Thursday, December 4, 2008

Step Away from the Turkey

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! If you still have leftovers in the fridge, it's time to throw everything away. ;)

Since i didn't have to cook anything this year(tear), i just got crafty...

Cute Edible Apple Turkey

Super fast, super festive! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Monday, October 27, 2008


Tickets on sale TODAY for the 2009 SouthBeach Food and Wine Festival!

We've been wanting to go to this event for YEARS, but something always comes up for that weekened. Well not this year, we've cleared our schedules and we're definitely going to indulge. We just scored tickets to the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village. We are so excited!

And now that i've got mine, go out and get yours! Tickets famously sell out unbelievably fast. So get 'em while they last! ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

I woke up wanting fried rice, go figure. I decided to make a breakfast version. Loved this recipe i totally created on the spot; super fast and easy, didn't even have to take out a knife or cutting board, just snipped everything right into the pan with my kitchen shears.

Bacon & Egg Fried Rice

2 strips of bacon
1 egg
1 Green Onion
1C cooked rice
1tsp Soy Sauce
Red pepper flakes

Snip the 2 slices of bacon into a hot pan, scramble egg, add to pan once the bacon fat has rendered. Snip the white part of the green onion into the pan. Once egg is cooked, add the rice and soy sauce. Stir until heated through, just about a minute or so. Add the crushed red pepper flakes. Put into a bowl and lastly snip the green part of the onion over the rice. Enjoy immediately! :)

I couldn't find my soy sauce. After tearing apart my fridge, i realized that i had the leftover packets of soy that you get in Chinese/Japanese take out, so i used a packet of that. I totally guesstimated that it was about 1tsp. Hooray for stashing random sauce packets! lol.

So next time you have left over rice, or want a little something different for breakfast, try this breakfast of champions! ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh Boya!

Goya's ad campaign ages ago was "Goya, oh boya!" And what can i say, it stuck, every time i think Goya, i think 'OH BOYA!' <--- v. enthusiastically, natch!

So when i went looking for a good authentic ropa veija recipe, i hit up Goya's website and clicked on 'Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with Recipes Full of Flavor' and viola, found exactly what i was looking for:

Ropa Vieja

Ropa vieja is a Cuban shredded meat stew, and after reading the recipe, i figured this recipe would work in the crock pot. So i threw in everything in my crock pot and let it cook all day long. In the evening, i just took out the meat, shredded it, stirred it back in the pot, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then served it up with maduros and white rice.

Mmmm mmm, ropa vieja is one of my fave things to order at Cuban restaurants, and i never thought i'd actually be able to make it at home with ease. But with this recipe, it was easy peasy.

Delish and easy, you know i have to go there... OH BOYA! :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

An Axe to GRIND

This salt grinder is the biggest piece of shit!

I was cooking Broccoli with Lemon-Garlic Crumbs for dinner, i steamed the broccoli, toasted the panko, zested the lemon, tossed it all together and grabbed the salt. Instead of giving me the usual 1/4 twist, before i need to shake and readjust, the whole damned top popped off and dumped a ton of sea salt into the broccoli mixture.

Boy was i pissed. I kinda salvaged it, no not really. I had to rinse it and pluck the waterlogged broccoli out of the panko and... crap, i can't even write 'enjoyed it' here, cause all i wanted to do was finish dinner, take a picture of the disaster and post how pissed i am with this crappy product.

But of course, after dinner i snapped the photo, sat down, got about two lines in, and got pulled away by reality tv. Funny how things work out, my bff Jill came over the next day and sat at my laptop and said, "Omg is this your blog post, cause i have the same salt grinder and i hate it!" Psht, join the club!

Or better yet, heed my advice and stay far far away from this terrible salt grinder. ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


This recipe for Greek-style turkey burgers is fabulous! Super quick and easy to throw together, and bursting with flavor. The only change i made was i used Kalamata olives instead of green salad olives.

