3. 2. 1. Go! Meals

Most all of these meals can be made in under 30 minutes with just a little pre-planning--perfect for busy days and weeknights!

Picadillo & Yellow Rice

My first taste of Cuban food was in 1982 when I moved to Cayo Hueso aka Key West, Florida.  I immediately fell in love with not only the town and people but the food which was heavily influenced by the large Cuban population. Although I had nothing to compare it with the locals assured me it was authentic.

In late 84′ I moved to Tampa which still had a good share of authentic Cuban food.  Over the last 2 decades there seemed to be a steady decline of authenticity and quality food for reasons I contribute to the slow but steady decline of traditional society and values. In order to have this delicious food more often I decided to learn to cook it myself.

While I am sure somewhere someone’s grandmother would beg to differ with how authentic my version is I get no complaints from my Cracker husband.  This lovely version of picadillo is my first and it is easy and quick enough for a weeknight treat!  I opt to not use pre packaged yellow rice and Adobo seasoning and make my own because it’s healthier and doesn’t take much time.

However I don’t judge so feel free to take any shortcuts that you want to.  It will still taste homemade and be better for you than most restaurant fare.


1 tablespoon beef tallow, lard or coconut oil
1 pound grass fed 90/10 ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 large green pimiento stuffed olives, sliced
1 tablespoon capers
8 oz can tomato sauce* (no crap added)
2.8 oz homemade “Goya Adobo”**
sea salt to taste

Yellow rice
1 cup organic basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock (can substitute)
1 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of coriander
2 teaspoons grass fed butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup frozen organic peas, thawed

Homemade seasoning
1 tbs coriander
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs sea salt
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

*my favorite is Muir Glen
**contains msg, make your own


In a large cast iron skillet melt the fat over medium heat.  Add the onions and green peppers and saute until slightly tender about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes longer.

Add the ground beef and saute until browned about 5 – 7 minutes.  Add in the raisins, capers, tomato sauce and seasonings and stir well.  Cover the skillet, reduce to low and cook until heated through about 5 to 7 minutes.

At the same time prepare the rice. . .

Yellow rice
In a small saucepan heat the turmeric and coriander for a few seconds over medium high heat to release the fragrance.  Add the stock, sea salt and butter and bring to a boil.  Add the rice, stir well, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered without stirring until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the peas, stir then re cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Homemade seasoning
Mix spices together well; measure out 2.8 oz and store remainder for future use.


Chicken Tacos w/ Peach Avocado Salsa

The traditionalist in me will always love beef tacos complete with lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, cheese and taco sauce.  Being too staunch of a traditionalist can make for a boring existence so I do like to rebel with some unorthodox variations from time to time.

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This one was a keeper and even the Jag loved them!

Recipe & Ingredients

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons rendered lard or bacon grease
3/4 cup diced peaches
1/2 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 (6-inch) non gmo corn tortillas


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In a small bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients.  Rub over the chicken breasts.  Melt the lard or bacon grease in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until just cooked through.

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Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut into 1/4″ slices.

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While the chicken is cooking combine peaches and next 6 ingredients.  Stir well.

Heat tortillas according to package directions; fill with chicken and top with the salsa.

Burgers and Dawgs

Grilling and barbecuing season in Florida is about nine months out of the year but for folks in cooler climes it’s just heating up.  Memorial Day kicks off the outdoor cooking; one staple that’s good throughout the summer is the basic hamburger and hot dog.  Aim for quality meats that will deliver the best flavor. . .

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Side choices are unlimited–mix and match your favorites; let the imagination run wild with the toppings or stick to the basics. . .

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Garden lettuce, local tomatoes and thinly sliced sweet vidalia onions along with ketchup, mayo or mustard.

Recipe & Ingredients

2 pounds grass fed ground beef or bison
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 package nitrate nitrite free hot dogs (we used Wellshire Farm uncured beef franks)
Gluten free hamburger and hot dog buns (we used Udi’s) or go bunless


Simple.  That’s how I like my burgers.  Season the meat with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and form into 8 patties.  Grill.  We use a charcoal Weber so the lid’s on. 2-3 minutes per side for medium and turn the dogs occasionally until desired degree of doneness.

Chick n’ Grits

Grits go with just about anything from bacon, country ham and eggs for breakfast to fish or shrimp and grits for dinner.  Well, surprise surprise they go equally well with chicken.  This versatile carb was a total complement to the sweet and tangy apple glazed chicken.  And was easy enough for a quick weeknight meal adding a little excitement to an otherwise basic meal.

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Recipe & Ingredients

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon duck fat (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup organic apple butter
1/4 cup stone ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 thinly sliced green onions

4 cups water
1 cup Arrowhead Mills organic gluten free non GMO yellow corn grits
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup blue cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place each chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet flatten to 1/2″ thickness.  Place the chicken breasts in a baking pan coated with lard, butter, duck fat or coconut oil.

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Combine the apple butter, mustard and spices.  Brush over chicken.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Cut the chicken into 1/2″ slices.

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, cheese and spices

To serve:  spoon the cheese grits onto a place, top with sliced chicken and sprinkle with green onions.

Servings:  5

Nutritional Info per serving:  407 calories, 45 g protein, 10 g fat, 28 g carbohydrates

Sporty Thighs

No need for quick and easy meals to be boring.  Dress up your thighs anytime with this simple recipe — you’ll think you’re at your favorite restaurant.

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Recipe & Ingredients

6 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon poultry fat, lard or coconut oil
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
4 oz fresh spinach
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons grass fed butter


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Prep your ingredients

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In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat melt one tablespoon of your favorite healthy fat. Brown the chicken thighs 3-5 minutes per side or until just just short of being cooked through and transfer to a plate.

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Add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic to the pan and cook until tender. Add the spinach and cook until just slightly wilted.  Add in the lemon juice, white wine and sea salt and pepper and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced. Add the thighs back to the skillet, stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and stir until slightly thickened.  Serve immediately with sides of your choice.

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We had fresh local cauliflower steamed and shared a baked potato.  Uh yea, with butter and sour cream

Peppered Chicken

Here’s another 3.2.1…GO recipe to jazz up a weeknight meal with enough pizzazz  for a weekend dinner.  Served simply with parslied potatoes both family and guests will be more than satisfied.

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Recipe & Ingredients

4, 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons duck fat
2 cups sliced red bell peppers
2 cups sliced yellow bell peppers
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons non GMO cornstarch
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Combine the garlic powder, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.  Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken breasts.  Melt the duck fat in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Brown chicken 3-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add bell peppers, shallots and rosemary; saute for 3 minutes or until slightly tender.  Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Add in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cook 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and add to pan, bring to a slight boil and cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened slightly.  Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.

Serves 4