Ensalada Cubana

Spring is here and the weather is getting warmer! With that comes cooler food, like salads, especially salads with a twist.

Came across the recipe of a Cuban salad (ensalada cubana) when I was looking for something original for a potluck. My husband has this awesome Cuban cookbook, where I got the inspiration for this recipe. This was different because the dressing is made with hot oil, to soften the onion and garlic flavor. That is one technique I had never used before, a “stir fry” approach to a salad! The original recipe included shrimp, but I left out the shrimps and bell pepper, and gave it my own spin. The result? A delicious salad, without the pungent onion smell or flavor. I know, onions are great for cooking and salads, but raw onions upset my stomach so this was the perfect solution for me. Definitely making this again!


Ensalada Cubana
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  • 1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lemon or lime juice
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper cut in chunks (left out in my version)
  • 4 large red ripe tomatoes sliced thin or
  • (1 cup baby tomatoes, halved)
  • 1 cup cucumber, cubed or sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • (Optional: 1 cup chick peas)


  1. Heat oil (don't let it smoke), add onion, garlic and juice. (Add chick peas if using.) Remove pan from heat and stir for two minutes. Let the mixture cool off, season with salt & pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Blanch bell pepper, arrange with tomatoes and cucumber on a platter, drizzle (or toss) with dressing, sprinkle some cilantro on top before serving.



Cheesy Chicken Alfredo dip

December was, as usual, THE party month of the year, with lots of food everywhere and it was the perfect time to experiment with a new one: Cheesy Chicken Alfredo dip… Yes, it was yummy! You’ve gotta try it, but only if you want your guests to clean it out ASAP!!

Cheesy Alfredo dip

As I was multi-tasking during Thanksgiving, I cooked some chicken breasts in the soup base of this  Colombian corn soup I wanted to try out. You could also use rotisserie chicken and chop the chicken breast up. Anything goes when you’re really busy!

This recipe is super easy and I think the hardest part was cooking/chopping the chicken, and maybe slicing the bell peppers and cucumbers. I also served crackers, but everyone liked the peppers and cucumbers best. They’re a perfect balance to the rich Alfredo dip.

Too easy not to try!  You and your guest will really enjoy it!

Cheesy Chicken Alfredo dip
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  • 2 cups cooked chicken shredded
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1 jar (15 oz) Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 3 Bell peppers (green & colored), crackers or bread for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine chicken, cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, Alfredo sauce and Cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl. Taste and add more pepper or seasoning if desired.
  3. Spread into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  4. Serve with vegetables and crackers for dipping.

Original recipe:  Cajun Chicken Alfredo Dip


Creamy Colombian Corn Soup

It’s cold outside and I can’t think of anything better than soup to stay warm and cozy during Winter time.

I often make the Ginger Carrot soup for Thanksgiving, but last November I went looking for something different, that was equally good. I found two different recipes that both looked yum, yet easy to make. I choose the Crema de Mazorca, or Creamy Corn Soup, from the website of My Colombian recipes. It is one of my favorite sites and I’ve tried many dishes, some of them multiple times.

Who wouldn’t like a subtle creamy soup, enhanced by cilantro, avocado and potato sticks?  The latter went surprisingly well with the soup!

I used frozen corn and added more garlic than the original recipe called for. I also used a bit more potatoes to make the soup a bit heavier. You can experiment any way you like. Hey, it’s your kitchen and your soup 🙂


Creamy Colombian Corn Soup
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  • 2 bags (10 oz) frozen corn
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup white potatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Place the corn, water, chicken or vegetable bouillon, garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, potatoes and scallions in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for approximately 4 minutes or until the corn is tender.
  2. Remove from the heat. Purée the soup in a blender and return to the pot, add the cream and heat over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour into bowls, garnish with cilantro and potato sticks.

Photo credit and original recipe: Crema de Mazorca at My Colombian Recipes

Yummy Nutella

nutellaNutella (or Tunella, as one of my grand daughters used to call it), a chocolate hazelnut spread originated in Italy, that we used to get from Holland, is one of my favorite sandwich topping. It was always hard to make it last until we got the next visitors who could bring us some more, so imagine my excitement when all of a sudden it appeared on the grocery store shelves near us. Yay!!

While the first jars sold were not cheap, it was worth the price to indulge every now and then. Luckily Nutella is now sold all over the U.S. and apparently the rest of the world! A while ago I saw a tweet about 8 things you may not know about Nutella and of course I had to check it out.

Did you know there is a World Nutella Day? Goodness, how did I miss that? I rolled from one link to another on that web site and could have gone on for hours, just to see the things people do with Nutella! Oh boy, I must be the most boring Nutella fan who likes her chocolate spread plain on toast, because the variety of cookies, cupcakes and other desserts people make with it is endless!

Well, at least I got some inspiration to try out some new things with it and put that big jar of Nutella I have to work, but then with a twist. Hmm, what genius, yummy Nutella snack can I invent?

Here are some links for cookies I selected to try out:

Nutella Poptarts

Butter cookies with Nutella

Nutella Biscotti

Nutella sugar sandwich cookies

Nutella thumbprint cookies

Polvorones (Sweet Almond Cookies) from Ecuador

Lately, I’ve been diving into Latin American cooking, cookies and desserts included. I found this simple recipe for almond cookies from Ecuador and wanted to give it a try.

polvorones almond cookiesInitially I planned to double the recipe, but 3 cups flour looked like it would generate a big enough batch, especially since this was an experiment. Well, I wished I had remembered that I changed my mind, because I started the preparations with a whole cup of almonds (yes, double), while I followed the rest of the recipe to the letter. Of course I remembered this when the cookies came out of the oven… oops!!

The result was a soft cookie with almond flavor, that was not too sweet. If you’re trying to cut down your sugar or you don’t like your cookies too sweet, give these Polvorones a try. Polvo is powder and I believe the name has to do with the powdered sugar coating.

1/2 cup almonds (or 1 cup)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
* confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven at 390°F.
  2. Chop the almonds until fine, using a food processor.
  3. Combine sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and almonds with a mixer, beating at medium speed.
  4. Add  1/4 cup butter at the time, beating at medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Small bits of butter will be visible in the mixture.
  5. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, at low mixer speed.
  6. Add baking powder at same low speed until combined. The dough will have a sticky consistency.
  7. Roll a small quantity of dough between your flour-covered palms to form golf ball-size cookies.
  8. Place the cookies  a couple of inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies will crack slightly on the top. Test doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cookie is done.
  10. While still warm, sprinkle the cookies with plenty of confectioners’ sugar. Remember, the cookie itself is not very sweet, so this is how you determine the sweetness.

Although it was not my intention to use more almonds, I have to add that it didn’t overwhelm the flavor of the polvorones at all. So … if you like a stronger almond flavor, go for it and double the quantity of almonds! 


Source: http://www.thelatinkitchen.com/recipe/polvorones-sweet-almond-cookies