelpings.com/naan-third-times-a-charm/

Fresh Linguine

It took me a long time, but I finally did it.  I made my own pasta – fresh linguine at that.

It took me a long time, but I finally did it.  I made my own pasta – fresh linguine at that.

Being a vegetarian in college, pasta was pretty much all I ate.  I had mac and cheese far too often and when it wasn’t mac and cheese, it was some frozen pasta meal.  I first discovered fresh pasta when I was in Atlanta and I went to this amazing little place called Figo.  The simplest dishes were amazing because of the pasta.  When I started food blogging, I thought it’d be cool to make pasta.  This means that I can explain all the things to NOT do when making fresh linguine pasta.  That way you have a better chance of getting it right on the first try!

When perusing for a fresh pasta recipe, I found a lot that required special ingredients.  I don’t like that.  I always try to make my recipes with easy to find ingredients or explain where people can get the ingredients I use.  Tipo 00 flour is not something most people have, so why use it if you want people to make your recipes?  And now, without further ado, “Fresh Pasta – Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love All-Purpose Flour.”

Fresh Linguine

Inactive Time 1 hour, 30 minutes

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour (Weigh this out using a scale. Cheap ones can be bought at wal-mart or target)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. First off, don't try to change up the recipe on your first try. I tried to add some whole-wheat flour. That did not work at all. Really really bad.
  2. Make sure you have a lot of room. You'll need a clean surface that is about 18"x18" at least. Place the flour on the surface and make a huge hole in the middle. It should be like a 1.5" ring of flour with an 8" hole in the middle. I made my well too small and everything spilled out the first time. It was baaaad. Err on the side of too big than too small.
  3. Add everything else to the flour well. Begin to mix everything together with a fork. Very carefully begin adding in the flour. Don't break the edges of the well or everything will spill out and get all over the counter and the floor and your pants. I did that too, it was bad too. Once the mixture begins to solidify, you can break the edges to mix all the flour in. Begin to mix with your hands when you can't use the fork any more. Add more water if you have too much trouble mixing, add more flour if the dough isn't coming together.
  4. Once all the ingredients are mixed begin to knead. I link this video every time I say "knead" and I'm going to link it here again. This is a very useful tutorial on kneading. The pasta dough is going to be a little tougher than the dough in the video, but the technique is still the same. Once the dough is elastic and smooth, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Don't try to do this fast and skip the resting. I did that too...it made the pasta have a really weird texture.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll one part out using a pasta machine or a rolling pin until it is about 1 mm thick (very thin). If you roll much thinner, the pasta will start ripping and that's unpleasant when you worked so hard (yes, I did this too). Sprinkle the rolled out pasta with a little flour so the pasta doesn't stick together. Then use a pizza cutter or a pasta cutter, cut the pasta into strips that are about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick. Hang the pasta to dry over the back of a chair or anywhere safe and out of the way. Repeat this with all the other parts.
  6. Cook the pasta as you would normal pasta. To save, roll about 1 serving of the pasta around your hand and freeze. Cook this pasta as you would for normal pasta as well.
  7. Enjoy and don't be afraid to go for second helpings!

Notes

This recipe was initially found at Food Network.

https://hollyshelpings.com/fresh-linguine/

Empanadas

I have a confession for you.  I’ve never actually had an empanada.  It seems like something I’d love, right?  Delicious goodies baked in a pocket of love and bread.  It’s right up my alley!  Somehow, I just never had one.

I have a confession for you.  I’ve never actually had an empanada.  It seems like something I’d love, right?  Delicious goodies baked in a pocket of love and bread.  It’s right up my alley!  Somehow, I just never had one.  I’ve been on a little bit of a Mexican food kick so I decided to try to make them.

This is going to be another one of those posts where you can learn from my epic failures like thisthis, or this.  Even though I had trouble making these, they still turned out really well.  At first, my dough was too dry so I added a LOT more water.  I really should learn that adding a little many times is better than just guessing and adding way too much.  This, unfortunately, is not the first time I’ve made this mistake.  So my dough was too wet and I had to try to add more flour and dry it out.  Then when I was rolling the dough out, I rolled it too thin and it started ripping (also partly due to the dough being to wet).  Somehow I managed to get a few of them in the oven and baked them to delicious perfection.

All of my troubles were with the dough.  The filling was perfect.  I had a little extra and I decided to use it like salsa on tortilla chips because there was no way I was going to waste any of it.

My boyfriend, who knows I cook a lot and I make most of what we eat, was surprised by how good they were.

“Did you make these?” – Boyfriend (as he takes another huge bite)

“Um.  Yes.” – Me

“From scratch?” – Boyfriend (while chewing)

“Yeah….” – Me

“Oh… They’re really good.” – Boyfriend

Success!  Even though they weren’t perfect, they were still a hit.  And that’s all that really matters, right?  Right?

Empanadas

Inactive Time 20 minutes

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 8 empanadas and some extra stuffing

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for sprinkling)
  • 3/4 cups masa harina
  • 2 tbsp butter shopped into tiny cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
  • For the filling:
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 anaheim pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • cooked ground beef (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, masa harina, salt, and chili powder. Add in the butter cut into tiny cubes and 1/2 cup water. Mix until a dough forms. Add more water a tablespoon at a time if needed to form the empanadas dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a 3" circle that will be about 1/2" thick. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling. The circles should rest at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Chop the onion and anaheim pepper. Mince the garlic. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic to the heated oil. Saute until the onion begins to just brown. In the meantime, chop the tomato and drain the corn. Add the tomato and the corn to the pan. Saute until the corn and tomatoes are heated through. Just before you remove the pan from the heat, add the curry powder. Saute for about 30 more seconds and then remove the filling from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the freezer if using immediately.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. After you are done with the filling and the dough has rested for 1/2 and hour, remove it from the refrigerator and roll each circle out until it is a 5" circle and about 1/4" thick. Do not roll it to thin or it won't be strong enough to hold the filling. Spoon some of the filling in the middle of each round. Add the cooked ground beef if using. Don't over stuff the empanadas or the dough will rip. Wet the edge of the dough and fold it in half to make a pocket. Use a fork to press the edges together. Add 1 tbsp of water to the egg white and brush the tops with the egg mixture. Place the empanadas on a lightly greased cooking sheet. Pierce the top with a fork and sprinkle a small amount of cheese on each one if using. Bake the empanadas for 20 minutes until the outside is a light brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and don't burn your mouth by eating the empanadas right away. Just wait a little bit (I know they smell delicious). Ok, now you can enjoy your delicious empanadas!
https://hollyshelpings.com/empanadas/