Salmon with Flavor

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Eating at least two servings of fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, is a great way to get it good omega 3s which are great for heart health. Pair it with a healthy fat like avocado and you’ve got a dual hit of nutrients needed for brain health and cognition! Fish is easy to come by whether canned, frozen or fresh. These days the challenge comes in whether to get wild caught options or farm raised as nutritionally, the fish seem equal. There is lots of literature out there about sustainability with wild caught and contaminants in farm raised options, so certainly there is no wrong choice.

For this dish I used a frozen wild caught salmon fillet that was large enough for two.  I was inspired by my Granny who cooked the salmon when my mom and I visited for Memorial day. She has been seriously loving youtube and all of its infinite wisdom which has inspired her to get in the kitchen! I love the use of simple flavors like lemon, garlic and honey and the flavor it can bring to a humble salmon fillet. Leftover fish would be great over some arugula as a salad. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Garlic Lemon Seared Salmon

1 1lb fillet of salmon

1/2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil 

1 juiced lemon

1 grated cloves of garlic 

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup wild rice

1 1/2 water 

1 cup fresh Swiss chard

Directions:

  1. Bring water and rice to a boil in a small pot. Cook as described on package.
  2. Heat a large sized skillet over medium high heat and add oil.
  3. Season fish on one side with salt and pepper and place seasoned side down into skillet. Season other side and cook for three minutes.
  4. Flip and squeeze in lemon juice and cook for another three minutes. Turn off heat and continue cooking on residual heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Rinse and chop Swiss chard and wilt into rice. 
  6. Plate rice and Swiss chard mix with fish.
  7. Enjoy!

Pesto Quinoa

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Pesto brings lots of flavor to any dish and quinoa is no exception. Making pesto at home is easy and allows control over how much of what goes into it. I used fresh basil, orange mint, green onion, garlic and walnuts that I had on hand with a small amount of oil.  Paired with sautéed shrimp, baked chicken and roasted vegetables done two ways, it was easy to have different meals daily. Having the right cooking strategy for your week is important to being successful in eating more home cooked meals. For this week, I did the baked chicken, roasted vegetables and quinoa on the same day. The next day, I defrosted a couple of single serving bags of shrimp while I ate breakfast and cooked them afterward (5 mins). I also keep things on-hand like individual packs of tuna (ranch, herb and garlic flavored) and salad greens or canned chicken for and easy chicken salad if I need a little more variety in the week. The important thing is to stock up on healthful, easy options regularly (monthly, weekly) to supplement what you will be cooking.

Check out the recipe below. Serves 5-6.

Pesto Ingredients:

1/2 cup basil

1/4 cup mint

1/4 cup green onion tops

1 clove of garlic 

1 tbsp. chopped walnuts

1 tsp. avocado or olive oil

Roasted Veggie Ingredients:

2 cups chopped zucchini with skin

2 cups chopped carrots 

2 cups chopped broccoli 

2 cups chopped bell pepper

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar 

1 tbsp. lemon olive oil (or regular and 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice)

1 tbsp. garlic olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste 

Other ingredients:

1 cup quinoa dry

2 cups of water

6-8 chicken legs

  • 5-10 shrimp (optional)

1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. onion powder

1/2 tbsp. oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a second baking sheet with foil and add chicken with an even coating of the seasoning and oil and mix with a gloved hand. Place in oven for 45 minutes.
  3. Rinse all vegetables. Cut ends off zucchini then cut in half. Cut each half  in half longwise. Cut into strips and then cube. Repeat with carrots.  Cut bell pepper in half and remove seeds and stem. Cut into strips and then dice. Add all to the baking sheet and roughly break broccoli florets by hand and add them. 
  4. Split vegetables in half and season half with the balsamic vinegar and garlic olive oil and the other with the sherry vinegar and lemon olive oil or juice and regular olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and mix each well with a gloved hand. Bake in oven next to chicken for 30 minutes. Set timer.
  5. Add quinoa and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. In a small blender or bullet device, add pesto ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds until smooth.
  7. Once quinoa is done, add to a bowl and and pesto. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Once roasted veggies and chicken is done, remove from the oven. Turn it off.
  9. Enjoy!

*For optional shrimp, cook in 1 tsp of oil with a pinch of salt and pepper and garlic powder for 2 minutes. Juice a half a lemon over shrimp and flip them. Add a little more juice and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 1 minute as it will continue cooking.

A Bit Of Casnet

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I am a huge fan of local seafood and whenever I am in New Orleans, I like to stop at Castnet’s to stock my freezer with fresh fish and shrimp. Once home, I will often break down my load into individual serving bags for easy use later. I.e. 5 large shrimp for an easy dinner with rice and vegetables, or a pound of medium shrimp for okra and shrimp or gumbo etc. Of course if you don’t make regular trips to The Big Easy, you can always stock up when your local store runs specials or sales on your favorite seafood. If stored properly, you can have freshly frozen seafood on hand for several months. In this dish I used a black drum fillet and an individual serving bag of large shrimp. You can substitute your favorite type of white fish if you do not like or have drum. This dish took 20 minutes to make and was easy to dish up for lunch the next day. A side salad of cucumber and tomato or any combination you’d prefer is an easy addition to this dish and a great way to get in additional vegetables. The recipe is listed below. As always feedback is welcomed!
Citrus Fish and Broccoli Rice

Serves 2

Rice ingredients:
1/4 cup dry rice
1/4 cup of chicken stock
1/8 cup white wine
1/8 cup green onion
1/2 cup frozen broccoli
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder

Seafood ingredients:
1 large or two medium fillets of white fish (skin on optional)
2-3 large shrimp per person
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. olive, coconut or avocado oil

Directions:
1. In a small pot, rinse and strain rice, then add liquids and green onion over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, top the pot and reduce to low heat. Set timer for 20 minutes.
2. Rinse fish and peel and devein shrimp if fresh.
3. Add oil to a large non-stick pan over medium heat. While it heats, add half of the seasoning to the fish and shrimp.
4. Place the fish in skillet skin down if keeping skin, and let sear for 3 minutes.
5. Season and sear the other side for 3 minutes, reserving a little seasoning for the other side of the shrimp.
6. While the fish sears, add broccoli and seasoning to rice and stir before topping the top to finish cooking.
7. Move the fish to one side and add the shrimp seasoned-side down before adding the orange juice and a splash of water to prevent sticking. Season and flip shrimp after 2 minutes to cook the other side before removing to a plate. *Shrimp cook quickly so be careful not to over cook them.
8. Check the thickest part of the fish gently with a fork in the center to ensure it is white throughout and not translucent or a grayish color which would mean the fish is not cooked.
9. Turn off rice and plate it first, then the fish and shrimp.
10. Enjoy