Sofrito – Puerto Rican Green Gold

sofrito-tray_thumb.jpgSofrito is a mixture of peppers, onions, garlic and herbs that is used as a flavoring in many Puerto Rican rice, bean and meat dishes. I always keep a supply in my freezer. Sofrito recipes are like finger prints no two recipes are the same, this is how my family makes it.

Sofrito Recipe:

2 large green or red pepper – stemmed, seeded and chopped

24 Aji Dulce peppers stemmed, seeded and chopped or 2 Cubanelle peppers stemmed, seeded and chopped*

2 medium onions (large diced)

6 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

4 leaves culantro (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil

 Place all ingredients into a food processor and process for 10 seconds.  Save sofrito by freezing in ice-cube trays or plastic cups then placing them into large zip-lock freezer bag for future use. Sofrito is a great marinade for grilled meats and for seasoning bean dishes. I measure about 1/4 cup in each plastic cup.


*Aji Dulce Peppers are small peppers that resemble a Scotch Bonnet pepper but they are a sweet not hot. Cubanelle peppers are also known as Italian frying peppers.


No Buttermilk Pancakes



OK, there is no pancake mix in the house? Then you realize most scratch recipes require buttermilk. Here is an easy scratch recipe that doesn’t require buttermilk. They are so light and fluffy you will never buy that box mix again! 

1 1/2  cups 2% milk

4 tbsp. white vinegar

2 cups flour

4 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

4 tbsp. melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine milk and vinegar and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, butter and vanilla to the milk mixture and whisk to combine.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until most of the lumps are gone.

Spray pre-heated griddle with non stick oil.

Serves 4 hungry adults


arroz con pollo 4

If you asked 10 Puerto Ricans “What do you ask your Mother to cook when you go to visit her?” I’ll bet 9 of 10 will say Arroz con Pollo!”  As I cooked this recipe and the aromas filled my kitchen, memories of my mother filled my head. I could see her in the kitchen browning off pieces of chicken while I was trying to steal a few of her olives and she would chase me away with her wooden spoon saying “You are not to big to get a beating.” Then we would both start to laugh. Good memories are what my “Heirloom recipes” are all about.

Arroz con Pollo Recipe:

6 chicken wings

6 chicken thighs

salt and pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. sofrito (see recipe below)

6 cups chicken broth

1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce

16 pimento stuffed olives

3 tbsp. capers (rinsed)

4 cups long grain white rice

Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F

Season the chicken parts liberally with salt and pepper.

arroz con pollo 1

Heat oil in a thick bottomed Dutch oven or caldero over medium heat. Brown chicken a few pieces at a time for about 5 minutes a side.(Chef’s note: don’t fuss with the chicken while it is browning, when the chicken is ready to be turned over it will be easy to turn over and will not stick to the bottom of the pan) When chicken is browned remove from pot and set aside.

arroz con pollo 2

Drain pot of rendered chicken fat leaving 1 tbsp. of fat behind in the pot. Leave the browned bits in the bottom of the pot because they will add flavor. Add sofrito to the pot and cook for three minutes.

Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, olives, capers, rice and reserved chicken to the pot and bring liquid to a boil in an uncovered pot over medium heat.

Once boiling reduce heat to low and stir pot only once. If you stir rice too much it becomes sticky!

After about 5 to 10 minutes the rice will absorb most of the liquid in the pot. When the liquid  is just below the top of the rice, cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and place the pot into pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove pot from oven and allow rice to rest for 5 minutes  before removing lid. To serve fluff rice with a fork.

arroz con pollo 3

Sofrito Recipe:


1 large green or red pepper (large dice)

12 Aji Dulce peppers seeded and chopped or 2 Cubanelle peppers seeded and chopped*

2 medium onions (large dice)

6 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 cup cilantro leaves

2 leaves culantro (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil

 Place all ingredients into a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Reserve 4 tbsp. of mixture for above recipe. Save remaining sofrito by freezing in ice-cube trays then placing cubes into large zip-lock freezer bag for future use. Sofrito is a great marinade for grilled meats and for seasoning bean dishes.


*Aji Dulce Peppers are small peppers that resemble a Scotch Bonnet pepper but they are a sweet not hot. Cubanelle peppers are also known as Italian frying peppers.

Happy Hollandaise To You

Happy Hollandaise

I have always had a “Love – Hate” relationship with Hollandaise sauce.  As much as I love the rich  and creamy lemon flavor when it came to making Hollandaise sauce it would come out either too thin or it would curdle. So after a long search I found a recipe on-line that did not require using a double boiler. This recipe uses a blender to make the best Hollandaise sauce I have ever eaten. Now I have a “Love – Love” relationship with this velvety sauce. I serve it over asparagus, sea food, crab cakes or eggs Benedict. “Happy Hollandaise to you and to all a good sauce.”

