Latin America

All Seasons, Beef, Fall, Latin America, Main, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Beef Tamale Pie

Serve with a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette-

Although tamale pie has its origins in the United States, most likely California, many American Hispanics prepare this ultimate comfort food. Not to be confused with Mexican tamales, tamale pie is a baked casserole of ground beef, cornmeal, tomatoes, olives and cheese. I simplified the original recipe, which calls for preparing cornmeal and pouring it into the bottom of a pie dish and again topping the beef mixture with more cornmeal, by substituting a corn muffin mix. A simple side salad completes this family-friendly meal.

All Seasons, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Latin America, Main, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Picadillo, Cuban-Style

Being transplanted to Tampa over 20 years ago has opened my eyes to the culinary wonders of Cuban food: black beans and rice, Cuban sandwiches, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), café con leche, and this dish, Picadillo. Tampa’s Cuban community originated in the late 1800s in what is now Ybor City, named after its founder, Vicente Martinez Ybor, and continues to be a huge cultural and culinary influence on the City of Tampa.

I found this history of picadillo from Tampa’s Junior League, a philanthropic and social organization that, among other things, is famous for its locally-based cookbooks, which have graced Tampa kitchen counters since 1961: The name comes from the Spanish word “picar,” meaning “to chop” or “to mince,” and it seems that many Latin American countries have their own twist on the basic ground beef recipe. In Mexico, it’s sweetened with honey, giving it a teriyaki-like taste. In Puerto Rico, it is used as the filling for empanadas and can include cheese, ham and rum-soaked raisins. In the Dominican Republic, picadillo can include hard-boiled egg and a bouillon cube. The Cuban version is a balance of sweet-salty due to the pimento-stuffed olives, capers, vinegar and raisins.

All Seasons, Condiments, Condiments/Sauces, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Latin America, Low Sodium, Paleo / Primal, Raw, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Winter

Sandra’s Super Addictive Hot Salsa

My friend, Sandra Botero, whips up the freshest, spiciest salsa that I regularly consume on everything from eggs and grilled meats to simple salads. She shared her recipe with me in all its freshness and simplicity. I dare you to try this and then tell me that you do not crave it. You’ll also stay sick-free, as this salsa is chockfull of immunity boosting vegetables.

All, All Seasons, Condiments, Condiments/Sauces, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Latin America, Paleo / Primal, Raw, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Winter

Argentine Chimichurri

My mother’s good friend, Ester, is an amazing cook and entertainer who also happen to be Argentine. I have personally benefited from her culinary heritage and finally had her share with me some classic Argentine recipes. Chimichurri is probably the most well known, as it is always served with grilled meats, but each Argentine has his/her own way of making it. This is Ester’s version, fresh parsley only (many add dried oregano). This sauce is addictive; you’ll find yourself keeping a stash in the fridge to slather on everything!

All, Bbq/Grilling, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Latin America, Main, Paleo / Primal, Pork, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer

Grilled Chimichurri Pork Chops

Serve with Cilantro Lime Rice

I usually serve chimichurri as a condiment but I saw pork chops marinated in this classic Argentinean condiment at the Fresh Market meat counter and thought what a great way to jazz up plain pork chops. This is an easy, flavorful warm weather meal when paired with a south-of-the-border side dish.