The first move for Locke and I was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to Staten Island, New York. It was our first time living together and I was not the best cook ever. I went from cooking on an electric range to a gas stove (which I prefer hands down over anything now) and would burn EVERYTHING! I should have paid more attention to my Abuelita (Grandmother) and my mom when they were cooking. I did on my first visits back to their houses that's for sure! I loved putting in lot's of condiments and seasonings thinking that that was how I was going to get the most flavor. What I discovered, thanks to my Abuelita, was that less was more. Her meals were kept simple and the flavors were oh so delicious! The only thing that I can make that's as close to the flavor of hers is her white rice...I can eat it all by itself!
Last nights meal was
ARROZ CON HABICHUELAS Y ALBONDIGAS
Rice & Beans with Meatballs!
I recommend going through all the pics and instructions before you get started. Here you go!
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large "banana" pepper (not spicy, just flavor), roughly chopped, remove seeds
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- water as needed
- Roughly chop onions, banana pepper, cilantro and peel garlic.
- Place ingredients in blender or food processor.
- Pour about 1/4 cup water in processor. It helps the ingredients blend.
- Blend ingredients. If you don't have a great processor (like I don't) you may need to add a little bit more water to get things going. It'll become a jar of green mush. Yes, that's a very technical term, I know!
|Here are your ingredients.|
|One roughly chopped onion.|
|One roughly chopped banana pepper.|
|One head of garlic.|
|All ingredients in blender before blending. Sorry there isn't a pic of just the blended sofrito. You can see it in some of the following pics though.|
Now, for your
(Which I cooked in the rice cooker but can also be cooked in a pot. Message me if you would like instructions on how to do so.)
- 2 C. white rice (I prefer short grained), rinsed
- 3 C. water
- 3 tbls. oil (vegetable or canola)
- 1 tbls. salt
- Pour all of your ingredients into your rice cooker.
- Set your rice cooker to the "Cook" setting.
- When it's ready, open, mix, close & let sit for another 5 minutes or so.
|Deliciousness! I LOVE white rice!|
Now, for your
(I cooked two cans of beans because I like to have leftovers but you can halve the recipe)
- 2 cans of Goya Pink Beans, rinsed
- 1 can of Goya Tomato Sauce
- 1 tbls. of Olive Oil
- 3/4 C. Sofrito
- Salt & Pepper to taste ( I added about 1 tsp. or so of salt and a few twists of pepper from the grinder)
- SECRET INGREDIENT: 1 Corona beer! (Ssshhh...don't tell anyone! Can be substituted for water-about 11/2 C.)
- On Med/High heat, in a medium sauce pan, add the olive oil.
- Add your Sofrito and cook for 2-3 mins (watch for splatter and watch the heat and make sure it doesn't get too high).
- Add the rinsed beans and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce & beer! (I left a little beer for me to enjoy! :) I like my beans thicker, so I added enough beer to just cover the bean mixture.)
- Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Once the beans start bubbling, mix, lower the temperature to low and cover.
- Stir every 5 mins. or so.
- I usually cook my beans for about 15-20 minutes.
|There's the Sofrito!|
|Salt & Peppa|
|Sofrito cooking with Olive Oil.|
|Rinsed beans going into the Sofrito mixture.|
|Beans & Sofrito cooking.|
|This is what the beans look like after the can of tomato sauce is added.|
|My secret ingredient! :) You can substitute with water. Don't forget to leave enough to get a sip or two!|
|What the beans look like while they are simmering before the beer is added.|
|Here you can see how much liquid was added. Not too much and not too little. Just enough to cover the beans.|
|This is what the beans look like after they have been covered and cooked on low for about 15 minutes.|
|After being cooked & stirred, here you go...Melissa's Puerto Rican style beans!|
And for the
(With a little flare!)
- 1 lb. Ground Beef, I used 80/20
- 1/2 C. diced onion
- 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1/2 C. seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp (or so) of Adobo seasoning (I kind of eyed it)
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1tbls olive oil for cooking the meatballs. Do not add this to meat mixture.
- Peel, chop, dice vegetables & press the garlic.
- In a separate bowl, mix your egg.
- In a large bowl, place your ground beef, onion, cilantro, garlic, bread crumbs, egg & seasonings and mix well. I used a spoon but you are more than welcome to get down and dirty and mix by hand the traditional way.
- I used a cookie dough measuring spoon (small size, about 1 tbls) to measure each meatball. Roll in your hand until it's "firmed up" and not falling apart. This gave me 23 meatballs.
- Pre-heat skillet on med/high heat. Add olive oil to pan and spread evenly.
- Add meatballs to pan. Let sit for a bit and start stirring to ensure you get even cooking/browning all over the meatballs.
- I lowered my heat to medium and covered the pan for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Uncover and cook for about 5-10 more minutes until the meat is fully cooked.
|80/20 Ground Beef|
|The other ingredients. Seasoned bread crumbs, onion, cilantro, garlic, egg, garlic salt & Adobo.|
|I always have an empty bowl handy when chopping vegetables to use as a trash bowl. It helps me confine the mess and have one quick dump into the garbage.|
|All ingredients in bowl ready to be mixed.|
|Ready to be rolled up!|
|23 small meatballs.|
|In the heated pan. Can you hear the sizzling?|
|Cover to help cook meatballs cook through.|
|Once uncovered, this is what you will have.|
|I love seeing all the bits of onion and cilantro.|
(Or ripe plantains)
I went the easy route and bought a package of Goya Ripe Plantains, found in the frozen food section. You can also buy fresh, ripened, plantains.
- 1 package Goya Ripe Plantains
- 1-2 ripe plantains, peeled (careful, the skin stains) and sliced diagonally to about 1 inch thickness.
- FROZEN PLANTAINS
- Pre-heat skillet on medium heat.
- Open Package and place plantains in skillet.
- Cook 3-5 minutes on each side. My husband likes his dark so I cook some for him a little longer.
- FRESH PLANTAINS
- Pre-heat skillet on medium heat.
- Peel plantain, careful to not touch clothes as the peel stains.
- Slice diagonally, thickness should be about 1 inch.
- Place pieces in skillet and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side.
- Lower temperature to med/low and cover. Cook for another 5 minutes or so until soft and tender. They should look just like the frozen version I have pictured.
|Frozen package of Goya Ripe Plantains found in the freezer aisle.|
|Cooking. My mouth is watering right now. I want some more!|
AND YOU'RE DONE!
Here is what the finished product looks like served and ready to devour. I hope you enjoy your meal. Contact me and let me know how you liked it. I can't wait to hear from you!
ENJOY YOUR MEAL