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CheeseBurger Night, Baby!

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Well HELLO, you sexy, sexy people!

Today it’s Sunday evening and the mister is on his way home. Our work week starts on Sunday now, so I try and make it so that he comes home to a nice dinner on his first day of torture work.

All burgers I cook at home are 100% beef and homemade. I don’t really like adding egg or breadcrumbs to burger patties – I have nothing against it, it’s just not my cup of tea. My husband loves my burgers just as they are.

I mean, he better love them. Much trouble will ensue if he tells me he does not.

Whenever I have fresh ground meat in the fridge, I like making the patties right before cooking them, but since most of the meat in my house is divided in portions and frozen upon purchasing, I just started making and freezing the burgers in advance. I just keep a ziploc bag full of burgers, and take a couple of them whenever I want to make some. I season them with salt and pepper before freezing, so when I pop them out, they are totally ready.

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These are my frozen burgers :3 Aren’t they purrrrrty?

TO THE SHIP!

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen burgers
  • 2 burger buns
  • lettuce leaves
  • sliced fresh tomato
  • sliced onions
  • sliced smoked Gouda
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • frying oil

First of all, toast those buns! Toasted bread always gives a nice touch to any sandwich. While you toast them, you can also start heating up the oil for the fries.

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Set aside your buns, and let them ventilate. Don’t pile them on top of each other, or the steam will make them soggy and they will lose the crunch from the toasting.

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Peel those potato beauties and slice them up. I like making small, pointy fries. Why? well, because I can. It just makes me happy.

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When the oil is hot, pour in those potatoes.

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Also, YOU’re hot too. Don’t you dare forget it!

And you can start cooking those burgers too! I add a little oil from the fries, since it’s already hot.

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Now, while the burgers and the side of fries cooks, you can use this time to prepare the rest of the burger. Slice some onions and throw them in the burger pan, so they cook with the yummy burger flavor. Also slice a fresh small tomato for extra flavor and crunchiness! This is a perfect time to slice the Gouda cheese too.

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Now flip those burgers! Do the same with the onion so it doesn’t burn.

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Our burgers are almost ready! Their volume has reduced and they are almost thoroughly cooked.

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Now it’s time to put that cheese on and turn the stove off.

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And put on a lid so the cheese can melt while you build your awesome burgers!

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Since our timing is deliriously perfect, the fries are ready too! Look at that wonderful golden colour!

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I put them in a bowl with some paper towels to absorb oil, and season with salt and pepper.
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Let’s start with the fresh tomato slices.

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On to the lettuce and the fried onions…

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Top it with your perfect cheesy burger and a few slices of pickles.

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Aaaaand there you go! Perfect 100% meat cheeseburgers with a fresh, crunchy touch and the smokey sexyness of Gouda cheese. AND POINTY FRIES.

And this would be a graphic depiction of why my husband proposed.

I hope you like them!

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Guacamole night!

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I was a ridiculously happy person yesterday. No, I did not win the lottery (that would have probably killed me from a heart attack… a joyous one, though!), not yet. What happened was that I went to my local Redner’s and there they were. Looking at me, all ripe, plump and shiny. Staring into my soul like a connection from a previous life: a bunch of hass avocados. And not only that, my friends. They were on sale!

Well, what can I say? I am a simple person: small things make me happy. Also, I am a really broke person, so I basically can’t buy a lot of food unless it is on sale. Avocados are one of those foods. And I happen to be someone that used to eat them for breakfast, so being away from them makes me kinda sad.

Long story short, I won’t tell you about all the flirting and dirty talking between the avocados and me, because it would take a while and would probably make you kind of uncomfortable. I also refuse to go on and on about how funny it is that the word “avocado” comes from nahuatl “āhuacatl” and means “testicle”. I’ll just cut it short and say that I went back home with them, introduced them to my husband, and made a really nice guacamole for dinner.

Wanna see?

Ingredients

  • 2 small hass avocados
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 1/2 a fresh, ripe tomato
  • 1 lime (lemon works wonderfully too)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • cilantro (optional: I don’t use it)

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Start by cutting your avocados in half, peel and pit them. If they are ripe enough, you should be able to just peel skin away, but a lot of people prefer to empty them with a spoon. Your choice, it doesn’t make a big difference for me, honestly.

Next, mash those beauties up with a fork. The size of the chunks depends, again, on your own preferences: I know people that like a chunky guac, and some that prefer to just use a food processor for a smoother dip. Your choice, my love.

