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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Baked Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are traditionally deep fried and quite heavy, but this baked version is equally delicious and very filling! I saw this recipe pop up on Pinterest and knew I had to try it. I already had perfectly shredded chicken in the fridge waiting to be used, and these were so fun to make. I think this recipe would be very family friendly as kids can pick these up easily and dive in!

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My husband and I both agreed these were awesome. They actually reheated very well, which is good because I got 16 out of a batch! These could be a great lunch option for those of you who take lunch to work. They are portable and delicious. Not too spicy, not too creamy, not too crispy…you get the idea. Each one comes in around 144 calories 16g of protein to keep you full for a while!

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These can be a main dish or even an appetizer! I think they would be cute cut in small bite-size pieces for a cinco de mayo or super bowl party. They can also be gluten free if you use a gluten free tortilla!

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese or sour cream
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat colby jack or cheddar cheese
  • 16 small flour (or corn) tortillas
  • Salt
  • Cooking spray

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

2) If using cream cheese, warm in microwave until soft and easy to stir. Add salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir. Add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and mix until very well combined.

3) Place 2-3 tbsp of chicken mixture on the lower third of the tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch away from the edges and roll it up as tightly as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet.

4) Lay all the filled taquitos on the baking sheet, making sure they do not touch. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.

5) Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Serve plain or with salsa, sour cream, etc.

Makes 16 taquitos. Nutritional information per taquito: Calories: 144 Carbs: 16g Fat: 4g Protein: 16g Sugar: 1g FIber: 1g

WW PointsPlus: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/baked-creamy-chicken-taquitos.html