Traverse City Record-Eagle

Rebecca Lindamood: Foodie With Family

January 12, 2012

Foodie With Family: Birthday meals (x5)

(Continued)

Doubling this recipe is never a bad idea as leftovers pack beautifully into lunches and store well for up to a week in the refrigerator. If you'd like to store them longer than that, simply wrap tightly and freeze them for up to a month. Having a bag of microwave- or toaster-oven-reheatable empanadas in the freezer is like having money in the bank. It just feels nice.

Even nicer, though, is the look on the faces of the kids as their birthday feasts are laid out on the table and they're given the first serving. All their planning and dreaming is made real right in front of them. I'll pass up the carrot stick and beet root juice diet for those faces every year for the rest of my life with zero guilt. Well, at least until swimsuit season ...

These fast and always fun meat pies give new life to leftover chili. If your chili is soupy or very saucy, you'll need to put it in a saucepan over a low flame to simmer and reduce until you have very thick chili, otherwise they'll be impossible to seal and will burst as they cook. I love these filled with already thick Cincinnati Chili and served with a side of cheese-topped chili beans.

To make these a last-minute friendly dish, keep a stash of frozen empanada dough discs and pre-portioned chili in your freezer.

Chili-filled Empanadas

3 c. leftover very thick chili

24 empanada wrappers (either thawed or fresh)

Optional:

Beaten egg (if baking)

Oil for frying (if frying)

Sour cream and salsa for serving

Lay out one dough circle and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture into the center. Fold the dough in half over the filling to form a half circle. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the dough all the way around the edge. If you desire a more decorative edge, you can then fold it up over the crimping and pinch it into place.

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