Yes, it’s another grilled sandwich post, but I just tried a new cheese blend from Trader Joe’s and feel the need to tell everyone how great it is 😂
The how-to is as simple as just making grilled cheese how your normally make it, but some of my suggestions for success are below:
• Prepare your pan – either with butter or your favorite oil non-stick spray • Use good bread: I used the Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian bread – works perfectly! • Prepare your bread: always butter the outside of your bread! It makes for a nice, golden brown crust • Let the cheese start melting on the bottom halves before adding the tops and flipping (otherwise you’ll have shredded cheese everywhere!
I say ‘inspired’ because usually, a lot of time goes into a true Cuban sandwich. With tender slow-roasted pork typically as the main ingredient, a good Cuban basically consists of meats, cheese, pickles and mustard on a nice, crusty bread.
My variation, let’s call it a ‘deli-improvised’ version, is quick, easy and full of flavor. And, it makes a great dinner option when you’ve run out of ideas! Bonus: it only uses one pan (easy clean up!). The best tip I can offer is to work quickly, since your pan is heating up as you start piling up your sandwich.
Add these items to your grocery shopping list (amounts will vary depending on how many people you’re feeding) and watch the slide show below for the step by step how-to!
Good bread: I used what my supermarket calls “Italian Panne”. It’s a round, crusty Italian bread that’s ideal for panini, avocado toast and grilled cheese.
Deli Sliced Boiled Ham – sliced thin
Deli Sliced Roasted Turkey – sliced thin
Deli Sliced Swiss Cheese – sliced thin (I used Jarlsberg)
Sliced Pickles – I used Vlasik Stackers Kosher Dill (they’re sliced lengthwise and fit perfectly on these sandwiches!)
Yellow Mustard – up for debate – we only had Spicy Brown in the house at the time and it worked just fine, however I think if you’re a yellow mustard lover, go with that!
Olive Oil Cooking Spray – to coat pan and bread tops
This refreshing salad makes a great side for any summer meal – from sandwiches and burgers to tacos and fish – this recipe can be completely customized to your liking and it never disappoints!
Things to keep in mind: if using avocado, always add it just before serving to avoid browning. Also, this salad is great when made ahead and chilled, so make it the night before (or a few hours before) your meal and the flavors will really pop when it has time to sit and marinate.
Summer Black Bean Salad (serves 4-6)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes (I used Roma), chopped
2 ears fresh corn, removed from cob – feel free to replace with frozen corn or canned (drained)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 large avocado
2 fresh peppers (I used a combo of red and orange, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon if you’re using pre-minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 limes, juiced
fresh cilantro, to taste
How to – the easy chop and dump method!
Rinse and drain black beans, put in a large bowl.
Remove corn from cob and add to bowl.
Chop all vegetables and add to beans.
Add garlic, olive oil, lime juice, and cilantro if using, and stir to combine.
When ready to serve, chop avocado and add to salad. Mix again and serve. Store leftovers in a sealed container.
If you’re in the market for flat, crispy bacon – you’ve found the right post!
Baking bacon in the oven is quick, easy, and surprisingly mess-free! I was terrified that I’d set my oven on fire, imagining bacon grease splattering everywhere, but I’m happy to report that didn’t happen at all.
How to: simply preheat your oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Line bacon on top of foil (slightly overlapping is ok) and bake for 20-25 mins (or until done to your desired crispness).
Clean up is easy: remove bacon slices and drain on a paper towel. Allow sheet pan to cool and remove foil with drippings.
Got 30 minutes? Then you can make some really great chicken legs for dinner! These easy chicken legs start out in your Instant Pot and finish off under the broiler (or in a super hot oven) for an end result that’s moist and tender inside, and crispy outside. Starting off in the Instant Pot simply speeds up the cooking process (and retains those juices!), so you’ll have dinner on the table in no time at all. Tip: at the 15-minute mark, make your sides so that your complete meal is done all at once!
