My new blog

I have decided to start a blog using wordpress.com, rather than continue updating this blog. I am in the process of creating my new blog http://www.mrsmangu.wordpress.com/.

Most of the recipes and content from papaya on my bagel will be moved to my new Mrs Mangú blog shortly. I hope you'll join me over there!


Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce

Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce

Serves 2

For the marinade:
1 bottle (16-ounce) Newmann’s Own Parmesan and Roasted Garlic Dressing
½ cup Pinot Grigio
1 lime, sliced
1-1/2 pounds skirt steak

For the mustard sauce:
1/2 cup Emeril’s Kicked Up Horseradish Mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Tablespoons Pinot Grigio
1 teaspoon lime juice (about ½ lime)
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon paprika

Make the marinade:

Pour the dressing and ½ cup Pinot Grigio into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the lime slices and the skirt steak. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade. Heat the grill to medium-high heat.

In a small saucepan on the stove, over medium-high heat, combine the mustard, garlic, butter, 2 Tablespoons Pinot Grigio, teaspoon of lime juice, brown sugar and paprika. Bring to a boil and stir until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Turn heat to low.

Grill the steaks to taste, approximately 5-6 minutes per side for medium. Remove from heat and let them sit for 5 minutes. Slice on the bias, against the grain. Drizzle with the mustard sauce.


Easy Sauteed Scallops with Garlic

Easy Sautéed Scallops with Garlic

Serves 4

2 pounds sea scallops
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Wash and dry the scallops. Put flour, pepper, paprika and salt in a large plastic resealable bag. Add the scallops and shake to coat.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté approximately 1 minute. Add the scallops and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes.

Toss the scallops with the parsley just before removing from heat. Serve hot with roasted potatoes or rice.

Hot Clam Dip

Hot Clam Dip

½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (6-ounce) chopped clams, drained
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground oregano

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Heat the butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Saute the onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine the clams, crackers, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, pepper, salt and oregano.

Add the onion mixture and toss.

Pour mixture into a 9-1/4 inch square baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly. Serve hot with crackers.


Conch Fritters with Dipping Sauce

Conch Fritters with Dipping Sauce

Conch Fritters are very popular in the seafood restaurants here in South Florida and in the Caribbean. Sometimes they’re served with a dipping sauce or cocktail sauce, and sometimes just with lemon or lime wedges. They’re a great appetizer and easy to make. If you can’t find conch, you can also substitute shrimp and they’re just as delicious. The dipping sauce adds some zest to the fritters. You can adjust the heat to your own taste by adding more or less of the hot sauce in the dipping sauce.

Yield: Approximately 36 fritters

1 cup fresh conch meat
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 medium purple onion, chopped
1 rib celery
2 cloves garlic
¾ cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
3 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
oil for frying
1 lemon, cut in wedges

For Dipping Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoon hot sauce
Juice of 3 limes
1 Tablespoon ketchup

Put conch, red pepper, yellow pepper, onion, celery and garlic in food processor. Process for approximately 30 seconds, until everything is minced.

Stir in bread crumbs, eggs, milk, lime juice, parsley, hot sauce, salt and pepper.

For dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise, hot sauce and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large pot heat oil to 350 degrees. Drop conch mixture by heaping tablespoons into the hot oil. Fry until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot with dipping sauce.


Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

Serves 8

2 pounds Yukon Gold or round white potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, hard boiled
½ cup celery, minced
½ cup red onion, chopped
5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
½ cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup green onions finely sliced
1 teaspoon paprika

Put the potatoes in a large pot. Fill with water, enough to cover the potatoes by at least an inch. Add the teaspoon of salt and bring water to a boil. Cook the potatoes in their skins until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain completely and return the potatoes to the pot.

Allow the potatoes to cool 10-15 minutes and then peel and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Peel 3 of the eggs and place in a large bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggs. Add the potatoes, celery and red onion to the bowl.

Crumble 3 of the bacon slices and add to the bowl.

In a small bowl mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and sugar. Pour over the potato mixture and stir gently.

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Slice the remaining 2 eggs and lay the slices over the potato mixture.

Crumble the remaining 2 bacon slices over the potato mixture.

Garnish with green onions and paprika

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature


Grilled Chicken Empanadas

Grilled Chicken Empanadas

This recipe is best if the chicken is marinated for at least 8 hours prior to grilling it.

Yield: 20 empanadas

4 chicken breast fillets
1 Tablespoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
2 teaspoons parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
15-20 pitted green olives stuffed with pimientos
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ large yellow onion, diced
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 (15-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (10-count) packs prepared frozen dough for empanadas, thawed
1 egg white, beaten
Small bowl of warm water

In a large resealable plastic bag, mix the garlic and herb seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight.

