Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chicken Empanadas. Olé.

We love Mexican food at our house.

We're spicy. What can I say?

I came up with this recipe for Chicken Empanadas after nearly having a heart attack when I saw the nutritional information of the Chicken Empanadas at On the Border. Now, if you know anything about me at all, surely it's that I don't cook lowfat or calorie-cutting food. I like the good stuff. And, under the category of "good stuff", you will find Chicken Empanadas.

BUT, wanna take a guess at how many calories/grams of fat are in ONE order of Chicken Empanadas at On the Border?

Nope. Higher...

Still not high enough...

Are you ready?

1090 calories.
74 grams of fat.


So, besides the fact that I prefer to eat at home, and love to come up with my own takes on things, I figured there must be a delicious way to have Chicken Empanadas without packing on another butt.

"Yes, I believe you have an extra butt on your menu? I'll have that. Thankyouverymuch."

Chicken Empanadas are chicken and cheese filled pastries that are usually deep-fried and are often made with a cornmeal-type "crust". Sometimes they're made with puff pastry or even flour tortilla dough. This recipe uses pie crust. My favorite kind of pastry dough. And, instead of deep frying the empanadas, these are baked.

BUT, what you lose in calories and fat, you don't lose in flavor. These pack the same delicious, Mexican punch as the restaurant ones. Trust me, people. Would I lead you astray? In the name of butter and cheese and all things gloriously fattening and tasteful. No.

And, since there is a sweet little story to tell 'bout these here Chicken Empanadas, I brought my camera with me. (full recipe below - minus surplus rambling)

Here we go...

First and foremost, you need one of these. If you're sensing a pattern in my cooking lately, me like spice. But, these empanadas, they need kick. And, a jalapeno is key.

You also need some roasted chicken. I always assume that everyone knows how to roast chicken. But, when I was a newbie cook, I hated it when people/cookbooks/internets "assumed".

So, to perfectly roast chicken breast for this dish, coat chicken breasts in olive oil, sprinkle with liberal amounts of salt and pepper, cover, and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked chicken breast. Every. Single. Time.

Once you make the filling (recipe below), you start the process of putting the empanadas together. (I was going to show you pictures of me making the filling. But, since you basically grind a bunch of things together in a food processor (or chop them by hand) and mix them together with some other stuff, I skipped that part. Or maybe the pictures were horrendous. You pick.

Once the filling is made, roll out a single pie crust on a floured surface and using a round cookie cutter (or a beverage glass), and cut into circles.

Brush edges of circles with water, using a pastry brush.

Place one rounded teaspoon of filling onto each circle.

Fold over into a half-moon shape, and gently press the edges closed.

Using a fork, make indentations all the way around the edge to seal. And, to make them look all pretty-like.

Now, I'm pressing the pause button on this little shindig. Because I must show you something.

No, these are not my hands.

These are the precious, nubby, sweet little fingers of my four year-old - who made these alongside of me.

And, I just have to tell you.

There is nothing in the whole wide world more heartwarming to this Momma than cooking alongside my boy. He loves being in the kitchen and cooking and baking and he is learning so much. He is my little kitchen sponge. *giggle*

Is it wrong that this next picture makes me giggle? C'mon. You know you're giggling, too. It can't be helped.

It is so entirely precious that he took his job so seriously and put so much into each one of these. He's got me wrapped around every one of his nubby little fingers. I'm telling you.

Yes, our boys have dirt on their fingers. Permanently. If you would like to come over and try to scrub them clean, c'mon over. The dirt has done me in. I am a slave to the dirt. The dirt has won.

Ok, hitting the start button and returning to the regular programming.

You'll have pieces like this after you make all of your circles. Just wad them up and roll them out, again.

Seriously, I could have cut out one more on there if these three hadn't had On the Border Chicken Empanadas for lunch.

Once all of the empanadas are filled and sealed...

They go onto a greased, foil-lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. My jelly roll pan is all shades of overused and sorry lookin'. Poor guy.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

And, out pop hot, steamy, delicious Chicken Empanadas. Man, these things are good. Note: Do not take one off of the pan and bite into it. Learn from me, my friends.

And, don't skimp and put a measly few on a platter. They will be gone before you can say, "On the Border made me fat."

That's more like it.

Chicken Empanadas. Without the extra butt. Olé.

Chicken Empanadas
my own recipe...

2 chicken breasts, roasted
1 jalapeno, seeded (if desired)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 small onion
8 ounces Mexican blend cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) package of frozen pie crust or homemade pie crust for a double crust pie

Place chicken, jalapeno, red pepper, green pepper, and onion in a food processor and process til blended and chopped. Or finely chop on a cutting board or mat into very small pieces. Remove from food processor and place in a medium bowl. Add Mexican blend cheese, cream cheese, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Roll out pie dough and using a biscuit cutter, round cookie cutter, or edge of a drinking glass, cut dough into circles. Using a pastry brush, brush edges with water.

