September 5, 2015

About Dana Kim

Dana Kim – Blog Contributor
Dana currently lives in Hollywood, California, with her husband and two children. She is currently learning to cook traditional Korean food, to teach her daughters about their heritage and culture. She loves trying all different kinds of recipes and is happy to share those recipes here!

Baked Salmon with Pesto Sauce

 

Baked Salmon with Pesto Sauce

Salmon is my favorite fish to make at  home.  It seems more substantial than fish like sole or trout, and its strong, meaty texture and flavor give it a lot of flexibility.  Make this Baked Salmon with Pesto Sauce and find out for yourself!

You can of course use store-bought pesto, but if you have basil growing in your garden, the rest is easy to rustle up at home.  This is how I like pesto – you can alter this to suit your tastes.  If you have any leftover pesto, try it on scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, chicken, and of course over pasta!  (Or, want a different spin on pesto?  Try Coleen’s version!)

Baked Salmon with Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 large salmon filet, about 1/2 pound or more
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons – 1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375*F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the salmon skin-side down on the baking sheet, and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until firm in the thickest part of the filet.
  3. While the salmon is in the oven, put the basil and garlic cloves in the bowl of a small food processor.  Pulse to combine.
  4. Add the lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, and blend again.  Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and blend.  Taste for seasoning – more lemon?  More Parmesan?  More garlic?  You can add more olive oil for a thinner texture – as much as half a cup if you like your pesto really thin.
  5. Serve the salmon hot from the oven with a healthy pour of pesto over the top.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

When I was a kid, my Mom made two quiches as part of her dinner menu rotation:  a spinach quiche, and a sausage mushroom version.  I loved them both.  And I was going to make one for this week’s Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour blog post and then I realized:  I don’t need a crust!  I can turn my Mom’s quiche recipe into this Sausage Mushroom Frittata, which is just as tasty, saves calories when you don’t include a crust, and cooks up quicker to boot!

You can use any kind of cheese you like.  I think my Mom used Swiss, but my girls don’t like it, so I used Monterey Jack.  You can also mix some cheese into the egg mixture for a richer taste, but I wanted mine to be a lower-calorie meal.  I used bulk breakfast sausage (the kind you get in a tube, by the bacon), but you can use any kind of sausage.  Serve a slice of this frittata hot, with maybe a side salad and a piece of nice bread.  You can also have this for breakfast, of course, with some fruit or toast.  Get crazy – get cooking!

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bulk sausage
  • 8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (or use half and half for a richer taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 or more slices of Swiss or Jack Cheese

Directions:

  1. In an oven-proof skillet, cook the sausage, crumbling it with your spoon as it cooks.  After 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Season them with a little salt – this helps draw the water out of the mushrooms.  Cover and simmer on medium for five minutes.
  2. Lift the lid and let all the water in the pan cook off.  If the pan looks dry, you can add a tiny bit of olive oil or butter and mix that in.  If it looks like the sausage left enough fat to lubricate the pan, go to Step 3.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on the broiler in your oven.
  5. Pour the eggs over the sausage mixture and stir a few times.  When the edges look set, put the cheese on top of the eggs and place the pan in the oven.   Make sure it’s not too close to the broiler!
  6. Broil for about 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on this!  Take it out when things look golden and bubbly.  Slice and serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Moo-less Chocolate Pie

moo-less chocolate pie

If you’ve never had tofu before, this Moo-less Chocolate Pie may be the dish to break you in softly.  Soft tofu is a master of disguise, and here it takes the place of dairy and eggs to form a soft custard base.  Serve this to anyone who swears they hate tofu, and see if you can change their mind!

There are dozens of ways you can customize this.  Use a graham cracker crust like I did, or a regular pie crust instead of the chocolate pie crust.  Drizzle with homemade caramel, or serve with strawberries.  Walnuts or pecans would be delicious too, with a light pour of hot fudge.  Or go classic and just serve with whipped cream.

Moo-less Chocolate Pie
(Recipe Courtesy of Alton Brown)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (or use black coffee)
  • 1 block silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 prepared chocolate wafer crust

Directions:

  1. Place a small metal bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water.  Melt the chocolate chips and the coffee liqueur together in the bowl.  Stir in the vanilla.
  2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the jar of a blender or food processor.  Add the tofu and honey and mix until liquified and smooth.
  3. Pour the chocolate-tofu mixture into the pie crust and refrigerate for two hours, or until set.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat Berry Salad

If you’ve never had wheat berries, you’re in for a treat!  These grains have a delightful chewiness and enough fiber to fill you up.  Combine them with a mild vinaigrette, some fresh vibrant herbs, and a little tangy fruit, and you have the perfect salad.

