Weekly Dinner Menu: Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

I love tuna steaks. I live in a land-locked state. This is when it’s good to have a relationship with your butcher, because he’ll let you know when some really good tuna arrives.  I don’t make this every often, but enjoy it when I do. It very simple. I’ve also grilled it instead of pan-searing, which adds a depth of flavor. Remember to preheat the grill and oil the grate well before placing steaks on to cook.

On the board tonight:

  1. Seared Ginger Tuna
  2. Rice*
  3. Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa
  4. Tossed Salad
  5. Sliced Apples w/Caramel dipping sauce

Seared Ginger Tuna

  • 4-4oz tuna steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste


Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. While pan is preheating, rub tuna with 1 tbsp lemon juice, season with a little salt & pepper. Cook tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, and remove from pan. This will cook it rare (it will be cool pink in the center). Remove and place on serving platter. Turn heat down to medium and add remaining lemon juice & the rest of ingredients to pan and cook for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper. Pour over tuna and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 papaya, cut in small cubes
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste

serving bowl

Combine all & stir well.  I know it’s called salsa, but it’s a nice fruity side, or serve it over the rice. Serves 4

*Rice:  Change things up a bit and try a different style of rice – Jasmine, Aborio, Basmati or Brown rice, each one brings its own flavors.

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb tuna steaks
  • 1 small fresh ginger root
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 papaya
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (enough for 1 cup)
  • 1 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salad fixings of your choice
  • 4 apples
  • Caramel Dip

Also: olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, chili pepper flakes

Originally posted September 2009


Dinner Menu: Santa Fe Wraps

I know this late, but I got hit with a nasty bug and about all I could accomplish this week was work. The cold weather has stayed around longer than they predicted, though except for a day, it was nothing like anywhere else was experiencing.

I thought about doing soup for the menu tonight, but I’m tired of cold weather food (sigh, and it’s only January) so I decided to go for something that seemed a little fresher. I was in the store and passed by the flavored tortillas: sun dried tomato basil; jalapeno cheddar; garlic herb; and spinach and knew what I wanted to do. These are extra large and I really like the flavors. I like this recipe for company, you can make it all ahead of time, keep it warm and put it on the table and let everyone assemble their own.

On the board tonight:

  1. Santa Fe Wraps
  2. Salad w/Creamy Cucumber Dressing
  3. Grapes

Santa Fe Wraps

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 red pepper*
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (maybe try a flavored style)

2 saucepans, skillet and 4 serving bowls

In saucepan, add rice, 2 cups water and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. In other saucepan, add beans & heat on med-low until heated through. In 300° oven, place tortilla shells between two pieces of foil and warm. In skillet, heat oil, sauté onion & pepper add steak, cook 5 minutes, reduce heat & add tomatoes, taco seasoning and cook 5 minutes on medium. Put rice, beans, cheese and meat mixture in separate serving bowls, let everyone assemble their own wrap at the table.

*There are a lot of peppers at my grocers, so go wild, use a couple of different colors for some added flavor.

Also, please note my friend who lived in Santa Fe says it needs green chilis to be authentic.

Salad w/Creamy Cucumber Dressing

  • 12 oz bag spring greens
  • ½ head green leaf lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

serving bowl

Mix all ingredients together in serving bowl.


  • 8 oz plain yogurt (low fat ok)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled & chopped (seeded opt)**
  • ¼ Miracle Whip style salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 4 green onions, chopped (or use the remaining yellow onion)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

small bowl

Mix ingredients together and toss with salad greens.  **I really like the English cucumbers (those are the long, thin ones, usually wrapped in plastic).

Shopping List:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil
  • 1 red pepper (don’t stop there, add a yellow and orange, too)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (be daring, try a flavored one)
  • green chilis, opt.
  • 12 oz bag spring greens
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 oz plain yogurt (low fat ok)
  • 2 cucumbers (I like English)
  • 4 green onions (or use the remaining yellow onion)

Also: Miracle Whip style salad dressing or mayonnaise, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, dill


Cucumber Tomato Salad

Originally published July 2009

Cucumber Tomato Salad:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 large green pepper
  • ¼ cup salad dressing (miracle whip style) or mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
  • salt & pepper

large bowl

Thinly slice cucumbers, onions, pepper & dice tomatoes.  Mix together with salad dressing and Italian dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4-6.


