Hot and Sour Coleslaw

Dan recently decided he wanted to make homemade coleslaw, which to me just seemed like a lot of work for minimal return on the effort.  Why go to all that trouble chopping everything and mixing up a dressing when you can just buy a tub of coleslaw at the grocery store?  Coleslaw is coleslaw, right?  Lucky for you, I was wrong (which Dan loves to hear me say — probably because it doesn’t happen very often), and he was right (I say this even less often.)  He found this recipe on Epicurious, and not only is it quick and easy, but it tastes way better than store-bought coleslaw.  This is a great side dish to serve at backyard BBQs or parties this upcoming holiday weekend.

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Mac-N-Cheese with Beef (Johnny Marzetti)

Everyone has their own version (maybe even more than one) of comfort food.  A dish that makes you feel better when you’re sick, lifts your spirits, or helps to soothe a hurting heart.  It could be anything from your favorite meal that your mom used to make, to an inherited family recipe for chicken soup — the key is that just tasting it warms your soul.  As self-described foodies, food is obviously important to us, and we often look to food as a form of therapy.  Dan says that chopping ingredients and cooking a meal can be very relaxing for him.  (Quite the opposite for me, hello stress! — but luckily he is the chef and I am the taster.)  No matter what, sharing a meal together at the end of the day is our way to connect and decompress.  (But let’s not get crazy about the togetherness — we still watch TV while we eat.)  We recently found this recipe by Michael Ruhlman and love it for its cheesy, beefy, comforting pasta goodness.

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Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Now that it is officially summer (although it has been full-on “summer” from a holy-crap-it’s-hot perspective around here for at least a month now), we find ourselves incorporating more salads into our meal routine. With temps in the high 90s, the last thing we want to do is heat up the kitchen with the oven or slave over a hot stove. Instead, I make Dan slave over a hot grill outside (where it is really hot) to cook up a delicious protein to add to our salad. This grilled shrimp salad is one of our new favorites, due in large part to the flavorful dressing that would work with many other types of salads as well. You could also make this dish with leftover shrimp, chicken or beef for an even easier (and cooler) summer weeknight meal.

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Porterhouse Steak with Bourbon BBQ

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, we grilled a couple of what Dan affectionately referred to as “Big Daddy Steaks.”  Since we try not to indulge in too much red meat too often, we figured Father’s Day was the perfect occasion for this rare treat.  There is something special about dads and grilling.  Dan fondly remembers a hiking trip long ago with his dad, brothers and grandfather where they cooked steaks over a campfire.  I recall my dad grilling something delicious nearly every weekend, and to this day he makes the best burger I’ve ever had.  So grilling a couple of giant steaks seemed like the perfect tribute to our dads.

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Weekly Menu (June 18)



  • Grilled Cowboy Steaks, Twice-Baked Potatoes, Grill Veggie



  • Steak Burritos (w/ leftover beef), Green Chile Rice, Avocado


  • Pasta Primavera


  • Take-Out
  • Baked Wrapped Tilapia, Green Chile Rice (leftover), Salad


  • Dinner Out


Homemade Chicken and Green Chile Sausage

WARNING:  Some of what you’re about to see gives credence to the saying that you shouldn’t watch sausages being made, especially if you like sausage. According to Wikiquote, the earliest iteration of this saying is the quote, “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made,” attributed to American poet John Godfrey Saxe in 1869. I’m no poet, but I have seen the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon “How a Bill Becomes a Law” several times, and now that I have seen sausage being made — well, I have to agree with Mr. Saxe.  Although we appreciate and enjoy the Charcutepalooza challenges, this month’s trial — stuffing sausages — was challenging indeed (at least to me, in terms of the gross-ness factor.)  You have been warned.

As usual, we thank Charcutepalooza organizers Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy for pushing us (me) outside our cooking comfort zone (and kitchen cleanliness zone) and encouraging us to experiment with new culinary techniques.  This month, we felt especially inspired and quite literally encouraged, after attending their meat grinding and sausage making demo at the BlogHer Food ’11 conference.  Along with Sean from Punk Domestics, they put on a wonderful demonstration and made some excellent chorizo, breakfast sausage and Italian sausage, all while entertaining the audience and making charcuterie look easy and fun!  We thoroughly enjoyed it and attempted to channel their enthusiasm and expertise when making our own sausages this month.
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Sonoran Tilapia

In our ongoing quest to try to cook healthy meals, we attempt to incorporate fish into our weekly routine on a semi-regular basis.  Note how I used the key words “attempt” and “semi-regular,” as opposed to “succeed” and “often.”  The problem is that I don’t really like fish — mostly because it tastes like fish (and don’t even get me started on how much I dislike salmon…)   So, when we do cook fish at home, the recipe usually involves a sauce of some sort (this is my favorite) and we almost always use a light, non-fishy fish like tilapia. Luckily, our local grocery store sells large bags of frozen tilapia fillets that are really easy to thaw and cook for a quick weeknight meal.  I found this particular recipe when I was looking for a new fish dish that met my culinary criteria (sauce, non-fishy, healthy-ish) and called for an Anaheim chile pepper, since we happened to have a few ripe ones in our garden.  Not only did this recipe meet these criteria for the most part, it also included TWO sauces — one for the fish while it cooked and another to spoon over the fish when it is done.  (If you’re not a fish wimp like me, you might actually enjoy the fish without the second sauce, which would save a little time and effort if you’re looking for a really quick meal.)

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Spicy Green Beans

We have several Asian dishes that we like to cook at home, and accordingly, we have more than a few cookbooks that focus on Asian food.  I found this side dish recipe in one of our books — “Wok and Stir-Fry:  A Collection of Easy and Elegant Recipes.”  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the book on Amazon; sorry, no link.   I purchased the cookbook at HomeGoods a while ago for the low low price of $5.99.  (Kitchen Shopping Tip:  HomeGoods and stores like it — TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, etc. — can be great sources for interesting (and possibly out of print) cookbooks on the cheap.)  It’s a good book and we look forward to trying more recipes from it.  The ingredients for this green bean recipe are simple:  green beans, vegetable oil, dried chiles, garlic, ginger, and the white part of green onions.

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