Two Sisters, One Kitchen

Quick, healthy meals by a loving team. See what’s cooking in J & K's kitchen!

Hot Ham and Cheese with Italian Stoplight Salsa January 30, 2012

Jamie says: A hot ham and cheese sandwich was beckoning me. Yes, it was going to be made for dinner. And this time, I didn’t want any veggies in the sandwich- I wanted a fresh salsa on the side.

Hot Ham and Cheese with Italian Stoplight Salsa

I called Italian Stoplight Salsa because of 1) the use of Italian parsley instead of cilantro and 2) the predominant and bright red, yellow, and green colors of the side dish.

Italian Stoplight Salsa

I cut the sandwich on the diagonal for fun.

Sliced on the diagonal

Oh, check out that melted, fresh mozzarella and that tender ham…

Hot ham, melted cheese, and crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside-bread

I envisioned scooping the salsa on top of the sandwich and made that a reality, too.

If we count tomatoes as a fruit, we hit all the food groups

Hot Ham and Cheese  with Italian Stoplight Salsa


  • 1 small vine-ripened tomato
  • 1/2 large yellow tomato
  • 1 slice yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (Filippo Berio)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (Regina, balsamic vinegar of Modena)
  • dash sea salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 3 quarter-inch thick slices fresh mozzarella cheese (Publix Deli)
  • 2 slices 100% stoneground whole wheat bread (Publix Premium)
  • 1/8 lb Blackforest ham (Boar’s Head)
  • no stick cooking spray (PAM)


  1. Preheat George Forman grill (or panini maker or frying pan).
  2. Chop red and yellow tomatoes, onion, and parsley. Place in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Gently stir to mix. Refrigerate Italian Stoplight Salsa.
  3. Place ham and cheese inside of two pieces of whole wheat bread. Spray grill with no stick cooking spray. Place sandwich on grill and heat for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and ham is hot. Remove from heat and cut on the diagonal.
  4. Serve hot ham and cheese with Italian stoplight salsa on top and/or on the side. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Picnic Lunch January 29, 2012

Jamie says: When I was in the bakery at the grocery store, I picked up a crusty white baguette and added it to my cart. I later came across kalamata olives (on sale) and mozarella cheese (also on sale). My wheels started turning. I was going to have a Mediterranean picnic.

Mediterranean Picnic Lunch

After church, I invited my friend Clarissa over to join me in a mini-feast. We wined and dined- picnic style- and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

Picnics are so much fun!

We each made plates and kept filling them up as we went.

My plate

I sliced the bread, spread some hummus on the inside, and stuffed it with sardines, olives, peppers, and cheese. The meal was simple, but the flavors were outrageous. Each ingredient could hold it’s own.

Beautiful, simple, and delicious

The grapes were a nice palate-cleanser…and so was the wine!

Skinny Girl Sangria- a Christmas gift from my cousin Ashley

A little later, I thought of dark chocolate as the perfect ending.

Dove Promises Dark Chocolate

I love how the Dove Promises have messages on them, too.

Each one has a message... I find them entertaining

Mediterranean Picnic Lunch


  • 3.75 oz can sardines in olive oil (Brunswick; from Publix)
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives (Publix Deli)
  • 3/4 cup chick peas
  • 1 1/2 sweet pimento, flame roasted peppers (Vigo)
  • 3 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese (Publix Deli)
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 cups grapes
  • 1/3 cup black bean hummus (MaDame Blue Rose’s, from Ward’s Supermarket)
  • 1/2 loaf crusty white baguette (Publix)
  • 10 oz sangria (Skinny Girl; only if appropriate for age, of course)
  • 10 dark chocolate squares (Dove Promises)


  1. Drain sardines, olives,  chick peas, and peppers. Chop peppers. Slice cheese and sprinkle basil on top. Remove stems from grapes.
  2. Serve everything on separate dishes. Oh, and don’t forget to bring plates, forks, knives, napkins, glasses, lots of serving forks and spoons, and a smile. Enjoy in good company!

Serves: 2

  • Nutrition note: Enjoy a variety of foods to reap a variety of nutrients.

Cumin Chicken Salad with Raisins & Almonds January 28, 2012

Jamie says: I’ve been wanting to make my own chicken salad with yogurt for a long time now. I’ve seen it on the menu at (and ordered it from) a few restaurants, and I always find it so enjoyable for a change. The day has finally come… I made my own chicken salad. But not just any chicken salad. It’s Cumin Chicken Salad with Raisins & Almonds. It was very flavorful and creamy. I liked the bold flavor of the cumin, the crisp fresh parsley, the plump raisins, and crunchy roasted almonds. P.S. Thanks for the new red plate, Kathryn!

