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Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe – Baked Taco Empanadas

A delicious appetizer perfect to make ahead and serve at parties or for a main dinner course as well, these Baked Taco Empanadas are very tasty {and freezer friendly too}!

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe - Baked Taco Empanadas

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You guys know that my family is crazy about tacos. So crazy, that I made an entire weekly menu that featured nothing but tacos or taco derivatives. It’s genius actually. Make a huge pot of taco meat using my favorite recipe and homemade taco seasoning, and feed it to the family ALL. WEEK. LONG. lol!

Well, this recipe is another creative way to turn leftover taco meat into something just a little bit different. And wouldn’t you know, it makes a great appetizer too! They take a while to make, but you can do most of the work ahead of time so you can stay out of the kitchen and socialize during the Big Game!

Baked Taco Empanadas

To make this recipe, the first thing to do is make the empanada dough. It’s pretty easy to do if you use your food processor, but if you don’t have one, you can totally mix by hand as well.

Make sure to give yourself enough time for 50 minutes of cooling – 30 minutes of cooling after you make the dough and another 20 minutes of cooling after you’ve put the empanadas together.

roll out the empanada dough

After the dough has cooled for 30 minutes, roll it out and cut it into circles. You can use a circle dough cutter or a mug if you want. I don’t have a biscuit cutter (but I used to!) so I used one of my Starbucks mugs.

taco empanadas - add toppings

Now add 1-2 TBS cooked taco meat, this is my favorite recipe here, a bit of cheese and fold the empanadas. Seal with a fork, brush with egg white wash, and chill for 20 more minutes in the fridge.

taco empanadas

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes on a sheet pan {these are my favorite sheet pans, by the way}, serve with dippers like sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. Enjoy!

Freezer Friendly Baked Taco Empanadas from scratch

Yield: 24 empanadas

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe – Baked Taco Empanadas

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe – Baked Taco Empanadas

A delicious make ahead taco appetizer! Who wouldn't want a handheld taco empanada for game day?

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes

Ingredients

For the Empanada Dough

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 1 egg white for an egg wash.

For the Filling

  • 1/2 lb of your favorite taco meat
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese
  • assorted toppings: sour cream, guacamole, salsa

Instructions

For the Dough

  1. Make the dough in a food processor by first mixing flour and salt.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles peas.
  3. Add in egg and water and pulse until a nice, soft dough forms.
  4. If it's too wet, add a bit more flour. If it's too dry, add a bit more water, 1 tbs at a time.
  5. Make a dough ball and chill in plastic wrap in the fridge for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

For the Empanadas

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll out dough and cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or a cup if you don't have one.
  3. Add 1-2 TBS taco meat and cheese.
  4. Fold over the top and seal the sides with your fork.
  5. Brush the top of the empanadas with egg white wash.
  6. Chill the empanadas for 20 minutes.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 50mg Sodium: 322mg Carbohydrates: 10g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 9g
Nutritional data is not always correct.

The nice thing about these baked taco empanadas is the recipe is also freezer friendly! You can make them up ahead of time and freeze the unbaked empanadas. Then on game day, pull out the frozen beauties in the morning and let them thaw out, then pop them in the oven and bake according to the directions above! How awesome is that? Homemade appetizers with little effort on game day.

60+ More Appetizer Ideas! 

With the football season coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about Big Game parties and inevitably, the recipes you will make and bring to yours! In preparation, I’ve teamed up with my football blogger friends in one final collaboration to bring you some brilliant Big Game recipe ideas. We’ve made appetizers, entrees, desserts and even drinks. Prepare to be inspired, and be sure to check out their links below!

