Category Archives: Healthified

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.




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.


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.

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.


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!




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

Healthified: Midweek Medley Meatloaf

So, last week, DH actually did all of the grocery shopping because I was tied up at work.  Like a typical guy, he stocked up on ground beef (to give him credit, he also got lots of my faves…lol).  In an attempt to healthify my standard meatloaf, I decided to use vegetables for at least half of the mixture.  I think I succeeded, the final result was absolutely delicious, true to the original, and had lots of color.  DH really loved it, and meatloaf is one of his favorites, so I think I passed the test.  Anyway, I can usually make a meatloaf from start to finish in less than an hour, so it’s always a viable option for a midweek meal.  The trick is not to use a loaf pan.  I always use a regular baking dish, because it allows more of the heat to circulate around the meatloaf, thus cooking it quicker.  Give it a try, it’s really a very well-rounded, protein-rich choice to refuel your body midweek.


Ground Beef

Bell Pepper




Tomato Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Dijon Mustard

Quick Oats

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper


Cheddar Cheese (I always use extra-sharp)


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, then finely chop all of your veggies.


Place the vegetables in a large bowl with the beef, an egg, a good shake of oats, tomato sauce, mustard, worcestershire, herbs, salt and pepper.

0031Now, if you’re anything like me, you will remove your rings and dig in with your paws, but if you must, you can use an apparatus.  That takes too long for me, plus, it’s easier to tell if everything is well incorporated when you’re using your hands.  Anyhoo…gently mix until everything is combined.  Then, transfer to a baking dish and use your hands to form the meat into a loaf shape.

0041Transfer to the oven, and cook until top is nicely browned and the loaf has rendered quite a bit of its fat.  At this point, you can remove from the oven and top with cheese.

0052Return to the oven and bake until cheese is a crust of brown, bubbly, goodness.  Then remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

007Drain the fat from the pan, slice, and serve.  I served with buttermilk cheddar mashed potatoes and steamed peas and carrots…a classic, all-American meal.  ENJOY!



Filed under Beef, Healthified, Uncategorized