National Empanada Day

Good morning, friends. Happy Sunday! Hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend so far. If you’re wondering what to do this Sunday Funday I’ve got one word for ya – empanadas. Today is National Empanada Day and I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to share my family’s empanada recipe. 🙂

If you’re wondering what an empanada is – I got you. An empanada is a stuffed pastry that is normally baked or fried. They’re basically delicious little pockets of meat, cheese, corn, chicken, etc. stuffed and fried (or baked) to golden brown perfection. You’ve probably seen or heard of these at least once in your life. They go by different names depending on where you’re from or who’s making them. The most common names I’ve heard them go by are beef turnovers, beef patties, empanadas, and pastelillos.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s a wrong way to make these. You can customize the stuffing to your family’s taste. I’m going to share how I traditionally make beef empanadas at home but feel free to leave out, add, or change it up how you’d like. I fry mine because I would fry everything if I could, but you can also choose to bake yours. Just place the empanadas on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush the tops with an egg wash (avoid the edges) and bake at 400° until golden brown (probably about 30-40 minutes). Also, just a heads up, because I learned this watching my mother in the kitchen, I don’t have exact measurements. I’ll give my best estimate of what I think should go in but please, season to your taste. I promise it’ll be fantastic.

Cast of Characters:

  • 1 pkg. of Goya Empanada Discs (frozen aisle – hispanic section) – there are recipes out there to make the dough but these are just as delicious and quicker
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • Adobo (all purpose seasoning) – it’s basically seasoning salt so I would say salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Sofrito – you may not have this laying around – it’s traditionally a blended mixture of cilantro, recao (culantro), onions, green peppers, garlic, and tomatoes – I make mine but there are pre-made jars available in your local grocery store. If you can’t find it or just want to stick with what you have at home, it’s truly about seasoning – just sub in what you have!
  • 1 packet of Sazon
  • Diced Pimentos – to taste
  • 1 Potato
  • Oil for frying

Optional Add-Ins:

  • Green Olives
  • Tomato Sauce (I use half a can)
  • Red Chili Flakes (we like our spicy)

Remember that your empanada discs should be defrosted so they’re pliable and easy to work with. This will not work with frozen discs. I keep mine in the fridge until I’m ready to stuff. If you leave them out too long they’ll get too sticky.

So, first thing’s first, brown zee meat. Normally while I have the meat browning, I peel and chop my potato into cubes (the bigger the cubes, the longer it will take for them to cook through). I also halve my olives. You’re welcome to add them whole, I just prefer smaller bites.

Once the meat is browned, drain the grease and return pan to medium heat. If you have the sofrito mixture, this is where I add it and let the meat saute in it a little (kind of like you’re trying to saute the onions/garlic/peppers that are in there to bring out the flavor). Once it becomes aromatic – I’d say about 2-3 minutes – you can add in the rest of your ingredients and stir it up! At this point, your meat mixture should kind of look like this:

Now is when I lower the heat to the lowest possible setting, put the lid on, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. How long you let it cook will depend on how big you cut your potatoes and how long it takes for them to cook through. Once your potatoes are cooked through, remove from heat and let it cool for a minute.

Now, we stuff. My assembly line goes as follows: pot of meat mixture & spoon, cutting board to lay and stuff discs, plate to lay stuffed discs. Ready? Let’s go! There’s a plastic square in between each disc to keep them from sticking to each other. I actually re-use these on my plate to lay the empanada on to also keep them from sticking to each other (you’ll see in the picture). So, I take the disc and lay it on my cutting board and spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the center.

A couple of things to note here: How much you stuff it is up to you, I like mine meaty BUT you have to remember that it needs to fit in the center so you can close and crimp the sides easily and the more stuffed they are, the harder it’ll be to get an even fry – not a big deal if you’re baking – but since I fry, I normally to have spoon some oil over it to get all the edges that wouldn’t touch since mine are so fat.

Once the meat mixture is in, you’ll fold it over to create a little half moon pocket. I seal the edges with my fingers so it’ll lay closed. Then, I fully seal the edges by crimping it with a fork (see below). Move your completed patty to the plate and on to the next one! The Goya package includes 10 discs. I normally stuff all 10 but only cook up about half and freeze the other half for another day! These freeze beautifully and are super easy to re-heat. Just pull out of the freezer, defrost, and fry those bad boys up! If you’re worried about them sticking, just wrap each one in some parchment paper before throwing them into a ziplock freezer bag.

