Category Archives: Lunch/Dinner

My Favorite Hispanic Recipes

Hola amigos! Today marks the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. I hope you’ve had a good one!

Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Hispanic influenced recipes NOT from this blog. Some are traditional recipes & some are more like Tex-Mex or fusion like.

My Favorite Hispanic Recipes - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Food brings people together & introducing people to new flavors is a great way to introduce them to new cultures.

ÂĄBuen provecho!

  1. Mexican Corn Dip from Well Plated – It’s like elote, but in dip form & not too heavy because of a few sneaky swaps! I made it for my mother in law, who loves all things corn, for her birthday & the whole family loved it.
  2. Black Bean Avocado Salad from Nancy C. – I make this often! Y’all know how I feel about tomatoes & this salsa-like salad checks all of the flavor boxes WITHOUT any tomatoes!
  3. Vaca Frita from Fabulous Fare Sisters – Vaca Frita is my favorite thing to order at Cuban restaurants, but you can totally make it at home! I’m making this tonight with some white rice & maduros.
  4. White Chicken Enchiladas from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen – Green chile & I are BFFs. This recipe, while not super authentically Mexican, delivers on the green chile front! This is one of the first foods I cooked for my husband while we were dating <3. It’s still a favorite!
  5. Churro Truffles from Pizzazzerie – For when you want that churro flavor without the choux pastry & deep frying.
  6. Merenguitos (Cuban meringue cookies) from Three Guys From Miami – This blog includes 2 authentic Cuban merenguitos recipes. Personally I only ever use the first one – sugar & NO cream of tartar. I love merenguitos that are super crunchy on the outside but still just the tiniest bit chewy on the inside. Yummmm!

What are your favorites from around the internet?

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Everyone has to play ‘Pantry Roulette’ with dinner every now and then. Whether it’s a budget thing, an expiration date thing, or a grocery shopping thing. This recipe was born from the last.

We needed something for dinner, but I would not be able to go grocery shopping for a few more days. I didn’t want to just serve grilled cheese sandwiches – I wanted something with at least some semblance of vegetables! So I put my thinking cap on to see what I could come up with.

The only green thing I had in the fridge was pickles. I know pickles don’t really count as a vegetable, but I decided to roll with it (no pun intended!). I also had half a block of cream cheese I needed to use up. And then I remembered that in the pantry I had a few lasagna noodles left. Hmm…

I wrote ‘cheeseburger lasagna rolls’ on our dinner menu for Saturday night. My husband came up to me & asked, “Are those 3 separate things?” Very funny, babe.

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Even though we ended up getting a free meal from my parents on the night in question (gracias Mami y Papi!), I left ‘cheeseburger lasagna rolls’ on the menu to make another night.

I briefly searched for similar recipes, but I was not satisfied with any of them. None of them that I saw suggested cream cheese, & almost all of them had ketchup. No thanks. I decided that I would just try to use my previous white lasagna making knowledge & just give it a go.

When I smelled the delicious filling, I knew I had a winner.

This recipe is relatively simple. I browned the ground beef with my favorite burger seasoning & then drained it. Pro tip: I never pay more for lean ground beef. I just make sure to drain it! Yes, I yield a little less than the poundage you bought from the fat being rendered out & discarded. But I don’t end up paying a premium for ground top cuts. Recently, Aldi had 73/27 on sale for less than $2/lb. Can you say score???

Once the beef is browned & drained, I added diced onions & pickles, cream cheese, and mustard. This is the filling. At this point it totally smells like a burger. The cream cheese in place of ricotta helps that. I rolled it up in the cooked lasagna noodles (I had exactly 4 left!) & laid them in a loaf pan. The loaf pan is perfect for this amount. If you double the recipe, an 8×8 or 9×9 should work well. If you make a dozen, then a traditional lasagna pan it is!

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I topped the rolls with mayo & shredded cheddar cheese. My husband has totally opened my eyes to mayo on burgers & I can never look back. But if that’s not your thing, I think that whatever your usual burger sauce is will work. Even ketchup. The point is to both add to the burger feeling & also prevent the noodles from drying out.

