Monthly Archives: August 2009

Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Salsa

We had some frozen salmon left over that I really wanted to use up. I knew we would need easy-to-transport fruits for camping, so oranges seemed like the perfect pair with the salmon. I made a salsa (or chutney…I am not sure which this would be, if it is even either of these) the morning before we made the salmon. It was extremely hot outside, so I decided to just cook the salmon in a skillet instead of grilling it. In hindsight I think this was best – freezing the salmon dries it out and grilling is a dry cooking method, so by cooking it in a little oil and its own juices probably helped keep the salmon from tasting like jerky.

– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 4 oranges, whole
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 1 yellow pepper, chopped
– 1 tbsp Caribbean jerk seasoning
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 4 salmon fillets
– olive oil
– salt
– pepper
– 1 c. dry brown rice, cooked

1. To prepare the salsa, peel 3 oranges and section them from their skins. To do this, cut the orange in half horizontally, so it looks like a halved grapefruit, Begin cutting the wedges out. By using the knife, you will cut the skin and the slice should peel apart from the skin. The flesh should look more like a Mandarin orange at this point. If not, it is okay to just use the whole orange. Add in the onions and peppers. With the 4th orange, use a grate and grate about 1 tbsp orange zest from the rind. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from each half into the vegetable and fruit mixture. Add the Caribbean jerk and garlic. Mix well and let stand in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
2. To cook the salmon, heat a skillet to medium with a little olive oil. Place each fillet in the olive oil and then flip it and move it from the center. This will make sure each piece has some olive oil on it. Season the pieces with salt and pepper and press in with the spatula. Flip the pieces after 3 minutes or so and repeat with the seasoning. Cook until the fish flakes and the internal temperature is at least 145F.
3. Serve the salmon over brown rice and top with the salsa. Enjoy!


Posted by on August 22, 2009 in Fish, Fruit


Potato Bake

This recipe received a 10/10 from Jason. I don’t know if I have ever made something he liked so much before…ever. He usually hates scale ratings. I always asked him to rate things on a scale of 1 to 10 and it usually ends with him changing the subject so I forget he never rated what I asked. This time, however, he said “10” instantly. This recipe is super easy and delicious. It is too heavy for me for summer, so I plan to make it again once things cool down here in IL in a few months.

– 4 baked potatoes, cooked and NOT peeled
– 3 TBSP butter
– 1/4 cup skim milk
– salt
– pepper
– 1 c. frozen peas, thawed
– 1/2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
– 1 onion, diced
– 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
– 6 oz. marble cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″ baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes. Add the butter and milk and whisk with an egg beater on high until highly whipped. Stir in the vegetables and seasonings.
3. Pour mixture into the sprayed dish. Smooth out with a rubber spatula. Top with bread crumbs and cheese.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the edges are starting to brown.



I am a little late to post (sorry!). We went camping last weekend with Kathryn and Brandon and had a blast. We cooked over the camp stove for breakfast, ate no-cook food for lunch, and cooked over the fire for dinner. Here is a picture of us all from the last night (Kathryn, Brandon, Me, and Jason):

Don’t mind our sticky look…Jason and I showered that day with a bucket by the water fountain (in our swim suits, of course) because there were no showers. It was kind of fun, acutally. We hiked for an hour and a half and got pretty sweaty after that. Needless to say, I don’t think any of us were sporting our “smile for the camera” look.

The first night we ran into a minor problem that was fixed by some quick thinking. I was grilling turkey burgers and two veggie burgers on our tripod over the grill. I was lowering or raising the grate when all of a sudden a hook slipped loose and the entire grate fell down into the fire. Luckily it fell in the direction it was hanging and we were able to salvage 5 of the 7 turkey burgers. Sadly, the veggie burgers did not make it 😦 I settled for pasta salad and a delicious baked potato (which we made both nights by stabbing a potato with a fork, wrapping it in tin foil, and throwing it in the fire pit around the outside of the flames…45 minutes later you have a perfect baked potato).

