Tonight's dinner was Arroz Con Pollo, a very popular dish in Costa Rica.  I figured since I've been to Costa Rica for mission trips twice now, this would be an easy dish we would all like.

Not so much... I should have gotten the recipe that they used at the Strong Mission compound, because it was sooooo much better than this one.  This had too much tomato paste and not enough of any other flavor.  None of us really liked it, which was very disappointing, particularly since this recipe made A LOT of rice! My hubby actually took the leftovers and rinsed the tomato paste off.  He said it tasted much better that way! If you enjoy tomato paste, this recipe may be perfect for you.  For us, I'm going to keep my eye open for less pasty recipes.

For dessert, we prepared a sopapilla cheesecake, but because we had Girl Scout meetings until late, did not get to eat.  I've included the recipe here, even though we will eat it tomorrow, when it is fully chilled.

Arroz Con Pollo (original recipe from


1 lb chicken breast or thighs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
Salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin to taste
1 lb uncooked long grain rice, rinsed and dry
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon annatto (I could not find this natural colorant and omitted it)
1 (15 oz.) can peas, drained
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Salsa Lizano (I had some on hand from our last trip to Costa Rica)
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste


Heat 2 TBSP vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium high. Add chicken, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, cumin, and celery. Cook, stirring regularly, until the chicken is golden brown.

While chicken is browning, in a second pan, heat 2 TBSP vegetable oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the rice stirring often until rice is slightly brown. Add carrots, annatto, and salt. Cook for a few minutes.  Add 1 1/4 quart water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender. Turn off heat and leave rice in saucepan covered for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, saute onions, red bell peppers, tomato, cilantro, Lizano sauce, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Combine chicken and sauce in a large saucepan over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in rice and peas. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Sopapilla Cheesecake (original recipe from my friend Lindsay)

To make this, you will need:

2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls 
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
3 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Unroll one can of crescent rolls and spread on the bottom of a greased 9x11 baking pan. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until light and (slightly) fluffy. Spread mixture over the top of the crescent roll dough. Unroll second can of crescent roll dough and lay over the top.  Mix together the butter, cinnamon and sugar, and pour mixture over the top.  Bake for 30 min or until top is slightly browned. Cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
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