Hearty Comfort

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With the hot and cold temperature fluctuations, I’ve found myself in need of a few comforting hearty meals to ward off the cold and to boost my immune system to prevent illness. One of my go-to dishes is smothered potatoes with sausage and peppers. It’s quick, easy and tasty. It also goes easily with pretty much any leafy green. Since I have plenty of greens to harvest, I sautéed some collards and mustards with fresh pressed garlic and apple cider vinegar to help break down the greens and make them tender. You can always add some sautéed chicken or fish for some added protein. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Smothered Potatoes Ingredients:

2 cups sliced red potatoes

2 cups sliced onion

2 cups chopped bell pepper

3 tbsp. grated, pressed or chopped garlic

8oz sausage (I used Tennessee pride)

1/2 cup water

1/2 tbsp dried herbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Greens ingredients:

3-4 cups of chopped greens

1/2 cup water

4 tbsp. grated, pressed or chopped garlic

1/2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place large pan over medium heat and brown sausage.
  2. While cooking sausage, rinse peppers. Peel and slice onion and chop peppers. Add to the pan.
  3. Rinse and slice potatoes. Press garlic. Add both to pan with water then add seasoning. Top and reduce heat to low for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Rinse and chop greens (or use frozen).
  5. In a medium pot, add oil and garlic over medium heat.
  6. Add greens, water and seasoning then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Plate both and enjoy!

Simple Meals

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Looking for a quick and light meal option? Check out this herbed citrus salmon topped with a mango avocado salad. I sautéed some greens to go alongside my fish since I chose the mango and avocado which are higher in carbs; however a nice rice pilaf or cilantro-lime rice would also make a great side or meal addition. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1lb sockeye salmon

½ tbsp. herb blend (parsley, rosemary, thyme or any of your favorites)

Juice of half an orange

Juice of a lemon

1 mango diced

1 medium avocado diced

1 tbsp. fresh cilantro

1 tbsp. fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

½ tbsp. olive oil

1 clove of garlic

Directions:

1. If preparing rice or side vegetables, start cooking it first.
2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
3. Season fish with half the herbs, salt and pepper and place in skillet season side down. Let sear for 3 minutes.
4. While fish cooks, rinse mango. Slice mango off with skin toward the center to score into small squares and place in a small bowl. Repeat with all four sides.
5. Season second side of fish and flip before lowering heat. Add fresh orange juice and half of lemon juice around fish. (Do not pour on top or you could remove seasoning and sear).
6. Cut avocado in half, score into small squares then scoop out into the bowl with mango. Turn off fish and remove from heat.
7. Mince or press garlic into bowl. Rinse and dice fresh herbs and add to the bowl of avocado and mango. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. *an optional addition in a little cayenne for a kick.
8. Plate and enjoy.

Stewed Sockeye Salmon

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People are often surprised that I include canned fish in my pantry staples. While we all probably prefer fresh seafood any day, it doesn’t mean you should not have a canned option or two in your back pocket for a time where you don’t have time to go to the store, or if you have other financial priorities. One of my favorite dishes as a kid was stewed salmon in a spicy red sauce. My mom would serve it over rice with a salad or a cooked green vegetable. In keeping with that tradition, I cooked some of my thriving backyard greens. Check out he recipe below.

Stewed Salmon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2 cans of 14.5 oz sockeye salmon 

1 can of stewed tomatoes 

1 5-7oz can of tomato sauce (no salt)

1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 tbsp. minced or pressed garlic

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 tsp. coarse black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne

Salt to taste (start with 1 tsp)

  1. If serving over rice, cook the desired amount of rice on the stove or in a cooker.
  2. In a medium pot, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Peel and dice onion and add to the pot. Stir.
  3. Mince or press garlic and add to the pot. Add a splash of water. 
  4. Once onions have softened, open and add salmon, stewed tomatoes and sauce.
  5. Gently break stewed tomatoes into smaller pieces against the side of the pot with a spoon. Add seasoning and stir.
  6. Top the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If eating steamed veggies or a salad, prepare it now.
  7. Serve over rice and enjoy.

Easy Meal Prep

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Prepping ahead goes a long way toward helping you stay on budget and curbing the need for take out under the notion of “I don’t have any thing easy to cook at home.” It’s helpful to always keep a couple of quick cook options stocked in the freezer whether leftovers from a large batch of beans or meat sauce, or pre chopped veggies and seasoning that can be added to your protein of choice. Seasonal vegetables like squash, zucchini and potato can last for several months in the freezer and make an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner meal in a pinch. I’ve added sausage and have also smothered it with onion and garlic to go with chicken. It can also be seasoned a variety of ways to keep things interesting.

