Monday, February 22, 2010

Iceberg Wedges with Gorgonzola Dressing

My how time flies.  It's been over a week since I last posted a recipe.  This is a busy time.  Between my part-time job, my daughters band and school activities in addition to running them back and forth to their sport practices/meets (they participate in springboard diving), there is little time for anything else.  And I've been watching the Olympics every night which has been keeping me up late. 

But, I'm back today with a really quick but great way to eat a salad.  Take a head of lettuce, cut in quarters and then cut those quarters in wedges.  You'll have 8 wedges.  Make a simple dressing, drizzle over the wedge and then grind some cracked black pepper over the dressing.  This dressing is light with a great lemon flavor.  It's a fun way to eat your salad and inexpensive as well.

Recipe by Everyday Food
Serves 4


3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 head iceberg lettuce
Ground pepper


In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except lettuce and pepper.  Mash some of the cheese to thicken the dressing.

Core the iceberg lettuce. Cut into 8 wedges.  Place 1-2 wedges on a plate and drizzle with dressing.  Season with pepper.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Take a simple head of lettuce and turn it into something you would see at a fancy restaurant.  The best part is that iceberg lettuce is extremely low in calories and when you pair it with a light dressing you have a healthy side dish to serve your family.   

Sunday, February 14, 2010

a new look.....and Pan-Roasted Salmon with Soy-Ginger Glaze

Introducing my updated blog design.  One of my goals for 2010 was to change my blog template.  Well, I've got that crossed off my list now.  A big thank you to Hannah from Sherbet Blossom Designs.  I chose a Pre-Made blog template that start as low as $25.00.  For reasonable additional fees, Hannah can upload/transfer your old blog and can turn a 2 column template into a 3 column if you prefer.  Of course, she also does custom designs.  She designed my sister-in-law Aggie's blog, Aggie's Kitchen.  Hannah also has her own blog, Sherbet Blossom, where she shares her love for cooking, family, crafts and design.  So again, thank you Hannah for making my little blog a brighter, fresher and happier place to be.  

Now, how about some salmon everyone.  A former co-worker gave me this recipe a few years ago.  It comes from  It is one of my favorite salmon recipes (I think I say that about every salmon recipe).  The soy-ginger glaze compliments the salmon perfectly.  A few ingredients and simple preparation makes this a delicious weeknight meal or it can be a meal to impress.  


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  This recipe starts in a skillet on the stovetop and finishes baking in the oven.  Be careful when removing the pan from the oven.  That handle is hot.  Remember to use your pot holder throughout.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Easy Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day (or any day!)

Easy. Simple. Moist. Chocolate. Cake. Yum.

This is such a great recipe for chocolate cake.  It's a sheet cake (13 x 9 inch pan), so it's really easy to make and put together.  This cake is so moist and full of all that chocolate flavor we love.  The frosting is so light and fluffy.  My daughters were so excited when they came home from school and saw that I made this special treat for them.  Everyday, they took a small square in their lunchbox and were the envy of all their friends at the lunch table.  My husband went crazy over this cake too!      

Note:  The frosting recipe calls for 1/3 cup half and half or cream.  I found that I needed to use more than that, probably close to 1/2 cup.  Add the half and half slowly until you get your desired consistency.  Mine was easily spreadable and really fluffy.  Also, bake the cake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until cake is done.

Quick, Easy and Moist Chocolate Sheet Cake
Recipe by Tasty Kitchen member Sheralee (slightly adapted by me)

Cake Ingredients

1-¾ cup Flour
2 cups Sugar
¾ cup Cocoa Powder
1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 whole Eggs
1 cup Milk
½ cup Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Boiling Water

Frosting Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Butter
¾ cup Cocoa Powder
2-⅔ cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 - 1/2 cup Half-and-Half, Or Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the boiling water. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cake. 

To make the frosting, cream butter. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar alternately with half-and-half. Add the vanilla in last and mix.  Frost cooled cake in pan.