Now we’re ready to fry! We’re so close I can almost taste it! Pour the oil into your frying pan and bring to medium heat. While the pan is heating up, grab a plate and line with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Carefully drop in your little meat pockets and smell the deliciousness you’ve created. Be sure to watch these! Depending on how hot your oil is these fry up fast and can go from golden brown to burnt real quick. Once you see the bottom is starting to look golden, flip them over! Once both sides are beautifully golden brown, use some tongs to remove and place onto your lined plate. Continue with the next batch and so on and so forth. At the end, you’ll have these beautiful little guys.

They will be HOT so give them a minute. I know it’s hard. Resist. I believe in you.

These can be served as a side to your lunch or dinner but I eat these as is. Just give me an empanada and an ice cold Coke and I’m a happy girl. My hubby likes to drench his in hot sauce. Some people dip theirs in chimichurri. If you have picky eaters, my mom used to stuff these with cheddar cheese (kind of like a Spanish grilled cheese) or some days she’d do pepperoni, marinara, and mozzarella. Ya’ll, pizza empanadas are LEGIT. That’s what’s so amazing about these things, you can customize them however you like and they’ll be delicious no matter what. Now, go and celebrate the deliciousness that is National Empanada Day. If you try these for yourself, please report back! I want to hear about all the different variations you guys make so I can get some ideas for next time.

♥,
K

I’m still here!

Hello friends! Long time no speak. Oh my word, life has been crazy. Like, so crazy that I’m pooped and ready for bed by like 8 p.m. (sad, right!?) The intent to jump on here and share is always there but then I climb into bed and I’m OUT.

Can we take a minute to talk about how March is already over? Where did the month even go? Normally we host Easter dinner but this year my mother-in-law invited us over to their house for dinner and I’m not even mad about it. She’s a great cook, we get homemade waffles & ice cream for dessert and there’s no mess in my kitchen. YES PLEASE. Easter was huge in my house growing up. We’d attend Sunday Mass and then have an egg hunt and get huge baskets filled with all kinds of toys and goodies. It’s different now as an adult when you actually understand the importance of Easter Sunday but I love the idea of balance and celebrating both the meaning of Easter and sprinkling in some Easter Bunny fun.

I can’t wait to make some kick-ass baskets when we have kids. Until then, I’ve decided to make a basket for my in-laws. So far I’ve got some trail mix in there, a bottle of wine, and chocolate eggs. I plan on baking some cookies on Saturday and wrapping them up so they get a mix of a little sweet, a little salty, and a lot of love! I found this cookie recipe over at Averie Cooks and I think it’s perfect because she uses the pastel M&M’s that are out right now and they’re just so cute! They’re going to look adorable in the basket. I can’t wait. Not going to lie, I’ll probably make 2 batches because the husband will lose it if I make his parents cookies and leave him nothing…plus I love me some late night cookies too. Link to the recipe is posted below if you’re interested. I’ll probably add some semi-sweet chocolate chips to go along with the M&M’s because you can never have too much chocolate in my opinion.

MMcookies-19

Soft and Chewy M&Ms Cookies

Tomorrow is the hubby’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOO! We’re going to have dinner over at City Walk and then see Chris D’Elia at the Hard Rock. I also hope to stop into the Voodoo Doughnut that just opened there. I’m nervous though because I read some comments that there was a 45 minute wait and as much as I love donuts, I just don’t know if I love them enough to wait 45 minutes. Sidenote: I never know if it’s donut or doughnut? It’s kind of like gray and grey for me? Anyway, if we happen to get in, I’ll take all the pictures and post a review asap. Have you guys ever had their donuts? Worth it?

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend and if you celebrate, Happy Easter! Talk soon!

XoXo,
K

Sweater Weather

Hi all! It’s a rainy day here in Orlando which always makes me want to stay home in pj’s and read or binge watch TV. It’s also great weather to snuggle or sleep. Basically, it’s great to do anything except be at work. Anytime it rains or there’s a cold front I absolutely love to make a soup or chili or any type of comfort food. Although it’s not really cold in Orlando right now, I’ve heard it’s still pretty cold for my friends up in the Northeast and with the impending third Nor’easter, I thought I’d share one of my favorite comfort food recipes!

Today’s forecast called for 90% chance of rain so I took advantage and left my favorite Mississippi Roast in the slow cooker. Oh slow cooker, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. I love how easy you make dinner for me. I love walking through the door and smelling the deliciousness you’ve been cooking all day. I especially love the little to no clean up. If you’re nervous about leaving an appliance on all day with no one home, you’re not alone. I was also nervous at first, but if you ensure the appliance is on a stable surface and there’s room for any steam that might be created to escape, I think you’re OK.

