Two for One Quick Dinners

As a mom we are always rushing but there is a great little life hack to make your day (or night) run a bit smoother.  I try as often as I can to do two for one quick dinners.  I find if I make chili or picadillo (a Cuban dish with ground meat) that I can use the leftovers to make a second (or in some cases third…) quick dinner.  For example if I make a huge pot of chili my kids will eat it as soup on day one.  For lunch the next day they like having it with Frito Lays chips.  They love this because they can share some with their friends.  For two other dinners I either top a baked potato with the chili or I make empanadas (turnovers).  I buy the Pillsbury biscuits in a can and I fill it with the chili and some cheese.  I fold them into a half moon and seal it by crimping the edges with a fork and bake!  I sometimes pair it with a small quick salad and dinner is done. The kids even ask for extras to take to lunch.

I do the same thing with the left over picadillo.  Also, if we have left over chicken from the night before I can shred it and also use it as a filling with some cheese.  There is also another Cuban dish called Vaca Frita (shredded beef) which makes an excellent for these quick knock off empanadas.  They have gotten so popular with my family that my parents and nieces request I make extras for them.  These empanadas are also something the kids can help with and customize.  We even make small calzones and everyone can add any ingredients they want such as mushrooms, bacon bits, chorizo, etc.

So think of how to reuse your meals into another completely different meal.  Below find a great recipe for Picadillo.  Double the recipe and enjoy empanadas the next day.

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Equipment needed:

A large pan
Wooden Spoon
Cutting Board
Can Opener

For Sofrito:

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves of Garlic (smashed and diced)
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
3 bay leaves
2 1/4 teaspoons oregano
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup vino seco or dry white cooking wine
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

(I like to add a can of black beans to mine but that is not a traditional part of the recipe)

For Picadillo:

2-3 pounds of ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
1 cup of green olives, sliced with pimentos
1/2 cup of raisins
Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat a large pan to high heat.  Dice 2 cloves of garlic and one onion.  Heat olive oil in the pan.  Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves.  Cook for a couple minutes until fragrant.  Add the tomato paste and the diced tomatoes.  Let the sofrito simmer to concentrate flavor.  Add the vino seco and let it heat up.  Now add the meat and mix well with sofrito mixture.  Break up the meat and cooked until it is all cooked through.  Mix in the olives and the raisins and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the flavors are all well incorporated.  Salt and Pepper to taste and serve over white rice and top with a fried egg (optional).


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