Let’s get straight into my reason for this post. I’m a food addict. I say this because it’s something that I’ve struggled with since fourth grade. Food is happiness, peace, love, hate, self loathing, and could very well be my early death. I love to eat. Food is my best friend and my worst enemy. Nothing fills the void in my shriveled little Grinch heart like binge-eating.
Oh, you didn’t want something dark from a woman who calls herself a wine drunk home cook? Well, we don’t always get what we want. Like, all of those other hip blog mommies out there, I’m now on a journey to lose weight. I will be the first hip blog mommy to inform you that it is possible to work a glass of red wine into 1200 calories a day, just in case y’all were wondering.
Truly though, I absolutely can’t be assed to eat things that taste awful, so we still have that my dears. My first patched up dish last week was to redo my mom’s seafood salad. Hers really can’t be beat, and the Rouxster and I ate a whole tub of it on vacation at the lake. Life lesson: Dominoes and gin will do that to a person.
Seafood salad is a family classic and it’s never better than when served up with Chicken in a Biscuit crackers. On the other side of the happy rainbow, we’ll be eating our light seafood salad with a fork and no carbs, so buckle up bitches.
1 lb imitation crab
2 tbsp minced red onion
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light sour cream or low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh chopped dill
1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
1 tsp swerve sweetener
2 shakes of salt and 2 shakes of McCormick garlic pepper
Cottage cheese is honestly amazing, so of course I blended that into the Greek yogurt and lemon juice. It gave it some extra oomph, and gave me the will to live.
Mix everything together and enjoy. I like to chop the imitation crab up so it all gets coated with the mix.
More healthy, light, and hacked recipes coming your way friends. Im about to embrace that saying about “variety is the spice of life” and if I’m on a journey to be better and healthier, then y’all are too. Now, somebody fix me a drink and hand me a Nembutal.
Do you remember that time I said I was slowly killing my family with milk products? I’m trying to make amends. A quick Google search showed me that I couldn’t get Lactaid sour cream at my local grocery store, but I could sure as heck get Lactaid cottage cheese and mix it with lemon juice.
1 1/2 lb sirloin, sliced
1 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp lemon juice
Season the sirloin with salt and garlic pepper. Heat the avocado oil over medium high heat and brown the steak in small batches.
Lower the heat to medium low and melt the butter. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Keep an eye on the heat to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the broth, Worcestershire, Dijon, thyme, and adjust for salt if needed. If you use Better Than Bouillon you likely won’t need to add anymore salt at this point, but people are really effing weird about salt and you do you boo.
Add the steak and any juices to the mix and then melt in the cottage cheese. Once the cheese is melted, add the lemon juice and serve over egg noodles.
The texture was exactly the same as my normal stroganoff and everyone ate two bowls. Then I dipped some French bread in the leftover sauce, so uh, yeah, it was really good.
My muumuu may be covered in steak juice, wine charcoal, and partial meat failure, but the journey was worth it. Even overcooked, the picanha was juicy and delicious. I’ll likely try another one soon and thin slice it for steak sandwiches on Kaiser rolls.
The picanha was slightly overcooked, but I suppose we can’t be good at everything… Not even when we have a 6-prong remote thermometer with Bluetooth. I could blame it on wine, or say that kids wouldn’t eat rare meat, but it was just everyday Lin thinking she knows more than a top-o-the line sensor. You know, just a typical day. We’re still having shaved picanha sandwiches with au jus for dinner tomorrow.
The tomatoes and vinaigrette were the true stars of dinner and thus, the “recipe” you’re getting. It’s just a simple vinaigrette that can be made in under a minute with an immersion blender and then spooned over sliced tomatoes. I highly recommend an immersion blender for new cooks. Game changer tbh, and you can get one for $10-15 online.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp stone ground mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
A pinch of black pepper, chives, basil, and parsley
Dump everything into a cup and blend for a few seconds with an immersion blender. You’re welcome.
These measurements make enough to serve over five medium tomatoes (sliced), which is enough for two adults and one fat baby, if you ask The Puppy. The picky Biggin declined any fresh dinner in favor of old reheated meatballs. You really cannot win them all.
Let’s talk about Pork Belly. The last 24 hours of my life have been devoted to a gorgeous hunk. A hunk of pig. If you’re in Texas, our lort and savior H‑E‑B, carries 4 lb. vacuum sealed pork belly for your worshipping needs. I love using my kitchen appliances while under the influence, so making a Sous-vide-que pork belly was right up my alley.
Ingredients for Sous Vide Marinade:
1/4 cup mirin
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 – 4lb pork belly, skin on
This one is going to schvitz in the hot bath for 16 hours at 165 degrees. Be super careful when you take this baby out because the meat is going to try to fall apart on you, and we can’t have that. You can go straight to the smoker if you want, but I chilled Porky for a few hours in the morning while we prepped ingredients for ramen.
I used the Kamado for the first time solo (sort of, hubby cleaned the ashes and lit it), and I’m hooked. There was something really soothing about manipulating the top dial for two hours while protecting my wine from the yearly influx of flies. We live on a sand-filled swamp that some contractor thought was a good idea to build on. Early summer is like The Birds but with 300 flies the size of your thumbnail dive-bombing you.
Smoke the belly over indirect heat at 225 degrees until the belly reaches 185 internally. If you go straight from the bath to the smoker this should take around 45 minutes. Since I chilled mine, it took around 2 hours.
Be super careful when you pull the pork belly from your smoker. I had to use a huge spatula to slide it off the grate. I also had to throw the Puppy into the yard and tell him to scream like Tippi Hedren to keep the flies away from me.
For the Shoyu ramen and marinated eggs I sort of followed this recipe on Delish. I halved the Tare marinade and simmered for an hour on the stove before chilling and using for the soft boiled eggs and ramen assembly. The Tare was super sweet, so I’m really glad I didn’t use it for the pork belly as the recipe suggested.
Overall, the ramen process itself was time consuming for not that great of a result, but that pork belly is life. Crack a bottle of your favorite red and get cooking.
Last week, Husband and I went to Fredericksburg for an anniversary trip and while there we discovered we are actually food snobs, and also probably wine snobs. (I maintain that is a false accusation, very slanderous, very upsetting. I LOVE YOU BLACK BOX CAB.) All I’m saying is don’t visit Texas wine country looking for a foodie experience to go along with your wine. You’ll end up in a Sonic parking lot eating ice cream and complaining about the fake German food you suffered through.
On our wine tour I stumbled into my best meal of the weekend. Sweetbriar Rose is a bistro on 290 that is family-owned and serves jello shots for all of the bachelorette parties on the winery route. I had the chicken salad sandwich on homemade sourdough with pickled onions and it was the bomb dot com. If you’ve never had pickled red onions, I’m here to let you know that your life has been flavorless and boring up until right meow. There’s no such thing as too much vinegar in your life. If anyone tells you otherwise, cut them out of your life for being a negative influence.
3 cups of chicken, I pulled a rotisserie chicken and dumped all of the meat into a bowl. Use the dark meat too, don’t be lame, this isn’t canned chicken salad.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup mayo. Duke’s or bust.
1/4 cup olive oil. This is a dressing so spring for the evoo.
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 garlic clove, minced. Or, a giant spoonful of that pre-minced pickled garlic if you don’t care about measuring things, and we don’t.
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
If you pull the chicken from a rotisserie, make sure you’re just pulling off giant chunks. Nobody likes shredded chicken salad. That’s for trash chicken that wasn’t good enough to be served in chunks.
In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients listed after the chicken. Use a whisk and give it some elbow grease so it all comes together nicely. Drink enough wine that you don’t cringe at how gross the mayo looks while doing so. Repeat after me, fat is flavor.
Mix that black magic into the chicken and let it chill in the refrigerator while you experiment with tortilla chips and pickled onions.
Super Quick Pickled Onions:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
Here’s the secret to not having to boil your vinegar mix for quick pickled onions: Use honey instead of sugar, the end. All you have to do is throw all of this into a shallow dish, press the onions down, and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Air Fryer Tortilla Chips:
12 street taco corn tortillas. These teeny things were bought on accident, but I now can’t live without them.
1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Cut the little street taco tortillas in half. Mix the last three ingredients in a bowl and then brush on both sides of the tortillas. 350 for 7 minutes in an air fryer. I did two batches so they didn’t stick to each other.
Build a sandwich base with badass Rosemary sourdough and butter lettuce and extra mayo for your chicken salad. Taste test and realize it really needed 1/2 cup of chopped dates to lift it that little bit extra. Baby sister said the chicken salad didn’t need the dates, but I’m here to tell you that it 100% does.
