Tammy's Kitchen

Easy weeknight dinner: Baked Teriyaki Salmon (new recipe)

I've said that salmon is my favorite fish, and it was is. (There was that run-in I had with sea bass last year... indescribable.)

Strangely enough, one of the first indications that I was pregnant this time around was that our normal 1-2 servings of salmon per week was totally not okay with my stomach.

I suddenly could relate to someone who says "I don't like salmon". Joshua's grilled salmon, which I normally love, was stomach-turning. I'd eat one bite and then fill up on vegetables or something else.

But! We did make Baked Teriyaki Salmon that I liked, even when all other salmon was a no-go. Hey, I practice the "take at least one bite" rule we have for the children. ;)

Baked Teriyaki Salmon recipe
Teriyaki Salmon, ready to be baked

Baked Teriyaki Salmon is super easy to prepare and has a slightly sweet teriyaki flavor and lovely brown color on the outside. I love salmon + teriyaki... they go together wonderfully! And while normally I prefer salmon grilled rather than baked, I really like how this teriyaki salmon turns out in the oven. It's just as good as the grilled version (see additional notes of the recipe for grilling instructions).

If you're on top of things, you can serve Baked Teriyaki Salmon with some rice (or rice noodles) and stir-fried veggies. So far, I've just served ours with steamed broccoli or carrots and rice.

Thankfully, I'm getting past the "I can't stomach salmon" ordeal. That's a very good thing since we still have 25 pounds of salmon in our freezer. Having affordable access to good fish is such a blessing! The Alaskan salmon we get here in Washington is just so much better than anything we ever bought on sale in Ohio or Missouri. As I've said before, good fish will NOT taste "fishy"! ;)

If you do have salmon in your freezer, Baked Teriyaki Salmon will take you about 5 minutes to mix up the marinade and then baking it is the only other hands-on part. (Do plan ahead so the salmon can marinate for a few hours or even longer.)

I pulled out frozen salmon fillets Sunday evening and put them in the fridge to thaw and marinate for dinner tonight (Tuesday). Super simple and the whole family loved it, as always! :)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Frugal potholders tip, kitchen sink sprayer tip, and more!

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I can't decide on a kitchen tip today. Nothing in my photo folder seems ingenious enough to have a whole post dedicated to it. So, here are some random kitchen tips for this week! :)

Homemade pot holders

If you can do basic sewing, homemade potholders are easy to make. My mom came up with the idea of using a few layers of fabric from an old sweatshirt for the filling/padding in the potholders. We've been making them that way now for many years. If you have inexpensive (or hand-me-down) fabric for the outside, "upcycle" an old sweatshirt and you've got the materials needed for potholders! :)

Kitchen sink sprayer tips

I love that the kitchen sink in this rental has a sprayer! Some of my favorite uses for it:

1. Spraying hot water into the sink to make extra-bubbly dish water without using extra dish soap

2. Rinsing dry beans or lentils before cooking them in my crock pot

3. Rinsing wire cooling racks after washing

4. Rinsing/cleaning the sink after tooth-brushing time :)

5. Spraying out my plastic dish-washing brush when stuff gets stuck in it

Rinse out empty chocolate syrup bottle

Empty chocolate syrup bottle? I rinsed it with a little hot water and added it to my morning coffee. :) We don't usually buy chocolate syrup though. It tastes too "fake" to me. :)

Oven circulation tip
Blurry picture of pumpkin dinner rolls :P :)

When baking multiple things in the oven at the same time, stagger the sheets or pans and rotate half way through baking (switch the bottom one to the top and vice versa). Always leave at least an inch of space between the oven walls and the pans (and other pans!) so the air can circulate, and your food will cook more evenly.

Where is Ruth?

And lastly (off-topic), can you find Ruth (3) in this picture? She disappeared one day and I had to check every room a couple times before I finally found her in here! :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

In order to keep the kitchen tips more easily accessible, we need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Using frozen food (Heather at Feel Good About Dinner)
2. Adding milk and cheese to soups (The Local Cook)
3. Soft and fresh cookies tip (Living So Abundantly)
4. Powdered egg replacer (Adrienne at Whole New Mom)
5. Keep things from boiling/running over (Cheryl at The Bz House That Love Built)
6. Manicotti, noodles, and frozen banana bread tips (The Bz House That Love Built)
7. Homemade chicken stock tips (Jessica at Delicious Obsessions)
8. Using spaghetti as a cake tester (Stacy at Stacy Makes Cents)
9. Rotating food storage (Anna at Kolfinna's Korner)

Giveaway: Smart Sweets ebook (and free apple crisp download!)

