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Sunshine Bowls with Lemon Dill Salmon and Cumin Cauliflower

September 2, 2022

I recently shared on Instagram how I was in Boston and had a ‘Sunshine Bowl’. I saw that they were so healthy (I’ve been trying to gently pay attention to macros to eat more protein and good carbs & fats) and I knew I would feel great after eating one.

Well, I did feel great, but I was bummed that the dish had very little flavor. After claiming to have marinated grilled salmon, pickled cauliflower, and sautéed greens, plus a cilantro lime yogurt dressing on top, I thought I was in for a flavor bomb.

But nope. Everything was bland and under seasoned, and the pickled cauliflowers were super tough.

I came home and started thinking about ways to increase the flavors.

  1.  I mixed a packet of dill dip seasoning mix, juice of 2 lemons and 1/4 cup of olive oil, and used half as a marinade and the other half as a creamy dressing for the top with mayo and sour cream.

I know this is unique to my local grocery store, but you can find other brands at your store or whip up your own with these ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1-1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp Dried Chives
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Minced Onions
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder

2. Cumin Roasted Cauliflower – I sprinkled 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 tsp. salt on a head of cauliflower.

3. Oven roasted tomatoes – these get roasted with just a little olive oil and salt, and the flavor concentrates into a yummy tangy acidic note for the bowl.

4. Marinaded Greek Chickpeas from Trader Joes: These are amazing!

5. Edamame tossed with lemon juice, a little oil and salt.

You pile all of these yummy parts onto a bowl with quinoa and/or greens ( like both):

When you roast 3 of the main ingredients on a sheet pan, this dinner comes together in no time.

And to make it even faster or to help those people that don’t love fish, you can use your favorite marinated protein or rotisserie chicken tossed with some of the dill seasoning.

Even though there were a few skeptics in the bunch at the start, they all said it was totally delicious!

The leftovers kept so well in the fridge and make for the best lunch the next day. Hope these help keep you fueled, happy and healthy! I know what it takes to take on the knew school year, and trust me, you will need good fuel. But also, let’s make it yummy too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Sunshine Bowls with Lemon Dill Salmon and Cumin Cauliflower

Ingredients: 

1 lb. salmon

1 packet dill dip (or see recipe above to make your own)

Juice of 2 lemons, divided

olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 head of cauliflower, cut into even sized florets

1 Tbsp. cumin

1/4 mayo

1/4 sour cream

salt + pepper

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package

mixed greens

1 cup edamame, seasoned with salt and lemon juice

Other ideas: chickpeas, pickled onion, avocado, lentils, sautéed greens or summer squash, roasted broccoli.

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook quinoa according to package.

Put salmon in a zip lock bag. Mix half of the flavor packet in a bowl with juice of 1 lemon and 2 T. olive oil, then put into bag with salmon, trying to evenly coat the fish. Refrigerate for 30 min or up to 2 hours.

Put cauliflower on large cooking sheet and toss with cumin and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add salmon to baking sheet, and put it in oven for 20-24 min., until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, mix remaining flavor packet with mayonnaise, sour cream, and juice of 1 lemon. Taste for seasoning and add any salt, pepper or water/milk to thin it to your desired consistency.

Assemble bowls by combining greens, quinoa, salmon, veggies, and dressing. Serve immediately.

 

Meme’s Banana Cake

July 1, 2022

Meme’s Banana Cake is legendary in our house. Whenever my mom offers the kids to make their birthday cake or a special treat, they always ask for this. It’s moist and rich, but also light and flavorful. My mom always uses fresh whipped cream for frosting, and so when I went to go make my son’s 16th Birthday Cake, and he asked for this, I made it just like she does.  She actually keeps the cooked cake rounds in her freezer to assemble whenever we have a get together – genius! All you have to do is whip up some whipped cream and slice some bananas and voila, you have a special dessert.

This cake would be super easy to make for the 4th of July as well – you can pour the batter into one 9 x 12 cake pan instead of the cake rounds, and decorate with strawberries and blueberries.

This recipe is a lot like banana bread, but the added buttermilk makes it light and fluffy. I love that it is so easy to make, and it comes together quickly.

I also love that this is a great way to use up ripe bananas – you can peel them and freeze them until your ready to use them.

This recipe is perfect for 2 round cake pans.

Assembly is super simple – whip up some cream with a little sugar and vanilla (taste it to be sure it is your desired level of sweetness!) and frost the first layer: 

 

 

Then add a layer of sliced bananas….

 

Then repeat on top and serve immediately – the bananas do brown so only slice and assemble this cake right before you are going to serve it.  Then bite into it and let your eyes close because it is SO good.

Hope you get to try this deliciousness soon! Happy 4th of July – hope it is filled with lots of wonderful things to eat!  xoxo Katie

Meme’s Banana Cake

Ingredients

3 large ripe bananas (about 1 and 1/2 cups mashed) + 4 yellow bananas for slicing (can’t be too brown or mushy)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

Whipped Cream 

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease two round cake pans.
  2. Make the cake: Mash the bananas and set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the mashed bananas. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps is OK.
  5. Spread batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. After about 45 minutes, I usually place it in the refrigerator to speed things up.
  7. Make the whipped cream: Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, rewhisk for 10 to 15 seconds.
  8. Assemble the cake: Turn out cooked, cooled cakes on a clean service. Put one layer on serving plate or cake stand. Frost the top with a layer of whipped cream, then slice 2 bananas and arrange on top. Put second cake on top, repeat layers of whipped cream and additionally 2 sliced bananas. Serve immediately or keep chilled until serving.

