cooking | birthday macs.

34097125376_8f057928b0_cSean’s 34th was last week. He wanted to grill burgers. Instead of just grilling burgers, though, I had to take it up a notch.

Enter the homemade Big Mac, with three buns, homemade special sauce, minced onions, pickles, shredded lettuce, and loads of yellow cheese.

These were so easy to make and tasted just like the real deal, only I made them at home.

Try it sometime. You won’t regret.

cooking | leftover nachos chilaquiles.

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Last night’s nachos become the next morning’s breakfast with these short cut chilaquiles. When I make homemade nachos, we always have leftovers. But, they get soggy in the fridge overnight and never quite crisp back up again in the oven.

So, what are soggy tortilla chips smothered in pintos, pepper jack, red onion, and jalapenos good for? The base of an amazing breakfast.

I throw some extra beans (made the night before, too) in the bottom (with juices) of a baking dish, throw the soggy nachos on top of that, some pico with juices on top of that, then crack two or three eggs on the entire thing, salt and pepper it, and throw it in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the eggs are just so (somewhere in that range).

They are magical. And the soggy nachos don’t go to waste.

weeknight dinner | flank steak tostadas.

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Homemade tostadas are my newest obsession. I’ve always loved them, and I often fry my own tortilla chips, so why wouldn’t I be making tostadas like they are going out of style?

Who knows why not, but now I am.

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These tostadas were topped with mashed black beans, mashed avocado, grilled flank steak (which I marinated in lime juice, chipotle peppers, fresh cilantro and garlic), shredded lettuce, and jack cheese. I also quick pickled some red onions in lime juice and salt, which were amazing, and created a lime crema with sour cream, salt and pepper, to drizzle over the entire mess.

It was one of the best quick dinners I’ve made in awhile.

Serve with an iced cold beer and you’ve got yourself a party.

bakes | hatch green chile quiche.

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My camping trip through the southwest instilled in me a yearning for more of it my life. That green chile cheeseburger I had in Alamagordo, New Mexico, was life changing.

And so, as soon as I was back home, I dove into the cache of green chiles I have frozen and whipped up a green chile and pepper jack quiche for Sunday breakfast.

You need to make this. Just chop up some roasted Hatch, New Mexico green chiles that have been properly roasted and gobble. There’s nothing like them.

dark chocolate mousse | dessert.

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I’m definitely a chocolate addict–dark chocolate, to be specific. These little homemade dark chocolate mousses were a perfect end note for Oscars night.

And I got to use my vintage mid century modern dessert glasses, a find gifted to me by my mum when I moved into my house.

Top with whipped cream. Devour.

weeknight dinner | pappardelle with clams.

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This was a simple, quick, but super delicious weeknight dinner. All together, it took about 20 minutes, from start to finish. Little necks, and any other clams for that matter, are readily available and cheap around these parts. Hello, weeknight dinner.

It’s simple, throw tons of garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and olive oil into a pan and soften. Add white wine. Reduce a bit. Add clams, cook until they all pop open, just a few minutes.

Magic.

salsa.

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I’m a big fan of fresh salsas of all kinds–tomato, pineapple. But, I also like “restaurant style” salsas. The kind served on the table with a basket of warm chips at your local no frills Mexican restaurant.

I’ve started making it at home on occasion. Here’s how I do it: 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 of red onion, a large bunch of fresh cilantro, the juice of one lime, 1 whole jalapeno (seeds and pith included for spice), a dash of cumin, some garlic powder (you could substitute raw cloves here, but I can’t eat raw garlic so I leave raw garlic out) and salt and pepper to taste.

Throw it all in a blender and whir until smooth. Stores in the refrigerator for a long time, buy you won’t keep it around.

cheese cake.

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The doc’s favorite dessert is classic New York style cheese cake with sugary, sticky fresh strawberry topping. So for his birthday this past April, I decided to take a stab at making one homemade, with a fresh strawberry jam on top.

He said it came out perfect. I wouldn’t know. I don’t eat cheesecake. But this one was freshened up with a lot of lemon zest in the cheesy batter and loads of fresh strawberries.

What other desserts should I tackle?

ceviche.

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Weather is warming and so that means lots of fresh seafood from where I sit. Enter my homemade ceviche, which is good with any seafood most fresh where you get it.

This one was shrimp just because it can be a traditional seafood to use and it appeared most fresh. I include lime juice, cilantro, red onion, cilantro, cucumber, tomato, and avocado at the last minute.

Serve with homemade tortilla chips. So delicious.

fennel bake.

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One of the easiest–and most delicious–weeknight dinners I’ve made in a long while. You barely have to do anything, the fennel, potatoes and carrots are deliciously lemony, and the chicken thighs are fall off the bone moist.

I’m adding this to my regular rotation. Grab the recipe here.