Simply Healthy Family: Cuban Style Empanadas Recipe and How my 10 Year Old Got Stuck to the Carpet, A dinner time tale.


Cuban Style Empanadas Recipe and How my 10 Year Old Got Stuck to the Carpet, A dinner time tale.

Empanadas are a fun way to serve your favorite taco type fillings and flavors. Making them at home is much easier than you might think and they are a perfect portable lunch. They are often served at parties and celebrations in Latin cultures the fillings widely varying. They are like little pita pockets stuffed with meats, onions, potatoes and olives in most Latin cultures and are thought to have first popped up in Portugal, popular on trade routes to India and are believed to have been derived or influenced by the Indian Samosa which usual have spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils and minced lamb in them. 


Last night as I was finishing up dinner that I was preparing for a sponsored post  for my family and taking pictures as I went along (If you're a food blogger you know that I started this project dinner around 3 pm). I was just putting it in the oven and congratulating myself that it would be finished in more than enough time to beat the setting sun for the final pictures as I heard a blood curdling scream coming from  the hallway. First reaction, Oh crap, what now?

I run around the corner to find my husband on his hands and knees with his head to the floor holding our 10 year olds foot. My son is crying (while trying not to cuz he's 10 you know) and saying through gritted teeth "I'M STUCK TO THE FLOOR, I'M STUCK TO THE FLOOR!!!"  WTH??

I lay on the floor and try to see under his foot which is about 1/2" from the carpet and see a small metal "nail" going from the carpet and into the bottom of the tender middle part of his foot. I remind myself that I have 15+ years of Level 1 Trauma experience as I try not to pass out. Through my son's screams my husband calmly (as usual) tells me to go find some scissors I am trying to wrap my head around how his foot is actually STUCK to the carpet. 

I jump up and start running around in circles before I remember where the kitchen scissors are, in the kitchen, and bring them to my husband. I get back down on my belly and try to get a look at what the hell is going on as my husband slides the scissors under the small space between my now hysterical sons foot and the carpet. I see the copper looking small "nail" going into the arch of his foot and notice that there is something pulling under his skin as my husband tries holding his food still and futilely attempting to cut the thing free. 

My husband calmly (how the hell is he always so damn calm???) tells me to go find his Leatherman (utility) knife in his closet, to which Jack starts wailing as I can only imagine he's thinking we're going to have to cut his foot off. I run into the closet and frantically start shuffling through the junk on my husbands shelves, my son is screaming and wailing down the hall. I can't find the damn thing! Now I'm throwing things all over the closet like a crazy person and yelling "I CAN'T FIND IT IN THIS MESS!" My husband and I trade places. Back on the floor, I can see now that it is actually a large fishing hook and attempt to gently pull it out of his foot with no luck.

My closet

His Closet
(never mind that my Scentsy stuff is invading his space, focus.)

My husband returns and clips of the hook and frees my son from the carpet. He brings him to the couch, sobbing as I run to get my purse and keys trying to remind myself that I've acted much calmer during an over loaded Emergency Room Trauma Lock Down with patients bleeding out of every orifice, limbs hanging by a thread and opposing gang bangers on either side of a curtain with multiple gun shot wounds. 

I think my husband says something about letting him look at Jack's foot as I pick him up, throw him over my shoulder commando style and run for the car. My husband says to let him take Jack instead because I'm acting like a crazy person to which I respond, you're not crazy enough, I'm going! 

Totally rational.

Cuban Style Empanadas Recipe recipe

The drive to the Children's E.R. was filled with sobs and frequent wails and screams which come to find out later was because my son was trying to pull the thing out himself....... I pull in the ER drive through and as I attempt to get him out of the car my purse snags on the damn thing and yanks at it. I think my son is going to pass out at this point, he's white as a ghost. 

By the time the ER Dr. sees my son, he has calmed down quite a bit and is even attempting to make jokes with the (cute) nurse. She says, "Oh sweetie, we are going to get that taken care of o.k.?" To which my son says 

"If you have to amputate, make it quick."

My son. He was born on April Fools Day so apparently he's obligated to be a goof ball. 

The ER doctor walks in, looks at my sons foot, looks at me quizzically so I take a look and see that the damn thing is hanging on by about a millimeter now thanks to my son's attempts to pull it out and my maneuver with my purse. He rolls my son over, sprays some betadine on his foot and using some tweezers, yes tweezers, plucks the hook out easier than a splinter. 

$250 well spent. 

The nurse comes back in and asks my son how he's doing to which he says "Well, it was touch and go there for a while but I think I'll be just fine."

Good grief. 

He refuses to be helped to the car by the nurse and starts hopping barefoot on one foot as he says, I kind of feel like a dork in my pajamas, barefoot and hopping around. I pull the car around and just for affect he does an extra little hopping for the nurses amusement before he gets in the car. We pull out and he's all grin as he says "That dude with the wheel chair totally jipped me on my popsicle!"

Constant excitement with 4 kids, 3 of them being boys I tell you. Excitement and entertainment at it's finest.

So, empanadas. Super easy to make and a fun change for taco night. You can put any combonation of your favorite flavors and foods in them, I've made them with chorizo and eggs, taco filling, potatoes and veggies and even Nutella and bananas!

