Time for grilling and the BEST sauce ever!

Last summer I stumbled upon our preferred method of preparing and eating steak.  Since then we can’t seem to eat it any other way…it just doesn’t compare!  Not to mention we’ve discovered the best place to buy our meat.  I can hardly believe it has taken me this long to post this, but here it is…just in time for summer and grilling out!

We feel strongly about buying meat that comes from animals that have been raised humanely and without growth hormones or antibiotics.  I won’t start a whole “to eat” or “not eat” meat debate here, but just know I come from a vegetarian background (I myself was vegetarian for 7 years as an adult, and my parents have been vegetarian for over 30 years…now vegan, and my mom is a raw vegan).  I get asked all the time how or why I started back with eating meat…not the topic today, but let’s just say I’ve found the balance that agrees with me, my body and my belief system.  I love a good steak, but I’m equally excited about going out to eat with my mom tonight at a raw vegan restaurant!

Back to the point of this post…we are very fortunate to only live about a 5 minute drive from Whole Foods.  At first I thought Whole Foods was only a store for periodic shopping…and that there was no way we could integrate it into our food budget.  After numerous visits and really getting to know their products and prices, I realized that Whole Foods is a store that carries products that are staples in our diets with prices we could afford.  Yes, there are specialty items that I would never pick up (though I want to), but there are many items we purchase there for the same price as our regular grocery store or less (and of better quality ingredients).  They even carry their own generic brand (365). 

Many staples I buy at Whole Foods include hormone-free cream cheese, hormone-free milk, organic corn tortillas, organic popcorn, organic ketchup (less $ than my regular store), unsweetened shredded coconut, organic short grain brown rice, organic quinoa, organic lentils, hormone-free whole milk, plain yogurt, organic canned beans, canned tuna, crackers, organic mac and cheese (nice to have a few quick meals for hubby on hand when I’m not home…or that my 11 yr old can make), produce that is on sale ($1 per mango this past week), and their fresh hormone-free meat!  Yes, I try to stay away from processed foods…but living in the real world and still having a toddler at home means that I love having a couple quick, easy and healthy meal options for when I’m working or out one night.  It’s the exception, not the norm!

Whole Foods frequently runs specials on meat.  I am able to get hormone-free chuck roast for $4.45 a pound (on sale…you can even check their sale flyers online).  Another we like is their top sirloin on sale for $5.99 a pound.  I walk up to the counter, place my order with the butcher and all the meat is wrapped per my specifications fresh from the display case.  At least once a month they run sales on ground beef for $3.99 a pound.  I can stock up and have it wrapped in 1 pound increments ready for the freezer.  It comes in butcher paper, and I then put 2 of those in a 1 gallon freezer bag. 

I usually buy 1.5 to 2 pounds of chuck roast per meal.  I take it home and cut it into 1.5 inch cubes of meat.  My hubby and place the meat on bamboo skewers while the grill heats up.  I’ve always been told that chuck roast is a poor cut of meat…too tough.  Well we’ve never found that to be the case with the chuck roast from WF.  It is well marbled with fat.  We also don’t overcook it.  We grill it until it is medium rare…so that may be another trick in keeping it tender.  We’re always in a hurry so we never marinate.

While the steak is grilling, I whip up our favorite dipping sauce.  It is EASY, and tasty!!  I found it last summer while searching online for a recipe for the white sauce they use in Japanese Hibachi restaurants.  It’s not the same…fairly similar (a bit sweeter).  I found it at All recipes, and it is technically labeled a shrimp sauce.  We’ve used it on shrimp, fries, sweet potato fries, etc.  It’s that good!!!  You will definitely want to print it out and try it.  Let me know what you think!

Japanese Shrimp Sauce I from All recipes

1 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 tsp paprika
3/8 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients, adding melted butter last.  Cover and refrigerate.  We usually use it right away, but it does keep for at least 5 days or so.  I usually cut the recipe in half for our family of 5 so we don’t have leftovers.  I haven’t tried this with homemade mayonnaise yet, but I’m sure it would only taste that much better! 

Do you have any homemade sauces you can’t live without?  I’ve found lately that I am quite the sauce girl….love the sauce as much or more as I do the food I’m dipping!  And if you have a recipe similar to this…but tastes more like the one I’m looking for….please share it with me! 

Here’s our favorite at home “date” meal…let me know if you try it!
DSC01462 *The meat is not skewered in the picture I’ve included, but it’s the only one I have for this recipe.  Hope you don’t mind…I certainly didn’t want to put this post off any longer!

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21 Responses to Time for grilling and the BEST sauce ever!

  1. Lyndsey says:

    Well you did post it in time for this summer's grilling season! The sauce sounds really good. I like mayo and garlic-chili sauce mixed for shrimp, or shrimp tacos. I made an awesome sage cream sauce for some butternut squash ravioli I made. Just shallots, in butter, touch of white wine, half and half and sage (fresh leaves and I have some organic rubbed sage I ground finer).

    Thanks for sharing your great tips!

  2. ButterYum says:

    I would love to try this recipe – what's the difference between the 3 tablespoon of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of white sugar called for in the recipe?


  3. ChickiePea says:

    I have been looking for this recipe for ages, having no idea what it was called. For some reason, Japanese restaurants here do not have this sauce (I'm in IL) but in NC they do and it is AWESOME. Like you, I could eat it on anything, so when I head down south "back home" I always try to hit the Japanese restaurants. I always ask for extra sauce! 🙂

    I'm loving your blog. I found you last night through a series of other blogs… so not sure how exactly! I hope you will stop by my blog too and check out what we're eating so we can share ideas.

    🙂 Happy grilling!!

  4. Denise says:

    Oops!! Thanks for noticing ButterYum! I've fixed it now. That was supposed to be 3 Tbsp rice vinegar.

  5. Holly Keegan says:

    I love that sauce!

    It really does taste great on so many different things.

    Thanks for posting!

  6. figtree says:

    Sooo excited to try this..I have a feeling Ill be making it ALL summer long…..I agree with everything you wrote about Whole Foods!

  7. Tickled Red says:

    That sauce sounds amazing. My surfer will so love it!! Thanks 🙂

  8. Stella says:

    Hey Denise, this looks great! You may have noticed that I'm not a big meat eater, but, if I was, I'd eat this!
    Oh, and I find that if I have self control at Whole Foods, I can get a lot of organic stuff. The 365 brand is especially helpful!

  9. Fresh Local and Best says:

    I share so many of the feelings that you have expressed in this post. I am so grateful that you outlined it here and that Whole Foods exists in Manhattan, because it truly has raised the standards of America's kitchen staples, and made consumers more conscious. Kudos to you for being such a smart, value conscious shopper!

  10. Carolyn Jung says:

    That definitely looks like the perfect date meal. Cooked over a roaring fire, done simply, and can even be eaten with the fingers. Pretty romantic, I'd say. 😉

  11. Simply Luxurious says:

    This looks delicious, thank you for sharing. While I enjoy cooking – I don't have a lot of experience on the grill and very few recipes. But I'll be adding yours for sure. =) So good to hear from you – thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the long weekend!

  12. Natalie at Mommy on Fire says:

    That sauce sounds fantabulous!!!! Great recipe – thank you!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. Michelle says:

    We don't have Whole Foods in Canada. If we want organic meat you have to go to the Farmer's Market. However, since I can't eat Beef it doesn't matter. We do have a local farm that raises all kinds of meats naturally and organically and we often splurge and get our meat from them. You are lucky to be able to go to one place to get all your stuff.

  14. Home's Where My Heart Is says:

    Your sauce recipe sounds amazing!! We don't have a Whole Foods here, but I wish we did. I am with you, the more natural the better. It's not always possible, but I just notice a difference when I'm eating better foods. I can't wait to check out more of your recipes, thanks for sharing!!

    Hope you have a great weekend,


  15. Simply Life says:

    Oh what a great idea! I'm sure that sauce adds SO much delicious flavor!

  16. Lori says:

    I am with you on the sauce. I love giving my meat and seafood a good dunk! I've had the same experience as you with Whole Foods. The more I go the more I discover what they have and compare prices to learn it is often the same as other places. I seem to buy more from there all the time. I especially love the bulk bins!

  17. Abby says:

    Great looking dish! Make me hungry!

  18. David says:

    Hi Denise. Your blog looks awesome! You might want to re-evaluate friendship with Ann. Came home tonight and first thing she said was "the oven's on fire." Note to file – broiling a flank steak on top rack – not such a good idea. Then about 2 minutes later there seemed to be gunfire in the house, but thankfully it was merely millions of pieces of glass baking dish erupting and showering the entire kitchen with kids running around barefoot. Steak was surprisingly good after rinsing off the glass shards. I'll have to send you the recipe. So much to learn. Keep up the good work.

    David D.

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