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Chicken, Bean and Green Chile Empanadas

Do you love Mexican food, but hate the fact that all the good stuff is fried? Well, try these baked Empanadas!  I’m not saying they don’t pack some calories, but they’re definitely better than eating fast food or restaurant Mex. And obviously better on your budget.

For less than $7 bucks, you’re whole family can enjoy a feast!  Roberto’s don’t stand a chance!

Empanada Dough:

3 cups flour – $.75
1 1/2 teaspoons salt – pantry
1 tsp baking powder – pantry
1/4 cup lard or shortening – $1.00
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water
1 egg yolk (use the white to brush the empanada before baking) – $.33

COST: $2.08

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Using your hands, cut in shortening (or lard) until well blended. Add egg yolk and 1/2 cup warm water and begin mixing with fingers.  Add more warm water as necessary, but do it a little at a time until dough comes together smoothly, not sticky. Dough should be soft and smooth, and not elastic!

Now! You’re ready to roll. If you need to flour your surface, go ahead. You shouldn’t need to, but this takes practice, so don’t be afraid. In the end, it’s all good. I promise!

Baked Chicken, Bean & Cheese Empanadas:

* Empanada dough (see recipe above)
1 to 1 1/2 lb chicken breast or thighs (~2 cups shredded cooked chicken) – $2.20
1 cup shredded cheese (I like colby jack) – $1.00
1 can refried beans – $.70
1 bay leaf – pantry
1 large onion, chopped – $.35
2 Tbsp chicken bouillon – pantry
1 Tbsp canola oil – pantry
1/2 tsp cumin – pantry
1 tsp red chili powder – pantry
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper – pantry
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional) – $.25

COST: $4.50

Place the chicken breasts in a pot with bouillon and bay leaf. Cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Let cool and shred chicken into small pieces while keeping meat moistened with 2-3 tablespoons of the broth and set aside.

Heat oil in a saute pan and add chopped onions, cumin, chile powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add your shredded chicken. Continue cooking mixture for 2-3 more minutes and add refried beans. Mix well and set aside.

Separate empanada dough into golf ball size pieces and roll into a circle. Think small tortilla! About 8 inches in diameter.

Oops! Don’t forget to preheat oven to 425 degrees.

While oven is heating, continue preparing empanadas.  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough circle and then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Fold the top half of the circle of dough over the filling to form a semicircle, and press edges together firmly to seal. Pinch edges shut, like you would for an apple pie.

Beat egg white and brush each empanada nicely. Place empanadas on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed. Serve with salsa, guacamole or sour cream. You can’t go wrong!

GRAND TOTAL: $6.58



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Bacon Wrapped Beer Brats
That smokey, salty flavor. That crispiness. That crunchy, yet chewy goodness. Yeah…I LOVE bacon. Can you tell?! And I really love things wrapped in that goodness. Like hotdogs in Mexico. They are the best! I can see some of your faces now. All shriveled up and saying, “gross!” Whatever! You just haven’t lived until you’ve had a dog wrapped in bacon. But if you wanna get all uppity (just kidding, brats are good too), then try this recipe. But beware, these bad boys are addicting. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Bacon Wrapped Beer Brats:

1 Pkg beer brats (6 in mine) – $2.99
2 Beers, enough to cover brats in medium sauce pan – $2.00
1 large onion, sliced – $.25
Bacon Ends or half package of standard bacon – $1.25
1/4 cup brown sugar – $.25
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (New Mexico red Chili will work for more mild) – pantry
12 Toothpicks – pantry

COST: $6.74

Cut each brat in half. Place brats in medium sauce pan with beer and onions. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 mins. Remove brats from pan and let cool. Return liquid to simmer and add brown sugar and cayenne. Cook for 20-30 mins, uncovered. You basically want to reduce by 1/2 to 3/4. You will get a nice sweet and spicy sauce in the form of a thin syrup. Keep and eye on it. You don’t want it to burn.

When brats are cool to the touch, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wrap each brat piece with a strip of bacon, secure with a toothpick and place on baking sheet. Continue wrapping till all brats are nicely tucked in their bacon blankets and toss in the oven. Bake until bacon is brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve with your sweet and spicy sauce or stone ground mustard. A nice cucumber salad pairs well with these crispy treats.

Cucumber Salad:

1 large or 2 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced – $.75
1 can black olives, drained and sliced – $.99
2 large roma tomatoes, diced – $.65
2 Tbsp Italian Dressing – $.25
1/2 tsp pepper – pantry
1/2 tsp garlic powder – pantry
1/2 Sea salt – pantry

COST: $2.64

Mix all ingredients and toss well. Cover and allow to sit for 6 hours or more in the fridge, if you can. The olives will really make this salad so flavorful. Perfect with crispy bacon wrapped brats and baked potato!

Baked Potato COST: $.15 a piece – $.60 for 4

GRAND TOTAL: $9.98



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