30 Minute Meal/ Eat Like A Princess

Princess Elena Inspired Recipe – Easy Beef Empanada

Get your kids excited to try new recipes when they learn what a Princess might have enjoyed eating! This weeknight recipe for beef empanadas is so easy and delicious and inspired by Princess Elena of Avalor!


Eat Like A Princess - Princess Elena Beef Empanadas


All of a sudden, and seemingly out of nowhere, princesses have become a BIG thing in our house. This comes as kind of a shock to Joel and I, since we have been lovingly pushing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) down our kids throats from the moment they were born. We are scientists at heart, so its not our fault. But all the sudden, our youngest is obsessed.


Get Kids Cooking in the Kitchen with Eat Like A Princess Meals! Beef Empanadas for Princess Elena


In an attempt to bridge the gap between strong, brave, and clever girls and the stereotypical damsel in distress princess, we have been talking about empowering characteristics of each of the Disney Princesses – they they are brave, smart, courageous and kind. Princess Elena is a great example of this, because she is super loyal to her friends and family, she is brave enough to stand up for what is right (and fight off the evil queen who took over her country), and she is also humble and willing to admit when she is wrong.


Easy Weeknight Beef Empanadas


Because I love a good excuse to introduce new cultures, ingredients and flavors into my children’s diet, I thought this would be an amazing opportunty to talk about the different cultures and foods that each of the Disney Princesses might have enjoyed eating!


Eat Like A Princess Recipes

Welcome to the Eat Like A Princess Series!

I designed this series as a fun way to teach my daughters about new cultures through the Disney Princesses in hopes that they will become more open to trying new foods, to understand other cultures better, and to enjoy exploring the world around them. And still staying within the 30 minute weeknight dinner theme. You can see other recipes in this series here.

I decided to highlight the empanada as being inspired by Princess Elena of Avalor because you can easily find variations throughout Central America, it is simple enough that you can easily make it during a weeknight, its fun to eat, and there aren’t any weird or overly spicy ingredients that kids might turn their noses up at.


Eat Like Princess Elena - Beef Empanada Recipe


How to make Beef Empanadas easy:

To simplify the process, I would make the filling without kids help, pre-shred the cheese, and (depending on the age of your children) pre-cut the circles. Then gather your family when it is time to assemble and let everyone assemble their own empanadas. Preparing some of the meal without the kids will cut down on the crazy chaotic stressful messes that could ensue, but this still leaves plenty of time for your kids to be involved in preparing their own food, which is key to trying new things!

I like to make the filling ahead of time to give it plenty of time to cool before you start assembling. Sometimes if the filling is too hot, it will make the dough too warm, which will become sticky and thin and hard to handle.


Beef Empanadas


**Note: This recipe is not intended to be 100% authentic. Elena is a fictional princess who lives in a made-up land loosely based on latin culture. This recipe is intended to be easy enough that children can help you prepare it, as well as interesting enough to pique their interest in new cultures and foods. This recipe is Inspired by Princess Elena of Avalor.



Beef Empanada Recipe for Princess Elena – Eat Like A Princess

  • Author: Jenni
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Eat Like A Princess
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: European


These easy Beef Empanadas are a great weeknight meal! They are easy to make and taste great! PLUS they are a great way to teach children to enjoy new foods – because Empanadas are something Princess Elena would have LOVED eating!


2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 onion

1 lb ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp mild chili powder

1 tsp salt

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and minced into small pieces

1/2 cup water

1 TBSP tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

10 oz spinach

2 packages refrigerated pizza crust

1 egg

2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm up the olive oil.

Sautee the onion until translucent.

Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

Drain off any excess fat.

Add in the garlic, mild chili powder, salt, bay leaves, golden raisins, sweet potato, water, and tomato paste and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and cilantro and remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Unroll the pre-packed pizza dough crust and cut out 6″ circles from the dough.

In a small dish, whisk up an egg with 1 tsp of water.

Place some of the ground beef mixture into one half of a dough circle, and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.

Brush some of the egg wash onto the edge of half the circle of dough, and then fold over to create a pocket.

