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Dinner

Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken

Dinner, Quick and Easy

It is still technically summer but my inbox looks like it’s mid-November. Full-on Thanksgiving and fall pitches. And then yesterday I drove past a Halloween store! I. AM. NOT. READY. Tho I kinda am because wearing sweaters are dope.

Let’s talk about this sheet pan dish. Mojo is my favorite thing ever. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s Cuban and a lot of times you’ll find it in marinades for meats and chicken or fish. It’s also sometimes served with tostones for, like, dipping, though usually it’s a bit thicker in consistency. You get the idea!

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Payday Lobster Cherry Tomato Pasta

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer

Hello! I am here. Is today (or next Friday) payday for you? I hope so because this pasta is something that I hope you make when you get PAID! This is a treat yo’self kinda pasta because it has lobster in it.

Pasta is usually on the cheaper end of the food-money-spending spectrum but lobster makes it pretty indulgent.

I went to the market and bought two lobster tails for about $20. I definitely was like “dang, ok. lobster is legit expensive.” And I still had to buy all of the other ingredients. I think my total bill came to like $30 or $35 dollars for this entire meal, which if you actually compare to a restaurant, it’s still cheaper.

But whatever you do, don’t overcook/mess up the precious lobster ok?!

I’m going to be honest again and tell you that I grew up eating lobster because my family loved it. And I knew when they brought home lobster someone was having a good day/bills had been paid/we were living!

Before recipe testing this, I’d actually never cooked lobster. I was super pumped that it was just the tails and not a whole, living, thriving lobster. That experience might’ve been too real for my city-loving self.

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Camarones a la Diabla

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Summer

I LOVE THIS RECIPE!

If you’ve never had camarones (shrimp) a al diabla, here’s a breakdown of how it goes:

A sauce is made. This sauce might remind you of an enchilada sauce. It’s red and flavorful and in this case, a little smoky. This sauce recipe makes quite a bit and part of me wanted to halve it but I actually ended up using it for three other dinners last week.

1st dinner: I made this.
2nd dinner: I tossed it with roasted eggplant and vegetables and ate it with quinoa.
3rd dinner: I made this again.
4th dinner: Josh used it to braise some flank steak (using one of our favorite kitchen gadgets) AND then we put it in tacos for Friday taco night and it was boooomb.

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Blistered Tomatoes + Corn + Burrata Pizza

Dinner, Pizza, Quick and Easy, Summer, Vegetarian

Amelia’s favorite food is pizza. Whenever we walk in through the door with a big square flat box, she always gets SO pumped because she knows exactly what it is. We don’t feed her whole slices of pizza because we’re not monsters but Josh does give her a piece or two of the crust and she LOOOOVES IT.

I actually love making pizza at home because it’s super easy and I can make it exactly how I like it: on the lighter, healthier side.

There is still cheese. A lot of cheese. But I like the veggies I select. In this case: blistered cherry tomatoes, corn and lots of basil and crushed red pepper.

Instead of a normal tomato sauce, which you could totally still do, I made a quick arugula basil pesto with walnuts and smothered that on the pizza crust.

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Grilled Meatball Chimichurri Sandwiches

Dinner, Sandwiches

I love nothing more than a good meatball. But when I think of meatballs, I don’t necessarily think of summer. I think of them being more in the “cozy comfort food” category that you’re supposed to crave on a cold, wintery day. Well, I wanted to change that and bring you a more summer-fied version. A version that you could throw on the grill…maybe this weekend when it’s 4th of July!

This post is sponsored ALDI. I went there to get all of the ingredients for this very summery lil’ recipe and a ton more super affordable baking items (read: flour, sugar, brown sugar, etc). I literally can’t walk into ALDI without stocking up on baking ingredients and fresh summery-y produce.

As for summer, they have everything you’ll need, including 100% Organic Grass Fed Organic ground beef, which is perfect for making burgers and most importantly, meatballs.

Before this post, I had never grilled meatballs. Man, I was missing out. I love meatballs to begin with, but the crispiness and flavor that grilling provides is really special.

I threaded them on a skewer and grilled them with a bit of oil. They were delicious. I loved the slightly charred flavor and the chimichurri on top just made it taste super fresh and summer-like. I love queso fresco cheese on everything so when I sprinkled a bit on top of the meatballs, the salty flavor really hit the spot.

