Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Black Beans - The Quick Tasty Version


  •  1 small can of black beans (goya is good)
  • 2 slices of bacon finely chopped 
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Salt & Pepper

  1. In a small sauce pan on high heat add the chopped bacon and cook for about 3 minutes
  2. Add the onions and let them become transluscent
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute
  4. Add the whole can of beans and season with salt and pepper to taste
  5. Lower heat to simmer and cover the pan letting it cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Beans will bubble a little bit.  Keep a watch to make sure it's not burning
Whenever I want black beans and I don't want to cook them from scratch or make feijoada I like to use the bacon and the bacon fat to give it that taste I'm looking for.  Definitely do this if you are looking for a better taste than the regular bland taste of canned beans. Serve over rice! 

Thank you for sharing :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Meat Lasagna

Ingredients - for two hefty 9x11 lasagna trays

  • Two boxes of lasagna pasta to boil
  • 2 lbs of lean ground beef
  • 1 lb of chopped portabella mushrooms
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of Italian Seasoning blend
  • About 10 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 Tbsps fresh chopped basil

  1. Boil a large pot of water and cook one box of lasagna pasta at a time.  Re-use boiling water to save time and saving cooked pasta in a drainer for assembly
  2. Place the ground beef in a deep frying pan and season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning blend, and garlic powder.  Cook on high heat for about 7 minutes or until meat is almost fully cooked
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan along with the tomato paste and cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes or until mushrooms have released their juice and are cooked.  Set the meat aside for assembly
  4. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, 5 cups of mozzarella (save the rest for the top), parmesan, basil, and eggs with your hands
  5. Spray some cooking spray on two lasagna trays 
  6. Mix the cooked meat with the cheese mix inside the bowl
  7. Preheat the oven to 375
  8. Pour a thin layer of your favorite tomato sauce or my Marinara Sauce on the bottom of the tray
  9. Lay down the lasagna pieces over layering a bit
  10. Gently even out the meat and cheese sauce over the pasta.  You will form two of these meat cheese layers so divide your meat into 4 by making an x in the bowl since you this is a recipe for 2 lasagna trays
  11. Using a ladle pour your sauce over the meat and cheese
  12. Cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese (it acts like glue)
  13. Lay down the lasagna pieces again
  14. Place the meat and cheese mix
  15. Pour the sauce
  16. Cover with shredded mozzarella
  17. Lay down the lasagna pieces one last time
  18. Pour a generous amount of sauce and cover with a generous amount of mozzarella
  19. Make both trays and insert them in the oven to bake for 30 minutes
  20. Let the lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting square servings with a spatula.  It needs to settle

I had never made lasagna before so I was really excited to try it for the first time.  I wanted to make it as Italian as possible with a sweet marinara sauce.  I definitely recommend you make it with your own fresh sauce I linked right above.  The house smelled great and the taste was AWESOME!  It took about 1 1/2 hours to make the lasagna but it took me longer because I started with cooking the sauce and prepping my tomatoes.  The only way to cook a dish like this is while drinking some good red wine and eating a good appetizer.  Try cutting up some good warm Italian bread (baguettes) and dipping it in an extra virgin olive oil with an Italian seasoning blend and a few drops of red wine vinegar!  You can't stop eating it it's so good!  All in all, this was a lot of fun to prepare.  I will definitely make it more often now.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Marinara Sauce


  • 6 lbs of tomatoes on the vine (I used medium sized ones)
  • 4 medium yellow onions (chopped)
  • 7 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Handful of fresh finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of a good quality dry Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp nutmeg
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cups of red wine (pinot noir or chardonnay work well)


  1. Open a good bottle of red wine
  2. Pour yourself a glass 
  3. Boil 2 quarts of water
  1. Remove tomatoes from the vine and wash them.  
  2. Cut an X (not too deep) over the stem end of the tomatoes.  This will allow for an easier time peeling the skin off
  3. Prepare a bowl with ice and water and another bowl for placing the peeled tomatoes
  4. Blanch about 8 or 10 tomatoes in the boiling water for about 40 seconds (Not to cook them but to release the skin)
  5. Remove the tomatoes and insert them in the ice water for about 20 seconds so they stop cooking
  6. Place the cooled tomatoes in another bowl and repeat steps 5 and 6 until all tomatoes are done
  7. Peel each tomato and throw away the skin
  8. Add the chopped onions to a hot large enough sauce pan with some extra virgin olive oil
  9. With your fingers break apart and seed the tomato over a strainer to capture the juice and keep the seeds away
  10. Once the onions begin to caramelize (about 8 minutes) add the garlic, and the Italian dry seasoning blend.  Cook for about 2 minutes making sure nothing is burning.  Add olive oil if needed.
  11. Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes
  12. Add the tomatoes and the drained tomato juice to the pan. 
  13. Once everything is boiling add the nutmeg, salt, pepper, and sugar
  14. Mix it well, lower to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 2 hours stirring sporadically
  15. Add the parsley
  16. Using a hand blender blend the sauce lightly while still in the pan to thicken it a little bit (optional)
  17. Serve over your favorite pasta and save some for other dishes
I recently went to an Italian festival held by the Jacksonville Italian American Club and asked some of the Italian old ladies about making my own marinara sauce.  The response I got from everyone was the same.  They don't have recipes and they don't cook with recipes.  They just cook!  It's more about the tasting and feel.  I convinced myself I needed to make my own marinara sauce to use on my first lasagna.  It was Christmas Day and I had all day to play around with food!  It was a lot of fun to make but I wish I hadn't used it all on my lasagnas.  I cooked three lasagnas and wound up freezing one of them.  1/3 of this recipe is enough for 1 lasagna in a 9 x 11 lasagna tray.  I was going to use brown sugar instead of regular sugar but I didn't realize I didn't have any.  I'll try it next time!  the result was great. I do suggest, however, that you use your own taste buds in regards to salt.  I used exactly 1 Tbsp but you might like it saltier or less salty.  This was fun to make and I will definitely make it again.  I only wish I could grow my own tomatoes!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coq Au Vin