Place one rounded teaspoon of filling into each round, and fold over to form a half-moon shape. Gently press the edges closed to seal. Using a fork, make indentations all the way around the edges to seal completely.

Place the empanadas on a greaased, foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the crust is golden.

Serve warm with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole, or ranch dressing for dipping.

*Note: These are appetizer-sized Chicken Empanadas. This recipe makes a TON of these. Store remainder in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in oven or toaster oven until heated through.


  1. thank you so much for posting this recipe! i might just try to make them before my kids wake up! ;) the funny thing is that i was on the computer SO late last night and i always hit the button for your blog like 5 times a day. so somehow i missed it last night... it was probably during my cleaning session of my sleepless night. :) anyway- thanks! so excited!

  2. Yummy, yummy! I was looking for a great appetizer recipe for Saturday's big dinner party. These will be perfect. Do you use a sauce with them at all?

    Love those nubby fingers!

  3. Bonnie,

    I serve these with little bowls of salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and/or ranch dressing. If you like cilantro, I've seen some cilantro dressings at the grocery store that would be great with these as well.

  4. I love you for saying "without the extra butt" and for including your children in your cooking and for making something from scratch even though you're a busy momma of three and for making domestichood look really good.

    And you love me for run-on sentences.

  5. These look so good! Can't wait to try them! I'm printing out the recipe now!

  6. Wow. I am still shocked at that number- 1090 calories.
    Will you hate me if I say I've never been to 'On the Border'??
    Does it make it better if I say I definitely would have if we had one up here in Canada??
    I LOVE Mexican! I'm imagining that our 'Taco Time' isn't any better....

    Anyways...moving on.

    I am so going to try these babies! Thanks for the awesome recipe!
    Great pictures!

    (Oh, and I am a slave to dirt too! Seriously it is a battle I just can't win!)

  7. I'm so glad you posted this recipe - it's going on the schedule soon!

  8. I've never had these before so I'm thinking my cooking crew and I will have to try these!

    *I Spy SL!*

    And this, "Chicken Empanadas. Without the extra butt. Olé." has got to be the best catch phrase of all time! ;-) Seriously, if you ever go into business making these and selling them (cause you know I'd be knocking down your door) you MUST use that as your slogan!

  9. Knowing Dave's love of all things Mexican, Mama might get some lovin' if I made these. LOL. They look incredible and I'm totally trying these for our next Mexican night. I love the fact that you can freeze some for later!

  10. Excellent timing!! The other youth pastor's wife, two friends and I are having a girl's overnighter this weekend. We decided the menu would be appetizers for our dinner together. And these look delicious! And I'm glad you talked about freezing them. That way I can make them ahead of time and just take them along to bake. So yummy!! And without the extra butt. That's so thoughtful of you!

  11. I'm on the phone with Nancy and she said she made these this week....YUM!!! I'll be making them soon...when I feel like standing in the kitchen for more than 10 min.

  12. These are stinkin' AWESOME!! Seriously, they're so delicious! I made a batch last night for our girls' night out tonight. We'll reheat them and enjoy them hot. But they are so good. My husband and I just had to taste one and it was so hard to stop eating them!! Can't wait to enjoy them with the girls tonight!!

    PS. I'm making your brownie bites for dessert. Every time I make them they're a hit. They're so good!!

  13. You're too cute, Sar :) Love you!

  14. I wish I had your love of cooking and baking! My wallet would like me a lot better...I'm always copping out and getting takeout. BAD!

  15. I just stumbled across your recipe and I have to say thank you. I LOVE all your photos! Also, your recipe sounds similar to Paula Deens - only better!! Thanks again.

  16. it didn't go so well for me with the frozen pie crusts. the delicious taste of the filling ended up being lost in the crust. i did find Goya frozen pastry disks especially made for empanadas. they are larger than bite sized... i'm about to make them- i'll let you know how they turn out. thanks again for the awesome recipe. gabe and i have used so many of your recipe posts. and have enjoyed them SO much.

  17. Hmm...I tried these tonight and was SO excited about them, but they just didn't work out. The homemade pie crust really overwhelmed the filling--it was like eating the filling encased in a biscuit. Maybe they'd be better fried (though that would defeat the purpose of leaving out the extra butt). The filling, however, was absolutely delicious! I think in the future I'll use it for taco filling.

  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9EhHdKAN_o

    This is Paula's version very similar to yours

  19. This is just awesome.

  20. About how long do you reheat them? Should I put the own back up to 400? I am making these beforehand for a party. Tanks!