Guacamole Burger

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Are you ready for Memorial Day weekend?? Time to clean the dust of the grill and get the BBQ season started (if you haven’t done so already).

I can’t imagine a BBQ without a burger. So today, I’m sharing with you one of my all time favorites, Spicy Guacamole Burger.

Burgers are a staple in the American cuisine. You could even call them a national food of the USA. In fact there is an “unofficial” holiday to celebrate this special sandwich. Continue reading “Guacamole Burger”

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Classic American Burger/ Tradycyjny Hamburger Amerykański

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Today I’m sharing with you few tips on how to make a simple, juicy traditional burger. Quick burger 101 lesson for the beginners and not only. I’m going to share with you all the tricks and tips that I learned by watching cooking shows and experimenting in the kitchen myself.
Continue reading “Classic American Burger/ Tradycyjny Hamburger Amerykański”

Pumpkin Lecho with Chicken

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Every year when I go to the veggie market around this time, I feel like all the pumpkins are STARING at me and SCREAMING to BUY them.  Something like that 😉 :

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I am not a big fan of pumpkin, but when they all look at me like that, I feel bad and end up buying at least one every year. When I bring it home, I usually use it as a decoration. It looks so cute to me. I like the small pumpkins especially. They’re like little babies looking at me and I just can’t say NO to them. Last year, my daughter was using a pumpkin as her new toy. She was dragging it around a house and it was THE BEST TOY EVER. It kept her busy for hours. Until one day, she dropped it….I mean ……. she dropped it pretty hard….I think you can imagine the mess. Well, as much as I hated cleaning it, I was kind of relieved that I don’t have to make anything out of it. I did make a pumpkin pie, for my husband’s coworkers, for a Thanksgiving Day at work last year. He said that everyone liked it. But, I will be honest. I used a store bought pumpkin puree. ( sorry…)

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 This year I bought a  pumpkin AGAIN. But this time, I decided I will not waste it and make something with it. I hate wasting food. Especially, knowing that there are so many poor kids around the world who go to sleep hungry every day 😦

 I decided to make lecho with my cute little pumpkin. Lecho is a Hungarian dish, which is very popular in Poland. It is a vegetable stew. Traditionally, it is made with onions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and sausage. There are many varieties of lecho and anyone can adjust it to his or her individual taste. You can add any vegetables you like. I made lecho before, but never with pumpkin. The pumpkin in this recipe is definitely not a STAR ingredient. It’s more a SECRET ingredient. It kind of gets dissolved into a gravy and you don’t even know that it’s there. It does give a gravy a nice texture though and it works as a thickening ingredient.  I like it that way because like I said before, I’m not a big pumpkin fan. If you’re like me and have some pumpkins lying around collecting dust, please try this recipe. I cooked lecho with pumpkin for the first time,  and I have to say it turned out pretty tasty. I might be bias though 😉 so try it yourself.

To make it I used:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small green chili peppers (finely chopped, you can omit this if you don’t like spicy food)
  • ½ of a small pumpkin
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cooked chicken legs
  • 2 tsp. of salt or to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

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1. I cut all the vegetables into a bite size pieces. I like bigger chunks because when you cook they will become mushy if they’re too small. I only use half of the pumpkin. So I cut it in half and then scoop out all the seeds and the ‘hairy’ flush. Please DO NOT THROW THE SEEDS. Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious and  make a great snack. I will show you how to roast them in the next post.

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  2. Heat up the olive oil in the pan and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Heads up…use a LARGE POT. It is a lot of vegetables. I started with a small pan and had to transfer to a larger one. I guess I should have realized that  I will need something larger for so many different veggies but I’m a little absent-minded those days 😉

3. Add chopped garlic and chilies (if using). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry for a minute

4. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2 cup of a chicken stock. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. ( You can also use water instead of chicken stock). I cooked the pumpkin for 4-5 minutes before I added the other vegetables. Honestly, I thought that pumpkin will require longer cooking time than the other veggies but it really didn’t. Because I cooked it longer, it actually became mushy and dissolved into the gravy. I didn’t mind it, and actually liked it, since I don’t really care about pumpkin taste that much. However, if you want big chunks of pumpkin, add all the remaining vegetables at this time. (plus salt and pepper to taste)

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 5. Add marjoram, bay leaf and paprika. Stir in the remaining chicken stock. Cover and cook on the medium low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart. Keep stirring from time to time to prevent burning.