You just make your dough, chill it, roll it out pretty thinly and use whatever size bowl you want depending on how big you want your empanadas (I use a smaller bowl for the dessert empanads and for when I make them for parties. Just remember, you will be folding them in half and the filling will be pretty much just in the middle of the circle so you can easily seal it shut. The more you make them, probably even half way through your first batch you'll figure out how to get more filling in and close them easier. 

The trick is to brush the inside edges with a whisked egg & a splash of water so they will form a nice seal while baking (or frying if that's your thing). I like to lightly brush the tops of my folded empanades lightly with egg bath for a pretty, golden glaze when done baking. 


Cuban Style Empanadas Recipe recipe

Lean ground beef, pinto beans, diced tomato, onions and petite frozen veggies with chili powder, cumin and chopped green olives made a very savory and satisfying dinner. Make enough to take to lunch or send with the kids for a special treat. They won't be trading these with anyone in the cafeteria!

Cuban Style Empanadas Recipe recipe
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Making your own Empanada dough is so simple. No kneading or rising necessary and only takes about 10 minutes. Tastes tons better than store bought. This recipe only makes 4-5 medium size Empanadas. I suggest doubling the batch if you have a large family (like I do) or if you want left overs for lunch. These freeze well in an airtight container. The dough can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. 



2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
(I omit 1/2 a cup of flour and used finely chopped pine nuts because we love the taste and they are good for you)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, chilled and sliced into thin pieces
1 egg, Whole Range and Organic of course ;)
1/4 cup chilled water
1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1 egg + splash of water for brushing

(If you are making a sweet filling like apple pie or Nutella and bananas, add 2 teaspoons sugar to the dough)

Throw flour, salt and butter in a large bowl, using a pastry cutter or a large spoon, cut the butter into the  flour until incorporated, it will be a bit clumpy. In a small bowl, whisk together water, egg and vinegar. Add the egg to the flour and mix to combine. 

Shape the dough into a ball (or 2 balls if you've doubled the recipe) and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for an hour. The dough can be made up to 4 days ahead of time, just wrap it well. 

On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball then press flat with the palm of your hands flipping the dough over once or twice on the flour. Use a rolling pin that you've lightly brushed with flour using your hands, roll the dough to about 1/4" thickness. Use a bowl to cut the dough into circles. The size of the bowl is up to you depending on how big you want your empanadas. See my note above in my post. 


1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup pinto beans
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup petite frozen veggies
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt

cayenne pepper or red chile flakes to taste if you please

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Add onion and cook a few more minutes until browned and translucent. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine cooking 2-3 more minutes. 

Remove from heat. Place your cut pastry circles on a stone baking pan (no need to grease if you use a stone pan) or place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon in the filling into the center of each circle leaving about 1/2" from the edges. Lightly brush the egg mixture all around the edges. Fold the dough over and using your fingers, gently press it closed. You can now either fold the edges over starting at one end dog ear style for a fancy look or simply use a fork and gently press around the edges to seal. 

Bake at 375F for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. 






  1. Well YOU had a crazy night!! I'm so glad to hear that everyone is okay...and that you got to enjoy your empanadas, even though you definitely had to work for them!

  2. I love Empanadas, I lived in the Miami area for a long time begore moving to central Florida and they are a favorite!

  3. omg is your son ok?! Sounds like a CRAZY night! Hope he's better soon!

  4. What a bad night my friend - sending hugs! I hope things are getting better. I'm also glad you got to these yummy empanadas, which, by the way - look amazing!

  5. Cackling! I know that it wasn't not funny in the least as you lived the trauma of your baby boy but, seriously, the way you wrote about it has me laughing hysterically.

    I am VERY happy that it ended well and with a delicious dinner to boot! No foot pun intended. ;-)

  6. Thats a great story about real family life. Glad it turned out ok! What is it about boys? He sounds utterly adorable! The empanadas are equally cute! I have wanted to try making some for years. Pinning this recipe. Thanks!

  7. I'm glad everyone is safe and sound after the wild ride you all had. How's the foot now? Great read and fantastic recipe. I tell our friends who come to dinner that it might be cold, 'cause "I can't cook without a camera". They're used to it by now.

  8. Hope all's well now and I would have truly panicked as well if it was me. It's amazing how you still managed to make a wonderful dinner. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Oh my gosh, that poor little guy. It's always worse when it's our own, so your reaction is totally understandable. Now, pass me a big ol' plate of these empanadas - they look fantastic!

  10. That is quite a story! I know that panic feeling. So happy it all turned out =) Time for some comfort food!

  11. What a crazy night! It's hard not to panic when it's your baby. Glad it was taken care of quickly and easily by the doc. Luckily, we had food ready for you when you got home.

  12. Glad everyone's ok! I've never made empanadas because we have an amazing empanada pace local to us but I cannot wait to try making these!

  13. I love empanadas, but have never made them at home, I will have to try this. Glad to hear it turned out ok with your son!

  14. I've been to the emergency room at least one time for each of my kids and I acted like a crazy maniac for each I think all the medical stuff goes out the door when it's your own kids. Glad he's ok :-) Your empanadas look great.

  15. I love empanadas! These look amazing!

  16. Those empanadas look amazing and your use of the bowl is brilliant! I think I would freak out if that happened to my daughter- it sounds like you handled it way better than I would have- I am loving your son's personality though! Glad to hear everything worked out!


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