Cuban Picadillo.

Picadillo: ground beef cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce with onions, cilantro, garlic, spices, and olives. If you don’t like olives don’t write this one off!! My husband hates olives but loves this dish. They are barely noticeable and the brine from the olives is really what’s necessary to give this dish a unique taste.

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If you’ve never had picadillo, think of it almost as an alternate to hum-drum taco meat. It’s traditionally served over rice but you could get creative and eat it as a taco if you’d like. Each bite has so much flavor, and this is a PERFECT weeknight meal. It can be on the table in about 30 minutes! What’s not to love?!

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This picadillo has some flavors you’d expect in a Latin dish: cilantro, cumin, onion, and garlic. But, what really makes this dish special (as I alluded to earlier), is adding a few tablespoons of “alcaparrado”, which is basically just green olives and peppers. You should easily find a jar in your grocery store’s international aisle. I used Goya. Add the olives and a little bit of the brine from the jar to the meat sauce while it cooks. The other most important flavor-creating step is simmering the meat in the tomato sauce because this allows it to thicken and coat every bite of meat in that delicious sauce. Yum!

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One more bonus about this recipe: you can play with the ratio of ingredients to suit your tastebuds. Want more olives/brine? Add them. Want more sauce? Add more tomato sauce. Don’t have a pepper? Leave it out. Want to add a tomato? Do it! I suggest making it once following the recipe pretty closely and playing with it from there however you’d like. You have lots of freedom with this recipe!

So, if you are in a dinner rut and need something quick, easy, (and healthy!), you need to try this recipe. This savory meat dish is an absolute favorite in our home; both my husband and I love it and I make it quite often. I actually served it at school last year to some of my students and they inhaled it, so I can tell you it is kid-approved!

Cuban Picadillo

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pepper, finely chopped (I sometimes omit)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1-1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef (or as lean as you can find!)
  • 4 oz (1/2 can) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp alcaparrado + 2 tbsp brine

1). In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat until cooked through, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Drain grease and add meat back to the pan.

2). While meat is cooking, chop onions, garlic, cilantro, and pepper (if using). Reduce heat to medium-low and add to the pan. Saute until onions are soft.

3). Add alcaparrado, 2 tbsp brine, tomato sauce, and water. Mix well and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least 5 minutes or up to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Servings: 6 (1/2 cup). Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 170 Carbs: 4.5g Fat: 7g Protein: 22.5g Fiber: 1g Points+: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/03/picadillo-6-ww-pts.html

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