Baked Salmon Filets Dijon

We eat salmon almost every Friday.  I don't like fish very much and it is the one kind I will eat.  This is a recipe that I have been making for many years.  The mustard and bread crumb topping make the salmon taste great and even my kids like it.  You can substitute margarine or Smart Balance for a version with even less fat.  You can also make this recipe with less salmon.  I used to make it with 3/4 -1 pound of salmon, but have recently been buying larger amounts because my boys are eating more.

Baked Salmon Filets Dijon:
click here for printable version

1.25 pounds salmon filets
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup Italian Style bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.  Place salmon on foil skin side down.
Season each fillet lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the top of each filet.

Cover the mustard layer with the bread crumbs.  Melt the butter in the microwave and drizzle over the top of the filets.

Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the filets are opaque in the center and flake.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

This is a very easy, healthy meal that is extremely versatile.  You can use chicken, beef or shrimp and almost any veggie you have in your refrigerator.  My kids prefer it with the soba noodles, but you can also serve it over brown rice for another healthy option.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry:
click here for printable version

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
2 cups broccoli florets
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
Other possible vegetables: celery, carrots, bell pepper, canned chinese vegetables
8 ounces dried soba noodles
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar, seasoned
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce in a large skillet, add the onions and garlic, and saute until opaque.
Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir together the oil, vinegar and ginger and add to the skillet.
Put vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 3 minutes (a little longer if you are using carrots or celery)
Add the vegetables to the meat mixture.

Cook the soba noodles for 3 minutes and drain.  Add to the skillet.
Season mixture with remaining 5 tablespoons of soy sauce and the Chinese 5 spice.
Mix well and serve.

Choucroute Garni

This was Thomas' request for his birthday dinner.  This is our traditional Oktoberfest meal.  We actually came up with it on our own, combining a bunch of different ideas from other recipes we had seen.  We used bratwurst and boneless smoked pork chops, but you can use any type of German sausage that you like.  We also decided that next time we are going to add a couple of peeled, red potatoes to the pot.  Guten Appetit!

Choucroute Garni:
click here for printable version

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 granny smith apple, grated
1 red potato, grated
2 pounds of sauerkraut, drained
1-14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup Riesling or other white wine
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds bratwurst (or any German sausage)
1 pound smoked boneless pork chops, cut into chunks

Melt butter in large Dutch oven and add the bratwurst.
Brown the bratwurst and remove to a plate.
Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
Add the sauerkraut, saute for 3 minutes.
Place cloves and bay leaves in cheesecloth tied with butcher string.
Add the potato, apple, brown sugar, cloves and bay leaves.
Stir, add the bratwurst, pork chops, wine and chicken broth.

Simmer for at least one hour.

You've Been Warned

Thomas and I wanted to let you know that you will be seeing more healthy recipes here. This is not by choice :-) We are currently on a diet and will be until the week before Christmas. We try to cook great-tasting dishes, that are low in fat, during the week. The good news is that for our sake, and yours, we take Sundays off!

Chicken and Dumplings

This is an easy, one-pot, weeknight meal that is super satisfying.  Thomas is always happy to see this cooking on the stove when he gets home from work.  It is especially great on a cold day!  It is also a good way to sneak some veggies into your kids dinner!  

Chicken and Dumplings:
adapted from Rachael Ray
click here for printable version 

1-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 russet or 2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart chicken broth or stock
1 small box of instant biscuit mix i.e. Jiffy Mix
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
1 cup frozen peas

Cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces and set aside.
Chop all vegetables.

Put a large pot on the stove over medium high heat.  Add oil, butter, vegetables and bay leaf, cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Add the flour to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken and stir.
Combine the biscuit mix, warm water and parsley in a bowl.  Drop tablespoons of mix into the pot, spacing dumplings evenly.  Cover the pot tightly and reduce the heat to medium low.
Steam the dumplings 8-10 minutes.
Remove the cover and stir the chicken and dumplings gently to thicken the sauce.
Stir in the peas.

Apple Crisp

This is one of the easiest desserts to make and is really great with in-season apples.  I prefer Granny Smith, but if you only have sweet apples you can put a little bit of lemon juice over them.

Apple Crisp:
click here for printable version

6 cups sliced apples (approx. 4 apples)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8 x 8 pan with non-stick spray.  Add the sliced apples.

Mix the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and cut with a pastry blender or fork.

