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Stuffed Chayote with Carne Molida | Caribbean Squash with Ground Beef

How do you decide which recipes to make daily or on special occasions? What sparks your interest? A good photo? A mouth-watering description in a cookbook? The smell of a particular food coming from a neighbor’s house? A memory of someone?

For me, it’s usually a little bit of each, but this time tidbits of stories about my abuelita {grandmother} motivated me to hunt down chayote {a Caribbean squash}, stuff it with seasoned carne molida {ground beef} and serve it how she might have from her mountain home of Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

The background story is that my grandmother was an exceptional cook, someone who could whip up a meal with just a few ingredients on hand. I have some memories of her, but never of her cooking. I only remember her while she infrequently visited here in the States. She came with bundles of guava candy, coconut candy, and savory pasteles. I never knew how much people loved her food.

Until recently.

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Pumpkin Pie Not From a Can | My Halal Kitchen

Pumpkin Pie Not From a Can

I could eat Pumpkin Pie any time of year. It just so happens that because pumpkins are seasonal in the fall here in the Midwest, I truly crave this exact type of pie at this exact time of the year. I love the smell of fresh pumpkin so I began to steam small pie pumpkins myself, also known as sugar pumpkins. I steamed about three already this fall. (You can find my recipe for steamed pumpkin puree here).

With the freshly steamed pumpkins I made smoothies, soups and of course, pumpkin pie. It’s healthy and nutritious and the smell of it takes me back to my youth, when I never tired of fresh pies made by nearly every single family member this time of year.

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Vegetable & Basil Penne Pasta

I’m often asked by readers to provide quick and easy meals for busy families. To be quite honest, I’m really not a cook who goes out of her way to make most things, so quick and easy is my preferred style. I don’ t have the time or the desire (usually) to complicate my life by running back and forth to the grocery store for exotic ingredients. I love to use what I have on hand. I take one look into the fridge and in my cabinets to see what’s there and my mind begins to calculate a recipe. Hey, is there an App for that?

Basil Preservation Tip

I had a lot of basil this summer in my balcony garden, which I froze. Basil freezes perfectly well when you cover it with olive oil, keeping it in a freezer safe container for about 3 months. Simply bring it back to room temperature or throw it into soups and stews for some of the most delicious additons to meals, without buying expensive fresh herbs at the grocery store- especially when it’s out of season.

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Coconut & Chocolate Macaroons

‘Eid Mubarak to all of you and your families! What are you doing to celebrate ‘Eid? What have you given as gifts to your family, friends and neighbors? What have you eaten and shared with those you love?  I have so many questions…

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Easy Appetizer: Egg Salad and Baby Shrimp on Toast

If you’ve already got egg salad on hand, this is a super quick appetizer to prepare. If not, here’s my recipe for a healthy and quick egg salad to get you started. This appetizer came about on a day when I was busy working, unprepared to cook and not feeling well enough to put out a spread … Read more

Multigrain French Toast

Weekend mornings may be the default, albeit traditional time to make griddled things like pancakes and waffles, but this recipe is so quick and easy you can really make them any day of the week. I like to use multi-grain bread to make French toast (my favorite comes from Trader Joe’s). The honey in this recipe is optional, but I think … Read more

Savory Zucchini Fritters

At the end of every summer, it’s easy to take the plethora of zucchini and other types of summer squash for granted. In my experience, people are trying to give it away because they have so much, and if they can’t give it to you as-is, they’ll try to give it to you in the … Read more

A Spanish Iftar

My friends and I decided to get together for an Iftar (breaking of the fast dinner). We thought having a theme would be a great way to focus on the food, as well as make it easier to come up with dishes each one of us would be responsible to make. We got together a … Read more

Baked Phyllo Shells with Scrambled Eggs: An Easy Suhoor

What an easy recipe for suhoor (pre-dawn meal before fasting) for your family or for large gatherings such as a qiyam-al-layl (staying up all night for prayer). You can make the phyllo shells the day before and they’ll be just fine to fill them in with the freshly cooked scrambled eggs. For a savory appetizer using … Read more

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