And who are you going to trust? Some girl that doesn’t comment on her sister’s blog, or me?
I tend to do this thing where I cook similar dishes all week. Oh, we had a pasta dish on Monday? Hope you all liked it, because we’re going to have one on Wednesday and Friday as well.
Two of my favorite things to eat are caramelized onions and mushrooms, and although my poor Husband hates onions with a passion, I use every opportunity to work them into a dish. They really do make everything taste better.
I usually say go with whatever pasta you have on hand, but in this case you do want something short and fat to pick up all of that 5,000 calorie cream sauce we are making. Bow ties are cute and I like how the middle of the pasta stays extra chewy.
Do not substitute frozen spinach for the fresh. It’s a huge mistake and will absolutely ruin your sauce, unless you want everything in your bowl to taste like stewed spinach. Frozen spinach is full of water and you should really only use it for dips after squeezing any remaining life out of it after defrosting it in a sad lump in a colander.
Olive oil, it doesn’t have to be extra virgin if we’re just going to destroy it with heat.
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced.
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 chicken breasts, slice them against the grain, we’re going to destroy them while we cook, so don’t worry about how they look.
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced, if they are big and the stems look tough pull them out.
6 oz fresh spinach, I pull the stems if they are too thick and crunchy looking.
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, I really like Penzey’s blend because it’s well balanced.
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz of Parmesan cheese. We aren’t animals, so I expect you to buy a block of actual parm. You don’t have to grate it, but I do expect you to chop it up into matchsticks.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high and season up the sliced chicken with the Cajun seasoning and a couple of shakes of salt and black pepper. Rub the seasoning in to the chicken and make sure it’s all evenly coated. Cook your chicken in batches making sure not to overcrowd, and use your spoon or tongs to just destroy it. We call this torn up chicken because you’re half shredding it while cooking and rubbing the pulled apart pieces into the seasoning and oil. Drain on a paper towel.
In the same pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil and lower your heat to medium. Add your diced onions and give them a minute to sizzle and then stir in 1/4 tsp of salt and the balsamic vinegar. You’re going to cook your onions over medium low for around 30 minutes. If they start burning lower the heat and if they dry out add a drizzle of oil.
I’m lazy, so I just push my onions up onto the side of the pot while I sauté my mushrooms. Remember how I feel about overcrowding the pan? I’m much more likely to forgive you for overcrowding the chicken than I am for ruining mushrooms.
Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes and then toss your spinach in to wilt. If you’re me and you’re three glasses in, you’ve 100% forgotten to start your pasta. Cook and drain your pasta.
Add your chicken back to your pot and stir in the heavy cream. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn your heat down to medium low and add you cheese. Stir steadily while your cheese melts or you’ll end up with a big wad of ingredients floating in cream. Taste for S&P again at this point.
Stir in your pasta and dish it up. If you “take out the green stuff,” your Biggin won’t complain. He didn’t notice the onions, so I would say I won this round.
Gumbo is the state cuisine of Louisiana, a tradition for thousands of southern families, and something to throw punches over if someone tries to add trash ingredients to your mix.
Okra, filé powder, tomato, eggs, and roux. These are important choices that can shatter a southern family if one member goes rogue and starts throwing sacrilegious items into the pot. We don’t use okra or tomato in ours, and my dad is the only family member that adds filé in his bowl. We’ve argued over scratch roux vs. jarred and just what is it about eggs that makes dropping some into a simmering pot of gumbo transform it into the best thing you’ve ever eaten.
My dad has been perfecting his recipe for gumbo for most of my life and we’ve attempted to bully him into competing several times. Gumbo technique is sacred (even in SETX) and I had to bully him into giving me his recipe with several compliments and the help of a heathen brew that consists of cheap gin and Black Cherry White Claw (still not sponsored).
We don’t do gumbo by halves, we spend an entire weekend working it up. Gumbo is best started on Saturday afternoon with a home stock made with two fryer chickens and some limp veg you probably happen to have in your crisper.
You’ll need a big stock pot (people are going to exhaust you with their Magnalite chatter, but it’s not necessary to have one), two fryer chickens ready to go in the pot (clean them up and remove the nasty bits), carrots, celery, garlic cloves, an onion, black pepper, and I usually toss some bay leaves in. Cover your chicken with water and turn it up.
