New Year's Surf and Turf, Steak and Lobster

Surf and TurfHappy New Year! I am re-posting my "special" New Year's Eve dinner for two.  Now that the kids are grown and time marches on, we celebrate at home and I make this special dinner. 

I'm also serving twice baked potatoes which I have on hand because I made a big batch this past month and vacuumed sealed them in the freezer.

The first time I recall eating lobster was after I was out of college, married, and celebrating a special occasion at a restaurant.

Oh my it was delightful!  I of course have ordered it since over the years, on special occasions, or ordered "surf and turf," as I do love beef.

In the last few years, my local grocery store has held "specials" on 4 - 5 oz. lobster tails for around $5 a piece. They've offered this around Valentine's Day or near Christmas, so I stock up, vacuum seal and freeze them.

Then every month or so, I make an extra special dinner for the two of us, like I did this past New Year's Eve.  Knowing what restaurants charge for such a meal, justifies a food splurge for one meal at home, as it feels economical, but not a real budget buster.  It's the fanciest meal I make with the "wow factor" for presentation!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppAt first I had no idea how to cook a lobster tail, but looked up info and settled on this method.

Surf and Turf, Lobster and Beef
4 oz. or larger lobster tail(s)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
lemon and lemon juice
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
4 - 5 oz. steak, of choice: New York, Sirloin, 3/4 inch thick
steak rub seasoning
steamer pan

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppWith kitchen scissors, cut lobster shells up middle of the back to near the end of tail, and with fingers gently spread shell, nudging meat from the inside, and lifting it out and up, leaving end attached, then letting meat rest on top of shell.

Fill sauce pan with 1-2 inches of water, add 2 Tabs. lemon juice, minced garlic, and Old Bay.  Set steamer pan on top, place lobsters in and cover.

Bring water to a boil, turn down and steam for 7 minutes.  Shells will turn bright red, and meat will no longer look translucent. Don't over cook, or lobster meat will become tough. Serve with melted butter mixed with lemon juice for dipping, and a lemon wedge.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMeanwhile for the beef, preheat oven to 350. Oil and season steak with salt and pepper or a steak rub, and fry 2 minutes on each side in smoking hot skillet, to sear.  Then put skillet in oven for 6 minutes for medium rare.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

I also serve with a Twice Baked Potato and a salad.

Estimated cost with potato and salad: $8 per person.

Cheesy Potato Fans

Fan PotatoesSaw these fancy baked potatoes on Pinterest and had to try them. They look so pretty for presentation on a plate next to a serving of meat and a vegetable.  And what's more economical than potatoes served with a few tablespoons of your choice of toppings.

Years ago I saw Martha Stewart do something similar, brushing butter and spices in between the potato slices.

When wanting"fancy" baked type potatoes for a meal, I make these or twice baked potatoes. 

Cheesy Potato Fans
  • 4  medium potatoes, scrubbed
    2 Tabs. olive oil
    salt and pepper
    Optional Toppings: 
    a mixture of bread crumbs, butter, and cheese 
    or a seasoned cheese or spice mixture 
    Fan Potatoes
  • Preheat oven to 450.
    Cut 1/4 inch off bottom and ends of potatoes, so potato lays flat, then slice potatoes crosswise at 1/4-inch intervals, leaving 1/4 inch of potato intact.  

    To avoid slicing all the way though the potato and evenly cut down, lay a ruler, chop stick, or thin pencil behind the potato to stop the knife as you slice down. 

    Rinse potatoes under running water, drain, and put sliced-side down, onto a microwave safe plate. Microwave until slightly soft to the touch, 6 to 12 minutes. Flip potatoes halfway through cooking.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange potatoes, sliced-side up. Brush potatoes all over and in between slices with oil and also season with salt and pepper. 

    Bake until skin is crisp and potatoes begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and heat broiler.
  • Using a teaspoon, top potatoes with mixture of choice, pressing gently in between sections and on top to adhere. Broil until topping is golden brown and melted, about 3 minutes. Serves 4.

