My Midwest Kitchen

Caesar Salad

I have one sibling, an older sister, Saher, who knows me almost as well as I know myself. She’s my bestie, and although we can fight like cats and dogs, there’s something so fun about our sisterly relationship that just makes life so gosh darn fun. Like most sisters, Saher and I love to make fun of one another, because while there are only the two of us kids (can I still say kids?) in the family, we could not be more different. I’m tall, she’s short. I’m sensitive, she’s tough as nails. I’m funny, she’s not. Ha! She’s going to love that one. So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, my sissy loves to poke fun at me for my deep and aching love of caesar salad. Chris’ mom, Margaret, (Chris is her fiancé), shares this love for caesar salad and my sister loves to say, “Why don’t you go and eat with Margaret?” when I express that I would like a caesar salad. I get that caesar salad can be terribly “basic,” but when done right, it creates a mighty scrumptious memory!

Not all caesar salads are created equal. Trust me, I know, because I’ve eaten my way across cities and countries trying different versions. Like in Sydney, I was introduced to boiled eggs on my caesar salad, while in Seattle I found my dressing to be extra lemony, which I quite enjoyed.


Coconut Chana Masala (Coconut Chickpea Curry)

CALLING ALL VEGETARIANS, VEGANS, SPICE LOVERS, GLUTEN FREE FOLKS, INDIAN FOOD AFICIONADOS, ADVENTUROUS PALETTES, MEAT LOVERS, CHICKPEA LOVERS, AND THOSE WHO ENJOY FLAVOR EXPLOSIONS. Did I cover most all of you? Because that was indeed the intention. My Coconut Chana Masala is DE-LIC-IOUS and is built to please those from most walks of life. Even if you are the most carnivorous of souls, this hearty dish will leave you not missing the meat.

When I write up my Indian food recipes, I like to give an explanation of the name and ingredients of the dish.


Summer Spinach and Stone Fruit Salad

Time to shake your summer up with my Summer Spinach and Stone Fruit Salad!

On many a Friday when I was a child we would go to my Grandma Eileen’s for dinner and my job was always to prepare the salad. For an eight year old, this was a simple enough job I’d say. Cutting carrots and ripping lettuce is not all too complicated. And I imagine that this is where my love for all things salad began. Salads are a great starter item to get kids in the kitchen and trust me, a completed salad makes one feel quite accomplished!


Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

When I think of taco night from my childhood, I have a clear picture in my mind. I see hard shells made of corn, a bowl of ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, and an array of accoutrements: chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheese, and maybe a salsa or hot sauce. These were the standard in any household, at least back in 1990’s Indiana. Was this a bad thing? HECK NO! They were, and still are, a delicious treat. However, my picture of the taco was quite narrow growing up. I did not even have my first Taco Bell experience until high school! I was not aware of sour cream as a topping or fire sauce until my teen years. I know. Shed your tears. (Disclaimer: of course I knew what sour cream was, but my mom always said it was too fattening…fat is flavor…come on, mom)

Today, my picture of the taco has really evolved.


Cilantro Cream Sauce

This cilantro cream sauce is the perfect accompaniment to tacos of all kinds. Whether it’s chicken, steak, shrimp (pictured below), or even veggie, this sauce is the pizazz that you have been looking for if you’re tired of plain ol’ sour cream. It can also be used as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips and crudite. The sour cream is a great tangy base for a luscious dip, and the jalapeño and green onions give it a nice punch of flavor. 


My sister is the inspiration for this sauce (because frankly, I got it from her), but I added the garlic since, well, I just love garlic. It adds another kick to the sauce, and for me, it’s what makes it so addictive. 

This cilantro cream sauce could not be any easier as you just combine all of your ingredients (sour cream, cilantro, green onion, jalapeño, and garlic) in the food processor. Give it a spin and the cilantro cream sauce is done!


Enjoy it with your next Mexican or Southwest meal! It would also make a great salad dressing or a slaw base for corn and cabbage.


Try it above on my Grilled Shrimp Tacos!