Habichuelas Colorados con Calabaza Guisado / Red Kidney Beans with Calabaza Squash

HHabichuelas con Calabaza

Habichuelas Colorados con Calabaza Guisado is a  popular Puerto Rican side dish made with red kidney beans and a Caribbean squash called Calabaza. It is a hard skinned squash with orange flesh similar to Acorn or Butternut squash, either of which may be substituted in this recipe. The Calabaza squash, which is easily found in Latin markets, adds a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to the beans. Serve over cooked white rice to create a perfect a side dish for grilled, roasted or fried meats. 


1/2 pound chunk of Calabaza

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped Cubanelle pepper (Italian frying pepper)

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 – 16 ounce cans red kidney beans (or if you have more time on your hands than I do, feel free to soak some dried beans)

1 – 8 ounce can  tomato sauce



Peel, remove seeds and dice the Calabaza into 3/4 inch pieces.

HHabichuelas con Calabaza


Place the diced Calabaza into a sauce pan with enough water to cover the cubes add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain the Calabaza reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.


Place onions, green peppers, garlic and olive oil into a small food processor and pulse a few times until a coarse puree is achieved.


Place puree into a large thick bottomed saucepan and sauté for 5 minutes over low heat.


Add remaining ingredients plus the cooked Calabaza  and the reserved 1/2 cup of cooking liquid to the sauce pan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

HHabichuelas con Calabaza


Irish Soda Bread Revisited

This is an heirloom recipe that my mom makes every year for St. Patrick’s Day. Now this recipe has been handed down to me by my mother and it is my job to make sure this tradition stays alive in my family. This recipe was given to my mother by a neighbor and friend Rosie Redmond over 30 years ago. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I am reposting this recipe in memory of my mom who passed away 9/11/2013, she would always have a few loaves of bread on the kitchen counter to give away to family members come St. Patrick’s Day. That is an “Heirloom Memory”.

4 cups un-sifted All Purpose Flour 

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1+1/2 cups Buttermilk

2 eggs

1 stick Butter-softened

1 cup Raisins 

1+1/2 Teaspoons Caraway seeds  (optional but I think it adds a great flavor to the bread)

2  – (8) inch round cast iron fry pans or cake pans, greased and floured


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, toss flour mixture with hands (this give bread a light and airy consistency).

Cut in softened butter to flour mixture, using hands or a pastry cutter.  Until evenly distributed.

Add raisins and caraway seeds. Toss with hands to mix thoroughly. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add buttermilk and blend well.

Pour egg/buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Blend well with a spoon. The dough should be heavy but not too wet. (If it seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk) If too tacky to handle, add a little bit of flour, so that you can mold it to shape.

Divide batter between 2 prepared pans.

Dust hands generously with flour and mold dough into a round loaves. Dust top generously with flour. Using the wrong end of a fork cut a deep cross “X” into the dough. This is the cross of St. Patrick. This will prevent the bread from cracking, and will give it a traditional look.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until well browned (knife comes clean). Cool on a rack.

Note** By chance, I found out, that when I baked this bread in a cast iron fry pan, the bread rose higher than the one baked in the cake pans.

Sopa de Pollo con Fideos or Spanish Chicken Noodle Soup



Whenever someone starts to feel sick around mom, out comes the large caldero (soup pot) and in goes the chicken parts and tons of vegetables. Her chicken soup is thick and chunky and when I have tasted other chicken soups they were watery in comparison. Her soup was almost like a stew. This is a “Heirloom Recipe” dedicated to my Mother but with some of my own variations. I’ll be careful not to vary too far from the original recipe so she doesn’t smack me with her wooden spoon.


6 chicken thighs, skin on

1 large onion quartered

4 stalks of celery coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed

¼ tsp celery seed

1 bay leaf

10 pepper corns

¼ tsp rosemary

¼ tsp thyme

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp parsley

½ tsp cilantro

3 tsp salt

2 quarts of water

Place all ingredients in a large pot at high heat. When pot comes to a boil reduce heat to a low boil and simmer for 1 hour, covered. After 1 hour strain the liquid through a fine mesh, reserve the liquid. Remove chicken and discard the vegetables and spices. Remove the meat from the bone and shred into coarse chunks, discard the skin. Then set the shredded chicken aside to cool.


Reserved chicken stock

2 cups diced red bliss or other thin-skinned potato, ½” cubed

1 medium onion, ½” dice

½ cup celery, ½” dice

½ cup carrots, ½” dice

1 – 8 oz. can of Garbanzo Beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed

½ pound fine egg noodles

Reserved shredded chicken

2 cups of fresh spinach, shredded

1 – 8 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

2 slices of lemon

Bring stock to a boil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When boiling starts add potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and beans to un-covered pot and boil for 45 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add egg noodles and the reserved chicken to the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. When you open the pot the spinach should be wilted, give the pot a final stir and serve. This soup gets better with age.

Optional: garnish individual bowls with a sprig of cilantro, some diced avocado and a lemon wedge.