Mmm…spicy noodle stir fry

This dish is so easy…

Boil the ramen and meanwhile stir fry some veggies in some chili oil.  I tossed in some pre-cooked shrimp to warm at the end, drained and added the noodles, and then plated.  This iteration of the dish has most of a sliced sweet onion, some shredded carrot, a few broccoli florets, some celery and green onion.  I finished it off with some generic stir fry sauce and a healthy squeeze of Sriracha hot sauce.

Hearty Tomato Soup and Awesome Grilled Cheese

It got down to 40 degrees last night, so suddenly I’m in the mood for soup.  I had to actually cover my tomatoes.  There is a wicked wildfire burning not far from my office and the smoke is thick all over the area.  Many of our clients are affected and we’re all worried about them.  It sounds like they’ll get a good handle on it today, but not before a few dozen houses burned to the ground.  These things always make me remember what is important.

Since I was in the mood for soup, I pulled this recipe out. It is a repeat from last fall, but it is one of my all time favorite menus I created.  I’d never made homemade tomato soup before I made this recipe.  And the grilled cheese is an adaptation of a recipe I watched a morning anchor make years ago.  The combination is great.  I have canned tomatoes listed, but of course, this time of year, fresh tomatoes are better.  Just blend them until you have about 4 cups of juice.  I use the whole tomato, don’t bother with peeling or seeding.  You can use them in whatever way makes you happy.

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. I don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  🙂

Labor Day Weekend: Steak & Potato Salad

Holiday weekend coming up, so I thought I’d see what I had for cold salads. This one takes a bit of prep, but once that’s done, it’s easy and quick to assemble. And you can grill or broil, but grilled is definitely the cooking method of choice for me. You can grill the steak along with another meal the night before, to save you some time.

I’m hoping to spend the weekend out riding, maybe a picnic. Do you have anything fun planned?

Steak & Potato Salad

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 lb sirloin
  • 4 small red potatoes, quartered & cooked
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, torn
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing

Zip-lock bag and Serving bowl

Combine vinegar, soy, garlic and steak in zip-lock bag, marinate 1 hour or overnight. Remove from marinade, grill or broil. Scrub, quarter & boil potatoes. Toss potatoes with ¼ cup of dressing. Refrigerate both potatoes and steak until cold (you can do all the prep the night before and assemble quickly next day). Slice steak into thin strips. In serving bowl, add lettuce, steak, potatoes, onions, peppers, zest, salt & pepper and toss with more dressing.

Amazing Fritatta

This thing was just killer.  Took my cast iron skillet and melted some butter, tossed in some chopped spinach to cook down, added some asparagus cut into 2″ lengths, sliced in some red onion with my trusty mandolin, followed that with a bit of red bell pepper and a bunch of fresh sliced mushrooms.  When the asparagus was about tender I crumbled some feta over it all and poured in some egg beaten with a little milk.  Slid that into a 350 oven until it was about set, then topped it with cheddar and jack cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan.  Really, really good stuff.  Have a look:

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Pineapple Salsa

Made this ahead of time, all the recipes say it needs time to come together.  Was reading a blog thread yesterday and pineapple salsa was mentioned a few times as good on grilled fish.  It’s easy enough to make, and there are plenty of recipes on teh Google.

Mrs J, returning home from the shelter today, stopped by the store and picked up the ingredients for me.  I won’t link to a recipe today because they are all pretty much the same with minor variations.  This one has fresh pineapple diced small, some diced red bell pepper, a diced jalapeno, a few green onions chopped up, a bit of diced red onion, a squirt of honey, the juice and pulp of one lemon, a dash of cayenne pepper, and some chopped fresh basil.  Most of the recipes call for cilantro but we can’t eat it.  I like basil well enough to see if it will work.  Don’t think it will hurt it any and it adds to the visual appeal.

Also put in some fresh ground black pepper and a little salt.  We’ll see if it ends up too spicy for Mrs J, but I think it’ll be OK.