Also, we were gifted this Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker for our wedding and it has seriously changed the game. The option to use it manually (if you’re home and watching it) or set a cooking time makes a huge difference. I no longer worry about not being home in exactly 8 hours because I know the slow cooker will automatically switch to “keep warm” once the cook time is completed. And while we’re talking about game changers, have you tried the Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners? I normally grab a box whenever I visit Publix but I recently found them on Amazon and I think it comes out more economical through there. These make clean up so easy! Everything cooks and stays inside the liner. Once it’s cooled down, I pick it up and dump it in the trash (or down the drain first if there’s a lot of liquid). But that’s it! Then I just have to rinse the actual crock pot. No more soaking or scrubbing. YAAAAASSSS!

Any-who, the whole point of this was to share this delicious recipe I found and have been making forever. Tonight, I’m pairing it with potato salad since it’s rainy but still very warm here, but this would also be delicious on top of some mashed potatoes, rice, or even on a sandwich! Did I mention there’s only 8 ingredients? So easy! I got the recipe off Pinterest but Kudos goes to Brandie @ The Country Cook. Link to recipe here. Let me know how you all like it!

XoXo,
K

Crock-Pot-Mississippi-Pot-Roast--1024x683

Date Night @ Disney Springs

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. Some of you may have had a 3-day weekend and are just now mentally preparing yourselves to go back to school or work. Lucky! I wish I had an extra day to enjoy but it was back to the grind for me. I just wanted to check-in real quick and give you all an update on The Edison @ Disney Springs like I promised.

Overall, I’d say we enjoyed it. Will we be rushing back? Probably not. If you haven’t been to the new Disney Springs area (formerly Downtown Disney) it is absolutely gorgeous. The building designs, new waterfront areas, and addition of shops really makes it a nice place to spend a few hours. The two new parking garages also make it way easier to get in and get out. If you visited in the past, you may remember parking being a total nightmare on some days. No mas! Now you have the choice of surface parking, the Lime Garage, or the Orange Garage. So much easier (and quicker) to find a spot.

Any who, back to The Edison, when we initially called to make a reservation there was nothing available except earlier time slots. We grabbed the latest one they had (4:30 p.m.) and decided we’d just walk around after and burn off some of the food. What we didn’t know was that dinner didn’t start until 5:00 p.m. so we were given the lunch menu to order off of. I was bummed because I had peeked at the menu online and was looking forward to trying the Morimoto ribs. Our waitress was nice though and suggested we order some drinks and hang out and she could switch our menus once it hit 5 o’clock. So we did!

We ordered a round of drinks and the Hawkers’ Box of Balls. The box of balls was a box of 6 meatballs that had a nice kick at the end – I think it’s the harissa that gives it the spice – and they were served with a mint yogurt dipping sauce. It was a nice balance and we thought it was a good portion to split between the two of us as a starter. For drinks, I ordered a “Mistress” which consisted of stoli elit vodka, amaro montenegro, lemon, pomegranate, and domaine chandon. The waitress said it was one of their stronger drinks but I didn’t think so. It was tasty though and not overly sweet. My hubby ordered “The Edison” which was woodford reserve bourbon, pear brandy, lemon, and honey. It’s their signature drink and although good, not worth it in our opinion. We were kind of shocked when the drinks came and saw how small his was. I want to say it was maybe a three finger pour? I’m not saying you need to fill the glass to the brim or anything but for $14 a drink, I would hope it’d look more like an adult beverage and less like a shot. Those are Disney prices for you though…I guess you’re paying for the experience?

The food was very good and they were decent portions in my opinion. My husband got The Edison burger and it was pretty big. It was cooked medium rare and had good flavor. I ordered the Morimoto Ribs. They did not come with a side so that sucked for $28 but I think there were about 7-8 ribs on the plate so a decent amount for one person. I would think if you’re not starving, you could order the ribs and a side and share between two people. Like I said, it was a good meal but it wasn’t anything to write home about. There are so many food options at Disney Springs right now (and more on the way) that I think we’ll probably continue to check others off our list. This wouldn’t be a priority to go back to anytime soon.

