A day of Great Cooking, Great Wine and Great Friends: The Teriyaki Burger from you know where

Things had been smooth sailing and Sandi aka @McMedia and I were very proud of our creations.

We decided we wanted a healthy burger, perhaps sliders…. smaller portions are always a good thing.  Well what else would one use if they wanted their burger recipe to be healthier but ground turkey… right?

We added red onions, pineapple and panko bread crumbs…. mixed it all up and couldn’t wait to throw it on the grill…

That’s when things started not to get so easy….you see this burger was way too healthy!  It was so healthy that there was absolutely no fat and it became very difficult to flip on the grill!  It actually took two of us to flip it on the grill and it maybe wasn’t the prettiest burger we had ever seen…

Well with a little creative burger design, we were able to save our Teriyaki Burgers from you know where!

And guess what?  They may not have been our prettiest creation but they sure were tasty!  We paired these with the Georges Duboeuf Brouilly 2009 and the wine complimented the teriyaki taste quite nicely.

My Boys Ratings:

Ronnie 9, Reis 10, Riley 8

Overall a huge success!


A day of Great Cooking, Great Wine and Great Friends: American Dream Burger

Sandi aka @McMedia and I were ready for our second burger challenge… The boys were anxiously awaiting to judge our next creation.

We decided on a more traditional burger with a twist… Blue Cheese!  We used some great ground angus steak in this burger, mixed in our delicious blue cheese that melted into the steak and just made for the juiciest burger ever!

  This baby doesn’t just look picture perfect  but it really did  taste like the American Dream!

My mouth was watering just looking at it…. It’s a beautiful thing!

We paired this Burger with Georges Duboeuf Julienas Chateau des Capitans 2009… Another beautiful and delicious American Dream would be the best way to describe this wine!

Ratings by my boys:

Ronnie 9, Reis 10, Riley 8

A day of great cooking, great wine and great friends: Portuguese Hamburger

When Wine Twits contacted me about their 3 Burgers, 3 Ways, 3 Wines. 1 Perfect Summer Night event #GDandBurgers.  I was thrilled and knew I wanted to share this occasion with friends.

This turned out to be one of the best days in my kitchen! My friend Sandi aka @McMedia came over to help develop the recipes  and my 3 boys eagerly helped judge our creations!

What burger recipes to make? Hmmm….

In case you haven’t noticed, I love to cook Portuguese Food.  The first burger had to be what else?  The Portuguese Hamburger! No bun, No cheese, No Tomato, No lettuce and No Onion, No kidding!  Just purely deliciousness!

What is that on top of the hamburger you ask?  What else would be on top of a Portuguese Hamburger but a Sunny side up egg!  Let me tell you when the yolk mixes with the juicy burger meat in your mouth… it is pure heaven!

And I haven’t even mentioned the best part…. the Chorizo, Wine Sauce that the burger sits in…..Incredible!  That’s where it is comical that there is no bun because I guarantee  that you can not eat this burger without some crusty bread to dip into this delicious sauce!  It really is that good!

Just when I thought this sauce couldn’t get any better….it miraculously does…. Why?  because we used Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais_Villages 2009 in the sauce!   This wine also pairs quite nicely with this burger.

Ratings by my boys:

Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 10…. Can you tell they may have had this before and it is one of their favorite meals!

Portuguese Hamburger Recipe

  • 1 lb Ground Round
  • 4 Garlic Cloves thinly sliced
  • 4 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 small Chorizo finely chopped
  • 2 stems of fresh Parsley chopped
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper to Season

I am a minimalist when it comes to food.  This is especially true when cooking Hamburgers.  I love to taste the meat in it’s natural state.

Form the Ground Round into 4 Round Patties no thicker than 3/4 inch and make sure the middle is a little thinner than the outside of the burger.

Brush the burgers with Olive Oil and season with Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper.

Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Place on the grill on medium flame and cook for approximately 7 mins. for Medium Rare Burgers.  Flip the Burger only once and do not press down with a spatula.  We want all those yummy juices to stay in the burger

I like to cook on the side burner of my grill so that I can keep a close eye on those bad boys.  So while the burgers are cooking I start working on my sauce.  You will love love love this sauce!  I promise!

Add the remainder of the olive oil to a large frying pan.  Add the garlic and chopped chorizo.  Saute until they start popping but be careful not to burn (there is nothing worse than burnt garlic.)  Add the red wine and the beef broth and bring to a boil.   Once it boils, simmer on low and add the parsley and bay leaf.  Once sauce is reduced in half, remove bay leaf and add the butter.  When butter is blended into the sauce, add burgers to the sauce.  Remove from heat and let sit.

Cook the eggs sunny side up in a separate frying pan in a little bit of butter.  Remove the eggs and place one on top of each Burger.  Spoon Some of the Sauce with the Chorizo over the eggs.

Make sure you have some crusty bread for that yummy sauce.  You won’t be able to resist!

This is why I Love Paula Deen

When most Celebrity Chefs are asked what they would cook for the White House, it goes something like this:

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, escargot. Blah, blah, blah, blah, truffle oil. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah foie gras….Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Blanquette de Veau….blah, blah, blah, blah!

When I saw your response in Parade Magazine, all I could think is…. This is why I love her so!   No blah, blah, blah,….just straight up Good Home Cooking!

Who else has the courage to lick their fingers as they are cooking on Food Network?  Your love and passion for what you do comes through with every recipe!  Every home cook knows that it’s impossible to cook a meal without a little taste.  How else are we supposed to know if  it’s good?

“I know the president loves hot wings,” Paula said, “so I would do some with pepper-jelly glaze, watermelon salad to cut the heat, and buttered french toast.”  And for dessert? “Lemon meringue pie!”

Not only are you living proof that the American Dream does exist, you’re living proof that with love for our families and lots of hard work, we will all achieve our dreams!

One of the best days for this foodie was the day that out of 1000’s of followers on Twitter, you decided to follow ME!

Thank you for the inspiration to follow my Dreams!

I love your watermelon salad recipe…. it’s so refreshing and so easy:

Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

6 servings


  • 1 (5-pound) watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs


Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.

To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves.

Paula, I have searched High and Low for your Pepper-Jelly Glaze Wings.  Would you mind sharing?

No, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

The Best Meal I Ever Served

Maybe it wasn’t the tastiest or fanciest or even a meal served on my best china. But this was by far the most nourishing meal I have ever served.

I volunteered to prepare and serve dinner at Pinellas Hope, a local charity, with other parishioners from our Church.  I had no idea that this would turn out to be one of the most memorable meals of my life.

It was just delightful working in a kitchen with wonderful people preparing a meal for 200 unknown strangers.  I have to say, this is the first time in all my years of cooking that I was preparing a meal for such a large crowd.

We browned, we chopped, broiled and sauteed for 3 hours.  I have a whole new appreciation for chopping green onions.

I chopped them all without even cutting myself!

Shortly after we arrived, I came to the realization  that most of these individuals were no different than you and I.  Just as I was realizing that this situation could happen to almost anyone, I recognized someone who I knew very well.  I would never have imagined she had fallen on hard times.  She is one of the happiest, pep in your step kind of individuals that I know.

I have always said that what separates great cooks from good cooks is not the ingredients, it is our passion to nourish souls!

It was our pleasure to serve!

I am not sure whose soul was nourished more, the residents or mine.  Until this day, I always thought charity as simply being nice to people. Thank you Pinellas Hope for teaching me that it is so much more.

Food is Love …. and it can help change lives


  • 2 tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Pepper finely chopped
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 29 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 15.5 oz. Can Kidney Beans
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder

Add Olive Oil to heavy skillet over low heat.

Add onions, peppers and garlic and saute gently until soft and slightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients.

Cover and simmer over low heat about 2 hours or place in a slow oven and bake 2 hours.

Makes 6 to 8 servings, since I didn’t think you would be cooking for 200!

Did I tell you about the Texas Toast?

The Chili was Delicious!

There’s always room for one more Around Our Family Table

My Baby has left for college.  I have agonized and dreaded this day for so long. You see, my baby is the oldest of four.  Somehow at 18, I can’t help but still think of her as my Baby!

I am a believer that our character determines our destiny.  If I am to be completely honest, this is truly what I am agonizing over…

We can encourage our children to make the right choices but ultimately they choose!

As her Mom, I see how talented and beautiful she is.  Yet, talent and beauty have little to do with it. In the end, her character will be the deciding factor in determining her future.

Before she left, I asked her “How did I get so lucky to get such a great kid? I just hope I can get this lucky 3 more times.”   She said the words that every mother could only hope to hear… Mom, you don’t have to worry!  Our family is so close because of all the time spent Around our Family Table… All our talks, great meals, card games and even lectures have all taken place in our kitchen!

And that’s where it all begins… The Family Table is the heart of the home and the time spent together will ultimately shape our character.

We have a tradition, we celebrate special occasions by making Pancakes for Breakfast.

The morning Alexandra is leaving for college, pancakes are in order.  I realize this is a celebration.  We have been preparing for this day for 18 years.  My confident, beautiful, kind, and smart daughter is ready to leave for college….

And so we dropped her off at school with a full belly and her bag of pancakes.  This bag filled with comfort and love is there as a reminder of times Around Our Family Table.

And so, we open our grip and let her go create the life she is destined to lead.

Family Foodie  Pancakes

  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup melted butter

Mix until smooth and bubbles form at the top.

Laddle batter onto skillet. I love to use a large electric skillet.  Flip when the top is filled with bubbles.

Tip: Warm your syrup before serving

I promise, once you try making these homemade pancakes, you will never, ever pick up the boxed kind again…

Alex's Baggie filled with Love