Sunday’s are usually my days where I plan my meals for the week, make my lists and head to the grocery stores to stock up on food. This Sunday was a little different. 10 years ago we all had a loss. We lost thousands of innocent people for nothing. We will probably never understand why this happened but every year 9/11 makes me hold my loved ones a little bit more, laugh a little louder and think a little deeper about my purpose.
I don’t necessarily know what my purpose is, but I woke up and new today’s purpose was to make my little family feel loved and happy. Nothing makes the G-man more happy than Sunday football. I’m not exaggerating, nothing makes this man more happy. Well, he did say it now makes him even more happy when I make healthier versions of foods we grew up with.
As a child my parents would take my brother and I to visit my grandma a lot. On the way there I would always ask if Grandma was cooking, even though I knew better. The cravings of different foods she would cook always started when we were about 1/2 way there. When my grandma opened her door I remember immediately being invited by the smells of spices and the sizzling sound of food frying in the kitchen. My grandma shows her love with food and every time I see her or walk into her house I feel that unconditional love stronger as the years go by.
I loved her empanada’s. She would walk across the kitchen with a steaming empanada that she pulled directly from the frying pan and would tell me to hurry and grab a napkin. Those few seconds it took me to grab a napkin and the empanada would only leave me salivating. Of course the first bite is the worst and the best. The worst because 9 times out of 10 I would burn my lip trying to bite it too fast. The best because the first bite prepares you for the robust flavors that was packed into the crisp, yet fluffy, empanadas.
Her staple was beef empanadas, since I haven’t eaten meat in so many years I miss participating in this tradition of her cooking. Not only do I not eat beef but, like most people I know, I can’t eat the same foods I did as a child. If I ate a fried empanada right now I’m sure it would find a nice little nook on my left thigh, or perhaps my right hip. Either way, I miss it. I miss holding the empanadas in the napkin that would catch the oil from dripping on your hand, I miss the crisp pastry like outside and the savory, flavorful filling. Today I decided I’d take matters into my own hands and make them for me and the G-man.
Healthy Shrimp Empanadas
makes approximately 8 empanadas
8 pre-made empanada discs
1/2 potato diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 small pepper (or 1/2 large pepper), diced
5-7 large shrimp, chopped (frozen or fresh), I used frozen cooked shrimp
2 tablespoons sofrito
1/2 garlic, minced
1/2 tsp adobo
1/2 packet of Sazon
1 tbsp capers, strained and roughly chopped
2 small tomatoes pulsed in a food processor or 1-2 tbsp of tomato sauce (I only had fresh tomatoes on-hand)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350*.
2. In a large saute pan add your potatoes, carrots and onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add your your peppers, tomatoes, sofrito, garlic, sazon and capers and let it cook until fragrant. Cook on medium low to make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. I used frozen cooked shrimp but feel free to use fresh or raw shrimp. With either cooked or raw (fresh or frozen) chop your shrimp and add to the potato mixture.
Using frozen shrimp: turn the heat off and mix until well combined.
Using fresh shrimp: cook on low until the shrimp just begin to turn pink, remove from heat.
5. Get ready for assembly!! Keep a small bowl with water on the side to seal the empanadas shut.
6. Place some of the shrimp and potato mixture in the center of the disc. Lightly run the outer edges of the disc with wet fingers. Grab one end of the disc and fold over to create a half moon. Push down on the edges and then use a fork to seal. If you don’t seal the edges the liquids that form inside the empanada will leak while in the oven.
7. Once you finish with all your filling place on a lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup). Dump the water that was in the bowl you were using and use the same bowl to make an egg wash. Brush each empanada with the egg wash and place in the oven.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and serve while hot. Enjoy!