Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

Eat it don’t move it.  A common mantra among those that will soon be packing up all their belongs from one apartment and moving them to the next.  Really—who wants to move cans of beans, soups and other pantry staples?  I will be moving come September 1st and have big plans to empty out my pantry.  Normally I would just throw some beans on top of a sweet potato with some hot sauce and call it a day.  This time I wanted to impress a boy and show him that I also have skills in the kitchen.  Two lofty goals if you ask me! After looking at what my pantry had to offer, Chipotle Black Bean Burgers were born!  Here is what you will need.  

  •  1 can black beans
  •   ¾ of a cup of frozen corn
  •   2 chipotle peppers    
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  •   2 tablespoons ground flax-seed
  •  3 tablespoons water
  •  ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Things were off to a rough start seeing as I didn’t have any eggs in my refrigerator.  I racked my brain for a few minutes wondering what I could use as my binding agent. All of a sudden I remembered reading about flax-seed eggs and decided to give it a try.  All you do is combined 2 tablespoons of ground flax-seed with about 3 tablespoons of water and mix it up! Vola, you have yourself an “egg”. 
These burgers are pretty simple.  Combine all the ingredients above, including your flax-seed egg.  Mix until all items are equally distributed. 
Every time I try making a burger like this I find that I have a really hard time getting it to stick together (I thinks it is because of the “chunky” ingredients?) and when I try to flip them during the cooking process they always seem to fall apart!  I was convinced that I could find a way to fix this.  I used the blender attachment on my immersion blender and after a few “pulses” of the mixture I had created a partially blended bean burger.  As you mix the ingredients together, you will notice they start to stick together a bit more. 
Using your hand form into burgers, as small or large as you want.  I made mine into 5 burgers. 

Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins so the burgers can set a bit.  I made mine the night before so they had lots of time to gel.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 10 mins, flip the burgers and cook for an additional 10 mins. 

I chose to serve the burgers with a side of Cole slaw as well as tomatoes and cucumber salad. 

 I think I accomplished both my goals: The boy raved about the dinner (even days later!) and I used up lots of items in my pantry.

What is your favorite kind of burger?



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I have been craving green beans like crazy recently.  This craving was so intence that I actually dreamed of  making a cold green bean salad with a bittersweet vinaigrette dressing.  As weird as this was, I knew I had to make this salad of my dreams! 

What you will need: 

  • 3 lbs of fresh green beans
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 2 shakes of pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • rice vinegar

Wash and trim the ends of your green beans.  This task was nothing short of boring and tedious.  Good think I had the Glee channel on Pandora playing in the background…. 


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add your green beans.  Let the beans cook for 3-4 minutes.  Drain the beans and then “shock” them by  placing them  in a large bowl filled with ice water.  Your beans will continue to cook after you remove them from the hot water. Shocking them with the cold water will slow the cooking process and prevent a mushy final product.   

ice, ice baby

While the beans cool, drain and rinse the can of chick peas and thinly slice your onion.  I used my mandolin because I wanted to get the thinnest slices possible.  I really do not like the taste of raw onion so I sautéed the onions in a frying pans with a little bit of oil and rice vinegar.  I probably only cooked them for 1-2 mins just to take the edge off. 

For the dressing, combine the following: 

  •  1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • a little less than 1/4 cup of EVOO
  •  1 clove crushed garlic
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 2 shakes from the pepper shaker

As you know, we here at WCWWC are not the best at using exact measurements.  So do what feels right  and improvise with the above measurements.  . 

Once the dressing is complete, mix all the ingredients and allow the flavors to meld together for about 2 hours.  Much like the cous cous salad, you could make this a day in advance without issue.  The picture below does not do justice to how tasty this salad was.  I even ate the leftovers for three days and didn’t get sick of it! 

Don't judge a book by its cover

What is your favorite summer salad? 



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My girlfriends and I affectionately refer to ourselves as the BCG+V (Broad Cove Girls and Val).  We have all been friends since elementary school and although we often go long periods of time without seeing each other, when we get together it is as if no time has passed.  Most of us were in town for our friends Eliza and Scott’s wedding so we decided to all get together for dinner.  All of our parents ended up joining and, needless to say, we all had a blast.  Okay now onto the food. 

The menu 


  • Guacamole and chips
  • Mediterranean platter (courtesy of Val)
  • Spicy Southwest dip (courtesy of Pat)


  • Broco-slaw
  • Pulled pork
  • Green Salad
  • Grilled Pizzas



  • Lemon pound cake with freshly picked berries (courtesy of Val)

Although there are so many yummy and wonderful dishes to pick from, I decided to focus on how to make grilled pizza for this post. 

This probably is nothing new, but my number one trick when having people over for dinner is to prepare as much as possible before your guest arrive.  You will have a lot more fun and be a lot less stressed out. 

When making grilled pizzas you have to act pretty fast and it certainly is a two person job.  I pre-cooked all of the toppings and rolled out the dough so that I could enjoy the appetizer time and when I needed to start cooking I could be ready to move fast.  



When it comes time to cook your pizzas make sure you grab a friend!   Turn on the grill so it warms up nicely and brush one side of the dough with olive oil. 