This recipe is just three easy steps:
Season your chicken legs
Place into your Instant Pot (on top of the trivet to prevent burning)
When done, finish off in a hot oven or broiler to crisp up the skin
My all-time favorite flavor booster is Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. I literally use it every day! From chicken to steak to roasted veggies and eggs, it adds that perfect little bit of flavor and tastes great on everything. In this recipe, I mixed up my dry rub and ground a hefty amount of this into the mix.
Instant Pot Chicken Legs Serves 4 Total Time 30 mins
3-4lbs Chicken Legs
1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper (and if using, Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning)
1 Cup water or chicken broth
Your favorite BBQ Sauce (I love Sweet Baby Ray’s)
Combine all of your spices in a bowl and rub all over chicken legs.
Place trivet inside the Instant Pot and add 1 Cup of water (or broth) to the pot.
Pile up your chicken legs on top of the trivet.
Close lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (turn off Keep Warm feature).
While cooking, preheat oven to 500 degrees F and make your sides.
When done, quick release your pot and allow the steam to fully exit. Once pressure sensor drops and all steam has been released, set a timer for 5 minutes and let it sit.
Once finished, your chicken legs are cooked! You can eat them as is, or if you prefer a crispy skin, line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Then, coat legs with your favorite barbecue sauce and place in the 500 degree oven for 10-15 mins.
Nothing quite says American BBQ than baby back ribs. Mine are fall-off-the-bone delicious and super easy to make in the oven. Start with a dry rub first for the most flavor, then finish them off with your favorite barbecue sauce.
1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
3-4 pounds baby back pork ribs (2 to 3 slabs)
2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
Preheat oven to 275° and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Mix up dry ingredients and rub each rib slab with mix. Wrap slabs in heavy-duty aluminum foil; place on sheet pan.
Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from oven, and unwrap ribs and discard foil and drippings. Place ribs directly on sheet pan and brush with barbecue sauce on top of each slab. Return to oven; bake at 275°F until ribs are tender and meat is pulling away from bones, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
After cooking, brush with barbecue sauce again and raise oven temperature to 450° F. Cook an additional 10-15 mins. Cut up ribs and serve!
Great Baby Back Ribs don’t need to be a long, strenuous process! This easy recipe is pretty hands-off, and the end result is delicious! I picked up two packs of pre-cut pork ribs and had them on the table within an hour and a half!
Ingredients and How-To:
Baby Back Ribs, separated (I used about 3lbs total)
Your favorite dry rub. I made mine with eyeballed amounts of paprika, cumin, brown sugar and garlic powder. You can also just salt and pepper them!
Your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
Preheat oven to 375°F
Line a sheet pan with foil, leaving enough extra overlapping so you can bring it up to fold over your ribs, like a pocket.
Toss ribs with dry rub and lay on lined sheet pan.
Bring up foil and fold over to seal. Bake at 375°F for one hour.
Open up foil and brush ribs with BBQ sauce. Put back in oven uncovered for 30-45 mins and serve.
So easy, no real recipe needed! But I will tell you how this super easy dinner came together for us:
Imagine this: it’s Monday at 4pm. Leaving work. No one has any ideas for dinner. I didn’t go grocery shopping over the weekend because #MothersDay and I was on strike! 🙂 So I stop off at the store and wander the aisles for inspiration. I spy Perdue’s Popcorn Chicken in the freezer section, so I grab a bag thinking that it would be something easy to keep in the freezer for a fill-in meal. I also grab frozen corn, a household staple. Then, as I’m walking down the pasta/instant potatoes aisle, it hits me! Let’s try and make those yummy KFC bowls at home! Seemed easy enough – AND IT WAS!
The longest part of the process to make this great bowl was waiting for the chicken to cook! Other than that, about 10 mins before the chicken was done, I made the potatoes and corn, and heated up the gravy. I’m not going to pretend for one second that this is in any way “healthy”, but this carb-loaded comfort food dinner hits the spot when you need it. Check out my ingredients list and how-to below, and let me know what you think of this quick and yummy dinner!