    Estimated cost:  under $1.00 for 4 servings; .25 cents or less per serving.

Canape Bread Molds

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppIf you enjoy baking bread, these canape molds are a fun way to make unique appetizers or finger sandwiches for any occasion.  I mix the dough in my bread machine using the dough cycle, then divide in three pieces.

I found the molds several years ago at a thrift store, and HAD to have a new kitchen gadget to try!  The recipe was on the box. You can find molds at kitchenware shops or for around $15.

After spraying the interior with non-stick cooking spray, dough is put into the tube and allowed to rise. The lid is then added and the tubes baked in the oven.

Canape BreadCommercial frozen dough can be used. Molds can also be used for cake mixes, or quick breads by putting foil on bottom then capping, so batter does not leak, then filling 2/3 full with no top cap and baking upright. 

Be creative and adapt your own bread or cake recipes for parties or appetizer trays.  Wouldn't any "foodie" cook love receiving a set of these as a gift? Or bake a loaf for a gift basket or hostess gift!

Honey Canape Bread
2 Tabs. warm water
2 tsp. active yeast
1 -1/8 cups warm milk
1/3 cup honey
1/3 tsp. salt
3 cups flour

If using bread machine on dough cycle, add ingredients according to manual.  Otherwise, start by adding yeast to 2 tablespoons of warm water (105-115 degrees) stir and let set 5 minutes until foamy.

Canape BreadThen in a bowl mix warm milk, honey, and salt.  Add yeast mixture then flour, one cup at a time mixing until smooth.  Knead dough 10 minutes and form a ball. Place in a greased bowl and turn dough to grease all sides; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size (about an hour to an hour and a half.)

Canape BreadPunch down and divide into 3 parts.  Shape each into a roll almost the length of the mold (one or two inches shorter) and place into sprayed mold.  Dough should fill less than half the mold.  Let rise in a warm place until uncapped molds are filled or near filled, about 40-60 minutes.  Put on caps and bake on sides placing on middle rack of oven of 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 375 and bake 25 more minutes.

Remove from oven and let set about 5-10 minutes, remove caps and shake or tap out loaves.  Allow to cool completely or partially freeze before cutting into desired thickness for making canapes.

Estimated cost of  3 canape loaves: $1.00 or less; molds new cost about $15 or less for a set of three.

Eggnog Pound Cake & Variations

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppPound cake is one of the first items I learned to bake when marrying.  I use my grandmother's tried and true recipe as a base for different flavors of pound cake.  

Her original recipe uses milk, but I substituted with commercial eggnog and added nutmeg.

I suggested other variations (see below) of this recipe, as it's easy to alter flavors.

Pound cake freezes well, so is handy to have on hand for a family or guest dessert, serving a slice with with berries, ice cream, glazed toppings or syrups. 

When strawberries are in season, I use her original recipe as a base for strawberry shortcake.

For the just the two of us, I especially like making mini-loaves and freezing. For the holidays, they're great for gift bags or baskets.

Eggnog Pound Cake
Eggnog Pound Cake, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App1/2 pound butter, 2 cubes at room temperature
2  cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups flour
3/4 cup commercial eggnog
1 large loaf pan, or 4 mini loaf pans
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar. Cut butter into small pieces or soften. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down sides while adding each egg to completely blend. 
Add flour and mix, one cup cup at a time, then add baking powder and nutmeg, mixing until combined.  Add eggnog and mix until batter is smooth.

Pour or scoop into a sprayed loaf pan or evenly divide into 4 mini loaf pans. Bake until golden and done: 60 to 70 minutes for large loaf or 40 to 50 minutes for mini loafs. Insert a toothpick into center to test if done, it should come out clean.

Let rest 8-10 minutes before removing from pan.  Makes 16 servings.

