Friday, July 27, 2012

Pampered Chef Toys: Beer Can Chicken

I have a confession to make...I love Pampered Chef!  Haha yes, I love ordering their cool make-life-easier cooking tools.  Their recent catalog introduced tons of neat stuff to use on the grill.  One of my most recent purchases was the BBQ roasting pan & can holder.   One thing I love about ordering new things from Pampered Chef is that most of their items come with a recipe that you can use with you new tool.  My roasting pan came with a recipe to make Beer-Can Chicken.  It came out amazing and now I'd like to share with you all my edited Rican version.  Happy grilling to everyone this weekend!

Beer-Can Chicken

1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs minced onion
Montreal steak seasoning
 1-2 tbs olive oil
5-6 red potatoes
3-4 lb whole fryer
1 can of your preferred beer

1. Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350-400 degrees).  Rinse and cut potatoes into wedges.  Combine Adobo, black pepper, garlic powder, minced onion, and cayenne pepper.
2. Trim excess fat from chicken and sprinkle combined seasoning onto the chicken.
3. Combine potatoes with olive oil and then sprinkle the Montreal steak seasoning lightly.
4. Pour out about one-fourth of the beer from the can and place the beer can in the can holder.
5. Place the chicken over the can holder so that the can is upright in the cavity  of the chicken.  Place the potatoes around the chicken.
6. Place the roasting pan on the grid of the grill.  Cover and grill for 65-75 minutes or until the thermometer reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part  of the breast. Make sure to rotate the pan at least once (preferably 35-40 minutes in).
7. Carefully remove the chicken and serve with potatoes and iced tea! =)

beer can chicken

Friday, July 20, 2012

Get in touch with your Rican: How to make Pastelon

Long time no blog!  Ok so I've been a busy body as usual but I have been cooking/baking up storms in my kitchen...just no time to blog about them!  I will make sure to find time before I kick back up with ROTC in August.

So one of my husband's favorite dishes is called Pastelon (pronounced paust-teh-lone).  The ingredients are quite simple but it is a long a tedious process.  I call this a weekend dish because it can easily take an hour and half to two hours to make by oneself.

Now forgive me for my photos.  I've made this several times but picked my best photos from each to show you the process.

These are the explicit tools you will need:
10" skillet
pot (to cook ground beef)
12" skillet (for frying)
tongs or fork (I use both!)
basting brush
a roll of paper towels
1 cookie sheet

And your ingredients:
1lb of ground beef
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 raw egg scrambled
5-6 sweet plantains
 (make sure the plantains are yellow on the outside and a little soft when pressed)
2 cups of oil (to start)
1 tbs of Adobo seasoning
1/4 cup of Goya Sofrito
1 envelope of Goya Sazon
1 bulb of garlic minced
4 olives sliced

The first thing I do is cook the sweet plantains. Get your 12" skillet ready with 1 cup of oil heating on medium.  Also take your cookie sheet and place two layers of paper towels down on it.

1. First you have to peel the skin.  I cut off both ends first and then peel.  
2. Once all the plantains are peeled begin to slice them the long way about 1/8 inch in thickness.
3. Once all your slices are ready to fry, start placing them in your 12" skillet.  Each side should fry about 2-3 minutes.  Stay on top of them though, you don't want them to burn, just slightly golden and soft. Use your tongs and/or fork to flip them gently.
4. After frying both sides, carefully move the slices of plantain from the frying pan to the cookie sheet to let the slices dry.  Once you run out of room, do another two layers of paper towels on top of those slices and keep stacking.

Once all your slices are done frying, set them aside to cool and begin on the ground meat.  Take your pot and set it on medium heat.  

5.Place your ground beef in the pot with begin to mash and mix your Adobo seasoning into the meat.
******I love using the Mix 'N Chop from Pampered Chef for this!  Grinds of the meat just perfectly while mixing the seasonings in!******
6. After the meat is fully cooked, drain out the fat and place the meat back into the pot.  Change the heat from medium to low.
7. Take your envelope of Sazon, the Sofrito, the minced garlic, and the olives and mix them into the meat.
8. Let this cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Now comes the tricky part!  Molding your Pastelon into that beautiful pie shape!

9.  Take your 10" skillet and place it on medium low heat.  Start taking your plantain slices and forming a sort of crust around your skillet.
10.  Once you have a nice layer of "crust", take your basting brush, dip it into your egg wash, and baste  the plantains.  This will act as a glue to keep the plantains together.
It will look like this, but remember to create the side of the crust as well.  (This is just the bottom):
11.  Next you will take a handful of shredded cheese a spread it on top of the plantains.  (Another way to "glue" your plantains together)
12.  Take your warm ground been and fill your plantain crust evenly.

