Homemade Coconut Tortillas: #136 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We always used to buy tortillas until we realized how easy they are to whip up, hot from the griddle. You can use these to make burritos, quesadillas, or tortilla chips. The hint of coconut oil makes them extra flavorful, but you could use butter or canola oil if you prefer.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2.50 for 8 tortillas)

2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1 tsp baking powder – $0.02
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter or canola oil – $2.20
1 cup hot water – free

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together well. Add the coconut oil and work it into the flour with your fingers until it has the texture of fine crumbs. Next, add the hot water and mix until it comes together into a dough. 

Briefly knead it into a ball, adding a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and shape gently into balls. Cover and let them rest for half an hour.

2. On a lightly floured board, roll out each ball of dough until it’s a round tortilla shape about 8″ across. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat, then add the tortilla to the pan. 

Give it a little shake to make sure it’s not stuck to the pan, then let it cook for 30-60 seconds. Flip it over with a spatula and let it cook on the other side for the same amount of time, until both sides have little brown marks on them.

3. Store the cooked tortillas on a plate covered in a tea towel to keep them warm and moist, then serve when they’re all cooked. Fill with burrito fillings, or cheese for a quesadilla, or enjoy them dipped in guacamole or salsa. Buen provecho!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely (refined flour)
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Turkey Chili with Zucchini: #54 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We used to have a game when I was a kid: if you could have one last meal before you died, what would it be? My answer was always a bowl of homemade chili. It’s still one of my favorite dinners on a day that’s either cold outside or needs cheering up inside. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($16.50 total for a very big pot of chili!)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1-2 tbsp chili powder, to taste – $1.40
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb organic ground turkey – $5.69
1 can crushed tomatoes with basil – $1.59
3 large zucchini, sliced – $3.49
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed – $2.97
3 cups cooked rice – $0.36

Directions

1. Gather all your ingredients. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to turn golden, then mix in the chili powder as well as salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Add the ground turkey and stir to mix well and start to cook the meat, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini next. Blend the can of crushed tomatoes in the blender for extra smoothness, then add to the pot as well as the beans and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can simmer longer if you have time, up to 1-2 hours).

3. When it’s all nicely coming together and you’ve checked the taste (add more salt, some sugar, some vinegar, or more chili powder if needed), mix in the cooked rice and serve. This pot lasted us for two dinners, including going back for second helpings.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Empanadas Two Ways: Recipe #10

Empanadas are a fantastic portable meal originating in Latin America. Bread in Spanish is pan, so empanada literally means wrapping bread around a filling of meat, cheese or vegetables. There are two variations here: one with mushrooms, rosemary ham, broccolini and mozzarella, and the other one (aka saltenas in Bolivia) with leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, plant-based ground meat, and peas. Feel free to experiment with your own fillings!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total for about a dozen empanadas)

Empanada dough:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter – $1.25
2 cups water – FREE
2 tsp salt – $0.05
3-5 cups flour – $0.48 – $0.80

Ham and cheese empanada:
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, finely chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, finely chopped – $2.29
1/2 pound organic baby broccoli, finely chopped – $2.79
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
1/2 tsp each of cumin, paprika, and chili powder – $0.42
1/4 ball mozzarella cheese, chopped into tiny chunks – $0.62
1/4 pack rosemary ham slices, chopped into tiny chunks – $0.82
Salt and pepper to taste

Plant-based empanada:
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 tsp each of turmeric, cumin, and oregano – $0.42
1 leek, finely chopped – $1.49
2 packages enoki (or other) mushrooms, chopped – $4.98
3 large potatoes, finely diced – $0.75
2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.06
1 pound plant-based ground meat – $7.99
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas – $1.00

Directions

1. Make the dough. Mix 2 cups boiling water with the butter in a large bowl. Stir to melt the butter, then cool to room temperature.

Add in flour gradually and stir with a wooden spoon. When the dough starts to come together,  tip it out onto a floured board and knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour (1/2 cup at a time) if the dough is sticky. Wrap dough in cling wrap and and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to a day.

2. Make the filling. For the meat-based one: Put the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Then add the garlic, mushrooms, baby broccoli, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is not liquidy. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside or refrigerate to cool. This can also be made up to a day ahead.

For the plant-based one: Put the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the leek, turmeric, cumin and oregano and saute together for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Then add the mushrooms, potatoes, brown sugar, and plant-based ground meat. Stir and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the mixture is hot. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the frozen peas at the end to cool it off a bit for the filling.

3. When you’re ready to assemble the empanadas, take the chilled dough out of the fridge and pinch off balls about 2″ in diameter. Roll each piece into a 4 1/2″ circle and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Put about 2 tbsp of filling in the center of each empanada, adding some pieces of ham and mozzarella as well. Moisten the outer edge of each one with water, then wrap the dough around the filling to form the empanada, pressing the edges together. 

For decoration, you can fold the outer edge back a little and make gentle designs with a fork. These can also be stored in the fridge a few hours ahead of baking.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Make sure the empanadas are about 1″ apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with butter and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm to the table.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!