With a sharp knife, dice the olives. Mix with the lemon juice, parsley and black pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Saute the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the olives and sauté another 2 minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

Put the eggs in a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Add the eggs to the mixing bowl.

Add the red peppers, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper and garlic powder to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grill the chicken over medium heat until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side.

Cut each chicken breast into quarters. Process in food processor for 30 seconds, until minced. Add chicken to the mixing bowl. Use wooden spoon to combine.

Drop 2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on a dough round. Dip your finger in the warm water and dampen the edge of the dough all the way around. Fold dough in half over the chicken mixture to form a half-moon shape.

Using the tines of a fork, press firmly all the way around the open edges to form a seam. Make sure there are no openings left around the edges of the dough.

Using your fork poke a hole through the top of the empanada. Fill the rest of the dough rounds using the same method.

Place a Silpat on a large baking sheet. Lay the empanadas side by side on the Silpat. Brush the top of each empanada with the egg white.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve warm with hot sauce or a dish of salsa.

These can be frozen in an airtight container. To reheat, defrost completely and bake for at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Serves 6

1 box (13.5-ounce) graham cracker crumbs
½ cup sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
8 Tablespoons fresh key lime juice
1 teaspoon grated key lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into a 9-inch pie pan.

With an electric mixer, combine key lime juice, key lime zest, milk and eggs. Beat until frothy. Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until set. Cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate at least 3 hours.


Traditional New Orleans Beignets

Traditional New Orleans Beignets

Beignets are a New Orleans staple and if you’ve never tried one of these hot doughnuts, you’re truly missing out. Beignets are the New Orleans version of a French fritter. They’re served hot, usually 3 or 4 per serving, and they’re topped with lots of powdered sugar. Café du Monde is probably the most famous place in the city to buy these but there are plenty of other quaint little places to try them. Beignets are traditionally enjoyed with a good cup of hickory coffee or café au lait.

Yield: approximately 2 dozen

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Confectioner’s sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add sugar, egg, milk and salt. Whisk until combined. Gradually stir in 2 cups of flour and stir until smooth.

Stir in butter and slowly add the rest of the flour, ¼ cup at a time. Mix by hand until butter is completely incorporated. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Place dough on a floured cutting board, punch down and roll out to 1/8 inch thick.

Using a pizza cutter, cut into rectangles, approximately 2 x 3 inches.

Heat the oil in a large pot to 360 degrees.

Gently drop the dough in, a few at a time, and fry until they puff up and are golden brown, about 2 minutes

Drain on paper towel and top with plenty of Confectioner’s sugar. Serve hot with a cup of hickory coffee or café au lait

Citrus Shrimp

Citrus Shrimp

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1(16-ounce) bag frozen green peas
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup dry white wine
1-1/2 pounds large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of one lime
1(16-ounce) bag frozen green peas
4 cups white rice, cooked
1 lime, cut in wedges

Put oil and butter in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. When oil is hot add onion, yellow and red peppers, pepper flakes and garlic. Saute until the vegetables are soft but not browned, about 4 minutes.

Add peas, orange juice and wine to the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the shrimp and lime juice to the pan. Stir to combine. Cook 3-5 minutes until shrimp just turn pink.

Spoon shrimp over rice and garnish with lime wedges

Thai Red Chicken Curry

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Serves 2

¼ cup corn starch
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large chicken breast fillets, cut in 1-inch pieces
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
2 Tablespoons red curry paste
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ cup frozen green peas
½ cup chopped fresh carrots
1/3 cup water
6 fresh basil leaves, stems attached
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 cups Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions

In a medium bowl mix corn starch, paprika and black pepper. Toss chicken pieces in mixture to coat.

Add oil to a large sauté pan. Swirl oil to coat the bottom of the pan and heat over medium heat. Sauté chicken about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so chicken does not stick to pan.

Using a slotted spoon remove chicken and drain on paper towel. Discard oil and wipe out pan.

Return pan to heat. Add coconut milk. Add the 3 Tablespoons of water to the can, mix to remove any remaining coconut milk, and add the water to the pan. Stir in red curry paste. Simmer for 4 minutes.

Add fish sauce, brown sugar, peas, carrots and remaining 1/3 cup water. Stir and let simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Return chicken pieces to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

Divide rice and place in the middle of two serving plates. Spoon chicken mixture over rice. Garnish with basil and chopped cilantro.


