A Bit Of Preparation

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A lot of my friends know I often bring my lunch to work; it’s cost effective and I know exactly what’s in it. I often use part of my weekend to prep meals for the week, both lunch and dinner. I made a simple chicken salad that was great for lunch today. One can makes enough for 3 to 4 servings. You can also sear fish or chicken to go with a salad or sides of your choice. Yesterday evening I made a brining solution for the two beautiful whole, fresh flounder I picked up at Saturday’s Farmers Market. I let the flounder soak overnight and seared them in olive oil and finished the fish in the oven with fresh lemon, capers, butter and parsley. I wilted some beet greens and Swiss chard with garlic, topped them with pickled onions and carrots and topped the fish with microgreens from the farmers market which packs the nutrients  of broccoli, kale and assortment of other veggies without requiring me to eat them all tonight. And while this dish is absent of a carb or starch, I should mention I roasted potatoes with onions for my leftover fish; tonight I am saving myself for the ice cream I also made this weekend. Should I add chocolate? I think so. 🙂

Check out the recipes below. The chicken salad took all of 5 minutes and the fish dish took 35 minutes. Now I could be faster with my knife and potato peeler but if you have a partner or kids, they can make easy work of the pickling job or chopping the greens.

Chicken Salad Ingredients:
1 can chicken or 1 cup of leftover baked or roasted chicken
1/2 cup of minced celery
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
1 1/2 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp creole mustard
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sea salt
1tsp coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Chop celery and onion.
2. Open and strain can of chicken by pressing lid down to release liquid and place in a small bowl.
3. Add celery, onion mayo, mustard and seasoning. Mix well.
4. Top with foil and place in fridge until ready to serve.

Day 1:
Flounder Brine Ingredients:
Ziploc gallon bag
Measuring cup
3 cups of water
1 1/2 tbsp sea or kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3-6 bay leaf depending on size
2-4 pieces of lemon peel

Directions:
1. Place fish in Ziploc bag after rinsing.
2. In a measuring cup, add water sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Pour into Ziploc bag.
3. Add bay leaf.
4. Cut the ends off of a lemon and the  zest from each side. Avoid cutting into the fruit. Add to the Ziploc bag.
5. Seal and squeeze excess aid from the bag, being mindful of the water solution.
6. Store on a plate in the fridge overnight.

Day 2:
Seared Flounder Ingredients:
Flounder in brine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 lemon or 2 tbsp juiced
1 tbsp capers (optional)
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup of chopped beet greens
1 cup of chopped Swiss chard

Pickled Veggie Ingredients:
1 carrot shredded with potato peeler
1/2 onion sliced thin
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne

Directions:
1. If cooking potatoes, slice 3 in half and then  into 1/2 inch thick pieces and add to a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper with thin slices onion. Drizzle olive oil, salt pepper and garlic powder and add to a preheated 375 degree oven. If no potatoes still heat oven for the fish. (Optional)
2. In a medium-sized bowl, add vinegar and sugar and mix until dissolved.
3. Peel carrot then shred, using a potato peeler, into the bowl.
4. Thinly slice onion and add to the bowl. Add seasoning and mix with a fork before topping with foil and setting it aside.
5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
6. Rinse fish in cool water to remove excess salt and place on a plate. Season each fish with a fourth of the seasoning on one side. Once pan is hot place seasoned-side down. Season other side.
7. Let it cook for 3 minutes. Then flip to other side and reduce heat to medium for 2 minutes. Squeeze in lemon juice to deglaze the pan, then add parsley, butter, capers and a splash of water and place in oven for 5 minutes or so depending on size of fish.
8. While fish cooks, add greens to a non-stick pan and cook for 3 minutes with garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper and a pinch of water.
9. Turn off heat and remove everything from the oven carefully.
10. Plate greens first, then picked veggies. Place the fish on top. Add micro greens or a little chopped parsley to the top and enjoy.

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