Roasted Salmon with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

We are very fortunate to live close to my parents and our family cherishes the occasional Sunday dinners we enjoy together in our tiny kitchen.The food we prepare for the most part is easy to put together and healthy.Tonight we enjoyed delicious roasted salmon, steamed green beans, baked spaghetti squash with spinach, garlic and parmesan cheese and a wonderful salad my mom made. For dessert, I made a tasty zabaglione sauce to drizzle over fresh berries. The capper of the eve was watching a video my daughter made in celebration of my Dad's 80th birthday. So fun!

Roasted Salmon with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

2  pound salmon fillet
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary 6", chopped
1 lemon
salt and pepper

Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Place salmon fillet on sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread minced garlic and chopped rosemary over top of salmon. Cut lemon in half and squeeze half of lemon over salmon. Slice other half of lemon and reserve for garnish. 
Bake at 425º for 12- 15 minutes until flaky. Enjoy!


Dip with a Zip

Elementary school PTA organizations are amazing; they draw together productive and generous volunteers who organize incredible events for the community. In Sept 2001, the first year of our total of ten years elementary school experience, the Walter Hays PTA hosted an amazing auction and sold a cookbook called "Party Flavors". Enthusiastically, I purchased many of these cookbooks and gifted them to friends and family. 

One of my favorite recipes from that community cookbook that I still love to make today is this Dip with a Zip. Not only is it simple to make, but you also can tailor it to how "zippy" you want it to be. Every time I serve it, I am asked for the recipe!

Dip with a Zip

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon curry powder or more to taste
1 tablespoon ketchup
dash of salt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 clove garlic, minced

Stir together all ingredients until well blended. The amount of curry you add will determine how much "zip" is in this dip. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to a day. Stir before serving. I often double the recipe because it is that good!


Turkey Lettuce Tacos

Turkey taco meat is the bomb- you can enjoy it at dinner in lettuce leaves or taco shells and then have it the next day for taco salads. We made lettuce tacos tonight and enjoyed them with avocado, black beans, a sprinkling of grated cheddar and Lundberg Rice Chips on the side for a little crunch. Delicious!

Turkey Taco Filling

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground red pepper (optional)
Cooking spray
2 pounds ground turkey
3/4 cup water

Additional Ingredients for Tacos:

8  large butter lettuce leaves (or taco shells if you are a traditionalist!)
1 can black beans, drained
chopped tomato
chopped avocado
shredded cheddar


1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl; add red pepper, if desired.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Sprinkle with spice mixture; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add 3/4 cup water; cook 4 minutes or until thickened and meat is done.
4. Fill lettuce leaves or taco shells evenly with the fillings you like!

Recipe from here

Lundberg Rice Chips Made with Organic Grains, Sea Salt, 6 Ounce BagsThese are great chips!


Stir Fry Tofu and Vegetables

My daughters adore tofu. For an after school snack, they often saute cubes of tofu in a bit of canola oil with a sprinkling of garlic and onion powder until they are brown and add a dash of soy sauce before devouring the tasty cubes. Today, Madeleine was craving a tofu stir fry with vegetables and found this winner recipe. The sauce was easy to whip together and coated the veggies with a delicious sweet teriyaki flavor. And she discovered a new way to cook tofu--- bake it!

Stir Fry Tofu and Vegetables
Stir Fry
   1 14-ounce package firm or extra firm tofu
   1 cup roughly chopped green beans
   1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
    1/2 cup roasted red peppers (or fresh peppers to add to the mix)
       1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil for sauteing
    1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
     1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
      2 Tbsp brown sugar
      1 Tbsp  maple syrup 
      1 Tbsp cornstarch
1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Drain the block of tofu, slice in half lengthwise and place between three sets of paper towels. Then place a weight (like a pan) on top.
2.     Keep the tofu between the towels for 15 minutes  and then cut into cubes or rectangles.
3.      Arrange tofu cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for a total of 25-30 minutes, flipping once halfway. If you want the tofu to be tougher in texture, cook for 30-35 minutes.
4.    Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
5.     Add sesame oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add veggies and toss to coat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. When the vegetables have some color and have softened a bit, add the sauce and stir. It should bubble and thicken. Then add the tofu and stir to coat.
6.       Cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. When veggies are cooked, remove from heat. 
Serve over rice for a delicious meal!


Parmesan Dip

This summer my husband and I rode our bikes to a local park to meet good friends to hear a tribute band performing the Rolling Stones- it was awesome! We each brought bites to share and this dip was a hit- so easy to make and everyone loved it! 

Parmesan Dip

1 cup full or low fat sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped chives (saving a few for garnish)

Mix sour cream, mayo, cheese, salt, garlic and chives together. Sprinkle with a few chopped chives and serve with crudites. Serve with cut vegetables and/or sliced pieces of tasty toasted bread.Yum!


Easy Summertime Lunch with Homemade Pesto

This is one of my favorite summertime whip-together lunches--- cottage cheese, homemade pesto and cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Basil Walnut Pesto

2 cups packed basil leaves
1/3 olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
sprinkle of pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and combine until smooth.


Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad

Hot days always make me crave cold salads out on the deck for dinner. This Peanut Chicken Noodle salad is perfect when you know a heat wave is predicted- you can whip it together in the eve when it is cool, pop it in the fridge and when you get home from work the next day, you will have a cool and tasty salad ready to serve. We added the noodle salad on a bed of extra cabbage for more crunch and had crispy crudites alongside. This is also a great potluck salad because you can make it ahead and everyone will love it~

Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad

1 pound linguine
2 chicken breasts
olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 carrots, grated coarsely
6 green onions
optional: julienne red peppers or sliced snow peas for crunch and color
chopped peanuts for garnish (and cilantro leaves if you family likes it!)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced

Coat chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and bake at 400º for 25-30 minutes. Let cool after cooking and either shred or cut into cubes. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water.

Mix all dressing ingredients in blender until smooth. Put cabbage, carrots, cold noodles, chicken pieces in bowl and mix with dressing. You can add julienne red peppers or sliced snow peas for color and crunch, too! Refrigerate until ready to enjoy and garnsh with green onions and chopped peanuts.


Toffee Bars

This recipe is another awesome treasure from the UC Davis Coffeehouse cook book (just like these Apricot Bars which were similar to Bozo bars from the UCD Coffeehouse). They are so easy to make and are a perfect quick sweet treat to bring to class events, office celebrations or family gatherings. They would also make a wonderful surprise for your kids when they come home from school or camp, served with a cold glass of milk!

Toffee Bars
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350º Spray a 9x13" pan with baking spray. Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla and beat well. Stir in flour, chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Spread mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown (don't over bake!) Let cool, then cut into squares. Enjoy!


Egg Breakfast Squares with Veggies and Sausage

Savory protein-filled breakfasts are my favorite! One easy way to make a portable healthy breakfast is to make egg cups like these. Although I love the perfect serving-size of these eggs cups, washing the darn muffin tins is always a bother for me. No matter how much non-stick spray I use, the pan always seems to need a long scrub to get it clean!

This breakfast recipe combines the best of egg cups with the ease of cleaning one dish. I cut these tasty portable protein and veggie filled bites into squares, refrigerate them and bring one with me to work in the morn  (I even like them cold!) The beauty of this recipe is that you can add whatever veggies you like or have on hand, as well as change up the meat or eliminate it, and add cheese if your diet allows. It is such an adaptable recipe!

Some of the ingredients ready to be chopped
I like to saute all the ingredients together before mixing with the eggs
Bake the egg/veggie/sausage mixture in a 9 x 13" pan
Top with fresh cherry tomatoes and a tasty breakfast is ready to enjoy~
 Egg Breakfast Squares with Veggies and Sausage        
3-4 cups of chopped vegetables—some of my favorite combinations are:
1)    ½ diced yellow onion, 2 chopped zucchini , 4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms and 1 cup fresh spinach
2)    ½ diced yellow onion, 2 cups broccoli florets and 1 diced red bell pepper
3)    ½ diced red onion,1 bunch cut asparagus, handful cherry tomatoes
4)    4 chopped scallions, 5 leaves chopped kale, ½ shredded sweet potato
5)    4 chopped scallions, 2 cups fresh spinach, ½c feta, 1 diced red pepper
2 cups of meat (or cheese), if desired—some of my favorites are:
1)    2 links  aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage, chopped into cubes
2)     several slices ham or Canadian bacon, cut into cubes
3)    ½ - 1 lb pork or turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
4)    1 cup shredded cheddar
5)    ½- 1 cup feta
6)    ½  cup grated Parmesan
12 eggs
½ cup milk (not necessary if you do not want to add dairy)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tsp pepper (or to taste)

Pre-heat oven to 350º
Cut vegetables into bite sized pieces as well as meat. Spray bottom of 9 x 13” pan with olive oil spray. Sauté vegetables for 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pre-cooked meat to veggies and sauté for 5 minutes more.
In large bowl, mix eggs, milk, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and pepper.
Add sauteed vegetables to raw eggs and stir to combine. Pour egg/vegetable mixture into greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until set and brown around the edges. Cut into squares and serve. Enjoy!
Another version of breakfast squares with broccoli, asparagus and sausage~

Spinach Cheddar Strata

Addison Elementary School is an amazing place to work. We have an awesome teacher/staff community who are very close to our incredibly involved parent group. I love working at this wonderful school! 
We have a lovely teacher lounge that the PTA community upgraded in the past year and all of us on staff sign up for a week to clean the kitchen area and provide a snack to our fellow co-workers on Friday of our assigned week.

Having little snacks in the staff kitchen to look forward to at the end of the week are a treat! For my "kitchen duty" week I brought a Spinach Cheddar Strata and a make-your-own Yogurt Fruit Granola parfait. Yum!
Spinach Cheddar Strata

8 cups cubed French or Italian bread

1 medium onion, finely chopped 
12 eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1  teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 lb fresh spinach, sauteed with a bit of olive oil until wilted and then drained
12 ounces shredded cheddar

Cook onion over medium heat until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add spinach, kosher salt and pepper to taste and sauté until wilted.

Spread 1/3 of bread cubes in buttered 9 x13" casserole dish and top with spinach mixtue. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layering twice, ending with the cheese.

Whisk together eggs, mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper in large bowl and pour over strata. Chill covered in refrigerator overnight so eggs can soak into bread.

Let strata stand at room temp for 30 minutes and then bake at 350° until golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!