I always say cooking is love on the outside.  In the midst of all we have going on in the world a lot of us have become home cooks.

I have doubled down on something I already love to do and have been cooking something new every day.

Last night we had Canoas de platanos maduros (loosely translated to sweet plantain canoes). It is a dish I love to make. The colors are vibrant, the smells are delectable and the taste brings you to an island on a beach with a Pina colada in hand.

I think we can all agree we would love to be on an island under the sun right now.

I make a basic picadillo filling. You can use this same recipe to fill empanadas.

In a large pot on medium heat place 2 tbsp. of olive oil, 1.5 lbs. of chop ,meat, chopped garlic, green pepper, red pepper and red and white onion. Add in fresh cilantro, adobo, sauzon achiote and oregano.

Cook until the mixture has softened and browned. Add a small can of Goya tomato sauce and chopped green olives. Let it simmer for ten minutes.

While that is finishing up; peel six plantains (yellow ones – you want them to be turning toward black they will be sweeter). In a large frying pan heat the vegetable oil and fry each plantain until it is brown. Once they brown; place on a paper towel. As they cool begin to separate in the middle making a slit.

(Canoe).  Stuff the plantains with your meat mixture and top with fresh cilantro and cheese.

Many recipes call for mozzarella or cheddar. I like to use cojita cheese (if you cannot find that crumbled feta is the same consistency and close in taste).

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes on 350 degrees. Serve with a side of white rice ( we used jasmine )

The dish is a beautiful addition to any table and easy to serve for a family dinner or small gathering!

Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.

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