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Category Archives: menus

Christmas Tree Napkin Folding Video

Here is an easy and very effective fun napkin fold for the holidays! Any color napkin works! 

Cuban Dinner

Michelle's Cuban Dinner

Michelle’s Cuban Dinner

This past week my friend Michelle Toro Seyfarth, made a Cuban dinner for a large group of friends at Birch Lake. It was delicious! Her parents came in from Florida that day to help with the final preparations. It was fabulous! I tried to duplicate this amazing Thanksgiving-like dinner, but I need some practice and fine tuning before publishing those recipes.

I did publish the Guacamole! *

The star of the Cuban dinner was the Lechon. A fresh pork leg that is injected with Goya Mojo Crillo Marinade and roasted. Since Birch Lake is in the middle of pork country, I thought this would be a good place to try this.  Next time I will remember: Perfect the gravy, slice the meat very thin and layer some pan drippings over the sliced meat over night 🙂 Also do not add too much oregano. I used a very authentic Mexican dried oregano from the Hispanic store. Wow!

 19 Pound Fresh Pork Leg, Ready To Be Injected with Marinade

Nina and a 19 Pound Fresh Pork Leg, Ready To Be Injected with Marinade

Another wonderful discovery through the process were the Hispanic grocery stores in Elkhart and South Bend, Indiana. I purchased the frozen Goya Baked Ripe (whole, sweet) Plantains. Definitely will be serving those again! Just heat them in the microwave and presto! Delicioso!

Also the Taqueria attached to the grocery store in Elkhart was fantastic! Taqueria is a taco/burrito restaurant. Here is my $5 lunch which also included a cold glass of Horchata, a Hispanic rice milk drink.

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo Tacos

Michelle’s Cuban Dinner Menu:


Lechon (fresh pork marinated in Goya Mojo Crillo Marinade and baked)


Black Beans and White Rice

Goya Frozen Baked Ripe Plantains

Avocado and Tomato Salad

Lettuce Salad

Cheese Flan

Tapas 2 Menu

Mary Ann & Nina teach & serve a Tapas Lunch & Cooking Class

Mary Ann & Nina teach & serve a Tapas Lunch & Cooking Class

Sangria, Alcohol-Free

Pa Amb Tomaquet/Tomato Rubbed Bread

Caprese Salad Pinchos

Fresh Fruit & Chorizo Pinchos

Fideau/Toasted Spanish Style Pasta with Shrimp

Spanish Tortilla/Frittata with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Rapini with Balsamic & Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini

Russian Salad/Salad Olivier

Chickpea, Olive & Fresh Herb Salad

Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Olive Oil & Flaked Salt

Coffee or Espresso

As a fundraiser for the Midland Symphony, Nina and Mary Ann orchestrated a Spanish Tapas Lunch & Cooking Class

Nina preparing for her cooking class

Nina preparing for her cooking class

Christmas Week Menus 2012

Setting the Christmas Table

Setting the Christmas Table

This past Christmas week we gathered our family of six plus baby Julianna all together in our small town Michigan home. It was blissful! The menus were planned and ingredients purchased before they arrived.  The recipes can be found at ,, or,   and the listed cookbooks. I would make all the recipes again except I would not use the Black Pepper crust on the tenderloin. The recipe for roasting was perfect, but the pepper flavor was over powering.

Our pattern is to have a brunch around 11am, snacks and grab your own lunch mid afternoon and dinner at 7 or 8pm.  One of my piano families gave me a beautiful middle eastern cookbook called The Arab Table which is a treasure. Delish! Brunches were traditional eggs, bacon and toast, omelettes or Blueberry Pancakes (with a blueberry in every bite)! We use the Joy of Cooking recipes for Buttermilk Pancakes and Buttermilk Waffles which are perfect with our Vitantonio Premier Belgium Waffler and our supersized electric grill!

Cookies: A few of our favorites! I baked before everyone arrived and kept them cold in the garage stored in cookie tins (the Michigan second frig). We enjoyed these desserts through the Holidays. The recipes are from Baking with Julia and some are here at

Saturday Dinner

Grilled Jerk Chicken (Cooks Illustrated 7/2012)

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Sunday Late Lunch Buffet

Baked Burrata (Cooking Light 12/12)

Hummus/Chickpea Dip and Pita Chips (The Arab Table and Cooks Illustrated)

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad/Khiyar bi Laban (The Arab Table)

Mixed Vegetable Salad/Fattoush (The Arab Table)

Pineapple/Orange/Grapefruit Salad with Pomegranate (Cooking Light)

Greek Lamb Sausage/Loukaniko (

Brown Rice with Roasted Red peppers and Onion

Arab Flatbread (purchased locally from Detroit)


Hungarian Shortbread /Raspberry Bars (Baking With Julia),

Almond Lemon Squares (a Dutch recipe from South Holland, IL )

Double Chocolate Cookies (Baking With Julia)

Tuiles (Baking with Julia)

Monday, Christmas Eve Early Dinner

Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps (Cooks Illustrated 9/2009)

