Nutella Mini-Cakes

 National Nutella Day is February 5th. I really don’t need a specific day to celebrate this yummy chocolate hazelnut spread. I decided to make a decadent dessert. These Nutella cakes are super simple to make and absolutely amazing. With a few ingredients, you can create a rich dessert that will impress your family! 

Nutella Mini Cakes


1 cup Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 eggs
Maraschino cherries or fresh strawberries and powdered sugar for garnish
Butter-flavored oil spray 



1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and the pinch of salt and mix until combined.

3. Mix in the Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread and the two eggs and mix until well combined.

4. Spray 4 ramekins or a cupcake tin with butter spray and divide the batter equally in each.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. After 15 minutes, insert a toothpick in the middle; if it comes out clean, they are done!

6. Decorate with powdered sugar and strawberries or cherries.



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Boricua Style Carne Guisada or Beef Stew

Carne guisada or beef stew is a very popular dish in Puerto Rico. One of my favorites too! It’s a very hearty dish, very easy to make and lefotvers taste even better the next day! It’s a complete meal all by itself, but we Puertoricans need our white rice!


3 lbs of beef stew meat
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
3 large potatoes diced
1 cup of carrots
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1/4 cup of olives
4 cubes of sofrito or 4 tablespoons You can watch me make sofrito here:
1 teaspoon of cumin and oregano
Adobo Goya to taste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3-4 cups of water
2-3 tablespoons of canola oil



  • In a large pot or dutch oven heat 2 – 3 tablespoons of canola oil at medium high heat.
  • Place the stew meat in a large bowl and season with adobo (to taste) cumin and oregano.
  • Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of flour and mix around. The flour will help bind the seasonings to the meat and will help thicken the stew.
  • Brown and sear the meat in batches and set aside.


      Place sofrito, garlic cloves and cilantro in the pot and cook for a few minutes.

  • Add the bay leaves, olives, the Sazon packet and tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the beef, carrots and 3 – 4 cups of water, enough to cover the meat in the pot.
  • Let the stew come up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 30- 40 minutes.
  • After 30-40 minutes, check the tenderness of the beef, and add the potatoes and continue cooking at medium low for 30 minutes or until tender.



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Coquito or PuertoRican Eggnog

ImageI love Christmas and everything that goes with it. The tree, decorations, and especially the food!! Let’s start with a holiday drink, coquito.

The  the name coquito came from “ron con coco” or rum with coconut, a drink made by  workers in the cane fields in Puerto Rico. Rum is obtained from cane sugar by fermentation, distillation, and aging. By adding sugar cane molasses  to the distilled rum and coconut milk, they obtained a sweet  concoction  that was called “ron con coco” or rum with coconut.

So how does ron con coco turn into coquito?? When North Americans arrived in Puerto Rico in the 1800’s, they shared  Eggnog, and it was blended and fused into our own drink called coquito. Some say coquito has to have eggs, some do not. It freaks me out to drink something that has been sitting in the fridge that has raw eggs? No thank you. There are many different versions of this drink, and this is my version.



1 can condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 can cream of coconut

1 can coconut milk

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt.

Now here is a step by step tutorial on how to put it all together. It’s bilingual too, spanish and english

Flan de Calabaza or Pumpkin Custard

Everyone asks me for Puerto rican recipes for Thanksgiving. And to be honest, I don’t really have any. I love the “American traditional” Thanksgiving. My mom and my sister used to cook the Thanksgiving meal when I was little. Now my sister is the one who does the whole dinner every year, and I do the Christmas dinner. My favorite dish? It has to be the bread stuffing! I look forward to it all year. Smothered in gravy!

So I remembered this flan.  It’s quick and easy, it looks amazing and it has the hispanic twist.

Pre-heat your oven at 350F

Here are the ingredients:

For the custard:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
Pinch of salt

For the caramel:

¾ cup white granulated sugar

Now here’s the video tutorial on how to make it.


Mantecaditos or Puerto Rican shortbread

In Puerto Rico, we really don’t bake a whole bunch. It’s hot all year round!  Maybe that’s why we have so many panaderias (bakeries).

We didn’t have that many grocery stores like they do today,  so many of us relied on panaderias. From milk, deli meat, freshly baked bread to even a little area with different products from laundry soap to candies. Maybe our version of a convenience store. If you ever visit Puerto Rico, the best breakfast will be from a  panaderia!

The only cookie I remember being made that could be considered authentic Puerto Rican is a mantecadito. Manteca in spanish means lard or shortening. Lard cookies don’t sound yummy but mantecaditos do!  They are very simple to make, doesn’t take that long in the oven either.





Here are the ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tsp almond emulsion or almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
To decorate:
Sprinkles and guava jelly cubes

Now watch the video on how to make it!


Funche, Puerto Rican Polenta

Everyone has heard of polenta, but funche (pronounced foon-chay)? Let me explain.
Polenta is cornmeal boiled into a porridge and eaten directly or baked, fried or grilled. Polenta is an Italian word, derived from the Latin for hulled and crushed grain, especially barley-meal. Maize was not cultivated in Europe until the early 16th century. It comes from the same base as “pollen”.
In northern Angola, it is known as funge, and is the probable source of names for the dish in a number of Caribbean countries, destination of slaves from Angola and elsewhere along the West Coast.
Funche is usually served with a fish stew (mainly codfish stew). I really dislike fish. The smell, texture, everything about it I don’t like, but that’s another story. My dad used to love this, he was from Jamaica and it’s called turn cornmeal and they usually mix in coconut milk.
The best part is if you have leftovers, you slice it and fry it up and it tastes amazing!
Here are the ingredients:
1 cup of coarse ground cornmeal
2 cups of water
1 heaping cup of chopped onions
1/2 -3/4 diced green pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon chicken buillon or 1 cube
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons butter

Now here’s the video on how to make it. Buen Provecho!

