Grilled Sesame Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Mahi mahi always reminds me of living in Hawaii for the summer and working at a restaurant. If we had fresh mahi mahi, I always ordered it on my salad or taco. It’s a very mild fish that even young children like! For this recipe, I marinate the fish in Organicville’s Sesame Teriyaki sauce (found it at Costco), grill it, and top the fish with this mango salsa. Grilled Sesame Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Grilled Sesame Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa
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Serves: 4
  • 4 mahi mahi fillets
  • Organicville Teriyaki Sesame Sauce
  • Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
  • For the salsa (recipe adapted from Our Best Bites):
  • 1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium mangoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium avocados, diced
  1. Marinate fish fillets in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, longer if desired. While they are marinating, prepare the salsa.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, mangoes, red onion, and cilantro.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until the sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over black beans and mangoes. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  4. When the fish is done marinating, warm the grill pan to medium high heat & spray with coconut oil cooking spray. Grill the fish about 6 minutes on each side for a 1-inch steak, or until firm.
  5. When ready to serve, gently fold the avocado into the mango salsa. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top each fillet with salsa and enjoy!

Grilled Sesame Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino

A few weeks ago, Matt texted me and said he had dinner taken care of for Sunday night. Okay! Awesome! Best text ever! The Jamie Oliver Foundation had come to Google and dropped off “Weekend Survival Kits” for employees to take home. Matt chose the Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, and Pecorino. It came with everything, down to the little container of sea salt. It’s very similar to my Pasta Italiano, so I was in heaven! Fresh and fulfilling.

Sidenote: I am loving the #ABeautifulMess app for writing and doodling on your photos! Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and they have the cutest borders and graphics. I used it on both photos below.

Matt was so cute about everything. He kept asking me questions as he was cooking & even put that little basil there so it looked pretty for a picture. We paired the meal with our favorite Trader Joe’s salad – Spinach with Cranberries, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Pecans.

Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino

Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino
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Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 3.5 ounces kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, torn
  • 1 chunk pecorino cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Place the tomatoes into a large roasting tin, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in warm oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Once water is boiling, add the penne pasta and cook until al dente.
  4. Once roasted, squish the tomatoes with a fork to release juices. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  5. Combine the drained pasta, tomato mixture, olives, and basil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with grated pecorino.
  6. Enjoy!

On Monday night, I had to get my workout in after the girls went to bed. Matt asked if I wanted some leftover pasta after I was done, and I said yes. He said he saved some for me, so after I finished I walked over to see a tupperware with 4 or 5 bites left! I was starving and he was so ashamed!! I made a huge deli sandwich which he ended up finishing for me :) Penne with Tomato, Basil, Olives, & Pecorino

Lemon Butter Salmon

I got a call from my mom last week. She said, “Why isn’t your salmon recipe on the blog?” Umm…all I could say was that I’ve been busy! Called to blogging repentance by my momma :)

Lemon Butter Salmon

I found this on Pinterest and thought it looked so easy that I decided to make it for our friends. They have children ages 4-8 and they all ate it up…my girls included! I served it over brown rice, with a green salad, and these dinner rolls. Such a great dinner!Lemon Butter Salmon

Lemon Butter Salmon
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Serves: 6-8
  • 3 lemons, sliced
  • ½ cup butter, sliced into half Tablespoon pats
  • 6 fillets of salmon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, line heavy duty tin foil with enough overlapping to make a pouch. Lay lemon slices down, the top with salmon. Place pats of butter on top, then season with salt and pepper. Lift foil up and fold tightly to make a nice little cooking bag. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Enjoy!

