Friday, March 1, 2013

Easy Picadillo Dinner

Need another quick family dinner?

Here's one that I threw together this week after gymnastics.  When we get home from gymnastics, it is T minus 2 hours until bedtime, so dinner has to be quick and easy.  Sometimes I have it together enough to have a crockpot dinner going.  But not usually.

So, here's what was on the menu this week: picadillo.  Fun to say, right?  Peek-a-dee-lyo.  Try it.  It's fun, I swear.  It's basically a Cuban version of my creamy beefy veggie stuff, in that it's made with ground beef and veggies, and we like it served over rice.  Picadillo comes from a Latin base meaning "minced" or "chopped", so get ready for some knife work.  Different Latin cultures make it differently, some even add raisins, but this is the one that I know and that my family enjoys. 

So, in order to get things moving quickly, I usually start the rice up first.  This recipe for black beans and rice is quick and simple and goes well with the picadillo.  Sometimes I make saffron or yellow rice, or just rice with onions instead.  Sometimes we serve it with cheese quesadillas...which is delicious, but takes a little more time.  The night in particular was a saffron rice kind of night.  I started the water on the stove and then went to chop my veg as it heated to a boil.

Chop up an onion, a clove of garlic, and about half of a green pepper (more, if you'd like).

Saute it up in a large pan with a little olive oil for a couple of minutes to soften it up.  While it's cooking, chop up a handful of green olives, pimentos included, if that's what you have.  I had Castelvatranos (our family fave), so I cut them off of the pits and chopped them.  Add a pound of ground beef to the pan.  Cook until the beef browns, breaking it up as you go.  Then add in the olives, red pepper flakes (start small and go with more if you like more heat) and a cup or so of tomato sauce.  Homemade is great, but from a can does just as well.

Then let that all simmer happily away for about 5 minutes to let the flavors all blend together.  By that time, your rice should be finishing up, and everything will be ready to go.  Picadillo would probably be great as leftovers, but in our house, it never gets the chance. fresh and hot that it steamed up my lens!

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