Friday, June 27, 2008

Plank Grilled Salmon

We made salmon with rice, tropical salsa and corn on the cob on Wednesday and it was de-li-cious. We also mixed up some virgin margaritas, cause sometimes you just need a mid-week drink to get you through until the weekend. Or you just want an excuse to use pink plastic margarita glasses. Take your pick.

We registered for grilling planks for our wedding, and this was the first time we've used them. It made the fish so tasty!


3/4 cup finely diced pineapple
1/2 cup finely diced mango
1/2 cup finely diced peach
1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red onion (we used yellow, cause we didn't have red on hand)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper
Four 6-8 ounce salmon filet's
Season Salt
2 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 finely chopped green onions
1 medium orange
Cedar planks for grilling

Soak planks for at least two hours before grilling.

To make the salsa, in a medium bowl combine the pineapple, mango, peach, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro and both juices. Lightly toss and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Place salmon filet's skin side down on a large, shallow platter and season with salt, pepper, and season salt. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each filet. Place 1 tablespoon butter on each filet. Sprinkle filets with green onions and top each with 2 orange slices. Set aside.
Prepare plank for grilling. Place salmon filets on plank. Close lid and grill for about 10-12 minuets or until fish begins to flake. Remove fish from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Remove orange slices. Spoon salsa on the side or on top of filets and serve.

To make the corn, we soaked it (husks on) in a pot of water and brown sugar for 45 minutes. Then they go into the corn basket griller thing and sit on the grill for about 30 minutes. Yummy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bliss...I mean, Pumkpin Cake

I am addicted to pumpkin. Why limit it to Thanksgiving when you can have it year round? And, here's a bonus: at work today I learned that pumpkin extract and cinnamon have both been clinically shown to lower blood glucose levels. This cake is a cure for diabetes!!!! (Not true. I just tell myself this so I feel better after I down half the pan.)

Pumpkin Cake

1 2/3 cup sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup oil

Blend until smooth.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, blending in between.

Sift together:
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Blend until smooth.

Bake in a greased 9x13 pan at 350 for 30 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1 8 oz package cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar

Spread over cooled cake. Try not to eat it all at once. It really is hard not to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gooey Butter Cakes

In case the title didn't tip you off, you should know this is a Paula Dean recipe. That means this isn't exactly light on the calories. But it's so rich you'll only eat a little bit, so it's not so bad, right? It's pretty easy and a good thing to bring to a potluck.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
1 egg

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Beat all ingredients for cake together until just combined. Press into bottom of greased 9x13 pan. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add butter, beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until creamy, like frosting. Pour over cake layer. Bake 40-50 minutes (make sure it's still gooey and do not burn!)

For variety, add berries, pineapple or mandarin oranges on top. Or try it with a chocolate cake and use peanut butter in place of butter, and top with chocolate chips.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Black Bean Chili

You guys are going to love me for this one. It is quite possible the easiest, healthiest, yummiest meals I have ever made.


4 medium (or 2 large) sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can Mexican-style tomatoes (diced or stewed) with jalapeños and spices, undrained
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin or cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 400. Pierce potatoes with fork to allow steam to escape. Bake 50 to 60 minutes (more if the potatoes are larger) or until tender.

While potatoes are baking, put beans, tomatoes and spices in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to medium low. cook uncovered 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until hot.

Split potatoes and mash slightly. Top each potato with chili mixture and, if desired, sour cream.

Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits

I love the McDonald's version but I'm sure it's not the healthiest breakfast option, so I make them at home myself. I know it's a basic recipe, but I found some really yummy and affordable brands I thought I'd share:

Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits
1 cup Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt (it's about $2.25 for 2 pounds at WalMart and it's only 60 calories per serving!)
1 cup fresh berries (I like a mix of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
1/2 cup Sunbelt Oats & Honey Organic Granola (about $2.75 for a box and delicious...not to mention organic)

Layer 2/3 of the yogurt, then all berries, remaining yogurt and finally granola in a bowl.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spinach Calzones

The great thing about these, is you can make the whole batch at once for a large crowd (or great leftovers!) or you can make half the batch and freeze the rest to make later (for those of you whose husbands can't stand leftovers). Jason loves these because they're delicious, and I love them because they are quick and easy ... OK and because they're scrumptious.

Spinach Calzones

The Inside:
1 pint ricotta cheese
1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 box frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze dry

The Outside:
Frozen Rhoades Texas size rolls
1 egg
Jar of tomato sauce, such as Prego or Ragu

Thaw frozen rolls (Rhoades Texas size) in refrigerator overnight. Knead two rolls together and flatten dough into round. Place 1/3 cup filling in dough and fold over and seal edge (I usually use a fork). Brush with egg and let rise about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until they are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve with heated tomato sauce.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chocolate Cake - no dairy!

First of all, I love Rissa's kitchen tag. I'll get right on that, so fun! Second of all, we've received a reader request for a dairy-free chocolate cake recipe ... and since I aim to please, here it is!