While my hubby was grillin' them up, i just tossed some lettuce in a light vinaigrette and stuffed it into a warmed up pita. As soon as the burgers came off the grill, we just slid it into the pita pockets and enjoyed it IMMENSELY! :)

Quick, easy and flavorful, the perfect combo for a weeknight dinner. ;)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Get 'em While They're Hot!

Sweet Potato Fries with a funky combo of spices (garlic and cinnamon) actually works! Dipped in ranch dressing, as suggesed, i know it sounds terrible, but it's pretty good.

But you've gotta gobble them up while they are piping hot, cause these fries are baked, not fried, so they go from fab to drab and soggy in a short time. But when fries are good, they don't really last too long anyways. ;)

Omg, this is actually YUM!

Sometimes i get a craving for foods that i'm not normally crazy about, like tuna salad. I woke up this afternoon, STARVING and frantically searching my fridge for some tuna. Threw some things together and actually surprised myself. This isn't your mama's tuna salad!

Meli's OMG this is actually really YUM Tuna Salad:

1 can of tuna in water, drained well
3 TBS light mayo
3 TBS light cream cheese
1/4 C chopped pecans
Squeeze of lime
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt
fresh cracked pepper

Dump all ingredients into a bowl, stir until combined. Take the bowl and a bag of Cuban crackers and go to town. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


AOL Food has a really interesting gallery up, Foods Invented by Accident. Some accidents were surprising!

Then gallery immediately following it, America's Most Hated Foods, is slightly eye-rolling inducing (well #20-15), BUT some of the commentary brings the lol's- especially for the foods I'm not fond of (and my list is short).

And YES, the food that resembles phlegm and the food that tastes like farts made the list. As did fungus and salmonella pudding! LMAO.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sexin' Up a Lazy Pizza

And by lazy pizza i totally mean LA-ZY: refrigerated pizza dough, jarred tomato sauce and bagged shredded mozzarella cheese. Super quick to throw together and let's face it, slightly boring to eat.

I really wanted to add some pizazz (yes, i just paused and did 'jazz hands') to our pizza, so i opened the fridge and grabbed my fave kicky ingredient, Kalamata olives and figured i'd try to make caramelized onions to balance out the saltiness of the olives. I also grabbed some deli ham cause my hubby wasn't really feeling adventurous with pizza toppings.

Meli's Caramelized Onions

Olive Oil
1TBS sugar
1 red onion, sliced

Heat some butter and a little bit of oil in a pan over med/high heat. Add onions and sugar, stir and wait, and wait and wait and wait, stirring every once and a while. When onions have gotten dark, (mine took 40 minutes to finally get to a dark rich color), season with s/p, remove from heat. Enjoy!

Ham, Olive and Caramelized Onion Pizza

1 package of Refrigerated Pizza Dough
1/2C Tomato Sauce
6oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2oz Fresh Grated Parmesan
2oz of Ham, diced
10 Kalamata olives, sliced
Caramelized onions

I pre-baked the pizza crust as directed on the packaging. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the crust. Adored half of our pizza with the onions and the olives. Covered the whole thing in sliced ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, then baked as directed.

One bite in, i knew all that waiting was worth it. Sweet, salty and savory, all in one bite. After enough "mmm"-ing from me, my hubby HAD to try it. He loved it and actually ended up eating the rest of his pizza with the olives and onions i didn't originally add to his side.

Caramelized onions and olives, making a potentially boring pizza- sexy. well, it definitely made it yummy! ;)

Back in Full Effect

It's time to indulge yourself, now through the end of September!

I had a chance to try a handful of Miami Spice lunches during the preview back in June: Joly, Blue Door and Christy's. One left something to be desired, one was delightful and one was an outstanding value. But ALL were a great time out.

So get out there, try something new and spice it up, Miami! :D

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bloggin from the road, literally!

