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Food for the Game & Love for the Food

As many of you may know the Super Bowl is next weekend AND as you may also know, the best part of the Super Bowl is THE FOOD. Okay the commercials are pretty fun, the game is cool, family, friends but c’mon…the food is the best part!? Pizza, tortilla chips and guac, chicken wings, potato chips, nachos, queso dip, I can go on and on. So of course I will be watching (i.e. stuffing my face) the game next Sunday! Any event that allows me a week in advance to begin a conversation with “let’s talk menu” is an event for me. This is exactly what I did yesterday, started planning the Super Bowl menu.

Here’s what will be causing me to miss the best Super Bowl commercials and the play of the evening next Sunday:img_4599

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp appetizers is making a comeback after being a hit during the football game on Thanksgiving. This time, however, they will be accompanied by a cilantro dipping sauce. People expecting to see the good ol’ buffalo chicken wings will absolutely forget about them (forever) after they taste these shrimp babies.img_5332

Mini Baked Empanadas will be sitting front and center when the game begins. I’m prepping these a day before since that can be an event of its own. Last time I made these they were amazing in their full empanada size so I imagine they will be even better when limited to only a few bites. For the filling I will attempt a cuban style picadillo using ground beef, pepper stuffed green olives, raisins, green bell peppers and spices. I’ve never attempted this filling, but I’ve had it many times at my favorite cuban restaurant. Wish me luck!fullsizerender-19

Ceviche is something I love to make during summer months because it’s refreshing and super easy. My dad taught me how to make ceviche and his is the best I’ve ever had so I’m letting him take that dish. All we use to make this is fish (any white fish works), cut in small pieces, lime juice (I like to use a lime/lemon juice combo), chopped tomato, onion ( I prefer red onion), cilantro and salt. My dad doesn’t know this, but I also use a little of paprika just to give it another layer of flavor. You can make the ceviche the same day, but my dad recommends letting the fish marinade in the lime juice over night. I’ve prepared it with much less time than that and can tell you that after about 40 minutes it’s pretty darn good! Once you strain the juice from the fish (otherwise it’s too sour), add salt and the chopped ingredients. Mix and sprinkle some paprika and start dipping your tortilla chips or better yet have on a tostada the way it’s meant to be had (not on game day).img_5337

Braised Brisket Loaded fries, is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while now. Since I’ll be totally over-eating I want to rescue some calories by baking the fries. I know, I know, but I’m going to make a paprika seasoning to make you forget the fries are baked and it will be absolutely delicious! I’m also going to make an cilantro chimichurri to add some freshness and some pickled onions for pizzazz, texture and pretty color. Okay, you can’t have loaded fries without cheese, so yes I will be using some cotija cheese to keep them light, but also very flavorful. Keep a look out for this picture, it’s going to be kind of amazing!img_5028

Baked Oysters Rockefeller, recently inspired during my trip to New Orleans, will be something I will be making for the first time. I’m a little nervous because I’ve never baked oysters in my life, but considering I use my oven quite often I’m sure I can figure it out (right?). My goal is to reproduce my favorite baked oyster from The Royal House in NOLA with a spinach, bacon, wine? and cheese? Well, as you can see I will be tasting as I go to make sure it turns out just as good as the ones I had in NOLA. I can’t wait!

Okay so I know you’re probably asking yourself where the game food is, right? I mean, what’s with all this fancy stuff? Bring out the potato chips and crack open the cheese dip. Well here’s the thing. This year one of my resolutions was to stop eating packaged foods and cook more (#cookmore). So I will be making everything from scratch. It’s just so much better to eat things we actually make and avoid all the artificial preservatives and extra pounds of salt and sugar found in packaged foods. So, I hope you share the love for clean, home cooked meals because this year is going to be filled with ’em!

Now that we have a plan, menu, strategy and incredibly delicious visuals. Let the games begin!



avocado · black bean burger · bun · burger · burger patty · cheese · dinner · food · grilling · mixture · quinoa · recipe · seasoning · spices · summer · sustainability

Getting Intimate with my Patty

In the next twenty days, I will be giving up red meat, pork and chicken (yes, please keep me in your thoughts and send me strength to overcome the cravings). The goal is to shed a few pounds in the next few weeks which is a great thing considering how mean and insulting my jeans have been to me lately. It’s also important to me that I do my part since I’m aware that excessive meat consumption is one way we (humans) negatively impact our long term health and the health of the environment. 
So, in order to prepare for this, I’ve been blowing the dust off my old vegetarian recipes and trying them out again. This, of course, isn’t very difficult since I do love all things vegetarian so it’s been a real treat! This past week I made my favorite kind of veggie burger patty, black bean. It was as good as I remember, but this time around I’m getting a lot more creative with the things I will be making with that black bean mixture. You’ll see…
For those who think this cannot be good or as satisfying as a juicy red meat patty well let me just say that you are both right and wrong. While there is no comparing to the real deal my black bean burger (BB Burger) is just a different kind of experience all together, so you’ll kind of have to go in knowing that. The great thing is that you can guide it to have the taste you want or are craving with the toppings you add to your BB burger. 
My black bean patty was a simple one this time around. Although I will confess that when I was forming the patty I thought about stuffing it with cheese. The only reason I didn’t was because the right kind of cheese was not at my disposal. 
Here are my ingredients:

For the patty mixture about…
  • 1 cup of black beans (I’ve also used kidney and pinto in the past)
  • 3 tbsp. of cooked quinoa, seasoned (I used tri color quinoa, but any will do)
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (I broke down some pita crackers in my NutriBullet in this case)
  • 3 tbsp. of chopped red onion
  • 1 cup of steamed spinach seasoned with salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. of manchego cheese (I’ve also used Parmesan)
  • A dash of cumin 
  • A dash of paprika
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
For building the burger:
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Fresh spinach
  • Tomato slices
  • Organic ketchup, mayo and mustard
  • Burger buns
(Remember to have fun with the ingredients you use to build your burger, these are just what I used to make mine. Look up burger menus for ideas!)
Combine the patty mixture ingredients until it feels like a paste and you can build a patty. If it’s too runny add more breadcrumbs. Make the patty shape and in a pan with a little olive oil cook both sides until the patty is kind of crispy. Place the slice of cheese on the last turn so it can melt with the heat. Build your BB Burger!
Remember to taste the patty mixture before you build/cook your patty and adjust it to your flavor preference. For instance, I like cumin, but you may not like it as much as I do, so feel free to do without it or add just a little. Salt preference is also different for everyone so get in there and taste what you’re making! There is no food God or higher power that is magically going to make your food taste good just because you follow the instructions. Get involved! Get intimate with your food, with your cooking and make it what YOU want it to be. After all, you’re the one who’s going to be eating it right? 
Bon appetite!