Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Salmon Lettuce Wraps

I have been stocking up on wild sockeye salmon this summer whenever I went to Costco so over 3 trips I have accumulated quite a stash especially when it was a dollar less per lb each time I went ($10.99, $9.99, and $8.99)...reminds me of buying additional shares of stocks if the price keeps coming down hoping to average out your losses.  So with my FIFO (first in first out) strategy, I was still pulling out a pack from late June and another from late July to make enough for both lunch and dinner. 



Butter lettuce

Jasmine Rice

  1. Salmon was prepared using the lemongrass salmon recipe - http://www.cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/07/lemongrass-salmon.html
  2. Assemble wraps with salmon, rice, and tomato slice

  1. You can definitely leave out the rice but I needed to add a little filler so we do not consume an entire lb of salmon each in order to be satisfied
  2. Our 1 serving ended up being about 4-5 lettuce wraps
Price:  $20 for 5 servings = $4 per serving

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Melt

I had planted rosemary in backyard over 10 years ago since I used it quite a bit when I made lamb more often.  Over the years, the sprig has exploded into a bush complete with a trunk that has completely overtaken my planter box despite annual pruning.  This past weekend when my husband pruned it, it was more of a hatchet job enough to fill up 2 compost bins even after giving away a few shopping bags full of it.   So I had to find something to use a sprig or two at least so decided to try this recipe I had printed out but had yet to try.     


  1. I am not a huge fan of fennel so I just used arugula for my greens.  I still had 1/3 of a bag leftover from my fig, arugula, and prosciutto recipe. 
  2. Since I was at TJ’s, I went with sliced smoked gouda instead of provolone
  3. It is on the pricier side only because the price of chicken breast have been quite high lately
Price:  $12 for 4 servings = $3 per serving

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spinach Gorgonzola Pasta

About a week ago, I mentioned that I ended up detouring unexpectedly to Capitola for lunch to avoid the anticipated insane traffic that our originally planned Santa Cruz might be having due to a triathlon.  My go-to place whenever I am in Capitola is Gayle’s Bakery and Rosticceria serving locals and over time more tourists who discovered them through word of mouth.  I am not local enough to satisfy my cravings whenever I feel like it but close enough to at least make a trek here a couple of times a year for one of their staples, the spinach gorgonzola pasta.  Since I had just picked up 4 bags of frozen spinach for $5, I went hunting for the recipe that Gayle’s shared on their own website years ago and voila, eight servings of this rich creamy decadent comfort food for about the price of a pound. 


4 cups of milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
10 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
4 pinches nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound large pasta shells
2 bunches fresh spinach, cleaned and dried, or 1 package frozen
3/4 cup ricotta cheese, well-drained
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until hot but not boiling.

Meanwhile, combine flour and butter in another heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon or whisk until the mixture has gently bubbled for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour.
Begin to add the hot milk to the flour mixture a little at a time while whisking vigorously. Continue to add the milk until it is fully incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 6 to 8 minutes. it will look like heavy cream. Crumble the cheese and add it to the hot b├ęchamel sauce, whisking continuously until smooth. Add the nutmeg and pepper and stir. Remove form heat and let cool.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
If using fresh spinach, blanch it 1 to 2 minutes in a little boiling water. Drain it, let it cool, and squeeze all of the water out several times. if you are using frozen spinach, let it defrost in a sieve over a bowl for at least 3 hours. Squeeze all the water out by hand.

Toss the pasta, Gorgonzola sauce, spinach, ricotta, and garlic in a large bowl until well combined. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
Place in a 12 X 17-inch casserole dish and top with the Parmesan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cheese browns a little.


1.  I split it among 2 smaller but deeper casserole dishes
2.  I cooked the frozen spinach in boiling water and drained it before adding to the mixture

Price:  $12 for 8 servings = $1.50 per serving


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Flatbread

Yesterday I had mentioned that I had another recipe in mind for all that prosciutto I got from Costco so here it is.  A few weeks ago, I had this at Vault 164 which was by far my favorite thing I ordered that night that I Yelp’d I could just eat that as my dinner and be happy.  So I decided to do just that and make our dinner out of it…I mean, how can you go wrong with prosciutto, figs, and arugula. 


