Monday, August 30, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday......Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad

I'm back for another recipe that my daughters helped me make for The Kids Cook Monday.  Check out this public health initiative that focuses on getting your kids in the kitchen to help prepare meals and starting your Monday off on a healthy path for the week.  This family program also encourages families to eat meals together.  ("Evidence links family dinners to healthier life choices")

My 13 year old daughters like salads so I'm always trying new ways to make salads and dressings so it doesn't get too boring.  Yes, my name is Jamie.  No, this is not my recipe creation.  This is a fantastic spinach salad that I had heard about from so many people, including my sisters and sister-in-law.  The dressing goes perfectly with the spinach, almonds and dried cranberries.  A little salad dressing goes a long way and then you keep the leftover in the refrigerator for a week or so.  If your family like salads, give this one a try.  You'll be glad you changed up your everyday salad.

Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad

Servings:  8


1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered (I use packaged sliced almonds)
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces (I use baby spinach)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola oil)


1.In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.

2.In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.

3.In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

Marissa and Mariah preparing the salad dressing.

I like to make salad dressings and put them in mason jars.  Give it a good shake before using. 


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  You might be thinking there is no way my child is going to eat spinach.  I thought the same thing a year ago.  Taking a tip from my sister-in-law, Pam, I started tearing up baby spinach and mixing it in with my other lettuces when I made salads.  My daughters had no clue.  When they finally asked what these other leaves were in their salad, I told them the truth.....Baby Spinach!  No big deal.  It's just another type of lettuce to them now.  Try this method.  It works great! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday with Mini-Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

It's Monday and time for The Kids Cook Monday segment.  The Kids Cook Monday program is a public health initiative that focuses on starting your Monday (and week) off on a good foot by getting your kids in the kitchen to help cook a healthy recipe.  As their logo says: "Start your week off right: make Monday family night!"  

This Monday's recipe is Mini-Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.  What makes these muffins "better for you" is the addition of flaxseed in the batter.  Flaxseed is a natural source of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of dietary fiber.  The flaxseed doesn't change the taste of these wonderful mini muffins.  They are moist and so good.  Kids would love them for breakfast, in their lunchbox or for a snack.  And don't forget us adults.  We love them too!

Mini-Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Recipe by Jamie from Mom's Cooking Club

Yield:  36 mini muffins or 12 regular size muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large or 3 medium)
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons fine ground flaxseed (I used beveri Flaxseed)
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin pans (36 mini muffins) with non-stick cooking spray.  Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.  Mix mashed bananas, egg, melted butter and milk in medium bowl.  Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients just until blended.  Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to batter and mix.  Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with muffin batter.  Bake 15 minutes until tops are pale golden and toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.  Transfer muffins to rack and cool.   

My girls had fun baking these muffins as well as eating them.

Marissa and Mariah sampling their freshly baked muffins.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  This recipe also makes 12 regular size muffins.  Use muffin baking liners or spray muffin cups with non-stick spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  You can use regular size semisweet chocolate chips but we like using the mini ones in these muffins.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bobby Flay's Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Bobby Flay Sliders

I've mentioned this before but we are huge burger fans.  We really love grilling them.  When I read about the Burger Club Challenge on Barbara Bakes blog, I was interested to check it out.  Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice organizes the Burger Club Challenges.  The current challenge was to make any Bobby Flay burger recipe and rate it.  

       I found this one on  The hamburger is just seasoned with salt and pepper.  You can add your favorite cheese, pickles and red onion slices.  I used extra sharp cheddar cheese, pickles and the chipotle mayo.  The mayonnaise was quick to prepare and it was a nice condiment change to our regular ketchup and mustard.  The chipotle mayo gave the burger a little heat and smokiness.  Me and my husband really liked it.  My girls don't like mayonnaise, so they skipped that part.  But they love the little sliders. 

      The ratings are based on a 4 star rating:
              1 Star = Didn't like and wouldn't make again
         2 Stars = Liked but wouldn't make again.
  3 Stars = Liked and will make again.
4 Stars = Loved! Will make often. 

I would rate these burgers a 3.  I liked them and would make them again.  It's a good basic slider with a different kind of mayonnaise that was a tasty change.

Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise


Chipotle Mayonnaise:

1 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 lime, juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Mayo:  Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree.  (I halved this recipe and did not season with salt and pepper) 


1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese slices, your choice
Mini burger buns

My Directions for Sliders:  Preheat grill over medium-high heat.  Season the hamburger meat with salt and pepper.  Form the meat into 2 to 3-ounce portions, packed tightly.  Season with a little more salt and pepper on top, if desired.  I place a small indentation in the middle of each burger and rub with a little bit of canola oil.  Place the sliders on the grill. Wait until they are nice and crusty on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and cook another 4 minutes. When the sliders are about done, top with desired cheese and close the grill, allowing the cheese to melt.

Burger Bar (if desired):

Chipotle Mayonnaise
Red onion slices

Place the slider on mini burger buns and top with chipotle mayonnaise and any other desired toppings

Sliders w/Chipotle Mayo

Such a cute little thing!


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Sliders are great for parties and get-togethers. Fun to put out on a platter with different condiments. They cook up quick and easy. Plus, kids just love them! So, next time you're grilling burgers, make them smaller. Everyone will be enjoying these little burgers as much as the full size ones.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday with Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia

Sweet and Spicy Tilapia

Happy Monday everyone!  Welcome to a new feature that I will be sharing with you every Monday.  Healthy Monday is a non-profit group based on a series of public health initiatives. 

