Sonia’s Best Oven Parmesan Potatoes

5 baking potatoes cut into 1/2″ round pieces
1 big yellow onion cut into thin pieces
1 cups 2% milk or fat free cream
4 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven 350. In a baking dish pour melted butter, and layer bottom with potatoes until bottom is cover and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place onion on top and cover with milk and cheese. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and let the cheese brown a little bit. Cool and serve.

*Easy side dish when having lots of adults and kids for dinner!

Mofongo (smashed green plantains balls)

platanos
Green Plantains at my moms house in Puerto Rico


3 green plantains
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 cup cooked bacon cut into small pieces or 1/2 cup small pieces of chicharrones
salt
1 cups vegetable oil

Peel and cut the plantains 1″ long. Place them in a bowl with salt water for 15 minutes. In a pan heat vegetable oil over medium low and cook the plantains until start to turn brown on each side, like 7 minutes per side. Place them on paper towel. In a pan heat olive oil to cook garlic. Smashed plantains with garlic oil, bacon, and salt. With a big spoon take some of the mix and make a ball. Cover each ball with foil paper until time to serve. If the mofongo is cold before serving, use the oven at 375 degree for 5 minutes to warm them again. Serves 4 Coqui!

*this is a traditional and very popular side dish from Puerto Rico

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.

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese

spinach
1 bag of fresh spinach
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup crumble goat cheese
2 tablespoon crumble bacon optional

For dressing;
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon pomegranate vinegar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
pinch of nutmeg and salt

*Traveling has made me be aware of how international this recipe is, and that’s why I created my version.

FYI;Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is a good, very good or excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein.

Tostones Recipe



3- green plantains or platanos
3- cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1- cup vegetable or canola oil

Peel the plantains long way. Cut them diagonally 1″ thick. In a vase with water and salt dip the plantains for 15 minutes. In a frying pan heat the oil on medium high and fry the plantains for 3 1/2 minutes each side. Remove from heat and smash the plantains and dip them again in salt water. Place them in the oil and cook until crisp or brownish. Set them on a paper towel covered plate. Serve immediately. Serves around 12 tostones

*Tostones Sauce optional

1 tablespoon tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 mince garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt to taste

*Tostones is the number one side dish in Puerto Rico. This is my family recipe!

*COQUI!

Sonia’s Crab Cakes – Recipe


1 pound white crab meat
1 egg
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 sliced whole grain bread or bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon old bay
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon back pepper
sea salt to taste
Sliced limes for serving

Crumble bread and mix with crab. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl except crumbs and crab meat. Fold crab mixture gently into mix. Make 8 patties and place in wax paper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake over 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. Serve with slices of lime on the side.

*I lived in Miami for 13 years and this recipe is my creation and reminds me of many trips to the Keys but I must pair it with my Puerto Rican rice and beans, as shown.

Sonia’s Grilled Peppers Onions and Golden Cherry Tomatoes


1 pound of cherry tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow
2 red peooer
2 red onion
1 tablespoon herbs the provence
4 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat grill over medium for 15 minutes. In a sauce bowl mix 2 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic, crushed garlic, herb the provence, salt and pepper to taste, set aside. Cut each pepper into half moon pieces, cut each onion into half moon pieces. Mix the ingredients with rest of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a vegetable grilling pan and grill for 4 minutes each side or until desire crisp. Place the vegetable on a serving plate and top with mix. Serves 6

* for a kick you can add a tablespoon of dijon mustard to the mix

Caribbean Cocktail Sauce – Recipe


1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon horseradish or hot sauce
2 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tablespoon mince celery
1 tablespoon fresh black pepper
salt

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for 25 minutes or until serving. Makes about 3/4 cup.

*Great with any seafood or on top tostones

*Growing up in Puerto Rico has given me the urge to change the traditional cocktail sauce with a caribbean twist.

Sonia’s Maple Orange Beets – Recipe


3 fresh beets sliced into pieces
4 sliced mandarine orange or just a small can of mandarine oranges without the juices
2 tablespoon maple sirup or 2 tablespoon of brown sugar splenda with 1/4 cup balsamic
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper optional

Mix all the ingredients, pour into medium high pan, and cook for 10 minutes turning beets to coat. Serve warm. Serves 6.

*I grew up with beets as part of my diet because my father loves beets!

FYI-Beets

The pigment betacyanin, which gives beets their distinctive hue, is just one of several disease-fighting phytonutrients found in this root vegetable. Beets are also a good source of folate, which guards against birth defects, colon cancer, and osteoporosis, and are high in fiber and beta-carotene.

Sonia’s Tuscan Inspired Pomodoro or Tomato Pasta Sauce


1 can crushed italian tomatoes or 2 cups of ripe tomatoes cut into pieces
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 red onion cut into small pieces
2 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded basil
fresh parmesan cheese to garnish

*serve with your favorite pasta or just dipping bread

Heat pan over medium high, saute onion, garlic with some salt. Cook for about five minutes and then add tomatoes and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Removed from heat, add the fresh basil leaves and balsamic vinegar and mix. Top with cheese and serve with pasta or bread. Serves 6

*This recipe was inspired by my trip to Tuscany last summer.