Nacho Burgers

Oozy nacho cheese sauce, jalapenos, and salsa. Need I say more? What if I put it on top of juicy burger and between two fresh, buttered, brioche hamburger buns? Did you drool a little? Because I did when I first saw this burger on the cover of Food & Wine. This burger is the sort of thing my dreams are made of.

After drooling over the photo on the cover of the magazine for almost a year, I finally made it for myself this weekend. I have to say, it was just as delicious as I thought it would be. Of course I did make a few small changes. First, the tomatoes at my grocer looked really pathetic, so rather than making my own salsa I bought some of the good pre-made stuff  from the refrigerated section (the kind in the plastic tub with flecks of real fresh cilantro and onions). I also added a dash of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce (Cholula) to the burger meat.  Mmmm!

What else can you put between delicious homemade brioche buns?

BBQ Turkey Burgers
Homemade Sloppy Joes
Shredded BBQ Chicken

Mexican Lasagna

I have never understood how people could not like beans. Even as a kid, when my friends would turn their nose up to chili and baked beans I would think, “More for me!” Now that I am adult, I appreciate them even more. Not only are they tasty, they are also perfect for rounding out the proteins in a meatless meal. Even Jesse, who is a meat and potatoes kind of boy, enjoys many of the dishes I make with beans. Sometimes he doesn’t even notice the meat is missing.

This lasagna was another great example of how a meatless meal can be every bit as satisfying and delicious as a meat-full meal. I’ve made this several times now and each time think that I can’t wait to make it again. And, I feel like I say this a lot, but it can also be pretty adaptable to your personal tastes. Sometimes I want it on the spicier side, so I add jalapeno rings and extra cayenne pepper. Other times I want it smokier so I add more cumin (and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika!). Either way, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it!




Southwest Pasta Salad

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

This is a recipe that has been talked about a lot on the cooking message board that I frequent. I knew the first time that I heard about it that I would love it, but for one reason or another I kept putting it off. Last week I finally had some fresh tomatoes from the garden (not big juicy red ones but little yellow pear ones) so I decided it was finally time to make this pasta salad. This is definitely a great way to use up some of the tomatoes that most gardens are growing (I’m still in mourning over my tomato plants which have been obliterated by the deer, thank goodness one survived!) I really enjoyed it!

As for changes I only made a few and mostly because I was using what I had on hand. I didn’t have red tomatoes so I cut the yellow pear tomatoes into quarters and used those. I also subbed flat leaf parsley for cilantro because the store didn’t have any and I am growing my own parsley and I omitted the avocado because I’m not a huge fan (though if I were making it for a crowd I would probably use it) Finally, I cut the recipe in half and in doing so I think I screwed up the “sauce” measurements because mine was a little on the dry side. If that happens I recommend just mixing a little more salsa and olive oil together and tossing it in. I also want to mention that this recipe would be perfect for a summer cookout because it does not call for any mayonnaise so it would be OK to sit out.

Cara’s Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad
(Source: Cara’s Cravings)


1lb wagon wheel pasta
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10oz package frozen corn
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced – I used yellow pear tomatoes cut into quarters
8oz shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 tbsp lime juice – fresh is a must!
1 tbsp cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder – I went on the heavier side of the chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro – flat leaf parsley can be subbed if you don’t have fresh cilantro on hand
1 avocado, diced


Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese. Add the cooled pasta and mix well.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Pour over the pasta salad, add the cilantro, and mix well. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Just before serving, stir in the diced avocado.