Pastelon Dominicano

The Dominican pastelon is more like a casserole. A main element of Dominican cuisine. There are more than six variations in the Dominican Republic the most popular ones being pastelon de platano maduro(yellow plantain casserole) and pastelon de yuca(cassava casserole). Pastelones can be found in other Latin American Countries like Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and Cuba, specially the eastern part which has great Dominican influence. Pastelones are usually stuffed with ground meat or chicken. (source: Wikipedia)

Here’s my very simple version of this dish.

Ingredients:
Depending on size of dish to be used..
-4 ripe plantains
-1 lb. of lean ground beef
-2 eggplants
-1 tbsp of tomato paste
-1 green pepper
-1 red pepper
-1 onion
-1 tsp of garlic powder

Directions:

Peel plantains and boil until soft.

Cut eggplants lengthwise and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and bake for about 20 mins at 350.

Cook lean meat in skillet and add peppers, onion, tomato paste and garlic powder. Feel free to add any seasoning you would like.

Once plantains are done let them cool for a bit and mash them with a fork. You may want to take out the black seeds from the inside of it.

When you have the main 3 ingredients ready; mashed plantains, cooked meat and baked eggplants it is time to put it all together. Start by layering with plantain and then eggplant followed by the meat. Continue until all your ingredients are finished.

When finished you can sprinkle some low-fat cheese on top and bake for another 20 minutes at 350 until cheese is bubbly.

This dish was very tasty and I know that because my husband and I fought over the last piece!!! Hope you enjoy it. This is a great balance of protein and carbs as the ripe plantain is a complex carb with lower glycemic index.

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Cauliflower – Sausage Mac and Cheese

For those that include some carbs in their diet, this is a really good dish to try. I wanted to make a pasta dish but with some added protein and veggies to give it a healthier twist. So I came up with this….

Cook any Mac and Cheese pasta of your choice as directed on the box. I picked out a gluten-free brand.

I cooked some Al Fresco Sausage on a skillet until brown. Chopped in small cubes. Add in the sausage to the already cooked pasta with cheese sauce.

Steam cauliflower until soft. Let it cool some and then chop into tiny pieces. You can also put it in the food processor and chop.
Add in the cauliflower to the pasta and sausage.

Next, sprinkle with some low-fat cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. I used this gluten-free brand.

To finish, bake at 350 until cheese has melted and bread crumbs have browned, about 20 minutes. For the last 5 turn on the broil for a better crisp.

Eggplant Lasagna

I’ve become an expert at doing (insert vegetable) lasagna. It is so easy and what I love the most is that you make one dish and you are good to go. You get in your vegetables and protein without too much hassle.

Here I tried it with eggplant. I cut the eggplant lengthwise and placed it on a baking sheet and sprinkled it with some pepper. Bake it for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime cook about a pound of ground turkey, pork or beef with any seasoning of your liking. In this case I just added some low sodium pasta sauce to the meat.

Once ready take eggplant slices and sprinkle some olive oil on them. On an oven safe dish start layering up the meat sauce and the eggplant, starting with some sauce at the bottom.

Top off with sauce and sprinkle some low-fat cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until cheese has melted and meat sauce is bubbling up.

Stuffed Pumpkin

After making stuffed peppers and acorns I noticed all the possible dishes I could be making using this style of meal. After Halloween all I saw were those left over pumpkins at the groceries store. So I decided to pick one up and give it a try. This was easier than I thought!

Cook about a pound of ground lean beef, pork or turkey.
Add in any spices and chopped veggies of your choice. Here I added some cumin, chili powder, diced tomatoes and onions.

Clean the pumpkin by taking out all seeds. Place protein mixture in pumpkin and bake at 35o degrees for 40-45 minutes. Poke pumpkin with knife to make sure it’s soft and ready.

Here’s my dinner plate with some roasted beets!

Turkey Loaf

Another great recipe by Paleo Comfort Foods is this turkey loaf.

Ingredients
2 Medium sweet onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large eggs
4 lbs of lean turkey
1 cup of red sauce or spaghetti sauce

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Saute onion, red pepper and all spices with coconut oil over medium heat until onions become translucent. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in tomato paste, stock, and Worcestershire sauce.

3. In large bowl, crack eggs over your turkey and fold in the onion mix once it has cooled.
4. Place meat mixture on sheet pan or casserole dish, no greasing required.
5. Pour red sauce over the top and bake for about 90 minutes.

This dish can last for a couple of days leaving great leftovers!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sausage

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash
1 medium sweet onion
6-10 links of sausage (I used chicken sausage)
1/4 cup of coconut milk
1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
Cajun seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sausages into cubes or slices. Slice or dice onion. Split squash in half lengthwise and remove seed, and place upside down on roasting pan. Cook until soft for about 30-45 minutes. Brown sausage and onions in skillet. Scoop squash out of shell and into the pot with the sausage. Stir adding seasoning and coconut milk. Serve hot.

Stuffed Peppers

I love peppers! They are such a versatile vegetable, you can have the raw or cooked in many different ways. This time I made them into a complete meal. I found this recipe in the Paleo Everyday book, which I always have handy. Even though I did not have all the ingredients the recipe called for I was still able to make it with what I had and it came out great!

Ingredients:

5-6 bell peppers
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef – I used ground lean pork instead.
1 diced yellow onion
5-6 diced carrots – not included in my dish
6-8 diced celery stalks – not included in my dish
Dried oregano, big bunch of chopped fresh basil or dried basil, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper to taste
One or two big squirts of hot sauce if you want them spicy.
Olive oil

Fill a big pot with water and bring to a boil. Remove just the tops of the bell peppers, and rinse well to remove all the seeds. Place the bell peppers gently in the boiling water and submerge them for 5-6 minutes or until the bell peppers are just a little soft but not falling apart.

In a skillet pour olive oil and over medium heat toss in the onion, celery, and carrots. Drop in the ground beef and add the dried seasonings to the meat before its entirely cooked. Mix well and let the meat and veggies cook over medium low heat stirring occasionally. Then add the can of tomatoes to the meat mixture and bring to a simmer.

Pull the bell peppers out of the water with tongs and arrange in a large baking dish. Fill each bell pepper with the meat mixture. Don’t be shy and put a lot of stuffing. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Ready to eat!!

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Meatballs

I’m so exciting about fall approaching. I love anything pumpkin and squash. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe and I was so excited when I found a spaghetti squash at the local supermarket. So here it is, my step-by-step of this easy recipe.

First, cut the squash into two halves. Be advised there is some serious man power needed for this! Scoop out all the seeds and clean as pictured below.

Next, place the squash on baking sheet facing down and bake in preheated oven 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure that squash is fully cooked by easily inserting knife through the skin.

Once the squash has been baked. Place aside and let it cool enough to be handled. At this point I sprinkled some pepper and a pinch of salt but this is optional. When ready, use a fork to separate the inside starting with the edges and work your way to the middle. Taking all the flesh out. Place aside.

While the squash was in the oven I cooked the meat, I used these chicken meatballs with my favorite red sauce.

Here’s the final product!

Mango Salsa Fish dish

Another dish I tend to make often when running short on time is this delicious salsa fish.  Just place fish (in this case Tilapia) on a baking dish and cover with your favorite salsa. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until fish is flaky. I also like to throw in some fruit. Just cut a cup of mango or peach to give it a tropical twist! =)

For the salsa I use Newman’s Own Mango Salsa. yum!