  • 12 thick slices of bacon cut into small bite size pieces
  • 4 lbs of chicken pieces - Legs, Thighs, and Wings
  • 1 lb of mini portabella mushrooms 
  • 3 medium onions
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • About 25 pearl onions (Throw onions in boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Remove and throw them in ice cold water.  Peel the skin off and set aside)
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 whole head of garlic (use all the cloves)
  • 3 cups of red wine (pinot noir is what I used)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper (season every step)
  • Thyme (dry or fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh parsley 

  1. In a large deep skillet or dutch oven over high heat fry the bacon until crisp
  2. If using a slow cooker preheat it on high 
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper (generously)
  4. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside over paper towel
  5. Fry the chicken pieces on the bacon fat until the outside is browned  (About 3-4 minutes each side. If your pan is not big enough do it in two or three steps)
  6. Set chicken aside over paper towel and reduce heat to medium high
  7. Place the chopped onions, shallots, pearl onions, and garlic in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes stirring a couple of times
  8. Add the mushrooms and cook until their water is released.  About 5 minutes
  9. Season with salt and pepper
  10. Add tomato paste and sprinkle the flour while mixing the sauce. Cook for a minute.
  11. While stirring add the wine, the chicken stock, the bay leaf, the thyme, the bacon, and the chicken and bring everything to a boil. 
  12. If using a dutch oven cover the pan and place it in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours on 350.  If using a slow cooker transfer all ingredients from the boiling pan to the preheated slow cooker and cook for 1 1/2 hours.  If using a regular deep skillet just cover it and cook on low heat for the same amount of time (I used a slow cooker and that is what I recommend)
  13. Remove all chicken pieces from the slow cooker and set aside covered by aluminum foil
  14. Transfer the remaining sauce to a deep skillet or pan and heat on medium high heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thickened (coats the spoon)
  15. Place the chicken pieces in the crock pot and pour the sauce over them
  16. Let cook on high for another 10 minutes to warm them together before serving
  17. Serving suggestions are with mashed potatoes or rice 


I had the most amazing Thanksgiving Day!  I pretty much cooked from early morning till dinner time and then made Bananas Forster.  I had the pleasure to cook for my family and two good friends from Brazil who were visiting us.  They pretty much sat down and watched me cook all day while drinking wine (lots of wine lol) and eating the different appetizers I prepared.  It was pretty much a major ego boost for me!  I loved the audience and they were very interested in what I was doing.  At least I think they were lol The dish requires time and patience but it's not as complicated as the directions seem to look like.  If you have an understanding of some basic cooking principles it is quite easy to prepare.  I definitely suggest you prepare this for your family or visitors.  I have a tendency to cook things I have never cooked before when I have guests.  I test my new stuff on guests!  My Coq Au Vin (...and yes, the jokes were plenty) will become our tradition.  We don't really care for turkey at all so making this bird for Thanksgiving was a big hit!  I will only cook it on Thanksgiving and make it our family tradition.  Let's see who our guests will be next year!  I sure wouldn't mind having Katia and Raquel over again!  Thanks!  You have no idea how I loved hearing the compliments and I'm flattered you are cooking this for your families this Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mediterranean Stroganoff Fusion


  • 1.5 lbs of skinless chicken breast (2 large halves)
  • 1 hot Italian sausage 
  • 1 tsp of saffron
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 lb baby portabella mushrooms (sliced in half)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chili powder
  • 16 oz crushed tomatos (can)
  • 1 Tbsp pepper paste (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 8 oz corn
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • Parsley
  1. Pour some olive oil in the pan (two swirls) and cook sausage for about 5 minutes on high heat
  2. Generously season chicken breast with salt, pepper, and chili powder
  3. Remove sausage from the pan and set on cutting board.  Add more olive oil and cook breasts for about 3 minutes on each side
  4. Remove breasts from the pan and set on cutting board.  Add more olive oil and on high heat add onions and garlic.
  5. Meanwhile, slice the sausage and chicken into small bite size pieces (They are not fully cooked yet)
  6. Add crushed tomatos, pepper paste, tomato paste, and, saffron, and salt over the onions and cook for about 3 minutes on high heat
  7. Add mushrooms, chicken, and sausage to the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat
  8. Add corn and cook and cook a couple more minutes
  9. Taste for salt and check if everything is cooked thoroughly
  10. Turn off the heat and add about 8oz of heavy cream and about a handful of fresh chopped parsley. 
  11. Serve over rice and garnish with potato sticks and vegetable pickles
It can be hard to go out and buy all these ingredients.  Cooking doesn't have to follow a recipe.  It follows a few principles but in the end it's all up to your imagination.  I already had these ingredients because I use them frequently.  I didn't want to just make a Brazilian stroganoff. I wanted to infuse different tastes into it.  I had some sausage in the freezer, some saffron from my last paella, and some pepper paste from the pork a Alentejana dish I prepared a few weeks ago.  Mirella and I loved it!  We ate too much of it!  It took about an hour to make but that's only because I was cleaning up while I cooked and because I had bone in with skin chicken breasts I had to clean.  It'll be faster with tenderloins or boneless chicken breasts.  Also, if you don't have pepper paste from Portugal handy just don't use it.  The dish will still be great!  Just add something else to give it a bit of a kick.  Hot sauce would be okay but not too much.  The potato sticks are of high quality and they totally compliment the dish giving it a crunchy chew every time!  lol 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creamy Corn Custard


  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 Tblsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tblsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of corn Flour
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a blender combine milk, sugar, eggs, butter, coconut, and cheese and blend until well mixed.
  3. In a bowl combine all purpose flour, corn flour, and baking powder
  4. Slowly pour the liquid from from the blender into the bowl while mixing with a whisk
  5. Once everything looks combined pour the mixture into a large casserole dish
  6. Cook for approximately 35 minutes or until you can stick the center with a fork and it comes out clean.  

