Healthified: Pastelillos

A pastelillo is basically the Puerto Rican version of an empanada.  I grew up eating them and definitely consider them a comfort food.  One more plus…DH is practically a slave to them!  The only problem is, they basically consist of deep-fried pastry dough and greasy ground beef:  not exactly figure-friendly.  While I don’t want to completely sacrifice the essence of the dish, I want to be able to eat them more often, without the guilt.  So with this post…I’ve decided to officially launch a brand spankin’ new category:  “Healthified!”  Because yes, like so many people, after Christmas I vowed to do whatever I could to stay healthy and become more fit.  I’m not really the type to totally give up things that I love; I believe in enjoying life, and clearly, for me food is a big part of that.  To achieve my goals,  I’ve been altering some traditionally unhealthy meals to make them more suited to my efforts (and of course, bumping up my exercise routine!).  I’m not giving up cheese, or meat, or carbs, or really anything, I’m just modifying and moderating.  I hope you all enjoy my efforts and join me by making a change, so that you can be a better you, too.

Ingredients

Onions

Garlic

Bell Pepper

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Spanish Green Olives (Alcaparrado or Manzanilla)

Goya Adobo (con pimiento)

Goya Sazon (con culantro y achiote)

Bay Leaves (dry or fresh)

Tomato Sauce

Goya Discos Grande (freezer section, make sure to defrost ahead of time)

Ground Beef (as lean as you can afford)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Note:  I would normally use fresh cilantro, as well, but I didn’t have any, so I skipped it and the recipe still turned out delish.

Process

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees.  Then heat a drizzle of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  While the pan heats up, finely chop all of your veggies.

001Then add the veggies to the pan, and season with salt and pepper.

004Saute until veggies soften and onions begin to go translucent.

008Add in the ground beef and allow the first side to brown up.

010When the bottom is nicely browned, turn and allow to cook through and mix with veggies.  Drain off any excess grease.

011
Next, season to taste with the Adobo, Sazon, and more salt and pepper, if needed.  Then add tomato sauce (enough to really move everything around and coat the mixture), bay leaves, and olives.

012Stir well to incorporate and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

014Remove from heat, discard the bay leaves, and allow to cool for a few minutes.  While you wait, carefully separate your discs, lay the first one out and fill one half with a small amount of meat mixture.

017Fold over disc so that edges meet.

018Use a fork to seal and crimp edges.  Repeat this process until all of the discs are filled and sealed.

019Cover a cookie sheet with a silpat, parchment paper, or a light coating of cooking spray.  Then place each pastelillo on the cookie sheet and lightly mist with cooking spray.

021Bake 10-15 minutes until crust is bubbly and crisp.

022

My baked, healthified version.

The original deep-fried version.

The original deep-fried version.

Allow to cool just a bit (they will be very, very hot right out of the oven) serve with a simply dressed salad, and ENJOY!

027

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5 Comments

Filed under Beef, Ethnic, Healthified, Make Your Own Takeout, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Healthified: Pastelillos

  1. brannyboilsover

    Looks like that recipe has been successfully “healthified!”

  2. Looks nice and crispy for a baked version!

  3. I didn’t know you could buy the disks ready to fill! I probably would have been making more empanadas if I’d known. Your pastelillos look fantastic.

  4. Thank you for posting this! My friend made this for me and hasn’t provided the recipe (she’s been busy) but I’m so glad you made and posted about it. These are truly delicious if they’re anything like my friend’s. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love these…as a girl a neighbor made them! Also, I was wondering if you live in NJ? Why don’t you come to the NJ Bites Market Tour in Princeton that I am doing? No cost, just you buy your lunch.

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