How to Make Traditional Mofongo

How to Make Traditional Mofongo

Mofongo is a very popular dish in Puerto Rico that is made with green plantains. Plantains grow in the tropics, and is within the banana family (see image below). Some grocery stores in the states carry plantains, especially if there is a Latin community in the area. Mofongo is a very versatile dish, you can enjoy it stuffed, or as a side dish.​ I give it my healthy twist by frying in refined coconut oil, but you can fry in any oil you wish. Plantains are also super healthy. Calorie wise, they are similar to a potato, but they are a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, B-6, magnesium and potassium. They are also a great carb alternative in a Paleo Diet, and are Vegan friendly too. 

Ingredients: ​(2-3 servings​)

  • 3 large green plantains (platano macho)
  • Refined coconut oil or oil of choice ​(for frying)
  • 1 or 2 Garlic cloves
  • Optional: Pork rinds 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

You’ll need a mortar and pestle (aka pilon). Find the one on the picture above on Amazon

Directions: 

  • Peel the plantain using a knife. (It’s easier to peel if you do it under water) 
  • Cut the plantain in 1-inch pieces. ​(see image below)
  • In a frying pan, add about 1 cup of oil. Heat the oil to medium heat.
  • Fry the plantain pieces on both sides.  Plantains should look golden yellow/brown and cooked until soft enough to stick a fork in them easily. ​(see image below)
  • For an even healthier mofongo, boil the plantains until soft, instead of frying them. 
  • Remove plantains from heat (or drain if you boiled them). 
  • In a mortar and pestle (pilon) mince 1/2 or 1 small garlic clove. 
  • Mash the plantains a little at a time. Start mashing the plantain while mixing it with the garlic, add olive oil or butter if the plantain looks dry and not sticking together.  Also add salt and pepper (or adobo) to taste and pork rinds if you wish. 
  • Repeat with the rest of the plantains. 
  • The plantains should be soft and consistent enough that you can shape it into a ball or small balls. 
  • Typically it’s served with a bowl of broth. Can also be served as a side dish with meats, fish, seafood, etc. 
  • You can use ripe plantains instead (for a sweeter mofongo) or a mix of both green and ripe.

Note:  I personally don’t use pork rinds. I added them as an option because it’s a key ingredient in the traditional mofongo.

Either way, it’s all delicious! 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Check out our other recipes on the blog, and make sure you are in our Facebook Group @HealthyLatinos

Made with Love, 

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Green and ripe plantains.

Peeled and cut in pieces. 

Fried (cooked) plantains. 

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Puerto Rican “Pinchos” (Shish Kabobs) Plus Secret Sauce

Puerto Rican “Pinchos” (Shish Kabobs) Plus Secret Sauce

“Pinchos” is what Puerto Ricans call good ol’ shish kabobs. They are considered one of the best street foods on the island. Mainly because they are delicious, and pretty affordable when you are on the go. They are typically made with chicken or pork, but chicken are definitely the most popular. Here I will teach you how to make them as they have the potential to be a sensation during your next bbq. Plus, I will also share the SECRET SAUCE that made my best friends dad a hit during the 90’s when he lost his job and put up a little stand in front of their house. They would sell out every time! That’s how I learned how to make pinchos and the secret sauce… I’d come over to visit my best friend, and was offered to work for a bit in exchange for free food. It was a win win, and I was one a happy teenager with my belly filled with pinchos. 🙂 

What you’ll need: (Makes approx. 24 pinchos) 

  • Approximately, 6 lbs of chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • Adobo for seasoning (check out my homemade recipe HERE)
  • 3 medium yellow onions
  • 3 large green peppers
  • Shish kabobs sticks
  • 16 oz or 2 cups of BBQ sauce
  • 16 oz or 2 cups of Thousand Island dressing (yup! that’s the secret sauce) 

Directions: 

