My Crazy Cocina Caliente!!

Just a crazy little latina, stirring up trouble in the cocina!

Pollo Guisado…Old School Favorite August 11, 2009

Filed under: chicken,dinner — Vanessita! @ 10:11 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Growing up my mom used to make Pollo Guisado all the time- it’s a dish I will FOREVER love.


My friends and I decided to have a small dinner party last week and our theme was “latin night”.  Since the majority of us come from a hispanic background we each made a traditional Spanish dish.
We had everything from Picadillo, to plaintains, tres leche cake, black beans, white rice, flan, and some awesome taco-dip.  Because my friend was going to make a beef dish I decided I should make chicken and immediately knew I wanted to make pollo guisado.

When made right the chicken will fall right off the bone and be extremely moist and juicy.  DELISH!!!

Saturday morning I joined my friend Jenn to the Winter Park farmers market and got some great veggies that I used in this meal.

Pollo Guisado
Cocina Caliente Original Recipe (With Help From My Mom!! 🙂 )

Feeds: 10-12

1 large (family sized) pack of chicken thighs, bone-in  (drumsticks can also be used)
Half a can of broth (I used beef) (Water can also be used)
1 medium green pepper (cut into small pieces)
1 medium red pepper (cut into small pieces)
1 medium carrot (sliced into small pieces)
1 large potato (cut into small cubes)
Half of a medium white onion (diced)
1 tsp. of garlic
Adobo (for seasoning chicken)
2 bullion cubes (I used the powdered kind)
2 packets of Sazon
3 tablespoons of Sofrito
1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce
Salt to Taste

First season your chicken with the adobo.
Because I was making so much chicken and I wanted to make sure it all cooked through evenly, I set a large deep skillet over medium low heat I seared the chicken pieces in the sofrito, sazon, bullion cube, and tomato sauce mix (only use half the sauce at this point).  Let that simmer for a little bit.  Be sure to cover your pan so everything stays really moist.
After about 10 minutes I added all the veggies, the remaining half of tomato sauce and added enough broth to cover about 1/3 of the chicken.
Keep the heat medium low and let the chicken continue to cook in the broth/veggie mix.  Be sure to mix it well so that all the flavors incorporate.

For the large amount of chicken I made, I think it took me about 30 to 40 minutes before it was just right.
You should be able to put a fork through the chicken and the chicken should be cooked all the way through.

You can always add more veggies, take away some veggies, add ingredients of your choice- whatever you like to give it the flavors you want.  Everyone at the dinner party commented on how good the chicken was and it really is SO simple to make.

Buen Provecho!!!


My Latest Kitchen Love Affair July 10, 2009

Filed under: chicken,dinner — Vanessita! @ 9:13 am
Tags: , ,

Thats it- I’m in love…with my crockpot.

You  may find this hard to believe but I’ve only used my crockpot TWICE.  The first time I used it I was home to “supervise” it and really only heated up meatballs.  Yesterday was my first time leaving the crockpot unattended at home- and boy, was I nervous when I left the house.

Sure, everyone’s told me how crockpots were made to be left alone and cook while your gone- but having a mother who is flat our scared of leaving anything on while shes out of the house- I wasn’t so sure I could trust it.

A little background: Growing up we NEVER had a crockpot at our house.  My mom has NEVER used one- and probably never will.  She’s old-school like that. 🙂  When it came time to register for our wedding, I figured “heck, why not- lets add that to the list”.  My good friend Sonyalie bought us our crockpot- and I am now so grateful for it!  Coming home to a fully cooked meal- AWESOME!!!

Trying to keep up with our healthy kick I decided crockpot chicken chili would be a good hearty & healthy dinner.


I based my recipe off this blogpost from The Crepes of Wrath:  I did make some changes to it, as usual my changes are in RED.

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Chili

1 onion, diced We’re not big onion people so I omitted this.
1 16-oz can no-salt-added black beans
1 16-oz can no-salt-added kidney beans
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies We’re not chili fans so I just got regular plain diced tomatoes.