13. Next, take the rest of your shredded cheese and spread it evenly on top of the ground beef.

14. Lastly, take your remaining pieces of plantain slices and cover the top like a pie crust.
15.  Take you brush and baste the top with egg wash.
16.  Cover it and let it cook for 5 - 10 minutes until the egg wash is cooked.

It should look like this:

Once, it's all cooked, you can now flip it onto a big serving plate!  This is the easiest part.
Make sure to have an oven mit for this though!  Place your serving place over the top of the skillet. Take your skillet and pan together and then…FLIP!  Viola…you have yourself an authentic Puerto Rican tasting Pastelon!


I must warn, this is not an easy dish to make.  It took me several tries after making it one time with my aunt.  But trust me, this indulgence is definitely worth it.  A perfect combination of savory and sweet for dinner!  I serve with rice, and steamed veggies.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Restaurant Review: Mi Pana

Hope everyone had a great fourth!  It was pretty hot outside and a perfect day for a restaurant since most people in the Fayettevile Metro were grilling or having fun at the Fort Bragg celebration.  We went to the celebration last year and it was lots of fun but this year we went to Carrabas with a close neighbor of ours.  Her husband is deployed right now so we try and have dinner with her as much as possible.  She's practically family to us now.  I know she would do the same for us any day.  Anywho we're saving our grilling and fireworks show for tomorrow.  It just seemed weird to celebrate the fourth in the middle of the week lol.  I already have some baby back ribs marinating in the fridge right now.  Mouth watering...I know lol.

So today was pretty lax.  My husband had off so I took off from work as well to spend the day with him (and lengthen my weekend haha).  We decided to check out a new restaurant that opened up close to our house.  A Latin-Caribbean Cuisine restaurant called Mi Pana.  Here in the Fayetteville Metro, there aren't very many Latin cuisine least not like the variety we have in my hometown Orlando.  And the ones we do have are at least 25-30 minutes from our place.  Mi Pana was much closer so we've been anxiously waiting for it to open.  About a week or two ago, they finally opened the doors to the public.

This is their mobile trailer where they started.  They now have a stationary location on
7599 Rockfish RdRaefordNC 28376 

The place was not packed but steadily busy as we came in.  It's a very comfortable setting, lots of fans which is good to keep the place cool while the kitchen is going.  The waitresses were all very friendly...definitely reminded me of the atmosphere at our Latin restaurants in Orlando.  I was pleased with the customer service and the menu as well.  The owners are Panamanian but the menu has a great variety of Latin cuisine...emapanadas de maize (corn) which is Colombian style, empanadas frita (fried) which is how us Ricans like it, and even baked empandas which is how Cubans make them.  They also has chivo (goat) which is a popular Dominican entree and jerk chicken (a popular Jamaican entree).  They served Caribbean beverages like sugar cane juice and passion fruit juice.

So what did we order?  Well I order 3 empanadas frita de carne (beef), tostones (plantain), and passion fruit juice.  My husband ordered chivo (goat) with white rice and beans (it also comes with sweet plantains) and sugar cane juice.  The food was AMAZING.  The chivo was very tender (even better than mine!).  Now I have to warn, it's made with curry in case some of you don't like curry but I thought it was delicious and I'm not a big curry fan.  The beef empanadas were awesome too and I can tell it was made with curry too (maybe it's a Panamanian thing).  The passion fruit juice was great.  The sugar cane juice was a bit on the sweet side.  If you don't like it very sweet, I would ask for a side glass of water, that way you can dilute it a little.

Overall, the food was at a 9/10 for Latin cuisine in my book.  The service was great, we didn't wait long for the food or for our check at the end.  The prices are decent too.  Most of the entrees $10-$15, appetizers $4-7, extra sides around $3 each.

I encourage all who live in the Fayetteville Metro to try this place out!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mail Time!

I got some awesome gifts in the mail today!  From myself to myself haha.  I new Wilton muffin pan, special cupcake liners, and some new decorating tips.  Can we say excited????

I've been waiting on these items to arrive so I can start on the Hulk cupcakes.  Check back soon to see what they look like. =)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Music Mondays

So Mondays will be dedicated to music.  I'm always listening to music and sometimes I rediscover music on my iPod that I've forgotten I had.  Today is dedicated to one of my favorite R&B singers.  He's never failed lovesick people everywhere. With more than 10 amazing albums, I'd like to present Brian McKnight!  I can't believe he is already 43!  He is still just as handsome if not more with age lol.  He has made many great hits like "Back At One", "Anytime", and "Love of My Life".  But I came across another song that just makes my heart melt every time I hear it.  It revives my heart and really motivates me to never give up on love.

Today's song is called "The Rest of My Life"

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