Shrimp Louie Salad

shrimp louise
1/2 pound large cooked shrimp, chilled
2 bags romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes each cut into 8 pieces
1 medium cucumber cut into pieces
6 hard boiled eggs cut in half
2 lemons cut into half moon pieces

Louie Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise I use lite mayo
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup sweet relish
1/4 cup mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons white onions, grated or 1 teaspoon onion powder

For dressing mix all ingredients and chill for 1 hour. Assemble salad (follow picture) and top with dressing. 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.

Sonia's Tuna with Balsamic Roma Tomatoes

2 cans drained 7oz white albacore tuna
8 roma tomatoes cut into 8 pieces
1 onion cut into small pieces
6 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil cut into pieces
salt and pepper to taste

*Serve over pasta or with plain rice on the side

In a shallow pan heat the oil over medium high and saute the onions for 2 minutes. Add salt, garlic and cook until onions start to turn brown. Add the tomatoes, stir and cook for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the tuna, balsamic, pepper and more salt if necessary (fresh tomatoes take more salt than can tomatoes) and stir. Garnish with basil and serve over pasta or rice. Serve 6

FYI- At nearly 40 grams of protein per can, tuna fish has all the essentials to be the perfect muscle building food. Tuna is low in fat, high in protein and an essential form of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps combat against heart disease and certain cancers and can lower cholesterol levels. Not to mention tuna fish can be used for a variety of meals, which makes it an easy choice for many. Try to keep your tuna in check though as consuming too much mercury (which can be found in tuna) has been linked to some health problem, mainly in young children and pregnant women.

Pecan Rum Cake – Recipe

1 1/4 cups sugar (you can use baking splenda)
1 stick of butter
3 eggs
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup golden raisin
1 1/2 cup pecans
1 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg

Rum sauce
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup Bacardi gold rum

Preheat oven 300 degrees. Beat sugar, vanilla and butter together. Add eggs one at a time betting well after each. Sift flour, baking powder and nutmeg. Add gradually to mixture until well blended. Fold raisins and pecans. Pour the mixture in a greased and floured 10inch tube cake pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until done (check cake with a knife).
Make the Rum sauce by heating orange juice, remove from stove and add the rum. Pour over hot cake. Wait until cake is cool and turn it into a serving plate.

* This cake is my moms best Christmas present to us!

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!

White Bean Soup

white bean soup

1 pound dried white beans (soak beans in water overnight)
1 meaty smoked ham bone or 2 ham hocks
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large carrot cut into pieces
2 medium celery stalks cut into pieces
1 medium yellow onion cut into small pieces
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken stock
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock, hame bone and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Discard the bay leaf, thyme and ham bone. Season the soup with salt and pepper and puree. Transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with black pepper, and serve with toasted sourdough bread.

Pumpkin Rice

arroz calabaza

1 cup of cooked pumpkin (boil the pumpkin in salt water until tender)
2 cups rice
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sofrito (recipe can be found under seasoning)
3 cups organic vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Remove shell from cooked pumpkin and puree with a folk. In a nonstick tall pan heat oil and sofrito over medium high. Cook for 3 minutes and stir broth, pumpkin, rice with some salt and pepper. When it starts to boil, lower heat to medium, stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until broth is almost dry. Reduce heat to medium low, stir and cover until rice is done, about 5 more minutes.

Pumpkin Soup

2 pounds pumpkin cut into cubes
1 onion cut into pieces
3 tablespoon olive oil
6 crushed garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon curry
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 liter vegetable stock
1 cup fat free cream
2 tablespoon brown sugar or 4 tablespoon of agave or maple sirup
salt and pepper

In a deep pan cook pumpkin with olive oil over medium high for 5 minutes. Stir onion, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, saute for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add chicken broth and cream stir, and simmer for 15 minutes. In a blender puree with rest of ingredients, pour into pan, and cover. Cook over medium for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6

*Garnish with sour cream, bacon bits and croutons

*When I stated to decorate my porch with pumpkins during the fall, I also stated to create all kinds of recipes to save the pumpkins. This is my favorite!

Flan de Coco

2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 cream cheese bar
4 eggs
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup dry coconut
pinch of salt

for the caramel
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon water

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Make caramel by heating up the sugar and water, cook until sugar turns light brown. Pour caramel evenly on baking dish.
In a bowl mix the rest of ingredients well. Pour mixture into baking dish. Place the baking dish in a wider baking dish. Once in the oven pour 1″ of hot water in the bottom dish. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for around 1 hour. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Unmold by using a knife to separate edges. Coqui!

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.