We're on the way to SW FL for the weekend. My hubby's driving and I'm playing on my iPhone. Around mile marker 129 I remembered that the google button on my phone links me up to blogger...sweet!

My bro and I had the executive lunch smackdown at Puchetta in the Gables yesterday, 3 courses for $13.95, it was great, but since I can't upload photos from my phone into blogger, it'll have to wait till next week.

BUT I found this gem of a blog today and had to share cause it literally made me Lol several times already!


Hilarious! Enjoy! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008


Fried Halloumi freakin' rocks!

Halloumi is a cheese from Cyprus made from a mix of sheep's and goat's milk. Its texture is much like mozzarella but surprisingly, Halloumi doesn't melt. It tastes like a very salty mozzarella with a hint of that distinct flavor of goat cheese.

I picked it up at Daily Bread Marketplace along with all sort of delicious middle eastern delights. All which we polished off almost as quickly as we bought it, cept i totally forgot about the cheese.

Then a tivo'd back episode of Nigella Bites totally reminded me that i hadn't made it yet. But since i didn't have any fresh red chile peppers on hand (and let's face it, i never do), i went back to my friend Aydin's suggestion of enjoying it simply prepared by frying it up in a little bit of olive oil.

Fried Halloumi

1/2" slices of halloumi
olive oil
lemon juice
fresh cracked pepper

Heat oil in a pan over high/medium high, add cheese, flip when browned (just a minute or two per side), remove from pan, enjoy!

One thing i kept from Nigella's recipe was the squirt of lemon juice, i loved the way the acid cut through the salty richness of the cheese. And oooh boy, this cheese is SALTY! So much so, that i ate it about half an hour ago and my lips are still puckered! lol. I forgot that Aydin mentioned to rinse off the cheese before frying. Oops.

It was a mistake worth making cause that was the most flavorful fried cheese i've ever had...and i really SHOULD drink more water anyways. lol.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Keepin it Simple on the 4th

Had the fam over for our annual 4th of July party, and i had no clue what to make. I had a hellish week dealing with laptop problems, so I was just going to make a bunch of apps, but i had no time to even put together a good menu.

My mom said, "You should make ribs, it'll be easy"! Easy? ribs? for the fam? And flashbacks of the last REAL meal i cooked my fam popped into my head... it was abuelo's birthday dinner, back in '04, and i served chicken piccata...raw. Since then, all of my parties for the fam have consisted of catered food, or pot luck or a ton of apps. i have never attempted to cook another meal for the whole fam.

And from the second mom said it, i was searching for a great rib recipe, this was not only a challenge, it was a chance for redemption.

I found this scandalous recipe Should Be Illegal Oven BBQ Ribs , hot and sweet, yup that's exactly what i'm looking for.

I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl, then poured the marinade into zip lock bags and marinated 14lbs of ribs overnight. 14lbs of ribs is ALOT of ribs, people! lol.

Since i never did this before, i had no idea you could stack the slabs of ribs on top of each other to cook, so we had all the pans out: the turkey roaster, a dark coated non-stick rectangular pan and a shallow pan. Of course half way through cooking, mom called to check in and said you can stack the ribs while cooking (thanks mom!).

We cooked them low and slow at 325 for 3.5 hours. My hubby was shocked to see how different each pan cooked the ribs, the dark coated non-stick pan worked the best for that lip smackin' barbecue look.

Served it up with double potato mash (totally forgot to take a photo), which i adapted this time using heavy cream, butter and salt.

My friend Lisa offered up her recipe for a really great corn salad.

Lisa's Summer Corn Salad
2 cans of white corn, rinsed well
2-3 ripe avocados cut into smallish cubes
1/2 red onion diced
tons of cilantro (but you can go easy on it)
juice of a lime
little olive oil
sea salt sprinkled on just before serving

And ended the meal with a super simple strawberry shortcake! ...oh yeah, i also made a luscious snicker's pie, dammit, i forgot to take a photo of that too.