I think next time I will experiment with adding other burger toppings. Bacon, anyone?

Skeptical hubby ended up loving these! According to him they taste just like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. He said, “These are really good, thanks! You can quote me in your post if you want.”

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Makes 4 rolls

  • 4 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • your favorite burger seasoning
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 a medium onion), finely chopped
  • 4 sliced of pickles (or 1/4 cup of dill chips), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • mayo (or your favorite burger sauce!)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a loaf pan & spread a little mayo (or burger sauce) on the bottom.
  2. Boil lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain & let cool.
  3. While noodles are boiling, brown the ground beef & season with burger seasoning. Drain.
  4. Add to the beef pan pickles, onion, cream cheese, & mustard. Heat on low while stirring until cream cheese is melted & mixture is uniform.
  5. Divide the mixture in 4 & roll up into cooked lasagna noodles. Arrange in loaf pan seam side down.
  6. Spread mayo over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is slightly browned on the edges. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Guys, I had pizza on the menu for tonight before even realizing it was National Pizza Day!

Tonight I’m making a buffalo chicken pizza on this homemade pizza dough.

I’m definitely not a pizza dough novice anymore. It might be time to do an updated pizza post soon! Until then, use this recipe to make your own delicious pizza. 🙂

Mrs. Dessert Monster

I experienced some firsts with this recipe: first time using the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer, first time ever using yeast, & first time using my new pizza & pastry roller!

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My friend Beth has pizza every Friday. I love her life! She almost always makes it from scratch, & after enjoying some of her awesome pizzas myself, I asked for the recipe.

She shared that it’s from one of her favorite cookbooks: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.

This dough was really easy to make, even for a yeast novice like me. I halved the original – if I messed this up I didn’t want to waste like 5 cups of flour! – & used ‘regular’ flours instead of bread flour. The results were wonderful. The dough calls for honey, but it is not an overly sweet crust, so don’t omit it.

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I had to Google how yeast is supposed to…

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Nursing Mommy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Cupcake is 2+ months old & growing like a weed! It’s very satisfying to look at her double chin & chunky legs & know that I did that.

Thankfully breastfeeding is going very well with little intervention from me, but every now & then I’ll drink some Mother’s Milk tea or malta to ‘help’ my supply. I haven’t actually had any supply issues, but eating yummy galactagogues can’t hurt.

What’s a galactagogue, you ask?

Milk

Do galactagogues really work? It’s debatable. I am not a doctor or a lactation expert, so please consult a professional if you are having any issues breastfeeding. The list of foods classified as galactagogues is long & includes lots of healthy & delicious foods. A lot of very common foods are on it, so there’s a good chance any breastfeeding mom is already consuming at least some.

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I’ve also been drinking this shake from time to time. It’s a nice treat between meals. This shake has ground flax seed & puffed wheat, two of the aforementioned galactagogues. Ground flax is not just good for lactation – it’s full of omega 3 & fiber. I’ve been putting it into all sorts of things from drinks to baked goods & even pizza. The shake also has peanut butter for protein & a packet of chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials. I’ve made similar shake recipes with cocoa powder instead, but the Carnation stuff is much tastier & full of vitamins. Now, this isn’t exactly a health food. I called it a shake instead of a smoothie for a reason! I used sweetened puffed wheat & regular Carnation stuff, but you can use unsweetened puffed wheat & no-sugar-added Carnation to cut down on the sugar.

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One packet of the breakfast powder makes 2 servings of this shake, so I either share with my husband or blend everything but the ice together & save half in the fridge to blend later.

Is this shake going to help with breastfeeding? I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you it is tasty & fun!

Nursing Mommy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Makes 2 servings
  • 2 Tb Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tb Flax Seed
  • 1 cup Puffed Wheat
  • 1 packet Chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials
  • 1 cup milk
  • ice
  1. Blend all ingredients except ice together for a few minutes.
  2. Add ice, blend until desired consistency.

