Testing semi-ready meals

In a couple of weeks I will be doing quite a bit of traveling, and my families main concern is, oh my god Ma, what are we going to eat?

So whilst doing some shopping this past weekend at Trader Joe’s with my son, he decided in his infamous wisdom, that we should buy “stuff” than he, his sister or the hubby, could easily cook and still end up with a nice homemade tasty kind of dinner, bless his cotton socks 🙂

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He chose some lovely looking Beef Sirloin in BBQ Sauce and some Garlic Fries.

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Today was the day to put this menu to the test. He turned on the oven to the temperature stated on the beef package. Opened the packets and placed them in a roasting pan.

He let the beef cook away for the time stated on the packet, took it out of the oven when it was done and under Mamacitas instruction, covered it with foil to keep it warm and let it rest whilst he cooked the Garlic Fries.

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Oven temperature was changed, in went the fries and whilst they were cooking away, he placed the packet of chopped garlic and herbs in a bowl, ready for tossing.

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This time round, I sliced the beef so he could see in which direction to go, so hopefully he is all set! Next time, he’s on his own!DSC05901

Out came the fries and whilst piping hot, they got tossed in the bowl with the garlic and herbs mix.

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Finally, time to eat dinner and decide if these ingredients stay “ON” the list of must have in the freezer whilst Mama is traveling 🙂

And it’s a “YES”, we have a winner! Everyone enjoyed and agreed that, it won’t be a Mamacita’s homemade meal, but it will be ok under the circumstances!

Gotta love my family ❤

 

 

Food & Love, the perfect combination…

We have all heard the the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach! Well I tend to think of food as something that not only brings love into the equation, but it brings family and friends together, helps you make new friends and meet new people! The kitchen in every “foody” household is the heart of the house, the place to “be” ❤

Tonight’s dish is not only a favourite of mine and my hubby’s but also a fave of my daughters! Its simple, its elegant, its tasty and even kinda healthy!

I stopped by the store on my way back from work battling the bad weather and picked up some fresh salmon, avocados and some limes.

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I chopped up my salmon tartare style and mixed it with some salt, pepper, grated ginger, sesame oil, Sriracha mayo and a squeeze of lime.

Whilst I was prepping the salmon I made about 1/2 cup of brown rice and let it cool down.

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Sliced my avocado and now I was ready to put this special treat together.

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I pulled out my heart shaped cookie cutter ( usually used for everything else but making cookies) and placed it in the middle of my plate, filled it with brown rice and neatly pressed it to the bottom.

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Then I topped the rice off with my salmon tartare and finished it off with my sliced avocado and a sprinkle of black and regular sesame seeds.

In less than a flash, a wonderful meal is ready for my lovely family! Yep love is in the air, that’s for sure <3, now all I need is for the hubby to come back from dry-dock, in the meantime I will enjoy it and think of my family.

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Grilling in Winter…..

I know, I know, I live in South Florida, which means we can technically grill all year round, but then again, it does rain a lot so your grilling moments can come to an end very quickly!

A few years ago our gas outside grill died a horrible death of rust and exposure to the south florida weather elements. So after assessing the situation I decided just for the convenience and maintenance to invest in an electric grill instead.

This way I can use it outside and inside and the weather will never be a problem 🙂 am I smart or what? lol

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Anyway, yes I know its not the same as a real BBQ (not to mention the really real once like they have in my country “Uruguay” see pic below)

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but you know what, it works for us. So with that said, tonight I brought out my handy dandy Wolfgang Puck electric grill/griddle (oh please note I use the griddle part of it a lot for pancakes, omelettes and lots of other yummy things).

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This morning I put some flank steak into a ziplock bag and marinated it in mojo for about 8 hrs. Whilst the grill was getting hot, I turned the oven on to 400 deg F and seasoned some Broccolini (yes I know, twice in a week but we love this veggie). ❤

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This time I drizzled some Parmesan Garlic Olive Oil from the Sedona Olive Oil company. I let it roast for 15 minutes turning it over once to get an even color on it.

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I also made some light and fluffy Couscous, seasoned with cilantro, lime, turmeric and garlic.

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Once the grill was very hot I quickly cooked the Carne Asada and served it immediately with a side of Couscous and some roasted Broccolini ❤

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Nothing nicer that the satisfaction of making my family happy 🙂

“Lambage Rolls” – Lamb and Cabbage

I was in the mood for stuffed Cabbage leaves filled with a very aromatic lamb concoction!

So I embarked on my little journey of flavors and started by preparing the minced lamb that I had conveniently already purchased at Target 🙂

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I got all the ingredients lined up which consisted of:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1diced medium onion
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1lb ground lamb
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and mint
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 3 cups of chicken broth, I used Swanson’s Thai Ginger broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 vine tomatoes
  • Bunch of fresh Basil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves

I melted the butter with the olive oil and cooked the 1 chopped onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic until they were nicely transparent. Took them off the heat and added all the spices. Put that to the side and let it cool down.

