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.]

Sourdough Banana French Toast

This Sourdough Banana French Toast was made with my Dairy Free French Toast method!  It’s such a simple and satisfying breakfast, and the quantities are easily duplicated if you’re feeding a group.

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

2 Slices Sourdough Bread

2 Eggs

A Generous Sprinkle Of Saigon Cinnamon

1 Sliced Banana

Dark Maple Syrup

Directions:

Warm up a small nonstick pan on medium heat

Scramble the eggs in a bowl

Add the saigon cinnamon and scramble again

Coat slice 1 of the bread in the egg mixture and cook it evenly on each side

Repeat with slice 2

Top with banana slices and maple syrup

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

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!

Crispy Potato Wedges

These Crispy Potato Wedges are such a quick and easy side to have on hand and always a crowd pleaser. They pair wonderfully with meaty meals such as steak, chicken, or battered fish, but also happen to be vegan and taste great alongside veggie burgers, veggie sandwiches, or chili too.  You only need 4 ingredients!

Servings: Approx. 1 Potato Per Person, Or Quantity Of Choice!

Ingredients:

Potatoes

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°

After cleaning, chop each potato into about 8 wedges

Lightly coat the wedges with olive oil

Add sea salt and black pepper to taste

Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on how crispy you like them

[Optional – You can raise the oven temperature slightly or broil in the last couple minutes for extra crispness if you like!]

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie Cake

If you were to meld a cookie cake with pumpkin bread, this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie Cake would be the outcome!  I have to say, I think it’s one of the most popular desserts I’ve ever made.  As a chocolate lover coming from a family of chocolate lovers, it’s decadently heavy on the chocolate with a background of autumn spice and flavor.

I’m always on a mission to create a crowd-pleaser, and was absolutely delighted at our Thanksgiving table this year when even those who described themselves as “not dessert people” (and “not pumpkin people”) kept coming back for another piece! 

The ingredients are very simple, and many of them you likely already have in your pantry.  The baking process is also extremely easy.  The instructions contain an unconventional step to let the partially cooked dessert cool before placing it back in the oven.  This was how I achieved the perfect texture balance of soft on the inside while crisp and brown on the outside.  Trust me on this one!

Notes:

-The White Whole Wheat Flour creates the perfect flavor profile for this chocolate-heavy treat!  It adds just the right amount of heartiness and body that keeps it from going overboard on sugariness.

-Be sure to grab a plain pumpkin purée with the pumpkin as the only ingredient!  (I know how common it is to accidentally pick up a canned “pumpkin pie mix” by mistake.)

-Once you’ve completed the baking process, the chocolate will be very melty.  While I love melty chocolate, I highly recommend letting it completely cool before consuming it so that it can solidify.  I personally put the baking pan outside in the cold November air to speed up the cooling until everyone was ready for dessert.  It was also the general consensus that, though it was incredible on Day 1, like many desserts, it had reached its “perfect consistency” by the following day!  I say this so that, should you like to plan accordingly, it is best baked with a little time buffer before serving.  It’s worth the wait!

Servings: About 12 – 15

Ingredients:

2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour

3/4 Teaspoon Ground Saigon Cinnamon

1/8 Teaspoon Allspice

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter (plus enough extra to grease the pan)

1 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

2 1/8 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Pumpkin Purée

2 1/4 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (plus 1/4 Cup extra for the topping)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Grease a 9 x 13 pan with butter

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and sea salt with a fork, then set aside

In a second larger bowl, briefly microwave the butter until just soft, then beat in the sugar on a low setting until evenly combined and creamy.  Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and pumpkin purée and blend again

Pour the bowl of the dry ingredients into the bowl of the wet ingredients and beat evenly until combined

Gently stir in the chocolate chips

Pour the mix into the pan and smooth evenly

Sprinkle the extra chocolate chip topping evenly across the surface

Bake on the middle oven rack for about 32 minutes, until the outer edges get slightly browned and firm