 


Even though I’m posting more intermittently than ever, I was touched to see this:

100 followers

Thank you for all the follows ❤

Anthony’s Famous 1,000 Island Salad

I’m 15 weeks along with my little baby & finally feeling more energetic! Blogging will probably be more sporadic going forward – I don’t foresee myself blogging a ton with a newborn next year! But writing & sharing recipes is really important to me.


 My husband introduced me to a wonderful salad combination. So wonderful that whenever one of us says, “Do you want salad for dinner?”, this is the one we are talking about.

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As far as salads go, this one isn’t very fancy. But all the flavors work together beautifully. Tangy olives, crispy bacon, sharp red onion, & buttery croutons! Throw in some shredded cheese & top it off with 1,000 island dressing – that’ it. That’s the recipe. Well, with lettuce, of course.

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We used pre-bagged salad mixes, usually ones with carrots for extra vegetables. We always make our own croutons – toast some sliced bread with butter, Italian seasoning, & garlic pepper. Much better than store bought. They come out toasty but still a little soft.

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I didn’t say it was the healthiest salad around, but bacon has protein, cheese has calcium, & the olives & onion have vitamins. It’s a full meal.

The best part about this salad is how easy it is to construct. From assembly to eating in minutes. This one is definitely staying in the rotation for busy nights with the baby coming soon!

Anthony’s Famouse 1,000 Island Salad

  • 1 pre-bagged salad mix
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives
  • 3 slices of bread for homemade croutons, or a handful of pre-made croutons
  • butter & seasoning for homemade croutons
  • 1,000 island dressing
  1. Cook bacon. Crumble & set aside.
  2. If making your own croutons, toast bread with butter, garlic pepper, & Italian seasoning. Cut into cubes.
  3. Chop the red onion & cut the olives in half. Pour into a large bowl with salad mix.
  4. Add bacon, cheese, croutons, & dressing. Toss & enjoy!

Burnt Chicken (honey Italian chicken tenders)

In college my friend, Frank, & I used to make dinner together all the time. He made these delicious chicken tenders one night & I have been hooked ever since. The recipe is incredibly simple – just a few ingredients that marinate into the chicken & then caramelize beautifully. Frank got the recipe from this website, but according to that poster the recipe is older than that. It’s supposed to be a copycat of a Cracker Barrel recipe, which I’ve never tried, but if they’re anything like this recipe I totally recommend them.

The first time I made these for my husband he loved it. It’s his favorite thing I make us for dinner. He’s the one who dubbed this recipe ‘burnt chicken’.

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I promise you it’s not actually burnt! The marinade caramelizes in the pan into these delicious little bits.

The recipe is sooo easy – you just mix together the Italian dressing (zesty is the best for the most flavor), lime juice, & honey, let the chicken marinate for at least an hour, & put all of it in a pan. That’s it! Seriously.

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When you first put it in the pan it will look like this ^. Then you just leave it alone. Leave it, don’t touch it until the liquid has reduced significantly & is darkening (20+ minutes).

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When the chicken looks like this ^, flip over & cook for 5-10 more minutes so the other side of the chicken gets some of the good stuff on it. Don’t worry about your pan, the oil in the Italian dressing will pretty much guarantee that nothing sticks to the pan.

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Voila! The end result is delicious, sticky, slightly tangy, slightly sweet chicken tenders. Depending on your oven, pan, & temperature the caramelizing might take a little while – up to 40 minutes. Just be patient, the end result is well worth it.

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Burnt Chicken

AKA honey Italian chicken tenders
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips/chunks
  • 1/2 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from 1 lime
  1. Place all 4 ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag. Marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Pour out the bag into a large skillet & cook over medium heat until liquid reduced & becomes thick & sticky, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Turn each piece of chicken once & cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup

I love that a lot of my recipe posts come from cooking for company! It means I have good friends & food to go around. I am a very blessed lady!

Last night some church friends came over for dinner & to help me with some stuff for a fundraiser I’m in charge of for our sister church in Cuba.