You may need to search around to find wheat berries, also known as hard winter wheat.  Whole Foods and other health food stores will have them in the bulk section.  They cook up just like any other grain (barley or rice); I actually cooked mine in my rice cooker.  This salad keeps in the fridge for a few days…so have some with dinner, or breakfast, or whenever you like.  Also try subbing out the dried blueberries with raisins, dried cherries, minced dried apricots, dried cranberries – you get the idea.

Wheat Berry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • optional:  a few tablespoons of crumbled feta or goat cheese

Directions:

  1. In a heavy pot with a lid, or in a rice cooker, pour in the wheat berries, as well as two cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. The wheat berries should absorb all the water from the pot.  If not, drain them.  Pour them into a large bowl.  Add the blueberries, parsley, and green onions.  Toss to mix.
  3. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  Taste for seasoning.  Keep  in the fridge until ready to eat.  When serving, you can sprinkle some crumbled feta or goat cheese over the top.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Muddy Buddies

… also known as People Puppy Chow.  I really can’t describe for you how delicious and addictive this stuff is.  I first had People Puppy Chow at a friend’s house as a kid, and it was a game changer!  From then on it always showed up at parties and potlucks and is an easy win.

Full disclosure:  I didn’t make this batch.  A friend dropped it off for us, and I’ve had to hide it, because my older girl is allergic to peanut butter, and I didn’t want to salivate over this stuff when she can’t have any.  My days of Muddy Buddies may be limited, but yours don’t have to be.  Make this for the next party / movie night / kids sleepover, and enjoy!

People Puppy Chow

Muddy Buddies / People Puppy Chow

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box of Crispix or Chex cereal
  • 1 box powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla, until smooth and melted.
  2. Empty the box of cereal into the largest bowl you have.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir to completely coat.
  3. In a large paper grocery bag, pour in the powdered sugar, then pour in the coated cereal.  Close up the top and shake and toss to cover the cereal in powdered sugar.
  4. Dump it all out of the bag onto a few baking sheets to cool.  Separate any big clumps.  Try not to eat it all at once!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

 

Summer Thai Steak Salad

Thai Salad

There were lots of adjectives to sift through in trying to create a name for this recipe!  ‘Salad’ had to be in there, of course…and ‘Thai,’ too, because of the peanut dressing.  But feel free to use chicken instead of steak, and you can switch out the veggies used to suit your tastes.  This Summer Thai Steak Salad is really flexible!  Ready?  Let’s go!

Summer Thai Steak Salad

(recipe makes two salads)

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or use a little less apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (use grapeseed or olive oil, if you have to)
  • a few handfuls of salad greens
  • 1/2 pound cooked steak or chicken, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 sweet or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
  • other options:  tomatoes, avocado, basil, cilantro, carrots

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend together the peanut butter, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Taste for seasoning – add more sugar, or more vinegar, or whatever you want.  You can even give it a hit of Sriracha if you like!  Set aside.
  2. Wash greens and divide between two really big salad bowls.  Top with diced steak and thinly sliced veggies.
  3. Toss with lots of peanut dressing.
  4. Do a little happy dance in your chair!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Plum and Basil Upside-Down Cake

Plum Basil Upside Down Cake

I  hadn’t really planned on baking a cake today.  But every Friday, I need to have a post up for you fine ladies, and sometimes…{sigh}.  The kids are acting crazy, work is busy, the husband has to work late—you know how it is.  So, you make all the family favorites for dinner because it’s easy and you don’t have to think about it.

This week, however, I was really stumped.  I looked in my fridge:  I had a LOT of plums to deal with that were edging toward soft.  I also have a basil plant in my front yard that I’m in love with!   I am plucking off leaves daily and trying to find new uses for it.  Well, I did a Google search for “plums and basil”…and guess what came up?  This Plum and Basil Upside-Down Cake!

It was easy to make and, while not instantaneous to whip up, I could still do it in steps—in between washing dishes, or folding some laundry.   You don’t need the basil in this recipe, but it adds a lovely complexity to the flavor and elevates it from being just another sweet cake.  If you don’t have plums, use nectarines or peaches – both taste great with basil.

Plum and Basil Upside-Down Cake

(click here for the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons butter, divided use
  • 1 pound large plums – any kind, or peaches or nectarines – pitted and quartered (about 6 plums)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided use
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or use regular flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used plain yogurt instead)

Directions:

  1. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add plums, and cook for 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, basil, and a pinch of salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or until plums are tender, stirring frequently.  Remove plums from pan using a slotted spoon.  Bring cooking liquid to a boil.  Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is very thick, like jam.  Strain liquid through a sieve to remove basil.
  2. While the liquid reduces, arrange plums in the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan (I used square, but the author recommends round) coated with cooking spray.  Pour the liquid over the plums.  Let cool.  (I actually reserved about 3 tablespoons of the liquid for another use – read on!)
  3. Preheat oven to 350F*.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/4 cup butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add one egg at a time, beating well. Add flour and buttermilk (or yogurt) alternately to sugar blend, beginning and ending with flour.  Pour batter over plums, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake.  Invert onto a plate.  Cool and serve plain, or with whipped cream, or even vanilla ice cream!

