Grilled Salmon Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Grilled Salmon Salad

Summer is almost over. I spend all winter waiting for summer and it just flies by in the blink of an eye. This year, I didn’t even get a chance at proper beach time. The one weekend I dedicated to working on my tan and being lazy on a beach chair was ruined by summer rain. So bad, that we left early making it a less than enjoyable weekend, to say the least. I have other things to say about that particular weekend, but I’ll keep that to myself.

So with summer slipping away, I want to take advantage of the week or so I have left before Labor Day weekend [the weekend that officially marks the end of summer, with pools closing despite the temperatures probably hitting the 90s]. I’m determined to make it back out to the beach — and it’s going to be a great time. I’m also going to grill up as much as I can, and eat as many fresh summer fruits and salads that I can get my hands on.

Grilled Salmon Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing


1 cup Baby Spinach
1 cup Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 large Tomato, chopped
1/2 large Green pepper, chopped
2 Yellow Potatoes
2 Salmon Filets
1/4 cup Croutons
1/2 small Red onion, sliced
1 Avocado, sliced
Goat Cheese
Lemon Pepper, to taste [ or mix fresh lemon juice with fresh cracked pepper and salt]
For the dressing: Light Ranch dressing + Boar’s Head Chipotle Spread


Begin by grilling the salmon. Heat your favorite indoor grill [ I have a cruisinart]
Rub the salmon filets with lemon pepper and place on the grill, cook for about 15 minutes until flaky
In the meantime, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Remove and cut into cubes, set aside
Make the dressing by mixing together 2:1 light ranch to chipotle spread
In a large bowl mix together the spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, green pepper and croutons
Add in the dressing and toss until coated
Spoon the salad into individual dishes
Top with sliced avocado, goat cheese and salmon
Servings: 2
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Grilled Stuffed Snapper

Grilled Fish

The best grilled fish I’ve had was in Sydney, Australia at an upscale restaurant on the harbor. It was a beautiful September evening in 2012 and I was enjoying a low-key dinner with my cousin and his beautiful wife. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was on a docking strip with a couple other outdoor restaurants. Not only was the weather amazing (September there is really like early spring to us), but the food was amazing. It also happened to be that I had the best oysters of my life there as well.

Back to the grilled fish, my cousin recommended the grilled Barramundi, an Asian sea bass. I had never heard of Barramundi before, but I was assured it would be delicious. The Barramundi did not disappoint. Served whole on a large plate, it looked and tasted good. Since then, I’ve been craving grilled whole fish on and off, but haven’t had the courage to try it out at home, until recently.


Grilled Fish_2

Grilled Stuffed Snapper Recipe


6 Red Snappers, head and tail attached, cleaned and cut open length-wise [your local fish market will do that for you]
2 tablespoons Flour
2 Red Onions, halved and sliced
3 Lemons, sliced + zest from 1 lemon
1 cup Basil Leaves
1 tablespoon salt
Fish Spice [2 tablespoons Cumin, 2 teaspoons Coriander, 1 teaspoon Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Cardamom]
Olive Oil, for brushing


Start up your charcoal grill
Prepare the fish by filling a deep plastic bin with warm water and the four and washing the fish inside and out, pat dry and set aside
Stuff the fish with lemon slices, red onion and basil leaves
Mix together the lemon zest and salt
Brush each fish with olive oil, then sprinkle the lemon zest mix and scover the fish in spices
Flip and repeat
The fish is now ready to be grilled
Loosely wrap each fish separately in aluminum foil
Grill for 10-15 minutes on each side, only flipping once, until the meat is flaky
Serve warm


Servings: 6

Salmon Burgers

Salmon Burger

At the Fayyad household, when the one doing the cooking goes on a diet, everyone goes on diet– whether they like it or not. Diet is a harsh word. Really, it’s making healthier food choices; in essence cutting the processed foods, oils and sugars.

