Restaurant Review: La Mulita

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I currently have a backlog of at least a week’s worth of recipes to write up and post, but y’all, I would be morally remiss to go another second with telling you about La Mulita. If you pay attention to the Indianapolis restaurant scene, you’d surely heard of or been to Delicia. La Mulita is the cantina/little sister to this fabulous restaurant (or so I’ve heard; it’s on the short list of places to try next date night). Open every day but Monday, La Mulita serves a fresh take on Mexican street food with an excellent beer, wine, and cocktail menu. More on that later! The dinner menu, which begins at 3 pm, has slightly fewer options- but we were in no way disappointed.

We started with an order of guacamole at Mark’s request. One bite and he proclaimed, “I. Love. This place.” Even I was a fan, and I don’t go crazy for guac/dips in general. Now let’s talk about drinks…
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This little beauty in particular. You guys, this is HANDS DOWN the best margarita I’ve ever had! I’m not sure if it was the agave nectar or orange blossom water that added a hint of sweetness to the traditional limey flavor of a classic marg, but WOOOO. I can’t wait to go back to have another!
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We decided to get another appetizer, settling on the croquetas de pollo. I described it to a friend as kind of like a chicken hush puppy. Either way, they were delicious, as was the serrano aioli that came with them.
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The kid’s menu is small-ish, but I’m guessing they don’t see much of the munchkin crowd as they only had 1 high chair. πŸ˜‚ We ordered our little dude a cheese quesadilla, which came with a side of plantain chips. Our server was super sweet and made sure it came out before our entrees- always important when dining with a toddler. It was a good size and tasty! All of the Dailys approved (Mom and Dad had to taste test, of course!).
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For entrees, Mark ordered the tamales oaxaqueΓ±os. Chicken tamales with mole sauce, crema, and queso cheese, he felt the mole was a bit bitter but overall enjoyed the dish. He said the Tamale Place has better tamales, but that it didn’t spoil the experience for him. I found them delightful and even ate his leftovers at work the next night.
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I opted for the cochinita pebil cemita, or ancho pork sliders with black beans and avocado (and pickled onions, but EW. No thanks.). Holy yum town, these were awesome! I only ate 1, feeling pretty full from appetizers, but 2 would be a perfect portion if you’d opted out of apps. So flavorful! I would definitely order these again.
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For 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 kid’s meal, 1 “adult beverage”, and 1 iced tea, our total bill was $40… Are you kidding me?! For the service, ambience, and caliber of the food, I would have glad paid well over $50. I think it’s safe to say La Mulita has easily secured a place in our top 5 fave eats in Indianapolis! Check it out next time you’re in the SoBro area… Or just make it a point to go. You won’t be disappointed!
Had to include a photo of the nugget enjoying a lime. Little weirdo loves his lemons and limes!
*Disclaimer: this was not the lime from my margarita! πŸ˜‚
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Check out La Mulita’s menu here

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Easy Cocoa Brownies

I apologize in advance to those of you trying to be mindful of your diets, eating better, etc… Because I guarantee you have every ingredient needed to make these brownies. Dangerously easy, slightly reminiscent of a boxed brownie mix- but better, obviously, because they’re homemade. I like to throw in chocolate chips if I’m feeling especially indulgent (which is always, of course) to add a little texture. I guess you could add nuts, but why would you ruin a perfectly good brownie with that? 😜 One of my earliest, fondest memories of my dad is making brownies just like this. To truly invoke that boxed brownie mix of my childhood, I have to use a wooden spoon to mix. I recommend you do the same πŸ˜‰ Enjoy!

