A Typical Cuban Meal #Tuesday Tip

I’m in the process of writing #2 in the At the Shore Contemporary Romance series and am working on a scene where the hero visits the heroine at her condo in Jersey City. The heroine is Cuban and she knows that the hero loves Cuban food. Unfortunately, she’s been hard at work over the weekend, but she still knows where to go to pick up some great Cuban food before she comes home.

So what’s a typical kind of Cuban meal? I’ve shared some recipes with you before, so here’s a list of what you’ll see in the scene I’m busy writing. You can click on the links for the recipes or visit my Cook’s Treat page.

Black beans and rice for sure!
Citrus-marinated Roast Pork
Plantains of some kind – how about Mashed ones or ripe plantains (maduros)?
Ropa Vieja (a shredded beef dish)
Flan for dessert

I’m thinking maybe a nice sangria to help wash everything down!
Ropa Vieja

Look for ONE SUMMER NIGHT, #1 in the At the Shore Series, in October 2017. You can pre-order this contemporary romance at the following sites:

Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2krMwfE
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2kYLWZV
B&N: http://bit.ly/2kNuo0p
iBooks: Coming Soon!
Kobo: Coming Soon!

Steak Done Just Right #TuesdayTip

We love steak, but since we can’t have a gas/charcoal BBQ anymore, we’ve had to experiment with how to grill steak just right and have finally found the way!

For starters, you’ll need a nice thick cut of beef – about an inch thick. Whether it’s London Broil or a more expensive cut of meat, this will work for you. When I do London Broil, I generally marinate it, but that’s not a necessary part of this recipe.

What you will need is a pan that you can get really hot. I recommend something like the Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill. This Lodge grill is pre-seasoned which is great although it’s not that tough to season cast iron. Just clean it when you buy, oil it up and let it sit in a low temp oven. Once you’ve got that first coat, be sure not to scrub too hard when washing. Just a little soap and water. Nothing beats cast iron for cooking.

Except maybe black steel or carbon steel. These pans are lighter, but can deal with high heat situations. They need seasoning as well, so a pre-seasoned one is your best bet.

Back to the steak. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Once it’s heated, place the steak on an oiled pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the internal temp is 125 degrees.

Then, remove from the heat and get the cast iron/black steel pan heating. Give it a little spray of cooking oil and once it’s hot enough to be smoking, add the steak. Sear each side for one minute or until the internal temp is about 140 for medium rare or 155 for medium.

How can you tell the temperature? I highly recommend one of the instant read thermometers. They can be pricey, like the Thermoworks, but it is worth it.

Once you’ve seared the steak, set it aside off the heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Why should you let it rest? Heat forces the juices toward the center of the steak and if you cut it immediately, those juices will run out of the center. Letting the meat rest will allow the juices to flow back through all the parts of the steak. For a more scientific explanation about the benefits of resting meat, you can visit the Food Lab!

Use this process for any other meats you might want to grill, like lamb or pork chops!
steak

Christmas Cookie Countdown & How to make them healthier #TuesdayTip #HealthyLiving #Recipe

I’m not really a baker, but I love cookies and cakes! Especially cookies. This time of year is both glorious and difficult since I’m sticking to my goal of eating healthier, but those Christmas cookies and treats are so so tempting.

Today’s tip is simple: A link to the awesome Betty Crocker Christmas Cookie Countdown. If you can’t find a cookie that you’ll like on there . . . Well, I don’t know what to say to that.

As for me, I’ll try a couple of these when I have more time and I think I’ll try making some of them healthier with some substitutions. For example, you can substitute a can of diet soda or seltzer in brownie and cake mixes instead of the oil and eggs. Applesauce and mashed bananas can be used as well in lieu of the oil for some cakes, brownies and cookies. You can click here for The Ultimate Guide to Healthier Baking infographic which has a number of other substitutions you can make for healthier eating.

Coconut Oil has also become one of those things to have handy and use as a substitute for butter. Click here for the 10 Best Sugar Cookie Recipes Using Coconut Oil!
Cookiecountdown

Yogurt Chicken Salad with Dates #FoodieFriday

I’m not a big fan of wasting food and this weekend I made some roast chicken and had leftovers. I decided, Why not make some chicken salad? Of course, I’m trying to not have too much fat, so I decided to experiment a little and the result was quite tasty. So today’s Foodie Friday entry is a healthier chicken salad made with low fat greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Another nice thing about this salad is that you can really play with it. If you want it spicier, add a few shots of Tabasco or Cholula hot sauce. For a little crunch, some chopped walnuts or pecans. Sweeter? How about some grape quarters? The possibilities are endless.