Chicken Salad Endive Cups

On Valentine’s Day, this beautiful bouquet of endives arrived at my door! California Endive Growers sent them to me, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Thank you so much!! I made this salad with some them, and decided that I’d make a chicken salad to eat the rest of them with. It was a fabulous idea…you should definitely try it!Chicken Salad Endive Cups
The endives are already the perfect little utensil. Just scoop some salad in, and eat the whole thing! You can be like Gene Wilder in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory when he drinks the tea and then eats the dandelion cup and saucer :)Chicken Salad Endive Cups

Chicken Salad Endive Cups
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Serves: 12
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Juice of half a lemon (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  1. Combine chicken, celery, onion, grapes, and almonds in a large bowl. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing mixture over the salad and fold in until all of the ingredients are coated. Spoon chicken salad into individual endive leaves and arrange on platter. Serve & enjoy!

Chicken Salad Endive Cups

California Quinoa Salad

I found this recipe on Pinterest and actually made it! I have so many recipes that I’ve pinned and never made. Thank goodness I did though, because it is incredible. Evidently it’s a Whole Foods salad knock-off, I’ve never had theirs though. This salad is so good that I am already looking forward to eating it for lunch tomorrow! Note to parents: my girls didn’t like the “Queen-Ah” all over their food, so I would set aside a plate of things they’ll like (mangoes, raisins, edamame, almonds) before you mix it all up.

Isn’t it beautiful? So many colors! Reminds me of my friend’s mom who used to tell her at dinnertime, “You don’t have enough colors on your plate!”

California Quinoa Salad -

California Quinoa Salad
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  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 mangoes, diced
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • 1 medium to large red pepper, diced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 cups shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup unsalted, dry-toasted* slivered almonds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly, then place in a medium pan.
  2. Add water and broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Fluff with fork and spread on waxed paper.
  6. Spread frozen edamame on waxed paper on top of the quinoa to help them thaw out.
  7. Mix all ingredients in the largest bowl you have and enjoy!
  8. *toast almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and warm, careful to move them around so they don't burn

California Quinoa Salad -

Potato Soup with Shrimp

Do you need a warm, comforting soup? Look no further! It’s like a deconstructed mashed potato with shrimp…you can’t go wrong.

Potato Soup With Shrimp -

Potato Soup with Shrimp
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From Paula Deen & Friends
  • ⅛ cup (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 chicken bouillion cubes, dissolved in ½ cup hot milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound medium shrimp
  • For garnish:
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion and carrots until both are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, milk, and dissolved bouillon cubes. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft and some of them have begun to become very mushy. Add the half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups lightly salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp all at once and stir well. Watch the shrimp, when they start to turn pink, drain them. Once cooled, peel and add to potato soup and stir. Serve in bowls, then top with bacon and cheese and enjoy!


Grilled Salmon Salad with Balsamic Glaze

I threw this salad together for lunch last week and posted it on Instagram & facebook. It got quite the reaction & people have been asking for the recipe, so here it is! Easy & delicious…just the way I like it.  IMG_7583

I eat stuff like this so that I can have more cookies later :)

Grilled Salmon Salad with Balsamic Glaze
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Serves: 1
  • Two handfuls mixed greens
  • 1 filet of salmon, grilled with Soyaki sauce (mine was leftover from the night before & cold, but it would be good warm too)
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Sliced almonds
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & lemon pepper
  1. Place lettuce in bowl and lay salmon filet on top.
  2. Sprinkle Feta cheese crumbles and sliced almonds on to your liking.
  3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt & lemon pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!


Pineapple Bacon Fried Quinoa

I got a new wok for Christmas! Thanks Nana & Bobba :) To break it in, I made up a new recipe. It is SO GOOD! Instead of fried rice, it’s fried quinoa!


I also got a new lens for Christmas, a nifty fifty! I feel like a bonafide food blogger & and am loving the look it gives my pictures. Thanks Pops!


