Tag Archives: greek yogurt

Southwestern Salmon Cobb Salad

8 Jul


Do excuse my brief hiatus again.  Cooking a lot had fallen on my list of priorities having been really sick recently.  Also, my car was hit on my street and ultimately ruled a total loss.  Thus, I’ve been in settling out mode with insurance and researching mode with replacing my car.  All has worked out in the end- no one hurt and I ended up with a settlement amount that was more than the worth of my car due to the very low mileage and excellent condition (pre-accident of course) of my car.  While I’m sad to say goodbye to my little Scion TC, I am happy to welcome an Acura TSX into my world. 

So it is time to get back to some good eating!  I had never had salmon atop a salad until this recipe as it kinda seemed gross to me for some reason.  I like salmon with a salad on the side so I’m not sure what my issue was.  In any case, I’m a changed lady.  This Eating Well recipe is great and the flavors are unique as salads go in my opinion.  What else do I love about it? It is filling yet nutritious (4 servings; each @ 385 calories; 22 g fat ( 8 g sat , 9 g mono ); 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 37 g protein; 7 g fiber; 696 mg sodium; 1476 mg potassium). It also did not take 2 hours to prep rather just a half hour tops.  The recipe notes to skin the salmon, but I just cooked on the Foreman where the salmon meat and skin separate pretty effortlessly.  The recipe link does offer tips re: skinning the fish and oiling the grill if you go that direction.  I like to share the ways I find easiest with you all of course.  Give it a go! 



  • 1 1/4 pounds wild Alaskan salmon, skinned (see Tips)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles, plus 1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo, divided 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or plain greek yogurt which is what I chose to use)
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 10 cups mixed salad greens (romaine is just fine too!)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high (or George Foreman to around 350 degrees).
  2. Cut salmon into 4 equal portions (I portioned after cooking). Brush with adobo sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Oil the grill rack.  Grill the salmon, turning once, until opaque, about 3 minutes per side (no need to turn on Foreman).IMG_20130629_203157_770                                                                                                            
  4. Combine sour cream (or greek yogurt), vinegar, water, minced chipotle and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Toss greens in a large bowl with 1/2 cup of the dressing.
  5. Divide the greens and salmon among 4 plates. Top with avocado, tomatoes and blue cheese. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.

June Cooking Club: Chilled Grape and Almond Soup

24 Jun

It’s been a few months since I’ve participated in cooking club with my co-workers.  Last time was actually in March when B and I hosted (still owe you a post about that iteration actually!)  I’ve missed the secret ingredients cherry and flowers respectively.  What have I missed since this thing started?  Earning the trophy for best dish!   This time I was determined to take it home.  The secret ingredient was grape and I decided to make 2 dishes to increase  my odds 🙂  Consequently, I received an email with a very promising sounding recipe for Chilled Grape and Almond Soup

To continue with a theme of starters, I researched Welch’s website.  I arrived at making Tangy Grape BBQ Meatballs for my other dish.  While cooking club participants seemed to enjoy the meatballs, I have to say that I was not a big fan of the recipe.  I feel that meatballs should have a consistency of browned/ slightly crisp on the outside and tasting more meaty than overpowered by any sort of filling to hold them together on the inside.  These meatballs, while cooked through, were too moist for my liking.  B agreed with this.  Thus, I don’t intend to promote that dish all that much with my readers!

The Chilled Grape and Almond Soup is worth encouraging you to try though (recipe below). I’ve heard of other chilled soups not turning out so well. My friend, Megan, from cooking club had one such story to share where her boyfriend attempted a similar sounding chilled grape soup for this event and it tasted awful. 😦 He’ll have to make this one sometime! It is silly easy too- you simply do some food chopping/measuring prep, blend it together in a blender or food processor, and chill. The creativity of recipe and taste were there and then I simply added the presentation factor. I did it right this time, because we won! The other awesome dishes included: a shrimp cup, grape salad, and chicken and grape kebabs. The drink category included old school Snoopy grape snowcones (adult style of course) and drunken purple cows featuring plenty of ice cream, grape juice, and vodka. Stiff competition, but Gleason’s purple cows took the win. See photo slideshow at the end of this post.


