Garden Picadillo

Picadillo is a different dish throughout Latin America and even into the Philippines. The Cuban version is what most people are familiar with, made with ground beef, raisins, and olives. Plenty of layers of flavor. This version is from the garden. It is totally vegan, but you can add ground meat or cheese if you like.

1 lb bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 lb mild green chiles, chopped, I used New Mexico peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
12 oz pigeon peas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz salsa verde*
1 Cup sliced green olives
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
3 TB olive oil
1/2 Cup raisins (optional)

Put everything except the salsa and olives in large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. Add salsa and olives. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors marry. Serve over rice.

* I make my own salsa verde with chiles from my garden and tomatillos. Trader Joe’s and 365 both have good salsa verde off the shelf.

I don’t put the raisins in for two reasons: I don’t care for raisins and my dogs get people food. Dogs can’t eat raisins. Or grapes.


Warm Quinoa and White Bean Salad

Quinoa is used in many Latin influenced dishes. This is more of a Mediterranean flavor inspired dish. It’s also very quick and easy. It’s a budget friendly dish that would be great to serve at a luncheon. It’s also low fat, high protein, and high fiber.

I used garlic stuffed olives!

1 1/2 C dry quinoa
3 C water or stock
12 oz white beans, cooked, drained & rinsed
1 pint grape tomates
1 small spanish onion, chopped
1/3 C vinaigrette (your favorite home made or farmer’s market blend will work great)

salad greens and olives for serving

In a large stock pot or chef’s pan, add everything and heat on medium-low. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients one time. Cover. Keep covered. After 20 minutes, remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve over greens. Garnish with olives.

You can also make this in a rice cooker!

*** You can use any Italian vinaigrette you have on hand or make a simple one using

1 C vinegar
2 C olive oil
3 TB dried Italian seasoning blend (or make your own unique mix of oregano, marjoram, parsley, basil, dried garlic, red pepper flakes, saffron)
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

7 Layer Dip

Everyone likes layer dip. It’s easy to make for any party. It’s great to make the day before and let rest in the fridge over night for more intense flavor.

We started eating it and forgot to photograph it... again!

1 Cup cooked pinto beans
3 TB taco seasoning (recipe follows)
4 oz chopped green chilies
2 avocados, sliced thin
lime juice
1/2 Cup chopped black olives
8 oz salsa
8 oz sour cream
8 oz shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack

Layer 1: Place pintos and taco seasoning in your food processor. Blend to creamy. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a little lime juice to thin it out.

Layer 2: Spread chopped green chilies over beans.

Layer 3: Arrange avocado slices over chilies. Sprinkle with salt and lime juice.

Layer 4: Add black olives over avocado.

Layer 5: Spread out salsa

Layer 6: Spread out sour cream

Layer 7: Sprinkle over shredded cheese

Serve with chips, crackers, veggies, or anything that will scoop this out. Like a spoon!

You can use store bought taco seasoning, but it may contain gluten, fillers, chemicals, or non-food ingredients. Weird!

Taco Seasoning

2 parts chili powder

1 part cumin

1 part oregano

1 part garlic powder

1 part onion powder

1 part paprika

1/2 part salt

(1/2 part cayenne for HOT taco mix)

Shake together in a jar and store in a cool, dry, and dark place. Seasonings keep for 4 months.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Fiesta Pizzas

Yet another installment of what to do with your Turkey-Day leftovers: Have a Latin Fiesta!

Many of us will be watching the sports team of our choice over the holiday, and this could lead to hungry sports fans. Whether your team is the reigning National Champion (Go Heels!) or you watch football, the following Mexi Pizzas are for you.

Chipotle Pizza Sauce

In a food processor

1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce from a can) seeded plus 1 tsp sauce, you can use more depending on your taste
1 12oz can diced tomatoes drained (reserve liquid)
2 TBSP paprika
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 TBSP red wine vinegar

Heat on stovetop until bubbly. This recipe makes enough for about 10 8in pizzas. It freezes well.