6 teaspoons chili powder Skipped**
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin Skipped**
3 teaspoons onion powder Skipped**
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder Skipped**
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Skipped**
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
chopped fresh cilantro (optional) Skipped**
low-fat sour cream (optional) Skipped**
cheddar cheese (optional)
Rice, tortilla chips, tortillas (for serving) We used saltines.
And as usual- I seasoned my chicken before putting it in with Adobo 🙂

**Instead of using the various spices I just threw in 1 package of Publix Brand Chili Seasoning…for me it was much more cost effective than buying all the spices I didn’t have on hand.

1. Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, tomato sauce, chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (if you don’t have these spices, you can just buy a package of taco seasoning) in a slow cooker.
2. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
3. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.
4. Top with fresh cilantro, low-fat sour cream, and cheese. Serve over rice, with tortilla chips, or eat by itself! Serves 6.


Lessons Learned:

Publix chicken breasts are normally pretty big- I should have taken precaution and only put 2 chicken breasts in.  3 seemed to be WAY too much and once I shredded up the chicken it made the chili extremely thick.  It was almost hard to savor the tomatoes and beans because there was just SO much chicken.

Overall the chili was very tastey and I’m sure I’ll be making it again in the future.

What I really learned from this meal was how much I loved my crockpot!!!  I’m on a hunt now for new/healthy/crockpot recipes.  Nothing beats coming home to a delicious smelling house (that isn’t on fire!!! Contrary to my mothers beliefs! haha).

If I had to rate this? As is: probably 3 out of 5.
I’m sure if I made it again with the changes I’d make it would score higher.


Laughing Cows?? July 8, 2009

Filed under: chicken,dinner — Vanessita! @ 9:24 am
Tags: , , ,

Before tonight I had NEVER tried laughing cow cheese, but I had read wonderful things about it on the WC board.
After searching through various recipes I found this one from The Rookie Chef. The recipe called for both laughing cow cheese & pesto- sounded amazing and I knew I had to try it!

Hubs and I had his family over for dinner and I decided this would be the perfect dish to serve them.
I did make a few changes to Molly Jean’s recipe- but I did stick with it pretty closely.


Below is Molly Jean’s recipe, my changes are in red.


  • 2 chicken breasts  I used 8
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 2 wedges Laughing Cow cheese (I used the Herb & Garlic kind, yummy!!)) 1 per each breast, I used 8.
  • 2 scoops of pesto 1 scoop per breast, I used 8.
  • A little olive oil
  • I seasoned the chicken with Adobo & Italian Seasoning


  • Wash and dry thawed chicken
  • Spread 1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on each chicken breast
  • Now spread 1 scoop (however much you like) of pesto onto each chicken breast
  • Roll up the chicken breast (it should be rolled similar to THIS)
  • Secure with a toothpick so that it doesn’t unroll
  • Drizzle a little olive oil on the chicken and rub to completely cover
  • Place breadcrumbs in a bowl. Roll your chicken around in the breadcrumbs so that the chicken is completely covered
  • Place rolled chicken breasts in a lightly greased baking pan and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes

Next time I make this I think I’ll add more than just 1 wedge per chicken breasts, but thats only because Hubs and I like things uber cheesy 🙂  But overall this chicken was very very yummy and his family commented on how good it tasted.

I served it up with some fettucini alfredo, garlic bread, and a side salad.

Oh- and a big THANK you to the Hubs, who went grocery shopping on his own and brought me back all the right things.  Thank you hunnie!!! Great job!! 🙂


Dinner: Strawberry Mango Salsa over Grilled Chicken July 7, 2009

Filed under: chicken,dinner — Vanessita! @ 11:28 am
Tags: , , ,

I bought a bunch of Mangos and Strawberries since they were on sale at the grocery store- but I hadn’t been able to eat most of them, so I needed to find a way to use them up.
I decided to make a thick salsa to top some grilled chicken- and it turned out to be really good!!


For the Salsa:
3/4 of 1 Ripe Mango
6-8 Strawberries
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Salt to taste

I used my chopper to cut up the mango and strawberries- I put that in a bowl than added the lemon & lime juice (to taste).
Mixed it up, added some salt and VIOLA!

For my chicken I butterflied the breasts and seasoned them with Adobo. Once they were on the skillet grilling up I added some lemon juice. I added a bit more before serving, then topped it with the salsa.
It was a great combination and I think hubby actually liked it! 🙂