Make Ahead Meals: Beef Empanadas

So…we took the last 2 days off from freezer meals. But, they were planned days off! Sunday was Easter, and even though I was too tired to attend, Travis made steaks and spent most of his day with his family. He ate quite a bit at lunch, so I planned a leftover/cereal night for us. Monday was our night out, so we used a Groupon to a Brazilian Steakhouse called “Praderia”. The food is awesome, the service is quick, and for all you can eat steak, the overall price is fairly reasonable (with the Groupon) for two people.

Tonight I planned empanadas – no defrost required, you put these in the oven straight from the freezer. These came out pretty well. I left out the salt and pepper to taste in the preparation stage – in the future I will definitely not skip this step as the meat mixture by itself was a little bland. I also played with the idea of adding a bit more of the other spices (especially the cumin) to add more zest. Once baked into the empanada shell, it was actually very tasty, and paired with salsa was a good meal

Beef Empanadas Picture from: Joelens.blogspot.com

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup taco shredded cheese blend
1 package empanada dough rounds (Goya)
1.To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic until softened. Add the corn, black beans, cumin, cayenne, and cloves and cook until fragrant. Crumble the beef into the pan and brown. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze and transfer the beef mixture to a bowl; cool.
2.Stir in the cilantro leaves into the beef mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cool completely in the refrigerator. Once cooled completely, fold in the cheese.
3.Using the premade empanada dough, place 1/3 cup of filling mixture in the center of each dough round. Brush the edges of the dough with water and fold dough over the filling. Press the edges to seal and crimp the edges using a fork. Once assembled, place empanadas in a gallon sized freezer bag in one layer. Remove any excess air from the bag and freeze flat.
4.When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a large baking sheet in the oven. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the surface of the large preheated baking sheet and then return to the oven for 2 minutes.
5.Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the frozen empanadas onto the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the empanadas with oil. Place the baking sheet of frozen empanadas in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until well browned and crisp. Cool empanadas on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve.

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