Mango and Avocado Salmon


I made this salmon for dinner last night for my sister’s 16th birthday! While the flavors and ingredients in this dish are very summery, I was actually able to find really fresh mango and avocado to make the salsa topping taste how it should. And it gave me an excuse to use the grill for the last time before the dreaded Chicago winter hits us.

Mango Avocado Salmon

For the salsa…

1 mango, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

1/2 red onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 lime, juiced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado diced for topping

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

For the salmon…

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pinch of pepper

Salmon fillets

combine marinade ingredients and let salmon refrigerate for one hour.

Heat your grill to medium and place salmon fillets on foil. Cook for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque.

Serve with salsa topping and enjoy!!


Top Ten Splurges of the Fall

I’ve tried a lot of great food so far this fall. This post is to share some quick tidbits of some of the favorite new things I have tried.

1) Coconut Cupcake from Crumbs Bakery. We got these at work one day…I had to go with the coconut option. If you get a chance to try Crumbs I highly recommend it! They have the best frosting ever.

2) Homemade Mac ‘N Cheese- I made this for our September book club. We discussed our month’s pick “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy while enjoying this.

3) Custom Bloody Mary. My friend had a Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings at his house for his birthday. This was my creation:

4) Blacked Grouper Sandwich from Cabana in Nashville. This place had Southern cooking done right! Grouper is one of my all-time favorite fish.

5) This Fried Green Tomato Stack was also From Cabana. This had lemon pepper goat cheese, onion chow-chow and tabasco vinaigrette. YUM!

6) Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese Sandwich. I picked up some artisan cheese, imported spanish ham and a baguette from a market near my work one day. I ate these little sandwiches for lunch for a week straight and they never got old.

7) Fried Alligator- Brought to you by the Vanderbilt Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house. I visited my brothers when Vandy played Florida in football and they all tailgated by handing out Natty Ices and frying up some gator. Tasted just like chicken and I went in for seconds!

8) Buttermilk Buiscuts from Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville. MMMmmmMMM home cookin’.

9) Breakfast Croissant from the Austrian Bakery in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Don’t be daunted by the sloppyness of this sandwich, it is the best breakfast sandwich I have tried in the city! The croissant is what makes it so good and is hands down the best croissant I have ever had. This is a must try in Chicago. Also get the fresh squeezed OJ!

10) Grilled Scallops with Saffron Sauce from Cafe Ilberico. Great Tapas place in Chicago. Out of all the dishes we had that night (which was a lot) this was my favorite.

Citrus Dill Salad Dressing


I recently discovered this salad dressing recipe and it is by far the best and freshest I have made! The zingy lemon mixing with the sweet honey and the tangy flavor from the dill all bring this dressing together. I adapted this recipe from the Food and Wine Best of the Best cookbook. The cookbook suggests using it with butter lettuce, which I have done in the post, but I have also used it with spinach and arugula. This dressing is pretty versatile, I am going to try making it into a marinade soon as well!

Citrus Dill Salad Dressing

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons oil ( I used canola oil)

salt and pepper

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

  • Combine all ingredients (excluding dill) and whisk until oil and citrus juices are well combined. Add chopped dill, mix and serve with your favorite salad.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What better way to celebrate Fall than by cooking a warm, comforting soup? Soup is one of my all time favorite things to cook and one of the top reasons I look forward to the season of Fall. It fills your home with such a welcoming, home made smell. Every time I dive into my homemade soup I couldn’t be more satisfied. This soup is spicy and broth-y and filling and healthy. Make it in a crock pot or on the stove!


Chicken Tortilla Soup

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalepeno pepper, minced

1 poblano pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes and cooked in 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper

1 can black beans

1.5 cups frozen, fresh corn

1 lime

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon oregano

Splash of hot sauce

5 cups reduced fat chicken broth

Handful of cilantro, chopped

Toppings of choice,  I used: Avocado, reduced fat cheddar, low fat sour cream, multi-grain tortilla chips

  • Your first step is to chop all your veggies and heat up your big soup pot with the 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil.

  • Saute your onions until translucent then add in the garlic until fragrant.

  • Next, add your jalapeno, poblano, red bell pepper and can of diced tomatoes and saute for 2-4 minutes.

  • Add your cooked chicken breast, beans and corn. Saute for 3 minutes on medium then add your lime, spices and hot sauce. Mix until well combined.

  • Your last step is to add your broth and cilantro and simmer on medium low for 30-45 minutes, stirring every so often

  • Don’t forget to set up your toppings! Light sour cream goes really well with these Mexican flavors and avocado adds a nice, creamy freshness to the dish. And of course some crushed tortilla chips; it is tortilla soup after all! Keep it healthy by using multi-grain or whole wheat tortilla chips.

  • Your final, final step before assembling is to taste your soup before you serve and add any needed salt and pepper


  • Pour your soup and assemble your toppings and ENJOY this flavorful fall dish!

Beef Stir Fry

My younger brothers came home from college and one of the main things they wanted was some nice, home cooked meals. One request they had was stir fry. Because my mom had made her roasted chicken the night before, they wanted some beef in their stir fry for the next night, so i whipped up this recipe for Sunday night dinner. This recipe is really tasty and hearty and great for anyone who is ready for a big, filling meal. Because I used lean beef, light soy sauce and lots and lots of veggies, this meal can definitely be healthy AND hearty at the same time! The only tweak I would make to make it even more nutritious is to use brown rice instead of white (I only had white rice on hand unfortunately.)

Beef Stir Fry

1 lb steak, cut into bite size cubes

1 large onion

3.5 cups water

3 beef buillon cubes

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tbls cornstarch, dissolved in half a cup of water

1.5 cups broccoli, steamed

1 cup peapods

1 cup shredded carrots

  • Dice your onion and cook in large, deep pan coated with olive oil. Cook until transparent then add beef. Once beef and onions are cooked through, add water, beef bouillon cubes and soy sauce and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes
  • Meanwhile steam broccoli. Once meat mixture has simmered for 10-15 mins, add broccoli, peapods and carrots

  • Mix, serve warm and ENJOY! As a request from my brothers I served over rice AND noodles. You can serve it as is or over any carb of your choice! As I said before to make this healthy choose brown rice