Our friend Ketty Gonzaga Pereira sent us this recipe! Thanks Ketty! I sometimes add more cheese to it but there's no need!  It's basically perfect and very fulfilling!  We have made it quite a few times in the past 2 months ever since she told us about it.  I grew up not liking this kind of cake or custard but the creaminess of it is out of this world!   YOU HAVE TO TRY IT!!!  It's a guaranteed family pleaser!  It's sweet and can be had as a snack in the afternoon or late night!  I will probably bake this for a long time to come!  I suggest using a very fine corn flour!  We buy ours at Brazilian grocery stores around town.  It's called "fubá". 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Garlic cream sauce over Tortellini


  • 4 cups of cheese Tortellini 
  • 1/2 finely sliced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 6 Tblsp unsalted butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 anchovies (filets)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 chili pepper with seeds (finely sliced round)
  • 2 cups of sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup of thick bite size lean ham pieces
  • 1 quart of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Parsley (chopped handful)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Boil water and cook the tortellini for about 7 minutes if frozen then drain. 
  2. Melt the butter on a large hot pan along with the anchovies.
  3. After about a minute add the onions, the garlic, and the chili pepper.
  4. Once the onions start to caramelize add the mushrooms, the ham, and a couple of Tblsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Break two eggs in the pan and break them apart mixing into the sauce.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  8. Add the heavy cream and the parmesan cheese.  You can add more cheese if you'd like.  I used about 1/2 cup. 
  9. Heat for another two minutes on medium heat stirring frequently.
  10. Add the tortellini to the sauce and cook another minute.
  11. Once you remove the pan from the heat add the parsley and serve in a bowl topped with fresh cut tomatoes and parmesan cheese.


This dish reminds me of my dad.  When we came to America he used to work in an Italian restaurant where he learned about a lot of dishes.  He used to make something similar to this all the time for us when we lived in NJ.  I modified it somewhat but the principle is still the same.  You can use any pasta you like.  I just happened to have tortellini and it worked out great!  The ham and mushrooms are also optional.  I just love the combination but you can use chicken breast or shrimp too!  Either way this is a crowd pleaser!  The amount I made is good for 6 people.  Definitely garnish it with fresh tomato because it helps break down the strong heavy sauce.  The chili pepper gave it a great kick and provided a surprise fusion taste to what seems to be an Italian dish.  Make it tonight!  You're gonna love it! Just remember to season your food!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Carne de porco à Alentejana"


  • 1.5 lb of pork stew meat (cubes)
  • 1.5 lb of shrimp
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups of white wine
  • 2 Tblsp Pepper Paste (massa de pimenta)
  • Flour, salt, pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 6 large potatoes peeled and cut in cubes
  • Parsley
  • Vegetable pickles
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Vegetable/Canola Oil

 Preparation (yield 6 servings) 

  1.  Marinade the pork cubes (the smaller it is the softer it'll be but not too small) with the wine, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper, and pepper paste for at least 2 hours.
  2. Drain the marinade and save.
  3. In a large pan pour some Vegetable/Canola Oil to fry the drained pork.  Pour some flour on top in order to keep juices in the meat.
  4. After about 5 minutes frying add the marinade you set aside and let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the meat becomes softer. 
  5. In a separate pan fry the potato cubes.
  6. Once pork is almost done add the shrimp.
  7. Taste for salt.
  8. Don't over cook the shrimp. Once it's pink it's done! 
  9. Add the parsley after you turn the heat off. 
  10. Let the fried potato cubes rest on some paper towel and then lay them out on a platter.  
  11. Pour the pork and shrimp over the potatoes and serve with some lime or lemon and some vegetable pickles. 


This was definitely one of my favorite dishes EVER!  I will be making this very often because it not only tastes amazingly good it is also very easy to prepare if you get deveined shrimp and pre cut pork meat.  Mirella and I were very happy with the results and we pigged out on it!  I had plenty left over for the next day but the potatoes were gone.  I made some rice and poured the meat over it!  That worked out great too.  This is a dish to impress your guests with your culinary skills.  The pepper paste is the main taste of the dish and it will not be Portuguese without it!  Just writing this post is making me crave it again! You can use any type of seafood like mussels, clams, and scallops.  I chose shrimp because I love shrimp!  Here's a video that my friend Sonia sent me to give me the idea to make it!  It's in Portuguese but you can see how she makes it. Enjoy! http://dai.ly/boOfS7

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Pão De Queijo" - Brazilian Cheese Bread


  • 2 cups of "polvilho doce" (Sweet Manioc Starch or Almidón Dulce de Yuca - AMAFIL is a good brand)
  • 1 cup of natural parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 16 oz of cream cheese
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt 
  • 2 egg yokes
Preparation Yield 50 
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix it all together with your hands for about 20 minutes or until all ingredients are well combined.  
  2. Let dough rest for a few minutes (optional)
  3. Spray three cookie sheets with cooking spray or just spread butter around it so that the bread doesn't stick.
  4. With your hand grab the dough and circle it around your palms making the shape of a ball (about half a Tblsp worth although you can make it bigger if you'd like. Just be aware that the yield would be less)
  5. Preheat oven to 350
  6. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart so they don't join. 
  7. Bake the cheese bread for about 30 minutes.  When their bottoms are golden brown they are done.  Don't let it get too dark on the bottom or else they'll burn.


I will be making this quite often!  The smell is amazing and the taste is even better!  The suggestion is to make it a "pão de queijo" party!  Thanks for the idea Vera Silva!  You can set up platters with spreads and other fill-ins like bacon in sour cream, cold cuts, and preserves.  We ate ours with a great apricot preserve.  The combination is incredible!

For my next "pão de queijo" I will be experimenting using asiago cheese instead of parmesan and I'll also use mozzarella (usually that's the cheese used instead of monterey jack).  In the Brazilian culture and especially for people from my home state of Minas Gerais, "pão de queijo" is a must have at get togethers!  We just love it!  Kids love it too.  Summer begs for it almost every single day!  You can find the manioc flour in Brazilian grocery shops.  I also included the name in Spanish in case you need to go buy it in a Spanish grocery shop.