Easy Ice Cream Pie

Easy Ice Cream Pie

This pie can be made with any combination of ice cream and sorbet flavors you like, or two different ice cream flavors. Sometimes I swirl some dulce de leche (caramel) through the pie, or some broken Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. You can use your imagination!

Serves 8

1 prepared (8-inch) Oreo Cookie pie crust
1 pint vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 pint raspberry sorbet, slightly softened
2 Hershey milk chocolate bars, frozen

Scoop the ice cream into the pie crust. Scoop the sorbet into the pie crust. Use a fork to swirl the sorbet throughout the ice cream.

Put the Hershey bars in a resealable plastic bag and crack into pieces using a mallet or the bottom of a heavy pot.

Sprinkle the chocolate pieces on top of the pie. Cover tightly and freeze for at least two hours or until firm.

Remove from freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.


Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Yield: Approximately 4 cups

7 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup Vidalia onion, chopped
½ cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 lime

Combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapenos in a medium size bowl.

Squeeze the lime over the mixture and stir gently. Season with salt to taste.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Serve with homemade tortilla chips (see recipe below)

Baked Tortilla Chips

Baked Tortilla Chips

Yield: 96 chips

1 (12-count) pack of flour or corn tortillas
Corn oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. With a pizza cutter, cut stack of tortillas into 8 wedges.

Place the wedges on a large greased baking sheet in a single layer.

Sprinkle with salt, paprika and cumin.

Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 13 minutes, turning the wedges over halfway through the cooking time.

Serve with pico de gallo or your favorite cheese dip.


Shrimp Stew

Shrimp Stew

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 green onions, cut in ½ inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick slices
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth
1/2 cup diced onion
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups (2-14 ounce cans) chopped tomatoes with juice
1 cup white wine
1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails removed
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
4 cups hot, cooked rice

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add green onions and garlic. Sauté until soft but do not brown.

Add potatoes and vegetable broth and cook for 7 minutes.

Add hot sauce, carrot, peas, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and salt. Mix and cook 4-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes and vegetables are fork tender.

Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Do not over cook.

Add cilantro. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Serve in individual bowls over rice.

Paella for a Crowd

Paella for a Crowd

Serves: 15-20
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: Approximately 45 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 1-1/2 hours

Paella is one of those dishes that is very versatile and there are many variations. You can add pieces of white fish such as Mahi Mahi, little neck clams, or lobster if you choose. This is the recipe we used to make Christmas dinner this year and it was a big hit. The key to making the paella is to prepare all the ingredients first and separate into individual bowls. It’s definitely time consuming to make the paella. However, you can prepare the whole dish and put it in the oven ready to serve. It’s a great dish for a party. This particular recipe calls for the rice to be made separately from the seafood and other protein. At the end everything is combined. If you happen to have a very large paella pan and paella burner that uses propane, then you can make this all in the same pan. If not, cook the rice separately on the stove as I did and use wide, flat bottom pans to cook the seafood, chicken and chorizo.


2 red bell peppers, finely minced by hand
2 green bell peppers, finely minced by hand
1 large Vidalia onion, finely minced by hand
1 bunch cilantro, finely minced by hand
1 bunch green onions, green part only, finely minced by hand
2 heads garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
Olive oil
4-5 pounds chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1 (9 ounce) pack Cantipallo chorizo, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and then each slice quartered
6 plum tomatoes, diced
8 cups dry medium-grain rice, such as Arborio or Valencia
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 (8-ounce) jar chicken base
5 (32-ounce) boxes chicken stock or broth
1 (1.41-ounce) box Sazon con Azafron
½ gram Saffron threads (this is usually sold in a small packet in the spice aisle – see note below)
1 (0.5 ounce) can Bijol (See note below)
2 Bay leaves
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
5 pounds extra large shrimp (11-15 count) peeled, with tails on
2 pounds sea scallops
2 pounds mussels
1(16-ounce) bag frozen green peas
4 lemons, cut into wedges

Cook’s Note: Bijol is a powdered coloring and seasoning condiment that is used in dishes such as paella and arroz con pollo. It gives the rice a deep yellow color. It is also known as “achiote” or annatto powder and is often used to replace saffron. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. I like to use both in my paella for the coloring and the taste. Bijol can be found in the spice section of most large grocery stores.

Cook’s Note: Sazon con Azafron can be found in the ethnic food aisle of most large grocery stores. It’s sold in boxes of individual packets.

