Salmon & Guacamole Sandwiches

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I haven’t made a Barefoot Contessa recipe in a long time. I did watch her episodes on Food Network, where she was staying in California for vacation. Usually I like her recipes, but I thought most of those were a little too fancy for me. Sometimes her recipes can be rather high class, but this one was just perfect! We like to keep bags of frozen salmon from Sam’s Club in the freezer and they only take like 2 hours to defrost.

I’ve been wanting to use my cast iron skillet more, but they’re always such a pain in the butt to clean. Plus, I don’t know what to really cook in them. I see the Pioneer Woman using hers all the time too. She cooks food like scrambled eggs in hers and I wonder how she gets them clean all the time? This recipe requires using a cast iron to cook the salmon. You cook the salmon on both sides for 2 minutes and then transfer the salmon to the oven to finish cooking. I had my oven set to 400 still and the salmon was still rare. Ended up having to cook it for almost 7 minutes. There was only one oven temp mentioned in the recipe, so who knows which one she really used. These sandwiches were delicious.

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Recipe from Ina Garten


8 slices applewood-smoked bacon (8 ounces)
2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
¼ cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Four (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
Good olive oil
4 individual ciabatta rolls


Baby arugula leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and lay the bacon on the rack. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile, prepare the guacamole. Place the avocados, lime juice, scallions, red onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a mixing bowl and mash roughly together with a fork. Taste for seasoning; it should be very highly seasoned. Set aside.

When the bacon is done, heat a dry cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels, brush them all over—top and bottom—with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place the fillets in the skillet skin side up and allow them to cook without disturbing them for 2 minutes exactly. With a metal spatula, carefully turn the fillets and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 2 minutes (time it carefully!). Remove the salmon to a plate and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

While the salmon rests, cut the ciabatta rolls in half crosswise, place them cut side up on a sheet pan, and toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. To assemble the sandwiches, place the bottoms of the ciabatta rolls on a board and spread each with 2 rounded tablespoons of guacamole. Remove the skin from the salmon fillets, cut each fillet in half crosswise, and place both halves on top of the guacamole. Add 2 slices of bacon, a handful of arugula, and a sprinkling of salt. Spread another rounded tablespoon of guacamole on the underside of the top bread and place on top. Continue arranging all the sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally and serve warm or at room temperature.

Winter Minestrone Soup


I don’t know about you, but I’m so sick of Winter. Where I live we have 3 seasons: Winter, Flooding, and Construction. There are huge piles of snow every where and that is finally starting to melt. I can barely see where I’m drivng, you have to keep on inching forward in your vehicle hoping that you don’t get hit. I need to get a taller car some day.

This will probably be my last batch of soup for awhile since the weather is starting to warm up. I love how this soup starts off with cooking some bacon. You know anything is going to be good if a recipe starts off that way. I also love the smell of onions and bacon cooking together in a pot. Someone needs to make a candle smell like that. The addition of pesto was very nice in this soup too. Ina was spot on putting that in there. The only thing I wish I would have had, was a nice piece of crusty bread to go a long with it.


Recipe from Ina Garten


Good olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more chicken stock.

Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste. Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.
Garlic Bruschetta:

1 French baguette
Good olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the baguette at a 45 degree angle in 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Don’t let brussel sprouts scare you. I was scared to try them at first, and so was my husband. They stink while cooking in the oven, but in the end they still taste good. This is a really easy recipe to make if you are curious about trying brussel sprouts for the first time. Just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook them in the oven at a high temp for awhile and they taste amazing. They’re so cute too, almost remind me of little baby cabbages. I’m sure bacon would make them taste even better.

I am horrible at trying to get a vegetable in every day. I try to do that at dinner time, and I’ve been trying lately to get a new one in every week. Roasted broccoli is also good this way.

Servings: 6

Calories: 109; Total Fat: 7 grams, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 4g

Recipe from Ina Garten


Roasted Brussel Sprouts


  • 1 1/2 poundsouts brussel sproiuts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 2
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Easy Parmesan Risotto

Wow, I was watching Food Network this morning and there are a lot of really good recipes that I want to try now. Especially all the ones that the Pioneer Woman had on her show. I have no clue where to go looking for a hamhock though, hopefully the meat department has one. I also thought that all the recipes on Ina’s show looked really good too. I had all the ingredients for this one so I thought I’d give it a try. If you’ve ever thought that making risotto sounded intimidating well it isn’t anymore. Ina made it look really easy like she always does and this sure was. It probably could have cooked in the oven a bit less than 45 minutes. The rice was done but it wasn’t really creamy after adding all the other ingredients in like when you make risotto on a stove top. Overall, it was pretty good though. I had a bowl of it for lunch.

I plugged in the points for the original recipe and it came out to be 11. I got it down to 7 points per cup by using light butter, and only 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. It still tasted really good too.

Recipe from Ina Garten

cals: 263 cal | fat: 6.77g | carbs: 40.85g | prot: 8.15g | fiber: 1.2
points Plus: 7
Servings 6 (1 cup)


1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.