July 2, 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!

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes

Not as fancy as crab cakes, but higher up the gourmet rankings than a tuna melt, these Salmon Cakes make a quick, protein-filled lunch that can be dressed up or down, depending on your mood.

Dressing up?  Stack them with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce, along with a side of steamed or grilled asparagus.  Going casual?  Serve the salmon cakes in a salad with a vinaigrette and some goat cheese, or with a fried egg and a side of roasted vegetables.  These would go great with tartar sauce or remoulade.  Any way you plate these up, you’ll love these savory salmon cakes!

Salmon Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can of boneless salmon
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted bell peppers and onions (or 1/2 cup diced bell pepper and 1/2 cup diced onion, cooked in olive oil until soft)
  • 10 large crackers (use saltines, Ritz, or whatever plain cracker you have around)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Combine the salmon, mayo, mustard, celery salt, dill, peppers, and onions in a large bowl.  Crumble the crackers into crumbs and mix into  the salmon.
  2. Using a bowl or a cup (I used a half-cup measuring cup), pack the salmon mixture into 4 ounce portions.  Remove the salmon cakes from the cup and place them all on a plate.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the butter and oil together.  Cook the salmon cakes for about 8-10 minutes on one side over medium heat, until they have a nice golden crust.  Flip them carefully, and cook again for about 8 minutes.  Remove and serve warm.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

I’m a nibbler.  Are you?  I can sit for an hour with a book, popping snacks into my mouth!  If you are a nibbler like me, it’s best to have some healthy treats around the house.  Popcorn is usually my go-to, but this recipe for Roasted Chickpeas may be my new favorite!

Get two cans of chickpeas (or do you like to call them garbanzo beans?).  Pick out your favorite flavors to add:  curry powder, a spice rub, a lemon pepper shake, even taco seasoning or a Ranch dressing packet.  Mix, roast, crunch!  These guys are like healthier Corn Nuts.  Yum!

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) of your favorite spice powder mix – see above for ideas

Directions:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse in a colander.  Let dry for about half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400*F.
  3. In a bowl, mix together chickpeas, oil, and spices.  Add salt if your spice mix doesn’t include it (curry powder never has salt in it, so you will want to add about half a teaspoon of salt.)
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Spread out the chickpeas into one layer and place the sheet pan on the middle rack.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Stir to make sure they’re not sticking or burning, then bake for another 15 minutes or so (maybe another 5 minutes more or less, depending on your oven.)
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool, then munch away!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Protein Powder Cookie Bars

Protein Powder Cookie Bars

Have you ever used protein powder?  My husband loves the stuff, so we always have a few mongo-sized tubs of it in the pantry.  There are  dozens of varieties – whey, casein, hemp, or pea, to name and few – and as many different flavors, though for most recipes, I would suggest you stick with vanilla.  When you need a sweet treat (and come on, we ALL do sometimes) but don’t want to feel overly guilty, whip up a batch of these Protein Powder Cookie Bars.

Sometimes you know you need protein and you just don’t want to fry some eggs or eat that leftover chicken breast.  Protein powder to the rescue!  I’m normally a champion of whole foods, but sometimes there really is better living through chemistry.  This recipe comes together completely in the food processor and takes just a few minutes to make.  Hold out for the bars to firm up in the fridge or freezer, and you have a candy bar that doesn’t break the calorie bank.  This is totally customizable and deserves a go.  Ready?

Protein Powder Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roasted, salted almonds (leave skins on for extra fiber)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup protein powder (vanilla casein or whey both work here)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In the food processor, add the coconut oil to the almonds and make almond butter.  Then add the ingredients, one by one, and mix after each addition.
  2. When you have a mixture that feels like heavy, wet sand, pour it out into a metal loaf pan.  Flatten it out with your hands or a spatula and freeze or refrigerate until very firm.  Cut into 4″ x 1″ bars.  (You could go crazy and drizzle these bars with melted chocolate!)  Store in the fridge or freezer until ready to eat.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Happy Summer!  Today was my daughter’s last day of school.  Memorial Day is in the past, and it’s quickly heating up.  That means it’s BBQ time!  Next cookout you go to—bring this Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad.

This is an alternative to that played-out coleslaw.  Feel free to double or triple this recipe.  The cucumbers keep it light and crunchy.  You can adjust the balance of sweet to sour to suit your own taste.  I like this salad fresh, but the longer you leave it to mix and mature – up to two or three days – the more pickled and nuanced the flavors get.  Ready?  Let’s go!

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber (I like English in this recipe)
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar – white or rice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice into thin half-moons.  Place in a large bowl
  2. Slice the onion as fine as possible.  Add to the cucumber.
  3. Mix together the vinegar, sugar, and milk.  Taste, and add more of what you like, or leave it as-is.  Pour over the cucumber and onion.  Season with salt and pepper.  Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.  This is great the next day, and even more pronounced after two days.  Eat with spicy foods, BBQ’d meat, or really salty foods.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

 

Salmon with Dill Cream Cheese Sauce

Salmon Dill Cream Cheese Sauce

I’m still struggling to find a good name for this recipe.  Two weeks ago, I had an omelet that had smoked salmon inside, and was topped by a cream cheese dill sauce.  It was so good!  It was like my favorite way to eat a bagel – without the bagel!  So I played around at home, eliminating the omelet factor in the equation, and got straight to the point—Salmon with Dill Cream Cheese Sauce!

Eat this with a salad or some roasted broccoli or asparagus.  The sauce recipe makes about half a cup, which is more than you’ll need to feed a family of four.  But fear not, it won’t go to waste!  It’s great on those same roasted vegetables, baked potatoes, and even as a dip for carrots (let it chill in the fridge for this, and maybe add a little more plain yogurt or diced green onion.)

Salmon with Dill Cream Cheese Sauce
(serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • about 1.5 pounds salmon fillets
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cream cheese
  • 1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill (or use 1 teaspoon or more fresh dill)
  • salt and pepper
  • capers and diced red onion to serve

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400*F.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper (optional, but it makes clean up much easier).  Lay salmon in baking dish in one layer – you may need to use another dish, or you can even use a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 14 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut lemon in half and squeeze it into the bowl of a food processor.  Scoop in the cream cheese, mayo and yogurt.  Pulse to combine.  Add in dill, salt and pepper, and blend again.  Taste, adjust seasoning, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. To serve, spoon a little sauce over the fish, and garnish with lots of capers and red onion.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Lunch for One: Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheese

Broccoli Cheese Potato

There are many reasons you’d want to have a stash of “table for one” recipes:  You could be a stay-at-home mom (or work-from-home mom, like me) and you don’t want hot dogs or buttered noodles or whatever it is your toddler will deign to consume this week; it could be you live alone and don’t need to make a recipe that serves 6; or it could be a case where the other people around you want something else, and you need a dish you can whip up quickly just for you.   Whatever the case, this Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheese feeds one person perfectly!

I cooked both the potato and the broccoli in the microwave.  You could use leftover baked potatoes; you could also use frozen broccoli instead of fresh.  The important thing is the cheese sauce!  No Velveeta here – just regular ingredients you have around your house come together in 4 minutes for a creamy, healthy sauce.  I had a little Boursin cheese leftover – about an ounce – or you could use goat cheese or even cream cheese if you don’t have Boursin.  If you have none of those and are just using grated cheese, add about a quarter cup more cheese, plus a hefty shake of garlic salt or garlic powder.

Lunch for One:  Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 potato (any kind – I like Yukon Gold)
  • 1 small head of broccoli (or use about 8 ounces frozen broccoli)
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 ounce Boursin or goat cheese (or use cream cheese, plus garlic powder, salt and pepper)

Directions:

  1. Chop the broccoli into smallish pieces, and microwave until steamed.  Not too crisp, but definitely not mushy.  Set aside.
  2. Microwave the potato.  I poked holes in the potato with a fork, wrapped it in a wet dishcloth, and microwaved until soft and pliable.  Set aside.
  3. In a pan, melt the butter and add the flour over medium-low heat.  Stir together (this is a roux) for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the milk and stir until it blends into the sauce and starts to thicken.  Add the cheeses (and spices if using) and stir until hot and melted.
  5. Stir the broccoli into the cheese sauce.  Split the potato in half and smother with broccoli and cheese.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Fruit Pizza

Fruit Pizza Close

My daughter turned four last week, and we had her friends over for an old-school birthday party:  pizza, some play time, and cake.  Except…instead of cake…I presented her with another pizza:  this Fruit Pizza!  All the kids thought it was hilarious – and then the glorious silence of small children who are too busy eating to talk!

This is incredibly easy.  Just make sure you give yourself enough time for the cookie to cool before you frost it.  You can use homemade sugar cookie dough, but a log of store-bought cookie dough saves time and is just as good.  Decorate with any fruits you like – the more colorful the better! – but if you think you might have a lot of leftovers, save really delicate or juicy fruits – like kiwi, mandarin oranges, or bananas – until you are ready to eat it.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 6 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons milk (optional, to thin out the frosting)
  • squeeze of lemon (optional, but I like a more balanced frosting)
  • 2 cups sliced fruit of your choice – berries, halved grapes, sliced kiwi, mandarin oranges, whatever you like – the more colorful, the better!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Cover your largest baking sheet (or a pizza stone!) with parchment paper.  Spread out the cookie dough into a big circle.  (I put a plastic baggie over my hand because the dough was sticking and it worked well.)  Flatten to about 1/4″ thick.  Bake until lightly golden – it took about 22 minutes for me.  Keep in mind – the dough will spread a lot!  If you don’t have a very large baking sheet, you may want to make your pizza oval-shaped, just so it doesn’t climb up the sides of your baking sheet when it spreads.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese,  vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.  If you would like a smoother frosting, add a tablespoon of milk at a time, until you reach your desired texture.  Also you can add a squeeze of lemon (it balances out the sweetness.)
  3. When the cookie crust is cool, cover with the frosting, but leave a border around the edges (so you can see the pizza “crust”).  Decorate with sliced fruit and serve.  Keep refrigerated.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