A quart size bag makes 2 to 3 servings and a gallon would make roughly 6-8 servings. It’s best to chop and freeze it in your preferred quantity. You can always add bell pepper and/or onion (green, white or yellow) to your mix for added flavor. Personally I prefer a higher ratio of the squash and zucchini to the potato for a higher fiber, lower card ratio.

After thoroughly rinsing the veggies, I chopped roughly a cup to 1 1/4 of squash and zucchini and a 1/2 cup of potato. when adding the onion and bell pepper, add only a cup of the first two veggies to make sure the quart size bag has space.

As some of you may have seen last week, I am attempting to add a videos to support these post. That will be a work in progress :). Please share your thoughts and happy prepping!

A New Take on Salmon

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While I enjoy a nice tuna or  salmon fillet, I’ve been itching to try the canned and pouched varieties with an inspired twist. Both varieties of fish are great sources of omega 3s and vitamins such as the B complex, selenium and magnesium which means they are great sources of antioxidants which fight oxidative stress in the body and helps defend the body from chronic disease. Fish is recommended to be consumed at least twice a week to get the best benefits from these powerful sources of nutrients and lean proteins.  I started with salmon cakes, as an alternative to the traditional crab cakes and served it on a bed of arugula and mixed kale greens and cucumber from my local farmers market. Of course I was proud to add a few tomatoes from my own back yard. J To top things off I used a little lemon juice and black currant balsamic vinegar, though any preferred variety will work with this dish. Check out the recipe below. Please l note that no salt was used because of the wonderful addition of capers and Kalamata olives in the salmon cakes; however if you are not as fond of them as I am and prefer salt, a small pinch will do. Share your thoughts and enjoy!

 

Salmon Cakes

Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

1 5oz can of boneless skinless pink salmon

2 tsp capers

5 kalamata olives chopped

2 tbsp. green onion chopped

½ tbsp. flour of choice

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups of salad greens (mixed or preferred choice)

1 cup of sliced cucumber

½  cup tomato

1 tbsp. dressing of choice

1 lemon juiced

 

Directions:

  1. Open and strain liquid from the can. Add to a small bowl.
  2. Rinse and chop green onion. Chop pitted Kalamata olives. Add both to bowl
  3. Add capers and pepper to the bowl and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well. Add flour and mix well.
  4. Add oil to a medium skillet over medium heat.
  5. While it heats, form two patties and once hot add to oil. Cook for 2 minutes or until it starts to brown then flip and repeat on the other side. Turn off heat. (It may break and if so, the other browned side will help bind the patty back together.)
  6. Rinse salad greens, cucumber and tomato. Slice cucumber and tomato and add to plates. Add cakes then a drizzle of lemon juice and dressing.
  7. Enjoy!

Not Your Average Pasta Salad

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I’ve been exploring gluten free dishes and pastas to better support friends and family with gluten sensitivities. Simple is best and adding great flavor is what makes it great. Pasta is a simple dish that can be dressed up many different ways and for this dish I went Greek with a dash of North African flavor. I was also excited to use some produce from my own backyard. I have been growing sweet peppers, tomatoes and of course fresh herbs such as rosemary and green onion. This was easy to pair with baked chicken that I seasoned two ways (lemon rosemary and garlic and herb) for some variation this week. Check out the recipe below and be sure to share your thoughts.

Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup of dry gluten free elbow pasta

1 cup sliced tomato

1/2 cup sliced sweet peppers

1/4 cup green onion

2 tbsp. harissa

2 tbsp. chopped kalamata olives

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary

1 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. 
  2. Rinse vegetables and herbs. Slice tomato; cut peppers in half and remove seeds before slicing thinly. Chop rosemary.
  3. Boil pasta for 8-9 minutes. Chop whole olives or used canned, by straining liquid.
  4. Once boiled, add to a bowl, then add remaining ingredients.
  5. Mix well and enjoy.

Semi Homemade

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What’s in your pantry? It is always good to keep items on hand for easy, semi-homemade meals. I keep staples like canned beans, diced tomatoes (roasted and plain), olives and others in stock for quick and easy meals that are easy on my budget. I picked up some ricotta and arugula ravioli and pasta sauce to make this dish. This dish took ten minutes to make and is packed with nutrients and vitamins. Though I prefer to make my own pasta sauce, I enjoyed this three-cheese tomato sauce from Trader Joe’s and added some fresh greens and herbs. In the future I would likely add some mushrooms for added nutrients red pepper flakes for heat. Check out the recipe below. 

Ingredients:

1 pack of ravioli

1 jar of pasta sauce (of choice)

1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach

1 cup of arugula

1 tbsp. fresh Parmesan 

2 tbsp. fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Rinse and chop basil. In a large skillet, add sauce, basil and greens and wilt over low heat. 
  3. Add fresh ravioli and boil for three minutes.
  4. Add ravioli to sauce and grate in fresh cheese. 
  5. Enjoy.