Home Meal Kits

Gobble’s Caribbean Vegetable Rondon Stew

During the pandemic rather than visit restaurants, I subscribed to six different meal preparation kits. I enjoyed each, and each had their own strengths. Here is how they compare.  

Blue Apron is the first kit we tried. Limited customization of meals is available, but there is a lot of variety in the recipes. There are some good ethic selections. Packaging is very good, with the ingredients in separate bags. Shipments always arrived with the ice packs still frozen. My only nit is that sometimes condensation had soaked the instruction cards. This is an excellent choice, and a moderate price.  Let me know if you want a free starter box and I’ll send you one.

Home Chef offers the most flexibility in swapping ingredients. Nearly every meal allows substantial customization of the proteins, including upgrades in quality, change from beef, to chicken, to vegetarian, etc. When fish is part of a recipe it is impressive how fresh it is. We had a bento box that included raw tuna, and it was as good as at any sushi place. Instructions are clear, and the recipes are interesting and varied enough to avoid repetitiveness. They also have options you can simply heat up, although we never tried these. Packaging is very good, with the ingredients in separate bags. Shipments always arrived with the ice packs still frozen. For overall quality, this is my favorite of the five plans.  Here’s a $35 off coupon: https://www.homechef.com/invite/stevea85

Minted Spinach Soup from Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot is a vegan meal kit. It has the most ambitious recipes, excellent ethnic options, and a lot of variety. Because a lot of the recipes involve tofu or seitan, neither of which are my favorites, I stuck with the vegetable-only recipes. I really like that instead of instruction cards each week includes a very professionally produced booklet with all of the recipes. Purple Carrot is the only where service where I had delivery issues. They use a company called laser ship which lost my orders a full 20% of the time. This is the most expensive of the five plans.  Let me know if you want a free starter box and I’ll send you one.

Every Plate is by far the least expensive of all the meal kits. The downside is that the recipes are quite repetitive. If there are three possible proteins, three possible sauces, three possible carbs, and three possible vegetables, then there are 81 possible combinations, and you tend to see them, over and over. True, there are also some other varients, but it just seemed too mundane. Instructions tend to be very simple. Shipments always arrived with the ice packs still frozen. This is a good pick if price is your most important consideration.  Here’s a $20 off coupon: https://www.everyplate.com/plans?c=ES-3IM7GEVPS&plans_ab=true&utm_campaign=clipboard&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=raf-share-hpt

Mushroom Hoagies from Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh offers a lot of different meals each week, and has an excellent selection of vegetarian choices in addition to meat-based ones. Limited customization of meals is available. I really like their recipes. Packaging is very good, with the ingredients in separate bags. Shipments always arrived with the ice packs still frozen. A good pick in terms of value for the variety. Here’s a $70 off coupon: https://www.hellofresh.com/pages/share?c=HS-58NYSUJ2L&utm_campaign=clipboard&utm_couponvalue=70&utm_invitername=Steve&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=raf-share

Barramundi with lemon beurre blanc and capers from Gobble

Gobble was the last meal kit I tried. It has a good range of menus like Hello Fresh, good customization options like Home Chef, and interesting ethnic meals like Purple Carrot. Gobble’s big advertising point is that meals can be prepared quickly because many elements have been prepped for you. For example, in the Caribbean Vegetable Rondon Stew (pictured at the top of this article) the kohlrabi had already been peeled and diced, and the basmati cilantro rice was already cooked and provided in a sealed pouch. The company claims meals can be prepared in 15 minutes, and I found this close to the truth. I’ve loved all the recipes I’ve gotten from them, and one of the regular fish offerings is barramundi, which I find much better than the tilapia that predominates at some of the other services (photo above). I also like the way Gobble calls out the calories of each item in the kit, in case you want to make substitutions or omit ingredients. Discount link: https://app.gobble.com/referral/G0BgcSNDR

Overall, my choices are:  

  • Overall: Gobble – great recipes, fast prep, protein options
  • Most Customizable: Home Chef – multiple swaps on every protein
  • Best Selection: Hello Fresh – also great vegetarian options
  • Vegan: Purple Carrot – complex prep, all vegan ingredients
  • Cheap: Every Plate – repetitive but easy recipes

Steve’s Chicken and Celery Salad with Wasabi

Cook Time: 10 minutes 

Servings: 2 servings


1/2 lb shredded or cubed chicken meat

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp Tatziki sauce

1 Tbsp tahini

diced scallion

1 or 2 Tbsp wasabi paste

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 celery stalks

dried cranberries




crushed pecans


If you don’t have Tahini or Tatziki you can substitute plain Greek yogurt or Mayonnaise.