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Now, mince the garlic very finely (I would totally use a garlic crusher, but I don’t own one).

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Do the same with the onion. I used about 1/4 cup. You can add more if you like onion, but keep in mind that fresh onion will mask the flavor of the avocado very quickly if you use too much. I just warned you because I adore onion and I’ve been there, eating homemade avocado-less guacamole with more sadness than pride.

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Next, cut the fresh tomato into small pieces.

 

Add the freshly cut garlic, onion and tomato to the mashed avocado. It’s time to season now!

Squeeze the lime and pour the juice into the mixture. Add the limey yumminess to the guacamole, along with the olive oil, salt and pepper. This would also be the time to add the cilantro but (don’t kill me!) I never do because neither my husband nor I really like it.

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And here you go! A super easy, healthy dip that goes well with a ton of things, and is full of vitamins, healthy fats, antioxidants and minerals. If sodium is a problem for you, you can just alter the recipe and not use salt on it. I always do it like that and to me, it tastes just as yummy!

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I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

Spinach and & Shroom Vegan Crunchy Salad

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Salad night! :3

I love fresh spinach, and I love mushrooms. And basically everything that has a crunch to it when you bite it. Also, it so happens that my husband isn’t really into either of those two main ingredients, so when I buy them, IT’S ALL FOR ME!

I know, I know. Marriage is all about love and sharing. But I can’t help it, ok? Sometimes a girl just wants a handful of mushrooms all to herself. The heart wants what the heart wants.

The lemony vinaigrette also makes me love this salad biiiig time. Not to mention that it’s full of vitamins and minerals, flavor, and is so damn crunchy and pretty.

Also: POPEYE’S SPINACH AND MARIO’S MUSHROOMS, PEOPLE. You just cannot say no to that combination, and you freaking know it.

Let’s proceed :3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup Iceberg lettuce
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • carrots
  • radishes
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

 

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Start by slicing those beauties.

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Add just a drizzle of olive oil in a heated pan.

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Next, cut the spinach. Make it small so you can mix all the ingredients together later.

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Cook your Mario mushrooms until they turn golden and the smell makes you wanna cry tears of joy. Tears of joy are a vital part of good cooking, just try not to get them in your dish, you probably don’t want the extra salt.

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Mise en place of our beautiful salad! I forgot to take a picture of the cutting of carrots and radishes. I am sorry, people. I know it would have been a really sexy picture.

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Now you just have to mix everything in your favorite bowl of plate, and enjoy the extreme yumminess of it. You’ll have to excuse me now, I have a crispy chicken salad to serve my husband, and this lovely salad for myself. I decorated mine with a couple of cherry tomatoes and some hemp and poppy seeds, just because.

 

 

My first Gnocchi ever! :3

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Do you know what gnocchi are? Well, if you don’t, you’re not alone, my friends. Actually, I discovered them back in Spain through a dear friend of mine who loves cooking. Turns out, gnocchi are not even that popular in Spain, but they sure are in Italy.

Gnocchi is a kind of fresh pasta made from potato, wheat flour and egg. They are like soft, heavenly little pillows of dough that you boil and season just like regular pasta. Beware, though! Even though these little fellas look cute and harmless, they are way more filling than pasta! That’s why I would never recommend a hearty sauce to go with these: you don’t really need much to make a nice dish out of them, just sautee them with some olive oil or butter, salt & pepper and any seasoning of your liking. Sprinkle in some powdered parmesan or mix them with some nice pesto. You are sure to love them!

Just like regular pasta, homemade gnocchi have the potential of turning your kitchen into a floury battlefield. Fear not, my friends: gnocchi are hearty, yes, but homemade ones come with the post meal workout. See? God has a plan for everything!

Wanna see how I made them?

Ingredients

  • 3 cups boiled potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat flour (+ more for kneading)
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to your heart’s desire

 

Start by boiling the potatoes in a large pot with salted water. Boil until tender, drain and mash. If you have any kind of potato masher, well, I envy you. I do it with a fork because I don’t have anything else, and also because I like hard work and living dangerously.

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Please excuse the bad quality of the pictures. I know you do because you are a very sweet person.

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Next, beat the egg in a separate bowl. Salt and pepper before adding to the potatoes.

(Important: this is the time to season the gnocchi, when you are making the dough. If you don’t season them at this point, they will turn out kinda bland in flavor)

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Add the egg mixture to the potatoes, mix well. The mixture will look creamy and moist. Add the flour and mix. Don’t worry if it looks ugly at first, it will take a few minutes to settle.