  • Cut the chicken thighs into square pieces. Between 2-3 inches thick. Cut off the fat (white chunks) if needed. Depending on the size, you can get 4 to 6 pieces from each thigh. Add chunks to a large bowl.
  • Season the meat thoroughly with the Adobo seasoning. If Adobo is not available, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  • Chop the onions and peppers into approximately 1-2 inch squares . (See picture below)
  • Prepare the pinchos/shish kabobs by adding a chunk of meat, one slice of each of the onion and pepper, and repeat the process until the stick is full. To avoid the meat from flopping out, you can fold or twist the meat before adding to the stick. (See picture below)
  • Cook on a charcoal or gas grill on medium/low heat to avoid burning. Slight burning might occur on the outside, especially when cooking with charcoal. That is why low heat is recommended to allow the meat to cook thoroughly.
  • Depending on the thickness of the meat, it will take approximately 45 – 60 mins to cook. The thinner you cut the meat, the faster it cooks.
  • For the sauce, add 2 cups of bbq sauce, and 2 cups of thousand island into a large bowl. Divide into 2 bowls. One is for applying onto the raw chicken, and one to apply right before serving.
  • Add the sauce mixture onto the raw pinchos immediately after placing them on the grill.
  • Close/Cover the grill.
  • Half way through, flip the pinchos, and add another layer of sauce. Continue to add sauce, every time you flip the pinchos.
  • Be careful and do not use the same utensils used to add the sauce onto the raw meat, onto the cooked meat.
  • Add the last layer of sauce right before serving.
  • Serve with a slice of Italian style bread (or how we call it “pan de agua”) on top (not shown in pictures).
  • Enjoy! 

Made with lots of love, 

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

P.S. Stay tuned for the release of our new book; Healthy Rican – How to make traditional Puerto Rican food in a healthy way! Pre-Register to get notified when the book comes out. 

Funfetti Healthy Cake!

Funfetti Healthy Cake!

I’ve been craving funfetti cake for weeks now. Probably because I’ve been watching lots of Netflix’ Nailed It during this quarantine. I hope they have another season, because I totally want to audition. I’m definitely no baker, but I love it! And I love to give baking a healthy twist as well. Sugar, dairy, and gluten are like my kryptonite, so I love making healthy alternatives that actually taste good! This cake is just that, because even the kids liked it. 

Funfetti Healthy Cake

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup softened organic butter (or plant based butter) 
  • 1 cup coconut sugar for low-glycemic ​(or regular cane sugar if preferred)
  • 4  eggs
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour​ 
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Organic or regular sprinkles

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • Makes 12 cupcakes or two 8-inch round cake pans. 
  • Line with parchment or cupcake paper. Or oil the pans and set aside.
  • Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs (one at a time) and beat until completely blended.
  • Add milk, vanilla extract and mix well. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Fold in the sprinkles.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake or cupcake pans. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Test with a toothpick in the center of the cake to see if it’s ready. Toothpick should come out clean.
  • Allow the cake to completely cool down before applying the buttercream. 

For the buttercream:

  • 1 softened stick of butter (or plant based butter)
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar and/or sugar replacement Swerve (a mixture of stevia and monk fruit). You can find this at any health food store and/or Thrive Market online. If desired, you can add half cup of each, for a still sweet but less sugar alternative. 
  • 2 tbs of almond or coconut milk

Directions: 

  • Add all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer or by hand until the butter cream is nice and fluffy. Slowly add more powdered sugar if needed, or until you achieve a desired consistency. 
  • Apply to the cake and/or cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles. 

For more healthy recipes like this, download my FREE Healthy Desserts Ebook

I hope you enjoy! 

Made with love, 

Mayra 

Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Has stress taken the fun out of your holidays? Put the “jolly” back in your holidays and create cherished holiday memories with these proven strategies.

  • Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Start holiday planning and preparations earlier.
  • Simplify wherever you can when planning and holding festive celebrations.
  • Stick to your budget.
  • Scale down your holiday plans.
  • Ponder what you really want to do to celebrate the holidays.
  • Talk with family members and friends about what they want to do.
  • Plan celebrations that express what the holidays truly mean for you.
  • Identify old family traditions. Which ones do you love?
  • Opt to keep holiday traditions that bring you joy and happiness.
  • Give yourself permission to let go of old traditions that you aren’t fond of.
  • Establish start and end times for parties.
  • Take shortcuts like buying pre-made pies to save time.
  • Examine options for pre-made meals or catering services.
  • Promptly ask for help when you need it.
  • Inform all prospective attendees of your holiday plans in advance.
  • Discuss challenging issues in advance with a person who tends to create tension.
  • Use place cards to assign seating in efforts to avoid tension-filled holiday gatherings.
  • Short-circuit disagreeable family discussions by interrupting or changing the subject.
  • Make a gift list, considering the amount of money you can comfortably spend.
  • Cut down your gift list.
  • Shop early and make notes about where to get low-cost gifts.
  • Ask for gift suggestions from the people on your gift list.
  • Consider giving gift cards to save time and precious energy.
  • Suggest a family name-drawing to reduce gift expenditures.
  • Reduce the amount of money you spend overall on the holidays and per gift.
  • Avoid making credit card purchases as much as possible.
  • Save money by making homemade food gifts.
  • Shop early and place gifts in a gift drawer so you’ll be ready for the holidays.
  • Schedule time to be with your kids for some special holiday moments.
  • Keep the kids busy with holiday crafts. They’ll enjoy it and you can get more done.
  • Take time daily to meditate, even if only for a few minutes.