Smart Sweets ebook

Remember how much I liked The Everything Beans Book? I was excited when Katie told me she had another ebook coming out mid-November!

Smart Sweets is a healthy desserts ebook with 30 tried-and-true recipes and lots of "real food" tips for making yummy kitchen treats on the healthier side.

I received a review copy and enjoyed thumbing through it. Smart Sweets is packed with info, like all of Katie's work. If you're looking for healthier dessert recipes that have been tested and are reliable, Smart Sweets is a great resource!

I've been able to follow Katie's recipes without any problem and with good results. Sometimes a recipe is a little open-ended, as Katie says, "No one tells you how much pizza sauce to put on a pizza... right?" Ummm, I am that person who gives pizza sauce measurements in my pizza recipes! ;)

The handy FAQs at the end of each recipe stretch the recipes to 2+ pages in length, but will leave you confident that you're on the right track, even with making substitutions or variations on the recipe itself. Smart Sweets is 89 pages in all.

One of the recipes in Smart Sweets is for apple crisp. You can get a FREE download of this recipe here! I had fresh apples from Joshua's parents' tree and made the crock pot apple crisp version of the recipe.

I wasn't sure how apple crisp in the crock pot would turn out, but we all ended up liking it! Of course, it wasn't quite like baked apple crisp. We served it in bowls, with real whipped cream. I liked the spice combination and the topping was soft enough for Joshua to chew. And, it was kinda fun to make a dessert in the crock pot! ;)

Go here to get the FREE apple crisp download, which is an excerpt from Smart Sweets!

Katie is also giving away 5 copies of Smart Sweets to readers here!

How to enter the giveaway (5 winners!):

1. Go here and scroll down to see the table of contents for Smart Sweets.

2. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which recipe looks most interesting to you -- and (if you're not logged in) be sure to include a way for me to contact you if you win!

Giveaway is open from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 9, 2011.

Five winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Monday, December 12, 2011.

Discount code:

Katie has also generously offered a 25% discount on Smart Sweets! (If you're selected as a winner in the giveaway, you will receive a refund for the ebook you purchased.)

Use this code to receive 25% off your order: Tammy25

This discount code is good now through December 19, 2011.

Full Disclosure:

I received a copy of Smart Sweets for review purposes. I am an affiliate for Katie, which means your purchase helps support both Katie and me as bloggers! :)

Weekly menu plan (December 5-11, 2011)

We've been trying to go grocery shopping every two weeks, but I've been running out of things! (So, our "every 2 weeks" had been turning into "every 10-12 days".) We promised ourselves that this time we'd make do without whatever we're running out of until a full 14 days has passed.

So last weekend, I bought TWO packages of eggs at Costco because 1 package (5 dozen) has been disappearing long before 2 weeks had passed. Almost on cue, I just started using from that second package today. I'm sure my egg nog cravings have nothing to do with that... ;) I have 2 1/2 gallons of milk left, which I'll try to stretch through the week (I bought 6 gallons last week). And when we do go to Costco next weekend, I'll take pictures and share prices. (I've been meaning to get back to posting my grocery shopping trips!)

Here's our menu for the week ahead:


Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, cooked peas and carrots, leftover gourmet bean soup


Teriyaki salmon fillets (recipe coming on Wednesday!), rice, cooked green beans (or whatever I can find in the freezer)


My mom's beef vegetable soup, cornmeal crescent rolls (I need better pictures of both of those because they're SO good!!) :)


Salmon potato casserole (using leftover salmon), cooked peas and carrots


Burrito pizza (with a biscuit crust from this recipe), cooked veggies


Depends on our plans for that day, but probably something in the slow cooker and leftover (frozen) cornmeal crescent rolls. If we have company, I'll figure out some sides to add to that. :)


Grilled pollock (or something with pollock; we have lots to use from our freezer!), beans and rice, steamed broccoli

Baking I want to do this week:

Perfect granola bars
Make-ahead butterhorns -- I've had this recipe 10+ years and finally pulled it out for this week! :)
Homemade soft pretzels -- I have tried 4 different recipes for soft pretzels and am still looking for the perfect result! I found another one that looks promising... :)

Oatmeal for breakfast


Regular old oatmeal (x3)
Fruit smoothies (including blackberries from our freezer and homemade kefir) (x2)
Cheese and turkey sausage omelets (x2)


Beans with hot sauce and cheese (I will send this in Joshua's lunches too) or leftovers, bananas

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu plans! :)

All of my weekly menu plans can be found here.