Chipotle Turkey and Avocado Pizzas

1. Spread pizza sauce over 8 inch tortilla
2. Top with shredded cheddar or cojita cheese
3. Heat together in a sauté pan 1 ½ cups shredded turkey and half the reserved tomato juice until meat ‘absorbs’ the juice and is hot. Arrange turkey over pizzas.
4. Top with cubed avocados and more cheese.

Wild Mayan Pizzas
1. Mash leftover sweet potatoes with reserved tomato juice in a sauce pot on medium heat.
2. Spread mashed sweet potatoes on 8 inch tortillas
3. Top sweet potatoes with chipotle pizza sauce
4. Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Sprinkle over pizza. If you have left over corn, add some kernels!
5. Top with shredded cheddar or cojita cheese (or soy cheese)

Bake all pizzas at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and tortilla crisps up. Slice them into 6ths. Serve them with a lime wedge and sour cream. This makes awesome hors d’oeuvre both vegetarian and meat-tastic for your whole family.

Our Favorite Gluten Free Pasta Dinner

If my household were to identify as any dietary group, we’d be salt-atarians. Olives, capers, and other green things are just so much better with a little brine. So here is our trusty stand-by dinner for nights when the “I’m not in the mood for that” monster strikes.


1/4 olive oil

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 purple onion, sliced

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

2 oz capers in brine (about half a small jar)

3/4 Cup sliced green olives with brine

fresh basil from the garden — about a Cup chopped

2 Cups fresh spinach, chopped

1 TB dried Italian herb blend

1 Cup grated parmesan or feta cheese crumbles, optional

1 lb pasta

We use gluten-free pasta, but any healthy pasta variety that your family enjoys will work. The photo shows fusilli. Penne is also fun for this.

Boil water with salt and cook pasta according to package directions.

Veggies Simmering

Veggies Simmering

While the pasta is cooking, cook the veggies. This will require about 7 minutes of cooking time so get your pasta cooking first.

Add oil, onions, and garlic to a large skillet or saute pan. A wok works well. All the ingredients will eventually go into one pan, so use a large one. Saute over medium-high heat until onions begin to soften and caramelize. Turn heat to medium and add tomatoes, capers, and olives. Cook just til tomatoes first begin to soften. Turn heat to low. Add basil, spinach, and dry herbs. Stir to wilt.

Drain pasta. Do not rinse. Toss pasta into skillet over veggies. Combine. Sprinkle with cheese before serving if desired.

Pasta with Olive, Artichoke, and Chickpea Ragout

Cheap and Vegan, serves at least 4, and can be made for a meat eater in a pinch.

1 lb pasta, organic whole wheat angel hair or gluten free rice pasta

½ Cup olive tapenade ( you can find this on the olive bar at your market, in a jar, or you can make your own by whipping a few handfuls of mixed olives with brine in a food processor)

2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained, brine reserved

1 can chick peas drained and rinsed

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, do not rinse.

While pasta is cooking: In a dry pan, lightly toast the chick peas with paprika, garlic salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the dry seasoning and shake and rotate pan to coat. When chick peas are very dry and toasty (but seasoning is not scorched) transfer to cutting board. Rough chop them. If you have a metal pastry blender (the contraption you use to make biscuit dough), put peas in a bowl and mash them with that. Kitchen tools need to serve more than one purpose anyway.

Add tapenade, artichokes, and 1 TBSP of artichoke brine to the same sauté pan (the residual seasoning will color the ragout and add flavor). Heat through on medium. Toss drained pasta in to coat. You may need to add more artichoke brine to thin the sauce for even coating. Last, toss in chopped chick peas.

At this point, you can top with grated parmesan or Romano cheese or add salt and pepper grilled chicken.

Estimated cost to feed four (vegan version, based on co-op pricing in Atlanta GA): $11

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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