Combine all ingredients except pecans and chill

Add pecans when serving

Thai Coconut Carrot Soup


Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 3 hours Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8


1 tbsp oil

1 small onion peeled and diced

2.5 lb carrots peeled and diced

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups canned coconut milk

2 garlic cloves minced

3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste

2 T bsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp honey

1 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp minced ginger (optional)

Fresh basil (optional


Sauce onions until translucent. 

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot on high or a pot on the stove.

Cook for several hours until carrots are tender.

Purée soup with an immersion blender.

Serve warm or chill overnight.

Garnish with basil if desired.

Southern-Spiced Chicken, Potato Salad, Green Beans with Maple Syrup and Red Pepper



2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Tbsp Southern Spice Blend (Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Yellow Mustard, Smoked Paprika & Cayenne Pepper)

¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


¾ lb Golden Or Red Potatoes

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

2oz Sweet Chili Peppers

1 Tsp Southern Spice Blend (Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Yellow Mustard, Smoked Paprika & Cayenne Pepper)

Green Beans

6 oz Green Beans

2 cloves Garlic

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


Southern Spiced Chicken

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper, and coat with spice blend.

In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken.

Cook 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F.

Drizzle the chicken with spicy maple and crushed red pepper flakes.

Potato Salad

Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high.

Medium dice the potatoes.

Add the diced potatoes to the pot of boiling water.

Cook 15 to 17 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Roughly chop the cherry peppers.

Add Dijon mustard, rice wine vinegar, chopped cherry peppers, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, spice blend, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Green Beans with Maple Syrup and Red Pepper

Cut off and discard the stem ends of the green beans.

Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot.

Add the prepared green beans; season with salt and hot pepper flakes.

Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Add the chopped garlic.

Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened.

Add maple syrup, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon of water.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the green beans are softened and the liquid has cooked off.

Steve’s Healthy Egg Salad


3 hard boiled eggs

1/4 cup 2% milkfat Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp pickle relish

1 Tbsp stone ground mustard

1/2 tablespoon dill

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 cup chopped red onion

Chopped chives (to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)


Cut up the hardboiled eggs. 

Combine all ingredients and mix until desired consistency. I like it chunky.

Refrigerate for an hour. Serve and enjoy. 

Steve’s Creamy Cucumber & Radish Salad


1/2 English cucumbers, sliced

6 radishes, sliced

2 Tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream

tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tsp fresh chopped dill

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel the cucumbers as desired. Thinly slice.

Do the same to the radishes.

Combine all ingredients.

Dani’s Vegetarian Lasagna


About 9 Pasta sheets (make your own or use fresh pasta from Whole Foods)

1 15oz package of part skim ricotta cheese

3/4 cup mozzarella 

1/4 cup parmesan 

1 egg

Approximately 4 cups of fresh spinach

2 or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced thin 

2 zucchini, peeled and sliced thin

1 onion, chopped 

1 red bell pepper, chopped 

olive oil 

Italian seasoning (oregano, sweet basil, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary) to taste

about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a medium sauce pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and red pepper, and sauté until brown, stirring occasionally. 

In another medium sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until garlic begins to brown, then add spinach and quickly sauté until reduced in volume. 

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, egg, and Italian seasoning. After the spinach is done sautéing, add the spinach/garlic mixture to the mixing bowl and stir. 

Spray a 9×9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray (I used grapeseed oil). Add a small amount of tomato sauce to the bottom, then line the bottom with a layer of pasta (about three sheets). 