Use 3/4 cup of milk or sour cream instead off eggnog.
Lemon Pound Cake: add a teaspoon of lemon extract and/or lemon zest; or 3 Tabs. of lemon juice
Chocolate Pound Cake: add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
Vanilla Pound Cake: add a teaspoon vanilla extract
Or add poppy seeds. chocolate chips, cinnamon -- or your own creative ideas!

Estimated Cost: $4.00 or less; $1.00 a loaf, .25 cents a serving or less.

Crunchy White Chocolate Peppermint

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Many of my older recipes date back to the days before microwaves when you had to use a double boiler and/or candy thermometer to make Christmas candies of all kinds.  

But over the years, with food processors and microwaves, they're so much easier and faster to make.

This recipe can be made with white or dark chocolate, but I especially like white chocolate, and red peppermint from crushed candy canes which is so festive looking.  

Green candy canes would work, too, or a combination of both. A small bag of these are always a welcomed treat and make a nice addition to a gift box or basket.  

It's an easy kitchen project to have kids or grand kids help make.

Crunchy White Chocolate Peppermint
2 Tabs. butter
1 pound white chocolate, chopped, or bag of chips
1 Tab. vegetable or canola oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes

In a food processor or plastic bag, crush candy until they're 1/8 inch or smaller.
White Chocolate Peppermint Bark, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Line a baking sheet with foil or waxed paper, grease with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and remaining tablespoon of butter, stirring until smooth. Stir in oil and candy pieces until combined and smooth. (May also be melted in a double boiler.)

Pour onto baking sheet, spreading to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.  Refrigerate 40 minutes or until firm. Break into pieces, like peanut brittle. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1-1/2 pounds.
Estimated cost: $5.00 or less.

Pita Bread

PhotobucketThis Mediterranean style round pocket bread is handy  for sandwiches and easy for beginning bread makers.  They're also fun for kids to make.

Stuff or fill with just about any combination of sandwich ingredients you like.  I like to  spread the inside with cream cheese or mayo, then stuff with sprouts or shredded lettuce, diced onion and finally with lunch meat of choice.

This link has good ideas for warm or cold pita bread fillings:
Pita Bread
3 cups flour
1 -1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tab. sugar or honey
1 packet yeast (or, if using active instant bulk, 2 tsps.)
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups water, at room temperature
2 Tabs. olive oil
baking sheet or stone

Pita Bread, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppDissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar or honey stirring until dissolved. Let sit until frothy.  Combine flour and salt in large bowl. (If using active instant yeast  just mix all ingredients together and knead by hand or with mixer)

Make a small depression in flour and pour in yeast mixture. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, stirring with spatula until elastic. Form into a ball on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes.  Oil a bowl and place dough in and cover with plastic wrap to rise until double in size, about 90 minutes. If using an electric mixer knead about 8-10 minutes before setting aside to rise.

Turn out dough gently and divide into 8-10 pieces rolling into balls. Let set covered for 20 minutes. Preheat oven with baking sheet or stone to 500 degrees with rack at bottom of oven. 

With a rolling pin, roll out balls of dough into circles about 6 - 8 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick.  Place circles of dough on hot baking sheet or stone in batches of three or four at a time, for 3 - 4 minutes until bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes more. 

Pita Bread, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Allow to cool, then place in storage bags for use, or freeze between wax paper sheets.  I cut in half which allows for 16 to 20 "half" stuffed sandwiches. Occasionally some won't puff up, but they can be used for wraps, small pizzas, or cut up and used for dipping in humus, dipping oils or other veggie dips.

Estimated cost $1.60 or less; .10 cents or less per half sandwich.

Homemade French Fries

Fries and Hot DogsHomemade french fries or potato chips always bring raves in my house, and their so inexpensive.  I like frying with the skins on, just because I think they're tastier and healthier that way.

The last bag of potatoes I bought was .24 cents a pound and four potatoes, enough fries for four people weighed about a pound and a half -- that's cheap eats!