Thanks For Sharing

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fish filet with yellow pepper garnish


  • 1 large fish filet (8oz) (any white fish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic
  • 1/4 yellow pepper (diced into small pieces)
  • 1 Tblsp of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 Tblsp chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & ground pepper
  • All purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Season the fish filet with salt and pepper
  2. Cut into 4 smaller pieces (2oz)
  3. Cover filet pieces with all purpose flour
  4. Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan
  5. Add fish to the oil and cook on high about 2 minutes on each side
  6. Remove from pan and set aside on serving plate
  7. Melt the butter on the same pan on high heat
  8. Add garlic and diced yellow pepper and let cook for about 2-3 minutes
  9. Season with salt and black pepper, squeeze the lime, and add the basil
  10. Add mustard and stir to combine all ingredients
  11. While hot pour with a spoon the pepper and mustard garnish over the filet pieces

This garnish came out great!  Mirella loves mustard on food so she really liked this dish.  I served it with some good tortellini in an olive oil garlic tomatoes and broccoli mix.  It tasted great with Romano cheese on top!  You can serve it with some white rice and it would allow the fish to be more of the "show" on your plate.  I might do that next time!  

If you want to this garnish can also be used on top of chicken breast!  I might also try that next time!  Prepare the chicken breast the same way I described the fish preparation.  The reason the chicken is soft and moist on the inside and absorbs the garnish or sauce is because of the coating of flour on it!  Try it!  Guaranteed success!  Easy quick recipe!  Just remember to chop your pepper really small.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Italian Sausage Sandwiches

  • 5 Italian sausages (mild or hot)
  • 4 large Italian hard crust hoagies
  • 2 bell peppers (red and orange. Round slices)
  • 1 large red onion (thin round slices)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tblsp butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Crushed red pepper

  1. Place sausages in a large pan and fill it up with water to just about cover the sausages. Poke the sausages with a fork a little bit.  Bring water to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. This will cook the sausages on the inside without burning the casing.
  2. In a separate frying pan add some olive oil and sautee the onion, the peppers, and the garlic.Add more olive oil on top of vegetables for more taste. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Throw out the water and return pan to stove to brown the sausage casings (about 3 to 5 minutes)
  4. Remove the sausages and cut them into diagonal pieces for easy assembly on the bread. 
  5. Return to the pan and add the vegetables from the other pan.  Mix and cook for about a minute or two to blend all the tastes.
  6. Cut the hoagies length wise and place in the oven to broil for about 2 minutes.  
  7. While the bread is broiling melt the butter with a little bit more olive oil and the other minced garlic clove.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven and brush the melted butter on each hoagie so that it soaks up all that good garlic butter taste.
  9. With a tong place the sausage and the vegetables inside each hoagie.  

I had the pleasure of showing Austin, our friend, how to make this dish.  She helped me from the start and I had a great time putting it together and eating it!  Cooking the sausages in the water first is great because you don't get that burned smoky smell around the house that you get when you cook it straight on the pan.  They were perfectly cooked on the inside and browned on the outside.  Slicing them up into smaller diagonal pieces made it easier to eat too.  I served it with some roasted garlic golden potatoes and my sister made us a lettuce and tomato salad with some red wine vinaigrette!  All in all we had a good time and enjoyed some good food!  Oh, PLEASE don't use regular soft white bread for this!  Hard crust italian bread is the way to go! 

Thanks for Sharing

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baked Chicken Thighs with potatoes


  • Chicken thighs 10-12
  • 4 large idaho potatoes
  • 1 cup of baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup of tomato puree
  • 1 package of dry knorr onion soup
  • Goya adobo seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper


  1. Place chicken thighs in two different medium sized casseroles (one can be saved for tomorrow in the fridge after seasoning)
  2. Season thighs with Adobo seasoning on both sides
  3. With skin side up equally spread the tomato puree over each thigh
  4. Pour dry contents of the onion soup over each thigh
  5. Cut the potatoes into small pieces and place alongside the chicken along with the carrots
  6. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the whole thing (I use this a lot)
  7. Cover with foil paper and bake for 45 minutes on 375
  8. Remove foil paper and bake an additional 15 minutes on 415 or until chicken and potatoes golden
  9. Serve with salad or rice


This is another dish that brings me back home to my mother's cooking.  She used to make chicken thighs like this all the time!  It's super easy to make and allows you plenty of do nothing time while it bakes.  I served it with salad and sourdough bread toasted with extra virgin olive oil.  Great together!  Summer also loved the chicken so it's kid friendly! 

Thank you for sharing

Take Me Home Fun Bake

Ingredients (dough)

  • 14 Tbls of all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbls of parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbls of baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients (topping)

  • 2 cans of sardines
  • 2 cups of tomato puree 
  • 1 cup of corn


  1. Blend all ingredients for the dough in a blender and then pour liquid into a medium size buttered casserole
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. In a medium frying pan sautee sardines, tomatoes, and corn.  Salt and pepper to taste
  4. Pour sardine sauce over the liquid dough kinda like as a pizza topping
  5. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm.  Add some shredded cheddar cheese when there's only 5 minutes to go in the baking time! 


I usually make this baked dish whenever I have some ingredients laying around in the pantry that I haven't used in a while.  If you don't like sardines don't use it!  Treat it like a pizza!  Put whatever topping dry or wet that you wish on it.  I have made this with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms,  chicken, olives, etc...  I usually like to make a wet sauce on the stove top before hand. I still want to try it with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and kalamata olives! Enjoy making it and I'm sure your family will love it!  By the way, my mom has been making this ever since I can remember!  She always used sardines so it's kinda like a home feeling when I make it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mahi Mahi Yuca Bake

The Ingredients

  • 6 mahi-mahi filets (I used 3 on a medium casserole)
  • 2 pounds of frozen yuca
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tomato
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Nut Meg

The Recipe
Yeld 6 servings

  1. Boil the yuca in water and salt for about 40 minutes or until it is soft enough to poke with a fork. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425
  3. While the yuca is boiling lay your mahi-mahi filets on a large casserole and season them with salt and pepper on both sides.  
  4. Chop two handfuls of spinach and layer on top of the filets.
  5. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over each filet.  
  6. Drain the yuca and return it to the pan.  
  7. Add the heavy cream, butter, and nutmeg. You might have to add a little more heavy cream if the yuca is not creamy enough.  Taste for salt and add accordingly.
  8. With a masher, mash the yuca just like you would for mashed potatoes.
  9. With a spoon, layer the mashed yuca over the filets covering the whole casserole.  Remember where the filets are positioned for an easier time when serving each whole filet per person.
  10. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the mashed yuca.  
  11. Bake at 425 on lower rack for 25 minutes and then for another 5 minutes on top rack to create a crispy crust.
  12. With a spatula, serve each filet on a plate and garnish with some fresh tomatoes.

