Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday's Spanakopita Omelet - Spinach, Feta, Onions & Dill

We awoke to a sunny and very humid morning. The sun was a complete surprise and probably won't last long because there's actually no sun whatsoever in our forecast until next Saturday! The humidity with all the rain we've had over the past 2 weeks makes being outside quite miserable. I decided to start our Sunday morning with a good breakfast. Since I had a bunch of fresh spinach in the fridge and 2 large containers of President's Feta Cheese (it's on sale at Costco right now by the way), as well as some fresh dill, I went with spinach and feta omelets for breakfast. I made two omelets, one for me and one for hubby. I lightly wilted and sautéed about 8 ounces of fresh spinach in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then moved it out of the skillet to a large cutting board. I added a bit more olive oil and sautéed 2 sliced green onions and about 1/4 cup of diced Vidalia onion until translucent and slightly caramelized. I moved that out of the skillet and wiped it clean.  I placed the sautéed spinach on a large cutting board and blotted the excess liquid out by pressing it with several paper towels, then I coarsely chopped the spinach. I chopped a few springs of fresh dill and set it aside.

I picked up a dozen Vital Farms pasture raised eggs this week and decided to give them a try this morning. They were beautiful large brown eggs with the deepest golden yolks that I've seen. I would definitely buy these eggs again. We each had a 2-egg omelet that I prepared one at a time. I added a pat of butter to the hot nonstick skillet and poured 2 beaten eggs (beaten with 1 teaspoon of water) into the sizzling butter and rolled the pan around to evenly spread the eggs in the bottom of the pan. I cooked it over medium heat until done, then scattered half of the cooked spinach and 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese, half of the chopped dill, a few grinds of black pepper, and folded it over in the skillet before sliding it onto our plates. I added the cooked onions to my omelet only since hubby isn't a huge fan. I served his omelet with turkey bacon and mine with 2 Applegate chicken sausages. It was delicious and should hold us until dinner. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Simple Cheese Toast - Using My Cheese Head Pizza Crust & New Costco Find

Happy Friday before Memorial Day! Hubby and I took off to make our weekend longer and had hoped to spend it in a little cabin in the mountains but the weather here has been awful the last 2 weeks with lots of rain all last week, this week and its predicted to continue throughout the end of NEXT week. So, we decided rather than be cooped up in cabin for the long weekend that we'd take the opportunity to hang out at home and relax, watch movies, work on a few inside projects and just take it easy. Before I tell you about this morning's brunch, I wanted to share a new Costco find with you that I found in April...Costco now sells their own superfine blanched almond flour under their Kirkland brand. It's quite reasonably priced too! It was $11.79 for a 3-lb bag at my store. I snapped a photo of it below.

We slept in this morning and I made us a "weekend breakfast" to serve as our brunch. It was pretty simple, scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar and oven baked turkey bacon. I also mixed some plain Fage yogurt with my sugar free cranberry sauce mixed with some wild frozen blueberries to serve on the side. Hubby usually likes to eat a toasted asiago bagel with his breakfast (he's not wheat free) so I told him I'd make us "cheese toast" instead (using my Cheese Head Pizza Crust). I whipped up a quick batch of my pizza dough which literally takes just minutes (I did not add any seasoning to the dough); I spread it out on a rectangular baking sheet, baked it for about 12-15 mins and then grated spicy Three Alarm Cheese over the top of the hot crust, popped it back into the oven and ran it under the broiler for about 3 minutes to get hot and bubbly, then let it cool for a bit and  cut it into "toast squares".  You could swap the spicy cheese out for whatever cheese that you prefer or simply use the crust as is like plain toast. It works great. I snapped a few photos below. You can find the recipe for my crust here: Cheese Head Pizza Crust. Enjoy!

I get this bacon from Costco


Sunday, May 20, 2018

White Pizza Topped w/ Spicy Chicken, Spinach, Roasted Tomatoes & Crispy Vidalia Onion Rings

This evening I made the best pizza ever using my Cheese Head Pizza Crust. After baking the crust, I topped it with Paesana's White NY Style Pizza Sauce, sautéed diced boneless chicken breast (seasoned with salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne), wilted baby spinach, roasted halved grape tomatoes and thinly sliced Vidalia onion tossed in olive oil, spread out on a baking sheet and roasted until caramelized and crispy. The combination was amazing. Even hubby said he thought it was the best pizza he ever ate in his life. The combination of flavors was delicious. Roasting the tomatoes intensified their flavor, roasting the Vidalia onions intensified their sweetness and the spiced chicken breast and spinach along with the white cheese sauce gave it a chicken alfredo like flavor. I snapped a number of photos and included the recipe for the crust below. I roasted the tomatoes and the onions at 400-425 degrees after tossing them with olive oil and cooking them (stirring a couple times) until they were the consistency I wanted. I used my large USA Pizza Pan for tonight's pizza, but a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper works fine as well. Enjoy!



8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
Dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked peppers, onions, mushrooms, additional cheese, etc.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet. Press dough out with oiled hands or pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of dough to help press and smooth dough out using the rubber spatula into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheese, and any desired toppings. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Easy Pan Seared Copper River Wild Salmon & Bubbies Tartar Sauce

This evening I made one of my favorite things for dinner...Pan Seared Copper River Salmon. I took 5 fillets out of the freezer before going to bed last night and placed them in the fridge. Three of my pieces were Coho and the two larger pieces were Sockeye. I spent extra time wrapping them before freezing them last year and after wrapping them I placed them in freezer Ziploc bags and removed almost all of the air. They looked just the same as the day I froze them and not a speck of freezer burn or ice crystals. I kept it super simple. I had about 1/2 of a stick left of Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter and used that to cook the salmon with in my large 12" nonstick GreenPan that has a glass lid which I really like because you can keep an eye on what's going on in the pan without opening it. It only took about 10 to 12 minutes to cook (it was still very slightly frozen/icy). I only used 3 ingredients; salmon, butter and pink sea salt. The salmon takes on a beautiful color as it begins its cooking flesh side down; the butter begins to brown and gives it a gorgeous color.

