Sunday, April 29, 2012

Manly Meal

This Sunday we were host to two of the husband's best friends. This, of course, called for a manly man meal. Steaks to be grilled whilst playing cornhole in the back yard. General grunting and trash-talking.

The Menu: 

  • Marinated Ribeyes with Mustard Butter
  • Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Grilled Asparagus
Definitely not the most adventurous meal I've ever cooked, but it's a classic for a reason. 

I started with a marinade for the gorgeous steaks. The Weber Big Book of Grilling is a family favorite and my father claims it taught him "everything he knows" so naturally it was a birthday gift for my husband this year. The recipe is the "Sizzling T-Bones with Mustard Butter." The T-bones looked funky at the store, so ribeyes it was!


  • 1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons paprika (I used pimenton I brought back from Barcelona. Killer yummy)
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Pour deliciously slow over your steaks and marinade for a few hours. Check out that beautiful marbling. 

Started some sweet potato fries so the steaks wouldn't get lonely. Just love the color. 

To be really luxurious, I made butter to put on top of the steaks... mustard butter. 

  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smooth dijon
  • 6 tablespoons butter
Combine until lovely.

We were ready to do some grilling. Asparagus was dressed in olive oil and balsamic before hitting the flames. The balsamic caramelizes on the grill until sticky and syrupy.

Steaks sizzled on high, direct heat (pre-heating the grill is key). They were thin ribeyes, so only about four minutes per side until they were perfectly medium rare. While the steaks grilled, I roasted the sweet potatoes with cumin and cinnamon until toasty. 

A classic manly meal, but with some extra special twists. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Sunday Plan

With a busy week ahead, including evening activities and a guest in town, menu planning and Sunday prep time was a must. After an insano day at work, the last thing I want to do is think...about anything really. Let's be honest all I want is my glass of red, stretchy pants and a delicious meal. When I plan I also avoid fat-kid take-out. 

Here's what's on the docket for this week: 

  • Jambalaya with Andouille, Double Veg and Brown Rice
  • Double-Broccoli Quinoa
  • Hoisin Pulled-Pork Tacos with Cilantro Sesame Slaw
Typical Chicago, it was only 40-something degrees in late-April, so I was craving something warm in a bowl. I started with Ina Garten's Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya recipe, but then went to work on my own tweaks. Because really how fabulous is it to give it your own touch? (Note the Ina-esque rhetorical question asking). 

Here's how you do it: 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound Andouille sausage

6 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onions
1 cup celery
2 green bell peppers
2 red bell pepper
1 can diced tomato

3 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock (I'm a stickler for homemade)
2 cups brown basmati rice
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6-8 dashes Tabasco (optional)
½ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound shrimp
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (love me a Le Creuset), add andouille and bacon and cook until toasty. Remove sausage and bacon, take a moment to admire the gorgeous bacon fat in your pan and then add your chopped veg. Cook until everything softens up and add the spices and tomato paste. Once combined, add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, bay leaves, S&P, hot sauce and sausage and bacon mixture, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add scallions, lemon juice and shrimp and stir. Here's where we get nuts, turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. Promise this will perfectly cook your shrimpies.  

I had the time, found a good Pandora station and hit my kitchen I really got to work. A little extra time today will save me the stress during the week too. 

For my double-broccoli quinoa (recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks), I made the "pesto" and cooked-off the quinoa today. All I will have to do during the week is steam my broccoli, heat the pesto and quinoa and chop an avocado. I'm snazzy like that. 

Final product to come!

I'm also going to be crock-potting up some hoisin pulled pork... so I butchered my pork shoulder and whipped up some hoisin sauce. All I'll have to do on Thursday morning is throw in the meat and sauce with some fresh ginger and hit go! Might even have the husband do it. This recipe is one of my faves for houseguest... cheap, easy and people think it's fancy because of the sauce. It will be perfect in corn tortillas for the guys later this week. 

Let's get saucy. 

Let the delicious foods distract you from my unmanicured nails. 

Alright Monday... give me all you've got. I shall be running on Jambalaya.