I was looking for something easy but tasty to make for us when I remembered a recipe I’ve made a couple of times. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, & it is pure GENIUS!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This 8 Can Taco Soup from High Heels and Grills is as amazing as it is simple. You literally put together 8 cans of stuff plus a packet of taco seasoning & a brilliant soup comes out.

Literally.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Ok, fine, my chicken broth came from a box & not a can – because I already had it in the pantry! Otherwise I would have bought a can.

Yes, that is a can of tomatoes. The only thing I do differently than the original recipe is I buy regular diced tomatoes (as opposed to petite) & only use the liquid. I don’t omit it entirely because I’m afraid the flavor won’t be the same if I do – & I really don’t want to mess with this soup, THAT’S how good it is. I just use the juice from the can. I put the tomato chunks back into my husband’s & my guests’ bowls, though. No need to deprive them just because I am a weirdo.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I seriously threw this soup together in like 10 minutes. It took me longer to make the quesadillas I served with it. Also, it’s really inexpensive! The pot makes a lot; 4 of us ate generous portions & I still had plenty to take to work with me!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

So yummy, & so, so easy!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup

Copied from High Heels and Grills

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 (12.5 oz.) can white chicken breast, drained
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pot.
  2. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
In The New House Designs

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak 2-Ways, Part 2

Last week I shared part 1 of this steak extravaganza. Today I bring you part 2: skirt steak sandwiches!

Skirt Steak Sandwiches - Mrs. Dessert Monster

These sandwiches were amazing!

My photography skills didn’t quite capture that, but trust me! How are you even supposed to take pictures of sandwiches that capture all of the goodness?

With just a little bit of prep, I turned leftovers into haute cuisine. You know, the paper plate kind.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is Arby’s Horsey Sauce – which is a horseradish mayo. It was such a great contrast to the sweet balsamic steak.

Add some cheese & sauteed onions to buttery Italian bread & you’ve got a gourmet sandwich!

Skirt Steak Sandwiches - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Skirt Steak Sandwiches

For 2 sandwiches:

  • leftover Grilled balsamic skirt steak; about 1/2 lb
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 4 slices Italian bread
  • 2 packets Arby’s Horsey Sauce, or 2 tbsp horseradish mayo
  • 2 slices swiss cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  1. Thinly slice the onion & sautee with a little olive oil.
  2. Thinly slice the skirt steak. When onions are almost done, add skirt steak to pan to thoroughly reheat.
  3. Toast the sliced Italian bread & add butter.
  4. Spread Arby’s Horsey Sauce on one of the slices of bread. Use 1 packet per sandwich.
  5. Assemble the sandwich: steak, onions, swiss cheese.
  6. Enjoy!
In The New House Designs

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak 2-Ways, Part 1

My husband loves to grill.

We hadn’t even moved into our house yet when he was already planning all these barbecues & football parties he wanted to throw.

I’m totally on board.

My dad was sweet enough to surprise us with a grill as a house warming present. We came home from church one day & there was a grill in our backyard! Since then, we have used it for many family dinners.

Sometimes we use the grill for just the two of us. It’s usually to make steak. I’m so glad I married a man who loves steak beef as much as I do. I literally majored in it!

We bought some skirt steak on special a little while ago. It took me back to me my internship days, when the butchers in the meat department taught me how to clean skirt steak. Ahh, to be a college student again. Not really…

Even though I am familiar with skirt steak that way, I had never actually prepared it myself. I was looking through recipes & came across a good one on MyRecipes.com.

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The balsamic vinegar & Worcestershire sauce combo caught my eye immediately. I tweaked the recipe a little bit – like I usually do!

While the steak was marinating, I cut up a fresh pineapple to be grilled alongside it. I had some cinnamon sugar left from the monkey bread muffins I made, so I sprinkled it on the pineapple. Mmm, steak & grilled pineapple – it was like going out to a fancy steak house!

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Actually, it was better than going to a fancy steak house!