Spread half the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta. Next add a layer of sautéd onions, then lay out the thinly sliced zucchini into a third layer. Cover with a layer of tomato sauce. 

Repeat: pasta, ricotta mixture, onions, zucchini, and more sauce. 

Top with a layer of pasta. Add a bit more sauce to keep the top moist during cooking. Then add the remaining 1/4 mozzarella and parmesan to the top. 

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Linda’s Onion Soup

Ingredients for the Soup

2            Vidalia sweet onions (large), sliced into crescents about 1/4″ thick

1 tbs       Butter

1 tbs       Olive oil

1/2 tsp    Sugar

2 tbs       Flour

6 cups    Beef broth, low sodium

1 tbs       Minced garlic

3/4 cup   Chardonnay wine

1             Yellow onion, sliced (optional)

               Seasoning to taste (see below)

Ingredients for the Optional Bread and Cheese Topping

1             Sourdough baguette, sliced 1/2″ thick

3/4 tbs     Butter

3/4 tbs     Olive oil

                Grated cheese – Gruyere, Swiss, Parmesan and/or Cheddar 


In a covered 5 quart pot, combine Vidalia onions, butter, and oil and cook covered for 30 minutes on low stirring occasionally.   Uncover, add sugar and stir occasionally until onions are a golden brown (about 30 more minutes).  Sprinkle with flour and stir until blended. Add beef broth and garlic.  Simmer on low, partially covered, for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.   Add wine.  The onions will be extremely limp at this juncture.  If you want additional texture add optional yellow onion at this point.  Season to taste: Use seasonings that appeal to you in small amounts until you have achieved the desired result.  Salt and pepper are a good place to start.  I use Cavender’s Greek seasoning, Lemon pepper and/or poultry seasoning as the spirit moves me.  (Realize that it is always best to slightly underseason – you can always add more at the very end.)  Partially cover again and simmer another 30 minutes.

So here’s where I part with the traditional restaurant recipe.  Trying to broil soup bowls topped with cheese is a wonderful way to get burned.  And I find the bread really gets in the way of eating the soup but that’s just me.  If you insist here’s a safer way.  Prior to serving the soup, melt butter and oil in a large frying pan, season to taste and coat both sides of the bread slices.  On medium heat, lightly brown both sides of bread and transfer to a baking pan.  Top with grated cheese and broil in oven until melted.  Put one slice of bread on top of each soup bowl and use the remainder as a cheese bread side dish.

Linda’s Carrot Ginger Soup

This is very easy and forgiving.   The recipe is easily halved.

Melt (3) TBS Butter in soup pot.

Peel and chop (6 -7) Large Carrots and add to pot on low/medium heat.

Peel and chop (1-2) Medium Onions and add to pot.  (I had a leftover giant Vidalia onion so I used that.)

Continue heating and stirring occasionally until veggies are softening.

Add Ginger (optional if you hate ginger).  I used the better part of a squeeze tube of ginger.  Chopped pickled ginger works fine as well.

Add (4) cups Chicken or Veggie Stock andbring to a gentle boil. 

Puree with immersion blender.  

Add seasoning to taste.  I used Salt, Orange Extract and Rice Wine Vinegar.

Recommended garnishes are Chives, Parsley, Dill or Fennel.

I liked this soup better, chilled; Steve liked it best hot.  

Alcorn McBride Christmas Cheese Bread Recipe

In a small pot scald (means heat to just barely bubbling):

   1 1/2  cups    Milk

   Whilst heating milk, grate and toss with a small amount of flour:

       6 oz          Extra sharp cheddar cheese

   Turn off heat and stir with a wooden spoon into hot milk:

      1/3 cup      Sugar

      1/4 cup      Butter

      1 Tbs         Salt

                        Prepared grated cheese (gradually)

   Let cool until warm to the touch.  

Meanwhile in a large non metallic mixing bowl combine for 5 minutes:

   1/2 cup      105 degree water

    2 pkgs      Active dry yeast

    Add and beat well:

        1           Egg

     Stir in milk/cheese mixture.