The trophy is pretty freaky, huh? It has been through a lot since its original gold plated gnome existence. The only rule is you must add to it once you win. Due to a tragic car accident, the gnome’s head was lost, but a stuffed animal duck head was gained. The flag, flowers, green bow, and stand are among other fabulous additions. July’s cooking club theme is MUUUUURRRICA: A Backyard Potluck which will feature dishes you bring to a cookout/potluck and plenty of red, white, and blue attire- hopefully of the fantastic tacky persuasion.


  • 2 lbs seedless green grapes, destemmed
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 2 scallions, white & light green parts, chopped
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 dill sprigs, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Combine grapes, cucumber, almonds, scallions, vinegar, yogurt, cream cheese, olive oil, buttermilk in food processor or blender, and process until mostly smooth – leave some texture.
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, dill, and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. IMG_20130615_164640_374

  4. Serve ice cold, garnish with fresh chives, thinly sliced cucumber rounds or grapes and fresh chives and/or some additional dill.

Other Grape Cooking Club Photos:

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Perfect Tortilla: How Perfect Are We Talkin’?

18 Jan


You may have seen the Perfect Tortilla infomercial which boasts its product’s ability to provide a healthy and fun way to enjoy a tortilla bowl.  Bryan really wanted this item to be added to our repertoire of fun kitchen items (other such items we own include a tabletop popcorn maker, deep fryer, fondue pot, and Skookie which is a cookie skillet.)  The set comes with 4 tortilla molds and a recipe booklet with sweet and savory ideas. 

I typically buy 10-12″ whole wheat, low carb tortillas and simply heat them in the oven until a little crisp.  I fill them with low-fat browned ground turkey seasoned with El Paso low-sodium taco seasoning.  I’ll top with myriad of extras like lettuce, salsa, Wholly guacamole, a little reduced-fat cheese, and greek yogurt in place of sour cream.  Serve with black beans on the side and you’ve got yourself one flavor-bursting, reasonable meal!  The only change to this is that I used the Perfect Tortilla this time.  I simply put the tortilla in the mold, ensured it was flush with the edges, and baked for about 8 minutes.  It did, in fact, make the normal taco meal I love a lot more fun!  This goes to show that a little novelty can go a long way.  I’m excited to try different recipes  in my Perfect Tortilla. 

Do you have a favorite fun kitchen item that makes a meal 10x more fun?

Low-fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (Some Raisin) Muffins

31 Oct

The impact of Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm on me so far?  Knowing I would be working from home for possibly a few days/ possibly losing power= it was a good time to make a pumpkin breakfast/snack item to have on hand.  Something with oatmeal also sounded appealing.  I came upon this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.  Pumpkin and oatmeal- done.  Otherwise, Ms. Sandy has resulted in us losing power for a little and our internet/TV service being very spotty which is why post one on the week comes to you on a Wednesday instead of Monday.  We consider ourselves very lucky for incurring a short stint of power loss and have heeded the warnings to stay inside.  I’m thinking of those in the Northeast- NY, MD, and NJ who seem to have been hit the hardest.  Sending positive vibes your way.

I had to make a few adjustments based on what I had around including leaving out the ripe banana and applesauce.  Instead, I used more pumpkin to make up for the lack of banana* (the whole can instead of the 1 cup it called for) and greek yogurt instead of applesauce (the applesauce subs for oil and greek yogurt is another alternative to oil was my rationale).  Further, I added a little more brown sugar.  In retrospect, I added TOO much pumpkin.  I discovered that is actually possible.  Shocked me to no end.  I’m probably still recovering from it as you read this.  If you have  a ripe banana, I encourage you to use that instead of adding more pumpkin.  My muffins, while good, could have used the sweetness indicative of a ripe banana and 2 cups of pumpkin made the muffins a tad too moist.  Lastly, I tried folding in jumbo raisins from Trader Joe’s into a few muffins instead of chocolate chips.  I wasn’t a fan myself.  I recommend sticking with chocolate chips.  Sometimes too many “stray aways” from a recipe means you don’t end up with the best possible result- especially with baking.  You can do better than me on your first try though and I do think these will be great when done right!  Go forth and bake 🙂



  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat  flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 tspbaking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar + 2 TBSP
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 ripe banana*
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Extra oatmeal, for sprinkling on muffins


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper cups or spray with nonstick spray (including inside of the cups).
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, oatmeal, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin, mashed banana, brown sugar, almond milk, egg whites and greek yogurt. Add the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full so that each is even. Sprinkle a tiny bit of oatmeal over each top of the muffins.
  4. Place into the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean. Muffins are best served warm. Reheat in the microwave for 20 seconds and spread with topping of your choice- I recommend Land O’ Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil myself!

