Greetings Froggy friend! I hope today finds you well.
So, I’ve been at it again in the kitchen and I am really excited to be sharing this recipe with you. Not only because it is super easy to prepare, but it’s a great light but flavorful meal option for those hot summer days to come.
I was recently scoping www.kraftrecipes.com. I was looking for something different for dinner. I knew I didn’t want something that involved a lot of prep, but something that still had a lot of flavor. I wanted something different, but not something that would scare my family away from the dinner table. I found this and new immediately that I had found a winner. I was so excited about this recipe that I actually used my lunch hour from work to pick up the ingredients from the grocery store.
Place fish fillets, skin-sides down, in a 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Combine remaining ingredients; spoon over fish.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork
I actually used two good-sized salmon filets that totaled a pound and a half.
I used a whole 5-ounce package of fresh spinach instead of measuring it.
I love tomatoes so I used two medium-to-large tomatoes.
I used a whole large container of sliced white button mushrooms.
Because of the increased amount of spinach and mushrooms I used 2/3 cup of salad dressing.
Because I had essentially doubled the amount of veggies in this recipe, and because the size of the fish fillets were almost doubled also my cook time ended up being 35 minutes, and boy did my kitchen smell fantastic!
My husband loved this recipe so much, which made me very happy. He loves fish, and I love using fresh tomatoes (especially when they are in season) and mushrooms in my cooking. To have those mixed with the fish and the spinach made for a perfect dinner. Although, I will admit that he did look a little nervous while I was preparing the meal but he was pleasantly surprised when he took that first bite.
While mixing the veggies and dressing in the bowl I also realized that this would make a super-delicious spinach salad. Just bake or grill the salmon filets alone. Let them cool and then flake them into the bowl with the uncooked veggies. A simple, light and delicious salad for that is perfect for lunch or dinner.
I showed this recipe to a friend and she said that it sounded really good, but she didn’t like salmon because of its very strong flavor. Don’t let the fish choice scare you away from this recipe if salmon just isn’t your thing. Try substituting your favorite fish, like maybe red snapper or orange roughy filets. You know how I feel about getting creative in the kitchen. All it takes is just one ingredient substitution and before you know it you have created your very own dinner masterpiece.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and I did. If you have any favorite recipes that you would like to share with me and, with your permission allow me to share with Froggyland, feel free to send them to me. I love to swap recipes and find out what’s cooking in the kitchens of Froggyland. You can email me at email@example.com or send them to me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/heather.mcribbits. I look forward to hearing from you.
Next time . . . farmers markets, my favorite way to buy produce, jams, jellies, even baked goods. Fresh, locally grown or made and so delicious.
Greetings, Froggy friend! I hope today finds you well.
So, it’s been awhile since I have shared with you a favorite recipe of mine. But have no fear because I have been cooking up a storm and have the tighter jeans and higher number on the scale to prove it. EEK!
My family love love loves pizza. My husband doesn’t cook often but when he does he likes to get the Chef Boyardee pizza-in-a-box mixes. He makes the crust and then the debate is on in our kitchen over favorite toppings. He likes pepperoni. I like hamburger and mushrooms. My step-daughter has to have black olives and my son just wants cheese. Needless to say that by the time the pizza is done we need a forklift to get the slices onto our plates.
I was on Facebook a few days ago and saw that a friend had posted a recipe for Pizza Casserole. I was intrigued because I adore casseroles as much as pizza. Casseroles are great because you just throw a whole bunch of stuff into a dish, bake it for a little while and you have dinner. Plus casseroles generally mean leftovers, so that means plenty for lunchboxes the next day. When I saw the recipe on Facebook for Pizza Casserole I knew that I had to make this for my family.
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 (24 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1 (16 ounce) container cottage cheese
1 (2 1/4 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained (optional)
1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 (3 ounce) packages sliced pepperoni
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until evenly brown, drain grease. Mix in the cooked pasta and pasta sauce. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, olives, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.
Spoon the cheese mixture over the sausage and pasta mixture. Top with pepperoni slices.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.
Instead of canned mushrooms I used fresh, sliced white button mushrooms.
My family is not overly fond of sausage on pizza so I browned up some ground beef.
After the ground beef was browned and drained I mixed the mushrooms in with the sauce and pasta noodles instead of with the cheese mixture.
Next time I make it I am going to add a little basil and garlic to the sauce.
A friend made this also. Instead of sausage she used crumbled bacon. Yum!
The fun thing about making pizza at home is that you can personalize it any way that you want. This casserole is absolutely no different. I turned out so delicious that my husband informed me that I would be making it again . . . SOON! My son, who wrinkled his nose in disgust while watching me make the casserole, was soon shoveling it into his mouth while trying to tell me that he loved it also.
I’d say that the pizza casserole is a hit in my house and I hope it’s a hit in yours as well.
Greetings, Froggy friend! I hope you are doing well.
So pardon me for a moment while I voice my opinion on a subject that is extremely important to the world today . . . Girl Scout cookies.
This is a great time of year because young ladies all over the country are delivering those sweet treats that are Girl Scout cookies. Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs, Trefoils and the list goes on.