I use canola oil for frying and reuse the several times, straining and cooling, then storing it in a quart jar in the refrigerator.  I use a 3 qt. pan for frying, but if you have a fryer follow directions for your fryer regarding heat and oil.
Fry Cutter, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Never to miss out on a handy gadget, my fry cutter cuts potatoes into two sizes, regular 1/2 inch fries, and larger steak fry size.  It's cuts them so evenly, and is a time saver.

French Fries, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Homemade French Fries
4 Russet or Idaho potatoes, cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
oil, peanut oil or canola oil for frying
salt and pepper

Cut potatoes into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick fries and soak in cold water to keep from turning brown and to remove starch.  Drain and pat dry on paper towels, then fry in batches at 250 degrees for 2 minutes. Fries will be light colored and limp.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Remove with slotted spoon or wire ladle and drain on paper towels. Set aside for up to two hours. When ready to serve, turn heat to 350 and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove to paper towel lined platter, then salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.  Can be kept warm in a 250 oven.

Preparing in batches for the freezer: after first fry at 250, remove to paper towel line baking sheet, let cool, then freeze.  Store in freezer bags.  Remove frozen fries and fry at 350 until golden brown, 3-4 minutes, or season and bake in oven at 425, about 15 minutes, turn and baked 10 more minutes,until golden and crispy.

Estimated cost: .36 cents;  .09 cents a serving.

Apple Sauce

We grow a small (miniature) apple tree my son bought for his Dad when he was 10 -- and now he's 32!  So for 20 years it's produced about a 5-gallon bucket full of apples each year. 

Then I make apple sauce and also prep and freeze apples for various desserts during the year.

I've had a nifty gadget for decades which peels, cores and slices apples very quickly compared to doing it by hand with a peeler and paring knife. (see picture below).

Annually, I prepare a big batch of cored and sliced apples, soak them in lemon juice and water so they don't turn brown, then make several pints of apple sauce, and also freeze them  for cobblers, crisps, tarts or pies.

Apple Sauce
8 apples, cored, peeled, sliced
1 1/2 cups water
Photobucket1 Tab. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Apple Sauce
After peeling and slicing, soak apples pieces in water mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

In a 3 quart saucepan, combine apples, 1-1/2 cups of lemon juice water, sugar, and cinnamon. 

Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher. For extra smooth sauce use an immersion blender.

Ladle applesauce into clean freezer or canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch of head space in pint jars and 1-inch of head space in quart jars. Either seal jars by canning method, or allow to cool before freezing jars.
8 medium apples will make about 1 quart of apple sauce.
Estimated cost with your own apples or those from a neighbor: less than .25 cents a quart.

Green Tomato Salsa Verde

Green Tomato Salsa VerdeWith fall harvest there's always green tomatoes to use up that didn't ripen.  Green Salsa or Salsa Verde is a great way to use them, making a batch for immediate use or to freeze and have on hand for dips, Mexican sauces or served with breakfast eggs.  

I posted my fried green tomato recipe earlier this year, and this is another way to "waste not want not" with a supply of green tomatoes.

Green Tomato Salsa Verde
1 pound  green tomatoes, quartered or rough chopped
1 cup of water
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tabs. Jalapeno chilies, minced, or less to taste

1 Tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sugar or honey
1 Tab. cilantro, finely chopped, or 4 frozen cubes sold at grocer
salt and pepper to taste

Green Tomato Salsa Verde
Simmer tomatoes, garlic, onions, oil and chilies in water in a saucepan, 5 to 8 minutes until tender. Add sweetener, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper and simmer 3 or 4 more minutes, stirring to blend flavors.  Taste to adjust seasoning.  Let mixture cool.

Mash down to desired smoothness, or in a processor, pulse to desired smoothness, adding extra water if needed to make desired consistency. Spoon into containers or jars and refrigerate or freeze. Makes approximately 2 pints.  Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. 