Let everything simmer for 3-4 hours (pull the chickens with tongs and shred them around an hour in) and skim the foam as necessary. Strain the stock and cool in your fridge overnight and skim the grease from the top the next morning. This is a clean gumbo and you shouldn’t have heartburn, even after eating three bowls.
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You’ll also use that chicken meat you pulled from your stock carcasses, so please don’t do anything insane like toss it out.
4 packs of smoked sausage. We prefer Beasley’s as it’s local, delicious, and they make a bomb green onion and jalapeño mix.
2 – 16 oz. jars of Doguet’s roux. Here’s the thing, scratch roux is cool, but we already spent a ton of time making stock and scratch roux tastes exactly like jarred.
5 big yellow onions
2 green bell peppers
5 stalks of celery, plus their leaves
Salt, to taste
Accent flavor enhancer. Just a couple of shakes of msg, it won’t kill you… probably.
3 bunches of green onions
18 pack of eggs
3 qts. Beef broth
Get your perfect, grease free chicken stock out and get your pot started on coming up to a hard simmer. Add your extra beef broth and roux, start with melting in one jar and then spooning in more from the second jar as you taste. Some people prefer really dark and bitter gumbo and others want it lighter. You’ll know when you’ve gone too far because you’ll have to break out a can or two of beef stock you luckily keep on hand to thin it.
Season up your soup base with some salt, parsley, the garlic and onion powders, and your ground peppers. Be careful with the ground peppers and start small. 1/2 teaspoon each of the black and white and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne and then taste before adding more. We’re going to doctor the seasonings again later, so don’t panic and pour in an entire jar of salt. Pour yourself a drink and calm down.
Slice your ridiculous amount of sausage into thin rounds and lightly brown it all and drain on paper towels. You’re not charring this stuff, so pay attention and don’t get distracted while fixing another drink. You just want to degrease the sausage a bit and get a little brown color on it. This is not a guideline, if you overdo the browning and end up with charred sausage chunks, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Chop your bell peppers, onion, and celery. Add your veg to the pot and let it simmer for an hour, stirring whenever you come inside to refresh your bev.
Pull out the boneless skinless thighs and toss them into the pot and add your browned sausage as well. I usually hold off until right before egg poaching time to add the rescued stock meat as it’s already pretty broken down. Let your gumbo simmer for about 25 minutes. Your chicken thighs should start to shred on their own when you poke them with the ladle.
A watched pot never simmers, so take this time to finely chop your mountain of green onions. We like to add the onion whites to the pot right as we chop to give them a chance to soften. Save your chopped green ends until you notice your chicken is shredding. Toss in the green onions, the shredded stock chicken, and start adjusting your seasonings. Add more white/black pepper if you need it, but be careful with the cayenne. You might need more salt at this stage, but the sausage likely took care of the sodium levels. This is also the time to do a quick trinity blessing over your gumbo and shake in that Accent while nobody is watching.
Carefully crack all 18 eggs into the pot and let the whole thing simmer right under a boil until the eggs are poached through. Serve over rice, or potato salad if you’re weird.
My dad seriously makes the best gumbo. It’s so effing good that we call him The Rouxster as a joke when we try to bully him into entering a cook-off. I forced my husband to doodle the below picture for The Rouxster last week while I tried to talk him into letting me post his secret recipe. I like to think it’s the only reason he agreed, but it was probably the flattery and poorly mixed drinks.
As I slaved over these beautifully sliced sprouts and pork tenderloin, my husband wandered into the kitchen in search of an apple cider and paused.
“Uh, wtf is this Lin?”
When I informed my husband that we needed something lighter because we have eaten heavy cooking all week he informed me that, “Maybe that’s acceptable in some houses, but I’m not eating Brussels sprouts.”
Well, the joke is on him because he ate every bite on his plate and went back for more. You can trick your man into eating sprouts salad with enough dried cherries and pine nuts mixed in. Now, let’s grab a glass of our wine du jour (Bonanza cab) and get slicing.
Ingredients for the salad:
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin is best for dressing
2 handfuls of pine nuts, toast them if you want to be fancy
1 handful of dried cherries,
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, don’t get the pre-shredded trash, get a block and do it yourself
Ingredients for Pork Tenderloin:
2 Pork tenderloins (around 1 pound each), with the silver skin removed
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
Let’s get our hands dirty.
