chicagolovespanini

Going panini and beyond in the Windy City – and loving it!


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Happy 4th of July! My mighty meaty burger menu

Who has the time to plan in advance and to create elaborate menus? Not me, that’s for sure. The 4th of July weekend is coming up, and I have yet to do any menu planning and to buy any ingredients. Having an infant around has made things harder and less organized for me on the kitchen front. Nowadays, it’s all about the baby – and so it should be. :-)

I know I won’t get the chance to prepare as many dishes as I did last year. I will most likely focus on burgers and I will make a few of my family’s favorites.  Continue reading


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I made “Little Lies” cookies: a story of sweetness and… lies?

“Tell me lies/Tell me sweet little lies” – this is how Fleetwood Mac’s song goes. I love this song – and I also love the cookies I am going to write about today. :-)

This is a traditional fried cookie recipe I have from my mother, and intriguingly enough, the name of these cookies can be translated as “little lies.” You can find them in the Polish cuisine too, where they are called “angel wings.” To us though, they are “little lies.” I have been wondering why they bear this name in our cuisine. Is it because the exterior fools you into thinking they are crispy like cannoli or like the angel wings (their Polish counterpart), when in fact they are soft and light as a feather? Or is it because they trick you by appearing complicated, when in fact they couldn’t be easier to make? Questions and assumptions aside, these are delicious, quick to prepare, and very economical – you’ll get a lot of cookies if you use the quantities below.

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Roast beef for a special occasion: our first celebration of Father’s Day!

We are a household of carnivores, but our meat preferences are very different. Chicken is my favorite meat to cook and to eat: light, versatile and affordable, it makes up the central element in a variety of dishes I love. Whenever I think of chicken I think of mom’s chicken recipes, and I get all excited and happy. To me, mom knows best and is the best cook :-)

Meanwhile, my husband is a diehard fan of red meat, who always chooses steak over breaded chicken. I wanted to cook something I knew he would enjoy, so I made roast beef to celebrate his first Father’s Day ever. This is one of my mom’s recipes – this is the way she usually cooks beef, pork and even mutton. I followed her recipe, but also changed it a little by adding mixed peppercorns and oregano.

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Raspberries and cream: a chilled dessert for overly hot weather!

The other day I checked out one of my dessert posts from last year, and I became nostalgic: So much has happened in my life since I wrote this post! I had a great vacation, a very busy fall semester – and then I became a parent! Being a first-time parent has definitely altered my priorities, and has given my life a new meaning and impetus. I am different, older and wiser – or so I think :-)

I checked out this dessert because I needed a quick and easy dish to satisfy my family’s sweet cravings. I had planned to do some baking, but the weather was too hot to turn on the oven. Cooking on the stovetop was too challenging too, so in the end I made a very simple raspberries& cream dessert. After all, with the raspberry season upon us, now is the perfect time to eat raspberries on their own or to use them in a variety of dishes. Continue reading


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A balancing act and another trip down memory lane: fried cheese and salad for my summer lunch

I think I wrote this here before: I am a cheeseaholic! There is something really comforting and delicious in a slice of cheese – something nostalgic and wholesome, intriguing and assertive. I like to eat cheese on its own, but I also use it (as you may have noticed by now) in lots and lots of recipes. Moreover, our refrigerator is always stocked with different kinds of cheese to suit all preferences in our household. That’s it: I think we are the Cheeseaholic family :-)

Whenever I have a good melting cheese – such as mozzarella or provolone – at my disposal, I like to fry it and to serve it accompanied by a salad or simply sandwiched between some good bread slices. Continue reading


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My Memorial Day menu: It’s about fruits and veggies… and burgers, of course!

It took me awhile to come up with a Memorial Day menu. Nowadays, my mind tends to wander off aimlessly more often than not, and I have found that sleep deprivation affects my creativity. With summer just around the corner however, and with the local stores brimming with new crop fresh produce, I had extra incentives to work on this menu, and as I developed it I felt inspired and energized. I also experienced a great satisfaction seeing my family enjoy these dishes, which I intend to make again this coming weekend.

I used plenty of olive oil to make the salads below, as well as salt and pepper for seasoning. I started off by making tzatziki, the traditional Greek sauce which we usually eat as a dip. Continue reading

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