A Little Sazon Brings Us Together!

Pastellitos are everyone's favorite Spanish snack. The taste of the melted cheese is so juicy, and the crunchiness is to die for.

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It’s my first year living on campus as a Resident Assistant and the experience has been great so far. I enjoy my single room and my privacy because I need it. Being an RA is crazy, there are so many responsibilities but I have learned a lot so far.

The rules to follow, bonding with students and the meetings can get overwhelming if it isn’t planned accordingly. But, I am extremely organized, and it has been going smoothly so far.

I sat in my room for like an hour thinking of program ideas I can do with my residents. I wanted to do something related to my passion, but I didn’t know how. But the idea came to me after speaking with a friend of mine. Teaching my residents a simple recipe. We all know that students love food and a recipe that everyone loves is a great touch. And sometimes we tire of eating Mercy food. Who can relate? So I put a list together of the ingredients I needed and asked my close friends to help me out.

My best friend and I were making the pastellitos two hours before the event. It was getting hot in the kitchen after we fried the first batch of them. Then the smell made our stomachs growl! So it was right for us to get one each. We made them after all.. right? The melted cheese was juicy, and the crunchiness made us want another one. The taste took us back home. Damn were they good. We glanced at each other and smiled but knew we can never compare it to our mother and ‘abulelitas’ pastellitos.

I left six pastellito discs aside with the grounded meat that was made. When the time came to start the event, I had a couple of volunteers make their very own pastellito at the kitchen in my hallway. Both the girls and guys were up for the challenge of making their own pastellito and frying it. They found the frying session the hardest part. Everyone fears the hot oil, but it really isn’t that bad. It is all about the technique of laying the pastellito carefully into the pot. That’s a trick I taught my residents, and they never knew that before. Their parents would make this snack but they never really observed it to the fullest.

Pastellitos are the best and easiest snacks to make. I even went out to buy Colombian empanadas to have my residents try something different. The Colombian empanadas are soft and the pastellitos are crunchy. Their different tastes are the best part… it feels like home and that’s what I wanted my residents to feel. My residents’ very own pastellito took them back home for a good 10 minutes.

After my demos finished, I took them all to the lounge on the first floor for a little bonding time. That’s where the rest of the finished pastellitos went. We had music playing and even Spanish soda to give it a touch! I spread out the Spanish culture with the help of my friends; it felt astonishing. Everyone had a great time and definitely had a couple more. There were a couple of residents who never tried the Colombian empanada and they thought it was great just like the pastellito. I don’t like it when people are picky and they did not show that at all. That’s what I enjoyed most. Their time and appreciation. Not everyone is like that and it scared me that students would just come to take the food and leave. But they didn’t. They enjoyed the food, the fun and my company and I felt the same.

After my event, students come up to me and start asking about the next ‘cooking event’. Their concerns about the next event always put a smile to my face. That’s when I brainstorm even deeper, thinking of other easy recipes to make.

If you are home alone or even on campus, remember a kitchen is a powerful tool. You have the power to make anything and eat great. Pastellitos never take much of your time or money.

Ingredients:

-Goya discs

-Shredded Mozzarella cheese

-Ground beef (if wanted)

-Olive Oil

– Fork

-Pot

Instructions:

Layout the Goya discs on the table. Add a spoon of mozzarella cheese. Fold the disc and with a fork make a mark all around the half to close it.

Boil your oil. Slowly dip the tip of the pastellito in the oil and slide it. Don’t drop it! The oil will pop and burn you.

Leave it for 3 minutes and then you are all set.

It is quick to make. Please don’t hesitate or overthink it. If you make it for your parents, friends or a loved one. For sure they will appreciate it!