Essential Utensils: large wooden spoon, a large caldera (aluminum pot commonly used to cook rice in) or a large Dutch oven, 2 large paella pans (12-inch) or two 14-inch sauté pans, 2 full-size deep-dish aluminum pans, a medium saucepan, long tongs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare the ingredients:

1. Place the garlic in a food processor with the 3 Tablespoons olive oil. Process for 30 seconds. Divide into four equal size portions.

2. Put 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large caldera (a large aluminum pot). Swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the caldera. Turn the heat on high. When the oil is hot add the yellow onion and cook until softened, but not brown, stirring occasionally.

3. Add one portion of the garlic. Stir. Cook for one minute.

4. Add rice. Mix and fry the rice for one minute.

5. Add wine, 2 Tablespoons chicken base, 2 boxes broth, a pinch of saffron, 1-1/2 teaspoons Bijol, and 2 packs Sazon. Stir. The liquid should completely cover the rice. Stir and let it cook for 5 minutes.

6. Turn heat to medium-high. Add 1 box of broth, bay leaves, 2 Tablespoons chicken base, 2 packs Sazon, and 1 teaspoon Bijol. Stir to combine.

7. When it reaches a boil turn heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove cover.

8. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, pour 1 box broth, one portion of garlic, the remaining saffron, 1 pack Sazon. ½ teaspoon Bijol, 1 Tablespoon chicken base, and canned tomatoes. Stir and let it cook for 5 minutes, and then turn off heat.

9. Divide the rice and transfer to the aluminum pans.

10. Divide the red peppers and add to the rice.

11. Divide the green peppers and add to the rice.

12. Divide the cilantro and add to the rice.

13. Put the two paella pans or sauté pans on two large burners. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to each. Turn heat to high.

14. Divide the chicken and add to each pan. Add 1 pack Sazon to each pan. Sear chicken on both sides, using tongs to turn.

15. Divide shrimp and add to each pan.

16. Divide scallops and add to each pan.

17. Stir and cook the shellfish for 2-3 minutes. Add one portion of garlic to each pan.

18. Divide the chorizo and add to each pan.

19. Divide the peas and add to each pan.

20. Divide the tomatoes and add to each pan. Stir to combine everything.

21. Add the seafood mixture in one pan to one pan of rice. Add the other seafood mixture to the other rice. Mix well.

22. Add 2 large ladles of the hot broth to each pan of paella. Stir to combine.

23. Divide the mussels. Push mussels into rice with the edge of the mussel that is going to open is face up.

24. Cover paella with aluminum foil and place in oven for 20 minutes.

25. Transfer to a large serving platter. Garnish with lemon wedges and green onions. Serve hot.


How to make hard boiled eggs

Place eggs in a saucepan. Fill with water until the eggs are completely covered by approximately 1 inch. Turn heat to high and bring the water to a rapid boil. As soon as it begins to rapidly boil remove the saucepan from the heat and cover. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Drain and cool the eggs under cold running water.

Savory Summer Pie

Savory Summer Pie

I have had this recipe for years. I found it in Southern Living Magazine and I’ve adapted it slightly to my own tastes. It’s full of flavor and great for a brunch.

Yield: 8 slices

1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie crust
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
½ sweet Oso (or Vidalia) onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and half
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 plum tomatoes cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Bake pie crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Add the oil to a large pan, turn heat to medium. Sauté bell pepper, onion and garlic in the oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Add the basil and stir.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, half-and-half, milk, salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture and the cheeses. Stir to combine.

Pour into the pie crust and arrange the tomato slices on top of the egg mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and place strips of aluminum foil around the edges of the crust. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until set.

Serve hot.

Betty's Famous Meatballs

Betty’s Famous Meatballs

These are so good and they're easy to make. The meatballs are added directly into the sauce, rather that being browned first. Have a big pot of sauce simmering on the stove before you start making these.

Yield: Approximately 30

1 clove garlic, peeled
2 pounds ground beef
1-1/2 cups bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or garlic powder)
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup milk (if needed to moisten)

Cut the garlic clove in half and rub a large bowl with the cut side.

Put the ground beef in the bowl and make a “well” in the middle. Add the bread crumbs, cheese and the seasonings.

Pour the eggs over the meat mixture. Using your hands, mix just until it forms a ball. Do not over-mix. Slowly add the milk if the mixture seems too dry.

Gently shape mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls. Drop directly into sauce to cook. Cook for 1-1/2 hours on low heat.