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Picture missing: the dough will be soft, but not as moist as to stick everywhere. In other words, you will know it is ready when you can make a ball with it and knead it on a surface with flour. Please note that the recipe is a proportion of 1 cup of flour for every 2 of potatoes, but as any recipe, it will vary: it depends on the size of the egg, too.

Making the shape of the gnocchi is also very easy. Just take a lump of the dough and make a cylinder with it on a floured surface. Cut into pieces and make little pillows. You can give them their signature striped surface with a fork, but I was late and in a hurry and didn’t do it on all of them.

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See how cute they are? Well, they taste even better than they look!

As for storage, either the fridge or the freezer work well. The dough will last 1 to 2 days in the fridge, and up to six months in the freezer. I like to freeze them just as they are in the tray, and then just bag them. Makes my life way easier.

Gnocchi are cooked by being boiled in water like regular pasta. You will know they are done when they float. After you cook them, you can add crispiness and flavor by sautéing them in a large pan with some butter. Then add whatever floats your boat. I love them just with butter, garlic and herbs, pesto genovese or some oil and parmesan. When I make them for my husband, I like to cook them with butter and bits of bacon.

These are the ones I cook for me.

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And these are the ones I cook for him. See how they brown with the butter? It’s so delicious!

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I hope you try them at home. You are sure to love them!

Quick & Easy Bread Roll Pizza

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Back in my country, this delights are very popular and it’s easy to find them in any bakery. We call them “paninis”, which is a derivation of the italian word “panino”, meaning “sandwich”.

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Baguette bread is an everyday popular bread in Spain, and the reason why there’s always fresh paninis in any bakery is because it’s a wonderful way to do something tasty with the excess bread from the night before. You just cut it in half and use it as a base for a small pizza of your choice. In Spain it tends to be either cheese and ham, or tuna and olives, but I have seen many other flavors.

My husband loves pepperoni and I had never made paninis for him before, so I thought I could give it a try. He loved them, which in turn makes me a ridiculously happy person.

Let’s get them started!

Ingredients:

  • 1 soft bread roll
  • 3\4 cup tomato sauce (I used tomato passata, with a hint of basil)
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 10 slices pepperoni
  • 3 oz ground beef
  • sprinkle of grated parmesan
  • oregano
  • salt, pepper & garlic powder

 

 

Start by looking at your bread roll and tell it you love it. No, I am not kidding. How can you see that sweet, soft fluffy thing and not tell it you love it? Come on! It’s adorable!

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Slice the roll in half, trying to keep both sides even in thickness. If one of them is too thin, it will be hell to prepare, everything will spill, and will be very uncomfortable to eat too. I am also telling you that because it happened to me many times, so don’t fear, ’cause I judge you not.

This would be a good time to start cooking the beef. Season with salt, pepper and some garlic powder, and cook until almost brown. You don’t really need to brown it all the way, as it’s gonna be cooked more in the oven.

Now, look at your old second hand metal tray with shame, because it looks dirty even though it’s really not. Preheat the oven at 350, forget all the shame, let’s make something awesome.

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Spread the tomato sauce all over the roll. I normally season tomato sauce and let it simmer to thicken and sweeten it, but this one was perfect just as it was.

Also, we were kinda hungry too.

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Sprinkle the cheese on your paninis, about 1\2 cup each. You can absolutely put more cheese on those, but I didn’t because I was serving them with a side of cheesy broccoli.

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Next, add the pepperoni in one side, and the beef in the other.

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Top with the rest of the cheese. You can add some hot sauce in the beef panini, to make it more flavorful. We use Tapatio at home, but I also recommend Valentina very much.

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Finish with a sprinkle of powdered parmesan and some oregano.

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I know, right? That looks awesome!

Bake until the cheese melts and starts to get crispy. It will normally take 10 to 15 minutes.

And here you go! An easy, quick and filling dinner. Want to see what I served as a side dish for those? Some really nice broccoli with cheese and mashed potatoes! You can see that recipe here.

Enjoy, my friends!

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Basic Southern Style Marinated Chicken

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There are a lot of ways to marinate chicken. Chicken meat has a great capacity to absorb flavors, and responds very well to tenderizing agents (lemon, milk, vinegar…).

This specific marinade is one that I use for my husband’s salads. It is slightly spicy, very aromatic, and SO FULL OF COLOR. I just love it. It also works great served with some fries or mashed potatoes, and some roasted corn.