ANOTHER Pumpkin Chili

19 Oct

You might be asking yourself, “Didn’t she already post a pumpkin chili recipe?”  Yes I did but that recipe had a chicken broth base and this one is tomato-based.  Worlds of difference.  Also, I’m going to do as much pumpkin cooking as possible.  You’re not surprised, are you?  This recipe screams comforting fall/winter meal.  This will also give you an abundance of leftovers.  As with the chicken broth-based chili, this one has enough of a hint of the pumpkin to taste it but you won’t feel like you’re eating pumpkin pie in a chili.  Enjoy!


  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2-3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain.
  2. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.                                   
  3. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.                                                                                                 
  4. Top with a dollop plain greek yogurt and some fresh herbs and eat up!

Lightened Up Moist Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

15 Oct

Another recipe resulting from apple picking.  Bryan cited this one as one of his favorite treats I’ve made in a while.  This is big seeing as chocolate is typically his calling.  I share in this being a favorite as of late.  It was extremely moist and indicative of the fall season.  Exactly what I was hoping for.  I used this recipe from a fellow blogger who LOVES apples and has a whole series of apple recipes.  I modified slightly using whole wheat flour and greek yogurt in place of all-purpose flour and sour cream.  I would suspect the whole wheat makes it taste a bit more hearty than would regular flour, but it made me feel a little better about the stick of buttaaaa.  On a final note,  you will be shocked at how thick this coffee cake is.  I mean LOOK at this…  Enjoy!


Crumb Topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup and 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour


  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Coffee Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup and 2 TBSP plain greek yogurt
  • 2 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups apples, peeled and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease or use cooking spray to prepare a square baking dish.
  2. To prepare your crumb topping, mix all ingredients except the flour in a medium bowl.  Once combined, slowly add the flour and mix with a fork.  The delicious crumbles will form!  Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk all of the dry cake ingredients together.  Slowly add milk, greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until mixed.  Fold the apples in gently.                   
  5. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan.  Add the dry filling ingredients distributing as evenly as possible.  Add remaining cake batter.                             
  6. Break up your topping crumbs with a fork.  Cover the batter with the crumb topping.
  7. Bake 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Do your best to allow it to cool completely before serving (Full disclosure: We made it maybe 5 minutes…)

Pumpkin (Protein) Smoothie

10 Oct

LifeWork Strategies comes to a number of our health events at my company, SRA International.  Often, healthy recipe demos are a part of their participation.  A great find at Bryan’s site’s fall health fair  (he is an SRA employee as well) was this pumpkin smoothie recipe.  I personally modified to include a vanilla-flavored protein powder for women called Aria.  It features a combo of whey and soy protein appropriate for ladies.  It is very low in sugar and has no artificial sweeteners.  Couple scoops at 90 calories plus some skim milk makes a great snack.  There is also a chocolate flavor.  You can find this at your local Vitamin Shoppe for around $13 or save a few bucks and order packs of 2 for around $20 through Amazon.com.  It qualifies for the free super savings shipping so get something else you’ve been needing to get to the $25 and shipping will be gratis.   Back to the smoothie…this is yet another way to enjoy pumpkin and in a healthy way!  This recipe will make 2 servings so if you make for just you, I would half the recipe.


  • 1 can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just plain ol canned pumpkin)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt or plain greek yogurt if you use vanilla protein
  • 1 banana, frozen and cut into slices
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 scoops Aria vanilla-flavored protein (optional)
  • crushed graham crackers (optional if you want more of a healthy treat than a snack)


  1. The night before, portion pumpkin into ice cube tray and freeze.
  2. Put the frozen pumpkin, milk, yogurt, frozen banana, and spice into a blender and puree until smooth
  3. Relish in the fall season before pumpkin goes away.  🙂