• Date night,  Dinners,  Lunch

    Baked cod with Beurre Blanc

    Don’t let the name fool you, beurre blanc is just a white wine sauce. It’s not as scary as you think and once you make it you will wonder why you haven’t been making it all along. This is also a great excuse to open a bottle of wine, not that you need any.

    Now I love seafood! I can eat it daily. My hubby on the other hand, had to be slowly introduced to seafood. Not that you would know it now, lol. One of the easiest ways to get someone to eat fish is by starting them off with something mild like cod. Give it a little crunch, add an awesome sauce and you will have create a monster like I did.

    Bonus is that this is such a quick dish you can make it anytime, but it is elegant enough for a sweet date night.



    Baked Cod with Beurre blanc

    Panko crusted cod with white wine butter sauce
    Course dinner, Lunch
    Keyword Cod, Fish, Sauce, Seafood
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes


    Baked Cod

    • 1 1/2 pound Cod
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 cup panko
    • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
    • 1 tbsp old bay
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

    Beurre Blanc

    • 1 cup white wine, I used sauvingon blanc today pinot grigio, chardonnay ok too
    • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp shallot
    • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
    • 6-8 tbsp cold unsalted butter
    • 2 tbsp heavy cream
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley chives works nice too!
    • salt to taste


    • Pre-heat oven to 375 convection bake or 400 conventional.
      Clean and portion your cod, about 4-6 ounce pieces. Place on lined sheet tray and season with salt and pepper.
    • In a bowl combine, panko, lemon zest, old bay, parsley and melted butter.
    • Top Cod with bread crumb mixture and bake 15-20 minutes.
    • While your fish is baking… In a medium saute pan over medium high heat add your wine, shallot, lemon juice and cracked black pepper and bring to a simmer.
    • Reduce by half, about 8-10 minutes
    • Take off of the heat, and add cold butter while. You can whisk it in, but I like to swirl the pan to incorporate.
    • Add heavy cream and a salt to taste.
    • you can strain the sauce, then add parsley or just add parlsey and serve over your fish.
    • Remove your fish from the oven, making sure not to over cook.
    • Serve with rice, roasted veggies, potato wedges, a side salad…
  • Dinners,  Side

    Habichuelas Guisada (Puerto Rican Stewed beans)

    I am sticking to the Comfort food theme today. I love how warm and cozy the house smells when these are cooking away. It’s not a quick cook item, it’s definitely one that will bubble away most of the afternoon and if there ever was a time to slow down and make a cozy meal now would be it.

    I know some are wondering why I didn’t soak the beans, and say ham hocks aren’t traditional, and ask why I don’t have calabasa or potatoes in it. But this is just my family’s version and the one that I can get all 3 kids and a picky husband to not only eat but ask for.

    Try this as a side with white rice and roasted chicken or eat it as a meal with a simple fried dough (there is a recipe for the fried dough in the notes) or tostones.

    I hope you will give this a try. Enjoy!


    Habichuelas Guisada

    Our family's Puerto Rican Style beans
    Course dinner, Side Dish
    Cuisine Puerto Rican
    Keyword Casual dining, Dinners
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes


    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 ham hocks or smoked turkey necks or smoked wings
    • 1 med yellow onion large dice
    • 2 cloves garlic smashed but not chopped
    • 1 pound pink beans picked through and rinsed
    • water to cover at least 1 1/2 inch over beans (about 6 cups) you will be adding more as it is absorbed
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 can goya tomato sauce 8 ounce
    • 1 packet sazon
    • 2 tbsp olives
    • 2 tbsp sofrito
    • salt and pepper to taste


    • in a large enough pot over medium high heat, heat your olive oil and add onion, garlic and ham hock. Cook about 2 minutes, add rinsed beans, bay leaves and water.
      Bring to a boil.
      Cover and reduce heat to low.
      Cook for about 1 1/2 hours, then check. I usually add another 2 cups of water at this time. Cover and let it simmer on low for another hour.
      Check the beans for liquid, add more if needed (another cup). Let simmer for another 30 minutes.
      At this point, the beans should be tender but not overly soft.
      Add 1 can of tomato sauce, sazon packet, sofrito and olive.
      Let it cook partially covered for about 1/2 hour to thicken.
      Taste, add salt and pepper


    Serve with white rice.
    I love to eat it a day later with tostones, sorullos and/or a simple fried dough.
    2 cups water
    3 tablespoons oil
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    and about 1/2 cup of water
    Get your dry ingredients together, mix in oil and then slowly incorporate water until dough starts to come together.
    Bring together and wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes
    Roll out and fry in 350 degree oil.
    Sprinkle with kosher salt 
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  • Dinners,  soups

    Creamy chicken and rice soup

    This was one of the soups that would sell out almost every time we had it at the cafe, and one that my family loves. It is also a great way to sneak in some healthy grains for picky eaters like my husband.