I have been a connoisseur of those delicious little cookies since I was a Girl Scout myself many, many, many (alright, maybe not THAT many) years ago. Like many people I am a Thin Mint girl. My son is a big fan of the minty, chocolaty goodness, as well. My husband, on the other hand, likes the Do-si-dos. Which ones were those, you ask? You know, they’re the peanut butter ones. The sandwich cookie peanut butter ones? OH! Except now they are no longer Do-si-dos. Now they are the peanut butter sandwich cookie. How boring! The name Do-si-do was a much more fun name. It sounded like that cookie just wanted to get out and do some square dancing with the Thin Mints.
This year at Froggy Davey Croakett was our resident Girl Scout cookie vendor. He brought his daughters order form to work and nobody could resist the tempting lure of mint, chocolate, peanut butter, lemon or coconut. Everybody placed an order for several boxes. I am going home today with the 10 boxes I ordered. I’ve been known to order more (you have to stock up for the year) but I have to get all these cookies home and my trunk is only so big.
While trying to remember which ones I ordered and sorting them out of the stacks and stacks of cookies in Davey’s office I discovered, to my horror and astonishment, that they all (except, thankfully, for the Thin Mints) have new names. AGH!!!!! Now they are all named exactly what they are.
I don’t deal with change well. I am stubborn and set in my ways. This is a bad quality that has gotten me into trouble more than once. With enough convincing though, eventually I will come around . . . sometimes. But on the topic of cookie names I will forever remain staunch. No longer will I be able to place an order for Do-si-dos. Instead I will have to order the peanut butter sandwich cookie. No more Tagalongs. Now they are peanut butter patties. Goodbye Trefoils. Hello shortbreads. It’s a sad day in the Girl Scout cookie world. Just as long as the Thin Mint doesn’t get it’s named changed then I guess all will be well with the world. Chocolate mint wafer just doesn’t have the same ring. That would be like renaming a diamond as that clear shiny piece of coal.
So I will go home tonight and enjoy some yummy cookies with a big glass of milk and remember fondly the days when the cookies had fun names to go along with their the chocolaty, peanut buttery, lemony goodness.
The countdown is on. I impatiently wait all winter for this countdown. The countdown to hot dogs and cloudless afternoons under the hot summer sun. The countdown to renewed hope for the new season. The countdown to singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch in a stadium filled with a sea of red t-shirts and ball caps. The countdown to grand slams and “Go crazy, folks!” The countdown to Mike Shannon and John Rooney calling play-by-play on the radio and John Ulett at the stadium. The countdown to a majestic team of Clydesdales making their opening day lap around the stadium, and “meeting at Musial.” The countdown to America’s pastime with a team that doesn’t always win, but never goes down without a fight. The countdown to opening day with the birds on the bat. The countdown to St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
I was raised in St. Louis, where baseball is not just a sport but a way of life. Opening day at Busch Stadium might as well be a holiday in St. Louis because everybody plays hooky from work and floods downtown hoping to see “That’s a winner!” on the scoreboard with a big red “W” at the end of the game. Every April Cardinal Nation knows that fall ball is waiting for our beloved team at the end of the 162 game rollercoaster of a season. “Playoffs” becomes our mantra as we stay devoted through streaks of wins and losses today, because with our Cardinals tomorrow’s game could change everything.
We honor those that made Cardinal history so great: Stan The Man, Whitey Herzog, Dizzy Dean, Ozzie Smith, Tony LaRussa, the Gashouse Gang, Jack Buck (I know he technically wasn’t a Cardinal, but he was the greatest announcer the Cardinals have ever had), Ernie Hays (again, technically not a Cardinal, but he was the greatest organ player to ever grace Busch Stadium) and so many others. Without the foundation that those players laid for the team there would be no future to strive for. And while honoring the storied history of the Cardinals we cheer for those players that bring great hope for the future of the team.
Cardinal pitchers and catchers reported to Jupiter, Florida on Monday and started workouts on Tuesday. It is official . . . spring training has started!!! In March my husband will lose me to the other men in my life. Yadier Molina, Jason Motte, Mike Matheny, David Freese and the rest of the team. Yes, my poor husband will become a baseball widow. He’ll watch the games with me on tv (though I honestly prefer listening to them on the radio), and he’ll question my sanity as I yell at a bad call. The look on his face as he watched me during game 6 of the 2011 World Series was priceless. Then we won game 7. I was screaming, yelling and crying with pride and joy. He looked at me like I had serious issues, but I was so proud to be a member of the fan base that had just cheered our boys to a World Series victory. The Cardinals didn’t win the trophy that year. All of Cardinal Nation won it, and brought it home on the shoulders of an amazing team that just wouldn’t quit.
In 2012, when our season ended in the playoffs, Cardinal Nation didn’t join together in a collective red-clad pout. We knew that our Cardinals played their hardest and that 2013 would bring a clean slate to tally the wins on.
