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recipe roundup no. 2

you guys, recipe roundup has been such a hit. thank you for thinking that i have everything together and am a master cook, florist, mother, and wife! (ha) i'm not. by any means. god, i barely have time to get a facial. i do have a lot of energy and am a sucker for structure and schedules so my meal planning has become nothing but habitual. just like exercise. and it helps me be a better mom and a better wife when i'm home with my babies and hubs. plus, it's become a fun sunday ritual for us. so yes, you can do it, too, if you really want to. and i'd love to help! one piece of advice is to ask family, friends, blogs! around you for recipes. i compiled a laundry load of them at my bridal shower (I asked people to bring a pre-filled recipe card for me) and they've been really helpful when i need to figure out what to cook. the sooner you build your arsenal of recipes, the easier it will be to meal plan, because you've got your go tos and you can just rotate them. 

to start off, here are some new cook books currently on the fernandez bookshelf (or in transit): alex guarneschelli, the home cook (love her breaded chicken with prosciutto, her roasted carrots, her super easy tomato pasta sauce), the haven's kitchen cooking school (this is actually a great book if you need to learn how to chop an onion and other novice stuff), what's gaby cooking, half baked harvest, the skinnytaste cookbook (still haven't delved into these books but i'll share favorite recipes as soon as i do). 

also, i'm going cuban on everyone here but i've got to share my nationality in the recipe department every once in a while. enjoy! 

beef chianti
via family friend elena

ingredients: 2 lbs stewing beef (beef chuck); 2 red onions, roughly chopped; 3 garlic cloves, chopped; 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 cups chianti wine, 2 tsp whole peppercorns, salt to taste

directions: in a pot, heat up olive oil. once oil is hot, add the beef, onions and garlic. stir frequently. add all the wine after the meat is browned. it should cover the beef (add more wine or even water if necessary). season with the salt and whole peppercorns. bring wine to a boil. then lower the heat and let simmer for 2 hours. 

picadillo (ground turkey or beef)
via family friend eveline

ingredients: 1 lb ground beef or turkey; 1 white onion, chopped; 5 garlic cloves, chopped; 1 green pepper, chopped; 1/2 tsp of cumin; 1/2 tsp of dried oregano; 2 bay leaves; green olives (chopped) and raisins (about a handful each); 4 oz. tomate puree; 4 oz red wine. 

directions: cook the meat in its own juices. once it's cooked, remove it from it's juices, clean the pan, and set aside the meat. then add a little bit of olive oil to the pan and cook the onion, garlic and green pepper for about 2 minutes. add the meat into the pot, then add the remainder of the ingredients (wine, tomato puree, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, green olives and raisins). cook at low heat for about 20 minutes and voila. serve with a side of white rice. 

carne con papas
via the woman and the cuban cook legend, nitza villapol, cocina criolla (which is currently worth $150 on ebay so basically this recipe is priceless)

ingredients: 2 lbs top round beef; 1/2 cup olive oil; 1 tbsp salt; 1 tsp ac'cent (vintage style); 1 tsp paprika; 1/2 tsp pepper; 1 bay leaf; 1 onion, chopped; three garlic cloves, chopped, 1 green pepper, chopped; 1 can of tomato puree; 1 cup white wine; 1 cup of water; 2 lbs of idaho potatoes; 1 cup of alcaparrado 

directions: cut the meat in small squares. heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the meat in the olive oil. once it's browned, add the salt, acc'cent, paprika, bay leaf, chopped onions, chopped garlic, and the chopped green pepper. cook for about 3 minutes and add the tomato puree, the wine and the water. cook for about 20 minutes under medium heat until the meat cooks through. add the chopped potatoes (small squares) and the alcaparrado. cook in medium/low heat until the potatoes are cooked through, about 45 minutes. serve with a side of white rice and enjoy!

fernandez pancakes
this is passed down from my husband's grandmother - the woman is so kitchen talented she makes mantecado ice cream from scratch. i like to say my husband gets his cooking genes from her (because let's be honest, i'm really just the director in this cooking show)
wet ingredients: 1 egg; .5 tsp vanilla extract (you can use 1/4 tsp if you prefer less sweet pancakes); 1.5 cups milk; 3 tsp melted better
dry ingredients: 1.5 cups of all purpose flour; 3 tsp baking powder; .5 tsp of salt; 4 tablespoons of white sugar
directions: combine wet and dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk until combined, then cook on a griddle. as they come off the griddle, while still hot, spread a little butter on each pancake and serve with maple syrup. 

what's gaby cooking suggestions
fish tacos, three meat lasagna (insane and the only thing we do differently - in lieu of ground meat, i would suggest buying your meat whole and chopping it up in your food processor - you'll thank me later)


kale + mango + strawberry smoothie
1 cup almond milk; 1/2 cup kale; 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries; 1/2 cup frozen mango; one small banana; 1/4 tsp maqui powder; 1/4 tsp ground flaxseed; 1/2 tsp goji berries; 1 tsp honey. blend and serve! 

spinach + strawberry smoothie
1 cup almond milk; 1/2 cup spinach; 3/4 cup of frozen strawberries; 1/2 date; one small banana; 1/4 tsp maqui powder; 1/4 tsp ground flaxseed; 1/2 tsp goji berries; 1 tsp honey. blend and serve! 

suped up mac and cheese
this and trader joe's frozen pizza are my go tos when there's nothing left to eat (or when my meal plan is boring me - yes it happens!). 

