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Monica “Mika” Leon


Chef & Owner of @Caja_Caliente 👩🏼‍🍳 Recipe Developer Miami, FL.

Potaje de garbanzos for the soul 🔥 Just the way I grew up eating it! 🥲


14 oz of dried garbanzos aka chickpeas
1lb smoked ham hocks
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
2 small onions, chopped (one for the sofrito & one for the instant pot)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. Complete seasoning
4oz. tomato sauce
3.5 oz of Spanish chorizo (sliced)
2 small potatoes, diced
Salt to taste


Place your garbanzos, onion, carrots, bay leaf and ham hocks to your
#instantpot and fill it half way with water. Set the Instant Pot to the pressure cooker setting at high and cook for 45 minutes.

In a large caldero, make your sofrito. Saute your onions, bell peppers, onion, complete seasoning and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 5-7 min. Until your onions are translucent. Add in your chorizo and cook for another 5 minutes until it releases some of its oil. Taste for salt & seasoning & adjust accordingly then set aside .

Once the instant pot is done and the pressure is fully released open it and drain them, making sure to reserve the broth. Discard the onions and carrots.

Add your chickpeas and ham hocks to the caldero with the sofrito. Now add in your tomato sauce and stir. To this now add in 5-6 cups of your broth from earlier. Salt to your liking. Drop in your potatoes and bring this mixture to a boil. Once it starts boiling, immediately drop the heat to low and let this simmer, covered for 25min. Or until the potatoes are fully cooed through.

#hispanicheritagemonth #cuba #cuban #caribbean #food #garbanzos #chickpeas #foodie #yum
Crema de frijoles negros 🔥 topped with crispy chicharron & plantain chips 😮‍💨

14 oz. diced
@Iberia Foods frijoles negro / black beans
6 cups of water
2 bay leaves
Handful of Cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. Cumin
1 1/2 tbsp. Ketchup
1 tbsp. White vinegar
1 tsp. Oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small white onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. @iberia Olive oil
1 tbsp. @iberia complete seasoning
1/4 cup @iberia platanito chips for topping

Add the black beans to the instant pot along with the water, bay leaves and a few cilantro leaves.

Close the lid & Pressure cook on high for 45min.

When the 45 min. are up, do a natural release.

Make your sofrito: In a saute pan over medium heat, add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, complete seasoning & garlic. Cook, constantly stirring for 5-7 min. Until your onions are translucent.

Open your pressure cooker carefully and add your sofrito mix to the beans, your ketchup, vinegar, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper and stir.

Press the saute button on your instant pot and saute on medium heat. Let this cook for 15-20min until all those flavors come together and some more of the water has evaporated. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Garnish with crushed up platanito chips & chicharron for the perfect bite!

#comfortfood #recipes #yum #querico #blackbean #hispanic heritagemonth #hhm
#Cuban childhood classic… #Bistec en cazuela 🔥🤤

Beef thin round top steak
1 White onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2-3 tbsp. Of minced garlic
2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup of dry white cooking wine
Complete seasoning

Generously salt and pepper your steak on both sides.

Add your bell pepper, onion and garlic to a large caldero and top it with your steaks. To this now add your tomato sauce, cooking wine, complete seasoning and salt to taste. Over high heat, bring this to a boil then immediately turn to low heat and let it simmer for 20min. Until your steaks are cooked through.

#cuban #food #foodie #recipes #hispanicheritage
Making tambor cubano with my partner in crime 🔥 Another #weeknight favorite!

5 Idaho potatoes
1 cup of cream cheese
1/3 cup of butter
2 oz of evaporated milk
3 cups of Cuban picadillo at room temp. (Discard all grease)
2 cups of of mozzarella cheese
Salt to taste

Directions Boil your potatoes until fork tender. Strain your potatoes and add to a mixing bowl. Add to the potatoes the cream cheese, butter and evaporated milk. Mash your potatoes until smooth. Add salt to taste. Begin layering your Tambor. Start with a layer of mashed potatoes, then picadillo and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat your layers one more time and then refrigerate 1-2 hours. Now bake at 350F. for 25 min. Then broil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

#cuban #food #cubanfood #recipes #picadillo
Grilled chipotle mojo using @Hellmann's Mayo #HellmannsPartner in the marinade, one of my favorite cooking hacks, trust me! Hellman’s mayo is the perfect ingredient to take this simple recipe to the next level because of its rich and creamy flavor. This is such an easy & delicious weeknight meal that you guys have to try!

- 2 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp. Oregano
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. Cumin
- ½ cup of cilantro
- 2 canned chipotle peppers & 1 tsp. of the adobo sauce it comes in
- Salt to taste

1. Add your Hellmann's Mayonnaise, lime juice, oregano, garlic, cumin, cilantro and salt to a food processor and mix on high for 2-3 min. Until your marinade comes together.
2. Add your chicken thighs to a mixing bowl and cover with your marinade, making sure each piece is fully coated in marinade. Cover and let this sit in the fridge and marinade for 2 hrs. Minimum.
3. Grill over medium high heat for 8-10 min. Per side until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Serve over rice and beans.

#recipes #weeknight #meal #dinner #foodie #cuban #food #linkinbio
Dulce de leche flan 🤩 this one is a new favorite at my house 🔥


For the caramel:

1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water

For the custard:

1 can of evaporated milk
1 can (14 oz.) of dulce de leche
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
3 eggs
2 tsp of vanilla


Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Move the pan around until it gets to a nice golden brown. Pour the caramelized sugar into your mold, moving the mold around to coat the bottom and sides. Set it aside and let it cool completely. It will feel smooth and hard.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a small sauce pan, add your dulce de leche and 1/4 cup of your evaporated milk. Over low heat, constantly stir until your dulce de leche is nice and soft and a sauce forms. Set aside & let cool (iy will cook you eggs if you immediately add to the blender)

In a blender, mix together the eggs & egg yolks. Once blended, add your dulce de leche sauce, evaporated milk, salt and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Pour the custard into your prepared mold with the hardened caramel. Put your flan into an ovenproof dish or baking pan and fill with hot water to about half-way up the sides, or as high as you can go without spilling hot water on yourself. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 F. Remove from the oven and water bath and let it cool completely, then refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours and for best results…overnight. Run a knife around the edge, place on a serving platter and invert.