 

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

December 21, 2021

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I start making my mom’s chocolate fudge sauce as gifts for everyone. I love how excited our friends and neighbors get because, well it is like chocolate crack. I make it every year, and every year I congratulate myself on how easy it is to make a huge batch of gifts. It’s also so cute the way the teachers who have one of our kids in class get excited because they know they have chocolate sauce coming at Christmas. 🙂

The reason why it is so beloved is because when it is cold in the fridge (where it needs to be stored) it has a thick, fudge consistency like frosting. But when you heat it up it is liquid chocolate, and it is so good over ice cream. You’re going to want to stock up on Candy Canes too because crushed peppermint on top is the best. Sometimes I get lucky and find the special edition peppermint ice cream but the topping is just as good.

This is by far my most requested recipe and I can’t believe I am just now getting to put it up on the blog.

The best part of making this for gifts? It is only 4 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes.

You start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips together…

Then once that is smooth you add the sugar…

And right after that you add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and to help the sugar dissolve and the rest of the chocolate chips to melt.

Then you’re ready to let it cool a little, and in 10-20 minutes stir it well, and then pour into glass jars.

PRO TIP: Use a funnel. It makes things so much easier and less messy. 

I have taken notes in my cookbook how to times the recipe by 4 or by 8 which I’ll share below because it makes cooking in bulk so easy.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

For 1 jar: 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (equal to 1 5 oz. can)

For 4 jars: 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 2/3 cup sugar

2 2/3 cup evaporated milk

For 8 jars: 

6 cups semisweet chocolate chips = 3 bags

2 cup butter = 1 pound package

5 1/4 cup sugar

5 1/4 cup evaporated milk = almost 4 cans

Directions: 

In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in the evaporated milk until sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat, cook slightly. Serve warm over ice cream or cover and chill and store in the fridge.

Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

 

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

December 17, 2021

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years around Christmas and my family loves (especially my husband!) so I am so glad I am finally sharing it with all of you!

The fluffy texture of brioche (or challah bread, I am using here) makes for the lightest, pillowy soft french toast, and the flavors of eggnog – with its sweet cinnamon and nutmeg flavors – go so perfectly together. 

This breakfast is so easy but is so special, perfect for quick holiday brunches while you are busy doing a million other things.  And it totally feeds a crowd – I am full after one piece.

The little dusting of powdered sugar is my kids’ favorite and just adds to the Christmas brunch allure.

To make it, you just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then dunk each piece of brioche into it.

I love to use our indoor grill pan which is a skillet on one side, and it cooks 6-8 pieces at a time.

This dish is such a treat and will fill everyone with the flavors of the season. You are going to want to grab some extra eggnog this year and keep some brioche in the freezer for the slow mornings of Christmas week.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

Ingredients

 

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2021

Note: This is a repost from last year because this soup is my favorite way to use up turkey after Thanksgiving. The broth is so good if you make it from your turkey carcass, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you. This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. 

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Teddie’s Cinnamon Apple Cake

September 28, 2021

Happy Fall, friends! It is peak apple season here in New Hampshire and like the rest of New England we can’t get enough.  I keep buying huge bags from my favorite local farmer (where I get my eggs, vegetables and flowers all summer) and I have to go back and get more because we’ve eaten them all.

I have some healthy recipes for you coming, but I thought I would just start with this Apple Cake that originated in the NY Times Cooking section and found its way to Alexandra Cooks, and then into my kitchen with our twins. They love to cook! We make a lot of muffins and cookies, but they got very excited when I asked if they wanted to make Apple Cake. We have no idea who Teddie is though.

I really wanted to try it because it sounded similar to the blueberry cake I posted about last summer that was a recipe my mother in law makes often for family get togethers. I have really grown to love how a fruit cake is just as good with coffee in the morning as it is with ice cream for desert. And that is just what Alexander said she loved about this cake too.

Turns out it is fall in a slice of cake.

So moist, sweet, and filled with the warm spices of cinnamon. And I added a twist from what what we love about the blueberry cake which is to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. It makes it slightly crunchy with a sugary cinnamon crust. I highly recommend.

As I was making this I thought of a ton of variations – it would be so easy to triple this recipe and put it on a big sheet pan to feed a crowd. It would also be great with a drizzle of a maple frosting, but it is so simple and moist on its own and really lets the apples shine.

This recipe made me want to invite neighbors over and sit down and chat and drink coffee. It is the perfect thing to make for a neighbor or a get together (still so glad we have those now! I don’t take them for granted!).  Or just make it for your crew for dessert.

Teddie’s Cinnamon Apple Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 cups(384 g) flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cupsvegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar (+2 Tablespoons for topping)
  • 3eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (+ 1/2 teaspoon for topping)
  • 1 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups peeled, cored and thickly sliced tart apples, I used Cortland & they were great*
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I omit)
  • 1 cup raisins (I omit)
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

*Alexandra used a mix of Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, York and Cameo with success — use whatever you have on hand or whatever variety you prefer to bake with.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts (if using) and raisins (if using) and stir until combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.  Mix together the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons sugar and sprinkle it over the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Recipe from NY Times via Alexandra Cooks.