School Birthday Muffins

School Birthday Muffins

It’s nice to be able to make a healthy snack for your family.  It’s also nice to have a recipe in your arsenal that makes a LOT of healthy snacks!  This recipe for School Birthday Muffins fits that bill!

This is a recipe my daughter’s preschool gave me in case I wanted to bring a treat for her birthday.  No nuts, so we can include kids with nut allergies, and pretty healthy to boot.  The recipe specifies “6 cups of chopped fruit,” so that leaves it open to a lot of variations.  You can easily use six cups of mashed banana, if you want to make it easy on yourself!  Also try canned pumpkin, or a combination of berries and bananas.

Next time one of your little ones has a birthday, maybe bring these to share with her class.  Your child’s teacher will thank you!

School Birthday Muffins (adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook)
(makes 3 dozen)

Ingredients:

Wet

  • 2 sticks butter, or soy margarine, or vegan butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk, or soy milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups chopped fruit – I used 3 apples and 1 cup of baby carrots, chopped in the food processor, along with 2 cups of Craisins

Dry

  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease muffin tin or use paper liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs; then the milk and vanilla.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the fruit.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Stir in the wet ingredients until just mixed.  Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full of batter.
  4. Bake for about 32 minutes, or until puffy and golden.  Remove muffins from tin and cool on a baking rack.  Store in a sealed container.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Sriracha Popcorn

Sriracha Popcorn

I have a well-documented popcorn addiction.  I’m not ashamed!  I like to fiddle around with the flavorings and see if I can change it up from regular butter and salt.  I think this one is an experiment gone RIGHT:  Sriracha Popcorn!

I went pretty easy on the Sriracha because I knew my girls would want to eat some of this and I didn’t want to burn their little tongues.  But if you live in a house full of chile heads, crank it up!  I used honey to balance out the spiciness, but you could use brown sugar instead.  Ready to get poppin’?  Let’s go!

Sriracha Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (or other hot sauce – use more if you like!)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash, Italian herb blend, or other seasoning blend
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or coconut oil for popping
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small pan over very low heat, melt together the butter with the Sriracha, honey, and seasoning blend.
  2. Meanwhile, pop the popcorn in the grapeseed oil.
  3. When popcorn is popped, pour the Sriracha butter over the popcorn.  Cover with a lid and shake.  Add salt to taste and shake again.  Store any leftovers in a Ziploc bag.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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

Banana Cake with Coconut Frosting

IMG_3485

We were having friends over for dinner a few weeks back, and I’d just gotten back from the store when I realized I hadn’t planned anything for dessert.  Oh no!  I did have some bananas, and I figured I had enough staples on hand to whip up a banana cake.  I lucked out and found this delicious recipe on Epicurious.com:  Banana Cake with Coconut Frosting!

This is extremely simple and it came out perfectly.  The only kind of weird thing in the recipe is the cream of coconut.  It’s not coconut milk, and it’s not coconut cream, and in fact it’s more like a syrup for making pina coladas than anything else.  I bought some earlier in the year, because I was going to make coconut-flavored yogurt for my girl.  (It’s delicious, but it does have a lot of added sugar – not exactly healthy, but okay for a splurge.)  If you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, substitute whole coconut milk or coconut cream.  Or leave it out and double the sweetened shredded coconut.  In any case, this came together quickly but was fancy enough for company.  Can’t beat that combination!

Banana Cake with Coconut Frosting

Ingredients:

For cake

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup well-mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For coconut frosting

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred canned cream of coconut such as Coco López (not coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, knocking out excess flour.
  2. Whisk together flour (1+1/2 cups), baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Beat together butter (1 stick) and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg until combined, then add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
  4. Spread batter in cake pan and bake until pale golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of pan, then invert rack over cake and invert cake onto rack to cool completely.
  5. Make frosting while cake cools:
    Beat together cream cheese and butter in a bowl using cleaned beaters at medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low, then add confectioners sugar, cream of coconut, and rum (if using) and mix until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Frost top of cooled cake and sprinkle with coconut.

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


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