One time when I was growing up, my grandmother went out of town for some reason or other, and my mom took it upon herself to bring dinner over for my grandfather. I was old enough to be perplexed by this, and I asked my mom why she thought Poppo would starve without Grandma there to make dinner for him. Poppo was an able-bodied, intelligent, capable adult (still is, hi Poppo!), and I didn’t understand why he couldn’t figure out how to get his own dinner. Was he offended by the implication that he couldn’t fend for himself? Would she be bringing Grandma dinner if Poppo was out of town??
As it turns out, the protestations of an 11-year-old weren’t sufficiently persuasive, and Mom brought him dinner anyway. And she did it again the next time Grandma went out of town, and probably all the times after that. And as nice as this practice is/was, I feel like my 11-year-old self raised some pretty solid, girl-power, gender-equality objections. So what did my nearly-30-year-old self do when I went out of town for a weekend, leaving my able-bodied, intelligent, capable husband all by himself?
…made him dinner, of course. And in the form of homemade bachelor/convenience food, to boot! These mini empanadas can be baked immediately or frozen for a quick meal/snack that’s much healthier than a frozen burrito or a Hot Pocket.
So much for girl power?
TURKEY EMPANADITAS (slightly adapted from Cooking Light)
Ingredients for the filling:
12 oz ground turkey breast
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 (6-oz) can (no-salt) tomato paste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Ingredients for the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp chilled butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
3/4 cup ice water
1. To prepare filling, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring often. Stir in 1/2 cup water and tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes, letting mixture thicken slightly. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Place in bowl and refrigerate while you prepare dough.
2. To prepare dough, add flour, baking powder, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to bowl of food processor; pulse 2 times or until combined. Add chilled butter; pulse 4 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup ice water, processing just until combined (do not form into a ball). Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly with floured hands.
3. Divide dough into 20-24 portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (keeping remaining portions covered to keep from drying), roll into a 3 and 1/2-inch circle on floured surface. Spoon 1-2 rounded tbsps turkey mixture onto half of circle. Fold dough over filling and press edges together to seal, crimping with a fork. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and filling.
4. If cooking immediately, preheat oven to 400. Coat cookie sheet with olive spray and place empanaditas on cookie sheet. Lightly coat empanaditas with olive oil spray and bake about 10 minutes, until tops begin to brown.
5. If freezing first and cooking later, cover empanaditas with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. Place in freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, preheat oven to 400 and bake frozen empanaditas on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray for 30 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and tops begin to brown. Serve warm.
I like this healthyish spin on bachelor food, and so did my husband. And we’ve got extra in the freezer for the next time I pop out of town…
(Also, don’t mind my notation on the bag — you bake them at 400, not at 425! Maybe someone needs to make me dinner…)