Tag Archives: goat cheese

Spaghetti Squash “Lasagna” Casserole

On New Years Day our friends (and Wisconsin alum)  invited us over to watch the Rose Bowl. The Badgers didn’t win, but they made an awesome lasagna using Ina Garten’s turkey lasagna recipe. It was so good and we were so impressed that I literally made it for us the very next day… with a twist of course. Instead of using lasagna noodles, I used spaghetti squash. If you are a fan of spaghetti squash and lasagna then you will truly love this recipe! No noodles at all and you won’t even miss ’em. There’s also goat cheese in this recipe. Need I say more? It is a match made in heaven as far as I am concerned!

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Seared Salmon Salad with Grilled Tomato and Avacado


This was another summery grilling inspiration.  I had a hankering for seared salmon and figured to keep it light by having it on a salad with an oil based dressing.  I also decided to spruce up the salad with some methods that I had never tried and some that were truly experimental, but worked out.  This turned out much better than the last post, but we give you the truth here!

First off the primary ingredient, the salmon.

It did have the skin on it and I had an idea of how to get it off.  I have tried to cut it off, but I always feel like I lose so much in the difficult process.

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

I sprinkled a store bought cajun seasoning on the meat side only.

Next was to prep some of the other salad ingredients.  The first was to prep a foil packet of walnuts, sliced garlic, oil, and salt and pepper.

Ready for the grill

I had never roasted walnuts and garlic on the grill like this but it worked out.  This packet went right onto the grill for about 6-8 minutes each side.  The flavors intermingled well and I threw them right on the salad though I know some would be weary to throw the roasted garlic on the salad.  Feel free to discard it or recycle it for another dish, but I think that it worked out well and was not too overpowering.

Post Grill

That was one of the new methods mentioned, the next is also a new method and one that was truly experimental and I was not sure if it would work out.  I sliced 2 tomatoes in half and an avocado in half, sprayed them with a little oil, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and then……

Whats next?

Probably not a big surprise, but right on the grill face down!

It worked out just fine and I would suggest it and try it again myself!

Maybe a minute or two less next time though

I wasn’t sure how the avocado would fare on the grill and it could have used a minute or two less but I was able to peel away some of the burnt parts sort of like peeling the blistered skin of a roasted red pepper.  I sliced them and added them to the salad.

Back to the salmon.  I was planning to sear it and placed it skin side down first.

Ok, I forgot my plan and put it down meat side for a second.

Once I flipped it after a few minutes, the skin came right off which was the hopeful plan!

Skin came right off. Nice!

Once the salmon was done, I sliced it and put it atop the rest of the salad ingredients.

We used some olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, though much wasn’t needed since there were so many great flavors.

In addition, I threw a little bit of goat cheese on the salad.  The warm salmon and grilled veggies melted it a bit and the creaminess tasted great.  Overall, was a good meal.

How to make the perfect omelet

(I’d like to point out that omelet can be spelled two ways- omelet or omelette. WordPress does not like omelette so I am going with the former)

I rarely consider myself to be an expert on any thing culinary, but I am proud to say that I have learned how to make a great omelet! I don’t know if it warrants a “how to” post per se, but why not? So, here goes…

For years and years we have eaten egg dishes on the weekends. Scrambled, over easy, “dippy”, poached, the list goes on and on. Sometimes, we added other ingredients to our eggs, but they just got scrambled along with the eggs. This was good and all, but it never came out looking very pretty and each bite was drastically different from the next, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but ya know.

When we were in Jamaica we went to the breakfast buffet every morning (yeah, I think I mentioned how indulgent the trip was!). At the buffet I visited the omelet making station a few times and studied the omelet maker very closely. I was very eager to learn what the secret was and I was able to pick up a few ideas to utilize at home from her.

1. She used a nice, rather large, flat top grill (not something I have access to, unfortunately) with a large metal spatula.

2. She used the spatula to grease up the grill before every omelet (oh yeah).

3. She mixed the eggs with the filler ingredients in a small bowl and then poured the mixture onto the grill.

4. She let the egg mixture cook for about 2-3 minutes or so and then added the cheese.

5. After adding the cheese, she closed up each side of the omelette and served it almost immediately.

Like I mentioned, I do not have a flat top grill so I use a frying pan. This works fine, as long as it is greased well with butter (hence that nice brown crust on the omelet above), but can present some challenges when it comes to maneuvering the spatula under the sides of the omelet to close it up.  Overall though, it works well. I use a plastic spatula since the pans are (or were at one point) non-stick and I make sure to use the largest one we have and sometimes even use two spatulas to carefully maneuver it to the plate.

First, I like to prepare all of my omelet ingredients. For this particular omelet I am showcasing here I used some ingredients that I purchased at the local farmer’s market.

I cooked some local, farm-fresh chorizo, made from naturally raised (and fed) pigs. YUM! This chorizo rocked!

I also added some local ramps. Ramps are a big deal in the foodie world and I was lucky enough to find them at the farmer’s market as well. They have an oniony-gralicky flavor and I couldn’t resist them, even if they were overpriced.

Once the chorizo was cooked and the ramps chopped up, I added a serving of each to 3 beaten eggs (I also added some previously cooked spinach to my omelet) and prepared my cheese for when the time would be right to add it (I used goat cheese for mine, shredded cheddar for Greg’s). Preparation is essential because once the omelet goes into the pan, everything happens really quick!  OK, time to cook!

Butter is really the key here. If the omelet sticks to the pan at all, it’s ruined! OK, that’s a bit drastic it won’t be ruined but it won’t look pretty or cook the way you want it to. So butter people, don’t be afraid! Use just enough to coat the pan well and make sure it spreads ALL over the pan. Also, make sure the butter is bubbling slightly (you probably want to set your burner to medium heat) so it’s hot enough to cook the eggs but not too hot where the bottom will burn.

Add your egg mixture.

(I think this one is Greg’s omelet: tons of chorizo, some ramps, no spinach)

Like I mentioned, moving quickly is essential and I was not able to snap a picture of when I put the cheese in (sorry!). I know to put the cheese in when the edges turn white (about 2-3 minutes in) and the top is considerably less runny. There will still be some runniness to it when you add the cheese, but considerably less and the bottom will have started to firm up. If you are unsure you can take a peek by using the spatula to pick up one of the edges. If the bottom has started to brown you are good to go.

After adding the cheese, just flip each side’s edge in towards the center. Or, flip one edge into the center and the flip the entire half-moon over onto itself.

Remove from the pan and put on a plate. It will finish cooking on the plate and the cheese will melt within seconds.

Check out the “layered” center.

This one below is the chorizo, spinach, and goat cheese omelet with fresh ramps.

Hopefully, with these basic steps you can make a great omelet too. I think it takes a little practice and patience, especially for the folding over part, but it’s worth it!

Good luck!