Big-Game-recipes-graphic
Classic Potato Salad by Celebrating Family
Chili Cheese Burritos by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Fruit Spring Rolls with Key Lime Cheesecake Dip by Body Rebooted
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders by Dash of Herbs
Mediterranean Seven Layer Dip by The Culinary Compass
Chicks in a Blanket with Apricot Sauce by Mom’s Messy Miracles
Jalapeno Pale Ale Chili by Beer Girl Cooks
Jalapeno Popper Pull Apart Bread by The Life Jolie
Sausage Pepperoni Pizza Dip by Feast + West
Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls by Family Food on the Table

Mini Bacon Ranch Cheese Balls by Honey & Birch
Cookie Dough Cheese Ball by Bread Booze Bacon
Hawaiian Pizza Jalapeno Poppers by Love & Flour
Meatloaf Sliders by Foodtastic Mom
Wonton Taco Cups by A Mind Full Mom
Pancetta and Smoked Mozzarella Arancini by The Secret Ingredient Is
Bean and Cheese Taco Bites by The BakerMama
Monte Cristo Poppers by See Aimee Cook
Chile Beer Sangria by Cake ‘n Knife
Low Carb Stuffed Crust Pizza by Sustaining the Powers

Puff Pastry Pizza Bites by The Mexitalian
No Churn Pistachio Baklava Ice Cream by Club Narwhal
Roasted Jalapeno Poppers by Off the Eaten Path
Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese by Hello Little Home
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Wings by Around My Family Table
Gluten Free Bread Sticks by What A Girl Eats
Cheesy Beef Dip by Polka Dotted Blue Jay
Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs by The Crumby Cupcake
Greek Meatballs by Two Places at Once

Cheese Sticks by Coffee Love Travel
Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Meatballs by West via Midwest
Puff Pastry Bacon Pizza Twists by 2 Cookin Mamas
Skillet Chicken Queso Dip by foodbyjonister
Spicy Sausage Rolls by Peanut Blossom
Protein Dark Chocolate Truffles by The Creative Bite
Chickpea Pepper Cheese Poppers by Bucket List Tummy
Maple Cranberry Apple Sangria by Order in the Kitchen
Meyer Lemon Shandies by The Speckled Palate
Game Day Fried Deviled Eggs with Chow Chow Relish by For the Love of Food

Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls by Simple and Savory
Pastrami Nachos by A Little Gathering
Shrimp Ceviche Dip by Glisten and Grace
Football Bourbon Balls + Boozy Lemonade by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Apple Cider Mimosas With A Sparkly Sugar Rim by And She Cooks
Pulled Pork Stuffed Corn Dogs by Nik Snacks
Easy Pepperoni Rolls by Me and My Pink Mixer
Real Boneless Chicken Wings by Macheesmo
Califlower Tater Tots by Living Well Kitchen
Cheeseburger Naan Pizza by Shaws Simple Swaps

Red Velvet Ginger Rum Balls by Cafe Terra
Crab Rangoon by Brunch-n-Bites
Sweet n’ Spicy BBQ Popcorn by Life’s Ambrosia
Buffalo Chicken Rolls by Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Crowd Pleasing Steak Fajita Dip by Lizzy is Dizzy
Sriracha Hummus Pinwheel Sandwiches by Casa de Crews
Simlple Meatball Sub Sliders by Loaves & Dishes
Maple-Mustard Bacon Chicken Bites by An Oregon Cottage
Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese & Honey Mustard Dipping Sauces by A Simpler Grace
Ricotta Stuffed Sausage Meatballs by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Please note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans — and we want to share our love for our teams, the game and the food that brings us all together on game day.

Will you watch the big game? What are you eating and who are you rooting for?

Baked Taco Empanandas - Freezer friendly from scratch appetizer recipe

 

Spicy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Dip with Real Cheese

Two of my favorite appetizers are jalapeno poppers and cheese dip (made with real cheese), so I decided to combine the flavors to see what would happen. And guess what? Spicy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Dip with Real Cheese is a huge hit! It’s the perfect appetizer for all of your football parties.

spicy-jalapeno-popper-cheese-dip-with-real-cheese-horizontal

Football season is here! To celebrate, I’ve joined a group of bloggers from all over the country — all of whom are big football fans! — to bring you football-inspired recipes this season. Last month we shared our favorite tailgating recipes, and now we are sharing more ideas for celebrating on game day. 

