Leftovers to Appetizers: Salmon Mousse Dip

Appetizers, Cedar Plank, Leftovers, meal plans, Salmon

Almost every time I make Cedar Plank Salmon I end up with a little bit of fish left over, usually around 1/4 pound. Sometimes I put it on my salad the next day for lunch, and IMG_1398 other times I like to make my salmon mousse dip. It’s a tasty appetizer or the perfect salmon spread for tea sandwiches.

I promise this dip isn’t fishy. It’s got a salmon flavor but it’s not overwhelming, and it’s not like smoked salmon. The cedar-flavored salmon makes this a light, delicious and elegant first course. But you can also make this with grilled or broiled salmon.

Follow the recipe below and feel free to improvise a bit. I usually have leftover fresh dill from making the cedar plank salmon but dried dill works well too. I also suggest chilling the mousse for at least 2 hours before serving so that it has a chance to thicken a bit.

The next time you’re cooking salmon, don’t throw away the extras! People who don’t even like fish dip enjoy this tasty treat and it serves four to six people as an appetizer. Try this dip once and you won’t waste leftover salmon ever again.


1/8 to 1/4 pound chilled cooked salmon, flaked with the skin and dark fatty parts removed

2/3 cup cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried dill

1/2 teaspoon onion salt


Combine the softened cream cheese with mayonnaise, lemon, dill, and onion salt. Add scallion and capers, mixing well. Incorporate the cold salmon. Chill at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers, bread or vegetables.

IMG_1328    IMG_1401     IMG_1398

Cedar Planks: Salmon’s Best Friend

Cedar Plank, grilling, Paleo, Salmon, sunday supper

My family loves fish, even my young daughter. Lucky enough to live in Florida, we have access to fresh fish and eat it regularly. Trying to find new ways to prepare fish is the real challenge. Broiling can get boring, and frying is too messy and fattening. So that leaves the grill, which I personally believe cooks the best fish.IMG_1251

One of my favorite ways to grill fish is to use a cedar plank. You’ve probably either had  it served that way at a restaurant or have at least seen it on a menu, and trust me, it’s delicious.

It’s easier than you think to find cedar planks. Stores like Williams-Sonoma, Fresh Market and Whole Foods carry them, and you can even sometimes find planks at places like HomeGoods or World Market. Search for wood chips and that’s usually where you’ll also find the wood planks.

When I’m grilling salmon, the cedar plank is my go-to method, and Williams-Sonoma’s Potlatch Seasoning is my favorite way to flavor it. However, I also love fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon as an alternative preparation. As the plank heats up on the grill, the smoke infuses the fish with the cedar’s flavor. You truly only need to add a little seasoning and your salmon will be tender, flavorful and look quite impressiIMG_1226ve.

Soaking the plank is key. Submerge the plank under water for at least 30 minutes  before grilling. Then remove it from the water, place the seasoned salmon on top with the skin side down, and toss it on the grill. Cooking at 425-450 degrees, the salmon should only take about 20-25 minutes, depending on its thickness.

Try this preparation for any of your favorite fish, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. It doesn’t take much extra time but the reward is lovely, flavorful fish without using extra fat to make it delicious.




The Perfect Anti-Everything Smoothie

Anti-inflamatory, Cleanse, Paleo, Smoothies

After last week’s fried ravioli for the Final Four games, the holiday weekend, and the NCAA championships last night, it’s time to get back on track. My overindulgence is over! Smoothies are a great way to sneak extra fruit and vegetables into our diets, and we often feel “healthier” after we drink one. However, most of the smoothies sold at places like Tropical Smoothie or Jamba Juice contain more calories and sugar than people realize. And they are usually gigantic! Yet we justify their size because it’s replacing a meal. Umm…

A little over a year ago, I started making smoothies at home so that I could control their content. I’ve become pretty proficient at maximizing the flavor and effectiveness of my smoothie recipes while leaving out the extra calories and carbohydrates. IMG_1305

Today I want to share my favorite anti-everything smoothie. It’s an anti-inflammatory smoothie, an anti-oxidant smoothie, and (most importantly) an anti-aging smoothie. Every ingredient in this drink promotes health and proper digestion. I’m tempted to call this a “cleanse” smoothie but the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant components truly make this so much more. Below I’ve gone through the ingredients so you can see how  each element affects your body.

