Ingredient: red wine vinegar

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.

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Seafood Potatoes

Serve with a summer vegetable and basil salad-

My good friend, Liz H., grew up in Charleston, SC and shared this recipe with me that she’s been enjoying since childhood. I had never heard of Seafood Potatoes before, clearly a southern-thing, but they sure sounded delicious. These are really good and the recipe turned out to be super easy to prepare, always a bonus.

American, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Gluten free, Grains, Grains, Main, Sides, Sides, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Quinoa with Gazpacho and Red Beans

I was looking for a vegetarian recipe that showcased the most common vegetables popping up in our gardens, farmer’s markets, and CSA’s this summer, but was filling enough to satisfy any carnivore’s appetite. Between the beans and the high-protein quinoa, this recipe fits the bill and is quite tasty too! I served this to relatives this summer, and both adults and kids went back for seconds!

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!

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Slow Cooker Cuban Black Bean Soup (Sopa de Frijoles)

There are so many variations to a Latin black bean soup; chorizo added in or not, spicy peppers – dried or fresh- or not, but one thing is for sure they are all rich in dimension and flavor. This is my vegan slow cooker version heavily influenced by living in Tampa where I have access to some amazing Cuban, Spanish, Colombian, Puerto Rican cuisine.

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Finger Lickin’ Fried Chicken

Serve with sliced tomatoes and potato salad-

This is gluten- and guilt-free comfort food eating at its best served any time of year, but I find myself craving and making this healthy version of fried chicken in the summer. Hot out of the oven or served cold picnic style, this classic taste of Americana will sure to satisfy.

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.

All, Asian, Bbq/Grilling, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Pork, Spring, Summer

Hoisin Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Serve with fennel and red cabbage slaw, brown rice-

This really flavorful and moist grilled pork is one of my favorite summer grilling recipes, especially for an impromptu outdoor get together when you are sick of burgers, dogs and chicken. I have it paired with a fantastic fennel-red cabbage slaw, which came from my friend and The Whole Meal tester Leslee’s repertoire of easy and really fresh sides. Rice is an easy accompaniment, but potatoes salad or even grilled corn are just as delish.