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In a separate bowl I mixed the ground lamb with the rice, added the salt, chopped mint and cilantro.

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Once the above mixture had cooled down I added it to the lamb mixture and put it in the fridge.

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Filled a big pot of water and brought it to a boil. Cored a big cabbage and boiled it for about 5 minutes. Took it out and peeled the first couple of leaves that came loose and then boiled it for a couple of more minutes till the other leaves became nice and tender.

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Placed my first leaf on my wooden board and took the middle core out and then stuffed it with about a 1/4 cup of my lamb mixture and rolled it tightly.

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After I was done with all the mixture, I placed some left over cabbage leaves at the bottom of my casserole and then placed my neat lovely lamb and cabbage packages.

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Sprickled some salt and pepper, added the chicken broth and covered everything with my homemade tomato and roasted peppers sauce which I made by:

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sautéing 1/2 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 4 roughly chopped vine ripped tomatoes, a big bunch of basil, salt and pepper. Put it in a blender and added 3 fire roasted red peppers, checked the mixture for flavor and voila, sauce is ready!

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Covered my cabbage and broth with the tomato sauce, added the bay leaves and covered with more cabbage leaves and then cooked in a 350 Deg F oven for 1.5 hrs.

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Now its time to indulge in this wonderful flavourful delicacy! Happy Family ❤

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Sweet Potato, Red Peppers and Goats Cheese Ravioli

My daughter and I spent most of the day in the kitchen concocting some lovely food.

First in line was what we had for dinner, which was devoured as soon as it was made.

We started by making the dough for some Ravioli with the below basic pasta recipe, wrapped it up in cling film and put in the in the fridge till it was time to use it.

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  • 1lb flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 to 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Semolina for the baking sheet

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Then we proceeded to make our filling which consisted of mashed sweet potatoes,  mixed with some chopped up red peppers and some crumbled goats cheese.

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Got our dough ready and my daughter piped the filling into each lovely dimple.

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Then for a quick 4 minute boil and served them with a semi spicy tomato and cream sauce, loaded with fresh basil and tarragon from the yard.

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This I think is our families favorite pasta dish, there is nothing nicer than a homemade meal ❤

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Did someone say Mac’N’Cheese Waffles?

Yes, tonight I finally got to make some Mac and Cheese waffles!

I want to say I saw it on the Food Network channel sometime back and of course it came up in conversation with my good friend out in Arizona. I also found a mention of them on Food and Wine.

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Made my Mac and Cheese the regular way and let it thicken up and then just filled the Waffle Maker with a good helping of it and let it shape away 🙂

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Took a little longer than I expected as it needs to go a bit crunchy on the outside to hold its shape, but the experiment was a great success!

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Now of course we needed a protein to go with it, so out came some lovely pork chops which I seasoned and  pan seared  for about 3 1/2 minutes on each side.

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Then I pulled them out and deglazed the pan with some delicious Marsala Wine,

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added a bit of butter and a tsp of cornflour to thicken it up a bit and some chopped up onions and then added the pork chops back in and gave them a good basting before I served them.

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I had just enough time to make dinner for the family, feed them and now its time to go to the gym!

Its not just a Banana Bread….

Banana Bread is something that I make 1 or 2 loaves of at least 3 to 4 times a month! I am happy to say that they don’t all get consumed by my family as at least 75% of them are enjoyed by my coworkers 🙂

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Does anyone else have the “banana” issues that I have? If I don’t buy bananas, the family complains that there are no bananas. And when I buy bananas, they eat a couple and the rest are pushed to a corner and left to rot! That is how my banana bread are born every single time!

Thinking maybe this is a family conspiracy to make me make Banana Bread nearly every week, but wouldn’t it be just easier to tell me?

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Anyway, today is one of those days where 3 very unhappy bananas were staring at me when I came back from work. To which I added 3 more not so unhappy ones to make a 2 loaves.

Banana Bread is just fabulous on its own, but my adventurous spirit and always looking for something different crazy brain decided that today we needed a little twist. And can you think of anything better than a cheesecake/banana bread combo?

So with that thought in mind, I prepared my banana bread the usual way and then mixed the following ingredients to make a cheesecake filling in the middle of it.

  • 8oz of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

Once I got the above nicely mixed I layered half the mixture of my banana bread into the mold, followed by the cream cheese mixture and then topped with the rest of the banana bread mixture.

The result is a fabulously moist banana bread with a big fat vein running through it of a luscious cheesecake consistency filling! Now how is that for a change?

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This week everyone got lucky, as one of them is staying home (had to slice it to take a pic) and the pretty one is going to work ❤