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Instant Pot Hummus with Chimichurri

Appetizers, Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Sides

This weekend! There was a good dose of work sprinkled throughout the weekend but there was also time to try a new restaurant (Maestro) in Pasadena (very good) and go and see Wonder Woman (double-thumb ups).

I love going to the movies and I try and go as much as I possible but the past few months there has literally been zero that I even remotely wanted to see. So I’ve been keeping busy with Netflix and I have to say: I highly recommend The Keepers (VERY CREEPY!) and the Thanksgiving episode of Master of None. If you don’t watch the entire season, it’s totally fine, just watch that episode. I made me teary and warm inside. I loved it so much.

Another thing I’ve been researching and thinking about: the Instant Pot. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been very skeptical. I honestly don’t make a ton of beans and I don’t braise a ton of meat so for a long time I was like, who cares!?!? but then I wanted to make hummus and Billy offered to bring over his Instant Pot for hummus-making, so I said, “let’s doooo it.”

These beans cooked in like 30 minutes—it was insane! While they cooked in the Instant Pot, we did other things like talk about how crazy Ramona is and how Sonja ate a whole block a cheese and Luann’s wedding and we also talked about chocolate chip cookies. But we still saved so much time using that thing. I can’t recommend it enough…except I haven’t bought one for myself. Continue Reading

Miso Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy

I’m currently watching “The Keepers” which is SO interesting but is all about murder…this means that I’m currently scared to go to the restroom by myself. I love true crime but at the same time I hate watching it. It’s like eating lots of spicy food or something—so good but it hurts!

Anyway, most days I don’t consider mac and cheese “healthy” per-se. But today is a lil’ different. I wouldn’t recommend making this when you’re seriously trying to diet but I would say it’s definitely healthy…ish.

This recipe comes from my friend Izy’s new book, The Savvy Cook. One of the most popular recipes that people love to make over and over on this blog is actually one of her recipes, from her first book, Top With Cinnamon. It is seriously one of my favorite chocolate cakes. It’s so easy and delicious so my expectation for this mac and cheese was UP THERE!

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Copycat Shake Shack Burgers

Dinner, DIY, Summer

If you’re on the west coast, you’ve most likely been asked that dumb question that everyone loves to ask: In-N-Out or Shake Shack?”

It’s not really a fair question because the price point on a Shake Shack burger is WAY higher than an In-n-Out Burger AND most diehard LA people will never, ever say Shake Shack. They’d almost rather root for the Yankees.

And while I love LA, I will admit, I always choose Shake Shack. The meat at In-N-Out always makes me feel kinda ill. I once got the grilled cheese and I didn’t feel sick at all so it’s def the meat. So, for me, I’ll always go with Shake Shack because the quality of ingredients sits with me a bit better. But In-N-Out will always be near and dear to my heart and remind me of young childhood and driving up the coast of California.

BUT, we’re not making a copycat In-N-Out burger, we’re making a Copycat Shake Shake burger. WHY?!

BECAUSE THEY ARE DOPE. There have been some good posts on this subject, notably here and here. But luckily, for me, and you, Shake Shack has come out with a book, giving us all a better idea of how things should be constructed and made. Most importantly: the special sauce.

The first step is to butter your Martin’s Potato Rolls. If you’re unfamiliar with Martin’s potato rolls just know they are soft and luscious and so very delicious. You can buy them on the east coast at a whole lot of places and if you’re psycho, or you order them online here.

I searched very far and wide for Martin Potato Rolls in LA and couldn’t find them. It was really annoying. A big part of me even thought of being crazy and buying eight burgers at Shake Shack, hold the meat and sides, so I could get the buns for this post…but then the normal, frugal part of me kicked in and immediately told my-sometimes-irrational-self that she was psycho for even thinking of that.

If you’re lucky enough to live on the east coast, go get them. If you’re a west coaster, you can order them online or just use white buns that are small. 🙁

Either way, you gosta butter them and then pan-fry them. This is what dreams are made of.

Then there’s the meat.

So we made our own blend, with the guidance of their book. BUT you don’t need to. Just go to your grocery store (that has a meat counter) and ask for a blend. OR you can use ground chuck that is 85/15. It will still taste good.