Everyone sat down and RAVED about everything on their plate (AWE YEAH!). The ribs were tender and flavorful, the double mash was new to everyone and took them all by surprise and the corn salad was a cool twist on the standard corn on the cob.

All in all, a very successful 4th of July feast. I am redeemed. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008


I've made salsa about 2 dozen times in the last month! lol. Mexico is still fresh in my mind, what can i say. ;)

After using all diff kinds of onions and tomatoes, and playing with heat in different degrees, i FINALLY did it, came up with a great salsa- fresh and bright, with a hint of heat.

After a month of endless salsa concoctions, when i served my hubby this salsa, he said, you need to hurry up and write this version down. lol. So here you have it, my salsa recipe.

Meli's Salsa

Generous handful of cilantro
1/4 large red onion
Juice of 1 lime
1 ripe tomato, quartered and seeded
1 can of Ro*tel Original diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained well
4 slices of pickled jalepeño (optional)
Pinch of salt

Throw the cilantro, red onion and lime into a food processor, pulse a couple times. Add the seeded tomato and jalepeño, pulse some more. Drain the Ro*Tel tomatoes in a mesh strainer, squish out as much liquid as possible. Throw that into the food processor for one last blitz. Sprinkle with salt and turn out into a serving dish. Enjoy!

This can be enjoyed immediately or can be refrigerated. I think it gets better as the flavors mingle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Miami Spice Sneak Preview!

Guess what, guess what, guess what?! You don't have to wait till August to Spice it up, Miami Spice sneak preview is here!

Miami Spice

Now through the end of June, over 30 participating restaurants are offering their Miami Spice Sneak Preview menu. If you've never Spiced before, Miami’s top restaurants offer three-course meals (Lunch $23, Dinner $36) featuring signature dishes created by world-renowned chefs. It's a delightful experience, and a great way to try something new or FINALLY go to one of those restaurants that don't normally fit into your budget.

And after taking a look at the extensive restaurant list and their mouth-watering offerings, it's a good thing we're getting a preview cause there's a ton of GREAT restaurants on the list this year! :D

So go out and savor the flavor of Miami's best restaurants!

Monday, June 16, 2008

One Blissful Bite

It's party season again (wait, does this season ever really end?)! Anyhoo, i was off on another quest for something different to serve. I came across this mouth-watering recipe on my new fave recipe site RecipeZaar.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartlets

I made the recipe as written, except i used crumbled blue cheese and chopped pecans. Needless to say, this was fabulous and so easy to throw together.

This tartlet was a perfect little bite: sweet pears, pungent blue cheese and a nutty crunch all in a light crispy shell.

Deliciously blissful!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coral Gables Restaurant Week Extended!

Coral Gables Restaurant Week

Last week some friends and i were able to enjoy Caramelo's restaurant week lunch special, and from start to finish, it was excellent, especially for the price. It's actually one of the best lunch deals on the list.

But i have to say, the restaurant week dinner menu from Flemming's, looks out of control. I swear i drooled on my keyboard when i read braised short ribs. lol.

Much to my surprise, i just found out that Coral Gables Restaurant Week has been extended until June 15th. I guess when the eating's good, the week is a whole lot longer then 7 days!

So get out there, and indulge in a taste of some of Coral Gables best restaurants!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eating Los Cabos

I'm baaack, from a wonderful adventure in Los Cabos, Mexico! We enjoyed the sun and the surf and the activities, but you know me, the best part was sampling the local cusine. And that, we did plenty of!

Unfortunately, i didn't get a photo of every meal devoured, i WAS tipsy for most of the time, that tequila is no joke, lol. But I did remember just about every place we ate (or drank) and remembered to snap photos when i didn't have my face in a margarita. ;) So here you go, great places to eat (and drink) in Los Cabos!

