Sunday, July 14, 2013

Colleen's Easy Quesadillas with a twist! The secret? Avocados!!!

As you know I love avocados, so when Avocados de Mexico and Latina Blogger Connect asked me to write a sponsored recipe with their avocados I jumped at the chance! In fact I already had the right recipe in mind, a twist on my friend Colleen's quesadillas.

Last week we went for a get together at Colleen's house. We went shopping prior to the party and when she said she wanted to eat quesadillas I kept steering her towards the Mexican cheese and she kept telling me that she only needed cheddar.... it turned out she was right - these things were delicious. I decided to make them today for a snack and I added some avocados de mexico to the mix and they were even more fantastic! which is no surprise really I think avocados are just like bacon, every thing taste better with them on it!!!

So here is the recipe for the easiest yummiest quesadillas! do not be fooled by the simplicity of it - sometimes the simplest of the recipes are the most delicious!

I am sure many of you have the grill going all summer long, one of the cool things bout this recipe is that you can either grill the quesadillas or do them in a pan, I will explain you how.


  • Tortillas (I use corn, Colleen uses flour - they are both great)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados de Mexico
  • Fresh jalapeños - optional
  • PAM cooking spray

Grate your cheese, cut your tomatoes, avocados and jalapeños  in slices and be ready to assemble.

To assemble:

Put cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños  and avocados on one side of an open tortilla, fold the tortilla and spray PAM on both sides. If you are grilling it,  then fold it tortilla on the grill and hold to close with your grilling tongues for a few seconds. Turn around in about a minute or when the tortilla is nice and toasted. It is done once crunchy on both sides (couple of minutes).

To do in a pan, heat your pan on medium fire. When hot, place 2 folded quesadillas and flatten with something like a heavy pan (I put one pan on top of another). When nice and crispy on one side turn and repeat on the other side and you are done!

You can eat the quesadillas with a dollop of Mexican or sour cream, a little salsa and some good all guasacaca made with yummy avocados off course!!


 Tip: How to easily remove the pit of an avocado: Cut your avocado in half with a knife. Take a knife with a wide blade and carefully tap it on top of pit. Twist he knife and the pit will just cleanly release from the avocado - voila!

 BTW is you have nice avocado recipes you can upload them to the recipe page of Avocados de Mexico and while there you can search for other yummy recipes too. They have recipes from all sort of people from Rick Bayless to mine!!

PS: This is a sponsored post made in collaboration with Avocados de Mexico and Latina Bloggers Connect. All facts and comments are my own and the recipe is based on my friend's Colleen's!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pasticho de Berenjenas: Venezuelan Eggplant Lasagna Recipe

I have been asked by the California Milk Advisory Board to make a recipe showcasing their fresh products and as you know me, I love cooking and dairy is my favorite food type so I did say yes without a doubt! The first recipe that came to my mind was Pasticho de Berenjenas or  Venezuelan Style Eggplant Lasagna. I love this recipe, not only because it was the first recipe that make me like eggplants when I was a child, but also because it is very low in carbohydrates! And off course it has a lot of cheese and milk!!

This recipe is for about 8 to 10 portions and it is ideal for family gatherings like graduations, birthdays, etc. or if you like it, you can cook the whole thing and have some left overs for the next day. I am a true believer that some dishes taste better the next day - this one certainly does!

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 350gr of ground beef (you can also use Turkey but I prefer beef)
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2/3 cup of finely chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of grated Real California Milk mozzarella cheese (You can use more if you like)
  • 1 cup of finely grated Real California Milk Parmesan (You can use more if you like)
  • 3 cups of Milk
  • 4 tsp of chicken bouillon
  • 4 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt and more for sprinkling over eggplants
  • 2 tsp of Worcester Sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4- 1/2 pound of sliced ham or turkey (I used turkey) 
  • Black pepper to taste


This dish is basically made by layering eggplants, 2 sauces (a red and a white), cheese and ham into a lasagna. It is very simple but takes a little preparation to make all the individual pieces before the assembly!

Eggplant: Eggplants can be bitter if not prepped properly. In order to reduced the bitterness we need to sweat the eggplants. With a sharp knife cut the eggplants longways into thin slices (about 1/8 of an inch).