(Brittany, if you read this blog, do you remember the chocolate cake Mark Sandersen used to make for us? Well he caved and finally gave me the recipe! I'm stoked.)

2 cups Sugar
3 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
3 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa (I prefer dark chocolate cocoa)
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
3+ Tablespoons Vanilla (the more the merrier!)
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Water

Mix together
Bake at 350 degrees
(9x13 pan bake for 30-40 minutes)
(bundt pan bake for 60 minutes)
you can tell it's done baking when you can insert a knife in the center and it comes out clean.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kitchen Tag

So, have you all seen the 'fridge tag' thing goin around? I think we should include it on this blog! Just take a picture of your fridge and/or pantry and show us what you got. (and you are not allowed to shop, clean, re-arrange, etc. before taking pics) Everyone should participate--don't care if you're single, married, divorced, black, white or Asian. Just one more way to invade your private life through the use of the internet. Wonderful.

Here we go with my refrigerator:

Okay, we are in need of a grocery trip. Not much to look at. Some leftovers from restaurants and previous home cooked meals. These will all occupy space for a while until they become inedible and then ultimately end up in the trash. Our milk and juice do not fit in the little milk carrier because it is filled with drink mixers. Yes, I do label the various compartments and shelves of our fridge and assign certain items to specific areas. As you can see, things are not always put back in the right spots. Jared's cousins think it's funny to switch these labels around when they stay at our house. It's not funny.

The pantry:
Sadly, the pantry is a mess. My little brother was rummaging around in it and didn't bother putting things back correctly. Some people. In our pantry you'll find an assortment of spices, sauces, soups, cans, various rices and pastas, a basket full of Jared's accessories for the grill, and other odds and ends. Most of these items I 'inherited' when I moved into the house so I haven't done much with lots of them. Maybe one day...

Alright, now it's your turn. I promise it's fun--in a weird sort of way.

The best green beans

Pioneer Woman does it again! I think these are the best green beans because they are soooo good and sooooooooo easy! I made these for dinner last night (with spinach calzones, recipe coming soon!) and Jason and I practically inhaled them.

Fresh Green Beans, One Way

1 lb green beans
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons bacon grease (can substitute 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (can substitute regular table salt; use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
Ground black pepper

Snap the stem ends of green beans, or cut them off in a big bunch with a knife if you’d like. Just don’t tell Granny. Melt bacon grease in a skillet over medium low heat. Add garlic and onions and cook for a minute. Then add green beans and cook for a minute until beans turn bright green. Add the chicken broth, chopped red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Turn heat to low and cover with a lid, leaving lid cracked to allow steam to escape. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until liquid evaporates and beans are fairly soft, yet still a bit crisp. You can add more chicken broth during the cooking process, but don’t be afraid to let it all cook away so the onions and peppers can caramelize.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Crash Hot Potatoes

If you haven't visited The Pioneer Woman's blog, you are seriously missing out. She's always posting interesting stories, nifty photoshop tricks and amazing recipes. Here's one that I'm making for dinner tonight:

Crash Hot Potatoes:

Ingredients: New Potatoes (or other small, round potato), Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, and whatever herb you like.


1. Begin by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make, and cook them until they’re fork-tender.
3. Next, generously drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan.
4. When the potatoes are tender, place them on the cookie sheet giving them plenty of room to spread out.
5. Next, grab your potato masher and gently press down on the potato until it slightly mashes, then rotate the masher 90 degrees and finish flattening it. Of course, you don’t want to absolutely smash it into the pan—you want it almost to resemble a cookie. Repeat until all are flattened.
6. Next, brush the tops rather generously with olive oil.
7. Next, grab some Kosher salt. You can use regular salt, but I’d really recommend using kosher. It adheres to the potatoes more easily and really flavors them nicely without getting too salty. Add pepper as well.
8. Now, you can grab some chives…or thyme…or whatever herbs you have available. Whatever herb you use, just chop it pretty finely and sprinkle over the top.
9. Now throw them onto the top rack of a very hot (450-degree) oven, and cook them for 20-25 minutes.

And done!

For step by step picture instructions visit here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer Salsa

This recipe comes to you courtesy of a ward Relief Society activity where this salsa was served and the recipe was sought after with much demand. If that isn't a testimony to good cooking, I don't know what is!

12 roma tomatoes
2 bags sweet petite corn
2 cans black eyed beans (drain & rinse)
16 oz zesty Italian dressing
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch cilantro
3/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
jalapeños to taste
salt to taste

Cut/chop tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Mix in a large mixing bowl. Add corn, beans, dressing, cumin, and garlic powder. Add jalapeños and salt as desired. Serve with tortilla chips!

Annie's modifications: Nix the jalapeños and throw in 2 chopped avocados, instead.

It's best fresh, but it does keep for a few days. It's so good you'll down it long before it expires. Great and fast for parties!