Cuban Ajiaco Recipe in a Slow Cooker

Cuban Ajiaco Recipe in a Slow Cooker

I made some Ajiaco in my crockpot and I just have to share it. But first some background...

In the 1930’s, Cuban President Gerardo Machado made a proclamation that once a week everyone on the island would eat an “ajiaco” – a type of country stew made mostly with root vegetables and flavored with meat. According to my mom (a 93-year-old guajira) every restaurant, fonda, and home followed the “weekly ajiaco” rule. It was a way to use all the different root vegetables indigenous to Cuba, taking advantage of what was available in each province.

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Cuban Pizza Recipe

 When I say I'm making Cuban pizza, no one believes it's a real thing. 

What makes it Cuban, you ask? Well, it starts, just like all good Cuban food, with a sofrito. A Cuban "sofrito" is the beginning and end of all that is good and holy about Cuban food - onion, garlic, bell pepper perfectly sauteéd in olive oil with a hint of tomato and spices. 

For the cheeses, you will want to add some gouda to the mozarella and parmesan. Then just sit back and enjoy the compliments. 

The Very Best Homemade Cuban Pizza EVER

  • 2 pkgs. Pre-made pizza crust or you can also use the refrigerated dough (I use Boboli Original Pizza Crust)
  • Olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 small yellow onion – diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper – diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup grated Gouda cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1) In a large skillet, sauté garlic, onion, and bell pepper in olive oil over medium heat.

Remember, you’re making a sofrito for the sauce.


2) Cook and stir until onion is translucent, but make sure not to burn the garlic.

3) Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, white wine, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.

4) Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until well-blended and heated through.

5) Spread this sofrito sauce over pizza dough.


6) Mix the gouda and mozzarella cheeses together and cover the pizzas with these.

7) Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over all. This is what gives it that toasty cheese look and taste.


8) Sprinkle lightly with a little bit more oregano.

9) Cook in a hot oven at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and toasted.


10) WARNING: Resist the temptation to bite into it immediately, even though you will be enticed to do so by the blissfully amazing Cuban-food smell. 

11) You can thank me later. 

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Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites Recipe

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Farmland® and Latina Bloggers Connect. But, of course, all opinions are my own.

Recipe Development - let’s discuss this for a moment. 

When I hear the term, “Recipe Development,” I think of scientist types in an expansive, pristine kitchen, clothed in white lab coats and safety goggles. Because “Recipe Development," you see, is probably something that's best left to the professionals. 

At least that’s the way this plays out in my mind. However…

I’ve had an idea for an appetizer-type recipe rattling around in my brain for a while. It has some of my favorite ingredients with the delicious addition of bacon. It would be ideal for a game day snack. 

And serendipitously, I’ve been tasked to develop a recipe using Farmland® Bacon. 

Full confession: My first reaction was, “Seriously? I’d so love to.” My second reaction, “I don’t really know if Recipe Development is part of my particular skill set.” Of course, I didn’t say this out loud, but that's not important right now. 

It had to be something that appealed to my Cuban sensibilities. And incorporated bacon

“Seriously? I’d love to!”

The best ingredients are key for this recipe to taste like I wanted it to. Farmland® Bacon has that whole “slow smoked over real wood” thing going for it so that was a no-brainer. (I buy it at Walmart.)

From the Farmland® Bacon website: For decades, Farmland® has taken pride in perfecting their curing and smoking technique – a difference you’ll taste in every delicious bite. (Emphasis mine.)

The Farmland® Bacon is what takes this recipe to that next level. So much so, that I thought about calling this recipe, “Every Delicious Bite.” Yep. It’s that good.

Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado, let me present to you my latest recipe (drum roll, please).

Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites.  

Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites

Let’s just observe a moment of silence, please. Thankyouverymuch.

I have had cream cheese wontons before and I think they’re perfectly lovely. Of course, when my thoughts turn to cream cheese, you know I will be thinking of adding guava somehow very soon. But then, I still needed to incorporate bacon into this mix. 

That’s right when the whole thing went from Pedestrian to Sublime, the Heavens opened and an Angelic Choir burst into a Song of Great Celebration and Joy. That, or I got really, really excited.

Bacon. Guava. Cream Cheese. Wontons. Together at last.

Believe me when I tell you that this is a pretty brilliant combination of textures and flavors. And you’ll be floored by how these beautiful little creatures can be put together so quickly and so very deliciously. 


The guava is what gives it the sweetness. Paired with the cream cheese it takes this to the Next Level of Cubanity. The bacon? Well, the bacon is what makes it other-worldly. And when you deep-fry these little bundles you get crunch. Everything you want in a Cuban-style appetizer or game day treat. 

Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites 

My-big-fat-cuban-family-farmland-bacon-guava-cream-cheese-bites4 copy


  • 1/2 lb. (half a package) Farmland® Classic Cut Bacon
  • Square wonton wrappers (I used the small ones.)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 oz. guava paste
  • Cooking oil (for deep frying)
  • Water (to glue the wontons)


1) Slice the entire package of bacon down the middle so you have shorter pieces to cook. 

2) Fry these in a hot skillet until they are crispy, but not burned. 

3) Drain on paper towels and chop roughly into smaller pieces. 


4) Separate the thin sheets of wonton. I used both 1 and 2 sheets. Two sheets add more crunch. This will depend on your personal preference. I tried some both ways and I was equally happy.