Use a fork to smooth the edges together.

Repeat with remaining dough circles.

Use a sharp knife to poke a few holes into the tops of the empanadas.

Brush the tops with the remaining egg whites.

Bake for 15 minutes.



You will probably have some leftover filling! Store leftover meat and empanadas in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.


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Eat Like A Princess - Beef Empanadas Recipe for Princess Elena


  • Reply
    Geoffrey @ Spoonabilities
    January 25, 2017 at 2:53 AM

    Princess Elena is very lucky. What a great feast she has. If only I was a prince and could sit at her table

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:20 AM

      Haha Geoffrey! 🙂

  • Reply
    Allison - Celebrating Sweets
    January 25, 2017 at 3:09 AM

    What a fun recipe. My daughter loves princesses too (they are everywhere!). This would be a super fun meal to make with my kids. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:20 AM

      They are indeed everywhere! I hope your family loves making it as much as we did!

  • Reply
    Amanda Mason
    January 25, 2017 at 4:25 AM

    What a good recipe! I love this idea and wrapping everything up in pizza crusts! Enjoy those princess days…they grow out of it too quickly!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:21 AM

      Sometimes you just need a quick cheat! Especially when you are attempting to cook with multiple small children! 🙂 And yes, it does pass quickly!

  • Reply
    Megan @ MegUnprocessed
    January 25, 2017 at 6:19 AM

    Such a creative idea!

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine
    January 25, 2017 at 7:05 AM

    I just bought a Princess Elena doll for my son’s friend Elena 🙂 Her mom and I actually know nothing about the character– we will have to watch it together and also talk about those good qualities! These empanadas look amazing.

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:22 AM

      Its actually a cute show! She is all about her family, loyal to her friends, and being the best leader that she can be. My girls love it!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 8:00 AM

    Well kids will be kids and they will have a fascination with dolls, but its nice to know that you try to still instill some empowering qualities in your children while letting them have their fun. These empanadas look great!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:22 AM

      You have to try, right? 🙂

  • Reply
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen
    January 25, 2017 at 1:04 PM

    Love seeing the little hands in your photos. So great when the kids enjoy the food that they’ve helped to make!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:22 AM

      Yes! And taking photos of little hands is a LOT harder than I anticipated!! LOL

  • Reply
    Dominique | Perchance to Cook
    January 25, 2017 at 2:48 PM

    Yum! I’ve never made empanadas before but this recipe makes me want to give it a go!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:23 AM

      They are really easy! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Reply
    nicole taggart
    January 25, 2017 at 5:32 PM

    omg i love this. My daughter is princes obsessed. I have to make these with her

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:23 AM

      I hope you do! Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 6:06 PM

    Love it! Super delicious and lots of fun! Thanks Jenni!

  • Reply
    Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons
    January 26, 2017 at 2:01 AM

    This looks awesome! And I love that you are getting your kiddo into the kitchen!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:23 AM

      I think it is so important!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 11:55 PM

    I love that you are spending such fun times with your kids in the kitchen… thats how my love of cooking came about was spending time with mom and my grandmas growing up!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:24 AM

      I remember sending time in the kitchen with my grandmothers and my parents, too!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 5:02 AM

    Such a great idea, I definitely want to try this with my kiddos!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 9:26 PM

    Yum! These are going on the menu plan soon. Thanks, Jenni!

  • Reply
    Shannon @ Pass Me Some Tasty
    January 28, 2017 at 3:11 AM

    This completely makes me smile because my girls are way into princesses too and would be over the moon if we did a dinner for one of their princesses. Love it!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:24 AM

      Oh my gosh, yes! My girls keep asking me “What else would Elena eat?!” I can’t wait to get the rest of the series posted! One for every princess!

  • Reply
    Jessica Pinney
    January 30, 2017 at 3:08 AM

    These look SO GOOD, Jenni! Can’t wait to give it a try.

    • Reply
      February 1, 2017 at 2:25 AM

      I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Sasha @ Eat Love Eat
    February 1, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Mmm I love empanadas and using pizza crust is a great idea!

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