Estimated cost with homegrown tomatoes: .25 cents or less a pint.

Cake Mix Mini Bundt Cakes

Mini Bundt Cakes
With a recent birthday gift certificate I purchased a fancy Nordic mini bundt cake pan. It makes 6 mini bundt cakes with 3 different intricate mold designs.

I don't often makes cake for the two us as a full size cake or a 9x11 pan cake is too large, so I make cup cakes and freeze them for an occasional dessert,  but these mini cakes are really extra special.  

I think they'd be great for potlucks, or bake sales.  They're larger than a cup cake  

Mini Bundt Cakes
Mini Bundt Cakes

I watch for boxed cake mixes when they go on sale for around a dollar and stock up on several flavors, as I also use them for making cookies.  I googled for various bundt cake recipes, then decided to use a simple boxed yellow cake mix to launch my pans.  With such intricate molds I followed directions and sprayed and flour-dusted the molds before pouring in the batter.

Mini Bundt Cakes
I was delighted with the results.  One regular boxed mix made 12 mini cakes.  I filled molds with slightly less than a half cup of batter and followed directions on the box, baking at 350 about 30 minutes, and let let them cool a few minutes when done.  They popped right out.

PhotobucketFor my first time, I doctored the cake mix by adding a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract, and also about a tablespoon of poppy seeds.  Then I made a simple lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over the first two I served.

I froze the extras.  Jazzing the others up in the future offers endless possibilities. I'm now looking forward to trying other flavors and being creative with extracts like peppermint in a chocolate mix, or rum extract in another.  And frostings can vary, too:  chocolate or caramel drizzle and sprinkled with nuts or coconut; or served with fruit and syrup, or just a good old-fashioned scoop of ice cream.

Estimated cost of 12 mini-cakes: $2.00 or less or about .17 cents each or less.

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

PhotobucketHere's an easy, attractive, tried and true side dish using tomatoes, cheese and fresh herbs.  It's one way to enjoy fresh garden tomatoes, and I sure had a bumper crop this year. 

I've prepared them with cheddar cheese, but like the flavor Parmesan the best.

Served them with chicken, pork or fish, or they could be served as a side with a grilled sandwich as well.

They could also be served as an appetizer, and if smaller tomatoes were used they could be baked then put on artisan bread or crackers.

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes
2 medium tomatoes
1/3 cup or more of grated Parmesan
fresh oregano and/or basil, or blend of dry Italian herbs
Parmesan Tomatoesfreshly ground pepper
olive oil
Parmesan Tomatoes Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut tomatoes into 1/3-inch slices. Place on a baking sheet then top with freshly grated Parmesan,  basil and/or oregano, or dry herb mix, salt and pepper. 

Drizzle with olive oil and bake about 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes are tender and cheese melts.  Add extra Parmesan when serving if desired.

Serves 2 to 4.  Estimated cost: $.80 or less with purchased tomatoes; next to nothing with garden tomatoes.

Tuna Steaks and Sauce

TunaMy son-in-law, an avid fisherman, makes an annual tuna trip and shares with family.  This summer he also shared this recipe obtained from a fishing buddy.

He brought us a tuna loin. The recipe calls for wrapping the loin in slices of Serrano or prosciutto ham, then wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends of the wrap to seal, (resembling a bomb) and letting it set in the refrigerator before removing wrap, cooking and finishing with the tasty sauce.

I adapted the recipe by cutting the loin into medallion steaks, wrapping edges with precooked bacon held on with toothpicks, then sauteing the steaks.

The (to-die-for) sauce is drizzled over the fish near the end of cooking, just be fore serving. This sauce is also a great marinade or can be used to baste any fish, seafood, chicken or pork.