Make this in the morning and start your day off right. You’ll feel energized, as well as cleansed and refreshed. This smoothie is also an amazing hangover cure, or so I’ve heard. Drink on, friends!


An excellent source of vitamin C, oranges are great for the skin and immune system. They are also a good source of fiber, as well as B vitamins, folate, vitamin A, calcium and potassium.


Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. It is commonly used to treat various stomach problems, while promoting digestion. It has been shown to reduce pain from arthritis and sore muscles, and can also help the respiratory system.


Radishes are a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system, helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins built up over time. Radishes induce apoptosis – meaning they kill cancer cells. For those of us with more vain concerns, many of the nutrients found in radishes – such as B vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin C – benefit the skin. The water content helps the skin stay hydrated and the disinfectant properties can clear up skin problems such as cracks, rashes and dryness.


The antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in mangoes, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health. It also has plenty of vitamin K, which is key to bone health. Mangos are great for hair because they contain vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which are needed for building and maintaining collagen.


Mint has high antioxidant capacities. It smells great, tastes refreshing, and contains small amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C and vitamin A.


Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. It’s also a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and has been known to help treat seasonal allergies.



1/2 cup orange juice IMG_1292

2 medium radishes, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons honey

3 large mint leaves

1 mandarin orange or 1/2 orange, peeled

1/4 cup frozen mango

1/4 cup ice cubes



Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed. Blend at a high speed until everything is completely pureed, about 45 seconds. Drink immediately.

IMG_1297     IMG_1300     IMG_1304

Friends, Final Four and Fried Ravioli

Appetizers, Final Four, Fried Ravioli, Party Planning

The Final Four basketball games are this weekend, and I am sure many people are having friends over to watch the excitement. At my house, that means finger foods and heavy appetizers, including my fried ravioli.  IMG_0887

I stumbled upon this decedent first course after throwing it together for an impromptu potluck dinner with friends a few weeks ago. The host was making the main dish, someone else was given the salad duties, and I was asked to bring an appetizer. Since I knew we were eating Italian food, I wanted to make sure whatever I brought went with the meal.

I didn’t have time (or the desire) to run to the store. I checked my refrigerator and pantry and realized I had some ravioli that I hadn’t used for one reason or another. I also had eggs, breadcrumbs, half and half and oil, so I decided to try my hand at fried ravioli. Even though I’d never made it before, I figured it couldn’t be that difficult.

I was right! It was easy and delicious. Everyone loved it, especially the children. They didn’t even seem to notice they were eating artichoke-filled ravioli. One of the great things about this recipe is that you can use any type of fresh ravioli. Try it with traditional cheese or meat, or branch out and use a vegetable-filled pasta.

By fresh, I mean “not frozen.” You don’t have to make homemade pasta, but you do need to purchase the ravioli you see in cold cases, like Buitoni or something similar from your local grocery store. You also want to look for medium to large ravioli because the small ones don’t have enough filling to hold up against the breading.

Really happy with the results, I’m adding this fried ravioli recipe to my appetizer rotation. I used some vodka sauce I had leftover as the “dipping” sauce, but you can use any marinara or jarred tomato sauce. This recipe isn’t Paleo, and it isn’t very healthy, but we all deserve a little indulgence now and then, especially during March Madness.


A candy or baking thermometer. If you’re looking for a good one, click here.

Ingredients     IMG_0867

10-14 large ravioli

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup half and half (milk can be used as a substitute)

1/2 cup marinara or tomato sauce

Vegetable oil



In a medium to large shallow pot, add enough oil to reach a depth of 2”. Turn heat to medium-high and heat to 325 degrees. *Tip: If you don’t have a thermometer, then you can test the oil by tossing in a small piece of bread. If it doesn’t bubble much, then the oil isn’t ready. If it bubbles quickly and browns the bread within 5 seconds, then it’s too hot. 

Combine the egg and half and half in one bowl, and combine the Italian and panko breadcrumbs in another.

Dip each ravioli into the egg and half and half mixture, and then dredge in the bread crumbs, being sure to coat completely.

When the oil is ready, fry the ravioli in batches. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Gently turn them until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the hot ravioli to paper towels to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Serve with tomato sauce of your choice.

IMG_0875     IMG_0879     IMG_0882