Like the combination of salami and okra, this blog is dedicated to recipes that are born from sometimes unusual mishmashes of leftover ingredients we have on hand at home. We both work full-time so there is always time pressure, especially on weekdays. I do most of the daily cooking, and together my husband and I try to create meals for our family that follow three basic guidelines:

1. Delicious and nutritious.

2. Frugal use of ingredients

3. Edible to everyone in the family

We try to limit takeout food to once or twice a week because it's not good for our waistlines, the cost adds up and can put a strain on the family budget. At the end of the day, I just want to go home and stay home after work. I've found that in the time it takes me to drive to the store and pick up ready-to-eat takeout, I can usually put together something quick at home.

David and I grocery shop together for the entire week. Sometimes we impulsively buy an interesting ingredient at the store with no plan for cooking it, and later I'm not sure how to incorporate it into our meal plan. Thus, by the end of every week, I'm inevitably left with only a few ingredients, many of which do not traditionally go together.

These recipes are a result of those experiments. Some combinations work unexpectedly, some combinations may not appeal to you -- they don't all appeal to us!

When writing up these recipes, I try to be accurate, but often I put together these dishes by sight or taste or availability of ingredients. Most of the photos are David's. We'll note it when someone else contributes a pic.

The wins come when my family says, "I thought this dinner was going to be crazy, but it's actually good."

We hope you'll have the same reaction!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grilled Romaine Salad

Or... How to Rescue Your Wilting Lettuce 
I like to buy heads of beautiful bright green, crisp romaine lettuce. Within a week, they are still in the vegetable crisper, not so crisp, slightly wilting, losing their yummy crunch.  This salad solves the problem of what to do with lifeless romaine that has seen better days. (It works really well with fresh lettuce.)
1 package of 3 heads of romaine lettuce 
1/3 - ½ cup shredded parmesan (you can add more or less depending on your preference)
Fresh ground black pepper

Juice of one lemon
2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
One garlic clove, finely chopped.
Spilt each romaine head in half lengthwise.  Place on a preheated medium grill (you don't even have to oil the grill.  The grill doesn't need to be super hot).  Grill each side of lettuce for 3-5 minutes, until you see grill marks, but the leaves are not all black and crispy.

Chop lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a salad bowl.  While the lettuce is still warm, add the dressing and parmesan.  Toss salad and add black pepper to taste.  

And now I don't feel guilty about wasting a head of lettuce.  We hope you enjoy!

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