One of the most popular recipes on my blog is for a queso dip made with real cheese. It’s an awesome dip and I love that it’s Velveeta free, easy, and delicious! That recipe calls for a calls of a can of evaporated milk and I’ve been thinking for a while that I should find an alternative. Well guess, what? Regular ole half and half is amazing and works just as well and I’m happy to share this new recipe today with you!

Note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans — and we want to share our love for our teams, the game and the food that brings us all together on game day.

Spicy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Dip with Real Cheese

Let’s get started!

saute-diced-veggies-in-bacon-grease

Making this dip is very simple, and you can even do the following steps ahead of time to make game day prep seriously simple! Fry up a few slices of bacon and set aside. Dice up a few jalapenos (two will make a mild dip so add more if you desire spicy), half a yellow onion, and a couple cloves of garlic. Saute the veggies over medium heat in some of the reserved bacon grease right in the same pan.

add-half-and-half-and-arrowroot-powder

Add the half and half and arrowroot powder and whisk until it begins to thicken. I use arrowroot powder as a healthier alternative to cornstarch. You can use cornstarch if you want.

add-cheeses-and-stir-until-smooth

Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the cream cheese.Then, slowly add the cheese and continue stirring until melted. Add mustard and more half and half if you’d like a thinner dip. It does tend to get pretty thick. I added an additional 1/4 cup of half and half to reach a consistency that made me happy.

spicy-jalapeno-popper-cheese-dip-with-real-cheese

 

Yield: 3 cups

Spicy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Dip with Real Cheese

Spicy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Dip with Real Cheese

A quick and delicious appetizer perfect for football parties or any other occasion, featuring real ingredients!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1 TBS arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon, reserving about a tablespoon of bacon grease. Set bacon aside and crumble when cool.
  2. Over medium high heat, saute onions, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in the bacon grease.
  3. Add half and half and arrowroot powder and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add the cream cheese, whisking to incorporate. Slowly add in the cheese, whisking until it melts. Add mustard and another 1/4 cup of half and half if the dip is too thick.
  5. Top with crumbled bacon and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe as written is actually on the mild side. If you'd like to make it spicier, consider adding 1-2 additional jalapeno peppers. You can also add a few seeds to notch up the spice. One final change you can make to bump up the spice is to use 8 ounces of the pepper jack cheese and 4 ounces of sharp cheddar.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1/4 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 53mg Sodium: 324mg Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 2g Protein: 10g
Nutritional data is not always accurate.

What’s your favorite football appetizer? I’d love to hear!

Japlapeno Popper cheese dip! Delicious appetizer, quick to make, and it even uses real ingredients!

Red & Gold Focaccia Pizza Appetizer or Entree!

If you like football, appetizers, and pizza, this recipe for focaccia pizza is sure to be a hit! It makes a yummy tailgating treat or a fun spin on boring ole pizza night!

red and gold focaccia pizza

Red & Gold Focaccia Pizza Appetizer or Entree!

Football season is right around the corner, and soon it’ll be time to tailgate! My family moved to Missouri from Germany when I stared high school. We weren’t huge football fans when we lived in Germany but did enjoy Missouri football after moving there. Some of my Iowa readers might think the red and gold is inspired by Iowa State University, but my football loyalty is still in Missouri. 😀

roasted tomatoes on focaccia pizza

Note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans — and we want to share our love for our teams, the game and the food that brings us all together on game day.

red & gold focaccia pizza dippers

My idea of focaccia pizza might be a little different than yours. I made this delicious bread and topped it with tomatoes and pepperoni only – no sauce, and very little cheese. If you’d like to make a more traditional pizza, feel free to spread sauce on the dough and top with more cheese before you bake it! Otherwise, eat it as it, or serve it with dipping sauces. My family enjoys dipping it in pizza sauce and ranch dressing, and I bet it would be delicious dipped in a garlic butter sauce too.

