One-Skillet Beef & Veggie Empanada Filling

This One-Skillet Beef & Veggie Empanada Filling is a must-try!  The ingredient preparation is so darn simple and it’s all combined in a single skillet!  You can use either a homemade or store-bought dough of your choosing to then bake the savory pastries.  This recipe fills about 13 medium-sized empanadas making it a perfect choice for a group meal, or for easily reheated leftovers in a smaller household.

The flavors make salsas and guacamole natural toppings for serving, and the level of spice can be adjusted by adding more or less cayenne.

Servings: Filling For Approx. 13 Medium Empanadas

Ingredients:

1 Yellow/Sweet Onion, finely chopped

1 Large, Or 2 Small, Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced

2 Full Sized Carrots, peeled and finely diced

3 Garlic Cloves, minced or crushed

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Cup Beef Broth

1 Lb Ground Beef

2 Tbsps Tomato Paste

2 Tsp Chili Powder

1/2 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Cayenne

Sea Salt And Black Pepper To Taste

Additionally:

2 Eggs + 1 Tbsp Cold Water For Egg Wash

Directions:

[If you are making a homemade dough, prep ahead of time, refrigerate, and bring back to room temperature accordingly.  If using a premade/frozen dough, follow package instructions for thawing.]

Finely chop the onion

Peel and dice the potatoes

Peel and finely dice the carrots

Mince the garlic (or use a garlic press)

In a large skillet, add the olive oil and then all of the above (onions, carrots, potatoes, and garlic) and start cooking on medium heat

Stir veggies often, adding in splashes of water if they are getting dry

Once the veggies have softened significantly, add in 1/2 a cup of the beef broth, then once it cooks off, add in the other 1/2 cup

If additional softening of the veggies is still needed, continue to cook with splashes of water until cooked thoroughly

Add in the ground beef, disperse, and cook evenly among the veggie mix, continuing to add splashes of water if too dry

Lower the heat

Add in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper

Taste test and adjust the spices to your taste (I recommend a lot of salt and pepper)

The final consistency should be slightly mushy (see photos) 

Remove the skillet from the heat

[From here:

Preheat the oven to the specific temperature required for your dough

Cut the dough into circular shapes

Fill the empanadas

Fold over

Seal by pressing with a fork

Brush with an egg wash if your dough requires it

Bake according to your dough instructions – For my dough it was around 30 minutes at 400º, but this is variable!]

Serve final empanadas with the salsa or guacamole (or both!) of your choice

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can be stored sealed in the refrigerator.]

Egg & Sausage Carbonara

This Egg & Sausage Carbonara is a long-time family favorite!  Originally inspired by Rachael Ray’s 1998 version of her Spaghetti Carbonara: Pasta with Bacon and Eggs (found in the First printing of 30-Minute Meals), this easy pasta dish was made by my mom often when we were young, and still now when we all visit home.  Doubling the ingredients can make it a perfect choice for feeding a crowd, and for the vegetarians, it’s an easy swap to use your favorite veggie sausages instead!

Servings: About 4

Ingredients:

4 Mild Or Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages Of Choice, such as Bilinski’s

(Traditional Italian sausage can be used if preferred over chicken)

1 Pound Spaghetti

4 Minced Garlic Cloves

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Plus Extra For The Sausages

4 Eggs

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, To Taste

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Black Pepper And Sea Salt, To Taste

Directions:

Slice the sausages into 1/2 inch pieces, and cook them with olive oil over medium heat until browned and crispy.  They can then be removed from the pan and set aside

Boil water for the pasta

Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions

While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, evenly pour in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and heat up the garlic on low heat (sprinkling in some red pepper flakes to taste)

Just before draining the finished pasta, take out about 3 spoonfuls of the boiling water and add it into your egg mixture

Drain and rinse the cooked pasta and add it to the skillet of garlic and olive olive, turning the heat up to medium

Coat the pasta evenly, then add in your cooked sausage pieces

Pour in the scrambled eggs, and toss it all together for about 1 minute, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking

Remove from heat, and mix in the parmesan and a generous amount of black pepper

Serve with extra cheese, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Dad’s Famous Salmon Dinner

If you’ve never been a salmon lover, I’m about to change your mind!  My Dad didn’t think he liked salmon either, but in 1999, my mom gifted him James McNair’s “Salmon Cookbook”. He took on a combination of recipes, adjusted them to his particular taste, and created the ultimate salmon dinner.  Ever since, whenever friends or family come to visit, even those who say they don’t like salmon, he serves up this particular plate and wows them every single time!