I saved a bit of the plum syrup.  My husband got a promotion today (Praise the Lord!), and I’m going to surprise him with a glass of sparkling wine with a teaspoon of the plum syrup stirred in for a champagne cocktail!  If you don’t like champagne, I bet this plum syrup would be delicious stirred into sparkling water or iced tea too.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Cobb Salad with Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing

Cobb Salad with Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing

I think you guys know how much I love a big salad for dinner.  One of my favorites is this Cobb Salad with Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing, because it’s got so many different components.  So satisfying!

Of course you can use store-bought dressing, but I decided to make my own.  You can really control how salty, how creamy, how peppery it is when you make it yourself – plus there are no binders, stabilizers, thickeners, et cetera like there are in bottled dressing.  (How else do you think they make that stuff shelf-stable?)  This is a basic recipe; feel free to jazz it up with a little lemon juice, hot sauce, or Worcestershire sauce to take it to the next level.  You can also add more veggies to the salad or change up the protein.  Have at it!

Cobb Salad with Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese or gorgonzola
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • lots of ground pepper
  • washed salad greens, any kind
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 large chicken breast (or use two chicken thighs), cooked and diced
  • 2 (or more!) slices bacon, cooked crisp
  • sliced or cherry tomatoes (would be great, but I don’t like raw tomatoes)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the bleu cheese, mayo, yogurt, and milk.  Grind in lots of black pepper.  Let chill in the fridge until you are ready to eat.  (Do it a day before and get an even better-tasting dressing!)
  2. In two large salad bowls, divide the washed salad greens.  Into each bowl, add a sliced egg, half of the avocado, the diced chicken, and some bacon crumbles.  Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Basil Shrimp Scampi

 

Basil Shrimp Scampi

I’m not much of a gardener, but this year I’ve managed to keep some basil and rosemary plants alive long enough to eat from them.  Basil is so fresh and summery that I love to add it to lots of different dishes.  This week I made Basil Shrimp Scampi and it was delicious!

I like to peel my shrimp before cooking them.  You could use whatever shape pasta you like for this recipe, but I found plain old spaghetti works great.  This recipe served four, with some leftovers, so tell the family dinner’s ready!

Basil Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti, undercooked just a bit – don’t go past al dente
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or use 2 tablespoons minced garlic from a jar)
  • 1/2 cup white wine or champagne
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pound shelled shrimp (31-40 size is best)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 fistfuls of fresh basil, chiffonaded

Directions:

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.  Do NOT overcook!
  2. While the spaghetti is cooking, make the sauce:  melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the garlic.  Stir to combine, then add the wine and lemon juice.  Simmer until bubbly.
  3. Increase heat to medium and add the shrimp.  Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip each shrimp and cook for another two minutes.  Season with lots of salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the shrimp and sauce over the pasta and toss to combine.  Add in the basil and toss again.  Save a few tiny basil leaves to garnish the pasta.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Peach Pie Waffles

Peach Pie Waffles

The kids were clamoring for waffles.  They usually like berries and maple syrup, but I had a better idea:  Peach Pie Waffles!  They ate these things up like they were going out of style!

The waffle recipe is straight from Martha Stewart.  She is my go-to resource when I’m checking out a basic recipe.  No waffle iron?  Make pancakes with the batter instead!  These are quick to put together and the leftover waffles (if you have any – it made four waffles for me) freeze and reheat very well.  If you have any leftover peaches, mix them into plain or vanilla yogurt for breakfast.  Ready?  It’s easy as pie!

Peach Pie Waffles

(makes 4 waffles)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large can of sliced or halved peaches, lightly drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour (I used whole wheat – you can use regular, too)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • whipped cream to serve

Directions:

  1. In a medium non-stick pan (or use a regular pan and add a tablespoon of butter!) pour in the can of peaches.  Add the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Let simmer while you make the waffles.  Mash them with a potato masher if you like, or with the back of a fork.  Keep an eye on them to make sure nothing burns.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the milk.  Whisk the egg mixture into the dry mix.  Stir in the melted butter.
  3. Make the waffles according to your waffle maker’s instructions.  Mine called for half a cup of batter for each waffle, and this recipe made four waffles.  If you’re making pancakes, you’ll get … I’m not sure.  Maybe 8?  Anyway, cook them how you normally do, then set aside and plate up.
  4. To serve:  top each waffle with a ladle of hot peaches and a good shot of whipped cream.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet