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Month: August 2016

Salmon & Spinach Bake

Salmon & Spinach Bake

This is an easy, healthy and delicious dinner!  Elegant enough for guests and easy enough for week-nights.  I’m fussy about what salmon dishes I will eat. . . . . . this is one of them!

1 bag fresh baby spinach

1 package Rice-A-Roni Rice Pilaf – cooked according to directions (you could also use white, brown or yellow rice)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream (reduced-fat okay)

1 egg

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound salmon fillet

Make rice as instructed on package
Cook rice as instructed on package
  1.  Place spinach in a glass pie plate along with 3 tablespoons water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH power 3 minutes.  Uncover and drain carefully.
  2.  Coat a 1  1/2 quart baking dish – or 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the rice, spinach and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, mustard, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
  6. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the sauce.  Combine remaining sauce with the rice-spinach mixture.  Stir until well coated.  Transfer to the prepared casserole, spreading level.
  7. Place salmon skin side up on a cutting board.  Peel off skin, and flip over.  Remove any bones with tweezers.  Slice crosswise at an angle into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Fan slices over the rice mixture.
  8. Thin reserved sauce with 1/2 teaspoon water.  Drizzle over salmon slices.  top with remaining tablespoon Parmesan cheese.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
    Ready for the Oven
    Ready for the Oven!

    Let sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving.
    Let sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving.


This recipe is from a 2005 Family Circle magazine.

Brownie Muffins

Brownie Muffins

Easy, delicious – chocolate!  What’s not to love?

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate to sprinkle on top (chips, or chocolate squares)

optional:  1/2 cup nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe  bowl in the microwave.  Add cocoa and stir until mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Add in flour mixture and chocolate mixture alternately until just blended.  Don’t overdo mix.

Spoon into well-greased muffin tins or muffins liners that have been lightly sprayed with oil/Pam.  These muffins tend to stick to the pan.

Sprinkle muffins with chocolate chips or a square of chocolate. Sprinkle nuts for garnish if you like.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Original recipe, before changes, from in 2009.  # 99466.

White chocolate and chocolate chips on top on the batter
White chocolate and chocolate chips on top on the batter
 20 Minutes Later Yum!!
20 Minutes Later
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the cookies I bake when I want a favorite to take to the office or to a get-together.


2 cups sifted flour (sift flour, then measure)

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups oatmeal (I like quick 1 minute – texture preference)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 package white chocolate chips

1/2 package milk chocolate chips

Nuts – optional – we like chopped pecans

It’s delicious cookie dough batter too!

Sift together and set aside flour, soda, salt and baking powder.  Blend together shortening, butter and sugars.  Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture and blend well.  Add oatmeal, vanilla and chocolate chips (and nuts, if adding).  Drop by teaspoonful on cookie sheet covered with freezer paper.  Flatten cookie with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes or until just turning brown.

I have baked this cookie for years!  I couldn’t tell you where the recipe first came from but each version is different.  The nuts and chips can change the flavor.  I love the white chocolate and milk chocolate combo.

Flatten cookie with bottom of glass dipped in white sugar
Cool on wire rack
SouthWest Salad Bar

SouthWest Salad Bar

SouthWest Salad Bar
SouthWest Salad Bar

We had family coming by for lunch and I couldn’t decide what to make.  I didn’t want to make sandwiches. . . . . I didn’t want a heavy meal. . . . Adults and kids. . . . Casual. . . . Healthy. .. . Fun.  I decided upon a salad bar with everything you’d need for a delicious SouthWest Salad.  I made shrimp, chicken and steak for folks to choose from.  That was easy to prepare.  I cooked the meats separately in oil olive with Cajun seasonings in my nonstick skillet.  You can see that the other bowls contained spring mix, mandarin oranges, shredded cheese, tomatoes, spicy black bean and corn (mixing frozen corn with seasoned black beans and Cajun seasoning), chipotle ranch and ranch salad dressings and tri-colored tortilla strips (grocery salad dressing section).   I made corn mini-muffins (see my earlier post for recipe) and added a colorful bowl of fresh fruit.  You MUST also include tortilla chips with salsa (I included a purchased Cajun seafood dip too!)

Not a lot of work – a nice variety of food and a lovely lunch with family who we just don’t see enough!  Another bonus?  It was all made ahead of time.  All I did was pop the meats in the microwave to heat them up a little before we ate.  I might try the same thing for a casual dinner and increase the amount of meat and add taco shells to the menu. And a key lime pie.  Yum.

A Manatee In My Backyard

A Manatee In My Backyard

One of our resident manatees by our dock
One of our resident manatees by our dock

I grew up knowing that we might have a deer wander into our yard – not at all that unusual for farms in the Midwest.  Well, having a manatee in our backyard is not all that unusual.  We’ve had a family of three show up repeatedly – here is one of them up close and personal by our boat lift on the dock.  I have heard them called the “teddy bears of the sea” and have thought that is a perfect description.  It always tears at my heart to see the boat propeller marks on them. You can see the marks on this one.  They are big, gentle, friendly, lovable, so-homely-they-are-cute mammals that move so slowly that they grow algae and barnacles on them!  What’s not to love?


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