Empanadas are a popular street food in Argentina and other countries in South America. I learned to make them on a recent trip to Buenos Aires.

An empanada is a crescent-shaped pastry with a variety of fillings ranging from savory to sweet. The fillings vary greatly depending on the region or personal preference. Be creative. You can fill them with anything you please. You can serve them as appetizers or entrees. The shells can be made from refrigerated sheets of pie dough or puff pastry.

If you would like to have fun making your own shells, refer to the recipe below for empanada shells. This includes instructions related to putting them together and baking them.

Another bonus of empanadas is that they can be made ahead. Refrigerate or freeze them until ready to bake. Get your kids to help create their own for a rainy day project.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (11 ounces each) canned corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add pepper and cook until tender. Add corn and milk. Heat through. In a small cup, combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle over the corn while stirring. Continue to cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Spoon into bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold. (It is easier to fill the empanadas if the filling is cold.)

Spoon a few tablespoons of filling on one half of each empanada. Fold over and moisten the edges with a small amount of water. Press dough firmly together with your fingers or a fork. Place on greased baking sheet. Brush with a small amount of oil or with a beaten egg wash.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bake for 5 ? 10 minutes or just until golden brown.

Makes 4 cups

Serves 20

Nutritional Information per serving (3 tablespooons):

  • Calories 55
  • Fat, gm. 1
  • Protein, gm. 1.5
  • Carbs, gm. 9
  • Cholesterol, mg. 0
  • Fiber, gm. 1.4