Have a sweet Valentine's Day everyone!  Love to all my family and friends!


Mom's Cooking Club LessonI'll be expressing my love to my family when I bake them this cake for Valentine's Day.  There's no better way to show love and care than through food.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Onion-Herb Focaccia

I made bread!  Well, sort of.  I used pizza dough.  But for someone who has a fear of dough and yeast, this is a great first step.  Baby steps, baby steps.  This was such an easy and fun bread to make.  My daughters got in the act and helped me make it.  Me and my girls really love eating bread...a little too much if you know what I mean.  Let's just say this pan of bread didn't last long.  It was AWESOME!!!  I know if you make this, your family will think you're AWESOME!!! 

This recipe came from the November 2009 edition of Food Network Magazine.  Click here for a printable version on  Read below for the quick instructions. 

Have a fun rest of the weekend.  And enjoy the Superbowl. (if you're watching it)  I'll be making my mother-in-law's sausage and peppers which I'll post about later.  I'll also be making some salsa, guacamole and cheese dip.  I already made dessert......these Lemon Bars.  This will all make my husband a very happy man.     

On a floured surface, roll out 1 pound of refrigerated pizza dough (my grocery store sells pizza dough in the bakery section) into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle.  Press into an oiled rimmed baking sheet. (I used olive oil)  Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary and/or oregano (I used both), 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and a big pinch of sea salt.  Brush half of this herb oil over the dough, then set aside until puffy, about 1 hour.  Make dimples in the dough with your fingers and top with thin slices of onion and shaved parmesan.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes.  Brush with remaining herb oil.

One happy daughter!!!


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  My grocery store, Publix, sells refrigerated pizza dough in the bakery section.  If your grocery store doesn't, then you may want to ask the bakery manager if they would sell it to you or make it available to the public.       

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spaghettini with Oil and Garlic - February's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club

It's February and time to share another meal from the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.  This month's theme is Healthy Italian.  My sister-in-law, Aggie, chose this theme.  And for good reason, she's Italian.  Aggie and her family make incredible Italian food.  My husband is half Italian (on his mother's side) and my mother-in-law makes wonderful Italian food.  I'm still trying to copy and perfect her spaghetti and meatball recipe.  When I think of Italian food, I think of lasagna, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, chicken and eggplant parmesan.  All of these are wonderful foods but they are also heavy on the calories and fat.  So, I was excited to find some "healthier" Italian dishes through Cooking Light recipes. 

I chose to make Spaghettini with Oil and Garlic.  A simple dish to put together with a few basic ingredients.  Don't be afraid of the 10 cloves of garlic that is used in the recipe.  It flavors the olive oil and the pasta.  When I was making this dish, I didn't think it would have much flavor.  But, boy, was I wrong.  It uses only 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a full pound of pasta. (I used thin spaghetti) But the red pepper flakes gives it some heat, the garlic infuses in the olive oil and the parmesan cheese just tops it off perfectly. I used Parmigiano Reggiano, since that's what I had on hand.  If you can splurge, I would recommend using the "good" stuff.  If not, any grated parmesan cheese will work.  This was a wonderful weeknight meal.  We all loved it.  I paired it with a salad and garlic bread.

Check out these Healthy Italian dishes presented by the other members of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.  Click on their links to read about their recipes and see their photos.

Helene (La Cuisine d'Helene) - Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad
Val (More Than Burnt Toast) - Italian Stuffed Summer Vegetables
Jamie (Mom's Cooking Club) - Spaghettini with Oil and Garlic
Aggie (Aggie's Kitchen) - Shrimp Arrabbiata
Shelby (The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch) - could not join us this month

Go to Cooking Light's blog, Test Kitchen Secrets, to read about the Virtual Supper Club.

Our March theme will be, "A Taste of Spring".  So come back then (or sooner) to see what menu we have planned.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  My dish with the simple garlic and olive oil sauce is known as Aglio e Olio and is a traditional Italian pasta dish.  Make it as a side dish or how I made it, as a main dish.

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