Crunchy Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Herb Sriracha Dip

We all want our kids to eat more veggies. In fact, I always want to eat more veggies! Thats why I am so excited when I find ways to cook foods like asparagus that my kids love. This ‘fry’ version of asparagus is their favorite. Its baked but still has a satisfying crunch. And I  just don’t include the Srircha in the dip for the kids or give them ranch instead.


C/O In Sock Monkey Slippers

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

lemon herb sriracha dip

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the panko breadcrumbs until lightly golden. Transfer to a plate and add salt. Toss to combine.



In a bowl beat eggs and water together to create an egg wash and pour onto a plate. Set up a “work station” with the asparagus, flour that has been placed on a plate, egg wash, toasted panko crumbs, and baking sheet.

To bread the asparagus: First roll an asparagus spear in flour, then egg was, and then panko crumbs – pressing to adhere. Repeat with remaining asparagus.



Place the breaded asparagus on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still crunchy.


C/O In Sock Monkey Slippers

While the asparagus is baking, make the dipping sauce. Place all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and stir to combine.

Plate, serve, and watch these disapeer. No one will ever know they are healthy either. 😉

Eggcellent Food!

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast!  Try one of these unique recipes below and have some eggs for brinner (breakfast for dinner).

Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polentaitalian-eggs-ck-1011330-l

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1  (16-ounce) tube of polenta, cut into 12 slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  cups  fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
  • 1  (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 4  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese


Preheat broiler.

Arrange polenta slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of polenta with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

While polenta heats, bring sauce to a simmer in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in spinach; cover and cook for 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Stir to combine. Make 4 indentations in top of spinach mixture using the back of a wooden spoon. Break 1 egg into each indentation. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until eggs are desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with cheese. Place 3 polenta slices on each of 4 plates; top each serving with one-fourth of spinach mixture and 1 egg.

Tomatoes and Feta Baked Eggstomatoandfetabakedeggswithcrustybread500


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 medium tomatoes (diced)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful fresh herbs (chopped, I used dill and parsley)
1/2 cup feta (crumbled)
2 eggs


1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the tomato, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the fresh herbs and feta.
6. Divide between two individually sized baking dishes, indent the centers with a spoon and crack the eggs into the indentations.
7. Bake in a preheated 425F oven until the sauce is bubbly and the egg whites have just set, about 8-14 minutes.

Asparagus and Soft Eggs on Toasteggs-asparagus-toast_300

Serves 4 Hands-On Time: 20m Total Time: 20m


  • 4 slices rustic country bread
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 large eggs*
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan (1 ounce)
  • *Because the eggs in this recipe are not fully cooked, there is a risk of food-borne illness.


  1. Heat broiler. Place the bread and asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  2. Broil until the bread is toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side; transfer the bread to plates. Continue broiling the asparagus, tossing once, until tender, 4 to 8 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Carefully lower the eggs into the water. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 6 minutes. Cool under running water and peel.
  4. Divide the asparagus among the toast, sprinkle on the Parmesan, and top with the eggs.

Courtesy of:

My Recipes

Closet Cooking

Real Simple

A Perfect Lunch for a Summer Day!

Asparagus is the ultimate summer vegetable, and the bacon gives it a unique twist.  And, the fruit tart…. yummm!

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus303491


  • 10 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 bacon strips, halved lengthwise


  1. Place asparagus on a sheet of waxed paper; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with pepper; turn to coat. Wrap a bacon piece around each spear; secure ends with toothpicks. Grill, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 8-12 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning occasionally. Discard toothpicks.

Grilled Cheesetu0211_sandwich_med


  • 8 slices country-style white bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 12 ounces farmhouse Cheddar, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked to desired doneness
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced
  • Dijon mustard


Heat griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Alternatively you can use your panini press if you have one.

Assemble sandwich: Generously spread Dijon on 4 slices of bread. Top with slices of Cheddar, 3 pieces of bacon, apple slices and additional Cheddar. Place the remaining bread on top and spread with butter. Place on skillet buttered-side down and butter the remaining side. Cook until cheese is slightly melted and bread is browned. Flip the sandwich and continue to cook until cheese is thoroughly melted and sandwich is golden brown.