Place the slices on top of a clean paper towel, sprinkle with a bit of salt, put another layer of eggplant slices, cover with salt until done.

Cover all the eggplants with another paper towel and place a heavy object like a chopping board or a pan. Leave until eggplants are needed.

This is how they look after a few minutes - notice the paper towels are wet.

Pre heat your oven at 375F

Red Sauce: Your red sauce is a meat sauce similar to a carbonara. In a pan, put the butter and the onions and let them cook until browned a little.

Take about a third of the onions out of the pan and reserve.  Add the beef and garlic to the onions in the pan and cook until meat is browned.

Add the can tomatoes and the spices (2 tsp bouillon, cumin, Worcester sauce, bay leaf, ketchup). Cook at medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every so often ( while waiting cook the white sauce).

Add the fresh herbs, stir and turn the heating off. This sauce should not be runny.

White sauce: The white sauce is similar to a béchamel. Start with the fried onions you kept aside from the red sauce, put then on pan.

Add the 3 cups of milk, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 tsp of bouillon. Cook at low heat for a about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

In a container, put the 4 tbsp of corn starch, take a cup of the warm milk and mix it in with a whisker. It will get thicker.

Pour the milk/corn starch mixture into the pan and stir until it thickens. Add pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Layering the dish: Use a Pyrex rectangular dish. Mix the cheeses together and set aside.

Pour a little of the white sauce and spread evenly at the bottom of the pan.

Put a layer of eggplants, then another thin layer of white sauce.

Cover with a thin layer of red sauce.

Cover with a layer of cheese.

Then put a layer of ham/turkey and start all over again with a layer of eggplant.

Repeat the process, reserving enough eggplants, white sauce and cheese for the last layer. The last layer should be eggplant, enough white sauce to cover the whole thing and cheese.

Put the dish in the 375F oven for 30 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400F and cook for another 30 minutes. 

Your dish is ready and should be piping hot!!

Enjoy it!!

This dish was very special as I used 2 Real California Milk Cheeses. You can tell they are Real California by looking at the seal on the label.

I did nor know this, but California is the country’s leading producer of Hispanic dairy products and the #1 dairy state in USA.

Many California dairy products are sold nationally - I found mine on my regular grocery store on the cheese counter. What I like about them, is not only the superior taste but also the fact that 99% of California dairies are family-owned.  

If you want to learn more about Real California Milk - just follow them in Facebook.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post in collaboration with California Milk Advisory Board and Latina Bloggers Connect. All facts and recipes are my own.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Inside Out Salted Buckeyes: Latino Style!

Today, I was inspired by my daughter. She got a cooking book from the library at her school and wanted to make a dessert with me. She chose buckeyes  as she loves peanut butter. I am familiar with the all American treat but decided to do it my way... with Latino style!

I love the way chocolate and sea salt complement each other and I  know many of us Latina cooks  fuse traditional flavors with American ones. So while my daughter likes peanut butter on her toast, I like dulce de leche in mine - so why not combine the two. So that is how I came up with my Inside out salted buckeye. That perfectly combines the flavors of peanut butter, dulce de leche, and salted chocolate!

Ingredients (makes 24):

  • 1/2 cup of Peter Pan Peanut Butter - Crunchy
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp dulce de leche (Cajeta)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
For the chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp of for syrup
  • sea salt


In a mixer, combine your peanut butter, butter, dulce de leche, vanilla extract, and salt. Add sugar a 1/3 of a cup at time and blend for a while (5 minutes) until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture forms a dough. 

Make small balls (slightly bigger than a marble) and put them on a tray covered with parchment paper. Put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Once the balls are chilled. Melt the chocolate, butter and corn syrup on a double boiler (simply put a metal bowl over a pot with boiling water). Mix until you have a paste. 

While the paste is warm (be careful not to burn yourself), make a small chocolate ball and place on top of the peanut butter balls. squish it  and flattened a little to make the "eye" and sprinkle it with a couple of grains of sea salt.

Once all the balls are done - placed them back on the fridge - and keep refrigerated until ready to eat - this will keep their consistency.

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