Place the dough onto the grill and cook until golden brown. Cook with the heat on medium.  (I made the mistake of cooking on high heat and burnt the first one a bit!)   While the dough is cooking, brush the top side of the dough with oil to prep for when you flip the dough.  


Once you flip the dough he need to move fast placing all of your toppings so that everything can get warm and the cheese will melt before you over cook the other side of the dough.  We shut the lid for this portion of the cooking so that the heat would be trapped in, aiding in the warming and melting process.  Let cook until the dough is crispy and golden. 

Allow the pizzas to sit for a few minutes then cut and serve.  I promise these will be a big hit! 

Pesto, tomatoes, red onion and fresh mozzarella


red sauce, mushrooms, corn, green pepper and cheese



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The following post is brought to you by my wonderful co-worker Jon.  Thank you for taking the time to write such a great post Jon–next time you should invite me over for dinner!

Over the weekend I had 7 friends over, mostly from my UCLA days, who now live in LA, New York, and Boston. With my 2 roommates, a 10-person dinner meant I needed to make a balanced meal with big time flavors, fresh ingredients, and a variety of proteins (and not to mention a whipped up vegetarian pasta dish for one person).

A friend of mine, who recently moved back to California after graduating from Harvard Law, loved spending his last weeks taking a variety of family and friends, including me, to Toro, where we frequented the fantastic Paella. Eating it so much made me realize that the ingredients, although plentiful, are neither too exotic or unique that I couldn’t try it at home.

So with about 2 hours from prep to table, I decided on the following dinner menu (with the help of some crème fraiche, fresh fruit, and a Petsi’s Fruit Cobbler)

  • Arugula and Heirloom Cherry Tomato on Toasted Baguette
  • Pear Goat Cheese Walnut and Cranberry Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinegar
  • Two 1.5lb Steamed Maine Lobsters
  • Paella


The Arugula

The Arugula Heirloom Tomato recipe came from a botched attempt at making pesto, but is such a great balance of bitter Arugula with salt and the juicy tomatoes on crisp toast.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bag of TJ’s Arugula
  • Half of a box of TJ Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (regular works fine)
  • A good amount of salt (to cut the bitter taste of Arugula)
  • Olive Oil

The key to this is to chop the Arugula finely so that you get a pesto-like texture. Mix in a heavy hand of olive oil as well, a heavy hand of salt to taste, and halved tomatoes. Serve on toasted baguette. Feel free to add some garlic powder (I like the powder because it dissolves easier without changing the texture of the dish).

The Salad

A really great texture salad that has sweet and salty profiles – I literally can eat this with every meal.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bag of TJ’s Sorrento Mix (Baby Spinach and Arugula)
  • 1 shotglass of chopped walnuts
  • 1 shotglass of dried cranberry
  • 1 Bosc Pear
  • 2/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil to taste


The key is to find sweet Bosc Pears and chop them, not too finely, so that you can really get that surprise sweet texture in the salad. The goat cheese adds a great element to counter the crunchy pear. Adding walnuts and cranberry just gives a good sweet and salty mix that finishes it all off. Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing just enough to add moisture to the salad, but trust me, the flavor is already bursting.

The Lobsters

Just steam ‘em and crack them for your guests to take apart with your hands.

The Paella

I used a hybrid recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, Epicurious, and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and came up with this version. Because Saffron is pretty expensive, I decided to substitute a combination of Paprika and Tumeric, which I think worked pretty well except I could have used more, as some of the rice in the bottom center of the skillet tasted more like Spanish rice. Some other take aways: I wish I had a larger pan, I went with a 10” cast iron skillet; for the amount of people I was cooking for, a traditional 14” paella pan, or just a larger cast iron would have made the flavor spread out a lot better. I also would have added frozen peas and corn, but the pan just would have exploded with too much stuff. Thinking back, I also wished I had seasoned the shrimp a bit more, but one could also do a sauté with garlic on the side then top the paella.  To avoid crispy rice mixed in, you could also cook the whole thing with a lid (like a dutch oven), or just cover it in foil.

What you’ll need:

  • 2.5 cups of long grain white rice (or paella rice if you can find it)
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • ¼ teaspoon of tumeric (don’t be afraid to add more)
  • ¼ teaspoon of paprika (don’t be afraid to add more)
  • 2 Bell Peppers (Red or Orange)
  • 1 whole garlic cove (diced and crushed)
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Half box of TJ’s Cremini Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1.5 lbs of Chicken Thighs
  • 1lb of chorizo or Portuguese sausage (any spicy sausage will work) sliced
  • 1 lb of de veined skin on tiger shrimp
  • Chopped Parsley
  • 2 lemons


Trim & cut the chicken thighs into thirds, add olive oil, salt and pepper, oregano, rosemary, crushed garlic, and some paprika. Brown the chicken in a pan, drain the fat, and set aside. In the skillet / paella pan, add butter, olive oil, the shallots, onion, chorizo, and mushroom and cook until the mushrooms are translucent. Add the bell peppers and sautee (adding oil as needed) until most of the liquid is almost burned off. In a separate pot, simmer 4 cups (2 cans) of chicken broth and the tumeric / paprika mixture, keeping it warm. Add the rice slowly into the skillet with the veggie mixture and brown the rice briefly, adding the chicken into the mixture and lowering the heat. When the rice is browned add the broth mixture until the rice is submerged and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees, while adding the broth mixture whenever the paella looks dry DO NOT STIR, this is NOT a risotto. At this point, the rice should be crisp on the tops, but almost done underneath.

