Bittersweet Chalkolate

Blog about cooking, teaching, and everything else that is my life.

April. Cooking challenge. Day 2.

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Yesterday I was a zombie. We had Swiss Chalet. The end.

Today knock on wood Maya feels better and I have enough time and energy to write a post. As you can see, this month I am challenging myself to 30, well already 29 new dishes. And as I was putting leftovers of the new dish that I made in the fridge, I realized that I probably should take pictures of it. So here it is, my new favourite 30-min-from-start-to-finish dish – Cuban Picadillo. The recipe is from this website.

It tastes better than it looks 🙂 believe me.




  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 1/2 lean ground beef
  • 4 oz (1/2 can) tomato sauce
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp capers or green olives


  1. Brown meat on high heat in large sauté pan and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. When meat is no longer pink, drain all juice from pan.
  2. Meanwhile, while meat is cooking, chop onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro.
  3. Add to the meat and continue cooking on a low flame. Add capers or olives and about 2 tbsp of the brine (the juice from the olives, this adds great flavor) cumin, bay leaf, and more salt if needed. Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Reduce heat and simmer covered about 20 minutes.


I decided to saute onion, garlic and peppers first. I do not like raw onion or pepper so I always like cooking them before meat goes in.  I didn’t mince the garlic either, I smashed it and fried it together with onion and peppers. I added tomatoes right after the meat was no longer pink. The ground beef that I had was regular one and not lean. It is not like somebody noticed the difference 🙂 

I need to make a confession – I hate cilantro. I cannot stand the taste of it so I never ever use it in my dishes. I am the one who cooks here so I get to decide what goes it and what doesn’t 🙂 

I also skipped the part about the bay leaf and simmering with 1/4 cup water. I liked it even without it and since I had a whining toddler saying “Mama, am-am! Mama, am-am!” it was obvious that simmering had to go.  

I love how versatile this dish is. I had corn tortillas so I made quick quesadillas with Picadillo, shredded cheese and extra tomatoes. Done and done. While doing the dishes (we do not have a dish-washer as we both actually like doing the dishes) I cooked some brown rice and that’s our lunch tomorrow – Picadillo over brown rice. I am already thinking about tacos or stuffed peppers. I love recipes like that!



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