Cumin Chicken Salad with Raisins & Almonds

Cumin Chicken Salad with Raisins & Almonds


  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 6 oz plain fat free yogurt (Publix)
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted mini almonds (Wonderful)
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken breast on a baking sheet. Lightly coat with canola oil. Add brown sugar on top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until cooked throughout. Chop (or pull with a fork). Refrigerate.
  2. Juice lemon. Chop parsley. In a bowl, combine cold chopped chicken with yogurt, lemon juice, chopped parsley, almonds, raisins, garlic salt, and cumin. Enjoy!

Serving suggestion: Serve in a wrap or sandwich with sandwich toppings (e.g. lettuce, onion, etc).

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: By using plain fat free yogurt instead of mayonnaise you decreasing the fat and are adding protein, vitamins and minerals (such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and potassium), and live and active cultures. Good deal and good taste!

Date Nut Oatmeal January 26, 2012

Jamie says: When I was younger, my Mom used to make Date Nut Bread for the holidays (especially Christmas) and other special occasions. It was a sweet and delicious treat that K and I looked forward to.

With her recipe in mind, I made Date Nut Oatmeal. I’m finding that a lot of dessert foods can be turned into healthy and delicious oatmeal breakfasts (i.e. Key Lime Pie Oatmeal, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal with Sliced Bananas, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, etc).

Date Nut Oatmeal

I was happy to find dates without any added sugar- and they were still sweet! The dried fruit and nuts add some heartiness to a winter breakfast.

Sweet dates and crunchy almonds

Cinnamon and spice and everything nice…

The spices made the oatmeal extraordinary

Date Nut Oatmeal


  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal (Quaker)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 pitted no sugar added dates (SunSweet)
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted mini almonds (Wonderful)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash ground cloves


  1. Combine oats and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  2. Chop dates into thirds. Add to cooked oats along with almonds, cinnamon, and cloves. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: Fiber, fiber, fiber. The oatmeal, dates, and almonds are all good sources of it on their own- so put them all together (like in this Date Nut Oatmeal) and you’ve got a breakfast that’s an excellent source of fiber! A good source of fiber has at least 2.5 g of fiber per serving (10% of the Daily Value) and an excellent source of fiber has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Amish Friendship Bread January 24, 2012

Jamie says: The Amish Friendship Bread had come around once again! K and I received starter bags in October 2011 and made the bread then. And now I got to make it again. It’s always a sweet surprise.

Amish Friendship Bread

I received a starter bag to make Amish Friendship Bread from a fellow Registered Dietitian and co-worker, Kathleen. We call each other “roomies” because we share an office.

The starter bag and directions/recipe

After 10 days of nurturing the bag (squishing and mushing it, adding ingredients on day 7 because I was a day late, squishing it and mushing it again, and adding all the rest of ingredients), it was baking time! And at 7:30 AM (I got up super early before work) out came two hot loaves of friendship bread! Baking day was my Dad’s birthday, too! (I sent him pictures.)

It makes a lot- definitely enough to share

I don’t know why they call it bread- it’s definitely cake in my eyes.

That's cinnamon/sugar on top

Or maybe a coffee cake is a more accurate description. The cinnamon/sugar mixture on top is my favorite part.

I cut it up into rectangles

I decided I wanted to make this bread friendship bread squared (in a mathematical sense) – meaning I’d share the friendship bread AND give away the starter bags to new friends.

I brought around the tray to my new neighbors

So, I went around to every apartment in my complex and knocked on doors, sharing this bread as an offering of friendship. Everyone seemed pretty excited to get a piece. It was a nice way to meet my neighbors, too.

I went back home to get more and went back out to meet some more of my neighbors

The cake is so moist and sweet. I love the cinnamon sugar on the top and bottom.

And I saved a piece (or two or three) for me, of course

The recipe for Friendship Bread can be found on many web sites, but here’s the one I followed: The Happy Zombie. Enjoy- and don’t forget to share.

  • Nutrition note: Sharing food is an act of kindness that also helps prevent you from overindulging.

My Big Fat Italian Lasagna- with Kale, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Onions, and Ground Chicken and/or Tofu January 22, 2012

Jamie says: Sundays feel like family days and Italian days. When I was younger, we used to go to Grandma and Papa’s house every once in a while for Sunday dinner. I guess I was reminiscing so I invited a handful of my close triathlon friends- Clarissa, Rachel, James, and Sam & Craig- over for lasagna. (I told ’em I’d give you a shout out if they let me take lots of pictures.)

My Big Fat Italian Lasagna- with Kale, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Onions, and Ground Chicken and/or Tofu

This was my first time ever making lasagna. I didn’t follow a recipe either…just called Mom for a pep talk.

I made two trays- one with meat (chicken) and one vegetarian (tofu)

It was a lot more work than I expected. It took about 1 1/2 hours to make, but I did it! I made my 1st lasagna!

My 1st homemade lasagna!

And you can do it, too!

Since it can appear to be a somewhat daunting task, here is a step-by-step picture guide on how to layer it once you’ve cooked everything that needs to be cooked. (This will make two trays of lasagna- one with meat (chicken) and one vegetarian (tofu).

