Black Bean Soup


1 15oz black beans without the juice
1/3 cup onions dice into tiny pieces
4- diced garlic cloves
1/2 cup smoked ham
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper

To garnish;
sherry
sour cream
cut apples pieces

In a soup pot pour the olive oil and cook the onions, ham, garlic for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 10 more minutes. Discard the ham puree the mix and bring back to the pot for 20 more minutes. Garnish with any of these ingredients, sherry, sour cream or apples.

* I sometimes use croutons, bacon or red onions for garnishing. Be creative!

*I created this recipe to satisfy my cuban husbands cravings!

FYI- Black beans are a concentrated source of both dietary fiber and folic acid. This has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Black beans also contain magnesium, which can improve the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients through the body.
Research has shown that there are at least eight different flavonoids in black bean’s color coats, which bestow this little bean with potent antioxidant power.
Black beans are a great source of protein. One cup has at least 15 grams which can provide us with a significant amount of our daily requirement of protein.
Black beans contain sleep-promoting tryptophan.
These beans can provide sustainable energy while promoting stabilized blood sugar levels. Black beans contain vitamin B1, which is instrumental in converting sugar into usable energy, as well as phosphorus, which is a component of ATP (the fuel that powers our cells).
It’s not a secret that beans can cause gas. This is because we cannot digest oligosaccharides, which are sugars found in beans. These sugars are consumed by bacteria in the gut and cause gas. To help eliminate the gas-factor, soak the beans overnight, drain the water, and soak beans in new fresh water before cooking. Always rinse beans (even canned) before cooking.

Sonia’s Arroz con Maiz or Corn Rice

2 cups white rice
3 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion cut into small pieces
3 minced garlic cloves
1 8oz can of corn drained
1 can french onion soup
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

In a tall pan melt butter and saute onion, garlic with some salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Add corn, soup and water, boil, and lower temperature to medium. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir and continue to simmer until done. Serves 6

Lentejas or Lentils


1 pack lentils
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup of pieces of smoked ham
1 yellow onion, diced small
3 carrot, diced small
5 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 springs thyme

Rinse lentils. In deep pan boil 3 cups of chicken broth and add lentils. Simmer for 20 minutes. In a pan heat olive oil, add onion, garlic cook for 4 minutes and add thyme, ham and carrots with salt and pepper and cook until garlic starts to turn brown. Add mixture to lentils and cook until done. Serves 6

*We always eat lentil at my house the first of the year for prosperity!

FYI- Lentils are part of the legume family. Lentils are seeds of a plant whose botanical name is Lens ensculenta. They grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds that are round, oval or heart-shaped disks. Lentils are a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B and iron. They are high in nutritional value and are available throughout the year and can be purchased fresh, frozen or canned and are often put in salads and soups. Lentils are rich in both the soluble and insoluble dietary fiber which is helpful in preventing digestive disorders and heart diseases. They are also extremely useful in lowering cholesterol and managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils are believed to have originated in central Asia and the history of lentils can be traced back to over ten thousand years. The ancient Greeks were known to use lentils in a variety of ways including for making bread. They are also mentioned in the Holy Bible. Lentils are classified according to whether they are large or small in size with dozens of varieties of each being cultivated. While the most common types in the United States are either green or brown, lentils are also available in black, yellow, red and orange colors. They are sold whole or split into halves. Some of the commercial producers of lentils include India, Turkey, Canada, China and Syria.

Puerto Rican Holiday Rice – arroz con gandules

The must have rice on our traditional Christmas Dinners!

1 cup white rice
1 can gandules (green pigeon peas) drained
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion cut into small pieces
4 minced garlic heads
1/2 red or yellow pepper cut into pieces
1/2 green pepper cut into pieces
1 cup smoked ham cut into pieces
5 green olives cut into pieces
1 teaspoon capers
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 fresh recao leaves
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

In a tall pan heat oil over medium, add onion, garlic, green and red peppers and cook until garlic start to turn brown, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add salt, capers, olives, and ham, cook for 3 minutes and add tomato sauce, recao, black pepper and rice. Cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes and add chicken broth. Boil, stir, cover and lower temperature to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes and stir. Continue cooking for 4 minutes, stir and cook until done. Coqui! Serves 6

*This is a very traditional rice in Puerto Rico. Yummy!

