Menu Plan Monday ~ August 8th

Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday: Four Cheese Pizza, Side Salad
Tuesday: Barbecued Ribs, Baked Beans, Seasoned Potato Wedges
Wednesday: Going to Lake Compounce!
Thursday: Chicken Tikka Masala, Basmati Rice, Vegetable Samosas, Naan
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Going to Sesame Place!
Sunday: Braised Short Ribs, Creamy Polenta, Shredded Zucchini Saute with Garlic and Herbs

What’s on your menu this week?

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Savory Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are a savory treat that have been a favorite of mine since I was a young girl. My mother would make them often, as a midday snack or sometimes for dinner, filling them with chicken, beef, seafood or cheese. I usually preferred a combination of beef and cheese, biting into the flaky crust while it was still hot, then watching the cheese ooze out.

For those of you not familiar with empanadas, they’re basically turnovers filled with meat. In some Latin American countries, they’re often referred to as pastelitos. I grew up calling them empanadas, so that’s what I continue to call them! They make a great appetizer, snack or side dish. Many people make their own dough, but there are so many great, pre-made doughs out there that I save myself the time and purchase Goya Discos. Empanadas are also a great way to use up any leftover meat — shredded chicken, ground beef, pork — the possibilities are endless! Give this recipe a try. I guarantee your mouth will water at the sight of these flaky turnovers packed with flavor.

Savory Beef Empanadas Over Moros y Cristianos

Beef Empanadas

Beef Turnovers

What You’ll Need:

1 cup picadillo
1 14-oz package Goya Discos, thawed
vegetable oil, for frying

On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each disco until about 1/2″ larger in diameter. Place 1 tablespoon picadillo in the center of each disco. Moisten the edge with water, then fold the disc in half, using a fork to crimp the edges and seal it.

Fill a deep frying pan with 2 inches of oil, then heat over medium-high heat. Fry the empanadas until golden brown, turning only once. Make sure not to crowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will drop, resulting in greasy empanadas. Fry in batches, if necessary. Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain. Serve hot. Pairs well with moros y cristianos.

Note: These empanadas can also be baked, if preferred. After assembling each empanada, brush the tops with an egg and water mixture. Bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

A Spanish Side: Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos, or black beans and rice, is a classic Cuban dish. The name literally translates to Moors and Christians, the “Moors” being the black beans and the “Christians” being the white rice. The name of the dish is a reference to the battle that began in eighth century Spain, between the Christians and Muslims. Spain has had a huge influence on the food and culture of Cuba.

This dish goes great with many beef, pork, poultry and seafood dishes. It’s a simple, one-pot meal that takes just 20 minutes to prepare.

Moros y Cristianos

Black Beans and Rice

What You’ll Need:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 ounces slab bacon, rind removed, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium size green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 15-ounce cans black beans
2 cups long grain rice
4 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the bacon for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and small craters form over the surface of the rice. Stir with a fork (using a spoon will result in mushy rice), cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Please refrain from lifting the lid before then, which will only allow your steam to escape and lengthen the cooking time. Discard the bay leaf. Serve and enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday ~ August 1st

Now that August has arrived, I’m starting to feel that end-of-summer sadness creep up on me. Soon, these long, hot days will make way for chilly, short ones. No longer will my afternoons be filled with lobster rolls and sand castles. Before long, I’ll be shopping for warmer clothes for Logan and trying to squeeze in time for Christmas shopping. Sigh.

Can you tell I love summer? It’s more than half over and I’ve only completed a few things on my summer bucket list! I’ll definitely have to make do with the remaining summer days ahead! Let’s switch topics, before I get too depressed!

Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday: Baltimore Crab Cake Sandwiches with Avocado Sauce, Spinach Salad
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Beef and Chorizo Burgers, Vegetable Chips
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Ham, Brie and Apple Panini, Side Salad
Saturday: Shrimp with Linguine in Creamy Chipotle Sauce, Garlic Bread, Side Salad
Sunday: Leftovers

What’s on your menu this week?