Pepe's Taco
Lázaro Cárdenas S/N, Col. Centro,
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, CP 23410 Mexico.
Phone: (624) 143-4810
Small open air restaurant, quick and inexpensive. Good Tacos Pastor, but i liked the chorizo tacos better.

The Corner Cafe & Cantina
Matamoros and Lazaro Cardenas,
Cabo San Lucas
Home of the world's largest margarita! We opted not to have it, but the one i did share was still huge and it was the best classic margarita on the rocks i had the whole trip.

Mama's Royal Cafe
Hildago y Zapata
Cabo San Lucas 23410 Mexico
52 624 143 4290
Mama's made a killer breakfast, but self-proclaimed 'best french toast', in my opinion fell a little flat, but the chilaquiles and the fresh oj were delicious. And this is the only place in the world where i've been serenaded at breakfast! Nice touch! ;)

Mango Deck
Located on Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas
Phone: 52 (624) 143-0901 / 143-6777
We rented wave runners right next to the place, walked over to the deck for a free shot and ended up taking another shot from a man with a giant sombrero. He had the best tequila shots in town. After tasting various other kinds of tequila around town, i now suspect it's cause it was watered down. Whatev, it was GREAT!

Mi Casa
Avenida Cabo San Lucas, corner Lazaro Cardenas
Cabo San Lucas, BCS México
Ok, so i know i said the other place had the best margarita in town, but i specifically meant CLASSIC, ON THE ROCKS, cause THIS PLACE had the best FROZEN MANGO margaritas. lol. The food was amazing as well, all v. traditional.

Corredor Turistico Km. 10 Lote D, Cabo del Sol
Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S. México
52 624 145 6126
This is a popular restaurant for something a little different, it's Pacific Rim cuisine, a slight touch of Indonesian flavors. V. nice meal, everything was beautiful and delicious, which admittedly, the photo of the lentil soup looks vile, but it was amazing, with every bite was a new taste sensation.

Girasoles de la Hacienda Restaurant
Corredor Turistico Km 10 Lote D, Cabo del Sol,
Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
52 624 145 6126
Beautiful views from way up here, the Mexican coffee is an after dinner drink AND a show! We stayed at this hotel (Hacienda del Mar), so we returned to this restaurant for breakfast one morning (more chilaquiles, woop) and lunch (amazing fish tacos) another, both we delicious, fresh and local.

Billygan's Island
Paseo del Pescador on Playa el Médano.
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
(624) 143-4830 or 144-3908
Smack next to The Office, they offer you beach loungers and umbrellas for FREE, all you have to do is drink there, and we did, all day long, listening to cheesy club music circa 1990. For me it was a blast from the past and a fun day at the beach singing old tunes, nothing really authentic here, but a GREAT location on the sand.

The Office
Playa El Médano,
Cabo San Lucas, BCS México
52 624 143 3464
Live Jazz playing, toes in the sand, enjoying the crashing waves, the sun setting and the amazing FRESH seafood. Life is good at The Office!

La Golondrina Restaurant
Paseo del Pescador (next to City Club),
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Huge open air restaurant, Huge Menu, Huge portions, Huge amount of food that comes with what you order! lol. Big fun at La Golondrina!

Friday, May 9, 2008

More Slow Cookin'

Though i LOVE to cook, in the middle of the week i feel brain-dead in the kitchen. Luckily, i've found another great set it and forget it recipe!

Cuban-Style Pork and Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Stew

1 large sweet potato(es), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 lb)
1 pound lean pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes, with green chiles
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 medium scallion(s), chopped (green parts only)
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped

Place potato, pork, tomatoes, garlic, orange juice, scallions, salt, cumin and pepper in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low setting for 7 hours.

Stir in lime juice and cilantro; cover slow cooker and cook for 5 minutes more. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving (including some cooking liquid.)

I honestly don't know how Cuban this is, 1/4 tsp of cumin doesn't really make it Cuban, but whatev, it was really tasty and super simple to throw together! :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I'm about to go out and get a margarita to celebrate, but i first wanted to tell you about a place we re-discovered this weekend, T-Mex.