Let’s Make It!

focaccia dough

First make the dough. I recommend using a stand mixer like a Kitchen-Aid. It just makes things so much easier if you have a dough hook – No KNEADING by hand! Thank you, stand mixers. 🙂 This focaccia isn’t hard to make, but it does take some time so make sure you prepare the dough ahead of time. Also, it has to rise a few times, so make sure you read the recipe below to get the right times.

poke holes with your fingers and assemble the focaccia

Once the dough has risen and rested, it’s time to decorate it. Use your fingers to make indents all through the dough and then add a delicious mixture of cherry tomatoes, good quality olive oil, dried oregano, and nice quality coarse salt. I like NOW Foods’ extra virgin olive oil a lot. It’s got a good flavor and it’s pure olive oil – nothing else.

assemble the focaccia - ready to bake
Add the pepperoni if you want! I prefer to use Applegate Naturals Uncured Pepperoni. I like that it doesn’t have any added nitrates and they don’t use antibiotics on their animals. Just my personal preference, so you use whatever you like. {No, they aren’t paying me to say this, I just like this brand.}

grate the cheese

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then add freshly grated parmesan. By the way, if you like freshly grated cheese, you need this Zyliss Cheese Grater! Love it so much. Serve with dippers and your kids will love you forever! Enjoy.

Yield: 16

Red & Gold Focaccia Pizza

Red & Gold Focaccia Pizza

A delicious focaccia pizza - perfect for football tailgating and family pizza nights too!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3/4 cup warm water, 100 degrees
  • 1 tbs SAF yeast
  • 1 tsp raw, unfiltered honey
  • 2 TBS pure olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp REAL salt

For the toppings

  • 2 TBS pure olive oil
  • 1 cup halved red and gold tomatoes Go CHIEFS!
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup pepperoni, I recommend Applegate Naturals
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Dipping sauces like pizza sauce and / or ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer using a dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
  2. Add honey, oil, flour, and salt and mix well for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Using a spatula, clean the sides of the bowl and then knead for five minutes until you have a nice dough.
  4. Remove dough to floured board and quickly shape into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Now stretch the dough with your hands and fold it over into a triangle 3 or 4 times.
  6. Put the folded dough on a rimmed, and oiled, cookie sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled.
  7. Now stretch it again, cover with a tea towel, and let rest 30 more minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  9. While it's resting, prepare the toppings by mixing the the olive oil, tomatoes, and oregano. I also cut the pepperoni slices in fourths.
  10. Use your finger to press indents in the pizza and cover it with the tomato mixture, making sure to get the yummy oil in the indents. Add the pepperoni and more salt, if desired.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees fro 15-20 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and delicious looking.
  12. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and dip in whatever sauce you prefer.
  13. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 3mg Sodium: 435mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g
Nutritional data is not always correct.

Do you like tailgating and appetizers? What’s your favorite?! You might like these appetizer recipes too:

Make Ahead Baked Taco Empanadas

Cheesy Hash Brown Appetizer Bites

Cheese & Pear Crostini

Baked Camembert with Pomegranates and Hazelnuts

How to Make Queso Dip with real cheese

Red & Gold Focaccia Pizza Appetizer

Healthy Veggie Dip made with Fresh Dill & Sour Cream

Never buy premade dip again! Try this healthy veggie dip that features sour cream and fresh dill and you will be hooked. This dip is a great way to encourage kids to eat more veggies and is perfect for parties or meals too. With a five minute prep, it’s as easy as it is delicious!Never buy premade dip again with this 5 minute dip recipe featuring sour cream & fresh dill.

Healthy Veggie Dip made with Fresh Dill & Sour Cream

Tis the season for appetizer ideas, and I love anything that encourages my kids to eat more veggies. I also need food that’s quick and can be make ahead of time. This homemade dip meets all of my requirements. It comes together quickly, it’s relatively healthy, my kids love it, and it is great for encouraging more veggie consumption.

5 minute homemade healthy veggie dip with sour cream and dill. Delicious way to increase vegetable consumption.

While this dip comes together in less than five minutes, the key to its deliciousness is to let the flavors have time to meld in the fridge. It really needs to chill for at least 2-3 hours. If you absolutely can’t wait, be sure to give it at least 30 minutes in the fridge so the flavors have a little bit of time to come together.

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