To go with our salmon, I decided to make a small batch of homemade tartar sauce (it's one of hubby's favorites). I typically don't use tartar sauce with salmon because I want to taste the salmon, but I must say...I added about 2 tablespoons to my plate and it was absolutely delicious with the salmon and did not take away from it at all. Hubby thoroughly enjoyed it. I keep Bubbies Dill Pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles and their Sauerkraut in my fridge at all times. Hubby had a piece of the Coho and I had a piece of the Coho and a small piece of the Sockeye so I could try them side by side. The Coho was slightly more mild than the Sockeye but both were delicious. Spike enjoyed a large chunk of the Sockeye broken up and mixed in with his grain free dog food; he absolutely LOVES Copper River Salmon! We usually add chopped boiled chicken breast to his food (Blue Buffalo's Freedom Grain Free) but he was so excited to find salmon in his bowl tonight instead. I've added a few photos of both our salmon and Spike's salmon dinner below as well as included the super easy peasy recipe for both the Pan Seared Salmon and the Bubbies Tartar Sauce. Enjoy!

Best Wild Salmon Ever (Copper River Wild Alaskan)

Best Tartar Sauce Ever

Spike's Salmon Dinner

Easy Pan Seared Copper River Wild Salmon w/ Bubbies Tartar Sauce


For the Salmon

Four 4-ounce pieces of wild salmon (preferably Alaskan), patted dry
4 to 6 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter, but plain is fine)
Sea salt, to taste

For the Tartar Sauce
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
Approximately 1/3 cup diced bread & butter or dill pickles (I used Bubbies Bread & Butter)
1 to 2 tablespoons pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or regular yellow mustard)


To prepare salmon:  Heat a large nonstick skillet (or cast iron, if preferred) over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoons butter to skillet. When butter begins to sizzle, swirl the skillet around to evenly coat the bottom. Place salmon fillets flesh side down and cook partially covered for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness (add a couple minutes if partially frozen). When salmon begins to brown, flip fillets over and continue cooking covered over low-medium heat for an additional 4 to 6 minutes (you may need to reduce heat to low if butter begins browning too quickly). During the last couple minutes of cooking, top each fillet with a small pat of butter and season to taste with salt. Salmon is done when it flakes or separates when pressed. If desired, serve with tartar sauce on the side (recipe below).

To prepare tartar sauce:  Combine all tartar sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to your own taste. Tartar sauce is best if made ahead of time and allowed to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or more to allow flavors to blend. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Burger Parmigiana over Non-Watery Zoodles

This evening I didn't have any meat thawed for dinner so I grabbed a bag of burgers that I had made several months ago, double wrapped and froze (raw). I added them to a skillet with some olive oil, covered the pan and cooked over medium heat until they thawed and cooked (it took about 15-20 minutes). I flipped them a couple times. I moved the burgers aside to a plate and added 1/2 of a diced Vidalia onion to the pan and cooked for about 5 to 7 minutes until translucent and caramelized. I returned the 3 burgers to the pan with the onions and poured a jar of Classico's Riserva Arrabbiata sauce over top of the burgers. I wanted a spicy sauce to contrast the sweetness from the Vidalia onions. I covered the pan and simmered the burgers on low for about 20 minutes. While I was cooking the burgers, I pulled out my Paderno Spiralizer and quickly made a huge pile of zoodles using 5 medium-large zucchinis. It took about 3 to 4 minutes. They are so much fresher than those you purchase pre-spiralized in the store and when you realize how quickly you can make a bunch at a fraction of the cost, it will easily justify purchasing this spiralizer. Plus, I think there is something fun about using it. It cleans up so easily by simply rinsing with water and lightly wiping with a paper towel with a drop of dish soap. Just shake it off and place on the counter or in a dish rack and allow it to dry naturally overnight. One of the things many don't like about using zoodles is they can be so watery. I found a way to take care of that by layering the raw zoodles between paper towels (lightly salting to help draw out excess liquid), rolling them up and allowing to wick out the excess liquid. I actually dedicated an entire blog post on "How to Make Non-Watery Zoodles" that you can find by clicking the bolded blog title with that name on the line above.

After the burgers simmered in the sauce, I removed the pot from the heat and topped each with a slice of Bel Gioioso fresh mozzarella cheese and topped with a pinch of dried basil and gave the cheese a few minutes to melt. After my zoodles had sat for a while (at least 30 minutes, but the longer the can make them the night before, roll-up and place in the fridge overnight), I did a quick saute in a bit of olive oil in a nonstick pan (just a couple of minutes on medium high while tossing frequently). I cooked half of the zoodles I made and did it in 2 separate batches. I rolled up the other half of uncooked zoodles and placed on a plate in the fridge to use in the next day or two. I transferred the cooked zoodles to a mesh strainer over a bowl to allow any juices from cooking to drain off. To store leftover cooked zoodles, I line a bowl with a white paper towel and place the zoodles on that and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. I served the Burger Parmigiana over zoodles and we added finely grated Parmesan cheese to our burgers at the table before eating. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!