Ingredients

2 cups roasted chicken, diced
1 cup low fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
4-6 dates chopped

Directions

Mix all of the above ingredients and voila! A healthier chicken salad. Not only lower in fat, but if you get a greek yogurt that has live cultures, lots of probiotics. Not to mention that dates are a great source of dietary fiber, iron, potassium, anti-oxidant flavenoids and other minerals. A win-win.

Have a great weekend.
csdates

#WriteWed We’d Rather Be #Writing #Recipes

RatherBeWritingI want to thank my friend Lois Winston for rounding up a group of author friends to share time saving recipes and other tips to help you stay organized.

My recipe in the book combines a number of very healthy elements and you can change it up in a variety of ways with whatever you may have handy. Plus, you can use it as a side dish or make it a hearty meal by pairing it with some nice crusty bread. I like to fry an egg and put it over the dish to make it a main meal.

If you like this recipe, please check out the others in We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips. It’s a total bargain at only #99cents!

Swiss Chard with Chorizo and Cannellini Beans

Ingredients

2 pounds Swiss Chard chopped
1 cup cured chorizos chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can (14 ounces give or take) white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Preparation

Place olive oil in skillet and heat the oil. Add chorizo and cook on medium heat.

While chorizo is cooking, wash Swiss Chard, dry, and remove larger tougher stems. Chop.

When chorizo is browned, remove from heat and add onion, garlic and Swiss Chard. Wilt the chard and let any juice from the greens evaporate a bit.

Add beans and toss to heat. Add the cooked chorizo to the greens and beans. Salt and pepper to taste. You may want to give it another drizzle of olive oil at the end. Total prep time is about 20-30 minutes and the above will serve two people as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

Variations

Instead of the chorizo, try bacon, prosciutto, kielbasa or ham.

Instead of the Swiss Chard, substitute spinach, mustard greens, kale or escarole.

To bulk up the dish as a main meal, cube potatoes or sweet potatoes and cook along with the chorizo. Remove before adding the greens so the cubes will stay crunchy and then add back after you’ve warmed the beans.

Feeling in a soup kind of mood? Heat chicken broth, place the chorizo, greens and beans in a bowl and add a few ladles of broth to the bowl.

Voila, a dish that can have a myriad of variations! We call dishes like this refrigerator-cleaners in our house, but we also call them something else: Tasty! I hope you enjoyed this recipe from We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips.
SwissChardRecipe

Grilled Radicchio, Romaine & Chicken Salad #FoodieFriday

Yes, you are reading that correctly. It’s not just the chicken that’s grilled, but also the radicchio and romaine! You’ll think it’s crazy, but that slight little char on the green stuff creates an amazing flavor. It takes a little longer to make your salad, but it’s worth the effort. This recipe is for two, so double the greens and/or chicken as necessary.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts – Halved lengthwise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
radicchio head – halved
romaine head – halved
Salt
Shaved parmesan curls (As much as you want)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Marinate the chicken breast in the mustard and juice from one lemon. If you can, do this for about an hour.

Oil your grill and pre-heat it.

Rub 1/4 cup olive oil on all sides of the radicchio and romaine heads. Salt, but not too much since the parmesan has a lot of salt. Put a skewer through the 3 garlic cloves.

Place both the radicchio, romaine and skewered garlic on your grill. You want to leave them on there until you get a little bit of char on the leaves and cloves. Maybe 5-10 minutes depending on your grill. Once the first side is grilled, flip on the other side until you get the first bit of char, then remove from heat.

Place the marinated chicken breasts on the grill. I halve them so they will cook faster, but they could dry out, so watch them while you prep the rest of the salad.

Chop the radicchio and romaine and place in bowl. Chop the garlic and add to greens. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and parmesan curls over the greens. You can make parmesan curls by running your vegetable peeler across a nice chunk of parmesan. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of the remaining lemon over the greens.

Once cooked, slice the chicken breasts lengthwise and place over the salad. Voila! A very different salad for you. To change it up, try using blue cheese instead of parmesan and/or add craisins or other fruit. You’ll love it!

grilledsalad

My Pinterest Recipe Board #FoodieFriday

Two years ago I had to have surgery on my knee and since I had to stay home, my daughter and I decided to do a week of recipes from our Pinterest boards. The really funny thing was that both of us had pinned many of the same recipes we wanted to try. We had a fun week of cooking and recuperating!

Today, I’m sharing my board with you. Check it out for recipes to make over the weekend or when you have a free moment.
Follow Caridad’s board Recipes on Pinterest.