Cover the apples with the topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Shells with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream

This is one of those dishes that tastes like it took hours but really didn't!  I would definitely splurge and make it with fresh rosemary and parsley, as opposed to dried.  You can also substitute fresh tomatoes for the canned. This is adapted from a recipe in The Classic Pasta Cookbook. We LOVE this book.  It has fantastic pictures and step-by-step instructions on how to create authentic Italian recipes.

Shells with Sausages, Tomatoes and Cream:
click here for a printable version 

12 ounces pasta shells
3 links (approximately 1/2-1 pound) Italian pork sausages
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
3- 14 ounce cans of whole tomatoes( 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes) peeled, seeded and diced
*note* reserve 1/4 cup of the juice from the canned tomatoes or from fresh tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Boil the sausages in water for 2-3 minutes.  When they are cool to handle, slice them into thin rounds.

Boil water for the pasta.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and cook until browned.

Add the rosemary, tomatoes and 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice.  Cook until the juice has evaporated and the tomatoes have started to break down: about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, when boiling,add 1 tablespoon of salt to the pasta water and cook the pasta.
Add the red pepper flakes and salt to the sauce.  Pour in the cream and add the parsley.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the cream has reduced by half.  Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and toss it with the sauce and the grated cheese.
Buon Appetito!

Apple Cream Cheese Pie

This is a spectacular recipe from Pillsbury for Apple Cream Cheese Pie.  One change that I am going to make the next time I bake this, is to make a homemade crust and not use the refrigerated one.  I also used low-fat cream cheese.  If you don't have apple pie spice, a recipe for it follows in the ingredients list. Happy Fall!

Apple Cream Cheese Pie:
click here for printable version

1 refrigerated pie crust
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/3 cup butter
Apple Layer:
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
Cream Cheese Layer:
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Apple Pie Spice (makes 2 tablespoons):
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Follow the directions on the pie crust box for a one-crust baked pie shell.  Using a 9 inch pie pan, roll out crust and prick the bottom and sides.  Bake for 9 minutes.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, stir together streusel ingredients, except the butter.  Cut up the butter into pieces and cut in with a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside.

Gently mix apple layer ingredients; set aside.

Next, beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup granulated sugar on low speed until well-blended.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

Spread the cream cheese filling into the baked pie crust.
Spoon apple mixture evenly over cream cheese layer.

Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apple layer.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the streusel layer is golden brown.  If necessary cover the edges of the pie with a crust cover or with tin foil to prevent overbrowning.  Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Dijon Tarragon Chicken

This is a great weeknight meal; quick and easy.  I adapted this from a Rachael Ray recipe.  It does taste better with fresh tarragon but I use dried most of the time.  You can make it with chicken tenders, breasts, or with the chicken cut into chunks.  It is a very versatile recipe.  Enjoy!

Dijon Tarragon Chicken: 
Adapted from Rachael Ray
click here for a printable version

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons dried
salt and pepper

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Bring 2 cans chicken broth to a boil.  Add chicken to the broth, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Poach chicken about 12 minutes.

Remove chicken to a plate and pour broth into a large measuring cup or bowl.  Return the pan to the heat and add the butter.  When the butter is melted add the flour and whisk for about a minute.  Slowly pour some of the broth back into the sauce until it is thickened to your liking.  Stir in the mustard and tarragon.

Return the chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce.  Simmer 2-3 minutes to heat the chicken through.
Serve with rice or noodles.


My first encounter with New Orleans' famous muffuletta (pronounced "Muff-uh-lotta") sandwich occurred when I was about 7 or 8 years old during a family outing to the French Quarter.  Both of my parents are natives of the New Orleans area and we were frequent visitors to this colorful corner of Louisiana throughout my childhood.  However, we almost always stayed within the confines of the suburb of Metairie, where the nucleus of my extended family lived.  During this one memorable summer trip, my parents decided to act like tourists instead of natives.  So, we loaded up the station wagon and motored down to the Vieux CarrĂ©.

The "centerpiece" of our New Orleans excursion was a riverboat ride on the mighty Mississippi.  No, this was not a short excursion on one of those picturesque reminders of the days when stern wheel steamboats were the engines of economy for the central United States.  A cruise on the Natchez was exactly what my siblings and I wanted.  Instead, my parents apparently found some great deal on the modern river cruiser Jean Lafitte (apparently, this boat is no longer in operation -at least in the same capacity).  What resulted was a four hour trip down the Mississippi and into a few adjacent bayous.  I recall being very excited to be on an honest-to-goodness boat as we first left the dock. However, four hours trapped on a slow boat is akin to torture for an eight year old boy, and the novelty of the cruise wore off after about 45 minutes.  Recommendation to future New Orleans visitors with children: Ride one of the steamboats instead!

Thankfully, before we embarked on our four hour cruise, we did get a filling lunch!  We made a pilgrimage of sorts to the "Home of the Original Muffuletta": Central Grocery on Decatur Street.  Entering Central Grocery for the first time felt like I was stepping into another country.  I distinctly remember the "foreign" sights of dried, salted fish sitting in an open box (with flies buzzing around), as well as the cans of escargot - each topped with a plastic container full of snail shells.  The smell was also strangely intriguing to my young nose - a pungent and overpowering blend of fragrances that rode a fine line between sickening and pleasing (depending on which aisle I visited, no doubt).  When we ordered our sandwiches from the deli counter, I was most impressed with the sheer size of the Muffuletta.  I'm sure my 8-year old mind thought quite simply, "I'm going to eat the biggest sandwich ever!"

Since my family did not live close enough to New Orleans to hop down to Decatur for an "original" Muffuletta, we tried to play along at home and do our own version of this famous sandwich.  My mother has tweaked her recipe a bit over the years, but the version I present below is essentially the latest incarnation of my Mom's recipe.  Unlike the Central Grocery version, ours is served heated in order to melt the cheese and crisp the bread.  Our selection of meats is also a bit different from the Central Grocery original, but it is certainly still tasty.

The one indispendible ingredient for a muffuletta is olive salad.  I believe that, until recently, olive salad was only easy to find in the New Orleans area (or wherever there was a concentration of New Orleans "expats").  However, this does not appear to be the case any longer - Molly recently saw New Orleans olive salad in one of our local Kroger stores right here in Lexington, KY.  Also, a quick Google search revealed several internet sources for authentic muffuletta olive salad.  Since olive salad keeps well at normal temperatures in a sealed jar, ordering some over the internet is probably not a bad option (though, you should check your local supermarket just in case).  There are also numerous recipes for olive salad available on the internet (or, in my family) and it is relatively easy to make your own.  Luckily, I have an aunt who makes a batch every year and gives us a jar for Christmas.

If you want a truly authentic Muffuletta, you have to have Muffuletta bread.  The problem is that the large, round, seeded Italian loaf is not readily available outside of New Orleans.  Sure, there are mail order sources (like this one) who will ship the bread to you.  However, I'm not sure how well the bread can survive a cross-country trip.  DIY is certainly always an option if you're so inclined - internet recipes abound once again.  For me, the best second choice is a good loaf of french bread (that would make it a "Frenchuletta").  In our case, we happened to import the bread ourselves from a recent trip down south and stuck it in the freezer.  This is a good short term (month or so) alternative, but you need to be careful with freezer burn affecting the flavor of the bread.

click here for printable version

2 loaves of Muffuletta bread
~1 1/2 cup of prepared olive salad
1/4 pound thinly sliced deli Ham
1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa Salami
1/4 pound thinly sliced Provolone cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced Baby Swiss cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for basting)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Next, slice your bread and open the two halves (we only had a loaf and a half for the photo session).  Baste both sides with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Next, place a generous layer of ham on the bottom half of your sandwich.

Continue with a layer of Genoa salami.

Next comes the cheese. First, a single layer of baby swiss....

...followed by a single layer of Provolone.

Now, place the sandwich in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the bread is slightly crisped, and the meat is warmed through. Be careful not to burn the bread, of course!

For the final step of assembly, spoon the olive salad onto the top of the melted cheese and "put the lid on" with the top piece of bread.

You probably ought to do a few mouth stretches before attempting to take a bite of this beast of a sandwich. Enjoy!


Welcome to our new food blog. We are definitely a "Foodie Family". We love food - talking about it, preparing it, eating it and critiquing it. We really wanted to have a place to share some of the meals that we love to prepare and eat.
You can expect to see a wide variety of recipes here. Thomas often enjoys the challenge of cooking an intricate, multi-step recipe. Molly, on the other hand, often opts for the quicker weekday meals, while handling all of the baking and dessert duties. We hope you enjoy coming here and love the food as much as we do!