Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

I really wish salads were my comfort food. [Read more…]


Steak Salad with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Steak Salad

Yesterday Steve was attacked by Cougars.

Let me explain….

The other day, Steve and I went to this local baby/maternity consignment sale in downtown Beaverton (SCORE!). As we were poking around, we ran across a whole rack of Baby Bjorns (for those of you who have no clue what these are – like me a few months ago, a Baby Bjorn is one of those hands free slings that you can strap on and carry the baby around in.)

Friends….I never knew until that day the kind of power a grown man in a Baby Bjorn has on women of the over 40 set.

As Steve was fiddling with the straps of the sling, I looked over and saw a group of *older* ladies giggling and eyeing him like he was the last krispy kreme in the box. One of the more confidant ladies sauntered over and began assisting him with the straps – being a little more handsy than necessary. (There was lots of lingering involved).

Steve of course was utterly oblivious to the whole thing….and honestly, I didn’t have the heart to step in.

Now, contrary to popular belief, I don’t just keep Steve around because he’s an obvious chick magnet. He’s also a pretty skilled in the kitchen department! Since I’ve been working at the college, he’s taken over dinner duty and been coming up with some really successful dishes.

This steak salad has become one of our favorites. We love it so much in fact, the the first time he made it, I made him make it three more times that week. This was the first time that I’ve been patient enough to actually snap a picture of it before devouring the whole thing.

Steak Salad with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Bunch of mixed greens (I love the baby arugala/spinach blend)

1 lb. of your favorite steak (we use either a good sirloin or flank steak)

1 cup blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 red onion – thinly sliced

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. cajun seasoning

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp. cocoa powder

For the vinegarette: 

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. honey

pinch of salt

2 cloves garlic (minced)

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1. Wash greens and set aside.

2. Trim the excess fat off the steak. Combine the spices and rub the mixture all over the steak. Grill on high heat until desired doneness (we usually do about 4-5 minutes per side for a medium – rare). Remove from heat and let set for about 5 minutes before slicing.

3. Make vinaigrette – Whisk ingredients together vigorously to combine. (We usually put everything in a small jar, top with a lid, and then shake like crazy!)

4. Plate the greens, top with thin slices of steak, crumbled blue cheese, sliced red onion and vinaigrette.


Sheperds Pie for Steve

I’ve never been a big casserole fan. I vividly remember my mother frequently making a dish called “Chicken Divan” that usually resulted in me having to sit at the table long after dinner was over until I would agree to take a bite.

Oh my poor, poor parents. It was quite the battle of wills.

Needless to say, casseroles do not make a frequent appearance in my kitchen.

Steve however, is quite the fan. To him, they are the epitome of childhood comfort food. Especially those of the meat and potato variety. And so, since it was his birthday, I put my distaste aside and decided to make his absolute favorite: Shepherds Pie.

For those of you unfamiliar with this – it’s basically ground beef, tomato soup, and vegetable soup all mixed together, then topped with a layer of mashed potatoes and baked. Steve and I happened to have an abundance of vegetables since  joining a local CSA program, so we threw some of those in as well.

We also doctored the potatoes up a bit with some generous helpings of butter, cream cheese, and whole milk.

And you know what? When all was said and done…..it was not half bad. It was actually so not bad that I swallowed my pride (as I had been rather arrogantly turning my nose up at this dish during the whole process) and went back for seconds.

Steve’s Shepherds Pie

1 1/2 – 2 lbs. ground beef

2 cans vegetable soup

1 can tomato soup

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced (optional)

6 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup whole milk

4 oz. cream cheese




sliced green onions (optional)

1. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef until browned. Drain and set aside.

2. If you are adding extra veggies (we added in some fresh carrots – you could also add green beans, peas, etc.) steam them until slightly undercooked, then add to the ground beef and soup mixture).

3. Fill a large pot with water and add the cubed, peeled potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth.

4. Add the butter, whole milk, and cream cheese to the potatoes and continue to mash until completely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Top the ground beef and soup mixture with the mashed potatoes, spreading gently until it is completely covered. Dot with butter and sprinkle with a dash of paprika.

5. Bake at 350 degree for 20-25 minutes.

6. Removed and top with sliced green onions (optional)