brunch ideas · cheese · creative dishes · creativity · culinary · delicious · dinner · dinner ideas · food · foodithinkiloveyou · fries · from scratch · fun meal · healthy · ingredients · meal ideas · parmesan · seasoning · spinach · yum

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!

 

 

bacon · chicken · delicious · dinner · food · micro greens · produce · sour cream · spinach · stuffed · sustainability · waste

Chicken Stuff and a Bacon Hug

Lately, I’ve been more mindful of my grocery shopping. After reading an article published last month about all the food that goes to waste, I decided to do my part and balance the scale a least a little bit. I know sometimes fruits and vegetables are not the most perfect looking. Some have bruises others come in slightly different shapes than the flawless images we all grew up seeing in ads, books, magazines, etc. So I’ve been very careful with the quantities of my purchases and how I use everything in my fridge.  Sure sometimes it takes more creativity than others, but we all have to do our part and being creative in my cooking doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice.

Last week I had some bacon, micro greens, cherry tomatoes, sour cream, and spinach that I absolutely needed to incorporate into a meal soon. In one week these ingredients would have gone to waste along with the 1.6bn tons of food that goes to waste globally each year. I came home one evening and found a defrosted piece of chicken breast that I had to use (apparently my guy was helping me prep for dinner, but didn’t have a plan for the piece of poultry). So there I was with a chicken breast and these must-use ingredients. I decided to take the spinach, mix it with sour cream, some Gorgonzola cheese, onions, garlic salt, and pepper to make a stuffing for the chicken breast. I salted the breast, then I took the last pieces of bacon I had and wrapped it.

I cooked in in the oven for about 40 minutes in 350 degrees and on an iron skillet (set at high) I finished it so that bacon could be nice and crunchy. What I got (to my surprise) was a pretty darn good piece of chicken. It was moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I then took my micro greens and placed them on top like a little green hat. It was beautiful and delicious.

I served it with a simple cherry tomato salad to add more freshness. This meal, though totally improvised, was amazing and will definitely be adding to my cooking repertoire. Not to mention, I was able to save some poor fruit or veggie from a horrible destiny in that horrible place called WASTE. 
almonds · baker · baking needs · biscotti · breakfast · catering · cheese · crust · culinary · friday · goodies · mushrooms · quiche · spinach

Sweet or Savory: Which holds the key to your heart?

It was a pleasure  to try some goodies from a follower who has a great culinary future ahead of her! Our friend Giorgia from Baking by Giorgia was kind enough to share her baking with my friends and I yesterday. I mean, can you think of a better way to kick off the weekend? Thanks GG!
She made for us a breakfast quiche and almond biscotti, mmm. It was the perfect combination of sweet and savory on a Friday morning. 
My favorite of the two was the biscotti, but then again I’m bias because of two reasons: 1. I love, love, love a sweet morning pastry with my coffee and 2. I am a huge biscotti fan. That reminds me, after having made some orange-cranberry biscotti 2 weeks ago, I got a call requesting a batch for a dinner party tomorrow. So, you may see some more biscotti pictures coming your way (again you ask? yes, but you know you love it so really I’m doing this for you!). 
I’ll start off by sharing with you my experience with home-made quiche. I really loved the crust, it was a buttery-crunch delight that carried the bold and savory ingredients from the quiche very well. I appreciated that I could actually see the ingredients in my every bite. Seriously, I’ve had quiche where the ingredients are so broken down that I spend half of my meal time trying to poke at the food hoping it will tell me what it is. Like “Hey, you little piece of green-something, what are you? hey, can you hear me? speak already!” I can tell you that I saw and tasted the spinach, sausage, onions and mushrooms without having to wonder what I was eating. I like chunks of goodness surprising me while I eat. Personally, I tend to like a lot of cheese on everything. The more cheese the better. In a quiche the more cheese it has the… tighter it is? I guess I feel like it really holds on to everything else and it’s less eggy. So really that is my only critique. Overall I really enjoyed it. As you can see in the picture I had myself two little pieces. No really, they were small. I needed to save room to have the biscotti for dessert after my breakfast quiche of course. Yeah…my fat kid had a field day for sure!

The biscotti was almond and vanilla dipped in chocolate. It was so good I had a big piece. Okay, I had three of them, but not at the same time! I made sure I spread them out throughout the day. Yum! (hashtagnoregrets hastagyolo) Anyway, as I was saying, the biscotti was amazing. It was the perfect color, crunch and amount of chocolate. I wished the almonds on the chocolate were smaller chunks or even toasted sliced almonds, but what do you know I ate them either way. The best part was dipping it in my coffee and letting all the flavors melt in my mouth. I mean really? Can you think of a better way to start the day?
I recommend you check out Giorgia’s culinary creations by visiting her website or Facebook page. Mmmm, enjoy! Oh, and let us know if it was love at first bite!