Fruit Tarttart_200


Baked Tart Shell

9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom (or four tartlet pans, also with removable bottoms)

1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 large egg yolk

1 and ½ tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

Mascarpone cream

8 oz. mascarpone (Italian cream cheese, available in most grocery stores)

1/3 cup very cold heavy cream

¼ cup sugar


2 tablespoons sweet orange marmalade (though I used apricot jam, since it was what I had)

2 tablespoons dark berry liqueur, such as blueberry, blackberry or creme de cassis (though I used water, since it was what I had)


3-4 cups of washed, dried berries

Step One – Make the tart shell: Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor (or whisk together in a bowl). Pulse in butter (or blend in with your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-sized) lumps of butter. Beat together egg yolk and water and pulse (or stir) until incorporated.

The goal is to get the dough to stay together with as little liquid and as little pulsing as possible, but I always add more and beat more than recommended. The recipe says that if the dough isn’t holding together, add ½ tablespoon of water at a time until it does, but unless you’re having a Gourmet editor over for dinner, I say you can go crazy and add 1-2 tablespoons and then reassess. You don’t want a tough crust, but on the other hand it’s a drag to work with dough that’s falling apart.

Once it’s holding together, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quickly knead or smear it with the palm of your hand to help distribute the fat. Gather dough into a ball, flatten it into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour, or until firm.

Roll the dough out into a 13-inch round (or four smaller ones if you’re making tartlets). Do this any way that works: between sheets of waxed paper, as Gourmet suggests, or else just work fast and use a bit of flour, as I did. Gently press dough into tart pan (or tartlet pans), then roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim the edges of dough flush with the rim. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes (unless you don’t have time, which I didn’t). Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (I did this at the start because I knew I was short on time.)

Lightly prick shell in several places with a fork. Line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights, raw rice or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden, about 10 minutes more. Cool completely on a rack.

Step Two – Make cream filling: Beat together mascarpone, cream and sugar with an electric mixer at high speed until mixture holds stiff peaks, about one minute. Spoon filling into baked crust.

Step Three – Make glaze: Combine jam and liqueur in a small saucepan; then simmer and stir for about two minutes.

Step Four – Assemble the tart: Either gently toss the glaze with the berries and then mound them on the mascarpone cream as the recipe suggests, or else place the berries decoratively on the cream and, using a pastry brush, gently coat the berries with the glaze, as I did.

Notes: The tart shell can be made up to one day ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.

Courtesy of:

All Recipes

Food Network


Baked Macaroni and Cheese



  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Serve with..

Baked Asparagus


  • 2 bunches asparagus, washed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse grained salt and cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place asparagus in a large plastic bag. Drizzle half the olive oil over the asparagus, seal the bag and shake until asparagus is coated evenly with the olive oil. If necessary, add only enough of the remaining olive oil to coat the asparagus. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a cookie sheet, season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender or crunchy depending upon your preference, about 12 to 20 minutes.

Tips: (Shortcut chef) Toss asparagus with oil, salt and pepper as directed below and store in refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it off. Get into the habit of spending 5 to 15 minutes prepping tonight or tomorrow’s dinner during the day and you will be eating in more than out. The weight will come off quicker with home cooked healthful meals and you know it.

Tip: From mom’s lips to your ears: You forgot to tell them to snap off the woody bottoms. Tell em to hold asparagus, one at a time, in their hands near the cut end and snap it like kindling. Mother Nature saw to it that the asparagus breaks in just the right spot, save the ends for stock.

Morph: Serve one other simple veggie side and a piece of oven baked fish such as salmon and dinner is all done. Cook off extra asparagus and throw it into a frittata, polenta, or pasta later in the week.

If the Queen’s coming for dinner, toss cooked asparagus with fresh lemon, plate and garnish with thin curls of Parmesan.

Tip: Asparagus starts losing its sweetness the minute it’s cut, therefore, as always, look for the freshest stalks possible. Skins should be smooth and bright colored with tightly formed heads.

For dessert..


Sweet Dessert Panini Recipe


  • 1 cup hazelnut spread
  • 8 slices, white bread, cut 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 16 marshmallows, cut in halves
  • Butter, softened
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat the grill to medium-low.

Heat hazelnut spread, so that it lightly coats the back of a spoon. Spread all slices of bread with a thin layer of hazelnut spread. Apply banana slices to 4 pieces of bread and marshmallows to the remaining 4 pieces. Take 1 slice of bread with banana, and 1 with marshmallows and press them together, making a sandwich. Repeat. Apply a light layer of butter to each side of the sandwiches.

