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The sound of classroom bells and the roar of school buses mark the end of summer and the return of our hectic daily routines. Hispanic traditions can live on in our modern day lifestyle both in the kitchen and at the dining room table. With easy to use products, even the kids can help prepare unforgettable dishes while you share stories about your family and ancestors. Cooking with the kids is a fun way to help them to develop their skills: reading, addition, measurements and fractions, multiplication and even problem solving.

The following recipes can be used to prepare a tasty, nutritious and easy to cook traditional dish.

Cuban picadillo

Makes four servings

3 tablespoons bacon drippings

1 large potato, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound ground beef

1 cup chopped ham

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, cut in half

2 beef flavor bouillon cubes (4 grams each), crumbled

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Hot, cooked rice

4 sunny-side-up eggs (optional)

Heat bacon drippings in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potato; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet; set aside.

Cook beef in skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink; drain.


Stir in ham, onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in potato, raisins, olives, bouillon cubes, tomato sauce, cumin, oregano and vinegar.

Serve over rice. Top with egg.

Black bean soup

Makes four to five servings

2 tablespoons Caribbean jerk seasoning blend

4 cans (15 or 16 ounces each) black beans, drained

2 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 chicken flavor bouillon tablet (11 grams), crumbled

Media crema (also called table cream or evaporated cream, in the Hispanic food aisle)

Chopped red onion

Lime wedges

Toast seasoning blend in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat for 3 minutes or until fragrant and slightly darker in color. Remove from heat.

Pour seasoning blend, beans, water, oil, lime juice and bouillon tablet in food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary). Cover; process until almost smooth.

Pour mixture back into saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until heated through and thickened. Season with salt, if desired.

Top with media crema and onion. Serve with lime wedges.