For the past two years my children and I don’t enjoy home made cooking like we used to. When my husband was still alive we thrived on sitting together as a family for dinner and other meals when possible. We did our best to cook regularly and for the most part the kids loved when he cooked. He made the best Chicken Wings ever and mostly everything he cooked came out very good.
When he got sick, some how or another he started only wanting Sandwiches and fast food. I did learn through reading a lot about brain cancer that is very typical. I figure it has a lot to do with loss of ability. It is hard to hold a fork and knife. It is embarrassing having to admit you can no longer do these things so you tend to over compensate. I don’t have a taste for any of my favorite foods I just want a Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Bagel several times a day. We ate a lot of junk as we were constantly in the hospital and times were difficult.
During that time I injured my knee. It got bad enough to need surgery. This put in even bigger damper into the cooking thing. Now he is gone just about a year and I just had surgery on my other knee two weeks ago. It has been a long hard battle for me and my kids and we work through it the best we can. Since going out is pretty hard when you are broke and can barely walk, we spend a lot of time home and sadly it is very hard to get back on track when you are in those situations, plus my kids diet’s are a pain in the butt. My oldest daughter does not eat any red meat or pork and she is very very selective about the poultry she eats. She is not too fond of veggies and she is difficult. The good thing is she is about to be 22 and for the most part she tends to her own meals (at least when her boyfriend is around) My son is almost 16 and he does not eat any meat or poultry or fish. Only fruits, veggies, carbs and snacks he is not vegan but that is because he is learning what fruits and veggies he really likes and what of the soy and tofu kind of things he likes. My youngest daughter is 11 and she is a dialysis patient. She has a strict renal diet and fluid restriction. I just want to lose this extra weight and be healthy so I will be around for a while if I can help it anyway.
So with all that being said Cooking is fun, but its stressful. What does everyone want that everyone will eat and that will not drive me crazy and make me stand for long periods of time. Well- that is usually the hard part.
Two out of three love Yellow Rice- 1 loves chicken empanadas, 1 loves beef empanadas and one loves them stuffed with onions and peppers and olives and cheese and little yellow rice. This is can be done all in one meal. It is time consuming but I can sit and stand while preparing and cooking as I have to make the two different meats and rice but then I can sit and cut everything up and put them together then I just have to heat the oil and fry.
I was blessed enough to have been taught to cook a little Spanish food from an old friend. Her first husband was Cuban and her second was Puerto Rican. She learned from the different mother in laws and she of course added and changed to make it her way which was delicious and I have also learned to change to make it perfect for our taste. It did not hurt that my husband was Puerto Rican and Italian so he taught me a lot also. He could not and would not learn to cook rice though.
I will share a quick version of the recipe but should you have any questions and need more information about something please feel free to ask. My daughter said this should be a secret recipe like Dad’s sauce but I don’t agree. I feel if you have something that is great you should share it and let other people enjoy also. But hey to each their own right!
Rinse rice- In rice pot add the following seasonings
2 tbsp Sofrito – I like the Goya Brand frozen(I also keep it defrosted in the fridge) with dry seasonings I use a about 1/2 tsp but you can adjust to your flavor
1 packet Sazon(with Achote(color)) and 2 sprinkles yellow coloring (badia sells for 1 dollar in the spices section) if you use too much will get like an orange color(it dry food coloring)- if you can’t get the yellow coloring in your grocery store you can use a couple of teaspoons of tomato sauce it will help color it but too much could change the flavor so you will have to adjust for that. I leave it out as this is a terrible meal for my daughter that is on dialysis too much sodium and too much potassium and way way too much salt(I actually leave most of this out for her and put a little hot sauce and she thinks it’s the same but please don’t tell her that)
garlic powder, adobo, black pepper, onion powder about 1 tbsp of olive juice(just from a regular jar of olives) also about 8-10 olives and a tsp of oil
Mix well and start heating on low( you can add other ingredients gondules, meats,etc) Add the rice and mix well in seasonings. Make sure all of the rice is evenly coating. Add water and boil when most of the water is boiled down add lid and lower temp until tender.
I buy the shells pre-made. I like using the Goya brand also. They have a piece of plastic in between each shell and that helps them from sticking together while you are preparing them all to be fried.
I fry with vegetable or canola oil.
Cut up about 1/2 a green pepper, 1/2 onion and about 30 green olives.
Shred about 2 cups of cheddar cheese- I like the mild better
I use boneless skinless chicken for the chicken and very lean for the beef.
I chop the ground beef as small as possible and the chicken I cut into very small pieces.
I season them both the same only the chicken I leave out the ground cumin. For whatever reason it changes the flavor and not for the better.
Season the meats with a few tbsp’s of Sofrito, the beef gets a whole packet of sazon and the chicken gets a half packet. 1/2 tsp each, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, ground cumin(beef only) season salt, garlic salt, olive juice and if you have it a few shakes of Mrs dash regular.
Drain all liquids and oils from meat and chicken.
Set up your preparing table with a couple of plates, and forks and spoons and bowls, mix together the peppers,onions and olives in one bowl, the cheese in another the meat on a flat surface (I like to use those plastic cutting boards) and lay out the shell add 1 tsp shredded cheese 1 tsp onion,pepper mix and 1-1/2 tsp’s meat or chicken. I work with one and then the other. Fold in half make sure all ingredients are in the middle and then press the sides down neatly and tightly with a fork on both sides so they look like the photo.
Heat oil and fry to a golden brown and serve with hot yellow rice and hot sauce is how we do it here!.
Enjoy and be careful frying.
PS my son gets the ones with only the veggies and cheese and a spoonful of rice. He likes it. There are so many ways this can be done. We have also made Breakfast Empanadas in the old days when everyone ate meat and eggs.