Original recipe by Chellebelle.

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 1/2 cup butter


  1. In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.
  1. Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high-speed, remove center cap of blender lid and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It will thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm for serving by placing the blender container into a pan of hot water.

Here is a link to a video that shows how easy the whole process is:

Ham, Pimento Cheese and Spinach Pinwheels


It’s been said that nothing good in life comes easy well here is the exception to the rule! This is a 15 minute appetizer that you can make ahead of time or at the last-minute that looks great on any party table and tastes great too. Share on Facebook if you like this recipe.


8 ounce package Neufchâtel cheese or Cream cheese

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup diced pimento

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1 tbsp. dried Italian herbs

1/2  tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine above ingredients to make cheese spread and set aside. (I use Neufchâtel because it has lower fat)

flour tortillas

8 ounce fresh baby spinach

1/4 pound sliced ham

  1. Place flour tortilla on counter  and coat with an even layer of cheese spread.
  2. Cover cheese with a handful of spinach.
  3. Cover with a layer of ham.
  4. Roll up tortilla jelly roll style.
  5. Cut into 1 inch pieces and inset tooth picks.

With practice I think you can make them in 10 minutes – ha ha ha.


Spinach, Sausage and Goat Cheese Pizza




This pizza is just like specialty pizza you pay 20-25 dollars for only with this recipe  you get 2 for $10 and this recipe is so easy. By making it at home you get all the kudos from your friends and  family and you can tell them “Awe it was just a little something I whipped up”.  Have fun and I hope you enjoy.

This recipe makes 2 – 12″ Pizzas

2 3/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoons salt

1 cup warm water

1 packet yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil + additional oil to coat pizza

8 oz. sausage (casing removed)

thin tomato slices – enough to cover Pizza

2 cup sautéed spinach and garlic (use 1 cup / pizza)

8 oz. goat cheese (use 4 oz. / pizza)

sausage bread

 Place the bread flour and salt into bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

sausage bread

Put water in a large measuring cup.  Add yeast and sugar to the water and stir to dissolve.  Set timer for 10 minutes to allow yeast to proof.

sausage bread

Add oil to the water mixture. Pour liquid into mixer bowl.  Set mixer on number two and knead for exactly 10 minutes.

sausage bread

Remove dough ball from mixer bowl then put a drop of oil into bowl of mixer. Then roll the dough around in oil to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 1 hour. Dough should double in size. Cut into two balls. Each ball makes a 12″ pizza.


Use a large skillet to cook sausage until the pink is gone and it begins to brown. Breaking up all large clumps. Place sausage into a strainer or on paper towels to drain off excess fat and set sausage aside. Use 1/2 of the sausage per pizza.


Using one of the 1/2 balls roll out to a 12″ circle for each pizza. Brush top with olive oil  (this keeps the dough from getting soggy from the tomatoes) up to 1/2 inch from the edge, then cover with sliced tomatoes.


Then cover with spinach.


Cover with the sausage crumbles.


Finish with mozzarella and large crumbles of goat cheese.


Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven on a pizza stone for 15 – 20 minutes.

photo_2 (1)

Easy Mini Spanakopita Pies


I have been asked by so many of my friends, especially around the Holidays, for a quick and easy appetizer recipe. I chose this dish not only because it is quick and easy but because it tastes so good. I do take some liberties with the traditional Spanakopita recipe by adding mushrooms to the recipe. I first added the mushrooms to the recipe many years ago because my sister told me that my brother-in-law Bob hated mushrooms and she bet me I could not get him to eat them. Do I need to tell you what Bob’s favorite appetizer has been ever since.


Yes this is Bob!

Yes this is Bob!


6 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion – diced

4 cloves garlic – diced

1 cup mushrooms – finely minced ( I use a mini food processor) it helped to hide the mushrooms from Bob

 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach – defrosted and squeezed dry

1 splash sherry or white wine

4 ounces Feta cheese – crumbled

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese – grated

2 boxes Athens Brand Filo Cups – 15 cups / box

Pam non stick spray

Parchment paper


Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until clarified. Add garlic to pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook  for 5 minutes stirring  occasionally.


Add spinach and sherry to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir well to combine. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

Add the Feta and Parmesan cheeses to the pan and stir until well combined.

Place Filo cups on a parchment lined baking pan. Lightly spray the tops of the cups with Pam.


Fill each cup with a heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving. Any extra spinach mixture can be frozen for another party or used to stuff an omelet…Yummy. Spinach and feta omelet.