April 9, 2009

spiced turkey empanada

I originally created this blog to be a sort of "newlywed nesting" blog... but since Nick is still looking for work, and, in turn, has been doing most of the cooking and homemaking while I work (and I really don't feel like being Suzy Homemaker when I get home), I haven't actually been writing a lot of nesty-type of things. However, as to not disappoint any of my seven readers, I have actually done something very domestic and adult-like! I cooked a meal! Can you believe it?? (I almost can't, and I was there.)

I know people of the world cook multiple meals day-after-day, but I am completely spoiled and my husband does pretty much all of the cooking (and packs my lunch for work... and breakfast... and snacks), and I have never really felt comfortable in the kitchen, so this truly is exciting progress for me.

Last weekend I volunteered to make dinner; Nick told me that we had a pound of ground turkey that was thawing, so I turned to Epicurious and searched for ground turkey to find something that would be suitable. Since we're both still trying to lose a few post-wedding pounds that have been sticking around, I wanted to find something that wouldn't blow our Points for the day. This recipe for Spiced Turkey Empanada was the perfect choice (8 points each based on the nutrition information found on Epicurious, which isn't bad for dinner since it is pretty filling), and it turned out that we already had most of the ingredients.

  • 1/2 pound white-meat ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup green or black olives, chopped
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound raw frozen pizza dough, defrosted in the microwave or overnight in the fridge


Heat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook turkey, breaking up with a spoon, until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and olives. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer until turkey is cooked through and tomatoes are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Pull dough into 4 flat disks, each 8 inches in diameter. Top each round with 1/2 cup turkey filling. Fold dough in half and fold bottom edge over top. Press closed. Transfer to cookie sheet and coat empanadas with cooking spray. Bake until dough is firm and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with 1/2 cup baby carrots. Store empanadas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

My Modifications:

Instead of olives (which I'm not a fan of), I added some chopped onions that we had in the freezer; one of the reviews on Epicurious also mentioned adding jalapeno peppers, which I didn't add this time around, but may try in the future.

Instead of frozen pizza dough, I picked up this fresh dough from Trader Joe's — it's only $0.99! A few of the Epicurious reviews had mentioned using this garlic & herb variation, so that's what I went with.

For a little extra oomph, I added some low-fat shredded cheese on top.


I served each empanada with a small salad (topped with fat free balsamic vinaigrette from Trader Joe's) and some baby carrots.

Nick also added some hot salsa on top of his.

He liked it!

Nick actually made these again the other night, and instead of the diced tomatoes in the mixture, he used hot salsa. It added a nice kick.

Overall, it was really simple to prepare, and the result was extra tasty. Plus, it made four complete portions, so we had dinner for the next night as well. Easy recipes like this give me the confidence to keep trying new things.


  1. This looks great, Brooke! Turkey's a great protein for your wallet and your waistline, so I'm trying to use it a lot more to replace ground beef.

    I just got this recipe for Mediterranean Turkey Burgers in my inbox this morning: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1886407&iid=edit-dt-040909

    PS -- Love your teal placemats!

  2. Oooh looks yummy. I always try to make enough dinner for leftovers but L never stops at just one! I'll have to try this one... we have used that pizza dough for pizzas before and it is so tasty! (Also loving your wedding-inspired tabletop!)

    E @ Oh! Apostrophe (blogger won't let me sign in grrr)

  3. mmm... I love empanadas, but they are usually so bad for you! Can't wait to try this healthy version!

  4. These look great, I'm going to add them to my to-do list. My husband and I are also doing Weight Watchers, and I'm always looking for WW-friendly recipes to try!

  5. Holy smokes that looks awesome! Now I know what to make for dinner tonight, thanks!

  6. Glad I could help a few more chefs out! :-)

  7. Looks delish.

    And I love those placemats too!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.