Place each sandwich on the pre-heated grill for 2 minutes per side. Once cooked, cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal. Put sandwiches on a platter and dust with powdered sugar.

(Recipes courtesy of

Coupons for this meal, available as of 8/3/09:

$.40 off any package of No Yolks products (pasta, etc)

$1.00 off item Dreamfields Pasta

$.50 off 1 dozen Smart Balance Omega-3 Large Eggs

$.55 off Treasure Cave cheese

$1.00 off any Filippo Berio Olive Oil 17oz or larger

$1.00 off one DeLallo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

$.75 off on King’s Hawaiian New Sliced Bread

$.40 off any Oroweat Bread product

$.50 off Aunt Millie’s Hearth Bread or Buns

Pacific Coast Salmon Burgers


To ensure moist salmon burgers, don’t overcook them. The cayenne pepper adds important flavor but can be omitted for kids’ palates. Make sure to slide the burgers around when you’re cooking them to ensure a crisp brown exterior. Try these burgers topped with this zesty Northwest-style tartar sauce.

1 lb. salmon, filleted, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 shallots, minced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp. canola or olive oil (for sauteeing)
4 hamburger buns
4 crisp lettuce leaves
Tartar Sauce:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped, or 3/4 tsp. dried dillweed
2 tbsp. cucumber, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

1. With an electric mixer or in a food processor, coarsely chop the salmon until it attains a hamburger-like texture. Remove and place in a mixing bowl. Use a fork to blend the rest of the ingredients in with the salmon.

2. Shape the salmon mixture into four patties about 3/4 inch thick. Place on a waxed paper-lined plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour and up to 6 hours ahead this will chill them enough so they can keep their shape during cooking.

3. Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the burgers. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side and about 1 to 2 minutes on the other or until crispy brown on the outside and just cooked through.

4. Serve immediately with lettuce and a dollop of tartar sauce if you like. Serves 4.

5. For Northwest-style tartar sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate until serving.



Selland’s market-cafe in Sacramento is an uncommonly good café and often a source of inspiration for foods to prepare. Recently I had some of their asparagus and loved the texture – slightly crunchy (definitely not mushy!) – and the hint of lemon flavor along with the olive oil and Parmesan. Upon inquiry I was told that the asparagus had indeed been parboiled for 2 minutes and then tossed with Parmesan, olive oil, and some lemon zest. So easy!

  • 1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb
  • 2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest – freshly grated lemon rind
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.

2 Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water. While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it’s important to make sure they are of the highest quality.


Strawberry Milkshake Pops

The higher the mercury goes, the more often kids ask for frozen treats. Popsicles are the perfect answer to their pleas, but store-bought varieties can be full of sugar and artificial colors, and just flat-out expensive.

Homemade ice pops are one of the easiest things to make. If you have your own Popsicle molds it’s even easier, and if not, all you need are paper cups, Popsicle sticks and plastic wrap. Any liquid that freezes well is fair game. You can test your own ideas by filling a section or two of an ice cube tray and freezing until firm.

Hands-On Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 6 hours
Yield: 6-8 pops
    16 ounces (2 cups) vanilla- or strawberry-flavored yogurt (blended type, any fat percentage works well)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla (leave out if you are using vanilla yogurt)
    5-6 large strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  1. Puree all ingredients together for 30 – 34 seconds in a blender.
  2. Strain well to remove seeds. You can skip this step, but the seeds will settle at the bottom of the mold and will be visible at the top of the Popsicle when un-molded.
  3. Pour into Popsicle molds and attach lids with sticks. If you are using cups instead, cover each cup with plastic wrap and insert the stick through the plastic. Don’t let the stick touch the bottom of the cup. Settle sticks evenly in the center of each mold before freezing.
  4. Check after half an hour and re-settle popsicle sticks if necessary. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight before removing from molds.
  5. Run the underside of the molds under warm water momentarily before un-molding.

Coupons as of 07/07/09:

Save $1.00 off any Filippo Berio Olive Oil 17oz or larger

Save $1.00 on any DeLallo Virgin Olive Oil

Save $1.00 0n any two Lifehouse Products

Save $1.00 on any one Lifehouse Product

$1.00 off any 4oz., 6oz. or 8oz. Organic Valley Cheese

$1.00 off any Organic Valley Sour Cream