5) Cut up the guava into small pieces.

6) To build the wontons, place small pieces of guava in the center of the wonton.


7) Spread with cream cheese, drop a few pieces of the roughly chopped bacon into this little cream cheese nest. 


8) Dip your fingertip in water and run a tiny bit of water around the edges of the wonton. This acts like glue. You can also use egg white for this. Grab the corners of the wonton and squish (<—yes, that’s the technical term for it) corners together to create a little pouch. 


9) Heat your oil in a deep skillet. The depth of the oil should just cover the wontons.

10) Fry quickly in the very hot oil. It should only take about 10-15 seconds, if that. Work in small batches. Don't do more than 3 or 4 at a time. They cook very quickly.

11) Drain cooked wontons on a paper towel. 

Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites1

12) Let them cool slightly before eating. They’re great at room temperature.

13) Serve and receive your praises. 

Makes about 36 pieces.

Come to think of it, I kind of ROCK at Recipe Development. 

For more awesome Farmland recipes, go give them some Facebook love right here.


This is a compensated collaboration with Farmland® and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Cuban Pan con Bistec Recipe (Cuban Steak Sandwich)

Working Smarter

I’m lazy. There, I said it.  No, it’s really okay. I freely admit it.

Yep, L-A-Z-Y. Which is why I’m not a big fan of spending hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and guessing that there aren’t a whole lot of fans of hot-stove-slavery out there, but that’s not important right now.

And when I cook, particularly Cuban food, it’s usually because I’m just craving a particular taste and I’m too lazy to drive a couple of hours on the Los Angeles freeway system to go on a Cuban Food Hunt.

But on the other hand, I do spend time (sometimes a shameful amount of time!) trying to figure out the easiest way to satisfy my current Cuban food craving.

What this means is that you’re totally in luck today.  Because I was craving a fantastic Pan con Bistec – Cuban steak sandwich.  And believe me, not all steak sandwiches are created equal.

Which is why instead of starting with a pounded-within-an-in-of-its-life dry round steak, I started off with a mouth-watering boneless beef rib-eye which makes my steak sandwiches worth the 10 minutes it takes to slice up and cook up those melt-in-your-mouth rib-eye strips.

Now that’s what I call working SMARTER, not harder. 

Pan con Bistec – Cuban Steak Sandwich



  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 24-inch loaf of Cuban bread (or your favorite baguette-type bread)
  • 1 lb. Boneless beef rib-eye steak, sliced into 1/2 inch strips (this cut makes all the difference!)
  • Parsley flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese (optional)


1) Slice the bread into four (or six) equal parts – depending on the size of sandwich you prefer.

2) In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil together and sauté the onion until slightly soft.  Season with salt, remove cooked onions from skillet and set aside.


3) In the same skillet, over high heat, sear the steak strips until brown. About one minute per side.  NOTE: Do not stir the meat. You want it brown. Use tongs or a fork to flip.


4) Season with salt, pepper, and parsley flakes.

5) Remove steak from heat.

6) Divide steak among your pre-sliced bread.


7) Cover the steak with onions and (if desired) a slice of Swiss cheese.

8 ) Spread a thin layer of butter on the outside of sandwich.

9) Press in a sandwich press (or you can even use a George Forman Grill).

Pretty smart, right?

By the way, If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I’m @Smrtqbn. 

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Cuban Sandwich Recipe

The Sandwich Generation - A Rant and a Classic Cuban Sandwich Recipe

The term, "sandwich generation" is used to describe those adults who are caring for aging parents while still actively parenting their kids. 

While I'm grateful that my sisters and I share the load of caring for my 97 year old mom, Luza, I still feel the push-pull of having teenagers in the house and helping my mom with her needs. 

Jonathan is a sophomore in high school and even though I'm not his primary teacher, I'm still overseeing much of his schoolwork and am still very present in his life. He does not yet drive and so I'm also schlepping him around from event to event. But I still get phone calls from my mom when she needs bananas or bread or because her prescription ran out. 

And so I feel squished at times between his needs and her wants and sometimes there doesn't seem to be enough hours in my day. 

I'm ashamed to admit that I sometimes feel sorry for myself. What about me? I wonder. What about what I want? I don't say it out loud, of course, but I sure think it enough. (I'll deny it if you tell anybody, but that's not important right now.)

I guess if my life is to be defined by being sandwiched between two generations, I'm grateful it's a Cuban Sandwich. ;-)

Luza, me, & jon

Speaking of Cuban Sandwiches, you know there are rules to what you put in a Classic Cuban, right?

Ingredients for Cuban sandwich

 Classic Cuban Sandwich Recipe

  • Long loaf of bread (preferably Cuban, but French will do.)
  • Softened butter (to spread on the outside of the bread)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Swiss cheese
  • Dill pickles (Clausen Bread and Butter Sandwich Pickles make all the difference here)
  • Roast Pork
  • Sliced Ham

1) Coat the bread lightly with mustard.
2) Make the sandwich with the ingredients in this order: Swiss cheese, pickles, roast pork, and sliced ham.
3) Butter the bread on the outside.
4) Grill. A sandwich press is ideal for this.

The goal is to get the sandwich nice and toasty and melt the cheese.

Serve hot, with an ice cold Materva and some authentic Cuban plantain chips.

Cuban sandwich with materva

Follow with a sweet, hot cafesito (with KILLER Espuma®, of course).

Like so.....