The Experience
This dish was a spur of the moment type of thing.  I had some mahi-mahi and some yuca in the freezer but I didn't want to fry my yuca or just sautee my fish.  I decided to combine them and the results were fantastic!  You have to try this!  The crispiness of the yuca crust had a perfect texture when combined with the creaminess of the mashed yuca.  The fish baked extremely well and remained moist!  I liked it a lot and will definitely be making it more often.  The mashed  yuca can be combined in this manner with basically any other type of meat!  The fish worked great for me because I don't usually have a taste for fish.  I find fish extremely bland unless it's salmon or cod.  The whole thing should take you about an hour to prepare but since it is being baked you will won't be spending that time in the kitchen!  Try it!  You'll love it!  

Thank you for visiting my blog!  I hope to post at least 3 times a week.  Remember, Season Your Food!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cuban Sandwich

The Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice
  • 1 lime squeezed
  • 1 Tbls of cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tsp of chili powder
  • Hot sauce
  • 1 Tbls of green chillies
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Fresh Cuban bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Kosher pickles 
  • Virginia ham
  • Pork
  • Muenster cheese

The recipe

  1. Season the pork with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
  2. Place the pork in the slow cooker.
  3. Chop the onions and the garlic and place them in the slow cooker along with the orange juice, lime, bay leaves, hot sauce, chicken stock, and green chillies.
  4. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  5. Remove and slice as well as you can.  If it's rough don't worry about it.

Assembling the "Cuban Sandwich"

  1. Cut the bread into a 12 inch serving size and slice it in half length wise.
  2. Spread the mayonnaise and mustard on one side of the bread.
  3. Sit plenty of the muenster cheese down on the bread.
  4. Lay down two slices of the kosher pickle.
  5. Layer the virginia ham on top of the pickle.
  6. Top the ham with plenty of pork.
  7. Cover the pork with more cheese (go for it on the cheese)
  8. Close the sandwich with the other half of the bread.
  9. Push down on the sandwich and place it on a hot panini press or any sandwich press. 
  10. Once the bread is toasted and the cheese is melting the sandwich is done.

The Experience
So even though it was a long process I believe the results were worth it!  Mirella came home from work and devoured it!  I recommend preparing the sandwiches ahead of time and then pressing them when you're ready to eat.  I got an awesome panini press at Target for only $41!  When you consider that sandwiches will never be boring at our house again the money is totally worth it!  Of course I ate it with green tabasco sauce!  It goes perfectly with it.  The pork was a little heavy on the cumin for my taste but that's only because I tend not to like cumin so much.  It is a must, however, if you are making anything Cuban.  If any of my Cuban friends are reading this and want to complain that I used muenster instead of swiss cheese go right ahead!  It was the cheese I had and it happens to be my favorite melting cheese after mozzarella of course.  I will try it with swiss next time though.  Get yourself a panini maker and have fun making this Cuban sandwich!  Everyone will love it and it is extremely fulfilling!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder
  • 1 Onion 
  • 1 Cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 cups of BBQ sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Bread buns
The Recipe
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Rub the pork with the dry ingredients.
  3. Chop the onion and put it in the slow cooker.
  4. Place the pork in the slow cooker and top with 1 cup of BBQ sauce.
  5. Cook on high for about 4 hours.
  6. Remove and pull meat apart with a fork.
  7. Place between your favorite buns and enjoy!

The Experience

I enjoyed making this Southern favorite but it's not one of my favorite things to eat.  I got some chicago rolls which are a little harder and hold the sauce better than buns.  I ate about 2 of them and was very satisfied!  I might kick it up a notch next time and use more hot sauce!  It is easy to make but pulling the pork is kind of annoying.  If you like ordering this at restaurants then you'll definitely like making it yourself!  Don't forget to always Season Your Food!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Salmon with roasted pepper garnish

The Ingredients (yield 2 servings)
  • About 1 lb of salmon filet
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1/2 cup of roasted pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbls of light mayonnaise 
  • 1 Tbls of capers
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsps of Hot Sauce
  • 3 large Golden potatoes
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Recipe 

  1. Grab a cold Michelob Ultra.  Open it and drink it while you prepare this dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Season your salmon filet (whole) on both sides with Adobo and place it on the corner of a cookie sheet.
  4. Cut your potatoes length wise about 1/8 of an inch thick and lay them down on a cookie sheet. (Use two cookie sheets for this)  You will have enough room around the salmon to put your potatoes too.
  5. Brush the olive oil over all the potatoes and the salmon.
  6. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and paprika over the potatoes.
  7. Flip the potatoes and repeat steps 5 and 6 on the other side. Do not flip the salmon.  Bake it with the skin down.f
  8. Put the cookie sheets in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. While the salmon and potato are baking chop the tomato and the roasted pepper and place them in a bowl.
  10. Put in the capers, 1 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil, the mayonnaise, salt, about 2 tsps of hot sauce.
  11. Squeeze the lemon into the bowl and mix everything well with a fork.  Let it sit there while you finish baking.  You will notice that it'll develop a nice silky red color.
  12. After the 15 minutes of baking flip all the potato slices, raise the oven temperature to 415, and cook another 5 to 10 minutes watching it so that the potatoes do not burn.  The salmon will be fine.
  13. Plate the potatoes in the format of a flower.
  14. Cut the salmon filet in half and let the slice sit on top of the potatoes on the plate.
  15. Spoon the garnish over the salmon and enjoy!
The Experience

This was extremely easy and quick to prepare!  What an awesome lunch!  It took about 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to bake.  If you are working out and want a healthy lunch or dinner this can be it!  The potatoes come out perfect and the salmon is simply the best fish to bake like this.  I will be making this over, and over, and over!  The garnish was a last minute idea.  I had these ingredients in the fridge and decided to mix them up to see what would come out!  It turned a simple fish and potato dish into something a little more gourmet and tasty.  We basically devoured our food and were very satisfied!  Definitely make this dish this weekend!  GUARANTEED success with the whole family!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mussels In Red Sauce

The Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of mussels (frozen or live)
  • 1 small can of tomatoes with chilies
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbls of tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
The Recipe
  1. If you bought frozen mussels you can just boil them in the bag they came inside of until they open up. If you are dealing with live mussels then you need to boil them live until they open up.  The whole thing should only take about 10 minutes in boiling water.
  2. On a large deep frying pan saute the onions in the olive oil.  
  3. After a couple of minutes add the garlic.
  4. Let it cook for about 2 minutes then add the wine.  Reduce for a minute.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes with chilies, the tomato paste, and all the seasoning. 
  6. Let everything simmer for about 3 minutes. 
  7. Remove your mussels from the boiling water and add to the sauce.  If you are using the frozen kind pour the mussel juice from the bag into the sauce.  It's full of flavor.  If you boiled live ones, then just add about 1 cup of the boiling water to the sauce.  
  8. Serve with bread, white rice, or by itself.
The Experience

These mussels are the easiest thing to make.  I get mine at Walmart.  It's frozen but it's excellent in taste!  I actually can't tell the difference from eating the recently live ones to these frozen farm raised ones.  You can be very creative with sauces!  I have tried white sauces in the past but I like this one the best.  You can literally eat 15 of these mussels very quickly.  They are inexpensive and make a very beautiful and impressive presentation.  Sometimes I add them to fish dishes as a garnish!  For the Birthday party I made 4 pounds.  Calculate 2 pounds being enough for 2 to 3 people.  Depending how hungry they are.  I usually like to have more than enough.  Running out of food to serve is not a good thing.  Here's a tip... if you have a heating tray use it!  These mussels get cold very quickly while serving.  I will continue to make these but I might get creative with my next sauce!  We'll see!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brazilian Style Chicken Strogonoff

The Ingredients

  • About 20 chicken breast tenderloins 
  • 1 Large red onion
  • 2 tsps of minced garlic
  • 1 large can (28oz) of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 small package of white mushrooms 
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 tbls crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbls of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of parsley
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Hot sauce
  • Potato sticks
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The Recipe

  1. Heat large sauce pan on high.
  2. Chop the onion into small pieces.
  3. Once the pan is hot pour some olive oil on the pan and put in the onion.  Mix well and let it cook while you prepare the chicken.
  4. Cut chicken tenderloins into small 1 inch cubes and season them with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Add the minced garlic to the onion and let cook for about a minute.
  6. Place chicken in the pan and mix everything together.  Your goal is to brown the chicken a little bit before adding sauce to it.
  7. On a large deep frying pan add 1 tbls of olive oil, the tomatoes with chili, the wine, and the chicken stock.  Season with more salt, pepper, hot sauce, crushed red peppers, and nutmeg.  Let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the ingredients from the deep frying pan into the large sauce pan with the chicken.
  9. Put in the corn, the mushrooms, the raisins, and the ketchup.
  10. Mix everything well and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  11. Add the heavy cream and lower the heat to medium. Do not let it boil. 
  12. Add the parsley and turn off the heat.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then serve it over rice and sprinkle some potato sticks on top.  If you want to make it extra special you can make your own potato chips.
The Experience

I can't believe I now know how to make this dish!  Every Brazilian grows up eating this at least once a month!  It is also very popular with red meat!  Using the tenderloins was a really good idea because they cook so fast.  The whole thing took about 35 minutes to make and it was well worth it.  Some say it's a fattening meal but who's counting calories anyway? lol  Browning the chicken first really added a lot of taste to the strogonoff.  I love heating sauces on another pan because when you do combine everything the cooking process never stops due to cold liquid. Oh, by the way, definitely have some hot sauce with you when you eat this!  This is also a great meal to make when you have lots of company coming over and you don't have the cash nor the time to cook a fancy meal.  It's a total crowd pleaser and it's very fulfilling.  There's not need to serve anything else with this.  Dessert is always welcomed though!  I'm about to go have some of Mirella's internationally famous rice pudding! 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby Back Ribs

The Ingredients

  • 2 full racks of baby back ribs (about 2 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1 Onion 
  • 1 Cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • Hot sauce

The Recipe
  1. Dry your rib rack with a paper towel.
  2. Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, and cumin.
  3. With your hands rub the dry mix all over the ribs. 
  4. Chop the ribs into 3 or 4 pieces so that you can fit them into the slow cooker.
  5. Roughly chop the onion and also place it in the slow cooker on top of the ribs.
  6. Pour 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce over them.  I love Sticky Fingers Sweet Carolina Sauce so that's what I used.
  7. Add your favorite hot sauce.
  8. Close your crock pot and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.
  9. Carefully remove ribs from the crock pot and let them rest on a plate.  Leave the fattening liquid behind.
  10. Pour some more bbq sauce over the ribs and serve with whatever sides you like.

The Experience

When I saw these baby back ribs on sale a couple of days ago I knew I was in for a treat!  This was probably my favorite dish so far!  I ate so much!  I could've let the ribs marinade in the bbq sauce for a few hours but since I was cooking them in the crock pot I didn't really see the need for it.  Rubbing them with my dry rub mix was a lot of fun too.  It always seems weird for a Brazilian to put sugar on meat!  The combination of the sweet and hot taste is simply divine.  It only took me about 10 minutes to prep everything and clean up.  The rest was up to my new favorite kitchen tool... the crock pot!  I definitely didn't want to pour the remaining liquid on the ribs so it was good that I had extra sauce.  Who needs the extra fat anyway?  I served these baby backs with roasted steak potatoes!  YUM!!!  Perfect combination!  They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  I will do a post on roasting potatoes in a few days so stay tuned for that one!  Definitely make this at home!  The whole meal cost about $25 to make and was enough for 4 people.  Try getting that deal at a restaurant!  Ribs is one of those foods that you crave every once in a while so now that I can make them myself I'll be craving them a lot more often!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jumbo Stuffed Chicken Quarters