TunaMarinadeTuna Sauce
3 Tabs. unseasoned rice vinegar
Tabs. finely grated fresh ginger, or tsp. of powder
Tabs. sesame oil, or olive oil
 Tabs. soy sauce
Tabs. honey
Tab. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Serrano pepper, seeded, minced, (or Jalapeno)
Freshly ground white pepper

Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend; season to taste with ground white pepper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Makes about a cup.
Tuna Steaks
4, 4 to 5 oz. tuna steaks
4 strips of precooked bacon, extra if needed
toothpicks to hold bacon wrapped around steak edges
2 Tab. olive oil
Tuna sauce (recipe above) to baste tuna near end of cooking

Cook or microwave 4-6 strips of bacon until done but still pliable enough to wrap around tuna steaks, not overly crisp. Salt and pepper tuna and wrap edges with bacon and hold with toothpicks.

Over medium high heat, sear tuna in oil about 3 minutes on each side, then turn heat down to finish about 4 - 5 more minutes.  Drizzle sauce over tuna and turn to coat each side.

Estimated cost of sauce: .75 cents or less; with tuna, around $4.00 - $5.00 a pound, each serving would be about $1.25 or less.

Baked Sea Scallops with Bacon

A friend invited us to a birthday dinner about 10 years ago and made this dish with large sea scallops and shared the recipe.  I've often seen smaller bay scallops at the fish counter or in frozen bags.

I've made this with smaller scallops, but recently our local fish market had large fresh sea scallops @ $10 a pound so we treated ourselves.  I only used a half pound when recently making this this and it easily fed four.

It makes an impressive dish for company or a special occasion.

Baked Sea Scallops with Bacon
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of scallops
2 Tabs. lemon juice
2 tsps. tarragon
1 to 2 eggs beaten with a few Tabs. of water
seasoned bread crumbs for coating, about a cup
3/4 to one cup or more of chopped lightly cooked bacon
Boiled water to steep scallops prior to baking

Preheat oven to 425.  Place scallops in a bowl.  In a pan, boil enough water to cover scallops, add tarragon and lemon juice, then pour over scallops.

Photobucket Let steep for 5 minutes, then pour off water and put scallops into a colander to let drain and cool.  When cooled, depending on size, cut large scallops in four sections. (about 3/4 to 1-inch pieces

PhotobucketRoll pieces in bread crumbs, dip in egg mixture, then roll again in bread crumbs and place close together in an ovenproof dish serving dish.  Sprinkle top generously with chopped bacon that has been partially cooked.

Bake no more than 9 or 10 minutes, until heated through and bacon is crispy. If bacon is not crispy or browned enough, place dish in oven under broiler until bacon is finished cooking.

Remember scallops were "cooked" when steeped in boiling water. Overcooking scallops ruins them!   The idea to coat and heat through so the coating and bacon is quickly browned and crisp. Serves 8 to 10.

Estimated Cost: will vary depending on size of scallops and type, bay or sea scallops. Mine were premium sea scallops from local fish market here on the Pacific coast.  Grocery stores often carry smaller frozen one. Allow 2-3 oz. per person.  The breading and bacon add another few ounces per serving.

Kale Quiche, Crustless

Kale Quiche
This is similar to my Spinach Quiche but while kale cooks down or wilts like spinach, it has quite a different flavor and firmer texture with taste similar to the broccoli family.

If wanting a crust, leave out the Bisquick and bake in a pie crust shell.  I try to watch carbs, so make several kinds of crustless quiches.

Leftovers freeze well and this quiche makes a nice lunch or dinner entree.  Serve with a garden salad or cup of soup.

Kale and Bacon Quiche
A bunch of green Kale, 4 cups, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of chopped bacon
1/2 cup diced onion
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 Tab. olive oil
1 1/2 cups of Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups of milk
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
9 inch baking dish

Preheat the oven to 450.

Kale Quiche
Fry bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Saute onions with garlic until slightly browned. Tear kale leaves from stems and rough chop. Add kale and fry for about 3 minutes or until wilted. Remove from heat and mix in cooked bacon.