I did want to mention how similar The Edison and the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium over at Universal Studios City Walk are. It was almost as if Disney was trying to make their version of Toothsome. They’re both Steampunk themed, both two stories, and both have characters dressed in the Steampunk attire walking around mingling with the guests. The Edison gets kudos because they take reservations, Toothsome does not (read: ridiculous wait times) but Toothsome has a wider food selection as far as apps, entrees, and dessert goes.  They both have great views. If you sit out back of The Edison you have a beautiful view of the water. I saw that they have heaters out there too for the winter time. If you sit on the second floor of Toothsome you have a great view overlooking City Walk and some of the roller coasters. They’re both worth trying at least once for the experience. Just some food for thought…get it?…because we’re talking about food? Yeah, I’ll stop. Don’t judge me. Good night everyone!

XoXo,
K

Paint the bathroom they said…It’ll be fun they said…

Happy Friday Eve Friends! Tonight, I wanted to share one of our latest projects. It’s not 100% complete but it’s pretty much there and I just can’t wait any longer to share. *eek!* We had our home built coming up on two years ago and it’s STILL a work in process. I learned very quickly that although you want everything to look perfect and be done, it is very expensive to furnish and decorate an entire new home. The good news is that little by little, it gets done.

I had a week off of work recently and had a list of things I wanted to get done around the house. One of those things was painting our upstairs guest bathroom. I was so excited. In my head I thought – this is going to be great! so much fun! what will I do with the rest of my day? Mind you, I had never painted a room in my life. All I can say is OH MY GOD. WHY? What in the world made me think painting by myself would be fun or easy or quick? HA! One example of my naiveness – I only used painter’s tape around the cabinetry & faucet area. I thought my handy dandy edger would give me wonderfully perfect straight lines everywhere else. SO WRONG. Anyway, long story short, it was a very long two days with lots of spills, elbow bangs, touch-ups, and tears (just kidding)…(not really)… but the bathroom was finally painted and it was time to decorate!

Naturally, I bought everything and then tasked my wonderful husband with putting it all up. Thank you, handsome! Check out his handiwork below. I’ll tag where I got everything in case you see something you like. I love the black, white, and gold and the light pop of color on the wall. We still need to put up the towel rings and I still can’t decide whether I like the picture frame horizontally or vertically but this bathroom is giving me all the feels right now.

Before:

 

After:

 

Paint: Sherwin Williams – Sea Salt

Shower Curtain/Towels/Rug: Walmart

Floating Shelves & Soap Dispensers: Target

Majority of Decor on Shelves: Hobby Lobby

Flowers: Home Goods

Bath Time Canvas Print: iCanvas

XoXo,
K

Happy Valentine’s Day!

pink hearts

It’s that time again, friends! Love is in the air…or maybe it’s not…either way, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I popped into a big-box store today and was immediately greeted by bins of chocolates, over-sized stuffed animals, and cards galore. Even though I had been discussing going out for a V-Day dinner with my husband, I didn’t even think about all the other “fluff” the day normally comes with – cards, gifts, flowers…Oy Vey. Today, I was reminded just how easy it is to love AND hate Valentine’s Day.

The hubby and I decided we’d go to The Edison @ Disney Springs for V-Day dinner. It’ll be our first time visiting since it opened up so I’ll let you all know how it goes. If you’ve been, is there anything you recommend? I’m so excited!

We don’t normally do gifts for Valentine’s. The day’s not really a big deal to us. All I want to do is to spend time together and get lots of cuddles in (which is basically what I want every day). Anyway, if you do need some last-minute gifts, I saw a few things while perusing through the interwebz that I thought would be cute (list is purely just for fun and to help inspire anyone having a gift giving mental block).

For Him:
Inexpensive: Jumbo Whiskey Ice Cube Tray
Splurge: Apple Watch S3

For Her:
Inexpensive: MAC Lipglass/Patrickstarrr – Mamastarrr (super cute nude! It’s in my shopping cart right now!) 😉
Splurge: Tiffany & Co. Arrow Pendant

Galentine:
Inexpensive: Bath & Body Works Candle
Splurge: Marble & Copper Monogram Cheese Board – Williams Sonoma

What are some other gifts you guys think would be cute? I try to keep a running list of possible gift ideas so I’m not scrambling for holidays or birthdays. Suggestions are always appreciated!

Whether you have a Valentine, Galentine, or you’ll just be spoiling yourself, I hope you all enjoy the day. ♥

XoXo,
K

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

Hello there! I’m so happy you found The Modern Muggle. I’m beyond excited to start sharing this blogging journey with you all. My hope is that I can share some yummy recipes, fun projects, good reads, and all of the in-between of my life, as I use this page to memorialize and organize my thoughts. Win-win, right? I’m still working on prettying up the page, so please be patient with me, but I can’t wait to start sharing and connecting with you all!

XoXo,
Kristy