Preheat your oven to 500 with your sheet pan inside. Once you’ve cleaned up your tenderloins and tossed that nasty silver skin out, rub them down with some olive oil (a tbsp should set you straight). Season with S&P, a couple of shakes of garlic and onion powders, and your Italian seasoning.
Pour another glass of wine while the oven finishes preheating. Pull your pan and flop your tenderloins onto it leaving at least a couple of inches between them.
Set your timer for 10 minutes.
Stop, salad time. Wash your Brussels sprouts and pat them dry. Trim the ends and then cut them in half lengthwise. If you have a mandoline you can shave them, but I can’t stand cleaning my mandoline so I just slice the sprouts finely until I get annoyed and then slice them haphazardly.
Grab a mixing bowl and squeeze your lemons into it. Whisk in your olive oil and don’t panic if it doesn’t look like a perfect vinaigrette, it doesn’t actually matter. Mix your remaining ingredients in and S&P to taste. Let the salad rest at room temperature while your tenderloins finish up.
I really like to flip the tenderloins at around 10 minutes. Keep them cooking until an instant read thermometer hits 145 degrees (around 8 more minutes). That’s right, tell your grandma to take her trichinosis talk and shove it in her apron pocket.
When your tenderloins are a perfect 145 degrees, pull them and let them rest for a few minutes before slicing thinly.
Give your salad a last toss and pretend you’re capable of plating (the three glasses of wine help tbh). Mound up some salad and artfully lay some sliced pork on top. Smugly watch your spouse and kids stuff their faces.
The Art of Avoiding the Grocery Store at ALL costs.
Sometimes, when you’re freshly married and have a new baby, you realize it’s 6 pm and you have regrettably forgotten to cook supper. It’s also highly likely that you haven’t been to the grocery store or worn real pants in a week.
You have 20 minutes until your spouse rolls up and the only thing in the refrigerator is probably a single sad pound of ground chuck.
Lean ground beef, one pound
Shallots, mince two of them
Beef Base (this stuff is fabulous and really is so much better than buillon cubes.
Rice, one cup, I like jasmine
Butter, one tablespoon
Texjoy Steak Seasoning, or any other seasoning salt
Let’s do it. Start your rice with 1.5 cups of water, the butter, and a teaspoon of Beef Base. Typical instructions for completing rice. Boil, cover, simmer for 15 minutes.
Brown your ground beef, breaking it up a bit as you go. You don’t want to finely break it up, some chunks are good. Season your beef up with Salt, garlic pepper, and Texjoy.
If you used lean ground beef, draining is not necessary. Add your shallots to your scrambled hamburger and let them start to soften. Always taste as you go. Pull up a piece of meat and taste it. You’ll know if it needs more seasoning.
Add a shake or two of sriracha to the pan, a teaspoon of Beef Base, and a splash of milk. Stir until everything is combined.
Your rice should finish right around the same time you finish your beef mix. Toss everything together and dish it up. A little parsley on top adds a pop of color and you can brag that you’ve added something green making for a nice balanced dinner.
Quick, delicious, and most importantly, you didn’t have to hit the store or put on pants.
P.S. Join me this weekend for G&T’s and authentic gumbo with my dad, The Rouxster.
For when you’re too tired to consider that whole chicken and rice.
Ingredients: Chuck roast, one that you let them substitute at Walmart pickup for the most expensive organic roast available. Clean it up and cube it. Baby carrots, several handfuls chop them into little rounds Small onion, diced 3 potatoes, peeled and diced up A splash of Black Box Cab, it was on sale S & P Italian seasoning, just shake some in there, you’re going to taste it later. Paprika, just a shake Cayenne, you’ll try for one little shake and end up too spicy. You’ll survive and it will be divine. 2 cups water 2 cubes chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper your beef and brown it up in a bit of oil on sauté and remove when browned. Toss in your onions and let them soften up. Pour in a splash of your Black Box Cab to deglaze and pull the fond off the bottom of the pot. Add everything else and stir it up. TASTE the broth and see if it needs more s&p or Italian seasoning. 30 minutes on high.
Still not sponsored by Black Box Wines or Bota Box
I really need to take pictures before the Biggin and the Puppy eat.