Friday, April 18, 2014

Remembering Oklahoma Ctiy 19 years later

Saturday will be the nineteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing.  I hope you will all take a moment to look at the website and think of the 168 family members and dear friends who were murdered that day.

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.®

Currently at the Memorial & Museum

19th Annual Day of Remembrance

19th Annual Day of Remembrance

Join us this Saturday, April 19, for the 19th Annual Day of Remembrance. The Remembrance Ceremony will be held at 8:55am, and the Memorial Museum is FREE all day for visitors thanks to Cox Communications. Later in the day, motorcycle riders participating in the annual Memorial Motorcycle Run. Click More for detailed information. More »

New Lesson Plans Available!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

While eating out last week, I ordered Eggplant Parmigiana.  And it were good.  And I wanted some more.  But I just could not justify frying eggplant to make it.  So looking at a few recipes, I came up with a simple, baked version which takes just a few ingredients and minutes to make.  You could serve this with some spaghetti on the side, but I just ate the dish as it came out of the oven.

I don't have quantities for this recipe, I guess it's more for my own reference.  If you want to try it, make it to satisfy your appetite.  More/less sauce, more/less cheese.  Your preference.


1 (1 pound) medium eggplant, sliced, about 1/4"
eggs, egg whites, or egg substitute
bread crumbs (I suggest using traditional breadcrumbs instead of Panko)
shredded Parmesan cheese
homemade or jarred pasta sauce
mozzarella or Italian-blend shredded cheese

Slice the eggplant.  Dip in the egg.  Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan.  Dip the egged eggplant into the breadcrumbs.

On a baking sheet, line with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.  Place the eggplant slices on it.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.  Turn the slices and bake for another 10 minutes.

Spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the cooked eggplant slices in the dish.  Cover with pasta sauce and bake (covered) for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and additional parmesan, if desired, and cook (uncovered) for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: adapted from "Weight Watchers: New 365 Day Menu Cookbook," p. 342

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crab Louis

My favorite salad in the whole wide world is a Cobb Salad.  Perfection.  But a distant second is a Crab Louis.  I don't know if it it's the crab or the dressing.  And since a Crab Louis has boundless variations (asparagus, cucumbers, avocados, black or green olives), the dressing is pretty much a staple.  So this post is about the dressing. 

This recipe is a staple.  As with the salad, you could certainly vary it in several ways.  But this is a great place to start.

LOUIS DRESSING (makes about 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp grated onion
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
S&P to taste
1 Tbsp cream or half-and-half
hot sauce to taste

Mix all ingredients.  Chill several hours to allow flavors to combine.

Recipe Source:  South Beach Diet cookbook, p. 227

Monday, April 14, 2014

Olive and Tomato Tapenade

This was one of my favorite appetizers at a restaurant I worked in while living in Minnesota and the first recipe I wrote down while working there.  I'll eat a few bites of one and decide it's my favorite, then I'll eat a few bites of the other and declare that the second one is the best!  I guess that's why I've never made just one or the other.  They both get top billing in my book.

While probably not a kid-friendly appetizer, it would be great while having friends over for a glass of wine or maybe for your book club.  I do need a quality crostini so I always use a Panera Bread baguette.  Simply slice the baguette to the thickness of your chosing, mildly brush it with EVOO and bake in a 325F for 15 minutes and check.  I generally turn them over and bake until they are almost-completely dried out (I like a bit of a chew left in them), about another 10 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them.

I have halved the original recipe and this amount is plenty for me.  The olive tapenade will last, well, a long, long time.  Depending on your tomatoes, I'll usually keep mine for up to a couple of weeks.


Olive Tapenade:
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
1 cup black olives, chopped
1/4 sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
1 cup artichoke hearts or bottoms, chopped
1 3/4 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup EVOO

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Keep refrigerated.

Tomato Tapenade:
5 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
2 Tbsp red onion, diced
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 to 1/2 lime juiced (depending on juiciness)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Keep refrigerated.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Barbecued Chicken Chopped Salad

Well, I guess I can't dodge the inevitable: Summer.  Yesterday we hit 80 degrees and it's not even Easter.  Jim spent all day Friday and Saturday working in the yard so I figured it was time to pull out the salad file.  I mean, who wants a heavy evening meal after spending the day in the sun?

This is a perfect warm-weather entree salad.  Filling, but no need to heat up your kitchen.  I think the jicama is essential, so unless you just can't find it, please don't omit it.  It gives a delightful crunch.  Jim is not a fan of avocados, but I would defnitely add some slices to my salad.  I'm adding my favorite Ranch Dressing recipe which is a staple in my fridge.


8 cups chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
2 cups chopped tomato
1 cup chopped jicama
3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed  and 1/2 cup corn niblets
1 (11 oz) can Green Giant southwestern-style corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup cilantro
avocado, optional
Ranch Dressing

Spray a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and place over medium heat.  Pound chicken to 1/4" thickness and add to the skillet.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until underside is brown.  Turn the breasts, and top each with 1 Tbsp barbecue sauce.  Continue to cook 3 minutes longer, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Transfer the breasts to a cutting board, slice each into 1/4" slices, turn, and cut again into cubes.  Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool in the refrigerator.

In a large bowl, mix lettuce, tomatoes, jicama, black beans, and corn.  Dress with Ranch Dressing.  Place equal portions on four plates.  Sprinkle cheese around the edges and set aside.

Top the salad with the cooled, cubed chicken, green onions, cilantro, and avocado if using.

Recipe Source:  adapted from Marlene Koch's "Eat What You Love Everyday," p. 168


3/4 cup mayo (I use half regular Hellman's and half reduced-fat)
1/2 cup regular or fat-free buttermilk
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
coarsely ground pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.  Chill at least several hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

NOTE:  Once you make this, you will never buy bottled Ranch Dressing again.  This is wonderful on salad, for a vegetable dip, and really good on pizza crusts!

Recipe Source:  adapted from Betty Crocker cookbook

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Summer's Orange Salad

I posted this recipe a few years ago, but it is such a staple in my house during the summer, I had to share this with new viewers.  I make this once or twice a week.  It is a perfect accompaninement to just about any entree, especially simple grilled proteins.

The almonds and the dressing will keep for a long, long time (I keep my sugared almonds in the freezer and they are good for at least a year), as is the dressing (I just made a salad with dressing I made last summer).  Once you have these two items in storage, all you need is some romaine, red onion, and mandarin oranges.  Fast and easy and a great side salad to almost any summer dinner.


6 oz slivered almonds
4-5 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp grated orange peel
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp Good Seasons Dry Italian Dressing mix
3/4 to 1 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

sugared almonds
salad dressing
1 small head romaine lettuce
thinly sliced red onion, to taste
mandarin oranges, enough to garnish to your preference

For the almonds:
Heat a large non-stick saute pan on medium heat (I used #6 on my smooth-top stove) until hot.  Add almonds and sugar and stir continuously until sugar melts.  I poured mine out on some Reynold's Non-Stick Aluminum Paper (you can use regular aluminum foil, sprayed with cooking spray).  Let cool.  You will not use all of the almonds in this salad for two.  Put remaining almonds in a humidity-free container and store in freezer.

Combine salad dressing ingredients.  Mix well.

Toss diced lettuce, onions, oranges, and almonds.  Dress with dressing.  If using as an entree salad, slice grilled chicken and fan out. 

Serve as a side salad or entree salad.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Simple Southwestern Tilapia (or Swai) and Fiesta Lime Rice

Another wonderful (and easy) Marlene Koch recipe.  A great way to add a little southwestern flavor to a mild wild fish.  Serve it with this quick and simple rice and garnish with a lime wedge for a light weeknight dinner.


1 lime, juice and zest
2 Tbsp light mayo
4 (4 oz) mild white fish filets
1 1/4 cups reduced-fat cheese crackers
1 Tbsp taco seasoning (40% less sodium)
2 Tbsp cornmeal
pinch cayenne pepper

Prehat oven to 450F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Zest then juice the lime and place in a shallow flat bowl.  Whisk in the mayo, add the fish filets and marinate for 5 minutes.

Place the crackers in a plastic bag, crush with a rolling pin, and place crumbles on a plate.  Add the taco seasoning and cornmeal and mix well.

Coat the filets with the cracker mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 5 mintues, turn the filets over, and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork. 

FIESTA LIME RICE (4 servings)

2 cups cooked rice
1 (11 oz) can southwestern-style corn blend (I used Green Giant brand), drained and rinsed
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 lime, zested and juice
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients.  Warm in a microwave.

Recipe Source:
Southwestern Tilapia: Marlene Koch "Eat More of What You Love," p. 274
Fiesta Lime Rice: adapted from Marlene Koch "Eat More of What You Love," p. 229