    I almost hesitated putting this on the blog today, because as I sit writing this recipe up it is a beautiful 61 degrees with the sun shining and the breeze from the bay coming in, and I am fully enjoying the weather out on my front porch. But tomorrow is another day of rain and cooler temps and I think everyone can use a meal that feels like a warm hug right now.


    Creamy Chicken and rice soup

    Simple and easy, but so comforting.
    Course Main Course, soups
    Cuisine American
    Keyword Casual dining, comfort, Dinners, soups
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
    Servings 6



    • 4 tbsp unsalted butter you can use half butter and half olive oil
    • 1 med white onion diced
    • 2 stalks celery diced
    • 2 med carrots diced
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp dry thyme
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 8 cups chicken stock broth, or water with boullion or base is ok too
    • 1 pound roasted chicken breast shredded
    • 2 cups cooked wild rice
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

    roasted chicken breast

    • 1 pound chicken breast 2 medium sized
    • 1 tbsp canola oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Wild Rice or other hearty grain

    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 1 cup wild rice mix (or any hearty grain mix)


    • Start with your chicken breast and wild rice or grain mix. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
      Place your chicken breast on a sheet tray, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes until cooked through 165 degrees, set aside to cool and shred.
    • Boil water in a small oven proof pot, add your wild rice or grain mix. Bring back to a boil and cover. Place into 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove and set aside until needed for soup.
    • In a large pot, over medium heat melt butter. Add your veggies, salt and pepper and thyme. Cook for about 4 minutes.
    • Add flour, stir and cook for another 30 second
    • slowly add in your chicken stock and stir well to ensure there are no lumps. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
    • Add shredded chicken and rice or grain mixture and let cook simmer for another 15 minutes or so.
    • At this point, check the soup for seasoning and desired thickness. Re season if necessary. Finish with half and half and parsley. **see recipe notes for gluten free option** If you would like your soup a little thicker mix in a tablespoon of corn starch to your half and half and stir that into the soup.


    To make this gluten free, remove the flour. Make the soup and when you get to the part of re seasoning, you can mix a couple of table spoons of corn starch with your half and half. Bring soup back up to a boil and re asses your thickness then. You can always add a little more corn starch mixed with water or stock to the soup. 
    I used a grain mixture this time, I like to make sure the grains I use are hearty and can stand up in the soup. I don’t like it when the grains absorb too much of the liquid.
  • Dinners,  Fillings

    Versatile picadillo recipe

    I have a bunch of “basic” recipes that I use a for number of things. Here’s one at its simplest that can be added to and changed just slightly to adapt to however you want to use it.

    In my house we use Picadillo for filling empanadas and relleno de papa (potato balls), we top rice or garlic mashed potatoes with it. I’ve even made some seriously good grilled cheese sandwiches with it.

    When you have your basic Picadillo down then you can bump up the flavor by adding a few different ingredients like cinnamon and cumin, raisins and almonds… there’s warmth and sweetness and crunch then its the perfect filling for tamales. But I am getting ahead of myself. Today we keep it simple.



    basic puerto rican style picadillo
    Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
    Keyword Casual dining, Dinners, filling, topping
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes


    • Large saute pan


    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 1/2 lg onion small dice
    • 1/2 lg red bell pepper small dice
    • 2 tbsp sofrito home made or store bought
    • 2 packets sazon
    • to taste salt and pepper
    • 1/4 cup olives I use whole manzanilla olives, but sliced "salad olives" works well
    • 8 oz tomato sauce I use 1 can of goya
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp oregano