Garbanzo Beans


1 15.5oz can garbanzo beans without the juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon capers
5 green olives with red pepper center
4 garlic cloves cut into small pieces
1 yellow onion cut into small half moon pieces
1/2 green pepper cut into small pieces
2 carrots cut into 1/2″ pieces or 1/2 sweet potato
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup of your favorite smoked ham.
1 8oz tomato sauce
2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon black pepper

In a tall medium pan heat the oil over medium and saute the onions, garlic, green pepper until onion turn transparent, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the rest of ingredients but broth, cook over medium for 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, stir, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring twice. Serve with white rice on the side. Serves 6

FYI- Garbanzo beans are full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. A 100-g serving of cooked garbanzo beans without salt contains 27.42 g carbohydrates, which helps to create energy; 7.6 g dietary fiber for good heart health and a healthy digestive system; 2.59 g fat; and 8.86 g protein. Garbanzo beans also contain vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. Minerals contained in garbanzo beans are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Pink Beans, Smoked Ribs Stew

2 cans drained pink beans
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 big yellow onion cut into pieces
1 jalapeno peppers cut into small pieces(seeds removed)
1 green pepper cut into pieces
6 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 oregano leaves cut into pieces
1 pound smoked but not fully cooked ribs
3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper

In a deep pot heat oil over medium high and saute onions, peppers, garlic salt and black pepper for 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Add tomato paste and stir. Add tomato sauce, stir and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add oregano, ribs and chicken broth. Bring to boil, stir and cover. Lower to medium low and cook for 20 minutes. Add beans and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes. Serve with rice or corn bread on the side. Serves 6-8

*The flavor of smoked ribs is delicious and powerful!

Delicious Pinto Beans Recipe


1- 15.5oz can of your favorite beans without the juice. I love pink, or pinto beans
1- 8.0oz can tomato sauce. I use Hunts basil, garlic and oregano. If you are using regular sauce just add a teaspoon of oregano and basil
1- cup dice cooking ham. I like the hickory smoked steak ham
1/2 onion cut into small pieces
1/2 green pepper cut into small pieces
5- garlic cloves minced.
4- recao leaves
3- tablespoon olive oil
1- teaspoon tomato paste
1/2- potato cut into 1″ pieces
1/4- sweet potato cut into 1″ pieces
1- tablespoon capers
5- green olives filled with red pimientos cut in half
1- 15.5oz can of organic chicken broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a tall pan heat the olive oil and saute the onions, green pepper, garlic and salt over medium low for 10 minutes stirring 3 times. Add the capers, recao, ham, olives, tomato paste and sauce and let it cook for 5 more minutes stirring once. Add the beans, potatoes, pepper and balsamic vinegar, stir and let it seat for 1 more minute. Add the chicken broth cover and cook over medium for 25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Serve over white rice or as a soup with white rice on top. COQUI!

*This is my delicious version of Puertorrican bean!

FYI- Pinto beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, pinto beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, pinto beans provide virtually fat-free, high quality protein. But this is far from all pinto beans have to offer. Pinto beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate, and a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Sonia’s Easy Oriental Rice


2 cups of cooked white rice
1/2 diced onion
1/2 red or gold pepper cut into small pieces
2 scramble eggs
2 cups any cooked vegetables (I use peas, corn, diced asparagus, carrots)
1/2 cup smoked ham cut into small pieces
1 cup cooked shrimp or diced cooked chicken
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and cook onion, pepper and ham for 7 minutes. Add rice, rest of vegetables, sesame oil, and soy sauce, stir well and cook for 10 minutes stirring as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp or chicken, eggs, stir and cook for 2 more minutes or until warm. Serves 6

Sonia’s Split Pea Soup

3 cups smoked ham stock
2 cups split peas
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 diced onion
1 fresh carrot cut into small pieces
2 minced garlic heads
salt and pepper

In a soup pan heat the oil and saute onions, carrot, and garlic with some salt and pepper until onions start to turn brown. Pour the warm stock and split peas to the pot and simmer until peas are soft. Around 45 minutes to 1 hour. Server and garnish with crispy croutons or dice ham. Serves 6

*My new neighbor in Dallas gave me a smoked ham and I decide to create this soup!

Sonia’s Basil (or your favorite herb) Rice – Recipe

1 cup of jasmine or white rice
2 tablespoon butter
1 onion chopped into small pieces
3 crushed garlic heads
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped basil or any other herb like, cilantro, or mint.
salt and pepper

In a thick tall pot melt the butter over medium. Add the onion and garlic stirring for 5 minutes. Grind the basil and broth in a blender. Stir the rice and add the chicken broth, salt ( Salt gets lost on the rice, put more than normal) and pepper to taste. Bring to boil then reduce to low. Cover and simmer for around 15 minutes or until done. Serves 4

*Living in Dallas has inspired me to create herb rice.