I’m conscious of the boys, who require carbs to feel full. They made it pretty obvious that the diet menu isn’t going to work for them when I whipped up salmon burgers, sans burger buns. There were looks of confusion, “why would you make burgers without burger buns,” was uttered multiple times as the table was being set and a mad scramble to find any kind of bread to accompany the patties. Out of burger buns, they settled on toasted, sliced bread. I did throw shoestring fries in the oven for them, thinking that would be enough processed food for them not to realize that I was feeding them healthy food.

Just because we’re making healthier food choices, doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice flavor. I need to love the food I’m eating, otherwise, I’ll go right back to everything bad for me. One of my favorite things to eat when I’m watching what I eat is seafood –no pun intended. I love everything seafood [don’t get me started on grilled whole fish, crab legs, mussels and oysters]. It’s light, it’s not too filling if you skip the bread, and fish is packed with flavor if you spice it right.


Salmon Burgers Platter

Salmon Burgers Recipe


2 lbs Salmon Filet, skin removed
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Egg Whites
¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
¼ cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoons Cilantro, chopped


Cut the salmon filet into 1 inch squares
In two batches, put the salmon into a food processor and pulse 6-7 times to grind coarsely
In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, onion, bread crumbs, panko, cilanto, Dijon mustard and egg whites
Add the ground salmon and mix together with your hands
Heat up your favorite grill, then begin forming patties with the mix
Grill until cooked through
Serve over arugula and with avocado slices


Servings: 8


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Date Truffles

Date Truffles

We’re about one-third of the way through Ramadan, and while it hasn’t taken too much of a toll on me, I have been indulging in my daily afternoon naps. I have to say, this is pretty much the only time of year I’m able to take a nap mid-day – and two-hour naps at that! You’d think that would mess up my sleep schedule, and in a way it has, but not too extremely.

One of my favorite things about Ramadan is the social gatherings. From iftars, to sohoors, there’s always an occasion to gather with friends and family. You’d think that by the end of the month, we’d be so happy to eat during the day, but in truth, with all the dinners and early morning meals, we’re happy not to over eat anymore.

The dinners are usually where I run into people I haven’t seen since the last Ramadan. At the same annual iftar, it’s where my childhood friends and my adult life come together. Where I realize just how much each of us has changed from year to year, from new jobs to new spouses to the addition of adorable babies and children. It’s essentially a yearly reunion where we eat delicious foods until we can barely move and stay as long as possible to catch up with the people who will always be a permanent fixture in our lives, even if it is only once a year at the annual iftar.

There’s always so much food, but I wanted to share one of my favorite Ramadan sweets, Date Truffles. So I whipped up a batch and took them with me.


Until next year …

Date Truffles_2


Date Truffles Recipe


3 cups pitted Dates
1 package Tea Biscuits
1 cup Shredded Coconut
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil


After pitting the dates, mash them as much as possible
In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat
Add the mashed dates and continue mashing until smooth (it might turn into a large sticky mass of dates
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, crush the tea biscuits
Once the dates turn into a large sticky mass, mix together with the crushed biscuits (using your hands works best)
Begin rolling the date mixture into a ball in the palm of your hands, then dip the ball in a small bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and roll in the shredded coconut
Place on a baking tray
Repeat with the remaining date mixture
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes



Servings: About 25


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Muhallabiyeh [Arabic Pudding]


There’s something about Arabic desserts that I love. If I had to choose between any Arabic sweet and a piece of cake, the Arabic sweet usually wins out. One of my favorites [there really are too many to name] is Muhallabiyeh مهلبية. I vividly remember eating Muhallabiyeh out of small chilled bowls as a child at my Tayta’s house. So sweet, so cold, and so delicious. No one makes the dessert quite like my Tayta.

