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Sausage empanadas for kids are a great easy meal and they are so good. I make them in bulk so we have them in the freezer for several meals. Freezer meals for daycare kids are my jam!
One great way I avoid spending a ton of time in the kitchen every day is by making things ahead and freezing them. I make huge batches of muffins, pancakes, homemade bread, cookies, hot pockets, meatballs, sausage balls and other menu items and freeze them. I place enough of the item to feed us for one meal and store it in freezer bags.
Potato empanadas with sausage and cheese
Searching for some new kid-friendly delights that can be made ahead, I came across the idea of an empanada. Empanadas are like handheld fried pies. They have pie crust for the container and you fill them with savory items and bake them in the oven. They can be sweet as well, but for the purpose of a main dish for the childcare menu, I was looking for savory items.
I looked all over the internet and most empanada recipes used pie crust or a cornmeal crust, so I went with pie crust in order to make it as simple as possible with what I had on hand. I looked at all the fillings.
Most of them were ground beef with tomato of some sort. I really don’t care for cooked tomatoes, and they are messy, so I made up my own recipe with diced potatoes, sausage, and cheese. I made a bunch of them up, baked a tester batch, and froze the rest for baking later. These sausage empanadas were so good, we have been eating them ever since.
The kids LOVED them. At first they were like, say what? After I started eating mine, I told them they were sausage because I know how much they love sausage. Then one kid tried a bite and said yum, and in a few minutes, everyone was eating. That’s pretty unusual to have 100% participation on the first try, so I call that a giant victory.
I supplement many of my recipes with green powder. It’s a powder I made from taking any greens from the garden, such as arugula, Swiss chard, carrot tops, radish tops, leaves from broccoli, spinach, kale, or whatever we are growing that we didn’t get a chance to eat.
I dehydrate it and blend it into powder in the blender. I put it in jars and sprinkle it into food. About 2 tablespoons of green powder is a serving of greens. They have so much moisture, a lot of them shrinks down very small. No one can detect them. They look like herb flakes and you can’t taste them.
I add them to scrambled eggs, casseroles, soups, sauces, spaghetti, and many other dishes. It adds nutrients without anyone knowing. For four batches of my empanada recipe, I added ½ cup or 4 servings of greens. Nutrients add up.
I have wanted a Ninja for years and have been saving up for one. In fact, I didn’t even have a food processor before I got this. I am so excited to use it to save myself time. So, I used it for several steps of the recipe and it worked great.
First, I peeled the onions and cut the ends off and tossed them in the ninja food processor, I cut the end off the hot peppers and threw them in. I was able to throw the garlic in whole.
If you wanted to add some carrots or other veggies into the meat mixture for more nutrients, you could process those as well. I didn’t have to dice all of that up AND kids don’t like texture as a rule as much as adults, so it helped the onions and stuff disappear into the filling more. Sausage empanadas for kids are a great place to hide lots of veggies.
Freezer friendly empanadas
I made a quadruple batch for my freezer. For me, I figure if I’m going to get out the mess, I might as well make a lot. This saves so much time on clean up. If you’re getting everything out, get in it for the long haul. I am adding the recipe for one batch of empanadas and the recipe for 4 so you don’t have to figure up the ingredients if you want to fill the freezer with empanadas for your family.
For even more make-ahead freezer meals that you can prepare ahead, check out this post.
My empanadas did not turn out cute, I call them ugly empanadas, but they taste amazing. Taste is all that matters. If you make them 6 inches, the recipe makes about 10-12, but that’s a huge serving for a kid, so I made mine about 3-4 inches. I got about 20 per batch.
When you make 20 of these sausage empanadas for kids, each one is a serving of meat, a serving of bread and half a serving of vegetables for the food program for a child age 3-4. For more breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas, click on the links and for whole grain and meat ideas, click on those links.
If you want the bread to meet the whole grain requirement, you can use 1/2 whole wheat flour in this recipe. I have not had great luck using whole wheat in pie crust though, so I haven’t used it.
Empanada filling ideas
I got up early and made all of the fillings before the kids got here. Then I rolled out one batch and baked them for lunch, and then rolled out and filled the rest at nap while they slept. I sat those in the freezer on a baking sheet. When they were frozen solid, after 2 hours, I put a dozen in each bag and put them back in the freezer.
I hope you enjoy these sausage empanadas for kids and make some for your family. You will love them.
Sausage Cheddar and Potato Empanadas-Four Batches
- 4 lb. sausage
- 2 C. Shredded cheese of your choice I chose cheddar
- 2 lb. potatoes diced in ¼ inch dice
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 chopped onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 4 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp pepper
- 4 small jalapeno or other mildly hot pepper
- 4 batches pie dough
- Place onion, garlic, hot pepper, salt, pepper, and thyme in skillet and cook until onions are soft.
- Add sausage and cook until brown.
- Remove mixture from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving sausage fat.
- Add diced potatoes to the pan and cook and stir until potatoes are soft.
- Add them to the meat mixture.
- Let mixture cool.
- Add cheese and mix ingredients well.
- Make pie dough and roll as thin as possible.
- Cut dough into 4 inch circles or squares.
- Place two tablespoons of filling in each piece of dough, leaving ½ inch of dough around filling.
- Fold dough over filling and fold dough over and pinch about every ½ inch until the entire empanada is sealed.
- Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust is browned.
- You can brush them with an egg wash for a shiny crust.
- 1 egg with 1 T. water whisked well.
- If you wish you use the empanadas later, you can freeze them on the cookie sheet for two hours.
- Take off sheet and place in tightly sealed container.
- Bake frozen at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Pie Crust Empanadas
Flaky, tender pie crust for savory or sweet pies.
- 2 ½ c. Flour
- ¼ tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 2 sticks 1 C Butter
- 5-6 T Ice Water
- Place flour, baking powder and salt in food processor
- Pulse 3 times to mix
- Add butter, cut into small pieces, and pulse until mixture is like coarse sand.
- Add water 1 T. at a time until dough just begins to come together.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and work dough into a ball with as little kneading as possible.
- Wrap tightly and chill for 30 minutes.
- Continue with empanada instructions.
Blue and Gold Sausage Recipes
For more recipes with Blue and Gold Sausage, check these out: