Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How can fish taste so good?

Grilled Salmon
adapted from allrecipes.com
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T. vegetable oil (I usually skip)

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place each fillet in a tinfoil wrapper.
  3. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved (I usually take the lazy route and just splash all the ingredients on each fish). Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Usually I don't have time to marinate and believe me- it still manages to taste wonderful!)
  5. Put tinfoil packages on a cookie sheet (making sure there is a little vent in the tinfoil top) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until fillets flake easily with a fork.
We really love salmon this way. Every now and then we like to splurge and buy a package of frozen salmon fillets from Sam's Club. The oven method seems to work better than the grill. At least our bbq grill! Salmon is pretty delicate and is cooked pretty fast. The packets help keep it flaky and juicy in the oven. This recipe is great and makes us happy.


Black Bean and Couscous Salad
adapted from allrecipes.com
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 green onions, chopped (I used 1/4 c. chopped onion)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I skipped but it would have been good for taste and color. So would tomato)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I skipped)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
  3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.
I have only used couscous two times but I really like the texture. This is a fun cold summer salad we will have again.

Fun with pitas

BBQ Beef or Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs roast, chopped, or 2 chicken breasts (mine were frozen)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (I skipped)
  • 6 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t. dry mustard (I used wet, sorry)

  1. Place meat in crock pot.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over meat.
  3. Cook on high for one hour and low for about 8. (I cooked on high for 2 1/2 hours for the chicken and it was done).
  4. Shred and mix together.
  5. Devour.
I prefer making BBQ sauce this way than just throwing already made BBQ in with the meat. This has a more subtle flavor that isn't overpowering. We had it with wheat pitas with cheese and pickles. We would have had tomato too but were out. Very good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The ultimate curry experience!

Coconut Chicken Curry
(adapted from allrecipes)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed ( or 1/4 t. powder)
  • 1-2 chicken breasts - chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped (I use a bag of frozen cauliflower)
  • 2 potatoes, cubed (I microwaved for 5 minutes until fork-tender)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (I just sprinkled a little)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 T lime juice
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (I used lite)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until tender. Mix in the chicken, and cook 10 minutes, or until juices run clear.
  2. Mix the cauliflower, curry powder, garlic salt, brown sugar, red pepper, lime juice and potatoes into the skillet. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
We loved this! Not the kids...too flavorful and "spicy", but sometimes you need to make dinners that just the sophisticated eaters can enjoy! Russell said he couldn't believe that we could make curry taste like this at home with easy t0 find ingredients. He has an Indian restaurant he loves and says this is very much the same except the restaurant has more sauce and less chicken/veggies. I can fix that! I've tried a few curry recipes, but this one takes the cake. We will make this again and again!

Cold brownies

Cheesecake Brownies
  • 1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  1. Prepare the brownie mix as directed by manufacturer. Preheat oven to temperature indicated on box. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan (grease very well!). Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Swirl together using a knife or skewer.
  3. Bake according to manufacturer's instructions (I had to bake an extra 10 or so minutes). Brownies will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan, then cut into bars and serve.
I thought this was a wonderful way to use boxed brownies. I am not a fan of them, mostly because of the telltale taste. Truth is, it doesn't take much longer to make brownies from scratch and they taste tons better! That is why these brownies are fun- they combine the easiness of the box variety and by adding the cream-cheese mixture it makes a tasty, fancy brownie! It doesn't even taste box-ey any more. For summer, it's wonderful because you put them in the fridge and it is a cold treat. Tastes best the next day, like most cheesecake recipes!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mm-mm Sugar Cookies!

Mom's & Grandma's Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup margarine or butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. lemon extract (or 2 T. lemon zest-so good!)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups flour
  1. Combine sugar and margarine, creaming until smooth. Add eggs and extracts, stir. Add dry ingredients, alternating with sour cream.
  2. Roll out on floured surface. Use cookie cutters for desired shapes.
  3. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, don't overbake! Frost when cooled.
These are my favorite sugar cookies! Right up there with Lofthouse. These are soft and have a great flavor that tastes good even without frosting. My mom always added a little orange extract to the frosting (store bought or home-made) for that little extra.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cool Summer salad

Orange Fluff
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

  • 2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 cups cottage cheese (I put them in the blender to make smooth)
  • 1 small box orange jello (you can use about half a box depends on how sweet you want the salad)
  • 8 oz. whipped topping (I used lite)
  1. Mix mandarins and cottage cheese.
  2. Add jello, stirring until blended.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.
  4. Chill one hour before serving.
This is a pretty healthy version of a summery jello salad! High in protein, some fruit in there...it is a tasty salad that goes well with hamburgers, grilled chicken, fish, etc. Fast to make too!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Better than a cake mix!


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

To be honest, this picture isn't mine, but my cupcakes did look yummy! I haven't yet mastered frosting application to make it look this delicious. Mine looked flat and plain, but this recipe is a keeper! I have a mini cupcake pan which made a perfect little morsel. I think I'll make the cake in a pan next time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Refreshing Salad!

Santa Fe Chicken Salad

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked then sliced (I cook mine in the crockpot)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped small, or 1 bag of romaine salad mix
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • shredded or cubed cheddar cheese (or Monterey Jack)
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • cucumbers (optional)

Ranch Salsa Dressing (mix fresh salsa or 1/2 can cilantro-lime diced tomatoes) with 1 cup ranch dressing or as much as desired. A great dressing for this salad!

  1. Layer toppings on the greens. Pour on dressing, eat!
This is such a great salad. Not too heavy, easy to make, a lot of fun flavors.