Portable Meals and Snacks for the Busy School Day: Part 2

July 17, 2014 – It’s Alicia from Weekly Greens, back again today with another after school snack (or dinner) idea. What piping hot dinner also tastes great at room temperature and fits easily into a lunchbox (or the palm of a hungry kid after school)? The versatile and delicious empanada, of course. These Argentine-inspired pockets of goodness are a hit with kids and adults alike. This recipe makes enough to feed a family of four for dinner (add a green salad or a side of steamed broccoli to get your greens) with leftovers for lunch.

The dough comes together easily and offers a perfect opportunity to get the kids in the kitchen. Let them shape it into smooth balls or roll it out flat before adding the filling. My guys love to finish the job by sealing the edges with a fork and brushing the tops with milk. Or, let the kids take turns guessing what lurks beneath that golden crust. Empanadas are highly adaptable. The dough recipe can be used to envelop chopped cooked chicken and bell peppers, broccoli and cheese or spinach and mushrooms. Use your imagination to delight and surprise.

Black Bean Empanadas
Written and tested by Alicia Sokol of Weekly Greens

Total time: 50 minutes
Makes 12 empanadas

For the dough:
1-1/2 cups Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/2 cup corn meal
1-1/2 tsp. Baker’s Corner Baking Powder*
1 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Salt
½ cup Carlini Canola Oil
½ cup warm water

For the filling:
1 – 15 oz. can Dakota’s Pride Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Salt
1/8 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Black Pepper
1/2 cup Happy Farms Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Happy Farms Mild Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Happy Farms Milk

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In the bowl of a full-sized food processor, combine the flour, yellow corn meal, baking powder and salt. Run the machine for a few seconds to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the canola oil to the flour mixture. Continue to let the machine run while adding the water. The dough should come together in a rough ball around the blade of the machine. Stop the motor and scrape together the dough into a ball. Knead it by hand until smooth. Divide the dough into 12 uniform balls, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for about 20 minutes while making the filling.

In a small food processor, combine the beans, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until the garlic is fully incorporated. The mixture should be creamy, but not completely smooth.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a flat circle. Place a tablespoon of the bean filling in the top half of the circle then top it with a large pinch of cheese. Dip a clean finger in water and run it along the edge of the circle. Fold one half over so it meets the other with edges lined up. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. Make sure there aren’t any gaping holes in the dough, or the filling will ooze as it gets hot. Place the empanadas on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the top of each empanada lightly with milk.

Bake empanadas on the middle rack of the oven for 10 – 12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. The filling will be extremely hot, so be careful (especially with kids!). Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftover empanadas tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

*This is a Seasonal item that is only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.

Photos by Alicia Sokol of Weekly Greens.

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