We were craving tacos, so i went to yelp and people were raving about this place, T-Mex. What the heck? Ok, lets do it!

2 steps into the restaurant, i realized, i've been here before, one drunken nite long ago! lol.

The thin and crispy tortilla chips are homemade, the ground beef for the tacos was seasoned perfectly, the beer was cold and the guac was creamy and delicious, can't ask for much more then that!

Definitely a little gem on the beach, but why the name change, is it still as good as San Loco? Apparently, it's better, T-Mex IS San Loco, only a little greener! And green is GOOD! :D

235 14th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 538-3009

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Worst Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

YUCK! I never used whole wheat flour before i tried this recipe, and now i know why. This cookie TASTED like a diet cookie, which simply means, it tasted like crap. When my hubby tried them, one bite in, he asked me, what's wrong with this cookie? I laughed it off and told him wheat flour, i know, and i totally agree! He said no, not the taste, the texture, this looks like a cookie, but doesn't feel like one. Strike one, taste. Strike two, texture.

But they smelled good, so i left them on my counter for a week, it was easy to resist temptation. Maybe that was the whole point! ;)

Anyone have a GOOD cookie recipe that uses whole wheat flour?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Straight off the Box

I got this recipe straight off a box of Publix brand angel hair pasta. It's a simple and tasty recipe, and if you don't do fish, the lemon butter sauce would go great on chicken as well.

Tilapia With Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves 4

4 teaspoons flour, divided
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
large zip-top bag
5–6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup white wine

Place 3 teaspoons flour and seasoned salt in zip-top bag; shake to mix and set aside. Chop parsley coarsely, leaves only, and measure (2 tablespoons). Slice lemon in half. Set both aside.

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Check fish for bones by pressing on fillet with finger tips and remove. Add fish to zip-top bag; seal tightly and shake to coat.

Place 1 tablespoon butter in pan and swirl to coat. Add fish and cook 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter to center of pan. Turn fillets, using spatula, distributing butter under each fillet. Cook 3 more minutes until fish is golden and flakes easily. Place fish on serving plates.

Place remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon flour, wine and juice from lemon in sauté pan. Heat 1–2 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir parsley into butter sauce and serve over fish.

I served it with angel hair pasta (lol) tossed in a simple pesto, straight from the jar.

This is a perfect quick weeknight meal, little prep, lots of flavor! ;)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Like a Bowl of Sunshine

Lemony Chicken Rice Salad
Serves 4

2 small shallot(s), or 1 large shallot, minced
2/3 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 tsp table salt
3 medium scallion(s)
8 oz chicken breast, cooked, skinless, diced
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Coat a nonstick pot with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until softened, stirring, about 1 minute. Add rice, salt and appropriate amount of water to cook rice according to manufacturer’s directions. Cool.

Slice white parts of scallions into thin rounds. Cut green parts into 1/2-inch-long strips.

In a large bowl, toss together rice, scallions and remaining ingredients. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

I used leftover rice from the night before, and precooked chicken breasts and it was ready in just a few minutes. Literally, just throw everything in a bowl and mix!

This recipe is delicious and super simple to throw together, but a total pita to photograph.

See, i'm sure this does nothing for you, but don't judge on the photo alone, the taste is fresh, bright and sunshiny. I SWEAR! ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Slow Cookin'

Ever get to your front door after a long day out and go, mmmm, something smells good, then freak out cause it's coming from inside YOUR home? I do, every time i use the slow cooker. I don't use it often, but if i know i'm going to be busy and not even want to think about dinner later, i whip it out, throw in a bunch of stuff, set it and forget it.

My hubby and i have been watching a lot of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, we play a little game as we watch, the 'i'd eat that, i so wouldn't eat that' game. Most things that man eats are vile, but some are strange but really no big deal. More importantly, i feel empowered when i get to the meat section of my grocery store now. And on one daring trip, i picked up a pork shoulder.

