Homeschool cooking: Brazillian empadinhas

Empanadas are a delicious change from the ordinary, everyday sandwich. Moreover, if you pack your child’s lunch box with a few empanadas, rice; black beans, and a few plantains, your child will enjoy a healthy and tasty meal made of Brazillian favorites.


Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world. The landscape consists of rolling hills, mountains, tropical beaches, and lush rain forests. This diverse landscape hosts an array of exciting foods including plenteous seafood and fish that live in the Amazon River and fruits and nuts that grow wild in the rain forests.

Brazilians eat a lot of beans and rice. They also eat a lot of beef, including bar-b-qued ribs called Churrasco. The national dish is a bean and pork stew called Feijoada. The stew was created by African slaves working on the sugar plantations near Rio de Janerio.

Today, we’re serving another Brazillian favorite, tiny meat pies called empadinhas, (or empanadas), along with black beans, white rice with lemon slices, and plantains.

Empadinhas can be filled with just about anything: seafood, beans, vegetables, or meat. I stuff mine with a spicy mix of ground beef, cubed potatoes, and green peas. I often make several dozen in advance and freeze them. They freeze well and last about six months in freezer-safe bags. My homeschoolers love them and they also make a delicious lunch box or after-school treat.


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 baking potatoes  (peeled and cubed)
  • 1/2 onion  (chopped)
  • 1/2 bell pepper  (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp garlic  (minced)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. peas
  • Goya all-purpose seasoning, salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 packages pie crust


  1. Boil potato cubes until soft (but not mushy) about 10 minutes.
  2. Sauté onions, bell pepper, and garlic until transparent.
  3. Add ground beef to onion mixture. Brown the meat until crumbly. Add seasoning to taste. Drain excess liquid.




  1. Roll out your pie crust.
  2. Spread a thin layer of meat mixture on bottom layer. Leave about 1/4″ margin all the way around.
  3. Lay second round on top.
  4. Press gently with a fork all the way around.


  1. Use a pizza cutter to cut into smaller pies. I can get about 16 small pies from two rounds of dough. Seal the edges.
  2. Bake on a cookie sheet in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes or until brown.
  3. To freeze, lay waxed paper over the bottom of a cookie pan. Arrange pies in layers. Put a sheet of waxed paper between each layer.
  4. Thaw and bake in 350° oven for 20 minutes.

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