Ingredients:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line and 8×8 pan with foil or parchment paper. Add butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to a medium microwaveable bowl.
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Heat in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals, until butter is melted. The mixture will be fairly grainy at this point; that’s okay!
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Next, add your vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. You should have thick, shiny batter at this point.
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Once your mixture is nice and glossy, toss in your flour. Mix until you can no longer see the flour, then beat it until you feel like your arms might fall off (a feeling I distinctly remember as a youngin).
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Stir in your chocolate chips….
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Pour your chocolate lusciousness in your pan, spreading evenly…
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And pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Get ready to feel like a kid again!
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Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Chicken Lasagna

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Normally, this is what I would call a fall/winter dish… Only because I try and use the oven as little as possible during stifling Indiana summers (one of the quirks of living in a charming, centuries old building- no central a/c). However, with the odd fall-like weather we’ve been having this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to make more cool weather dishes for dinner and give our grill a break! This chicken lasagna is a welcome take on the classic. The basics are the same… Noodles, sauce, cheeses… But slightly healthier (I use that term in spite of the cream sauce and layers of cheese 😜). I especially enjoy the hint of nutmeg in the creamy white sauce. This is a great make-ahead freezer dinner for busy families, someone who’s ill, or new parents!

Ingredients:
For the filling:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
2 tbsps olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the sauce:
5 tbsps unsalted butter
4 tbsps flour
4 cups warm milk
2 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For assembly:
~8 no boil lasagna noodles
~2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
To start, thoroughly cook the chicken breasts in broth (my preference; more flavorful!) or water with the bay leaf. Drain and shred the meat. Let me blow your mind for a sec- I throw my cooked meat into my stand mixer bowl, turn on high for a few seconds, and HUZZAH- perfectly shredded meat. Thanks Pinterest! πŸ˜‰
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In a large pan, heat the oil and cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Mix in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, mix in the chicken and set aside.
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Sauce time! Melt the butter in a medium pot or pan. Add the flour and cook it until it’s no longer raw, constantly stirring. Add the warm milk slowly, whisking it constantly until completely combined and smooth. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and continue cooking until the sauce thickens it up enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the stove and set aside.
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Now comes the fun part! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spoon some of the white sauce on the bottom of a 9Γ—13 inch baking dish. Make one layer of lasagna noodles (about 4 sheets per layer, 3 horizontal and 1 vertical… I had to break a small piece off of the vertical piece to make it fit), cover it with some of the chicken filling and top it with some mozzarella, then white sauce. Don’t be shy with the sauce around the edges, or they’ll be dry. Yuck.
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Keep making layers of noodles, chicken, mozzarella, and white sauce, finishing with the white sauce remaining. Top this mound of Italian glory with Parmesan. Mmmm.
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Cover the dish with foil, avoiding touching the sauce. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and let it get good and golden and bubbly, and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and wait 10 minutes before cutting the lasagna. This is important! You’ll end up with sloppy, runny lasagna due to the hot sauce if you cut into it too soon. Not that we’ve done that around here….
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There you have it. Happy eating, friends! Til next time.
Recipe from The Way to His Heart

Chocolate Pots de Creme

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… Or as my friend/coworker Rachel exclaimed as I pulled them out of my bag, “Chocolate pudding!” 😜 While they DO look like simple pudding dishes, these rich, creamy little beauties are even easier to make than pudding. And of course they sound fancy πŸ˜‰ Add a little homemade whipped cream on top and you’ve got a delicious and super simple dessert for your next gathering.

Ingredients:
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
8 oz hot coffee

Directions:
Pour the bag of chocolate chips into your blender.
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Next, crack the eggs on top of the chips. Add vanilla and salt.
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Blend until chips are about half chopped…
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Then lower the speed of the blender. Remove cap from blender lid and pour in coffee.
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The mixture will thicken and bubble up quite a bit! Once smooth, pour into serving dishes/glasses of your choice. I got about 8 servings out of this recipe in those plastic Chinet wine cups. Place in refrigerator for a couple of hours to firm up.
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Top with whipped cream and enjoy! 😊 The key to success with these is making sure your eggs aren’t too cold and your coffee is PIPING hot to achieve the right consistency. Like I said… Super simple and delicious!

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Parmesan Goat Cheeseball with Basil Oil

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A couple of weeks ago, some girls from work got together to host a belated bridal shower for our friend/coworker, Morgan. As it was a wine themed shower, it’s only appropriate to serve cheese, bread, stuff like that, right? These cheeseball is famous amongst my friends. I made it for New Year’s Eve at our fabulous Gatsby themed party and it’s been a party staple ever since! Creamy, garlicky, schmeary… Delicious! Must be served with a crusty baguette, of course 😊

Ingredients:
For the cheeseball:
1/2 oz Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Pepper
4 oz plain goat cheese
1 clove (or 1/2 tsp minced) garlic
1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the oil:
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 clove (or again, sub 1/2 tsp minced garlic)
1/4 cup evoo

Directions:
In a food processor, pulse your Parm til finely ground. Add panko and give it another couple of quick spins til combined. Place in a shallow bowl/plate and season with pepper. Wipe out the bowl of your food processor… You’ll be using it again shortly!
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Next, add your garlic and salt to a small plate or pinch bowl. Use the side of a knife to smush together, forming a chunky paste.
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Now put your goat cheese in a small bowl. Add this garlic/salt paste and mash together with a fork.
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Using your hands, shape the mixture into a ball. Roll the ball in the lovely, fragrant Parm/panko blend…
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Then wrap in plastic wrap and pop in the fridge. Voila! You’re half done.
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Now for the oil. Start by boiling some water. Now throw your basil in there, let in boil for about 30 seconds, then immediately rinse with cold water. Blot all the water you can out of the basil and add to the bowl of your food processor along with the garlic. Kindly ignore that the lighting makes me basil look burned :/
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Pulse the basil and garlic to a pulp. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
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Now, the original recipe says to slowly add the evoo while your processor is running… I used my Ninja, so that wasn’t an option. I simply added the oil to the basil and garlic, then ran it until the mixture took on a green hue. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer onto your serving platter of choice, or in my case, your toddler’s snack bowl that you were using as a storage container πŸ˜‚
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Place your cheeseball in the center of your oil. Serve with aforementioned baguette. Dig in! Looks pretty, right?
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Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Fat Elvis Cupcakes

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If you know me, you know I LOVE me some chocolate. It takes something preeeetty fantastic to make me consider a dessert that is anything but. Guys, THIS is that dessert. I will go out of my way to go to the Flying Cupcake if I see they have these cupcakes on any given day. Fluffy banana cake topped with a rich peanut butter frosting with a hefty shot of Nutella makes for one amazing treat. I also swapped the sour cream in the original recipe for Greek yogurt- a nice little extra dose of protein. So it’s healthy, right? 😜 I recommend a cold glass of milk with it!

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
4 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

For the frosting:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
3 tbsps milk, plus more as needed
2 cups confectioners sugar

For filling/garnish:
1 small jar Nutella
Banana chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line tins with paper liners, about 24. Mash up your ‘naners… A few chunks are okay!
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In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Next, mix your butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add yogurt and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients until just incorporated. Finally, using a spatula, fold your mashed bananas into the batter.
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Fill each liner 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
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Mmmm, glorious.
While the cupcakes are cooling, let’s make some frosting.
*Warning: you will probably want to pipe this stuff directly into your mouth. Try and resist! For the record- I fail. Every time.*
First, blend the butter and peanut butter together until completely combined. Add powdered sugar, and then the milk once it turns into a clumpy, unmixable mess. It’ll turn smooth, glossy, and beautiful. Promise.
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Now it’s assembling time! First, let me show you a little stroke of genius: put the decorating tip in your pastry bag, plop it in a cup, fold the edges over the side, and VOILA! Mess-free.
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Next, core your cupcakes and fill the crater with Nutella. I used a pastry bag with a round open tip to fill ’em to the brim.
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And last but not least, scoop some of that fluffy, peanut buttery goodness into your second pastry bag and frost to your heart’s content. Also, kindly ignore the powdered sugar all over my counter.
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Garnish with a banana chip if you’re feelin fancy. Or, ya know, CVS has them on sale. πŸ˜‰
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Cake recipe adapted from Food Network
Frosting recipe from All Recipes