Ingredient: hot sauce

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.

American, Bbq/Grilling, Chicken, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Low Sodium, Main, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Sugar Free, Summer

Oven-BBQ’d Chicken

Serve with blueberry and Corn Rice Salad-

While I was grateful for being able to camp out in my parent’s luxury high-rise for the summer while we were trying to sell our house, the drawback is no grill!! By Week 3 and lack luster results with a George Forman grill, I decided to try a barbequed chicken recipe in the oven. This meal is perfect for the transitional month of September when corn and blueberries are still in season and you might have abandoned your summer grilling, but not your summer attitude.

Crown, Heart, Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Third Eye, Throat

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Served with Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 salad-

When I first moved to Tampa, Florida, I had never heard of black beans, let alone tasted them. A staple of Cuban food, black beans are very versatile and used almost everyday. Now I eat them on a regular basis, and this is my version of Moros Y Cristianos (Moors and Christians), by far my family’s favorite recipe for this humble bean.

The name of this dish refers to the wars between the Moors (blacks) and the Spaniards (whites). It is a reminder of the Spanish influence on Cuba.

The Columbia is a famous Spanish restaurant in Tampa. It is known for its flamingo dancers and authentic Spanish/Cuban cuisine; the 1905 salad being one of its specialties. This is my vegetarian version, as I have omitted the meat and changed out the iceberg to butter lettuces.

All, American, Appetizer, Bbq/Grilling, Chicken, Main, Pizzas, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer

Grilled Barbequed Chicken and Pineapple Pizza

Serve with Romaine Salad with Quick and Easy Vinaigrette-

With the warm weather here to stay and not a mosquito in sight, I love to grill pizza on the outside grill. Grilling the crust adds a nice smokiness, and tastes as decadent as fast food but it’s really good whole foods eating!

We love this version- a bit more gourmet for the adults, but kid-friendly enough that they’ll ask for another slice, or two.