"It’s a movement of people and organizations who commit
every Monday to the behaviors and actions that will end
preventable disease in the U.S."

Healthy Monday has a new campaign called The Kids Cook Monday where their logo is, "Start your week off right: make Monday family night!"  When I was contacted by the people from The Kids Cook Monday Campaign and I read about their program, I knew this was a perfect fit for my blog.  On their website they state the following:

"When kids pitch in making meals, they’re empowered to consider the portions, the vitamins and the nutrients of what they’re eating. And since the family that cooks together eats together, parents can check in with their children during dinner."

I believe and follow this philosophy with my own family.  And I truly feel it makes a positive difference in your child's life, health and well-being. 

My first recipe for The Kids Cook Monday segment is a light and delicious Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia.  Check out the recipe details below and photos of my 2 daughters helping prepare the fish.

My daughter's Mariah & Marissa are 13 years old and they practically prepared the fish on their own.  I chopped the garlic but they measured and prepared all the other ingredients.  My one daughter, Mariah, is not a fan of seafood but she did eat a small piece of fish.  I find the more your kids help you in the kitchen, the more they will try foods that they may not like or may not think they like.

This tilapia had a slightly sweet, citrus flavor with a touch of spiciness.  But, not too spicy for younger age kids either.  It was simple to prepare and cook.  It's kid-friendly and adult-friendly as well.  Perfect for a Monday night meal to get your week started in a healthy way. 

This recipe is from Cooking Light and you can find the recipe link here at  

Pair this tilapia with Charred Vegetable Rice (click here for recipe) for a terrific side dish and a great way to get extra veggies.

I hope you found this recipe a good start to your weekly menu and an inspiration to have your kids help you prepare meals.  Come back next Monday for more time in the kitchen with The Kids Cook Monday

Disclosure:  The Kids Cook Monday people contacted me to participate in this weekly post.  This is not a compensated program but strictly a voluntary effort on my part.  Opinions, thoughts and feelings are my own.   

Marissa, me (Jamie) & Mariah showing off our healthy meal.  Job well done girls! 



Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Having your kids help in the kitchen is a great way to talk about ingredients and spices as well as teaching them cooking skills.  Note:  Keep an eye out when broiling the fish.  It took less than the 15 minutes recommended cook time and can burn easily if not watched.      

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cake

I call these Salmon Cakes, others may call them Salmon Patties.  Some may have never had them at all.  I grew up with my mom making Salmon Cakes.  I loved them when I was younger and I still do.  You use canned salmon which is an excellent pantry staple to have on hand. 

My mom's recipe is very similar to mine.  I think we probably use all the same ingredients.  My dad always (and still does) made a big production while eating his salmon cakes.  He would sprinkle some lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and pepper on his salmon cakes sandwiched between saltines spread with mustard.  My husband did not grow up with salmon cakes so this is something I introduced him to.  He eats his with mustard and saltines. Must have gotten that idea from my dad.  I don't like to mess with all that stuff.  I like it fine just plain.  I only wish my 2 daughters would like salmon cakes so I could pass on this recipe when they get older.

Serve with yellow/brown rice, a salad or some other vegetable side dish.  Try some sauteed zucchini and yellow squash like I did above.  

Salmon Cakes
Recipe by Jamie from Mom's Cooking Club


1 (14.75 ounce) canned Alaska pink salmon
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup onion - chopped fine (you can also substitute with chopped green onions)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pepper - about 1/8 teaspoon or a couple turns of a pepper mill
1 tablespoon olive oil


Drain and reserve liquid from salmon.  Mix salmon, egg, bread crumbs, onion, mustard, garlic salt, lemon juice and pepper in a small bowl.  If the mixture feels dry, add some of the reserved liquid a little at a time.  The consistency should be somewhat moist and hold it's shape but not overly wet.  I always add some liquid to the mixture.  It keeps it moist and gives it extra flavor. 

Shape into patties.  You should get about 4-5 patties with this recipe.  Heat olive oil in pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Pan fry and brown salmon cakes for a few minutes before turning over and browning other side.  Drain on paper towels if needed.

4-5 servings


Mom's Cooking Club:  A very good website and source about canned salmon is  It talks about the health benefits of canned salmon and has a variety of recipes using canned salmon.   

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Udon-Beef Noodle Bowl

I can't believe it's already August.  I know time is flying by when it's another month of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.  My four other Supper Club friends want to share another great menu with you this month.  The theme for August is, "A Visit to Chinatown".  

Making Asian-style food at home always tastes so good and flavorful.  Who needs take-out when you can make these dishes at home.  I made Cooking Light's Udon-Beef Noodle Bowl.  What a satisfying and comforting meal.  Really delicious.

Note:  I used more beef than the recipe called for, a little over a pound.  I also couldn't find udon noodles in my grocery store so I used dried lo mein noodles which I found in the Asian section of my store.  Spaghetti can be substituted as well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What did my other Cooking Light buddies bring to our Chinatown menu?

Sandi (Whistlestop Cafe Cooking) made Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups
Val (More than Burnt Toast) brought Salt-Baked Chicken
Shelby (The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch) made Ma Po Tofu
Patsy (Food, Family and Friends) made Pork & Stir Fried Veggies in Spicy Sauce
Jamie (me from Mom's Cooking Club) made Udon-Beef Noodle Bowl

Hope you enjoyed this month's menu.  I'll be back soon with more recipes and don't forget to check back in September for another meal with the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.   


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Udon Noodles are thick wheat flour noodles and are very popular in Japanese cuisine and used often in hot soup. 
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