Empanada Fork-Photo3

Empanada Fork-Photo3
With the Super Bowl, Grammys and Oscars all happening this month, there will be parties across the land. Regardless of whether you love football more than music or movies or vice versa, we’ve cooked up a menu that will work for any party. But, of course, we’ve added a little Latin flavor to the mix. Try these snacks and heavy hors d’oeuvres, and you’ll have plenty of reason to celebrate, no matter what happens on the field or on the stage.

Read Related: Avocado Recipes By Mario Lopez 

1 pound of ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp paprika
½ tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp chipotle Tabasco
1 ½ tbsp course kosher salt
1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 large egg
1 package of spicy jack cheese, shredded

In a bowl, combine the first eight ingredients and set aside. If mixing with your hands, you might want to wear gloves because of the Tabasco sauce. Another option is to wait and add Tabasco when cooking. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef until it browns and is cooked all the way through using a spoon or spatula to gently break up large chunks. Drain excess fat.

Preheat oven to 400. On a floured surface, lay out one puff pastry sheet at a time. Using a steak knife or pastry cutter, cut sheets into 3×3 squares. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the ground beef filling in the center of the square and top with a pinch of shredded cheese.  Fold corner to corner making a triangle and press edges with the tines or edges of a fork.  Repeat with remaining squares. Arrange all empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Make an egg wash by beating the egg in a small bowl or disposable cup with 1 tablespoon of water.  Brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash and then bake until the tops are golden, about 15 minutes.  Serve with your favorite brand of salsa.

 Read Related: Marinated Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Party Recipes with a Latin Flavor


6 Hass Avocados (soft but firm to the touch)
1½ tbsp kosher salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sliced pineapple drained, air dried and diced chunky
3 Roma tomatoes diced
½ Spanish onion diced
2 serrano or jalapeno chiles fine diced (use gloves or wash hands immediately after handling with cold water and soap)
Juice of 1 Lime
½ Bunch Cilantro chopped (optional)

Carefully half Avocados on a cutting board with a knife. Twist and open avocado after running knife through it. Remove Pit. Repeat for remaining five. Scoop out avocado flesh using a tablespoon. Mash avocado flesh with 1 tablespoon of salt to get juices flowing. Fold in remaining ingredients. Stir to incorporate into mashed avocado. Season with salt if needed. Fold in cilantro last or sprinkle on top as garnish. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.



¼ cup flour
¼ cup butter
1 quart heavy cream(room temperature)
4 cups shredded cheddar
Salt and pepper (use white pepper if you have) to taste
2-8 ource cans of Rotel or Herdez diced tomato and chiles

Melt butter in a non-stick saucepan. Whisk ¼ cup of flour into the melted butter until a thick, rough paste forms. Whisk constantly while it bubbles over medium heat. As it cooks, the roux will become smooth and begin to thin. Add quart of cream and continue to whisk so that the roux is incorporated evenly. Fold in cheese switching to a spoon or spatula so that cheese melts.

Stir in cans of tomatoes and chiles. Serve in a crockpot to keep warm or serve at room temperature in a serving bowl with tortilla chips.


(Serves 8-10)

1 purple onion halved, quartered, and separated into squares
4 zucchinis sliced
2  large yellow squash sliced
1 package button or cremini mushrooms whole or halved
4 green peppers diced
1 package cherry tomatoes whole
3 NY strip steaks about 10-12 ounces each cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and ground pepper to taste
20 wooden skewers minimum 8 inches long (soaked in water 30 minutes)
1 Bottle BBQ sauce (I use Stubb’s)

Heat the grill medium to high heat. Skew beef, squash, tomato, zucchini, mushroom, and pepper in alternating order of your choice and repeat down the skewer. Leave at least 3 inches at bottom for handling. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Line skewers on grill, cover and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Check skewers and turn them over for another 8 minutes. Never leave grill unattended. Brush BBQ sauce on top and cover 2 minutes more. Be sure to remove or sauce will burn.


(about 24 small cakes)

1 pound lump crabmeat drained and checked for any cartilage
¼ cup mayo
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 egg
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs (or any in the cupboard you may want to use)
2 tbsp grain mustard
2 tsp salt
1 can chipotle in adobo sauce
1 bottle tartar sauce

Heat oven to 375. Add first nine ingredients together using only ½ a cup of breadcrumbs.

Form mixture into 1½ to 2 inch diameter cakes. Dredge each cake lightly in the remaining bread crumbs by pouring crumbs onto a plate and sprinkling or pressing cakes onto crumbs. For a healthier option, bake on a foiled cookie sheet for 18 minutes. Remove and serve or reduce temperature to 275 degrees to keep warm.

Chipotle Tartar Sauce
Place 1 cup of tartar sauce into a small mixing bowl. Add the adobo sauce from chipotle can into tartar sauce and stir. Serve in a nice bowl garnished with a lime wedge on a platter with cakes around it.


Party Recipes with a Latin FlavorSPICED POPCORN

3 bags ready to pop popcorn (unsalted if possible)
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp granulated garlic powder
1½  tbsp kosher salt

Mix all spices including salt in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pop popcorn according to instructions on box or bag. Remove bags one at a time, but do not open until all three are popped Open all bags at same time and evenly divide spices and pour into each bag. Fold up top and shake bags to season. Pour popcorn into a bowl and serve immediately.



1 lime to moisten the rim of a glass
Course salt on a plate
Ice cubes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
12 oz beer, such as Bohemia, Corona, Dos Equis, Modelo (especial or negra) my fave is Tecate
About 1/2 teaspoon of Valentina Hot Sauce or Tabasco

Rub the lime on the rim of the glass to moisten the edge. Turn over glass and press into salt.

Fill halfway with ice cubes. Add the fresh lime juice. Add beer of choice to fill up glass. Add hot sauce. Drink immediately and enjoy!

Felicia N. Medina graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor of science in Tourism Marketing.  She received a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu Pasadena, California, and has worked as a private chef on both coasts, including in Newport Beach, Los Angeles, and New York City.  She recently relocated to Pennyslvania with her fiancee to take over a Tavern, Restaurant and Banquet Space located at the historic Holly Inn. The Tavern’s new menu reflects her Tex-Mex culture along with comfort, and Asian-inspired dishes, while also introducing local, farm to market to table ingredients.