Ingredients (Serves 4):
One package Perdue Frozen Popcorn Chicken (26oz)
Two packages Idahoan Instant Mashed Potatoes (just add water! These are always $1 each at my Shop-Rite store!)
One package frozen white/yellow corn (I purchased the steamer bag for less dishes!)
One small jar Heinz (or any other brand) prepared Chicken Gravy
Approx 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
How to (it’s all in the assembly!):
Prepare chicken according to package directions.
When chicken has about 10 minutes left, prepare corn and boil water for instant potatoes. Follow package directions.
Grab a bowl and layer up! I started with a layer of potatoes, then shredded cheese, then corn, then chicken and topped with a drizzle of gravy, but the beauty of this is that you can layer it any way you like!
Change this up! Maybe instead of gravy, you can drizzle with BBQ sauce or Ranch dressing? Add sliced green onions, bacon and sour cream for more of a “loaded potato bow”! The options are really endless and there’s no wrong way to do it. Enjoy!
My daughter’s always finding some amazing-looking recipes on Tik Tok. The Birria Taco sensation was no exception. She showed me countless versions of the same dish, but we loved the tutorial by @collegegirleats – it looked easy enough to follow, so we decided to try it. Let me just say, the end result, while not ridiculously spectacular, not ‘omg we need to make these again’, was in fact okay. The flavor was absolutely there, just the time it took to make these and get them served was A LOT, and it got discouraging when our tortillas were falling apart until we swapped pans and all went right with the world again.
Was it worth the effort? Yeah, it was fun to make these with my daughter, it was fun to say we did it, but again… not something I think we’ll go back to any time soon, but the plus is that we had a lot of shredded meat and sauce left over, so it’s now in the freezer for next time and we’ve saved ourselves 3 hours! The assembly at the end was the most time consuming, but regardless, here’s how we did it, and I’d love to hear your experiences with these viral tacos!
Birria Tacos Serves at least 6 Cook Time: 3 hours
Meat: • 2lb Chuck Roast
Peppers, Veggies and Spice: The dried peppers were tough to find, not one at my regular grocery store, but we ended up at a really awesome bodega in my area that had all of them! • 3 dried Guajillo Peppers • 2 dried Ancho Chile Peppers • A scoop (or two, depending on your spice tolerance) of canned Chipotle Peppers • One whole onion, peeled • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks • 6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled • 5 bay leaves • 1 cinnamon stick • 1tsp ground cumin
To Serve: • Corn tortillas • Shredded cheese (we used cheddar jack) • Avocado slices – we didn’t do this, but wished we did! • Sour cream
The Process: 1. Sear your meat on both sides in a large pot (I used a deep Dutch oven). 2. Add about 6-8 cups of water, enough to cover the meat by at least an inch. 3. Add to pot: all of your peppers, veggies and spices listed above. 4. Cover and simmer for one hour. 5. While the meat is simmering, boil one whole large tomato. 5. Once an hour passes, open the lid and remove the bay leaves. Then, pull out all of your peppers, veggies and spices from and put in a blender with the boiled tomato (with a little of the liquid if needed to blend). 6. While blending, remove meat and shred with forks. 7. Add blended veggies back to the pot, and add shredded beef. Simmer on low about 2 hours more. 8. Once done, remove the meat to a bowl and shred, it should just fall apart. Add shredded meat back to the pot and stir to coat. 9. In a frypan, heat up a little vegetable oil. Dip tortillas into sauce and place into fry pan. Add shredded meat to one side and top with cheese. Fold over, and brown lightly on both sides. Repeat for as many tacos as you like! See my photo set below for the full process!
TIP: We did switch to a non-stick fry pan about half way through and that helped a TON with sticking.