Stress-Free Holiday Traveling

  • Plan holiday travel itineraries in advance.
  • Travel during off-peak hours.
  • Start out well-rested.
  • Build-in extra money to your travel budget in case of emergencies.
  • Arrive at the airport or other station early to more easily take care of last-minute challenges.
  • Expect to run into snags.
  • Pack light and carry on your bag, rather than checking it.
  • Allow extra time to travel from place to place and expect heavy traffic.
  • Send your gifts in advance or take gift cards.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Pack plenty of healthy snacks that travel well without refrigeration.
  • Bring plenty of things to keep the kids happily occupied.
  • Make waiting times go faster and regain a happy holiday feeling by meditating.
  • Use portable meditation props, like a favorite image on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Plan to arrive at your holiday destination rested and excited to share your holidays with loved ones.

Meditation for Holiday Travel

  • Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
  • Let distracting thoughts dissolve away as you focus on deep breathing.
  • Think about your destination and the loved ones you’ll be visiting.
  • Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans – just like you.
  • Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and enjoy that warm feeling.
  • Imagine wrapping up those good feelings and presenting them to everyone around you.
  • Gradually return your attention to the present moment.
  • Remind yourself of the fellowship you felt while meditating.

Did you find this useful? Please share it with someone else who will enjoy it too!

Wishing you a happy & healthy holidays!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide 🙂

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Gazpacho is a cold dish made with “Bacalao.” Bacalao is salted codfish that is used in many ways in Puerto Rican dishes, and it’s actually one of the healthiest. It’s high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats.

Codfish health benefits include; high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the same type found in oily fish or seafood like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It’s also one of the few and best vitamin D–rich foods. No wonder our ancestors were so healthy, they would eat bacalao almost every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats are proven to improve joint mobility, brain function, reduce inflammation, improve overall health, and much more. Check out more of the benefits in the resources below.

Nutrition Dork Tip: Make sure the package says “Wild Caught” and/or codfish from Alaska. Due to ocean contamination, we need to make sure we get our fish and any other seafood from great healthy sources.

GAZPACHO RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of fully cooked boneless salted cod or pollock fish fillets (pollock is a marine fish species of the cod family)
  • 2 or 3 small ripe avocados (the more the merrier)
  • 1 or 1/2 small chopped yellow or red onion (your preference)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1 tsp of vinegar or squeezed lemon (maintains the freshness of the salad)
  • Pink salt (if needed) and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse the salt of the fish very well (2 or 3 times). You can also soak overnight or for a few hours. I usually rinse the fish very well, then boil it to remove the excess salt. Sporadically taste the fish to make sure it’s to your liking.
  • Let it cool and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl mix the chopped avocados, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Pull the fish into flakes and make sure there are no stray bones.
  • Add the fish to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  • Add pepper to taste and salt if needed. The fish might still have some remaining salt.
  • Serve immediately and ENJOY!
  • You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours but it’s best when served immediately.
  • Typically this dish is served inside soft roll, or with white rice as shown in the picture. 
  • Other healthy pairings are, 1 cup of brown rice, and/or cooked quinoa, for a low-carb option.  
  • If served with quinoa, this dish is high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats. All proven to promote weight loss, so ENJOY!!

Note: For a healthy vegan option, omit the fish and add over greens for a tasty and delicious salad!

Buen Provecho!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide!

 

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section14

https://draxe.com/omega-3-benefits-plus-top-10-omega-3-foods-list/

http://nourishingtraditions.com/are-we-over-dosing-on-omega-3s-or-why-we-need-fish-liver-oil-not-fish-oil/

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