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6. After the 15-20 minutes add the chicken and mix everything together. Turn the heat of. At this point you can check if you need any more salt according to your taste. You can also add more water if you want more gravy.

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6. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve HOT with some bread for dipping !!!

This is a simple ONE POT recipe. As I said in my ABOUT page, I don’t think I’m a great cook. I DO LOVE to cook though. (and EAT !!! ). I cook food that everyone can make at home. You don’t need to be a master chef to know how to cook. My husband is pretty happy with my cooking so I guess I’m not that bad. I think cooking is all about trying and experimenting. Few years ago I was burning French fries and now I like to take risks and try different recipes 🙂

ENJOY !!!!

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Thanks for reading!!!!! I appreciate any comments or feedback so feel free to leave one 🙂

Oh….I still have half the pumpkin left……I have some yummy recipes in mind so keep checking the web….I am also open to your suggestions on what you like to do with your pumpkins?

Next, I’m going to post my roasted pumpkin seed recipe. Please stay tuned for that 🙂

 

Chicken Avocado Salad Sandwich

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This is a quick recipe for lunch on the go. In today’s busy world people don’t really have time to cook. There are more fast food restaurants than ever before. Everyone wants to eat something quickly and move on with their lives. Eating out can be expensive and majority of the time unhealthy. On the days that I don’t have much time to cook, I turn to the sandwiches for a quick and healthy lunch. If you’re bored of eating the same sandwich all over again try this one. Chicken avocado salad sandwich.

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Sandwiches are great because you can personalize them. Add whatever ingredients you like. You can eat them cold or warm. And even if you can’t cook at all you can make a sandwich.

Today, I prepared a sandwich with chicken avocado salad. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of eating avocado. It’s great for your skin, helps you lower cholesterol, has lots of fiber, potassium and vitamin K.  However, I was never a big fan of avocado. To me, avocado is very blend. But since there are many health benefits of eating avocados I try to incorporate it in my diet. The best way for me to eat it, is by adding other ingredients to it. It works great in the salad because of its creamy texture and makes a nice moist sandwich.

To make 3 sandwiches we need:

  • 1 baguette (you can us a whole wheat to make it more healthy)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cups of cooked and shredded chicken
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • Handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Veggies of choice to put on top ( I used radishes, onions, olives and tomatoes)

                To make it:

Cut the avocado in half around the pit. Scoop out the inside of the avocado with a spoon. Remove the pit by sticking a knife into the pit and twisting it. Remove the other half of the avocado. Smash the avocado with the fork. Add the lemon juice to prevent the avocado from browning. Mix all the ingredients.

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Toast the baguette and cut it into 3 pieces. Cut each piece in half and spread the avocado salad. I like to add fresh veggies on top. I added some tomato, sliced red onion, radishes and olives. You can add anything you like. This is a simple sandwich that anyone can make. Even a person who doesn’t know how to cook at all!!!

Enjoy!!!

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Philly Cheesesteak

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Today I am preparing one of the most popular American sandwiches (at least on the East Coast 😉 ) I love sandwiches because they are quick and easy to make. They are also perfect as lunch on the go. They don’t require reheating and there are many varieties and options to make them.

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The first time I ate this sandwich was when I went to Philadelphia. Philly is a beautiful city in Pennsylvania that has a great history. During my visit I got to see the famous Liberty Bell, which is a symbol of American Independence. Independence was declared in the United States of America on July 4th 1776. On that day, 13 American colonies, declared themselves as separate states and no longer British colonies. Four days later, July 8th 1776, Liberty Bell rang out from the tower of Independence Hall, calling citizens to hear the first public reading of Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.* (http://uaoc.org/fourth/libertybell.html)

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Interesting fact about the bell …

                         The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds. The yoke weighs about 100 pounds *

*(http://www.visitphilly.com/history/philadelphia/the-liberty-bell-center/)