     5.5 cups    Flour

Stir into milk/cheese mixture with wooden spoon until blended:

      3 cups    Sifted Flour

Tip wet dough onto a floured surface and knead in about 2.5 cups more sifted flour for about 10 minutes.  Put dough back in bowl and cover with slightly dampened towel and allow to double in bulk.

Once dough has doubled punch down and divide into (8) portions.  Form into rectangular loaves.  Brush (8) mini loaf pans generously with melted butter and place on large baking pan. Rotate dough rectangles into prepared loaf plans so both sides are buttered.  Allow to double bulk again.

Preheat oven to 375.  

Bake for about 25-30 minutes checking for excessive browning at about 20 minutes.  Whack the top of the loaves with the dull side of a knife listening for a hollow sound which indicates doneness.

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki by Loretta Kwan

NOTE: There is enough batter for 2 okonomiyakis. In the insta story, I cooked one noodle and okonomiyaki at a time once I started frying half the batter.


2 Mama Ramen (pork flavor)

3 eggs (1 for batter, 1 to top each okonomiyaki)

3/4 cup water

1 cup flour

1/4 head of shredded cabbage

1 julienne carrot (1/4 cup)

1 julienne yellow squash

3 chopped stalks of green onions

5 oz chopped/crumbled veggie chorizo sausage


Okonomiyaki sauce

Kewpie Mayo

Bonito flakes


1. Mix water and 1 egg

2. Add flour and powdered flavor packet to the egg mixture. Stir until just incorporated

3. Mix in cabbage, green onions (save 2 TBS for garnish), carrot, squash, and veggie meat.

*Note: I cooked one okonomiyaki at at time.

4. Oil pan and fry half the batter covered for 4 mins. Flip and cook uncovered for 4 mins

5. Cook noodles until al dente. Drain. Stir fry noodles with some oil, splash of sake, 3 TBS of okonomiyaki sauce, and package of ramen oil.

6. Place a fried egg on top of the noodles

7. Place cooked okonomiyaki on the egg and noodles.

8. Add topping: okonomiyaki sauce, kewpie mayo, bonito flakes, crunchy ramen crumbs, and green onions

9. Use two spatulas to lift from the pan to the plate. I tried sliding it onto my plate and my noodles all squished to one side.

Not Corn

We’ve had the pleasure of dining at Oriole several times this year, and each time they knock it out of the park. Last night was no exception, with several new things including a wonderful kimchi and pork belly bite. But the star of the show was this dessert, pictured above.

That is not corn.

Pastry Chef Genie Kwon had a mold of a baby ear of corn made. They fill it with sweet corn mousse and using liquid nitrogen remove the resulting model and brush on miso for texture. The “husk” is a thin wafer of pretzel, and the green part is jalapeno skin. Best of all, it is delicious!

Of course, the thing that makes Oriole special isn’t just the food, it’s the welcoming attitude of everyone who works there, including owners Chef Noah Sandoval and Cara Sandoval, Sommelier Aaron McManus, and all the chefs and servers. Dining at Oriole is like being welcomed into someone’s family.

Aaron’s wine pairings are the best I’ve encountered, focusing on Old World quality wines that perfectly match each course. But one of the highlights is a fascinating cocktail made from Madeira and Vermouth. It’s a refreshing balance of sweet and bitter, and complex yet refreshing. And since it contains Madeira, it goes with almost anything.

Aaron kindly provided the recipe, and I’m going to make it for our Christmas party:

The original recipe replaces the last two vermouths with Noilly Prat Ambre, which Aaron can no longer get, but I found some in London and ordered it, so my recipe will be:

Oriole Madeira and Vermouth Cocktail

  • 2 parts Rare Wine Company Charleston Sercial Madeira
  • 3 parts Cocchi Americano Bianco
  • 3 parts Noilly Prat Ambre
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Serve over ice

Smoked Salmon Flatbreads



  • Flatbread or flour tortillas
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Crumbled Chèvre
  • Sour Cream
  • Lemon
  • Diced onion
  • Chopped chives
  • Minced bacon
  • Capers
  • Black Pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Combine most of the Chèvre wit the sour cream and lemon juice.
  • Bake flatbread or tortilla for 4 minutes or until crisp.
  • Spread cheese mixture on flatbreads.
  • Add toppings, sprinkle with remaining Chèvre.
  • Bake 4 more minutes.


Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing and Crunchy Cashews



¾ cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ red onion, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup diced green onions
½ cup cashew halves
1 cup edamame
Fresh lime

For the dressing:
¼ cup all natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Water to thin, if necessary


Cook quinoa, fluff and set aside to cool

Warm peanut butter in microwave for 20 seconds. Add ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and olive oil. Thin with water or olive oil if desired. Add dressing to the quinoa.

Add vegetables.


Add lime or serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/6th of recipe
Calories: 260
Fat: 13.5g
Carbohydrates: 27.7g
Sugar: 7g
Fiber: 4.3g
Protein: 8.6g

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan



  • 1  eggplant cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • EVOO
  • thinly sliced fresh basil
  • minced garlic


Heat barbecue.

Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil and EVOO and set aside.

Coat eggplant with EVOO. Grill about 5 minutes. Turn over and top with tomato mixture, sprinkle with parmesan.

Reduce heat and grill for ten minutes with lid down.


Easy Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry


These turned out as delicious as they look.


  • olive oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package diced frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp five spice
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 frozen puff pastry crust
  • 1 egg


Preheat oven to 400F
Remove pastry crust from refrigerator
Use a ramekin to cut circles from pastry crust
Cut up chicken
Sauté onions in olive oil
Add chicken and sauté until brown
Add veggies and soup (do not dilute with water)
When warm, add herbs and seasoning
Divide into ramekins
Brush pastry circles with egg wash
Top ramekins with pastry circles, brushed side down
Brush tops of pastry
Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is brown

Cauliflower, Potato and Green Bean Curry


Here’s a simple recipe for curry made from scratch. You can pretty much use any vegetables, this is just what I had lying around.

Ingredients (in order used)

4 potatoes, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet or red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon

2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp ketchup
4 cups cauliflower, broken into florets
3 cups green beans, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup water

1 cup cilantro, chopped


Microwave potatoes until almost cooked, but still firm.
In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in oil and spices.
Add vegetables and water.
Bring to a boil, simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add cilantro, toss and serve.


Lamb Burgers

These turned out well. They taste like Kefta. I served them with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.


  • 8 oz. ground lamb
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped mint
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Sliced red onion
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • 2 hamburger buns, toasted


  1. Mix ingredients and form into two patties.
  2. Grill over a gas grill on medium-high until charred on outsides.
  3. Serve with sliced onion, toasted hamburger buns, optional feta cheese.

Peach, Brie and Bacon Pizza


Thanks to Kara for bringing this recipe to my attention! It was fabulous. If served to me blind, I don’t think I could have identified the ingredients, they meshed so well.


  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • Flour
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Peaches (I used doughnut peaches) slices into 1/4 inch or thinner slivers
  • 4 oz. brie, rind removed
  • 4 pieces crispy bacon, cut into small pieces
  • fresh tarragon
  • balsamic vinegar


Let dough warm for a few hours, quarter, roll in flour, stretch into 8″ weird shapes, brush with olive oil.

Grill on one side until crisp on the bottom and char marks appear (5-10 minutes).

At the same time, grill the peach slices, turning once.

Flip the dough, layer with peach slices.

Add Brie, bacon and tarragon.

Grill until the bottom is crisp (5-10 minutes).

Drizzle with balsamic glaze and enjoy!