Batida de Lechosa Recipe

Batida de Lechosa
(Papaya Milk Shake)

Makes 2 (6-ounce) shakes

This is my husband’s recipe for what we refer to simply as “Lechosa.” It’s very popular in the Dominican Republic. We’ve had batidas all over Latin America and, as with most recipes, there are slight differences in the way they’re made, depending on who’s making them. Sal likes it very sweet but I prefer to taste more of the papaya. We’re lucky enough to have an endless supply of fresh papayas in South Florida. We always keep some in the freezer so we can make these. By freezing the papaya we don’t have to add ice to the batida.

Note: This recipe calls for fresh papaya that’s been peeled, seeds removed, cut into 2” chunks, and frozen in airtight containers.

2 cups frozen papaya
2 cups 1% milk
3-4 Tablespoons sugar (begin with 3 Tablespoons and add the last Tablespoon if you want it sweeter)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Put papaya in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on highest speed for 1 full minute. The batida should have the consistency of a frozen milk shake. Serve immediately in tall glasses.

Zucchini and Mozzarella Puff

Zucchini and Mozzarella Puff Recipe

Serves 6

I’ve had this recipe for about 12 years and it’s one of my favorite side dishes. I have no idea who created the recipe but it was given to me by one of my very best friends from college, Ravyn, who I still keep in touch with. Every time I make this dish it reminds me of her. It’s certainly not low fat but it’s very filling and flavorful so you really only need a small piece. Thanks Ravyn!

Note: An 8 or 9 inch round, shallow casserole dish works best for this recipe.

1 stick butter
1 large zucchini squash, unpeeled
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package of refrigerated crescent rolls, unbaked
Cooking Spray
2-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (approximately 11 ounces)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4” slices. Add the zucchini and onion to the pan. Sauté until soft, but not browned.

Spray the casserole dish with cooking spray.

Separate the crescent rolls. Using your hands press each one to flatten and enlarge it, as if working with pizza dough. Lay them into the baking dish, with the widest ends of the triangles on the bottom of the dish. Piece them together, so the entire bottom of the dish and at least 1” up the sides is covered with the dough. (Don’t worry that the dough does not cover the sides of the dish, as long as the bottom and 1” up is covered). Pinch all the seams together so there are no holes.

Spoon a thin layer of the zucchini mixture, including butter, into the bottom of the dish.
Scatter one cup of cheese on top of it. Continue layering, using all of the zucchini mixture and cheese.

Pour the egg over the top.

Pull the thin ends of the dough triangles in towards the middle of the dish so they meet. Pinch the seams together. It does not matter if all the seams are sealed. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Slice as you would a pie.


I just posted the photos of Sangria and Jelly Roll. See the recipes below.

Mom's Popovers

Mom’s Popovers

These popovers always remind me of winter in New York. When it was freezing outside my mother would make beef stew and popovers and both were so delicious. She served the popovers nice and hot, right out of the oven with a little butter on them. It was a great way to warm up.

3 large eggs
1-1/4 cup whole milk
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer until creamy about 30 seconds. Add milk and continue to beat for 1 minute.

Add flour and salt. Mix by hand until all the ingredients are combined.

Generously grease 6 large muffin cups. Fill the muffin cups half full. Bake for 25 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 more minutes until golden brown. It is important NOT to open the oven door during baking or the popovers will collapse in the muffin cups.

Serve immediately.

Baked and Stuffed French Toast

Baked and Stuffed French Toast

Serves: 6

8 oz. plain cream cheese, softened
1 large loaf French Bread – sliced into 22-24 slices, each approximately 1/2" thick
2 Tbsp butter
10 large eggs
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with the butter. Lay half of the bread slices in the baking dish, overlapping them if necessary.

In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, maple syrup and cinnamon. Using a spatula spread the cream cheese mixture on one side of the remaining bread slices. Lay those slice on top of the ones in the baking dish, cheese side down.

Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together in a large bowl. Pour egg mixture over bread making sure all of the bread gets coated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover bread and bake for 1 hour.

Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve hot with warm maple syrup or sliced fruit.

Thank you for your emails

I have to tell you that I am so surprised by the number of emails I've already received from people who have seen my blog. Thank you for the comments, questions and tips. One question that I've been asked a few times already is why my blog does not come up when they do a Google search for home cooking or cooking. Honestly, I'm trying to figure out how to do that myself. As I said in the beginning, this is my first blog and I am learning so much. I would love to have my site come up when you type in "cooking" or "home cooking" but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it yet. In fact, if there's a blogger out that willing to share some helpful advice I would be forever grateful. This is my first experience using HTML codes as well and it's completely foreign to me. Over time I hope to have it all down to a science and then I can provide many more links to websites and other blogs, my cookbook once it's published, and a multitude of other things. Thank you again. For now I hope you'll add my URL to your favorite places so you can access it.