Thick and Chunky Homemade Pizza Sauce (new recipe)

This isn't my mom's pizza sauce recipe, but then I haven't had access to her bounty of garden-fresh tomatoes since we moved from small town, Ohio to the Seattle area. Whether it's apartment life or the tall trees that now shade most of our yard or the cool climate of the Pacific Northwest, I've been finding excuses to not grow tomatoes or even get out to buy tomatoes to make my own pizza sauce.

Now, I think it's totally fine to not make homemade pizza sauce... if you like the stuff from the store... which I don't really.

Yet I get these weird mental blocks where I feel like I just can't do something even when I've done it before and I know I could... if I would. Making pies has always been that challenge for me.

Recently, it's been my homemade wheat bread. I know, really! Me, the queen of homemade bread. I don't like bread from the store at all, but the last time I made my 100% whole wheat bread it flopped. Again. Seattle weather doesn't seem to be a friend to 100% whole wheat bread.

I'm going to try again, after I convince myself it will be okay and probably even turn out great. I can do this, I can do this... (Anyone else in the PNW have problems with 100% whole wheat bread??)

So back to the sauce. I finally pulled out an old recipe from a not-old friend, Sheri. (She's been mentioned here before; this post has links to some of my recipes that were from Sheri or created by Sheri!)

I hadn't made her chunky pizza sauce in 8+ years, but I made it again last month. It's actually easy to make. How could I think cooking from the pantry would be difficult, exactly? I don't know. ;)

At any rate, I'm hopefully pushing through that "can't make pizza sauce without my mom" issue, especially since I got organic canned tomatoes buy-one-get-one-free at Costco last month. And since homemade pizza sauce is just so good. :)

Have you encountered any cooking-related mental blocks lately? Dishes don't count. ;)

Can-free: Enchilada sauce (and a new enchiladas recipe!)

I do not normally like enchiladas very well. Not "real" ones, anyway.

Joshua's mom makes an enchilada casserole that's really tasty, but it involves flour tortillas and cream of chicken soup. Delicious!

My little sister Amy has her own version of enchiladas that are topped with things like shredded lettuce and tomatoes, filling that includes cream cheese, and "enchilada sauce" that's actually picante sauce. Again, it's delicious! But not really "enchiladas", you know?

Here are two reasons why I hate most "real" enchiladas:

#1. They're too hot. I can't eat them without drowning them in sour cream first!

#2. The corn tortillas taste raw to me. I love corn tortillas and prefer them over flour tortillas for tacos, but I don't like them when they taste raw.

I set out to create real enchiladas that we would all enjoy, with mostly healthy ingredients. Enchiladas that I would want to eat plain, regardless of the toppings like sour cream. Enchiladas that are affordable. Enchiladas that would use some of the corn tortillas in my fridge since Joshua can't really chew tacos very well right now. ;)

And to start, I needed enchilada sauce. I modified a recipe from a Vitamix cookbook. Guys, this enchilada sauce is awesome! I mean, it actually tastes good. And it has a flavor other than "hot". (If you want more "hot", just add some cayenne.)

Chili powder is one of the main ingredients in homemade enchilada sauce. I get my chili powder in a big bag at a bulk food store, so it wasn't a problem to whisk up this sauce.

And then make even more, because it's just so good and I'm craving enchiladas AGAIN. (Thank you, pregnancy!) I had no idea it was so simple to make homemade enchilada sauce or that it would be so good!

Next, I needed to tackle the "raw corn tortillas" issue I have with enchiladas. I'm not into frying and didn't want the bother of frying them in oil like Pioneer Woman's recipe. (Plus, that's a lot of extra calories.)

Instead, I decided to dry-fry them using my cast iron skillet and another saucepan on top. Remember my kitchen tip about my new favorite way to cook corn tortillas? It really is my favorite way to get hot, cooked, SOFT corn tortillas! :)

The resulting enchiladas were perfect. I loved them!

Joshua said "Wow, these are actually good. I'm glad I didn't tell you what I was thinking when you said you were making enchiladas for dinner." (!!!)

The kids all enjoyed them, too. When I made beef enchiladas again for lunch on the weekend, everyone was excited!

I'm positive it was the combination of my homemade enchilada sauce, cooked corn tortillas, and my homemade refried beans inside.

I'm thinking this is one of the cheaper, easier meals I can make, especially since I cook big batches of ground beef and put the extras in the freezer to pull out for quick meals. I'm also going to experiment with freezing the ready-made dish of enchiladas for an easy freezer meal. And, I'm going to experiment with meatless enchiladas (beans and cheese only). That sounds about perfect to me!

Do you like enchiladas? :)

More Than Alive giveaway winners!