    • In a large saute pan over medium high heat brown your ground beef
    • Drain the rendered fat and add onions, peppers, sofrito, sazon, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften peppers and onions
    • Add tomato sauce, water and olives. Stir and cover. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
    • Re-season if necessary and it is ready to eat. Use it to top garlic mashed potatoes with sweet corn.
    • Or place on a cookie sheet to cool down to use later
    • I used it to fill baked empanadas


    Empanada dough (baking)

    Here is a quick empanad dough that I use for baking. Just grab your favorite filling.
    Course Appetizer
    Keyword empanadas
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 18 minutes
    1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 28 minutes
    Servings 12 3 inch


    • food processor


    • 2 1/2 cup AP Flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 stick unsalted butter cold, cut into cubes
    • 1 lg egg
    • 1/4 cup ice water may need more, depending on flour used, humidity…I needed 1 extra tbsp today…
    • 1 lg egg for brushing right before baking


    • in your food processor, add flour and salt and pulse to combine. Or you can mix in a large bowl.
    • Add cold butter and pulse until butter is about pea sized. Or you can use a pastry cutter or your hands to work in the butter.
    • add egg and 1/4 cup of ice water and pulse until it comes together when pressed. It till still look pretty corse and resemble wet sand. If it doesn't look like this after 1/4 cup of water, add 1 tbsp of water and pulse and try again.
    • pour out onto counter and form into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour before using.
    • Remove from fridge, roll out to about 1/8th of an inch
    • Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, or cup, or empanada mold cut out your rounds. Fill with your favorite filling
    • Using a little bit of water around the inside edges press together and using your finger, a fork or your empanada press close them up tight. (As you can see I used a few different methods)
    • Brush with eggwash and bake. 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.


    You can fill these with any filling. Try our Picadillo recipe, or if you have left over shred it and mix it with some bbq sauce, chopped jalapeños and cheddar. Ham and cheese works too. Pepperoni, mozzarella and marinara…yum. You’re only limited by your imagination. 
  • Dinners

    Braised beef and veggie quesadillas

    Quesadillas can usually be thrown together quick and simple. In the hotter months I’m always down for a grilled meat and veggie quesadilla and I have made so many versions of this crispy cheesy meal I couldn’t even list them all! But if you really want to up your quesadilla game, and turn this simple dish into a meal you can serve on a cold winters day, then take the time and slow braise your beef. It brings a richness that you can’t beat.

    Even my Harley bear was waiting by the oven in the hopes for a taste!


    Braised beef and veggie quesadilla

    Slow braised beef, mixed with fresh veggies
    Course Appetizer, Main Course
    Cuisine Mexican
    Keyword Casual dining, Dinners, Quesadilla
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 3 hours
    Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
    Servings 10 quesadillas


    • dutch oven


    Braised beef roast

    • 4-5 pound chuck roast
    • 1 tbsp canola oil
    • 1 med white onion thick slice
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 4 ounces tomato sauce
    • 1 cup beef stock
    • 1 tbsp * sofrito home made or store bought
    • salt and pepper to taste


    • 10 10" flour tortillas
    • 4 cups shredded mexican cheese blen
    • 1 sm yellow squash diced
    • 1 sm zucchini diced
    • 1 med red bell pepper sliced
    • 1 med red onion sliced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • salt pepper to taste
    • 4 tbsp butter

    Optional ingredients

    • pickled jalapeños
    • mexican crema
    • avocado
    • salsa


    Braised beef

    • Pre-heat oven to 350 degreese.
      In a dutch oven or a heavy oven proof pot, heat canola oil on medium high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and sear 3-4 minutes per side.
      Remove roast from pot, reduce heat to medium and add sliced white onion, cumin, oregano, chili powder and cook 4-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and sofrito and stir. Put the beef back into the pot and add beef stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
      Cover and place into preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours. Then reduce to 300 degrees and continue cooking for another 1/2 hour 45 minutes.
      Remove from oven and set aside while you get the quesadilla ingredients ready.


    • Heat olive oil over medium heat, saute veggies adding salt and pepper to taste. Do not overcook, leaving some crunch to the veggies. Set aside
      Begin to assemble
      Lay your tortilla flat, sprinkle with cheese, add shredded beef, veggies, pickled jalapenos (optional)
      Fold in half
      Melt butter onto a large non stick pan or griddle over medium heat and cook quesadillas until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted.
      Remove from heat and cut into quarters, garnish with your favorites!


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