8 Dried Turkish Figs

4 oz of arugula

6 slices of prosciutto

2 Pizza Flatbreads

Balsamic Glaze

Manchego Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pre-crisp the flatbreads for about 5 minutes
  3. Toss the arugula with olive oil
  4. Top flatbread with arugula
  5. Next is sliced Turkish or mission figs
  6. Cover with 3 slices of prosciutto per flatbread
  7. Pop back into oven for about 3-4 minutes to warm through and wilt the arugula a little
  8. Remove from oven and top with manchego cheese shavings and balsamic glaze drizzle


  1. Prosciutto and manchego cheese I got from Costco since I intended to use in multiple recipes for it and manchego lasts for months in the fridge but TJ’s will have it as well
  2. Pizza Flatbreads and arugula were from Trader Joe’s and you can also get dried figs and balsamic glaze there as well.  I already had a bottle of balsamic glaze from last year
  3. This is one recipe where I practically had to buy all ingredients to make
Price:  $15 for 4 servings = $3.75 per serving


Monday, August 18, 2014

Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe Spears

Over a hundred posts in, I am of course getting to the point of remaking dishes for dinner so recently I have been doing new sides or appetizers that are good accompaniments as first courses or would be great as just appetizers for a dinner party.  Years ago I had ordered prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe with my parents at the since shuttered Sergio’s in San Ramon and it was a hit with every one so since cantaloupes are in season right now at just 99 cents each without having to go to a 99 cent store, I picked up some prosciutto last week at Costco since I have another recipe from a recent restaurant visit I want to try and recreate myself.   



  1. Cut cantaloupes into spears
  2. Remove rind
  3. Wrap with prosciutto and serve as is or cut into cubes and serve with toothpicks if you are serving for a large party

  1. Make sure to wash your melon before cutting so you are not contaminated the flesh with anything from the rind of the melon
Price:  $8 for 16 prosciutto wrapped spears = 50 cents a piece

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Italian Style Pork Stir Fry

Italian and stir fry sounds a little bit of an oxymoron or as I like to think of it, fusion.  It has been a long time since I made this dish but since zucchini was on sale for just 89 cents a lb this past week, my mom had an extra bottle of Italian dressing and I have 1 more tenderloin in my freezer, it came back into my radar.   

Pork Tenderloin
2 Zucchini (Italian Squash) – thinly sliced
Italian Dressing
Olive Oil


  1. Slice the pork tenderloin against the grain
  2. Marinade with about 1 oz of Italian Dressing for an hour in the fridge
  3. When ready to cook, add about 1 tbsp of olive oil into pan
  4. Add pre-marinaded pork into pan and cook over medium high heat
  5. When pork is cooked 2/3 of the way, add sliced zucchini
  6. Drizzle some more Italian dressing over it to flavor the zucchini
  7. Once the pork is fully cooked, turn off heat, and cover pan for 5 min to further soften zucchini
  8. Serve over steamed rice

  1. You can make this with pork chops but I prefer the tenderness of the tenderloin
Price:  $6 for 4 servings = $1.50 per serving

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heirloom Tomato with Burrata Cheese

Three years ago I attended a Local Bites event at the Cal Academy and had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with their then executive chef Kelly Degala formerly of Va Di Vi.  Because of our love for Hawai`i and his island roots, we had an instant connection.  Before the event ended, he handed us a couple heirloom tomatoes, the main ingredient in the gazpacho he was serving that day.  To be honest, I have never bought heirloom tomatoes before and therefore felt that it was a shame to use it in a plain salad so we ended up asking Kelly what he suggested.  The following simple but such delicious preparation he suggested makes me look forward to tomato season each year since.  Mahalo “Gala Chef”!!

Heirloom Tomato with Burrata Cheese

Heirloom Tomato
Burrata Cheese
Light Olive Oil
Sea Salt


  1. Slice heirloom tomato into thin wedge
  2. Place slice of burrata cheese on top of each wedge
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil
  4. Let sit for about 5 minutes for flavors to meld and serve

  1. I like the yellow heirlooms as they are the sweetest and I felt have a nice intense flavor
  2. Average about 1 ball of burrata for 1 large heirloom
  3. Trader Joe's now carries burrata.  If you can't find it there, try Whole Foods

Price:  $7 for 2 heirlooms and burrata cheese – (picture is 1 tomato portion)