Bulk herbs from More Than Alive
Part of my recent order from More Than Alive;
read about what I'm doing with these herbs in this post! :)

Thank you to everyone who entered in the giveaway from More Than Alive this week!

The 3 winners chosen using random.org are:

Heather Lynn (mhsnoe@)

Kimberly (knchock@)

Barbara (callaghan1812@)

I'll be sending you each an email with instructions for choosing your herbal tea blend or Cane Creek coffee!

The 10% discount on any order from More Than Alive (includes the Berkey water filters!) is still valid through the end of today, December 1, 2011. Discount code: 00009

Full disclosure, as always: When we purchased our Berkey water filter from More Than Alive several years ago, we were so thrilled with it that I signed up as an affiliate with More Than Alive. Purchasing through my links helps support this website. (Thank you!!) The discount code is valid with or without using my links. :)

Review and giveaway: The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine

The Money Saving Mom's Budget book

Giveaway details are at the bottom of this post!

The Money Saving Mom's Budget is a fresh, inspirational book to help you take charge of your finances and get more for less! From "cut the clutter" to "never pay retail", Crystal outlines simple budgeting guidelines and practical ways to make the most of what you have, whether it's time, money, or possessions.

I've been friends with Crystal for many years and, naturally, have read her blogs from the start. I admit to wondering how much new content would be presented in her book The Money Saving Mom's Budget.

I was delighted to find that her book does not read like a compilation of blog posts. ;) It's more "meaty", covers some things in-depth that are not really discussed on her blog, and is just plain encouraging! I also love the real-book format (rather than an ebook) so I think it's definitely worth the $11 to get the book!

One of the more radical stances presented:

"I believe everyone should use coupons. There. I said it. Wait. I take my statement back. If you are one of the .0002 people in America who has never touched food unless it was grown in your own yard, you make toothpaste out of tree bark, and use cloth toilet paper, then I'll exempt you. But the rest of you? You're nonexempt." (p. 86, The Money Saving Mom's Budget)

Ouch. Okay, so I do use a few coupons. At Costco. ::cough, cough:: And when I make my semi-annual trip to a store like Wal-Mart or Target, I usually have a few coupons in hand.

But how realistic is big coupon savings regularly for a larger family that buys little processed food or toiletries? The one-time frozen vegetable deal at Target is just not enough to convince me that with coupons, I can regularly get 10+ pounds of organic frozen veggies for less than $11/month, which is what I pay at Costco. (I share more reasons for doing most of our grocery shopping at Costco in this post.)

I'm probably just coupon-impaired, because Crystal says on page 87, "...you can save at least $25 to $50 for every hour you invest in strategic shopping." About 20 percent of the book discusses couponing and "the drugstore game".

I especially enjoyed the chapter "25 ways to lower your grocery bill without using coupons". Some great, practical tips like "shop every other week" (YES!) and buy in bulk (YES!). :)

Toward the end of The Money Saving Mom's Budget, Crystal reminds us to look at the return on our investment when trying to find ways to save money.

"Personally, if I'm not saving at least $20 per hour by implementing a particular frugal practice, then I'd rather invest my time elsewhere. Of course, this rule doesn't apply if it's something I really enjoy doing." (p. 143, The Money Saving Mom's Budget)

While $20 per hour sounds rather high to me (we don't earn $20/hr. in our household), it's definitely worth considering whether it's better to do something ourselves or to pay for convenience. :)

Perhaps a good exercise would be to list things that can be done "more frugally" in order of greatest ROI to least ROI, to help figure out what should be top priority.

Buying ketchup? Sure. Throwing a load of laundry in the dryer? Okay. Cooking dinner? Not optional. ;)

The Giveaway (5 winners!):

In exchange for honestly reviewing this book, I received a pre-release copy of The Money Saving Mom's Budget. I'll also get one of the final copies after it's released in January.

I'm giving away that copy here! Update: Crystal just emailed and said I can give away 5 copies here! Yay! So there will be FIVE WINNERS instead of just one!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post with one of your favorite money-saving tips, and (if you're not logged in) be sure to include a way for me to contact you if you win! :)

Giveaway is open through midnight (PST) December 31, 2011. Canada and U.S. only, please. Five winners will be chosen using random.org and The Money Saving Mom's Budget book will be shipped to the winners in January, 2012.

Links in this post are my Amazon.com affiliate links, of course. ;)

Can-free: Homemade refried beans (that taste amazing)

Canned refried beans from the store are tasteless and pasty. These fresh, homemade refried beans are delicious enough to eat plain, right off the spoon!