#cuban #food #cubanfood #dessert #flan #dulcedeleche
Guilty vs. guilt-free Arroz con Leche 😋 this one surprised me but classic arroz con leche is obviously the winner 🏆

Classic Arroz con leche

1 cup of Valencia rice
5 cups of water
Lemon peel of half a lemon
1 cup of whole milk
1 can of evaporated milk
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 cans of condensed milk
Cornstarch slurry (1/2 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of water)
2 cinnamon sticks

To a large casuela add in your rice, water and lemon peel. Set to medium low and stir constantly for about 15 minutes.

When most of the water has evaporated add in your cinnamon sticks, milk and evaporated milk. Drop the heat to low and stir constant for 20 min.

Then add in your condensed milk, cornstarch slurry and vanilla extract. Continue stirring constantly on low heat for about 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked through and it has reached desired consistency.

Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours and garnish with cinnamon powder.

Quinoa pudding

1 cup of washed quinoa
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 1/4 cup oat milk / soy milk
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup of condensed milk
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Add your washed quinoa to a dutch oven and add in your coconut milk, soy or oat milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, brown sugar and pinch of salt over medium heat.

Simmer for 20min. Or until it has thickened. Taste for sweetness. When its perfect, refrigerate & serve cold.

#arrozconleche #cubanfood #recipes #dessertrecipes #PlayWithYourFood #dessert #cubanfood #cuban #arrozconleche
#Ensaladilla rusa con pollo 🤩 aka the best #potatosalad you’ll ever have 🔥

4-5 small red potatoes
1 PD. Of shredded chicken
½ cup chopped giardiniera (pickled vegetables in a jar)
⅓ cup of the pickling juice from the giardiniera jar
2 boiled eggs, roughly chopped
3 roasted red peppers from a jar
¼ cup chopped spanish olives
1 ½ cup mayo or more if you like it creamier
1 cup cooked peas
Salt & pepper to taste
Handful of chopped chives

Boil your potatoes (skin on) over high heat for 20-25 or until tender. Make sure to not overcook so they don't fall apart. Discard the water & let them cool.

Once cooled, peel the skins off of your potatoes, finely dice and add to your large mixing bowl. Smash them down just a bit, not too much. Add your pickled vegetables, peppers, mayo & olives and stir until nice and combined.

To this mixture add your pickling liquid, S&P, peas & chicken and mix again.

Top off your finished ensaladilla with chopped eggs, red pepper & chives 😍
Cheesy #pastelitos de carne 😮‍💨 A childhood favorite, upgraded 🧀

2 cups of cooked #picadillo
1/2 cup of shredded #mozarella
1 package of puff pastry (thawed)
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Onto a floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry and using a biscuit cutter, cut out 9 circles.

Whisk your egg and brush the edges of the puff pastry with the whisked egg.

To the center of each puff pastry circle add 1-2 tablespoons of picadillo.

Roll out the other puff pastry sheet and using the same biscuit cutter, cut out 9 more circles.

Carefully place a puff pastry circle over the picadillo and be sure to pinch the edges of the puff pastry to seal the pastry together.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Take them out of the oven & Allow to cool slightly and enjoy! #cubanpastelitos
ARROZ IMPERIAL 🤤 Bringing back this favorite since you guys keep asking for it 🔥😏

2lb. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
8oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup of dry white cooking wine
1/2 tbsp. of Sazon completa
1 tbsp. of vegetable oil
2 packs of Sazon con achiote
1 lb. of jamon Serrano
3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb. of chopped deli ham
1 cup of mayonnaise
6 cups of long grain rice, washed
6 cups of water
Salt to taste


Boil your chicken until cooked through. Set aside and let cool. Once cooled, shred your chicken.

Make your sofrito by adding your bell pepper, onion and garlic to a casuela. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 min. until your onions are translucent. Now add your tomato sauce, cooking wine, shredded chicken and stir. Add sazon completa and salt to taste, make sure its very well seasoned. Drop the heat to low and let this simmer for 8-10min.

Start cooking your rice by adding the 6 cups of rice, 6 cups of water, 3 tbsp. vegetable oil and 2 packs of Sazon con achiote to a casuela. Taste the water of the rice and make sure it has the right amount of salt. Bring the rice the rice to a boil, then immediately drop the heat to low, cover and let cook 18-25 min. until your rice is cooked through.

Add your ham to pan to lightly sear. Once the rice is cooked you can begin layering your arroz imperial in a large casserole dish.

Lay out your ingredients: Rice, mayonnaise, chicken, cheese.

Now lets assemble it.. Make sure that after each each layer you use a spatula to press the layer down and make it even.The bottom layer is goin to be rice, then mayonnaise then chicken. Now add a layer of cheese then another layer of rice. After the rice comes mayonnaise and over the mayonnaise is a layer of ham. Now the final layer of rice then VERY generously cover with cheese. Place in the oven at 350°F. covered with aluminum for 10 minutes. Then uncover and bake for another 10 minutes then finally broil for 2-3 minutes. until your cheese is nice and golden brown.

#arrozimperial #cuban #food #cubanfood #recipes #foodie #yum #instafood
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