During my visit to Philly I also visited one of the most popular Philly Cheesesteak stands which is Pat’s King of Steaks. The sandwich was very good. Nice crispy roll filled with sliced steak and melted cheese on top. There are also variety of toppings to choose from on the side. Some of the choices included onions, peppers, relish, ketchup and mustard. I really enjoyed the city and the signature sandwich of Philadelphia. I decided to recreate the sandwich and this is what I came up with:

To make 2 sandwiches you will need:

  • Whole grain baguette
  • 3 slices of provolone or swiss cheese
  • Half red and half yellow pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • Pinch of oregano
  • ½ pound of steak

For the Marinade:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • ¼ cup of pineapple or papaya minced or juice (natural meat tenderizer)

To make it:

First, I thinly slice the meat and marinate it with ginger, garlic, papaya or pineapple juice and a little bit of salt and pepper. The longer it marinates the better and more tender it gets. I recently discovered that a juice of pineapple or papaya is a great natural meat tenderizer. It makes the meat so tender it melts in your mouth. I used to get frustrated cooking beef because it would get very tough and chewy. You usually have to cook it for a long time in order for it to become tender. The juice of papaya or pineapple solves this problem and you get wonderful tender piece of steak.

After the meat marinated, I take it out of the fridge and bring to the room temperature. In the mean time, I slice the onions and peppers. I sauté the onions with a tablespoon of olive oil on a high heat until golden brown. Then I add peppers and fry for another 2 minutes. Don’t forget the salt and pepper to taste. Once the peppers are softened, I remove everything from the pan and set aside. Then I add another tablespoon of olive oil and fry the meat in batches to make sure it has nice brown color. If you crowd the pan with the meat too much it will release the juices and will not brown nicely. When the meat is nice and brown I return the onions and peppers to the pen and fry for few minutes. I also like to sprinkle a teaspoon of dried oregano on the top. It makes it smell sooo good and I love the taste of oregano. After everything comes together I turn the heat off and put 2-3 slices of provolone or Swiss cheese on top and cover the pan to allow the cheese to melt. While the cheese is melting I put my baguette in the oven to warm up for few seconds. And VOILA, now just assemble the sandwich and enjoy.

Make sure to try this recipe and let me know what you think. ENJOY !!! Remember cooking does not have to be difficult. If I can do it YOU can do it too 🙂

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Thanks for reading. If you like the recipe please share it with your family and friends. If you didn’t like it please leave a comment 🙂

 RECIPE RECAP:

INGREDIANTS FOR 2 SANDWICHES:

  • Whole grain baguette
  • 3 slices of provolone or swiss cheese
  • Half red and half yellow pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • Pinch of oregano
  • ½ pound of steak
  • For the Marinate:
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • ¼ cup of pineapple or papaya minced or juice (natural meat tenderizer)

TO MAKE IT:

  1.  cut the meat into strips and marinate it with ginger, garlic, papaya or pineapple juice and a little bit of salt and pepper. The longer it marinates the better and more tender it gets. I recently discovered that a juice of pineapple or papaya is a great natural meat tenderizer. It makes the meat so tender it melts in your mouth. I used to get frustrated cooking beef because it would get very tough and chewy. You usually have to cook it for a long time in order for it to become tender. The juice of papaya or pineapple solves this problem and you get wonderful tender piece of steak.
  2. After the meat has marinated I take it out of the fridge and bring it to the room temperature.
  3. In the mean time I cut my onions and peppers in the strips.
  4. I sauté the onions with a tablespoon of olive oil on a high heat until golden brown.
  5. Then I add peppers and fry for another 2 minutes. Don’t forget the salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Once the peppers are softened I remove everything from the pan and set aside.
  7. Then I add another tablespoon of olive oil and fry the meat in batches to make sure it has nice brown color. If you crowd the pan with the meat too much it will release the juices and will not brown nicely.
  8. When the meat is nice and brown I return the onions and peppers to the pen and fry for few minutes. I also like to sprinkle a teaspoon of dried oregano on the top. It makes it smell sooo good and I love the taste of oregano.
  9. After everything comes together I turn the heat off and put 2-3 slices of provolone or Swiss cheese on top and cover the pan to allow the cheese to melt.
  10. While the cheese is melting I put my baguette in the oven to warm up for few seconds
  11. Assemble the sandwich and EAT 🙂

Wersja Polska/ Polish Version