Pig and Peas, 2 in a pod??

We have already established that puertoricans love rice.  We even eat leftover rice with eggs for breakfast. Hey don’t knock it! It’s pretty good :-) Just like potatoes, rice can stand alone, or be mixed with different meats and legumes.
One of the most popular rice dishes in Puerto Rico is arroz con gandules(Rice and pigeon peas). Pigeon peas or gandules date back 3,500 years! They originated in India and thank fully reached the Caribbean! Unlike green beans or string beans plants, the pigeon pea is actually a little tree. It can last and produce beans 3 – 5 years.

Pigeon pea pods!
You can’t say Arroz con gandules without mentioning pork. They go hand in hand. It’s our official food for Christmas. A nice roast pork shoulder with the skin all crispy, and fluffy rice and pigeon peas.
Since I didn’t have 5 hours to prep and prepare a Christmas feast, I decided to make breaded pork steaks and arroz con gandules. This is a tasty and quick weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Here are the ingredients:
For the rice:
2 cups of rice
1 can of green pigeon peas(gandules verdes)
3 cubes or 3 tablespoons of sofrito
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 packet Goya ham seasoning
1 packet Sazon Knorr
4 tablespoons of achiote oil (optional)
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt to taste

For the pork steaks:
6 pork steaks, thinly sliced
1 egg
Adobo Goya
Plain breadcrumbs
Canola oil for frying

Now watch the video on how to make it!

Buen provecho!!

Chicharron de Pollo is Chicken Cracklings

You’ve heard of pork cracklings….but chicken cracklings? It’s just an easier way to say “chicken cut up in pieces, seasoned, floured and fried”. It’s served in Puerto Rico as an appetizer or as the main protein in a meal. It’s one of my faves! The chicken comes out super crunchy, juicy and yummy! And since each piece is small, it cooks faster. You can serve it with any side dish, but in my house it has to be rice and beans!
Now here’s the video!

My first Giveaway!!

      Hello everyone! I am super excited to share with you my first giveaway!  It’s my way of thanking all the awesome support and love that I have received on my youtube channel, facebook page and here! I can’t believe I have more than 1200 subscribers on youtube.

     I receive a lot of comments and questions on the ingredients and seasonings I use to cook hispanic food. Most  can’t find what I use. So I decided to make a little “Puertorican Survival Kit” and give it a way to one lucky person!

     The rules are simple. You have to subscribe to my Youtube channel SweetsandBeyond

After clicking subscribe,

Click on the giveaway video:

And leave a comment on what would you cook with the ingredients if you win.

I will announce the winner in 2 weeks.

Good luck!!!

Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

Sometimes I get tired of cooking the same things week after week and I’m always looking for quick and easy meals to make. So I came across She loves ground turkey as much as I do! She has alot of ground turkey recipes. These meatballs caught my attention. My hubby loves spicy food and my daughter is starting to like them too, me. not so much. When I saw honey and chipotle, it sounded like an awesome combination for us!
Like I usually do, I read the recipe, buy the things I don’t have and prop up the Kindle Fire with the recipe and start cooking. The first thing I did was open the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I was surprised on how yummy they smelled, it didn’t smell “spicy” to me. As I’m following her recipe, she mentions that it doesn’t have any type of breadcrumbs. Since I didn’t have the 1 1/4lb of ground turkey she used, only had 1 lb of 93% lean turkey, I decided to use 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs. Then I read the black pepper measurement wrong (The Kindle had gone to sleep) and I will adjust the recipe on what I did.
The meatballs are cooking, and I decide to make the honey chipotle sauce. She mentions from 2 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons of the chipotle peppers, depending on your heat tolerance. So I decided 2 tablespoons. I’ve never used canned peppers, so when I measured out 2 tablespoons and tried to chop them, I discovered they had seeds. So I take the pieces of peppers (they were whole, cut in 3 sections) and rinsed them under water to take all the seeds out, thinking the sauce would look prettier without them.
I measure out everything for the sauce and use about 4 pieces of the chipotle peppers, roughly chopped. Oh my goodness was that HOT!!!! To me it wasn’t edible, so I fished out most of the peppers, added more vinegar and honey and it was still spicy, but bearable. The end result was yummy! The sauce reduced in the oven and coated the meatballs nicely. I served them with rice and beans.

Finished product!
06-20-13 004

Here is the recipe I sort of followed:

Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 lb ground turkey (I used 1 lb of 93% lean turkey)
1/2 yellow onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
4 tablespoons honey
2-4 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (depending on your tolerance for heat)
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil  (I used canola oil)

*****Not in the recipe but I used 1/2cup of panko breadcrumbs*******

*****I also don’t have a skillet that I can use in the oven, so I browned them and placed them in a baking dish******

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, stir the onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper together then add the turkey to the bowl and use your hands to mix just until combined (do not overmix). Form into 16 meatballs (each will be about the size of a golf ball). In a small bowl, stir together the honey, chiles, and vinegar.

Set a large ovenproof skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the oil. Once it is shimmering, add the meatballs. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Move the skillet to the oven and bake the meatballs for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven (remember, the handle will be hot!) and pour the sauce over the meatballs. Bake for another 5 minutes (swirling the pan at the halfway point), or until the sauce has reduced to glaze the meatballs and the meatballs are cooked through. (Keep an eye on your meatballs in the oven – without eggs or milk-soaked bread for added moisture, they have the potential to dry out if overcooked.)

Makes 16 meatballs