But I did as follows:

I got one pound of sirloin and one pound of chuck.

I chopped them up into cubes and fed them through the meat grinder with the largest opening. And then I put them through again with the smaller opening.

And then we formed round pucks. Not patties. Pucks.

Another thing that I found interesting was that you want the meat COLD. When the fat hits the pan you need it to be cold so it makes a really nice crust.

We pan-fried them on a cast iron with a bit of oil. We also used ghee on one patty and it was a bit too rich for me. But I’m also a baby when it comes to foods with too much fat.

When you flip the patties over, you then flatten them. You will feel like a short order cook. And immediately feel like you should be wearing a hairnet and have a cigarette hanging from the side of your mouth, just like Paula Deen.

You then drape slices of American cheese over the burgers. And that American cheese will melt gloriously.

And then you assemble in this order:

1. Special sauce on toasted, buttered bun.
2. Green leaf lettuce
3. Two slices of roma tomatoes, cut a lil’ on the thicker side.
4. The patty with the cheese
5. Two slices of pickles

And there you have it, a copycat shake shack burger.

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Beer Ice Cream Floats + Burger Party!

Adventures, Desserts, Dinner, Drinks

It’s almost summer, which means it’s beer ice cream float time!

Last weekend, I invited Billy and Steve over and we made some copycat Shake Shack burgers (recipe coming tomorrow!) and served them with beer ice cream floats using some delicious ice cream from Coolhaus.

The first time I had a beer ice cream float was a few years ago, and I’ll admit that before I tried it, I thought it might be a little gross. But, umm, it was the exact opposite.

Beer and ice cream go SO well together, especially when paired properly. And of course, if you have a little kid around or someone who doesn’t drink, you can substitute the beer with cream soda. Cream soda universally will go with all of these flavors of ice cream.

For this post, I teamed up with Coolhaus. I first had Coolhaus back in the day when food trucks were new and cool. I’d go to these food truck parties and I always finished my grazing with some ice cream or an ice cream sandwich from the Coolhaus truck.

Now you’re able to find Coolhaus in nearly every grocery store—it’s so amazing to have watched them grow from small ice cream truck to what they are now. Coolhaus is a woman-owned, LA born business, straight out of the recession—YAS!

I figured I’d do the very difficult job of paring a handful of their ice creams with different types of beers.

Here’s what I paired and loved:

1. Dirty Mint Chocolate Chip with a stout – I accidentally and unknowingly bought a coffee stout. It was surprisingly SO amazing with the Dirty Mint Chocolate Chip, which uses real spearmint and little delicious bits of chocolate.

2. Bananas Foster with a hefeweizen – The bananas foster might be my favorite flavor because I love bananas and the dulce de leche swirl is bomb. It pairs well with a hefeweizen because a lot of hefes have banana-like-tasting notes and the tartness works well with the sweetness of the dulce de leche.

3. Chocolate Molten Cake with a cream ale – At first I thought that the chocolate molten cake would go well with a stout and I tried it that way but it was a bit too rich for me. I liked it better with a cream ale that has some oat-y, malt-y notes that pair well, but isn’t too overpowering, with the rich chocolate molten cake flavor.

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Vegetarian Sweet Potato, Poblano + Black Bean Enchiladas

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

My weekend was so fun! There was a lot of running around. I first arrived in Florida to spend a day or so with my mom and then I flew to Maryland for the day to visit some Jersey cows and then I returned to Florida to spend Mother’s Day with the fam, it was a lot. But it was worth it!

When I got back and checked the mail, I was super excited to see my friend Kate’s new book LOVE REAL FOOD. Do you know her blog? Whenever I need a delicious vegetarian recipe, I always go there. And Cookie (her dog) is so adorable, I want to squeeze her. If you follow Kate on Insta Stories/Snapchat you know that Cookie is as mischievous as Amelia and they very similar in their ambitions for stealing all blog creations. I don’t blame them.

This enchilada recipe is from her new book and it is SO good. I ate it for lunch yesterday and am eating the leftovers as we speak.

The filling is super easy to throw together because it’s roasted sweet potato and poblano peppers, mixed with canned black beans and a bit of sour cream. You could definitely use yogurt, if you wanted to make it a bit healthier.

The tortillas are whole wheat but you can absolutely use corn tortillas, if you like.

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