Step-by-Step Lasagna Layering Guide:

1) Spread sauce on the bottom of two pans (to prevent sticking), then add boiled lasagna, and cooked kale to each pan.

Sauce, lasagna, kale...

2) Spread ricotta on top.


3) Next add your second layer of lasagna.


4) Then add sauce and ground chicken to one pan…

Sauce, chicken...

And add sauce and crumbled tofu to the other.

Sauce, tofu...

5) Next it’s time for another layer of lasagna, then raw mushrooms, and zucchini.

Lasagna, mushrooms, zucchini...

6) Finish off that sauce.


7) And finish up that lasagna, by adding your final layer of lasagna and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Lasagna, mozzarella

8) Put it in the oven and wait patiently. Then you’ll have the lasagna you’ve been waiting for!

A tray of lasagna with ground chicken and...

Really, two trays of them!

Tofu lasagna

Want a side profile of those layers?

Check out those layers!

Yeah, onions and ogres (like Shrek) aren’t the only things with layers.

There are lots of layers!

Ready for a slice?

A slice

Why not try one of each?

Even if your not vegetarian, try the tofu one, too!

We topped it with garlic salt. (Later I added parmesan cheese on top, too. This was the best!)

Cheesy goodness

Feeling so Italian-American right now.

I did it! I successfully made my 1st lasagna! And now you can, too!

My Big Fat Italian Lasagna- with Kale, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Onions, and Ground Chicken and/or Tofu

  • 28 oz (1 lb 12 oz) tomato puree (Cento)
  • 28 oz (1 lb 12 oz) petite diced tomatoes (Cento)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 2 Tbps parsley
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 14 oz block extra firm (Nasoya tofu plus)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 16 oz kale greens (Glory Foods)
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 12 oz prewashed sliced white mushrooms (Publix)
  • 13.24 oz box whole grain lasagna (Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)
  • 16 oz. extra lean ground chicken breast (Perdue)
  • 32 oz. part skim ricotta cheese (Polly-o)
  • 2 cups shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese (Kraft)
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (Publix)


  1. In a large pot with a lid, add tomato puree and petite diced tomatoes. Cut an onion in eighths and add to sauce along with basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, 3/4 tsp garlic salt, and freshly ground pepper. Stir and heat on medium-low heat for 1 hour.
  2. Drain tofu. Wrap in a few paper towels and place on an empty and clean spot on the kitchen counter; then balance something heavy on top. Allow to drain for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a large pot on medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil. Thickly mince garlic and add to oil. Use a paper towel to dry kale and add to pot once garlic has slightly browned. Stir well to mix. Cook for 10 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently.
  4. Use a grater to shred zucchini into thin pieces.
  5. Fill 2/3 of a very large pot with water. Add lasagna pieces one by one. Gently stir to make sure they are all covered by water. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove with tongs and lay on wax paper so the pasta doesn’t stick.
  6. Brown ground chicken breast in a saute pan on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until cooked, stirring frequently.
  7. Crumble tofu with clean hands.
  8. Cover the bottom of two 13 x 9 inch baking dishes with a few scoops of sauce. Begin layering- i.e. lasagna, kale, ricotta, lasagna, sauce, chicken (in one dish) and tofu (in the second dish), mushrooms, zucchini, sauce, lasagna, and mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with reserved garlic salt and then Parmesan cheese. Enjoy in good company!

Serves: 12 (6 servings with chicken and 6 with tofu)

  • Nutrition note: This lasagna received a healthy makeover from your average lasagna. It’s full of healthy surprises, like whole grain lasagna, part skim ricotta, part skim mozzarella, lean meat, and vegetables.

Pesto Salmon Wrap January 21, 2012

Jamie says: As a weekend treat, I wanted to make myself a hot lunch. I decided to cook the salmon that I originally planned to use for a dinner and I made a…

Pesto Salmon Wrap

It was a tasty lunch with good-for-you fats.

A heart-healthy lunch

The salmon was nice and moist. The walnuts added a nice crunch, too.

Gotta love that pesto

It was a little messy, but sometimes, that’s half the fun!

Wrap it up and dig in!

Pesto Salmon Wrap


  • 0.5 lb salmon fillet
  • pesto sauce with basil, garlic, and pine nuts (Monterey Pasta Company)
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1 slice onion
  • 1 low carb high fiber whole wheat tortilla (Smart & Delicious)
  • 1 1/2 cups pre-washed fancy greens- romaine lettuce, green tango, radicchio, and carrots (Fresh Express)
  • 10 walnuts
  • dash salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse salmon, pat dry with a paper towel, and place on a baking sheet. Spread pesto on top of salmon. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Chop tomato and onion and place on a tortilla along with lettuce and walnuts. Top with salmon. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: Dietary fat (that means fat in your food) is not bad. In fact, some fats are very good for you, such as the fat that is in the salmon, walnuts, and the canola/olive oil blend (from the pesto)  in this wrap! Fat also helps you absorb nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. How about that!