Armed with a pork shoulder, i came home and told my hubby look what i got, pork shoulder, he was like great, what are you going to do with it? Me, no clue, but i'll figure something out. So off to search...

Ok, so pork shoulder isn't quite as daring as i thought, i came across a ton of pulled pork recipes. lol.

Barbeque Pork Two Ways

I made the above recipe as written, the recipe is for a basic barbeque sauce which i never made from scratch so that was pretty cool. The house smelled great as i walked through the door and dinner was equally as good. But i have to say, this pulled pork was MUCH better the following day as lunch! ;)

Monday, April 21, 2008


Hooray, I've been writing this cooking blog for one year!!!! :D

It's been fun, but as i click through my food blog folder, i see there's a ton of stuff i cooked and took a photo of, but it never made it here. I'll try to throw those into the mix in here somewhere.

And oooh yeah a ton of restaurant photos (but since i'm too embarassed to take photos with a camera in a restaurant, i take them with my iphone and well i suck as an iphone photog, but i'm learning damnit). lol.

So yes, i'm so looking forward to this next year, more cooking and eating, and sharing to come! ;)

Pizza (not really a) Casserole

When i think casserole, my gag reflex kicks in. I automatically think of a creamy soup, some frozen veg, some protein, and well let's face it, a hot mess coming out of the oven. I personally dislike casseroles...GREATLY!

When i initially read this 'casserole' recipe, i was about to skip it and move on, until i read the ingredient list. HOORAY- no creamy soup, and come on, there's PIZZA in the title, how bad could it be?

Weight Watcher's Deep-Dish Pizza Casserole

But honestly, i made so many changes to this recipe that it came in at 8.5 pts per generous portion, but who cares, it was freakin' GREAT! Here's how i did it.

Meli's Pizza Cass
Serves 6

1 lb of extra lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Spray of Pam
1 10 oz can refrigerated pizza dough
6 oz of part skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 425.

In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion, garlic until softened, add meat stirring until it's browned.

Drain, if necessary, and return to skillet. Add mushrooms and tomato sauce, and cook until heated through and most of the sauce has been absorbed (you want your meat mixture more on the dry side then the saucy side).

While meat cooks, coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough, and press into bottom and halfway up sides of the baking dish. Pre-bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, then add a layer of cheese, then a layer of the meat mixture, then top with a layer of cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 12 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese melts. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

This was so delicious and easily adaptable for anyone's tastes. I actually added some chopped up kalamata olives to my slice. This recipe was an instant hit all around, and will definitely find it's way back on my dinner table again!

Greek Pene Pasta

Last week i turned a corner, i cooked TWO great meals in a row. lol. And as shocking as it may sound, BOTH recipes were diet friendly!

Greek Penne Pasta

This was insanely easy to make and quite tasty! I added S/P and herbs. I don't know why most of the Weight Watcher recipes i come across never includes herbs and spices, but i always season to my heart's content as i cook.

No one ever has to know this was a diet friendly recipe, as it sure doesn't taste like it! ;)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Porridge: Miss Muffet Ate Porridge and So Can You!

Mealie Pap Porridge

On our last trip, i discovered something new at breakfast, mealie pap porridge. It was a kind of creamy grits/sweet corn/cheesy mixture, and i LOVED it! A little sweet, a little salty, i was all about it! I even went as far as emailing the restaurant asking them for the recipe or at the very least the list of ingredients! lol. I never heard back. :P

This morning i woke up STARVING, so i just winged it and came up with my version of mealie pap. It was a delicious, easy, not to mention filling, breakfast that was ready in a flash!