At her prime – or at least when she had enough energy to cook – she made some amazing desserts. They were always readily available when I’d visit her. Her apartment hasn’t changed. Well, except for the informal sitting room, where she replaced a worn out couch with a new seating set. Other than that, the apartment hasn’t changed. And I love it that way. I was reminded how familiar the whole place was when I was over there a couple weeks ago. I wanted to spend some time with Tayta, and I dragged myself straight out of work to drink a cup of Arabic coffee and nibble on some chocolates with her. Way over the age of being babied, I still felt like a child in her home. I don’t think that’s going to ever change. But the reality was, instead of her cooking elaborate meals for me, now I was making her dinner (and doing the dishes). Some days when I visit, she’d treat me to some Muhallabiyeh while we’d sit in front of the TV to catch the latest Turkish drama. Secretly, those were my favorite nights.

So following in my Tayta’s oven mitts, I’ve made my first attempt at Muhallabiyeh. Actually, this is my second attempt. My first attempt was a year or so ago and let’s just say, it was a complete flop.




Muhallabiyeh [Arabic Pudding] Recipe


4 cups Cold Milk
1 cup Sugar
4 tablespoons Corn Starch
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
Raw Pistachios, crushed, for garnish


In a medium pot add the milk, stir in the sugar and the corn starch making sure to dissolve the corn starch
Over high heat, begin stirring the milk mixture with a wooden spoon
You must stir the milk constantly until it boils, if you don’t, the bottom of the pan will burn
Continue stirring until the milk is boiling
You’ll notice the consistency thickening
Add Orange Blossom Water
Allow the milk to boil for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, while continuing to stir
Pour the Muhallabiyeh into small glass containers
Allow the Muhallabiyeh to cool, then cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
Remove top the Muhallabiyeh with crushed pistachios before serving


Servings: 4


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Cherry Blueberry Stars and Stripes Pie


Happy Birthday, America!

This year, we were lucky enough that July 4 fell on a Friday, giving us all an extra-long weekend to celebrate everything red, white and blue. If you haven’t picked up on it already, I’m all about themes. If there’s a theme, I’m on it.

Independence Day is always celebrated with Friends, Family, Food and Fireworks. All of which I checked off my list. On the 4th, I braved the masses and Metroed into DC to watch the fireworks by the Monument. The metro was crowded, as expected. And the National Mall was also crowded, which I also expected. It’s been a couple years since I actually went to the Mall to catch the fireworks, but my friend, we’ll call her Nani, and I decided to make a date out of it. We packed a picnic — picnic basket and blanket and all — and staked out a spot on the grass. It was a great way to spend the evening, in our red, white and blue outfits (and my American flag themed nails).

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Of course, Independence Day celebrations did not end on the 4th, because I went right ahead and continued celebrating through the rest of the weekend. We pulled together a little BBQ and I got to showing my patriotism via pie. So this recipe is pretty simple, it doesn’t get any easier than this … the creativity lies in coming up with your design.

Adapted from Woman’s Day


Cherry Blueberry Stars and Stripes Pie Recipe


2 21oz cans Cherry Pie Filling
1 21oz Can Blueberry Pie Filling
1 box Pillsbury Pie Crusts
Pie dish
Coarse Sanding Sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
1 Egg white
9-inch Pie Dish
Star cookie cutter


Preheat the oven to 425 F
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the pie crusts. Using a rolling pin, roll until about 12 inches
Then carefully place into your 9-inch pie dish, making sure that there are no bubbles and allowing the additional crust to come out over the edges of the pan
Use a clean piece of cardboard to create a 90 degree angle in the top left hand corner of the pie dish
Spoon the blueberry filling into the square
Keeping the cardboard in place, spoon the cherry filling into the rest of the pie dish, set aside
Unroll the second pie crust onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin
Using a pastry knife or a sharp knife, cut 1-inch strips out of the crust and using the cookie cutter, cut stars out of the rest of the crust
Cut two of the strips in half, for the top portion then sprinkle all the strips and stars with sugar
Brush with beaten egg white
Carefully remove the cardboard from your pie and begin placing the strips on the cherry portion of the pie, press the outer edges into the crust
Then place your stars on the blueberry portion of the pie
Carefully roll the edges of your crust around the pie dish — feel free to get creative
Sprinkle the outer edges with sugar and brush with egg white
Bake for 30 minutes
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes
Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream

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