Archive of ‘Main Dishes’ category

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)

Ropa vieja is one of the Godfather’s favorite “comfort foods”. When his mother or grandmother would make extra on a day he was home, he would occasionally bring it back to the dorms celebrating that we had a few meals where we weren’t relying on good old Chartwell’s (the cafeteria management company), dining out, or whatever we could concoct in a microwave. We would eat it with leftover rice (if he brought that too), with salad, or on bread as a sandwich. It’s really quite a versatile main dish and the leftovers just get better as the flavors have time to blend. Crock Pot Cuban Shredded Beef Ingredients

Growing up in South Florida, we assumed the blend of cuisines familiar to us were also familiar and easily found in the rest of the country. We were wrong (sheltered!). When we moved out of the area, we realized we (meaning me) would have to make some foods we used to enjoy with family or at a local restaurant. Cuban food was something I wasn’t really exposed to very much until college, so I had a lot to learn to replicate childhood recipes for my sweetheart. Thankfully, my mother-in-law tried to provide me with instructions and let me watch her in the kitchen. She makes her ropa vieja on the stove top or in the pressure cooker. I wanted to be able to make this on weekdays though and I haven’t figured out my pressure cooker 100% – we’re acquaintances rather than friends – so I decided to improvise and use my crock pot… successfully!

Crock Pot Ropa Vieja Veggie PhotoThis is now the only way I’ve made ropa vieja for years because it’s SO EASY. I prep everything the evening before or in the morning, turn the crock pot on low and come back to a house that smells FANTASTIC and dinner is pretty much ready to go.


Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)


  • 2 1/2 – 3 lb flank steak
  • 1 bottle sofrito (we find the Goya brand at the commissary)
  • 1 bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, diced (I had less on hand so added a second bell pepper instead)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, wait about 30 seconds, then add the onion and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes until onion is slightly translucent and the pepper is softened.
  2. Slide the contents of the saute pan into your slow cooker and set the meat on top.
  3. Open the jar of sofrito, pour over the meat, ensuring it’s well coated and then cover and store in the refrigerator overnight before cooking or cook immediately.
  4. To cook, set your crockpot on high 3-4 hours or low 7-8 until the meat is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork. Serve with rice and salad, salad only, or put on baguette bread for sandwiches. Serves 6 – our family of two gets about 3 meals from a 2 1/2 lb flank steak.
Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja served with rice and salad || Goodie Godmother

Ropa Vieja served with rice and salad

Weeknight Matzo Ball Soup

After a few beautiful “California winter” days, the weather just turned rainy and gray and cold and ick. Even with a vacation coming up and the intoxicating smells of challah bread coming from the kitchen, I couldn’t get over the funk I was in and I really wanted some comfort food. Had those days?

Comfort food for me isn’t always about calorie-laden foods, but about smells and experiences that evoke happy memories. When the Godfather and I were students at the photo 1University of Miami (GO CANES!), there was a restaurant building about a mile away from campus that rotated through restaurants every few months. Most were unmemorable and wouldn’t survive even if they had been in a more accessible building, but there was one – The Diner – that holds a special place in our college experience. They had a few good dishes, but our favorite was the matzo ball soup. When we needed a light meal and an escape from campus later in the evening after all the delis closed, we would go and enjoy a bowl in one of their tall modern booths. Like all restaurants in that location, it closed after about 10 months and the late-night matzo soup runs ended.

After we moved away, we realized matzo ball soup wasn’t very easy to come by and so we started buying the box mixes, but it just wasn’t the same. Too salty and bland. I started my matzo soup journey by doctoring the box mixes, using less of the broth packet and adding a few vegetables. You know that kitchen voice that chimes in every once in a while and asks you “What ARE you DOING!?! You can MAKE this!”???

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It didn’t say a word to me for at least a year.

Then one day, it spoke and I went to Google. I found a few recipes for making matzo balls from scratch and read everyone’s opinion on what should and shouldn’t go into the broth, what makes a “real” matzo ball soup vs. one doctored by the culinary community or “those that don’t know better” into some unrecognizable concoction in a bowl masquerading as comfort food. So much passion over soup. I get it.

When the time is available and I have the ingredients on hand, I do enjoy making matzo ball soup entirely from scratch, but this is not that post. This post is about those days when you want something and you want it right. now.

We try not to keep many convenience foods in the pantry, but you’ll often find a box of matzo ball mix… not the soup mix!… tucked away in the back of our pantry for just such a day. A day when a bowl of comforting soup and a thick slice of homemade bread are all you need to warm your soul and make the weather blahs go away.

Weekday Matzo Ball Soup


  • 1 packet of matzo ball mix + eggs and oil as called for on the package
  • 1 ½ tbsp dry parsley (or 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley)
  • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (less if you insist)
  • 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped (or in this case, 2-3 stalks of green onion)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt as needed

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1. Prep the matzo ball mix according to the package. Add the parsley to give the matzo balls some additional flavor. Place in the refrigerator to firm up before rolling into balls.

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2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in your soup pan and add the garlic and onions

. Sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant, then add the rest of

3. While the broth is coming to a boil, pull out the matzo meal mix and form the matzo balls. Drop balls one by one into the boiling soup. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.
the vegetables and cook another 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

4. Adjust seasonings as desired and serve warm, preferably with fresh bread. The Godmother’s Test Kitchen was experimenting with a garlic chive challah (pictured). 

Weekday Matzo Ball Soup with Goodie Godmother Challah bread

Weekday Matzo Ball Soup with Goodie Godmother Challah bread

Savory Stuffed Bundt Cake

This post updated Sept 2015 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography project where I add delicious new photos to already tasty recipes. 

A savory stuffed bundt cake always makes a gorgeous brunch presentation. No one has to know how easy it is to make. Get the recipe on

This past year, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely group of similarly culinary-minded ladies (and gentlemen), through a Facebook group. From time to time, the members of the group get together to share food, recipes and a few good laughs. I attended one of these events recently, but instead of just bringing a Goodie Godmother dish (no recipe sharing there!), I decided to try my hand at modifying a pinterest recipe I found not too long ago for a savory stuffed bundt cake so that I could share the recipe! (more…)

Tortilla Española

This post updated January 2016 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography project where I add better pictures to already delicious recipes.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla) is an easy and budget friendly dish that can be served at any meal, or served cubed as part of a tapas spread. 

Tortilla Espanola - Spanish Tortilla - is a classic egg and potato dish with infinite variations served all over Spain and in some parts of the Caribbean. An easy budget meal, tortilla can be served any time of day, or cut into cubes and served as a party appetizer! Recipe and variations on


Wednesday night this week I walked into the house at 9:15 p.m. and I was starving. Since lunch earlier that day, I’d had a nonfat vanilla spice latte, 2 fun size candy bars and two Starburst candies. The Godfather also hadn’t eaten since lunch and he was ready to eat. Now. (more…)

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