Spanish for "to bake in pastry", empanadas are a staple in many South American and Asian kitchens. Often filled with a beef and raisin mixture or a chicken and cheese mixture, empanadas are as unique to the regions they come as the regions are themselves.
When I set out to make these gems, I didn't have any beef on hand and my chicken had already been barbecued earlier in the week, so we opted to make a vegetarian empanada. Stuffed with black beans, salsa and cheese these are yummy alternative to the meat-based empanadas we're more familiar with. As a family we try to vegetarian a few times a week anyways, so this was a good choice for us.
Now, as much as I love spending much of my time in the kitchen this is not something I would make in the early morning for the school lunch-box. It is, however, definitely something I would make a batch of on a Sunday morning and freeze for school lunches. My boys can easily help with this and love to mix the filling together, place it on the dough and press the pastry together. Crimping the edges with a fork is also a child friendly task for even the youngest of kitchen helpers. I might suggest doubling the dough recipe and making an assortment of fillings, all of which could be kept frozen. While making your morning coffee or tea, remove a few from the freezer, pop them in the oven and your kiddies are off to school with a warm, delicious lunch.