So now it’s time to bring my number 4 Molina shirt out of storage and dust off the bright red baseball cap. It’s time for me to practice “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and change my ringtone to “Here Comes The King.” It’s time for my co-workers to get tired of hearing me talk about one of my greatest loves in life . . . the St. Louis Cardinals, because I am a proud member of Cardinal Nation.
We are old. We are young. We are children with big dreams. We are the parents and grandparents wanting to share our love for a team that is not always the best in the league but is the best in our hearts. We are friends spending an evening together under the lights of Busch Stadium on a warm summer night. We are fathers and sons discussing favorite players while playing catch. We are the couple who gets married at home plate. We are the school teacher who will forego lessons so her students can watch the daytime playoff game on tv in class (my 3rd grade teacher). We are the ones who camp out at the stadium for tickets to opening day. We are the ones who lay flowers in front of the stadium when part of our history passes away. We are wins and losses and cheering through it all. We are the birds on the bat. We are Cardinal Nation!
So I will be totally honest. I am scared of large cuts of meat. More specifically, I am scared of roasts. They are big and they are thick and there is a lot that can go wrong when cooking them. I have only cooked two roasts in my life and they both, thankfully, came out quite tasty. I was very nervous about them both though. My comfort zone when it comes to meat products leans more towards patties or ground up. I like to cook with something small and manageable, and inexpensive. A really good roast can get a smidge on the pricey side of the grocery bill which is worth it if all goes well in the kitchen, but can be a very expensive mess-up if things don’t go as planned.
There are only so many things that I can do with ground hamburger or turkey before my family starts screaming at me for something different. Do you know what I mean? They see me cutting open the 1-pound cow-log and start rolling their eyes before I can tell them that we aren’t having Hamburger Helper for the 17th time this month. We’re having something different, something exciting . . . we’re having spaghetti with meat sauce! Cue the eye-rolling and sighs and pleading for the drive-thru. Don’t get me wrong. My family is a meat eating bunch . . . except for my son. If it isn’t chicken nuggets, he isn’t eating it. My culinary experimentation over the years, though, have lead them to want something new and exciting to emerge magically from the kitchen every night. Sometimes I just don’t have the time or patience for “new and exciting.” Sometimes I want to “just add water” and be done with the meal for the night.
The first roast I made was the typical skillet-seared, slow-cooked roast with onions, potatoes and carrots. My family loved it and has been begging since then for me to do another one. That was about 2 ½ years ago. I figured the success with that first one was just a fluke and didn’t want to tempt Fate or her over-caramelizing tendencies again. Basically, I have been reluctant to do another one because I didn’t want to serve my family burned shoe leather. Gross! Even gravy couldn’t make that go down easily.
On Superbowl Sunday my husband and I were in a small market that has an amazing meat section: very pretty cuts and very pretty prices. I found a 2-pound pork loin roast for a price that would not let me pass it up. In the store I googled “pork loin roast slow-cooker” to see if I could find a simple recipe that would be pretty fool proof. I did! Hooray! I took the roast home and followed the recipe almost to the tee and a few hours later I had my 2nd success with a roast. I was very proud of myself. That doesn’t mean I am not still leery of large cuts of meat. One day I know I will cook one that will come out so burned and dry that my family will immediately head for the drive-thru without a word. Until then, though, I have 2 roast successes under my belt and that makes me a happy home chef.
What I love about the recipes on the website is that other people who have tried that recipe can comment with their success, failures, and variations. After reading through the recipe I scanned the comments and found a couple of tasty variations for preparing my roast.
Amazing Pork Tenderloin in the Slow Cooker
1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
3/4 cup red wine
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with the contents of the soup packet. Pour water, wine, and soy sauce over the top, turning the pork to coat. Carefully spread garlic over the pork, leaving as much on top of the roast during cooking as possible. Sprinkle with pepper, cover, and cook on low setting for 4 hours. Serve with cooking liquid on the side as au jus.
After skimming through the comments I found someone who used beef stock as the bulk of their liquid in the slow cooker. My husband and I are not wine drinkers, so I substituted all of the wine and all of the water for beef stock. I also saw a comment from a couple of people who thickened the au jus with corn starch or flour after cooking the roast to make very flavorful gravy. I used corn starch so my gravy wouldn’t have that uncooked floury taste. I let the gravy thicken in the slow-cooker (set on high and uncovered) while preparing the rest of the meal
On the side I made some oven-roasted red potatoes. I quartered them, drizzled them with olive oil and kosher salt and baked them in a 400-degree oven for about 55 minutes, or until they were tender. I also served some pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives. Though I would love to take the credit for making the pasta salad I can not. The bought that pre-made from the deli counter at the market. My husband was so pleased with how the roast came out that I didn’t hear one word from him as he was eating. No happy eating sounds, like “mmm” or anything. He was too busy shoving roast in his mouth. So was I though. He has already informed me that I have to make this again. Heathers roast (thanks to allrecipes.com) for the win!
If you have any special ways of preparing a roast I would love to hear it. Or if you have any other favorite recipes of any kind share those also. You can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heather.mcribbits or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. With your permission I would love to share your favorite recipes with Froggyland.