Smoke House Garlic Bread


For years I’ve been trying to duplicate the amazing garlic cheese bread served at the Smoke House Restaurant in Burbank, California. Tonight I finally did it. The secret is to make up a paste and spread that on the bread. As it melts under the broiler, it leaves the crumbly nodules of intense cheese flavor that distinguish the bread. Here’s how to do it:


  • 1 Loaf of uncut sourdough bread, preferably a sort of large baguette shape.
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp dehydrated cheddar cheese powder (Kraft macaroni mix will do in a pinch)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Soften but do not melt the butter.
  • Mix in cheeses and garlic, let stand for a while
  • Turn on oven broiler
  • Cut loaf of bread in half horizontally and save half for something else.
  • Spread the slurry onto the bread.
  • Place bread under broiler until edges are brown.
  • Cut into narrow slices.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 1-4 depending upon how much of a pig you are.

Easy Salmon Cakes

I’m not a fan of crab cakes, which I usually find boring. A lot of places brag about “very little filler,” but I actually think the filler is the only thing that makes them interesting. So I was skeptical of this recipe from the pouch of Chicken of the Sea Salmon. But it has a great lemony flavor, and just the right amount of crunch.


  • 1 pouch (5 oz) Pink Salmon
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs + more
  • salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients and roll into four balls.

Roll balls in more breadcrumbs.

Flatten into 1/2 inch thick cakes.

Sauté in olive oil 4 minutes on a side, or until brown.

Serve with tartar sauce or chutney.


Bisquick Coffee Cake


Since Bisquick isn’t the most healthful stuff in the world, I hadn’t had it in about ten years, but got in the mood to make some waffles. That reminded me of the delicious coffee cake we used to make. The recipe is no longer on the back of the box, so I found it online, cut it in half, and added my own twist.

Makes 3 servings


  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • 1/4 cup Bisquick
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 Tbsp butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a pyrex dish, about 30 square inches.
  3. Mix dough ingredients and put in baking dish.
  4. Mix topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly.
  5. Sprinkle topping mix over dough.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.

Quinoa and Mango Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing

I heavily modified this, and have modified it more since testing it.

Quinoa and Mango Salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • Water to cook quinoa and lentils
  • 1 container of fresh mango from Whole Foods (slicing mangos is a pain)
  • 1 chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Crispy Onions:

  • 1 large red onion, halved stem to root and slivered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Lemony-Ginger Dressing:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa. (I used a rice cooker.) Rinse in cold water, drain and refrigerate.
  3. Cook the lentils. Rinse in cold water, drain and refrigerate.
  4. Toss onion slivers with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes. Resist stirring until they begin to brown.
  5. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice. Whisk in the ginger and cilantro, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Assemble the salad: Layer the quinoa, lentils, mango, yellow peppers and avocado slices, or arrange as desired. Top with the roasted onions. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Serves 4-6

Vegetable Ceviche

This salad was billed as “Vegetable Ceviche” in a vegetarian magazine I was reading, and it sounded good. It actually does taste quite a lot like ceviche. I used completely different vegetables than they did, however.



  • juice of 3 small limes
  • zest of one small lime
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Combine these ingredients in a bowl. Then add diced:

  • jicama
  • radishes
  • avocado
  • celery
  • scallion
  • red pepper
  • cucumber

Toss until veggies are completely coated, and refrigerate at least an hour. Then add in:

  • cilantro

and serve immediately.




Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

This recipe includes changes I made to the original on manifestvegan.com and also some procedural changes I would make next time:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • olive oil
  • grapeseed oil spray
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 3 medium peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 7 cups water

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Cut up cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place in ungreased baking pan, sprinkle with garam masala, spray with grapeseed oil. Roast until browned (30-45 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a skillet saute onion with olive oil until browned.

Meanwhile in a pot, combine water, sweet potato, garlic and salt and bring to a boil. Add sautéed onion. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

Let soup cool a bit and then blend until smooth. Add cauliflower.

Makes 6-8 servings

Chilled Cucumber Soup


Libby posted this recipe on Facebook, and I decided to try my own version of it, substituting for buttermilk and adding cilantro. It was quite good.

3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
3 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, more to garnish
Sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 ­cup skim milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, to garnish
Cilantro, to garnish

In a blender, purée the cucumber, celery, shallots, olive oil, and 1 tsp. sea salt until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Whisk in the sour cream and milk and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve drizzled with olive oil and garnished with chives and cilantro.

