Cilantro-Chipotle Tilapia

After all the turkey and trimmings from Thanksgiving, how about something light, healthy and simple to prepare?  This fish dish is all that, plus it has a nice smoky spice from the chipotle.  The recipe only calls for a few ingredients:  tilapia fillets, cilantro, canned chipotles in adobo, ground cumin, vegetable oil and salt & pepper.  The instructions could not be much easier — puree the ingredients for the sauce, spread the sauce over the fish, then broil the fish for less than 10 minutes.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter

It’s not too late to try a new side dish for your Thanksgiving meal this year, especially one as easy as this cauliflower.  I’m usually not a big fan of cooked cauliflower, but I am a fan of butter and things roasted in butter, which is the key to this side dish.  We’re also fans of Michael Ruhlman and found this recipe in his new cookbook, “Ruhlman’s Twenty,” which contains 20 fundamental techniques and 100 recipes.  The cauliflower recipe is in the section on roasting, and as Ruhlman states, this cooking method creates “caramel-nutty flavors that are beautifully enhanced by the flavor of the browned butter.”  Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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Slow-Cooker Smothered Pork Chops

A little behind-the-scenes info about Foodie Lawyer — we process our photos in Picasa, creating a web album for each post.  When uploading the photos for this recipe, Dan accidentally named the folder “Mothered Pork Chops.”  Turns out to be a pretty good description of this dish, which tastes like your mom lovingly cooked it all day long.  But it’s actually the slow-cooker that does all the work.  All you (or your mom) have to do is cook a little bacon, brown some onions along with garlic, brown sugar and thyme, de-glaze with with chicken broth, then add those and the remaining ingredients (more brown sugar, bay leaves and pork chops) to the slow-cooker.  The end result is succulent, fork-tender pork smothered (or mothered) with a rich and delicious carmelized onion/bacon gravy.  The folks at America’s Test Kitchen come through for us yet again with this excellent recipe from their book “Slow Cooker Revolution.”

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Weekly Menu (Nov. 19)





  • Southern-Style Chicken & Dirty Rice, Salad


  • Take-Out




Pork & Mushroom Skewers

Skewering meat and grilling it lends a fun, caveman quality to preparing dinner.  Or maybe that’s just us.  Anyway, we enjoy kebabs (or kabobs, if you prefer) and especially appreciate the versatility of this grilling technique in terms of proteins (including beef and pork) and veggie combinations, as well as marinades and sauces.  This recipe from one of our favorite grilling books, “Weber’s Real Grilling,” uses both a marinade and a sauce, but is still quick and easy enough for a weeknight.  The bright, fresh flavor of the basil sauce goes well with the grilled pork and mushrooms tossed in an olive oil marinade seasoned with thyme and celery salt.

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Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis, MN

We recently spent a nice weekend in Minneapolis visiting my brother.  We had never been to Minneapolis and weren’t quite sure what to expect.  Turns out that it’s a really nice little city with clean streets, amazing architecture, cool neighborhoods and great restaurants.  We had a nice lunch one day at a unique eatery in an area called Dinkytown, near the University of Minnesota.  The Loring Pasta Bar is an eclectic venue with a nice atmosphere and really delicious food.  We enjoyed Loring very much and were pleasantly surprised by this and the wide variety of other top-rated restaurants in the city.  In addition to nice restaurants, Minneapolis also has really friendly people.  We commented to my brother about how nice everyone we encountered seemed to be.  He laughed and explained a little phenomenon called “Minnesota Nice.”  Apparently this is a real thing, in which the person is passively-aggressively courteous to your face, but then will talk bad about you behind your back.  Hmmmm.  We spent a good part of the rest of the weekend trying to figure out if we were being “Minnesota Nice’d” (as we called it) each time someone was polite or friendly to us.  Paranoid tourist tendencies aside, we found Minneapolis to be a wonderful city with lots more to explore in terms of art, history, nature and food.  We’ll definitely go back.  Just not in the winter.  Although I’m sure it’s plenty “nice” there in the winter too.

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Creamy Cheddar Grits

How about some grits to go with our shrimp?  Putting shrimp and grits together was the genius idea of fishermen in South Carolina’s Low Country who ate this combination as a breakfast dish.  (Anybody else channel Paula Deen’s southern accent when reading/writing the word “grits” and turn it into a 3-syllable word?  No?  Just me then.)   In case you’re not familiar with them, grits are finely ground hominy (which is basically processed corn) that have a mild flavor and creamy texture when cooked.  We’ve only made grits a couple of times, so we decided to consult the Barefoot Contessa for a tried and true recipe in her cookbook “Back to Basics.”  (We always have good luck with Ina Garten’s recipes, and figured that using a Paula Deen grits recipe would have been too obvious and likely more unhealthy, involving a lot more butter.  And syllables.)  Ina’s addition of sharp cheddar cheese and green onions takes simple savory grits to a whole new level.  We’ll definitely make these again, y’all.

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Shrimp and Peppers

Shrimp can be a very healthy protein easily prepared on a weeknight.  We cook shrimp at least a couple times per month and almost always keep a bag of raw frozen shrimp in our freezer.  We have lots of favorite ways to prepare shrimp — from pasta dishes, to salads, to simple grilled shrimp — but also appreciate finding new recipes incorporating this versatile protein.  We found a shrimp recipe on and adapted it according to some of the reviewers’ suggestions.  (One of the many things we like about the Epicurious site is being able to consult the reviews of people who have cooked each recipe and take the time to share their experience — good or bad.)  Reviewers can also rate recipes on Epicurious, and we agree with the ones who gave this dish high marks.  The plump roasted shrimp pairs nicely with the spicy sauteed peppers and the whole thing takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

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