Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cuban Picadillo


Cuban Picadillo served with yellow saffron rice.

I have been accused of being a vegetarian. I would like to state for the record that this is not true. A reader said that they like my blog “despite” the fact that they “LOVE meat”. I realize that I’ve been posting a number of meatless dishes lately, this has been  a) in the interest of health and b) because many of these things are side dishes masquerading as main courses.

I went to the grocery store with my husband the other day. We were picking up our weekly food supply which included ingredients for Cuban Beef Picadillo. As I reached for the ground beef my husband, who lives with high cholesterol and has heart conditions that run in his family, said “What are you trying to do, kill me?” This could be cited as a reason to go to the store alone but no! I put the red meat back and picked up some lean ground turkey instead. The resulting dish is a leaner and less fatty but equally appetizing main course for a hungry carnivore.

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Chipotle chili powder
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 ¾ cups beef or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • rice to serve with

In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium high heat 3-4 minutes. Add the meat and begin to brown for 7-8 minutes, breaking up any clumps. Add the garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves and stir for one minute. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, tomato paste and vinegar. Add salt & pepper to taste. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered for 10-15 minutes. When the mixture has thickened, serve over rice.


The only Potato Salad recipe you’ll ever need

ps1With a holiday weekend coming up I though I’d get a jump on summer foods. No barbeque or picnic is complete without a potato salad and this one is a real winner. The relish gives it a nice crunch while providing just the right amount of tang.  What else can I say about potato salad?  It’s a staple of warm weather eating and it makes me happy.

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 medium celery rib, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 3 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ tsp powdered mustard
  • ¾ tsp celery seed
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 large hard cooked eggs peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes (optional)

In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring once until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Add vinegar using a rubber spatula to toss gently. Let stand 20 minutes

In a small bowl, stir together celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, powdered mustard, celery seed, parsley, pepper and ½ tsp salt. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in dressing (and eggs) into potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour before serving. Can be refrigerated up to one day.

This recipe came directly from Cooks Illustrated summer 2013

Sloppy Lo

The Sloppy Lola

The Sloppy Lola

The Sloppy Lola. Like the song says, she walks like a woman and talks like a man. Its fresh, hearty, satisfying, suave. It takes advantage of what is in season and makes a meal out of it. Like it’s cousin the Sloppy Joe, it overflows with good stuff.

The tomato mixture can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerated, it serves as a simple salsa.

  • 1 cup shopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup (roughly) chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

    The tomato mix can be made ahead of time

    The tomato mix can be made ahead of time

  • Half a yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Dash of paprika
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1 green zucchini chopped to small bits
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 sandwich rolls
  • Grated cheese like cheddar, swiss, fontina or havarti; enough for both sides of the bun
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for cooking
  • salt & pepper to taste

Make ahead-put the tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt & pepper and mix. Put aside for later.

Mushrooms draining-just an excuse to show you this cute retro collander

Mushrooms draining-just an excuse to show you this cute retro collander

Heat the oil in a medium sized skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and sautee for 3 minutes, just until the onion gets soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring until they soften and get juicy. Add the oregano, paprika, salt & pepper and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are soft but not soggy, remove from heat.

Take the grated cheese and put it on the open sandwich rolls then place under the broiler or in a toaster oven until the cheese melts. Add the vegetable mixture on to the bread, top with a few spoonfuls of tomato mix. Close sandwich and enjoy. Try not to get too sloppy.


Baked Butternut Squash with Potatoes

nursingmotherscookbook_fin4.jpgNow that you know where to find he pureed butternut squash in the grocery store, I’ll give you one more way to use it. This is an easy side dish that works well with a roasted chicken, pork chops or any other main dish.

bakedIf you have a mandolin for slicing it really comes in handy here. It will slice the potato thin and very evenly. I have a plastic one that sits in my lower cupboard unused most of the year so I’m happy when I can put it to work (and feel mildly smug that it did not succumb to an anti-clutter campaign.)

  • 4 cups pureed butternut squash
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 chopped onion, medium
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of cayenne
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • chopped walnuts for topping
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet, add the onion and sauté on low for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and saute until soft, about 5 more minutes. Add garlic and cayenne, saute for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the pureed squash in a large bowl. Add the saute, the yogurt and the feta. Mix well.

 Lay the sliced potatoes on the bottom of a 9” square baking dish. Pour the squash mix over. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes until bubbly.

Dumplings with Squash and Chevre


Ready to eat

Ready to eat

I love finger food. I would snack all day if it were good for me and if I didn’t have to keep coming up with new snack ideas. These dumplings involve a vegetable which I’m told are good for you so that makes them an excellent nibble for when you only have one hand free to eat. In a pre-baby world I would get a butternut squash (probably at the farmer’s market), roast it, scoop out the insides and puree it. Nowadays, I don’t have the time or the energy for that kind of work. Luckily, you can buy pureed squash in a bag, which is what I did to make these dumplings. Chevre is just a fancy word for soft goat cheese. Its wonderfully creamy and will not bother your insides if you’ve had to give up dairy. They are super easy and make a nice finger food. I don’t think they need a dipping sauce, but if you are so inclined something pesto-based would go very nicely.


All these ingredients are available at most grocery stores, you may have to look for them.

The amount of cheese and squash you’ll need depends on how many dumplings you want to make. The ratio of squash to chevre is 2:1.


  • Won ton wrappers, square
  • 1 cup (or more) purees butternut squash
  • 4 oz chevre
  • salt & pepper
  • dried thyme or rosemary
  • vegetable oil for frying

prep3Lay out 8 wonton wrappers on a tray or cutting board. Scoop about 1 tbsp of squash onto the middle of each wrapper. Drop ½ as much chevre on each one. Sprinkle with herbs, salt & pepper. Gently fold each wrap over into a triangle. There should be some excess water from the squash that will squeeze out, use this moisture to help seal the triangles.

moisture from the squash will help seal the edges

moisture from the squash will help seal the edges

In a cast iron skillet, add a generous amount of oil to cover the pan completely. Turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot use a spatula to place each dumpling in the pan without touching each other. Be careful of splattering oil. After 30 seconds, use tongs to flip and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from the pan and place on a plate with a paper towel to cool. Eat while warm.

Repeat above until you have as many as you want. What you don’t eat immediately can be frozen and re-heated in a microwave, but a toaster oven will work better to retain their crispness.