Between the butter, lemon, shallots, and super soft texture, the fish will literally melt in your mouth.

THE FISH

The book’s “Herb-Roasted Salmon” recipe

Adjustments

-Of all the herbs listed, only dill is used

-He adds extra butter atop the fish in the oven; roughly 4 tablespoons (or to taste!)

-When removing the skin, he also removes the majority of the dark meat along the backbone.  Yes, this reduces the Omega 3 content a bit, but it’s the secret to removing the “fishy” taste for those who prefer that!

THE FISH SAUCE

The book’s “Beurre Blanc” recipe

Adjustments

-Instead of letting the majority of the liquid evaporate as indicated, he leaves a bit more of the liquid intact in the pan

SIDES

A Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous (such as the 365 option from Whole Foods)

Grilled Yellow, Orange, or Red Bell Peppers Bell Peppers (in your marinade of choice, such as an Italian dressing)

GARNISHES

Extra dill, lemon slices, and bell pepper tops (or whatever you have on hand!)

Based on his dedication to plating the meal perfectly, I think it’s safe to say I know where I got my love of food photography from!

It goes without saying that we all highly recommend the cookbook.  It has inspired countless great meals in our house!

Visit my Amazon Storefront to pick up a copy for yourself: www.amazon.com/shop/bakeandbewell

#CommissionsEarned #Ad

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

Meal prep doesn’t get easier than this Greek Pasta Salad!  Perfect for use as a ready-made side dish or main meal, this recipe takes only minutes to prepare and can last you all week long!  The real best part is how customizable it is:  If you have alternate vegetables you’d prefer to substitute, use them!  If you want a bit more protein, add meat!  If you enjoy extra cheese, add more feta.  There are endless variations!

If experimenting in the kitchen isn’t your thing, fear not.  I promise this particular ingredient combo will be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer cookout, potluck, or family dinner.  No occasion?  No problem!  I love having this dish on hand for pre-made meals to go.  It’s the perfect work lunch!

It’s packed with tons of colorful veggies for a nutrition bonus, and depending on the serving size the batch can stretch a long way! 

Servings: 5 – 6 medium/large (or around 10 very small sides)

Ingredients:

1 lb Pasta of Choice

2 Pints Cherry or Grape Tomatoes (rainbow varieties add great taste!)

2 Red or Orange Bell Peppers

1 Cucumber

3/4 Cup Primal Kitchen Greek Dressing & Marinade

2.25 oz Sliced Black Olives

4 oz Feta Cheese Crumbles

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Fresh Parsley to Garnish

Directions: 

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and then set aside to cool off

Chop up the tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber into bite-sized pieces

Using a very large bowl, coat the cooled pasta in half of the greek dressing (Cooled cooking pots or baking dishes work well too.  Choose whatever you have on hand.)

Add the chopped veggies to the bowl

Add the black olives and feta to the bowl as well

Add the remaining dressing and toss until all is evenly mixed

Add sea salt and black pepper to taste

Garnish with fresh parsley

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can easily be stored sealed/covered in the refrigerator.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Breaded Lemon Pepper Chicken & Asparagus

We all need a few easy go-to dinners that require minimal ingredients, minimal time, and have crowd-pleasing flavors.  This breaded lemon pepper chicken with oven roasted lemon asparagus on the side is exactly that!  Easy, delicious, inexpensive, and full of fresh summer flavor!

(Of course if you’d like to prepare only the chicken or only the asparagus, take either part of this recipe and add it into your given meal of choice, but they really do pair wonderfully together!)