The Ingredients
  • 4 Jumbo chicken quarters
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 2 cups of corn meal
  • 1 stick of butter (room temp)
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tbls of tomato paste
  • 1/2 package of dry French onion soup
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Adobo
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Chili powder
The Recipe
  1. Preheat Oven to 350
  2. Quickly steam the broccoli, remove and chop into small pieces. 
  3. Season your chicken with adobo. Go for it on the seasoning! 
  4. In a bowl put in the corn meal, butter, 1 Tbls of tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and broccoli. 
  5. Combine all ingredients with your hands.
  6. Clean off some of the fat of the chicken but leave skin intact.  With your fingers go under the skin and create a pocket. 
  7. Little by little insert stuffing into the pocket.  Make sure you have enough for all four chicken quarters.
  8. Brush some olive oil in a large casserole and lay down the chicken skin side up.
  9. Rub the remaining tomato paste on top of the chicken and coat with some olive oil.
  10. Sprinkle dry French Onion soup mix over the skin of each quarter.  
  11. Put in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. 
  12. Brush some of the oil over the chicken before serving.
The Experience

As soon as I saw these jumbo chicken quarters at the supermarket I thought to myself "hum, I can stuff those puppies!" That's exactly what I did!  Now, I could've put some bacon in my stuffing which would've made it amazing but I decided to go the vegetable route.  I already had a bag of frozen broccoli in the freezer so it made sense to me to mix it with the corn meal I had in the pantry.  The important thing is to mix the butter with your stuffing.  This allows the butter to drip down the chicken leaving the meat extremely tender and tasty!Butter is one of the four answers to everything:  Jesus, Chocolate, Butter, and Cheese.  Whenever someone is eating something and they say, "wow, this is so good!  What's in it?" If the answer is not Jesus, Chocolate, or Cheese, then it must be Butter!!!  If you don't have broccoli you can use almost any other vegetable.  Some that I will eventually try include zucchini, okra, spinach, mushrooms, and kale.  All with the same ratio from the recipe above.  Just like all other dishes that require you to get your hands dirty this was extremely fun and easy to make!  Unless you can't stand touching raw chicken meat with bones.  I actually got a kick out of getting under the chicken's skin! LOL  The result was a success!  I served it over some spinach seasoned with lemon and extra virgin olive oil.  I wanted to make some rice and beans but I wanted to balance out the meal with a lighter accompanying side.  My love handles will thank me later!  I will definitely make this again but next time I want to try it with a different vegetable just to see how it will taste.  The chicken was delicious and tender!  If you want to change how you bake your chicken this might be the way to go for you!  Have fun making it and remember to always Season Your Food!                         

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

The Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of beef chuck (stew meat)
  • 6 strips of thick bacon
  • 1 lb of mushroom
  • 2 large golden potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 20 pearl onions
  • 2 tbls of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf (crumbled)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour

The Recipe

  1. If using a big piece of pot roast like I did you need to trim the fat and cut it into 1 inch pieces.  If using pre-cut meat then start with step 2.
  2. Season the flour with salt and pepper then coat the meat pieces (This keeps the meat juicy)
  3. Put pearl onions in really hot water to help remove the skin. 
  4. Fry the bacon then remove it and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in slow cooker.
  5. Sear the meat in the bacon fat.  About 7 minutes.
  6. Remove the meat and place it in the slow cooker (For 3 lbs of meat you'll need at least a 7qt slow cooker).
  7. Pour about 1/4 cup of the wine into the hot pan and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the flavors.  Pour into slow cooker straight from the pan.
  8. Chop onions, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms and put into slow cooker.
  9. Remove skin from pearl onions and insert into slow cooker.
  10. Mince the garlic and put it in the slow cooker along with the thyme, some salt, pepper, and bay leaf. 
  11. Pour the wine and the beef broth.
  12. Cook for 6 hours on high. 

The Experience

It was Valentine's Day and I wanted to make something special for my girls.  I cooked breakfast while I prepared the slow cooker!  That's what's awesome about the crock pot.  You are free to do other things!  I found this way tastier and healthier than the pot roast I made a couple of weeks ago.  The meat was leaner and I trimmed a lot of the fat.  The mushrooms tasted amazing!  I used to buy pre sliced mushrooms but now I will only buy the whole thing and slice them myself.  I left them a little bigger and the result was perfect.  Something else I tried for the first time was pearl onions!  They're sweet and very tasty!  The bourguignon was served with just rice which made it stand out a lot!  It's a very fulfilling meal and great the next day with some fresh rice or even in a hoagie like I had it today!  I loved preparing this dish and I'll be making it again soon!  If you are having guests over this is a perfect dish to serve.  Remember, Season Your Food!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pork Ribs with pepper puree

The Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of spare ribs
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup of white wine 
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 peppers (whatever color you have)
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • Hot sauce
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt 

The Recipe

  1. Season your ribs with salt, pepper, paprika, chili pepper, and garlic powder.  Chop ribs into individual pieces.  Pour Orange juice over them and let marinade for a few hours.
  2. Melt butter in large deep frying pan and sear all the ribs on both sides. About  7 minutes.
  3. Chop the onion and the pepper while the ribs sear.
  4. Place some of the ribs on your crock pot or slow cooker then layer the onions and peppers over them.  Place the rest of the ribs on top of the vegetables.
  5. Pour wine on to pan and let it reduce while scraping all the flavors off the bottom of the pan.  
  6. Pour contents from the pan into the crock pot over all the ribs.
  7. Put in the honey, the tomato paste, the ketchup, the hot sauce, the garlic, and the beef broth.
  8. Let cook on high for about 4 hours. 
  9. Once the meat is falling off the bones remove the ribs and set aside.
  10. Pour remaining liquid into blender and blend on low setting until the sauce becomes puree like.
  11. Pour the puree over the ribs.  
The Experience

It was the first time I tried making ribs on the slow cooker.  I had done them on the grill before but this was completely different.  I could've just put the ribs in and poured plenty of good bbq sauce over them but I wanted to use the stuff I had in the fridge and try to create something new.  It was totally worth the experience.  I over did it on the salt a bit but it didn't damage the food at all.  I served it with roasted golden potatoes cut potato chip like but length wise.  Can you say AWESOME?  That's what it was!  Coated them olive oil and seasonings on both sides!  Cooked them in 400 degrees for about 20 minutes!  Perfect!  Next time I'll probably try it with a good pre-made bbq sauce from Sticky Fingers or something but I kinda liked this sauce too! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Midweek Paella

