Home made Sazon with Culantro and Achiote(Like Sazon Goya or Knorr)

Most Caribbean Hispanic dishes call for a packet of Sazón Goya or Knorr. Each packet contains the necessary spices to make your dish that amazing yellow color and flavor. The packets contain annatto, cilantro, garlic, onion and other spices. It’s a great spice to use, but it has MSG (mono sodium glutamate). MSG is a flavor enhancer that balances and blends, and rounds out the flavor of your dish. It’s a salt extracted from seaweed and was discovered in 1908. There has been a lot of controversy about the safety of the consumption of MSG. 



So I decided to research and come up with my own version of sazón without artificial colors and most importantly, without MSG. 


I started with the color. I used ground annatto, or as it is called in Spanish, achiote

                                                                    Achiote pods



1½ teaspoon cumin
1½ teaspoon dried oregano
1½ teaspoon ground coriander
1½ teaspoon onion powder
1½ teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoon dried cilantro flakes
1 tablespoon of ground annatto (achiote)



1. Mix all ingredients in a mini food processor and pulse for 1-2 minutes until all spices are ground and incorporated.

2. Store in an airtight container.

3. Instead of 1 packet of store-bought, use 1 teaspoon of your homemade sazón.

¡Buen Provecho!


Watch me make the Sazon here: http://youtu.be/vNwXucpzrBI

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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: http://youtu.be/FgPb2r7E1Gc
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.



 You can watch me make this dish here http://youtu.be/2cGM9MPkVxo

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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!

Surullitos (Puerto Rican fried corn fritters)

Surullitos is a weird name for sweet and crunchy corn fritters. Surullitos in spanish means little roll-ups. They are usually served as an appetizer along with empanadas at parties with a dipping sauce of mayonnaise , ketchup, garlic powder and a touch of hot sauce(Mayo ketchup or salsa rosada). It’s our version of hush puppies. Like almost every dish, there are alot of different recipes. My version is quick and easy because the cornmeal is pre-cooked.

Here are the ingredients:

1 1/2 cup of Pre-cooked cornmeal
4 tbs white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp butter
2 cups water

FOr the mayo-ketchup
Mayonnaise and ketchup
Garlic powder
Hot sauce (Optional)

Here’s the video!

Arroz con Pollo

These past couple of weeks I’ve been a little off in my cooking. A little bit too salty, not salted enough, too watery, not enough liquid. Arggghhh!!! Does this happen to you? My solution would be having a personal chef(I can dream lol) or go back to a comfort food. A dish that is super easy and yummy! Arroz con pollo (Rice with chicken) is a one pot meal. You can make it as an every day meal or you can fancy it up for a more formal dinner. My version is an every day meal. For a fancier arroz con pollo, I would add beer as stock, add peas and decorate it with roasted red bell peppers.
You can use different chicken pieces for this dish. I used boneless chicken breast because that’s what I had available. I always accompany this dish with habichuelas guisadas(stewed beans)

Here are the ingredients:

For the rice:
3 cups long grain rice
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp or 3 cubes sofrito
1 packet Sazon Knorr( or Sazon Goya)
3 chicken breasts, cut in cubes
Adobo Goya(Or any all purpose seasoning)
Salt to taste

For the beans:
2 cans small red beans (you can use any except black beans)
3 tbsp or 3 cubes of sofrito
2 cloves garlic
1 small potato, cut in small cubes
1 can tomato sauce
1 packet Sazon Knorr
1 packet Goya ham seasoning
Now watch the video! Buen provecho!

Green and yellow total opposites?

     When you go to the market and pick your fruits and veggies, do you know if they are going to be sweet, tangy, sour or tart by just looking at them? I wish we could have that ability! At least with a Plantain you can.

Plantains in various stages of ripeness.

They are a close cousin of bananas.They are a fruit, but it’s considered a vegetable. Plantains are bigger and firmer than bananas, their peel is thicker and they are lower in sugar content. Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions and can be eaten at different stages of ripeness.From green and firm to yellow with black spots and soft.When green. they are tough and starchy, similar to a potato or a yucca root.When yellow with black spots, they turn a little bit soft and midly sweet. When almost black, they are soft, sweet and with a unique flavor. The most important difference between a plantain and a yellow sweet banana is that you can’t eat plantains RAW. The plantain has to be cooked first!  
Plantains are available in most U.S supermarketsand are found in the produce section of your local supermarket. Look for firm plantains and avoid shriveled, squishy, or moldy fruit. You can ripen plantains by storing them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight, turning them every day. It will take at least 1 week for green plantains to fully ripen.
So what to do with them??
In Puerto Rico, alot of restaurants feature a classic dish called Mofongo. It’s a terrible name for something that is borderline heavenly. It’s the perfect mix of fried, crunchy, salty and over all AMAZING!
It was featured in an episode of “The Best thing I ever ate”. Guy Fieri was amazed on how these few ingredients could make such a flavorful dish!
Here are the ingredients to make mofongo:
2 or 3 large green plantains
Salt to taste
Black pepper
Canola oil for frying
Olive oil

And now watch my video on how to make it 🙂

Buen Provecho!!

Authentic Puerto Rican Cooking

I love to cook and try to as much as I can. Seriously. I enjoy preparing meals for my family to enjoy. So in 2013 I decided to try to cook as much as possible and I am posting on my Facebook what I cook for dinner every day. I try to cook fast, easy and healthy (sort of) meals. I just want to look back and see how much I have throughout the year. Some people think that Hispanic cooking is not healthy, full of fat and sodium. I try to use canola or olive oil and use as little as possible (except every once in a while when I fry chicken or pork)
Most of my cooking is Puerto Rican (duh! born and raised in P.R.) There are a few things that almost every Puerto Rican kitchen has.

A caldero is an aluminum pot with a tight fitting lid. They are relatively inexpensive; they come in different sizes and you can easily find them in stores. This 3 piece set is online at Target for $20.99

They are great for stews, rice and for frying. The trick to great rice in a caldero is that you have to season it. When new, pour enough oil in the caldero and heat it for several minutes. And NEVER EVER place your caldero in the dishwasher!! You will strip all the seasoning off of it.

Another must have is Sazon Knorr with Coriander and Annatto. It comes in little packets and we use it to flavor and color a lot of our dishes, like yellow rice.
This is my favorite sazon, Knorr.sasonknorr
It’s not easy to find, but the Sazon Goya is available in most stores.

One of the most important condiments in our cooking is adobo. Adobo is a blend of salt, pepper, garlic onion and other spices. We use it to season EVERYTHING. Honest!

Next is a Pilon or a mortar and pestle. It’s traditionally made out of wood and used to make sofrito, mash garlic and other spices and to mash plantains for mofongo. In front Is a rectangular wood block which is used to flatten fried plantains to make tostones (tostonera)

Since some of my friends on Facebook love the What’s for Dinner posts, I decided to make a cooking video. I made rice and beans with fried pork chunks. I use long grain rice and just bought pork chunks for stew at the supermarket. I use a caldero, sazon and sofrito. You will be surprised on how easy it is to make. You don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients. In my prior post I show you how to make sofrito. It can also feed a small army. We are only 3, but hubby loves leftovers for lunch the next day.
Here are the ingredients for the Rice and Beans. Watch the video for the instructions!
2 cups long grain rice
1 can (16 oz) beans, any except black beans
2 heaping tbs sofrito
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp dried oregano
1 packet Sazon Knorr (or Goya)
2 tbs canola oil
Salt to taste.
For the Fried Pork Chunks:
2lbs cut up pork meat for stew
Adobo Goya to taste
Unseasoned meat tenderizer

Like and share the video!