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Also, marinating chicken is a very easy and convenient way of flavoring. You can just leave it to marinate in a tupper or a ziploc bag. You can also freeze meat that you are marinating, so when you want to use it you just have to thaw it and cook it.

Ingredients

– 2 chicken thighs, cut
-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 tbsp paprika
-1 tbsp southern style seasoning (I used Mr Dash)
-1/2 tbsp garlic powder
-Juice of one lemon/3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-Salt and pepper to taste

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Start by cutting the chicken into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the more flavor it will absorb, and the less time you will need to cook it.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT use a metal tray to make your marinade. Metals react to the acids in the marinade and will change the flavor. Glass or plastic are fine, just keep in mind that plastic is harder to clean.

Here I used a plastic tupper to store it. I have a thing for danger.

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Start by juicing your lemon. “But Lali!”, you must be thinking, “you are using a lime! How dare you lie to me in such a shameless fashion!?” Well, my friend, I was just too broke to pay 40 cents for a lemon.

Just don’t tell my husband I had to use lime, please. He kinda hates it. He doesn’t need to know.

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Next, add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bask in the glory of the olive oil. Or don’t if you don’t fancy it, I just need those minutes of sacred contemplation myself.

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Add the rest of spices and mix well, so the oil and lime  lemon can absorb the flavors.

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Starting to look pretty, huh?

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Now the final, crucial, most difficult step of them all. Just mix it all together in the container of your choosing. I use small tupperwares because I like keeping them in the fridge and occasionally stirring them a little bit. I also may not have the funds for ziploc bags.

And I honestly just love opening the tupper and smelling the goodness. I know I’m weird. I have learned how to live with that.

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Refrigerate for up to two days (the longer it sits, the more flavor it absorbs), or freeze your ready-to-use marinade for up to six months. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with the spices and proportions, marinades can be adapted to your preferences in flavor with just a little more of this or a little less of that.

BONUS TRACK> You don’t need to use all the marinade when you are cooking the chicken: save most of it and combine with some sugar or honey for a ridiculously awesome salad dressing.

I hope you enjoy it!

Luscious Broccoli with Cheese on Mashed Potatoes

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This broccoli, friends. THIS BROCCOLI, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL LIVING CREATURES. This is heavenly perfection when it comes steaming right from the oven (and I am not saying that just because I made it, though it kinda is a good reason).

I swear, even though you can serve this as a side dish, just a good serving of this gift of the Gods is a very filling and satisfying dinner. It’s also very quick and easy to make, not to mention cheap. I buy frozen broccoli cuts at Redner’s Warehouse Market for 1 dollar a pound, and I use it shamelessly on a lot of my cooking.

Also, my husband also happens to love broccoli. But even if he didn’t, I would still use it shamelessly on a lot of my cooking. I love him, but I love broccoli too and I refuse to hide it.

ANYWAY, my friends, let’s make a broccoli so ridiculously great, after you eat it you will have very indecent dreams in which you’ll eat it again. I kid you not.

Ingredients

  • 1 big potato
  • 1/2 lb frozen broccoli
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
  • parmesan flakes
  • italian herbs
  • salt & pepper to taste

Now, please forgive me for not having pictures of the mashed potatoes, I was cooking this other lovely thing and… well, you know. Hungry husband, hungry cats, you get the picture.

Anyways, peel and cut the potato and boil until tender (15 min) in a pot with salted water. Drain and mash on a small bowl, with the butter and cream cheese. Salt and pepper to taste (a sprinkle of garlic powder also gives it a very nice hint!), mix well and reserve.

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In a large pan, saute the broccoli with a little bit of olive oil and enjoy the smell of happiness. Stir and let cook until golden. You can also change the olive oil for a little bit of butter, if that makes you happier. I just prefer the olive oil because, you know, I come from a place where we descend from Romans, and anything Mediterranean makes me cry tears of joy.

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Ah, the beauty of oil. Excuse me while I cry a little.

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In a small oven dish, make a nice layer with the mashed potatoes. Season with love.

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Next, throw in the veggie love. And the cheesy love. You know where I am going with this.

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Pretty, huh?

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Parmesan, baby. And herbs. You will thank yourself later and so will anyone who eats this. Trust me.

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Wait until it gets out of the oven!

And here you go! A lovely side for absolutely any dinner, easy to make, cheap and full of flavor. Now excuse us while we go devour this!

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