If you’ve had quinoa before, you know that it can be pretty bland. I cook my quinoa in chicken stock instead of water which helps give it more flavor. The bacon also helps give more flavor to this dish, too. I hope you like it, my family gobbled it up and finished the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Pineapple Bacon Fried Quinoa
  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 bacon slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks (or canned or fresh)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Rinse quinoa and place in a medium pan along with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, cut the bacon into quarters and fry in wok until crisp. Remove from wok and pat off grease. Set aside.
  3. Drain the grease from the wok, but don't clean it. Scramble the eggs in the remaining bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Add eggs to plate with bacon, setting aside for later.
  4. Add peas and pineapple to the hot wok, stirring until thawed.
  5. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then add to wok. Add the bacon & eggs as well, tossing to combine with the peas and pineapple. Pour some of the soy sauce over the mixture a little bit at a time mixing as you go until your desired taste is reached.
  6. Enjoy!

Top 5 Recipes of 2012

Here are the top 5 recipes on Kara in the Kitchen this year! Thank you WordPress for compiling the data for me so I didn’t have to do the leg work :) I’d also like to thank all of YOU, my readers! I love sharing recipes with you and connecting with old and new friends through food. Thank you for supporting me and making this all so much fun!

Here’s to many more recipes on Kara in the Kitchen to come! I’d like to hear from you…what would you like to see more of in 2013? Let me know in the comments & thanks again for being so wonderful!

1. Crêpes


2. Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes


3. Peppermint Brownies


4. Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast


5. Peanut Butter Blossoms


French Onion Soup & OXO Giveaway!

I just got back from one of the most wonderful weekends in San Francisco! I was at the Foodbuzz Blogger Conference. It was such so much fun & food & I can’t wait to tell you about it.

For now, I have one of my favorite soups to share with y’all. This is a recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Paris Cookbook. I’ve loved every recipe I’ve made out of it, and the boy who lived in France for 2 years (my husband Matt) has approved of every one. This is the third time I’ve made this soup, so you know it’s a keeper!

First, onions are sliced nice and thin. I use my OXO Mandoline Slicer. I love it because it rests on the bowl and I can slice all of the onions quickly and with little effort. The first two times, I sliced the onions as thin as possible by hand, but they still weren’t as thin as I can get them with the mandoline. Lucky you – OXO has sent me a mandoline to give to one of my lucky readers! Details on how to enter below.

I just love a good French Onion Soup. The onions are meltingly soft & sweet, and the broth is rich and satisfying.

Not to mention the rustic country bread that gets covered with cheese…

Then broiled on top, giving you the perfect marriage of soup, bread, and bubbly Gruyere.

I use bread from Kelly’s Bakery here in Santa Cruz. They have big loaves at Costco sometimes but they run out fast! I bought two last time they actually had them and froze the second loaf. It’s perfect because it holds up in the soup and doesn’t fall apart or get too soggy.

Edit: I choose not to use alcohol in my cooking, so the juice combo is the best alternative to sub in for wine. You may use wine if you so choose.

4.0 from 1 reviews
French Onion Soup
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adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Serves: 6
  • 2½ lb. yellow onions
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup grape juice
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 6 slices country bread, sliced 1½ in. thick
  • 3 cups shredded Comte or Gruyere cheese
  1. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the onions lengthwise and set aside.
  2. In a large pot like a French oven, melt the butter and oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the onions and cover, stirring every now and then until they are soft, cooked down, and slightly caramelized. Add in the sugar, salt, and pepper to taste as you stir. This will take 30-40 min.
  4. Add the juices and turn the heat to high. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the juice is reduced by half. Add the beef stock and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the soup simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, until it is dark, flavorful and rich. If it tastes too strong, add a little water and cover to continue cooking.
  5. Just before serving, toast the bread.
  6. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Top with the toasted bread and cheese. Place the soup bowls under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately & enjoy!

To enter the giveaway, do one or all of the following, then leave a comment letting me know which options you’ve done.

1. Pin this recipe onto Pinterest.

2. Like Kara in the Kitchen on Facebook.

3. Share the Facebook page with your friends.

4. Share a recipe from Kara in the Kitchen on Facebook.

5. Comment on this post with your favorite soup recipe.

6. Subscribe via email or RSS.

7. Put a Kara in the Kitchen badge on your site.

Good luck! :)