I love teamwork dinners like this. My husband & I get to hang out in the kitchen & enjoy something delicious together in the end. He’s the best partner.

Since this was just for the 2 of us & the skirt steak was cut into 4 pieces, this was just ONE of the awesome dinners we had with it. The next day I made delicious skirt steak sandwiches!

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed & cut into 4 pieces
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add steak & marinate at room temperature for at least  25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
  2. Fire up the grill & cook steak 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Let steak rest for 5 minutes before cutting diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
In The New House Designs

Busy Nights & Shepherd’s Pie

Life is busy. Like, really busy. Time is flying by.

One of the reasons that time seems even more fleeting for me lately is the fact that I don’t like to consider my job as part of my life. When you factor everything in, I am away from home because of work for 50+ hours a week. What do I mean, then? Well, those 50+ hours a week are so that I can have a paycheck to provide for ‘my life’. I don’t love what I do. It’s not totally my job’s fault, though. I realized in college that I am never going to be a career oriented person.

I am a family oriented person. I am a people oriented person. I love being close to my family. I love seeing my friends often. I love being around babies & kids. I love hosting dinners & parties & making food for people. I love going to church & being involved in several different ministries.

Not everyone enjoys all those things. Some people are more introverted & require plenty of chill time to recharge. Some people are extroverted, but not too fond of hosting or cooking. Or, they aren’t fond of children. Some people don’t get along with their families as well as I do. Some people haven’t found a church they call home, or choose not to go to church at all.

Some people love their jobs/careers & get their blood pumping by working really hard to achieve success in their field. I cannot relate. Don’t get me wrong, I am a hard worker. It’s just not something I love.

If I’m being really honest, of course work is a part of my life. I would just rather be doing other things. I know that even people who love their jobs feel like this at times, I just find myself counting the minutes more than most. I look forward to one day being a stay at home mom. That job will be a lot harder than the one I am doing now, but I think it will be a lot more fulfilling to my personality. I’m several years away from that, so for now I suppose I will keep showing up to work Monday-Friday.

Because work takes up so much of my time, I cherish the nights I get to host a meal & hang out with people during the week. Life (including work) gets really busy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t carve out some time for people. The weekend is too short to do everything I want to do & see everyone I want to see.

To feed extra people, I’ve started stocking up on quick/easy ingredients. For example, when pork roast is on sale, I’ll buy one & freeze it until the day my husband & I can share with someone else. I buy meat on BOGO & just freeze them until we use them. I also try to buy certain things in bulk. Ground beef is one of those things.

Y’all might already know that my husband & I are totally beef people. I bought a 2lb pack of ground beef a few weeks ago & just split it to several smaller portions in Tupperware before freezing. So far we’ve made burgers & taco salad with it. Last night, it was shepherd’s pie.

Shepherd’s pie always has plenty of servings, depending on how much you make. Sometimes I make it just for me & hubby; we take the left overs as lunch the next day. This is a recipe that I almost always have ingredients for. It’s perfect for busy nights. There are some recipes that call for lots of prep & fresh ingredients – this is not one of them.

Box mash potatoes + canned (or frozen) veggies = quick & easy dinner. Throw in some ground beef & some cheese & you’re all set.

This one-dish meal is perfect for busy nights, which occur more often than not. It makes weeknight activities all the easier. My brother & my niece came over just in time for dinner. It was great seeing them!

Gotta run – busy, busy! I leave you with this photo collage. I was going to include the recipe, but I realized that I kind of just wing it every time I make this. Don’t get too hung up on recipes. Put whatever kind of corn (I used southwest style) & whatever other veggies (I used canned peas & carrots) you’d like! Season the beef whatever way you want; I always use Worcestershire sauce. Get mashed potatoes whatever way you can – homemade, store bought, instant, leftover, etc! Throw some cheese on top (I used cheddar, but you catch my drift) & broil it until it looks good to you.

Life is too short to get hung up on weeknight dinners. 🙂

Shepherd's Pie - Mrs. Dessert Monster

In The New House Designs