The Ingredients

  • About 10 Chicken Tenderloins (Cut even thinner)
  • 1/2 Yellow pepper
  • 1/2 Red pepper
  • 1/2 Green pepper
  • 1 Large onion
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 4 Tbls of sundried Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbls of Capers
  • 2 cups of yellow rice (if using regular white rice then add 1 teaspoon of safron)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 16oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 4 tsps of tomato paste
  • 2 tbls of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of scallions
  • 1/2 cup of bacon (dried)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Hot sauce
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Limes
  • Adobo
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

The Recipe

  1. Cut chicken tenderloins into even thinner pieces.  Season with Adobe. Then squeeze two limes over them, cover, and let them marinade for a few hours.  
  2. Cook bacon in hot pan.  Remove it, dry in paper towel, and cut into small bite size pieces.  Throw out fat remaining in the pan. 
  3. Boil 2 cups of chicken stock in sauce pan with butter. 
  4. With some olive oil in a large deep frying pan add the onions and the garlic.
  5. After about 2 minutes add the chicken.
  6. After the chicken starts to get golden (5 minutes) add the peppers and the bacon.  
  7. Let everything cook for about 3 minutes then add the wine.
  8. After about a minute add the tomatoes with chili, the tomato paste, and the raw rice. 
  9. Add the boiling chicken stock and season with some salt and pepper, mix and cover.  Cook until rice is somewhat ready checking back a couple of times. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your rice.  If using regular white rice add the safron in step 6. 
  10. Add the sundried tomatoes, the capers, the cilantro, and the scallions.
  11. Let cook until you reach a desired consistency.  It should be wet but not dripping like soup.  The rice should be cooked through. 

The experience

I love making paella and usually make it with seafood, Portuguese choriço, and chicken thighs.  It usually takes me about 3 hours to do all the prep work if I'm cooking for about 8 people.  I wanted the taste of paella but I only wanted to use ingredients I already had and make it a lot quicker!  It took me about 15 minutes to do the prep work including chopping the onions, the scallions, the cilantro,the peppers, and seasoning my chicken.  The actual cooking time took about 25 minutes because I used a great yellow rice!  On my "take forever to make paella with seafood" I use fresh safron which is very intense in flavor.  Once I had my chicken ready and the peppers were smelling the house I saw that this was a very easy way of making paella!  One of the key ingredients in this dish is the tomatoes with chilies. It adds to the final wetness feel and texture of the dish.  I like my food with a kick so I definitely added some hot sauce to it!  I also loved adding capers and sundried tomatoes.  They don't belong in paella but like I said, this was just a midweek throw together kinda thing that actually worked!!!  Now, don't be afraid of throwing raw rice into your large frying pan.  It works! The first time I had to do this it freaked me out but by boiling the chicken stock (or water if you don't have any) first you don't stop the cooking process.  The rice will simmer along with all the other tastes in the pan.  One pan cooking rocks!  Just make sure that nothing is burning and just like with regular rice cooking, if you see that it's drying out and burning just add more water.  The steam will take care of the rest.  Everyone loved this dish!  I made enough for about 5 hungry people.  I will definitely be making some more!  Try it yourself and give me your feedback!  Remember, Season Your Food!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick and Easy Steak

I got home from the gym this morning pretty much starving and in total need of protein!  I totally had way more than what the pretty plate shows but that's not important right now.  I'm pretty amazed at how quickly this meal came together!  It does help that I have an awesome yellow rice that's already seasoned.  I have mentioned it before that I buy it at BJ's.  Whenever I cook a paella I make my own yellow rice but for quick meals like this the BJ's version is perfect!  I boiled some water and then poured the rice in with a spoon of butter.  This whole thing took 20 minutes!  While the rice was cooking I had Jr, my brother-in-law, go outside and start grilling the steak with just some kosher salt and pepper.  Skirt steak is extremely flavorful but you have to have chimichurri with it!  It's the way Argentinians do it and in my opinion they do it just right!!!  In a small food processor I combined a lime, some cilantro, 3 cloves of garlic, and lots of extra virgin olive oil!  Once I had the consistency I was looking for I seasoned it with some salt and pepper!  The rest was easy!!!  EAT!  I put some down on the plate and laid my steak over it.  Served the rice on the side and ate like there was no tomorrow!  Protein gives you a quicker muscle recovery and let's just say I needed it for lunch today after a very hard Body Pump class!  Look for skirt steak where you shop!  Calculate about half a pound per person. For two hungry dudes make it 3/4 pound!  Try this and you'll love it!  Remember, Season Your Food!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pork Medallions

I had been thinking of how to make pork chops a bit more tasty than usual and I came up with the idea of using panko bread crumbs on them.  Guess what?  They rocked!  This was so tasty and delicious I couldn't stop eating it!  You have to try making this soon!

Preheat the oven to 385 and just dry the 1/2 inch cut pork chops on paper towel and season them right there on the paper.  Then put them in all purpose flour,  bathe them in some beaten eggs with a little bit of water, and then dress them up with the panko breadcrumbs and set them aside to dry.  

While they dry cut your golden potatoes in eights by cutting them half way length wise, then half way again, and then half way again.  Grab a plastic bag and throw them in there!  Then the fun starts when you drench the potatoes with olive oil!  All inside the bag!  Season them with salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, and crushed red peppers. Mix it well and then drop all your potatoes onto a baking sheet that has been coated with either butter, olive oil, or pam.  It was very easy and quick to make these!  Get your pork chops and sit them on their baking sheet too.  Make sure they're not too tight so they don't build too much moisture and are allowed to become crispy.  Let the pork and potatoes bake for about 30 minutes.  Flip the pork chops half way through and leave the potatoes in a little longer until they are golden and soft on the inside.  
I prepared a cucumber salsa/salad/condiment with some cilantro, one garlic clove, scallions, one small onion, and two cucumbers chopped up.  I then added some extra virgin olive oil and lime juice!  The lime taste of the salad was perfectly well matched with the pork chops and the potatoes! 

This meal was a lot of fun to prepare and even more fun to eat!  I really loved it!  I couldn't stop eating it!  Try this and you will not regret it!  Season Your Food!