Remove from the oven and let it cool down (for approximately 2 hours)

Add the pan back into the oven at the same temperature of 350° for an additional 36 minutes, or until the texture of the middle more closely resembles the texture of the edges, yet slightly squishier.  The whole tray should now appear lightly browned

Let cool completely for the chocolate to solidify

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can be stored directly in the pan with an airtight cover such as cling wrap, or in another airtight container of choice.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Strawberry Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

When it comes to super thick smoothies, you can’t go wrong with frozen fruit and lots of peanut butter!  This Strawberry Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie is tasty, filling, and oh-so easy!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1 Serving Frozen Strawberries (approx. 1 cup)

1/3 Cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1/2 Cup Cold Water

1 Small Banana

A Pinch Of Saigon Cinnamon 

Directions:

Blend together all but the cinnamon, add the cinnamon, and blend again

Serve and 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

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Perfect for the autumn season (or any day really!), this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal is for anyone with a serious morning sweet tooth. The texture is that of a thick and creamy oatmeal, all overflowing with melty chocolate chips in a base of pumpkin and cinnamon fall flavor!

Due to the heavy chocolate presence, you only need the lightest drizzle of maple syrup and pinch of sea salt on top of your serving. It’s already quite sweet, but the flavors really pop with these light toppings!

The best part – All of the ingredients are mixed right in the pan!

Servings: About 5

Ingredients:

1 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree (plain, not pumpkin pie mix)

1/3 Cup Honey

2 Cups Rolled Oats

1 Cup Oat Milk

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

2 Tsp Saigon Cinnamon

1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used 54% Cacao)

Oil To Grease The Pan (I used Avocado Oil)

Maple Syrup And Sea Salt To Taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with the oil

Pour the pumpkin puree directly into the pan

Add the honey and evenly combine the two

Pour in the oats, oat milk, and greek yogurt, and stir everything until evenly combined

Add in the cinnamon and combine again

Add the chocolate chips and gently mix in

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the top and edges look a bit more solid

Let cool to a safe temperature, and top each serving with maple syrup and (a pinch) of sea salt to taste

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container, or in the cooking dish itself if well-covered. To freeze, cut into pre-portioned amounts, store in a sealed freezer-safe container, then simply reheat in the microwave once ready to eat.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Banana Peach Sunbutter Smoothie

Reminiscent of a classic banana and peanut butter combo, this Banana Peach Sunbutter Smoothie is thick and creamy like a milkshake!  The addition of the peaches gives it a bit of extra sweetness and bulk but does not compromise the flavor at all.  The sweetness of the fruit balances perfectly with the “nutty” flavor of the Sunbutter in this super filling, nutrient-dense, quick and easy meal.

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

2 Frozen Bananas

1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

4 Tablespoons Sunbutter

2/3 Cup Cold Water

1 Serving Frozen Peaches (approx. 1 cup)

Optional: Honey or sweetener of choice if added sweetness is desired

Directions:

Add the bananas, yogurt, Sunbutter, and water into a blender and blend until smooth

Add in the peaches and blend again until smooth and evenly combined

Taste test, and if you prefer additional sweetness add honey/sweetener to taste and reblend (I personally prefer it less sweet and think it tastes delish as is.)

Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Oats

If somehow you’ve never enjoyed oats before, these Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Oats will convert you after one bite! They’re the perfect combination of dessert-y yet nutrient-dense. They’re also thick and creamy, have loads of added texture from the toppings, and can be whipped up in under 5 minutes!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Quick Oats

+ Around 1 cup water for the oats

1 Packet NibMor Hot Cocoa

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

1 Banana

1 Tablespoon Hemp Hearts

Around 2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Cook up the oats with water (I use the microwave)

Stir in the hot cocoa packet

Stir in the yogurt until creamy and evenly combined

Slice up the banana and add it on top along with the hemp hearts and chocolate chips

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!