At this point, take out the paella, check that the rice is almost done under the crisp outer layer, and stir everything up. Flatten out the paella again, and add the shrimp on top (or mixed if you prefer). Bake for another 10 minutes or so, or until the rice is done. The key is to really add your seafood, whether it be shrimp or mussels, at the very end because they tend to cook VERY quickly. Like I said, in hindsight I wish I had marinated or dry rubbed the shrimp, or even possibly cooked the shrimp separately in a garlic sauce and served them on top of the paella when it was done.

Sprinkle chopped parsley and a heavy dose of squeezed lemon for garnish. Dig in and enjoy. Best with prosecco or sparkling white wine, preferably served in a Porron.

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After three days of eating work provided meals and indulging at the Scooper Bowl I was craving something clean and fresh.  I knew I wanted some vegetables and beans.  After a quick stop at Whole Foods I created a simple, clean and fresh meal.  It was so good that I ate it both for lunch and dinner.  A whole can of chickpeas in one day?  No big deal.

Chickpea Patties

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbls flax-seed


In your Cuisinart combine the above ingredients and chop until the mixture is smoother than it is chunky.  Using your hands, form 6 patties.  In your favorite non-stick frying pan heat up some extra virgin olive oil and lightly pan sear the patties, about 2 mins each side. 

While patties are cooking slice a tomato and avocado.  Remove patties from the frying pan and place on your plate.  Top with sliced tomato and avocado.  I suggest adding a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as well as a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.

These patties make the perfect lunch.  Individually they would make great appetizers!



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Grilled Avocados

In my opinion, Memorial day is the real kick off to summer.  And what better way to start summer then a BBQ, am I right?  I had the pleasure of being invited over to my friend Eliza’s parents house for a BBQ.  I offered (perhaps begged?) to bring a side dish that I had been DYING to make.  When I mentioned I would be making grilled avocados stuffed with black bean salsa I got a few funny looks.  I promised the group great things were to come and hopped for the best!
Black Bean Salsa:
1 can black beans
1 small onion
1 medium size tomato (or 2 small)
2 Limes
a splash or two of your favorite hot sauce
Rinse and drain the black beans and place in a bowl.  Mince the cilantro and dice the tomato and onions,  combine with black beans.  Take the juice of your two limes and mix with a splash or two of your favorite hot sauce, I used Captain Mowatt.  Combine the liquids in the bowl with other ingredients and allow to marinade for 2-3 hours to really brings out the flavors! 
Cut your avocados in half and remove the pit.  Generously apply extra virgin olive oil with a basting brush.  We didn’t have a brush handy so I just jumped right in and massaged the olive oil over the avocados (as an extra bonus my hands felt nice and moisturized!) 

Check out those claws!

Place the avocados “meat” side down on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes (I only cooked for about 5 mins but the group conscientious was that they should have cook a bit longer!).  You can tell that they are almost done as the skin gets warm and starts to turn bright green.  As a side note it was suggested that these would be great cooked on a grill pan in the middle of winter when you are craving sometime a bit more summary and tropical! What a great idea!

Grill baby, Grill

Remove from the grill and fill with the black bean salsa.   
Although this was my only contribution to dinner the rest of the spread was so wonderful I just have to share the pictures with you sangria….steak….grilled vegetables….potato salad and Val’s blueberry and raspberry crisp!  
If this dinner was foreshadowing for what my summer has in store, then I am one lucky girl!
What is your favorite food to grill?

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Stuffed peppers are great.  What makes them so great?  Their ease and versatility. You could pretty  much take anything you have in your pantry and refrigerator, mix it together, stuff the pepper, throw it in the over and call it dinner!  Oh yeah and you can make them in advance!

For Sunday’s dinner (and let’s be honest most likely Monday’s dinner too!) I used the following

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 med. size tomato
  • 1 green pepper
  • a little bit of fresh mozzarella (very precise, I know!)
  • paprika
  • cummin
  • red pepper flakes

Cook the quinoa as instructed.  While the quinoa cooks, chop the top off your pepper and clean out the inside.  Reserve to top part of the pepper as part of the filling.  Dice to tomato and mozzarella.  After the quinoa cooks, combine your vegetables, cheese and spices(this is the fiesta part!).  Mix well. 

Getting ready for the fiesta!

The green pepper I used was pretty large so I chose to cut it down the middle to make two “boats” to fill.  In the past I have use slightly smaller peppers and filled the whole thing up! 

Generously fill each boat.  Place in a baking dish and put in a 350 degree over for about 25 minutes.  Just before the peppers are cooked add a few more pieces of cheese. 

The picture does not do it justice...

I ate this as a meal in itself but you could serve with piece of grilled chicken or fish! 


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