Category Archives: Family Recipes

Whole Wheat Mac-N-Cheese

Whole Wheat Mac N Cheese

Around Thanksgiving, I was looking for a macaroni and cheese recipe that wasn’t too difficult, and I came across Alton Brown’s stove top mac-n-cheese recipe online.  As you may already know, in our home we try to make things a tad healthier even for holidays like Thanksgiving.  So I decided to make some changes to the recipe and I came up with Whole Wheat Mac-N-Cheese with a couple of substitutions and changes.  I don’t use egg and I substituted the butter for extra virgin olive oil.



Total time: 35 minutes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes


1/2 pound elbow whole grain whole wheat macaroni
4 tablespoons butter (you can use extra virgin olive oil instead because it’s healthier)
6 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. I put a little extra virgin olive oil in my water that I’m boiling the pasta.

Whisk together the milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.  Enjoy!





Cuban Sofrito Recipe

Have you ever tried a Cuban sofrito recipe?  One night, I wasn’t sure what I was going to make for dinner, but I had some inspiration from a Cuban sofrito recipe that I saw that was made on the Food Network.  When I got to the kitchen,  I realized that I didn’t have many of the ingredients that I wanted.  This recipe still turned out to be a winner!  Since we are pinching pennies, hubby has wanted me to make things that can last a few days.  I know you can do this and still eat healthy, but, I’ve been spoiled lately from when I was able to make things fresh everyday.  So, I came up with this recipe and for us 2, the recipe has lasted about 3 days so far.  Some aspects of this recipe is a lot healthier than some others like it, so I hope you will try it and enjoy!

Cuban Sofrito Recipe


1 minced onion

1 green pepper

1-3 tablespoons Garlic Powder

1-3 tablespoons Cumin

Onion Powder



Approximately 2 Cups of Low sodium or homemade chicken stock

1 1/2  Cans of Prego Tomato Sauce

Approximately 1 pound of black beans

2 cans of sweet corn

12 chicken drumsticks

2 Cups Whole Grain Brown Rice



(Note about the ingredients:  You can use minced garlic cloves, and different color peppers.  Also, the type of chicken that you use and the amount can vary.  It is up to you.  This is what I love about Cuban sofrito.  It is a basic recipe, but you can add what you want to it. I used what I had at the time.)



1) I made my black beans beforehand.  I follow the instructions on the bag I buy.  Typically, I put the amount I want in pan, cover with water and bring them to a boil.  After that I let them sit for an hour.  Then I rinse them and put them in a pan again with water so they can boil for about 40-50 minutes.  This is called the quick soak method.  (No worries, similar instructions will be on a bag of beans you buy.

2) When I am ready to start the sofrito, I preheat the oven to 375 degrees to prepare it for the chicken.  I clean it and season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin and parsley.  I’m liberal with the seasonings except the salt because the chicken will be added into the sofrito which will already have salt in it.

3)  Once the chicken has been in the oven for about 20 minutes (I cook it for a full hour), I start the brown rice in a pan and the sofrito in a separate large pot.  Follow the instructions to make the rice on the box or bag.  For the sofrito, I put in the pepper and onion in a large pot.  I cooked this with butter because that was all we had.  You can use extra virgin olive oil which is what I would have used if we had any.  Once they are tender but not charred, I add in garlic and cumin seasonings.  I am liberal with these two seasonings.  You can always add more later if you think it needs it.  I mixed it together and add in the tomato sauce.  Stir everything together and then I add in the chicken stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I let this simmer on very low heat.

4)  Once the chicken is finished, (it could probably cook for another 10 minutes in the oven), but we are going to add it to the sofrito.  I added 6 to my pot.  That’s about what it could fit comfortably.  If you have a deep pot that is large enough, you should be able to fit in more drumsticks.  This will depend on how many people you have to feed at once.  We were fine with preparing 6 drumsticks one night and then making the other 6 the next night.  So once you have the chicken in the sofrito, bring it to a slight boil and then let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.  At this point, I add in the beans and the corn (right from the can) and I let everything simmer for about 10 more minutes.

5)  Serve.


Yields 8-12 servings


P.S. An added bonus to this recipe is this:  when you are ready to store it and serve the next day, you can typically add malta (latin non-alcoholic beer) or more chicken stock like I did in order to loosen up the sauce.  After we finished the chicken in two days, we decided not to add any stock and just put it over rice and sprinkle a little sharp cheddar cheese on top and just heat it in the microwave.  It was like a Cuban chili!  It was so tasty!


Spinach Surprise

When my husband and I started trying to eat healthier this is one of the first recipes that I made that he actually really like.  So he called it “Spinach Surprise.”  Our 16 month old seems to like mostly all the foods that he likes lately.  Every time I make this dish, everyone eats a lot.  This is definitely a family favorite!  So here is what I do to make it:

Ingredients you will need:
Chicken (stir fry, tenderloins or thin sliced breasts are fine) 
Fresh Organic Baby Spinach (20 oz.)
Pasta (I used whole wheat pasta or quinoa noodles)
Grated Parmesan Cheese 
Seasonings- salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, italian seasoning (I sometimes replace the salt with Old Bay Seasoning to change things up a bit too)
Servings (approximately 6-8)
Step 1- I didn’t create a photo of this but I boil water usually with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt in it for the noodles.  Typically, I use whole wheat noodles because we all enjoy the nutty flavor of them in this dish.  They are very high in fiber and a great source of protein.  I first made this without chicken and then I made it once with chicken and now my husband only wants it with chicken! :)  
Step 2- I season my chicken.  Tonight I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley and italian seasoning.  After that I place it in a pan or skillet to saute on the stove.  
I saute on each side in other a small amount of extra virgin olive oil or organic grapeseed oil for approximately 3-5 minutes and then I let them rest on a paper towel to dry: 
While I’m cooking the chicken, I have already placed the pasta into boiling water and I just stir it occasionally.  I try to cook it until al dente.  When I was little I learned a little trick from my uncle to test spaghetti to see if it was done by throwing it on the wall.  If it sticks he said it was done. :)  I haven’t done that in a while but it is worth a try if you never seem to cook pasta just right.  Once the pasta is finished I pour the contents of the pot in a strainer to get rid of the starch and water.  Because of the small amount of extra virgin olive oil I place in the water when boiling it, usually the noodles aren’t dry and don’t need anything to keep them from sticking.  
Step 3- In another pan I saute the spinach in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil.  You can also steam the spinach as well until it is a little more than wilted.  I don’t want to cook it until it is deep green because I keep the heat low on it when it is time to add the noodles and I don’t want it to overcook.  
While the spinach is cooking, I cut the chicken into small cube-sized pieces on a cutting board.  I add a little garlic powder, salt and pepper to the spinach.  Not a lot!  The seaonsing from the chicken, the salt that was already added to the pasta and the saltines from the cheese will be so overpowering if you add to much salt and seasoning to the spinach.  When the spinach is finished, I typically use a cheese strainer cloth or paper towels to get rid of the water that has accumulated in the pan because it cooks and has all of this extra water that you don’t want in the pasta. After you do that, you will feel like you don’t have that much spinach at all!  I bring the spinach back to the same pan and add the noodles.  I keep the heat on low and add the grated parmesean cheese, stir and VOILA:
If you love this recipe, you will probably love our “Spinach Feta Cheese Pie” that we make too!  Great for any time of the day.  Until next time!