Serves 2-3

Olivje (Оливье) Recipe

Dmitri brought this Olivje (Оливье) to Glen’s St. Patrick’s Day Party and we really liked it.

(makes 1 medium-sized salad bowl)


  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 large carrots boiled and peeled.
  • 6 eggs hard boiled and peeled
  • 5 medium sized dill pickles
  •  Meat to your liking (ham/chicken/sausage/beef, etc).
  • 2 24-oz cans of peas
  • 4 tablespoons light mayo (or sour cream)


  • Slice everything above into small cubes.
  • Add 2 14-oz canned peas
  • Add mayo or sour cream
  • Mix everything well
  • Bring the bowl of Olivje to the office.

Grilled Salmon with Citrus Salad

For my birthday, Linda fixed this recipe which she modified from a version at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/grilled-salmon-with-citrus-salsa-verde-recipe/index.html

She also made a tuna tartare, avocado and cucumber vorspeisenringe.

We enjoyed all three on the veranda and then went in the spa. Ah, Orlando in the dead of winter.


Citrus Salad:

  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Vegetable or canola oil, for oiling the grill
  • 4 (4 to 5-ounce) center cut salmon fillets, skinned, each about 3-inches square
  • 2 tablespoons amber agave nectar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the salsa: Peel and trim the ends from each orange. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, scallions, mint, red peppers, orange zest, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Toss lightly and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

For the salmon: Put a grill rack on charcoal grill. Brush the grilling rack with vegetable oil to keep the salmon from sticking. Brush the salmon on both sides with the agave nectar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the salmon to a platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve the citrus salad on the side as an accompaniment.

Per Serving: Calories 497; Total Fat 33 grams; Saturated Fat 6 grams; Protein 30 grams; Total Carbohydrate 19 grams; Sugar: 15 grams; Fiber 3 grams; Cholesterol 78 milligrams; Sodium 457 milligrams

Masala Chickpea Burger Recipe

Dani made these vegetarian hamburger patties that were actually better than regular hamburgers.


  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • I carrot, grated
  • 1/2 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup grated uncooked sweet potato
  • 1/2 white cabbage, chopped/grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 nub of ginger root, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (for burgers)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • extra oil (for frying)
  • whole wheat buns


1. Drain and rinse canned chickpeas. Place in a covered microwave safe bowel with a tablespoon of water and microwave on high for two minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine brown rice and chickpeas. Use an immersion blender to mix until achieving a pasty consistency.
3. Add grated carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, white cabbage, cilantro, ginger, and spices. Continue blending with immersion blender.
4. Add whole wheat flour and oil and stir with a wooden spoon.
5. Add minced onion and stir with a wooden spoon.
6. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet.
7. Form palm-sized patties and place in the skillet. Cook about five minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You may want to cover the pan while cooking to ensure the sweet potato and flour are thoroughly cooked.
8. For non-vegans you can add a slice of colby cheese during the last minute of cooking.
9. Serve on toasted whole wheat or onion buns. These are great with ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish. Also consider adding a slice of onion or tomato. If you’re feeling adventurous spicy dressings like jalapeño mustard also go well.

Dani’s Salmon Wraps

This was a great lunch wrap sandwich Dani made.


  • 1 package cooked shredded salmon
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • a pinch of brown sugar
  • garlic powder
  • 3 or 4 sticks chopped celery
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded carrots
  • tortillas


1. Pour olive oil into a microwave safe mixing bowl. Add balsamic vinegar and sugars.

2. Microwave for about 30 seconds, just long enough to gently warm oil and encourage sugars to dissolve.

3. Gently add a few shakes of garlic powder to the oil/balsamic mixture and stir. Sample the mixture and add more sugar or garlic to taste.

4. Chop celery to about an eighth of an inch thickness.

5. In a mixing bowl, combine salmon and celery. Drizzle on oil/balsamic mixture and stir well.

6. Lay out tortillas. Add shredded lettuce/shredded carrots in a line along the center and then add salmon mixture alongside. Fold the tops of the tortilla down and roll tortilla like a burrito.