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

FOR THE ASPARAGUS

1 Bunch Asparagus (around 50 small/thin stalks)

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt (around 7 grinds or to taste)

Black Pepper (around 15 grinds or to taste)

1/2 Lemon

FOR THE CHICKEN

1 – 1.5 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Thinly Sliced (I used 1.4 lbs)

1/2 Cup Flour of Choice (I used White Whole Wheat)

1/4 Cup Dangold Lemon Pepper Seasoning

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1/2 Lemon

Directions:

FOR THE ASPARAGUS

Preheat the oven to 425°

Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends

Place them in a ziplock bag, pour in the olive oil, and distribute until evenly coated

Add the salt and pepper into the bag and evenly cover

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and evenly spread the asparagus across the pan

Cook for 9 minutes, flip, then cook for another 9 minutes, or until they’ve reached your preferred texture

Once they’ve been removed from the oven, squeeze fresh lemon juice over top before serving

FOR THE CHICKEN

While the asparagus is cooking, place the flour and lemon pepper seasoning onto a plate and mix together

Melt half of the butter in a medium-large pan on medium heat

Coat each piece of chicken with water, then cover them with the flour and spice mixture

Cook the chicken in the pan for around 4 minutes per side if thin (adding time for thicker pieces until cooked all the way through)

The remaining half of the butter can be added into the pan between cooking chicken pieces if it runs dry

Once the chicken is all removed from the stove, squeeze fresh lemon juice over top before serving

Plate the chicken with the asparagus

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Roasted Brussels Sprout Pasta

If you’re a fan of crispy roasted brussels sprouts, you’ll love this super easy pasta dish!  It can function as either a side or main meal depending on what you’re serving.  You can use any type of pasta that you prefer.  I’ve personally utilized everything from traditional Italian wheat pastas to legume and lentil pastas (which are great for a gluten free and protein-packed alternative).

Speaking of protein, if you’re looking to add in a little extra, the addition of a chopped sausage (either traditional meat or veggie-based) would be a delicious option.

If you’d like to prepare the dish for a group, simply multiply these single serving measurements by the amount of diners.  For optimal taste and texture, it’s best to eat this one right away while the brussels sprouts are still warm and crispy from the oven!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 Pound Brussels Sprouts

1-2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to thoroughly coat)

Sea Salt (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste)

FOR THE PASTA

1 & 1/3 Cups Pasta Of Choice (dry)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste, generous amount recommended)

TO SERVE

Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Preheat the oven to 400°

Cut the bottoms/tips off of the sprouts and peel off the outer layer

Cut each sprout in half (smaller ones can be left whole)

Toss in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper

Spread evenly on a baking sheet

Cook for about 35 minutes (stirring/flipping halfway) or until the outside is brown and crispy

FOR THE PASTA

Based on the cooking time for your pasta of choice, prepare it according to the package instructions timed to finish around when the sprouts will be coming out of the oven

Once cooked and drained, add pasta to serving bowl

Coat lightly with the olive oil

Season with salt and pepper to taste

TO SERVE

Mix the roasted brussels sprouts into the pasta

Add additional salt and pepper if needed after taste testing

Add parmesan cheese to taste when serving

Enjoy!

Baked Broccoli Mac & Cheese

If you’re looking to transform mac and cheese from a simple weeknight meal into a restaurant order copycat, I have the secret: A crispy breadcrumb topping!  It makes all the difference!

This pasta bake is quick and easy with only simple ingredients needed.  It’s also quite customizable.  Should you have a preference to use a different type of cheese or vegetable, it can be made entirely your own.

That being said, I highly recommend this particular combination!  The broccoli is very complimentary in both taste and texture, and there’s just the right amount of subtle kick from the pepper jack that really ties all of the flavors together.

The contrast of the crispy cheese and breadcrumb topping paired with the saucy pasta center makes this meal perfect to serve hot from the oven, but in a smaller household it can easily be stored as leftovers for readymade meals or sides in the days to follow.  This recipe makes 6 servings, and whether you’re feeding a group or meal prepping for yourself, it’s designed to make the cooking as easy as possible. (Cue the cheese slices in lieu of shredding!)

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

3 Cups Elbow Pasta (dry)

4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

1/4 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour (or flour of choice)

1 Tsp Sea Salt

Black Pepper (about 10 total rotations from the grinder)

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 1/4 Cups Oat Milk

1 3/4 Cups Vegetable Broth

8 Slices Mild Cheddar Cheese

5 Cups Broccoli (measured while frozen/raw)

1/4 Tsp Paprika

2 Slices Muenster Cheese

2 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese

1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Directions:

STEP 1

PREP

Preheat the oven to 350°

Grease a 9 x13 inch baking dish

Cook the broccoli (I microwaved from frozen), cut into small pieces, and set aside

STEP 2

COOK THE PASTA

Prepare the elbow pasta according to the package instructions.  Be sure to rinse it with cold water once drained

STEP 3

CREATE THE SAUCE

While the pasta is cooking, in a wok/vessel of similar size, melt the butter

Stir the flour into the melted butter until evenly combined

Stir in the sea salt, half of the black pepper (about 5 rotations from the grinder), and the cayenne

Add in the oat milk and vegetable broth, cooking and stirring on medium heat until well blended

Melt in the 8 slices of cheddar, stirring until smooth

STEP 4

COMBINE THE FILLING ELEMENTS

Add the cooked pasta into the sauce

Add in the cooked broccoli pieces

Add in the other half of the black pepper (5 rotations from the grinder) and the paprika

Transfer into the greased baking dish

STEP 5

CREATE THE TOPPING

Tear the 2 muenster slices and the 2 pepper jack slices into small pieces, and evenly disperse over the top of the pasta

To follow, top with the bread crumbs

STEP 6

BAKE

Bake for around 17 minutes

To brown and crisp the top, broil for an additional 2 and 1/2 minutes.  Rotate the pan, then broil a second time for 1 and 1/2 – 2 minutes (or until lightly browned)

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly

If desired, an additional sprinkle of salt can be added when serving

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can easily be stored in the refrigerator by simply covering up the cooking dish and storing it in there as is.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Burrata Artichoke Bison Burgers

A few years back, my husband was given a burger patty press for Christmas.  His parents got one for themselves as well.  Ever since then, the burger wars between them have been escalating!  Who can craft the ultimate burger?!  This Italian-inspired bison burger is my husband’s latest entry into the family burger competition, and it turned out so delicious that I wanted to share it with you all!

He named it “Under the Tuscan Bun”, let me add!  A unique name for a unique burger falls within the rules of the family burger battle.

This recipe makes four burgers, but after tasting the burrata / sun dried tomato / artichoke relish combo, I’m betting you’ll be tempted to eat two at a time!

Ingredients:

FOR THE PATTIES

4 oz Fresh Basil

2-3 Cloves Garlic (depending on preference)

1 lb Ground Bison

3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan

Black Pepper (to taste)

Sea Salt (to taste)

FOR THE ARTICHOKE RELISH

1 14 oz Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra on hand to adjust final consistency)

1 Bunch Fresh Parsley

1 Pinch Kosher Salt

½ Lemon

TO SERVE

4 Burger Buns Of Choice (Brioche highly recommended!)

Sun Dried Tomatoes (to taste)

8 oz Burrata

Directions:

STEP 1

PREP THE PATTIES

In a food processor, finely chop the basil and garlic

Combine the basil and garlic mixture with the ground bison along with the parmesan, black pepper, and sea salt

Form into 4 patties

STEP 2

PREP THE ARTICHOKE RELISH

Mince the artichoke hearts and sauté in them in the tbsp of olive oil until lightly browned

Transfer to a bowl to cool

Chop the fresh parsley leaves

Add the parsley to the artichoke hearts

Add the pinch of kosher salt and squeeze the 1/2 lemon into the mix

Add olive oil as needed until mixture reaches spreadable consistency

STEP 3

COOK THE PATTIES

Cook each bison patty for roughly 3-4 mins on each side on medium-high heat

STEP 4

ASSEMBLE

Toast or warm a burger bun

Add a bison patty

Spread the artichoke relish generously onto the top of the patty

Add sun dried tomatoes and burrata to taste

Enjoy!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my all-time favorite meals!  Like so many great dishes, there are endless unique ways to prepare it.  Every restaurant and individual has their own twist, and I personally appreciate the variety!  Sometimes you’ll find yourself with fried layers of paper thin eggplant, and other times thick breaded eggplant circles in a single layer.  (There is a local Italian restaurant in my neighborhood that serves theirs up as two large hunks of breaded eggplant with a thick layer of ricotta cheese between the two, all covered in marinara and mozzarella.)

This particular Eggplant Parm is a layered and baked variety that not only tastes amazing but can also easily be made without too much mess or hassle.  It’s perfect as either a weeknight meal, from which you could easily have leftovers, or as a guaranteed crowd pleaser for potlucks and gatherings.  This recipe makes about 6 – 8 medium servings. 

Ingredients:

2 Large Eggplants

4 Eggs

3 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs

4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Jars Marinara Sauce Of Choice

2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese – Torn From Slices (about 8 slices, more if you prefer)

1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°

Place two large baking sheets in the oven

Shred the parmesan cheese

Tear the mozzarella slices into small pieces

Combine the two cheeses in a bowl and set aside

Cut the eggplants into circles roughly ½ an inch thick

Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly scramble them with a fork

Place the bread crumbs in either a bowl or on a plate (You can start with some instead of all if you wish, adding more as you run low)

In assembly line style, dip each eggplant circle into the eggs, then into the breadcrumbs

Remove the baking sheets from the oven

Evenly drizzle half of the olive oil onto the baking sheets (1 tbsp per sheet) then place the breaded eggplant circles on in a single layer

Bake for 15 minutes

Remove the sheets from the oven, drizzle the second half of the olive oil (the other 2 tbsps) on top of the eggplant, flip them all over, and then put back into the oven for another 10 minutes (or until they’re turning golden)

Once the eggplant has been removed from the oven, turn the oven temperature up to 475°

In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, layer the eggplant circles, marinara sauce, then cheeses.  Repeat these layers until the pan is full, ending on a cheese layer

Put the pan back into the oven and bake until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden brown (around 15 minutes)

Let cool slightly for a couple of minutes as it will be extremely hot

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can easily be stored in the refrigerator by simply covering up the cooking dish and storing it in there as is.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Pumpkin Mushroom Pasta

This pumpkin pasta is the perfect way to enjoy your favorite autumn flavors year-round and can easily be whipped up on a busy weeknight.  It can function as a vegetarian main course or as a side dish.  I used a traditional Italian durum wheat pasta, but feel free to use whatever type you like if you are gluten free or have other preferences! 

Ingredients:

16 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cup Half and Half

3/4 Tsp Sea Salt

Black Pepper (about 10 rotations from the grinder)

1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Pinch Ground Nutmeg

1 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree

1 Tsp Saigon Cinnamon

1.5 Tsps Light Brown Sugar

7 Tsps Finely Chopped Fresh Sage

13 oz Pasta Of Choice

Additional sea salt and black pepper for topping/serving 

Directions:

In a medium to large-sized pan, add the extra virgin olive oil and mushrooms

Cook the mushrooms on medium heat until thoroughly tender and brown

Set the mushrooms aside

In a wok, or vessel of similar size, turn the heat to a low-medium setting and melt the butter

Add in the half and half and stir until well blended

Stir in the sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg

Turn the heat down to low

Stir in the pumpkin puree

Add in the saigon cinnamon and brown sugar

Mix in the cooked mushrooms

Add in the sage

Prepare your pasta

Add the cooked pasta into the wok and mix evenly in the sauce

Add additional sea salt and black pepper liberally (to taste) when serving

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can be stored sealed in the refrigerator. This recipe makes approximately 3 servings.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!