Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another great day for pesto

Pesto has never let me down. I had never tried it on fish, but it was a hit. Of course it was! I'm sorry I even considered doubting. That was rude of me. Give this salmon with pesto mayo a try for a fast, delicious and unique meal. The recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens.


4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets, completely thawed
Lemon juice
2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
1/4 c. mayo or Miracle Whip
3 Tbsp. basil pesto
1 Tbsp. grated/shredded Parmesan cheese

Broil bread crumbs on high until golden brown. Set aside. Season fish with salt and place on greased baking sheet with rims or on greased rack of broiler pan, tucking under any thin edges. Broil 4 inches from heat for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness, or until fish flakes easily with fork. (Mine were 1/2 inch thick and took only 4 minutes. Don't overcook your fish!) If fillets are 1 inch thick, turn once halfway through broiling.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together mayo and pesto. Set aside. Stir together bread crumbs and cheese in another bowl. Sprinkle a hint of lemon juice on each fillet when fish comes out of oven. Spoon pesto mixture over all, then sprinkle with crumb mixture. Broil 1 to 2 minutes more.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grease, be gone!

If you're like me, you love onion rings, but you feel guilty eating them because they have been soaked in fat. Well, my lovely friend Carolyn has come to our rescue. I think someone else came to her rescue, but we'll just give Carolyn the credit. Good friends are like that. :) The onion rings you see above are baked. No guilt required!

My husband doesn't usually like onion rings because of their greasiness, so he said these were probably the best he's ever tasted. Being the sicko that I am, I don't mind the grease, so I did notice the slight lack of richness in the baked version. But hey, they were still way good. They are definitely worth making again and again. Dip them in fry sauce, if you know what's good for you.


1 1/2 c. cornflakes
1/2 c. plain dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk*
1/4 c. flour
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices and separated into rings
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse cornflakes and breadcrumbs until fine crumbs form, then transfer to a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, flour, and cayenne, then season with salt and pepper.

Dip onion rings in egg mixture and dredge in cornflake mixture; place on a large plate. Pour oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and heat 2 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and tilt to coat evenly with oil. Arrange onion rings on sheet. Bake, turning once, until onion rings are golden brown, about 16 minutes. Season with salt.

*To make your own buttermilk, mix 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice with enough milk to make 1/2 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Fry sauce:

Here is the quick version. Or try the copycat Winger's Creamy Amazing Sauce recipe for something special.

Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Barbecue sauce

Add ketchup to mayonnaise, until you reach your desired taste. Add just a dot of barbecue sauce.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ah, root beer

I have loved root beer all my life. So when I heard there was such a thing as root beer cookies, I had to try them. What you see above is the second and best of two recipes I have tried. I got the recipe from Cafe Johnsonia. For some reason, the new root beer extract I bought doesn't turn things brown, like the last one did. Oh well. They still taste great, and like root beer, which is what matters.


1 c. unsalted butter
2 c. dark brown sugar (light will work)
2 eggs
2 tsp. root beer extract
3 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. water (use only if dough is too dry -- I didn't need it)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and extract. Whisk together dry ingredients, then add to wet a little at a time. Add water, if necessary. Chill dough for about an hour. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet with spreading room in between. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 10 minutes. Mine took 10, but I wonder if that's because I didn't add the water. My dough was thicker. They were done when they were cracked all over the top.


1 c. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. root beer extract
A few tablespoons hot water (optional)

Beat butter, then add powdered sugar and extract. Add water, if necessary, until you reach good spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Full of fiber

I'm always in the market for good meatless main dishes. I think people eat too much meat. If we're not careful, we could eat it with every meal every day and not think twice about it. This potato chili is a filling way to pack in the nutrients without using meat. It's a slow-cooker meal, which is a bonus. I got the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, and I'd say it's pretty good -- definitely worth making every now and then. The cheese really makes the dish.


1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. chopped green bell pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 small-medium potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except for cheese and potatoes in large bowl. Spoon half of bean mixture into slow cooker. Top with sliced potatoes. Spoon remaining half of mixture over potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours. Top individual servings with shredded cheese.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Restaurant-style appetizer

This baked artichoke-spinach dip is a classic in the appetizer category. I've been making it for years, and everyone loves it. This time around, I used fresh spinach from our garden. I added more than the recipe called for, and I loved it. Feel free to make little tweaks like that.


1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 c. chopped spinach leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and spread into 9x13 baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or French bread.

*Note: I often halve the recipe and bake it in an 8x8 pan. Keep the baking time the same.