Jen’s Lobster Mac and Cheese for Valentine’s Day! And beer pairings!

Valentine’s Day is approaching! Need a special dinner? I got you! Lobster Mac and Cheese. 2 ways! The real deal for those who really like to play around in the kitchen and get a kick out of the process, and a cheater version for those that would like to get to that “ta-da” finish. And then I hand it over to B for beer pairings in B’s Beer Buzz! 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you love this, please come and find me again! 😀


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Jen’s Greek Chunk Salad with all the variations! Carnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian? I got you!

Greek Salad is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. I love it filled with chopped vegetables, some sort of topping, and usually skip the romaine. The kids love it, too, but I always saw dishes in the sink with raw onions framing the empty plates. In salads all over Latin America, onions are soaked in vinegar to cut their sharpness. I started tweaking my notes. The plates in the sink are totally naked now.

Below, I’ll give all my variations, starting with my seasoning blend, a raw or grilled salad base, then 5 toppers to pick from. Two are vegetarian, two are for carnivores, and one for pescatarians.

If you love it, please come and find me again! :D


Continue reading “Jen’s Greek Chunk Salad with all the variations! Carnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian? I got you!”

Jen’s Jalapeño Buttermilk Ranch Salad 3 Ways. Carnivore, Pescatarian, Vegetarian? I got you!

I love a big bowl of salad filled with a rainbow of colors, and all kinds of contrasting flavors and textures. Especially when it has the sort of dressing that you’d happily dip chips into. But you’re not. You’re producing hard. Produce-ing. As in produce. Vegetables. Not like you’re having a productive day. Anywho. Here’s a delicious bowl of the good stuff. I’ve given three different protein options so carnivores, pescatarians, and vegetarians can all have a big happy bowl of yum. Happy produce-ing, peeps! 😀 Edit: 9/25/2020. I just weighed this out for the 800 gram produce challenge, and it’s 435 grams per plate. WooHoo!


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Andy Ricker’s recipe for YAM MAMA: Instant-noodle salad and Cookbook review: Pok Pok The Drinking Food of Thailand by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode.

I picked up a copy of Andy Ricker with JJ Goode’s first book, Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand, about 6 months ago, and loved it. It requires you to go on an ingredient hunting adventure, but once you’ve got it all home, it’s beyond worth it! The flavors are off the charts! They just came out with their second book, POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand: A Cookbook, and it’s fantastic!

A huge thanks to Ten Speed Press for letting me share the recipe for Instant-noodle salad with you so that you can taste the book! My kids love this one. My reviews of the books with my thoughts and pics of the dishes I tried are below the recipe.


Continue reading “Andy Ricker’s recipe for YAM MAMA: Instant-noodle salad and Cookbook review: Pok Pok The Drinking Food of Thailand by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode.”

Jen’s Pastelitos and Picadillo, rich Cuban pastries with a savory meat filling and a sweet crust. Mmmmmmm.

Shortly after my husband and I started dating, his mom wanted to take me to Union City, New Jersey, lovingly referred to as Little Cuba. It’s such a cool little town. The streets are lined with dress shops, linen men’s shirts, and cafeterias and cafes where you can get rice and beans, Cuban sandwiches, little cups of espresso, and glorious fruity shakes. But my favorite is Chica’s Bakery, where I was introduced to the pastelito. They are rich little pastries with a savory meat filling (or fruit and cheese), and the top is crusted in sweetness. I was in love. His family ordered them for all the holidays, and they were the first thing to disappear, with good reason!

My husband and I moved to upstate New York a few years later. We weren’t too far up, still a stretch commute into Manhattan, but up there. I remember calling my mother-in-law when I was pregnant with our youngest, begging her to drive up with pastelitos. She did! I had to figure out how to make them myself! I experimented in my kitchen until I came up with pastelitos that we absolutely adore. I’ve been making them for years now.

These have been my little one’s favorite food since she was tiny. She decided that today was the day I was going to teach her how to make them, so you can see in the photos that they’re doable the first time out! 🙂

The recipe below is for my decadent holiday pastelitos. It makes enough filling for two recipes. I give a variation for a lighter version for everyday weeknight dinners at the end. I hope you love them, too! If you do, come find me again! 🙂


Continue reading “Jen’s Pastelitos and Picadillo, rich Cuban pastries with a savory meat filling and a sweet crust. Mmmmmmm.”