ingredients: box of annie's mac and cheese; 2 tsp olive oil; 1/4 cup grated white cheddar; 1 tbsp marscapone cheese; about 1/4 of a packet of diced pancetta; cracked pepper to taste

directions: cook the pasta per the box directions. once it's al dente, drain the pasta in a colander. add the olive oil to the same pot you cooked the pasta in and cook the pancetta for about a minute max (you're just heating up the pancetta - it's already cooked). then add the pasta back into the pancetta/oilve oil mixture and stir. add the ingredients per the box instructions (i add all of it- butter, milk, and cheese mixture), the grated cheddar, and the marscapone. season with cracked pepper and enjoy! veggie hack: i like to roast whole carrots in the oven with olive oil and pepper, cut them up and mix them in with the mac and cheese (you could even mash them for picky eaters). carrots are sweet and roasted carrots are really soft so it mixes well with the pasta ingredients. these carrots are a great meal planning side dish so you can refrigerate the extra carrots for another meal or day. alex guarnaschelli's cook book (mentioned above) has a really amazing roasted carrots recipe i'd recommend but simple olive oil and basic seasoning will do.  

i add half an older banana to make it sweeter. 


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recipe roundup no. 1

pc: Danielle Margherite

if you follow us on instastories you know that I (melanie) am an avid meal planner. i didn't always like cooking. i actually hated it. primarily because i didn't know how to do it, i'll be honest. my husband is a pretty amazing cook (some recipes below are actually his) and throughout our relationship has opened my eyes to loving food, restaurants, spices, experimenting, the whole food shebang. it's safe to say food is what we "share most in common" and feeding our family well and exposing our kids to different foods is part of our family mission statement (the one in my head not on paper). and i'd like to report that 50% of my children eat everything i feed them so i'm halfway there and have faith that if they constantly try new things, they'll both end up loving food as much as we do. not so bad of a thing, right? the recipes below are family favorites and the cookbooks cited are more than recommended. they're go to's. i'll be rounding up our favorite recipes every so often so check back in to see what we're into. 


my husband, alex's, recipe

2 pounds pasta cooked in salted water before serving.

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground veal
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock (or chicken stock)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ table spoon oregano
Salt + pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano


  1. on medium-high heat, sauté onion for 8 mins or until translucent
  2. add celery and carrot, sauté for 4 mins
  3. add garlic, sauté for 1 min
  4. add ground meat and cook until not pink
  5. add red wine and deglaze the pot. Let reduce by half.
  6. add beef stock. Let reduce by half.
  7. add heavy whipping cream, can crushed tomatoes. Incorporate the ingredients well.
  8. add oregano, salt + pepper (to taste).
  9. lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 – 45 mins (the longer, the thicker the sauce).
  10. ½ cup of the Pecorino Romano directly into the sauce before you serve. The other ½ cup Pecorino Romano on top of the pasta.
turkey or ground beef meatloaf
recipe courtesy jessy portela from my bridal shower

1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 medium yellow onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1 cup grated cheese (parmesan preferably)
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup milk 

topping: 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup bbq sauce (sweet baby ray's is great), 1 tbs cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce, 2 tbs brown sugar 

  1. preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. combine all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl
  3. place mixture in a baking pan and form a loaf
  4. make an indentation along the top center of the loaf
  5. whisk together all of the topping ingredients 
  6. cover meatloaf completely with the topping
  7. bake uncovered for 1 hour to 85 minutes
chicken vaca frita
*alex's recipe

2 lbs chicken breast
1 yellow onion cut in quarters
1 yellow onion sliced thinly
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
kosher salt
ground pepper
olive oil
1 lemon
1 lime
  1. bring water and chicken stock to a boil
  2. add onion powder, garlic powder, celery, and onion quarters to the boiling liquid
  3. boil chicken for 30-45 minutes until chicken can be pulled apart with fork
  4. remove chicken from water and let cool
  5. shred chicken with forks and place in separate bowl
  6. take some of the leftover boiled stock and water liquid and, along with juice of lemon + lime, pour into shredded chicken bowl
  7. let chicken marinate in this liquid for 1-2 hours
  8. once chicken is marinated, add 2 tsps of olive oil to a cast iron skillet or dutch oven and saute the sliced onion at medium heat
  9. meanwhile, drain the liquid from the chicken
  10. add two more tbsps of olive oil to the skillet or dutch oven and mix in the marinated chicken shreds
  11. cook together with the onions for about 10-20 minutes at medium-high heat, until chicken is moderately crispy
  12. season with salt + pepper to taste
other favorite recipes
my favorite turkey meatballs
my favorite lasagna

current favorite cookbooks/blogs:
Dining in, Alison Roman
love her roasted tomato sauce, crispy chickpeas with lamb, soy-brined halibut, crispy chicken legs with rosemary, thyme and sour cream, slow roasted pork shoulder, honey-yogurt pound cake with blueberries, to name a few
The Seasoned Life, Ayesha Curry
love her pb&j cereal french toast, challah french toast, pancrepes with raspberry, oven roasted chicken tenders, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies (to die for), orange-thyme chicken thighs, mirin and soy steak with sushi rice, shrimp and grits, to name a few
love her chicken parmesan meatballs but seriously, all her stuff is amazing - we check in every week to see what's on her weekly meal plan blog post (you can get great ideas). 
check out their meal prep archive


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