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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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