The second night we went for an easier option – foil dinners. Kathryn and I assembled them while the boys made fire (what is it about boys and fire?). These are simple meals that can be pretty much prepped before camping. I cut the veggies ahead of time and stored them in individual containers in the cooler. Usually we put potatoes in them, but opted for baked potatoes again (since they were so good) and stick with chicken and veggies in the foil dinner. I didn’t wear a watch all weekend so I have no idea how long they took – I am guessing 30 minutes.

– Chicken, cubed
– Carrots cut into matchsticks
– Zucchini, quartered and sliced
– Onions, diced
– Green Peppers, chopped
– Mrs. Dash
– Garlic powder
– Salt
– Pepper

1. Cut a piece of HEAVY DUTY (not the normal flimsy stuff) tin foil about the size of a piece of paper. place the chicken in the center and top with the desired veggies. Season liberally with the above mentioned seasonings.
2. Fold the edges up to make a box opening. Roll the edges down like a brown-bag lunch. Place in the fire or on a tripod (we placed them on the tripod). If you place them in the fire, keep them in an area where you would be comfortable reaching in to grab them with metal tongs.

**Most recipes call for a splash of water. We did this and it made the dinner soupy. I omitted the water because the raw chicken, onions, and zucchini will all let off enough water to steam the dinner. If you are putting potatoes in and/or precooked meat, add a little water.


Baking Biscotti for the Centennial Post

I can’t believe it, but this is my 100th post. Prior to this I had thought I fell off the wagon when it came to posting, but now I realize that 100 posts in a little over a year isn’t too shabby. Jason is at work tonight, so I will have to save the celebrating for our weekend camping 🙂

Lately on “Everybody Loves Raymond” Marie has been talking about biscotti. I have never made biscotti and I am not really sure why. It seems simple enough – bake the cookie twice instead of once – but for some reason the thought has never crossed my mind. With camping tomorrow and all of this talk about biscotti, I decided we could use a little treat for the trip and what better than a dessert that is already hard and doesn’t need to be refrigerated? We are even bringing a french press with us to make coffee, so we can have our own little French cafe in the woods.

Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds
(adapted from multiple recipes)

– 1/2 cup butter, soft at room temperature
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 1 1/4 cup white flour
– 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 1/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well.
3. In a small bowl add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
4. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix again until smooth. The dough will be sticky.
5. Split the dough in half and place it on the parchment paper. Form the dough into a log about 12 inches long. Press down so the dough is about 1 1/2 inches thick.
6. Repeat with the remaining dough. Leave at least 2 inches between the logs (I did not and mine started to touch while baking).
7. Bake for 25 minutes. I recommend checking them at 20 minutes first. They are done once the middle is firm and the tops are starting to crack.
8. Remove from over and place parchment paper with logs on a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes.
9. Line the baking sheet with a new piece of parchment paper. Slice the logs into 1 inch pieces with a serrated knife and place the cut side down onto the sheet (see photo). Repeat until all of the pieces are cut.
10. Bake for 7 minutes on each cut-side to harden up the biscotti.
11. Remove from the oven. Let cool and store in an air-tight container (after enjoying one, of course).

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Posted by on August 14, 2009 in Cookie, Desserts, Snack


Chewy Granola Bars

Last year around this time in August Jason and I went camping at Perrot State Park in Trempealeau, Wisconsin (near La Crosse). Just behind our campsite was the Great River State Trail which is part of the Bike 4 Trails that spans for 101 miles across western Wisconsin. We bike about 75 miles during our trip but I would like to go back and do the entire trail (202 miles from bottom to top and back). Jason’s mom came prepared with homemade granola bars which were perfect for our days out biking.

This year we are camping at Kettle Moraine State Forest with our friends Kathryn and Brandon. The trip is this weekend already! I plan to take some pictures and will likely post some here.

Homemade Granola Bars
Recipe from Nora Stiff

– ½ cup rice syrup (you could substitute honey, corn syrup, or maple syrup if you don’t have rice syrup)
– ½ cup sugar
– ¼ cup molasses
– ¼ cup honey
– ½ cup peanut butter
– 1 tsp vanilla
– Dash of cinnamon
– ¼ flax seed
– 2 ½ cup oatmeal
– 2 ½ cup rice kipsies (I used a mixture of rice krispies, cherrios, and corn flakes)
– 1 cup raisins

1. Heat first 7 ingredients until melted and boil for 1 minute
2. Mix cereals and raisins together. Pour hot mixture over the top and stir.
3. Press into a 13×9 pan and cool. I lined the pan with wax paper and then used wax paper to press the bars down. This seemed to work well, but is not necessary.
4. Cut into bars. Store in an air-tight container.

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Posted by on August 12, 2009 in Breakfast, Grains, Snack


Banana Bread

Strangely, I have never liked banana bread. It seems everyone in nutrition LOVES banana bread, so I set out to find a recipe that I could attempt to enjoy. I got lucky this past spring when I stumbled across the recipe at The Kitchen Sink Recipes. This recipe is so good that I didn’t even have to try to make myself like it – I loved every last bite of it and then made some more! It is sweet, but not overally sweet and is extremely moist. I don’t have a picture of the bread, but once I make another loaf I will update this post with a picture. You can also refer to the link above for a peak.

– 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3 ripe bananas
– 2 egg whites
– 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
– 1/4 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 2 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

*If you can’t find this, you can do half white, half wheat, or all wheat. If you do all whole wheat, you may need to cover the pan with tin foil and cook for any extra 15-30 minutes.

1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray loaf pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl together until light and fluffy.
3. Whist together mashed bananas, egg whites, buttermilk, yogurt, and vanilla in a small bowl.
4. Whisk the remaining dry ingredients into a small bowl.
4. Alternating between bowls, add the contents of the banana bowl and flour bowl into the sugar. Be sure to mix between additions on low.
5. Mix until just combined…do not over mix.
6. Pour into the loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes.


Stuffed Pork Roast

I was doing a little housekeeping with my blog last week and found some posts that got lost in the chaos of this past year. This is a post from February, which seems like ages ago. I had bought a Hormel Pork Tenderloin (on sale, of course – buy one get one free and a $1.00 off coupon) and wanted to add a little something to it. Thanks to my Subway Sandwich Artist days back in high school, I was able to cut into the pork tenderloin so that some of the pork could lay on top of the stuffing, keeping the spinach filling in place. As I said before, this is from a while back, so please be forgiving if the recipe ends up being a little vague or off 🙂

– 2 pound pork tenderloin
– 1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed
– 1/2 cup mayo
– 1/2 package of neufchatel cheese
– minced garlic or garlic powder to taste
– 1 tbsp fresh basil
– Parmesan cheese
– 2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
– Italian blend dried herbs
– Dried fennel
– Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease a loaf pan.
2. Lay the tenderloin on a cutting board. Starting at the upper right hand corner of the tenderloin, cut crosswise (from front to back) of the tenderloin until the knife is 1 inch from the left side of the tenderloin. Now, cut at a 45 degree angle down (this will be where the filling goes). Repeat this as you work your way down the tenderloin. When you are finished the tenderloin should easily open up but still be able to close back up. When finished, place tenderloin in the pan (you can wait to do this until the tenderloin is stuffed if you’d like).
3. In a food processor blend the mayo, cream cheese, and spinach until well mixed. Add the fresh basil, garlic, and some Parmesan cheese to taste.
4. With a spoon or rubber spatula begin stuffing the tenderloin, starting at the top and working your way down. The pork won’t close fully when you are done, but most of the filling should be inside the pork.
5. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs with your desired about of herbs and seasonings. With your hands, pat this onto the top of the tenderloin.
6. Cook at 400F for 45-60 minutes, or until the tenderloin reads 160F.

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Posted by on August 10, 2009 in Pork


Potato-Greens Torta

This is Torta I made months ago and just got around to blogging about. Jason and I are very cheap and often shop at Aldi. One week a 10 pound bag of potatoes were on sale for $0.70. No, I didn’t put the decimal in the wrong spot – 70 cents for 10 pounds of potatoes! We couldn’t pass that deal up, so when I got home I got to cooking. I made over a gallon of potato soup (I will try to find the recipe and blog about it soon), some Pot Pie with potato added, and this recipe. I had never cooked lettuce before (the whole idea seemed odd but then I guess it is similar to cooking spinach), but I trusted that Cooking Light knew what they were talking about when they put together this recipe and I went for it. It turned out to be very good…even better with fresh Parmesan cheese on top 🙂

Potato and Green Totrta
Slightly modified from Cooking Light Magazine

– 1 1/2 pound potatoes, washed and cubed, but not peeled
– 3 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 TBSP canola oil
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 4 cups torn romaine
– 3 cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
– 1 cup green onion, diced
– 1/2 cup skim milk
– 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
– 2 large eggs
– 3 TBSP bread crumbs
– cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375F and coat a 9″ square pan with cooking spray.
2. Cook potatoes over the stove using a steamer. Mash into a bowl.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes. Add greens and cook until wilted.
4. Add cooked greens, milk, cheese, eggs, and salt to potatoes. Stir well. Press mixture into the greased pan and top with bread crumbs.
5. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


No Pudge Brownies (with Full Pudge Frosting)

Last Sunday Jason and I were relaxing on the couch watching our favorite show, Everybody Love’s Raymond. Marie had just made a huge chocolate layer cake that looked delicious. Jason turned to me and said, “Yummmm. I wish I had some chocolate cake.” For some reason I had an inkling to bake, so I replied with, “Okay, I’ll make you some.” After 15 minutes of Jason saying he didn’t need any and then following up with something like, “but, if you want to…” he finally asked for the No Pudge Brownies I had made back in February for Valentine’s Day.

– 3/4 cup sugar
– 3/4 cup flour
– 1/2 cup cocoa
– 2 egg whites
– 2 teaspoons cornstarch
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2/3 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
– nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix all dry ingredients.
3. Add yogurt and mix well. The batter will be very thick.
4. Spray a pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread batter evenly.
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and cool.

While making the dessert I was trying to decide if I would make any frosting and if so, what kind. We didn’t have much around the house, but when as I was about the throw out the egg yolks I thought about how they could be a cheap fix for frosting. Earlier in the day I had made some iced vanilla coffee and there has a cup left in the refrigerator. I decided a coffee-flavored frosting would be perfect for this brownie. Sure enough, the frosting turned out great and was delicious with the the brownie.

– 1/4 cup white sugar
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup powdered sugar
– 2 tbsp cornstarch
– 2 beaten egg yolks
– 1/2 cup chilled coffee
– 1 tbsp butter

1. In a microwave-safe dish combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the water and then add the egg yolks.
2. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes; be sure to stop it every minute to stir well.
3. Once cooked remove from the microwave and add the butter. Beat with egg beaters on medium speed until thickened and creamy.

*You could also do this on the stovetop in about the same amount of time.

Yes, there is sugar and fat in this dessert, but I tried to minimize how much I used without minimizing the flavor. This is quite rich and I recommend eating it with a tall glass of ice cold skim milk 🙂

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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Desserts


Bread, Cheese, and Wine

Flat Bread (from “The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Favorites”
– 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 1 cup warm water (100-110F)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
– salt
– garlic powder

1. Combine whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup water, and yeast in a dish and let stand 10 minutes.
2. Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and reamining water into a bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until dough forms. Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, adding the reaminnig all-purpose flour as needed.
3. Place dough in an oil-greased bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place in the oven (or any other draft-free location) to let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
4. When dough is done, remove from the oven and prehead over to 450F.
5. Punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half and roll each into the desired shape.
6. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Bake for 10 minute, or until crisp. Serve with cheese spread, or top with marinated vegetables.

Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

– 1 packaged of neufchatel cheese
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 2 tbsp minced basil
– 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

1. In a food processor blend all of the ingredients together. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of olive oil.


– Your choice of wine (I chose my favorite: Sauvingon Blanc)

1. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy

*Blacksmith Inn on the Shore is where Jason and I spent a few days of our honeymoon. It is located in Door County, Wisconsin and is probably the cutest place I have ever been. I highly recommend it.

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Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Bread, Snack, Spread