South East Asian Spring Rolls (Cooks Illustrated 1/2002)

Peanut Dipping Sauce (Cooks Illustrated)

Christmas Eve Evening Snacks

Nina’s Cheeseball and Crackers (

Specialty Cheeses

Shrimp and Cocktail Sauce

Hummus with Pita Chips and Red Pepper Strips

Christmas Day Dinner

Cracked Black Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin (Cooks Illustrated 12/2012)

Pomegranate Port Sauce (Cooks Illustrated 12/2012 online)

Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

Brussel Sprouts with Pecans ( Cooking Light online)

Mixed Vegetable Salad (leftover from Sunday’s brunch)

Post New Years Menus

Chinese BBQ Pork (Cooks Illustrated)

Brown Rice with Roasted Red Peppers and Onion

Bok Choy


Fideua (Spanish Style Toasted Pasta with Shrimp) (Cooks Illustrated 7/2012)

Live Fresh Lettuce  with Balsamic Dressing

French Bread

Spring Dinner Gathering

Here is the menu for our March 24th 2012 Dinner Club!

Spicy Marinated Olives with Pickled Vegetables & Garlic (recipe on this site) & French Sourdough Bread

Moroccan-Style Carrot Salad (recipe on this site & below)

Rigatoni with Braised Lamb Ragu (recipe below)

Sauteed Fresh Spinach with Garlic

Chocolate  Walnut Clusters with Flaked Sea Salt (recipe on this site)

A Spanish Tapas Sampling Menu

Here is the menu for our Midland Symphony League Fundraiser. You can find all the recipes on this website!

A Spanish Tapas Lunch & Cooking Class

Pan con Tomate with Jamon & Manchego

Spicy Olives & Pickled Vegetables

Lemon Rosemary Cheese


Cantaloupe & Arugula Salad with Jamon & Cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Quinoa

Baby Potatoes with Aioli

Pasta with Chickpea-Tomato Sauce

Lime Drizzled Shrimp

Roasted Peppers with Anchovies

Fresh Cheese with Honey

Chocolate Walnut Cluster with Flaked Sea Salt

Thanksgiving Menu 2011

Our family prepares many of the same traditional foods every Thanksgiving. We may adapt the recipes a bit or try a completely new recipe, but the basics are always there. Here was our menu this year. I try to please everyone, so there are alot of options to choose from. You will find many of these recipes here at NinaintheKitchen. Others I have included the website where you can find it. If you don’t find a recipe you’d like, let me know. Comment on this post.

Cheeseball with Ritz Crackers

Curry Dip with Fresh Veggies

Tuscan-Style Turkey alla Porchetta (

Turkey Gravy 101

Corn Bread-Sourdough Stuffing ( made with Martha’s corn bread recipe

Mashed Potatoes

Green Beans

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Russian Style Cabbage

Russian Homemade Sausage

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Crescent Rolls (Pillsbury)

Apple-Cranberry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

Butternut Squash Pie with Whipping Cream

Outdoor Summer Dinner Menu

Inviting friends for dinner is a stimulating experience! Dinner parties seem like an overwhelming task these days. You would be surprised what you can put together!  Look for your stimulation……..your garden is in early summer bloom…….a few recipes in a favorite magazine you want to try………….your favorite people are in town……………….the weather forecast is perfect…..anything like that… Here is my most recent menu:

Avocado and Raspberry Salsa with Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Skewered Tiny Tomatoes and Mozzarella Balls

Fresh Summer Salad

Roasted Vegetable Terrine

Creamy Polenta

Lemon and Fennel Marinated Lamb on the Grill

French Bread

Fresh Fruit Tarts

Shrimp Korma with Brown Rice

This awesome recipe was worth making twice this week. After making it for dinner early in the week I made it again, a double batch, and  served it at a dinner party over the weekend! They all loved it! Full of flavor, authentic Indian cuisine and low in fat and calories! The only changes I made was as I usually do, double the spices: onion, red bell pepper, curry, garam masala, ginger, garlic… got the idea. If you are making 1 recipe, use 1/2 can light coconut milk in the Korma and add the rest to the brown rice with the broth!   I bought frozen shrimp from our local produce/meat market;raw, shelled and deveined, 16/20 per pound. I also added a few more shrimp than the recipe. p.s. India Tree brand Garam Masala from Seattle is an awesome brand!

I think it is worth replacing refined rice with brown rice. Saute some onion in olive oil, add the brown rice and saute a few minutes, add twice as much broth and/or light coconut milk and simmer 45 minutes! Perfecto! No gluten, no simple carbs, lots of fiber and a chewy nutty flavor much better than bland white rice. The  whole grain/high fiber brown rice carbs stick with you without the simple white rice/low fiber carb rush.

Plan to serve this dish in a bowl with a spoon……….you don’t want to miss a drop!

Top this dish off with Greek yogurt, Fage 0% fat is my favorite………..Enjoy!

The Menu

Avocado n Strawberry Salsa with Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Marinated Fresh Michigan Asparagus Salad

Shrimp Korma with Coconut Brown Rice

Proseco and Fresh Fruit Terrine