Meli's Mealie Pap
Serves 1

1 packet of instant grits
1/2C creamed corn
1/3C cheddar cheese (i used fat free)
S/P to taste

Prepare grits according to package, stir in creamed corn, and 1/4C of cheese, pop back in the micro for 30 seconds to warm through and get the cheese melty. Season with S/P to taste, sprinkle with remaining cheese, serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

3 Cheers for Cooking in Style!

Have you Etsy'd?! (now known as 'the crack that is etsy', since i've spent waaaaaaay too much time on that site since finding it a couple weeks ago) is a fabulous site where you can buy and sell just about everything HANDMADE!

Guess what my inaugural purchase was?! A vintage inspired apron! :)

From Boojiboo's tiny home in the lovely La Mirada, CA to my mailbox in the equally lovely Miami Beach, FL came my vintage inspired blue zoo animal apron which i proudly rock in my kitchen. :)

My fab apron (handmade with love) is SURE to make my cooking (also handmade with love, lol) THAT much better! And if it does nothing for my cooking, hey at least i look cute!

Hip Hip Hooray! :D

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hop to It!

Whoa, where has the time gone?! Easter has come and gone and we're already in April. Time flies and before i know it, i haven't blogged in almost a month!

Let's see, well, i dyed Easter eggs, um yeah, they turned out v. bad, lol, but i was impressed by the way my paper towel came out (in case you were wondering what the heck that is up there).

I HAVE been cooking (still hit and miss around here, lol), just have no time to sit and write about my adventures.

But i'm here now, so here we go...

I hosted Easter this year and i didn't even realize it was Easter Sunday until the Wed before, so i just ordered pretty much everything from Honey Baked Ham and decided to focus on making a REAL carrot cake.

Mmm...i LOVE carrot cake but have never tried to make a real one (not one out of the box). So i googled carrot cake and this was the very first link:

Carrot Cake III

Hooray a good recipe! Well i actually took all of the suggestions from gneebeanie, a featured reviewer on this recipe. And seriously, there's a lot of tweaks, so i'm just going to write it here with all the tweaks already. Cause that's how i made it, and it was fabulous!

Tweaked Out Carrot Cake III
Serves 18

4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups grated carrots
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour can pans.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, white & brown sugar and 3 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in carrots and drained pineapple. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Enjoy!

This cake was amazing! It fulfilled all my expectations of a really delicious, genuine, homemade carrot cake. And i can't believe i made the frosting too! That was so easy i couldn't believe it. I used only about 3 cups of confectioner's sugar, so i say start there and if it's not sweet enough for you, add some more.

The cake cooled just minutes before our guests arrived, and i asked my hubby to roll the outside of the cake in the chopped pecans so i could finish getting ready. About 3 minutes later, i walk into the kitchen to see him standing there throwing the pecans at the cake! LOL!!! So it didn't turn out looking exactly how i expected it to, but eh whatev, at least he had fun! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Veal Piccata

Madonna only needs 4 minutes to save the world, i only need 4 minutes to make a perfect veal cutlet!

After already tackling the recipes that intimidate me, i asked my hubby, what other tough dinner should i try, he said VEAL. Oooh, i LOVE veal, but since it's sliced so thin, yeah, it's easy to mess up. So veal was the word of the day. I knew that i wanted veal piccata from the onset, so i just found an easy recipe and made it as written, i only added capers.

Veal Piccata

Now i know that veal isn't for everyone, so the piccata sauce would go nicely over chicken or fish as well.

Oh yeah, the silent stah on this plate was the spinach that i ended up simply steaming with the zest of 1 lemon. It was bright and fresh and i LOVED it, my hubby didn't, but he isn't much impressed with ANY veg, unless it's covered in cheese! ;)

And what a coincidence that piccata was on the first episode of Top Chef. I cannot believe how clueless that chef was, simply on the basics of a classic piccata. One thing i DID pick up on, was that the veal should have gone in a bowl of egg prior to hitting the pan. i guess the Weight Watcher's recipe skipped that to save on points, but next time i am SO making it that way! Thanks Colicchio! :)