Spread bacon, kale, garlic, and onion mixture over the base of the pie plate.

Beat eggs and mix in milk, cheeses, Bisquick, salt and pepper. Blend well and pour into pie pan or shell.  Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven at 450 degrees.

Lower oven to 350 and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the center of the quiche is almost firm.  Remove quiche from oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.

Estimated cost $5.00 or less .83 cents a serving or less.

French Onion Crusted Salmon

salmon with french onions
Living on the Oregon coast, seafood and salmon is readily available in the market.  During the fishing season it's a hot topic among friends, family, neighbors, and in daily news.  There's always several news pictures of folks catching 30 to 40 pound salmon during the annual fall run!

I'm lucky that relatives fish and share some of their catch.  But when on sale, I also stock up as we enjoy making smoked salmon.  Years ago I obtained this recipe from a friend who hosted an annual outdoor salmon bake for around 120 people. 

Large fillets were prepared with this topping, placed in foil boats, then baked on an outdoor grill.  I adapted the recipe for personal use serving smaller quantities.  The topping is also good on other kinds of fish.

French Onion Crusted Salmon 
4,  4 to 5 oz. salmon fillets or one large fillet (1 to 1/2 pounds)
1 pkg. French Onion soup mix
1 stalk of finely diced celery
3 cloves of finely diced garlic
3/4  cup of melted butter
salt and pepper
Baking sheet or dish and foil

Preheat oven to 450.  In a small fry pan, saute celery and garlic in a tablespoon of butter until translucent.  Remove from heat then stir in remaining butter and onion soup mix until combined.

Light salt and pepper fillets. Line baking sheet/dish with enough foil to lay out and hold fillet/s skin side down. Fold up sides of foil so it holds melted butter and juices. Spoon mixture over the top of each fillet to cover with an even coating of the onion mixture.  Bake uncovered for about 10-15 minutes. Do not turn over fish while baking.

Butter and juices from fish will blend as it bakes, so about every 5 minutes open the oven and with a spoon, pick up juices and baste fillets until top is browned and mixture forms a moist crusty top. If not enough basting juices, add a little bit of water. Fillets can vary in thickness, so allow 5 to 6 minutes of cooking time for each 1/2 inch of thickness.  Bake until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Serves 4.

Alternately, for just one or two small fillets I've also prepared in a pan on the stove top on medium high heat, basting the fish as it cooks.

Estimated cost: Salmon here can range from $4 - $8 a pound during the year. If purchasing, I never pay more than $5 a pound, then stock up. This recipe costs around $6.50 or about $1.62 per serving.

Sis's Thai Cooking Adventure

My world travelling, adventurous sister has been in Asia for a year teaching English, and recently attended an Asian cooking school.

Her posts are mostly adventures of traveling and experiences in new cultures, and often include new food experiences or discoveries. 

I thought I'd share a link to her blog post of this recent experience, which includes a Thai dessert recipe which she described as heavenly: " 
Mango Sticky Rice - is far easier than you think."

So You Wannna Cook Thai, Huh? She's included some great pics of the experience, so I've included a few.

Mango with Sticky Rice

She writes, ".......or so I happily discovered during a full day's Thai cooking class at The Thai Farm Cooking School on my breeze through Chiang Mai last month.  Not only did I learn how to make no less than six different Thai dishes (plus sample a dozen more, made by my fellow Thai chefs-for-a-day), but we all enjoyed a day out in the Thai countryside, cooking in a pleasant open-air kitchen, each of us with our own spotless cooking station.

For unlike the plethora of other Chiang Mai cooking schools, The Thai Farm school is a family affair, and they pick you up at your hotel, and transport you to their "1,000 trees" organic farm located about 20 km outside of the tourist-centric city center."

The experience included shopping for the fresh ingredients, then preparing the dishes. Be an armchair cooking traveler and check out her post.

For the dessert recipe of: 
(Mango with Sticky Rice)
Check out her post.