When we were first married, Joshua asked me to use very, very little refried beans in his burritos or tacos. Now that I cook fresh beans in the slow cooker and make my own refried beans, he'll eat a big heap of them!

I've heard lots of people say "You can make refried beans just by mashing up your cooked pinto beans... don't bother with re-cooking them."

Now, I am sure that is a good substitute for refried beans. But it is not refried beans. And in my opinion, the flavor of mashed beans doesn't hold a candle to refried beans. ;)

But, refried beans don't have to be complicated or difficult. When I cook a big batch of pinto beans in my slow cooker, I freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. Then, when I need refried beans for the next day (or another meal), I fry the beans. Another option is to make a large batch of refried beans and freeze in 2-cup containers.

Beans in the slow cooker are easy enough for my 7-year-old to make by himself! And thanks in part to having freshly cooked beans, all of our children love it when I serve beans. That makes me (and our food budget) happy! :)

Have I convinced you to try cooking dry beans in your slow cooker yet? If so... homemade refried beans is the next logical step! ;)

Visit Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom for more frugal tips! :)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Tip for mixes-in-a-jar

Cookie mix in a jar

My friend Lindsey sent me these homemade cookie jar mixes after the birth of Moshe almost 2 (!) years ago. What a beautiful and yummy treat! :) These were some of the oldest photos in my folder of things to blog about. "Better late than never!" is my mantra. ;)

I love bean soups and hopefully some day will find the time to experiment with making some pretty soup-in-a-jar mixes!  Not only are jar mixes fun to make, they're a practical gift and fun to use! I mean, dinner is always more fun when it starts out looking beautiful and involves something already mixed for me. ;)

When making mixes in jars, sometimes the mix doesn't quite reach the top. You'll want to keep those pretty layers in the jar, but many recipes need to use exact measurements and you can't just throw in something extra to fill the jar. ;)

Cookie jar mix held in place with cotton balls

Lindsey gave me this tip for keeping mixes in place and pretty:

Place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the ingredients in the jar, and then use cotton balls to fill in the space between the ingredients and the lid of the jar. Your ingredients will stay in place and you'll have that perfect-looking gift to give! :)

Trail mix cookies jar mix

Here are the two recipes Lindsey used to make cookie mixes for us. Both recipes are from the book "Gifts in a Jar".

Tip: You can find quite a few cookie recipes that would adapt to being made into a jar mix. Just look for recipes with only a couple "wet" ingredients like eggs, butter, or vanilla. That means you'll be able to pre-mix most of the recipe! :) Muffins, cakes, waffles, and corn bread are all good mix-in-a-jar candidates. ;)

Chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. sugar
1 C. all-purpose flour

Layer all the ingredients in the order given into a wide-mouth 1-quart canning jar. Pack each layer in place before adding the next ingredient.

Chocolate chip cookies made from mix in a jar
The baked chocolate chip cookies I made from the jar mix! :)

Tag to attach to jar of cookie mix:
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies

1 jar Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
3/4 C. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375*. In a large bowl, cream the butter, eggs and vanilla. Add the Chocolate Chip Cookie mix and stir until the mixture is well blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Trail mix cookies jar mix

Trail Cookie Mix

1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. wheat germ
1/3 C. quick oats
1 C. raisins
1/3 C. flaked coconut
1/2 C. chopped pecans
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

Layer the ingredients in the order given into a wide-mouth 1-quart canning jar. Pack each layer in place before adding the next ingredient.

Baked trail cookies from cookie mix
The baked Trail Cookies I made from the jar mix! :)

Tag to attach to jar of cookie mix:
Trail Cookies

Makes 3 to 4 dozen

1 jar Trail Cookie Mix
1/2 C, butter or  margarine, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a large bowl, cream the butter, eggs and vanilla. Add the Trail Cookie Mix and stir until the mixture is well blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

In order to keep the kitchen tips more easily accessible, we need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Homemade stuffing tips (Willa at Armstrong Family Fare)
2. 6 ways to use broccoli stems (Katy at Purposely Frugal)
3. Liquid amounts when pressure cooking (The Local Cook)
4. Using old bananas for baking (Cheryl at The Bz House That Love Built)
5. Less dish washing (Stacy at Stacy Makes Cents)
6. Free bulk goods storage (Jenna at Blessed Roots)
7. Kitchen sanitation tips (Anna at Kolfinna's Korner)
8. All-purpose kitchen spray (Newlyweds Blog)
9. Homemade yogurt tips (Lea at Nourishing Treasures)
10. How to open persnickety pomegranates (Jessica at Delicious Obsessions)
11. Make ahead foods for a feast (Living So Abundantly)


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