Salmon is one of my absolute favorite things to eat and I can literally eat it multiple ways in the same week. When looking for options, here are a few of my go-tos.
Salad: searing salmon with some fresh herbs and fresh lemon juice is a great way to pack in the flavor and keep it simple. In addition to a variety of greens, I like to things like avocado, walnuts and chopped apples to round out the nutrition.
Basil Pesto: Pesto makes everything wonderful and is especially tasty with Salmon. With a few simple ingredients: basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil, this is a quick sauce to make that holds up well throughout the week. I find that I like it with and without Parmesan, especially when watching the added fats in a dish. You can always experiment with other nuts you have on hand if you’re not a fan of pine nuts.
Simply Seasoned with a whole grain: A little pressed garlic and fresh squeezed lemon juice is a simple accompaniment to salmon. I also love to use fresh thyme and lemon and served over warm quinoa or a bulgur pilaf.
What’s your favorite way to prepare salmon? Let me know your thoughts on my favorites.
As part of my unplugging and unwinding, I still love to be inspired to create a flavorful, comforting meal. I will say I’ve been enjoying this new wave of home cooking and family gatherings. It’s refreshing to see what more home time produces in the kitchen! I had a craving for some seafood and wanted to use some of the fresh herbs that I’ve been growing which resulted in this dish. This is definitely one I will make again. Now I will say, brown rice seems to take forever and 5 years to make so you can always opt for a low-sodium microwavable option. I’ve actually seen some cool varieties that include quinoa or wild and brown rice mixes. If you go that route this becomes a 10-12 minute dish. Happy cooking and as always, let me know your thoughts!
Spicy Seared Scallops and Shrimp w/ Herbed Butter Brown Rice
½ lb fresh scallops
½ lb white shrimp
½ tbsp onion powder
½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tbsp red pepper flakes
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp avocado oil
½ tbsp butter (optional)
½ cup brown rice
¼ cup chopped herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, mint)
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup water
½ tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp shaved or minced garlic
1 tbsp of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bag of frozen green beans
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Add rice and minced garlic to a small pot and toast it for 1 to 2 minutes over medium high heat. Add liquid and turmeric and bring to a boil before reducing to simmer. Top and cook for 45 minutes.
With 20 minutes left on the rice, bring a medium pot of water with green beans to boil. When it starts to boil, strain it immediately then add to a bowl with salt, pepper and oil and set it aside. The residual heat will continue to cook the green beans.
In a medium pan, add oil and butter. While it heats, season scallops and shrimp, then add to the skillet. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes then remove from the heat. Squeeze half of lemon, seeded side up over seafood to deglaze the pan.
Rinse and chop fresh herbs. Once rice is done, add it to a bowl, add fresh herbs, butter and salt and pepper to taste.
While I’m usually a salmon girl, I like to explore other fish options like Cod to change things up. A good source of the favored omega-3-fatty-acids, cod is rich in other nutrients and is low in calories compared to grams of protein. In simplest terms, you get more bites for your bucks.
I baked the cod in green Thai curry sauce with the help of the ever interesting Trader Joe’s. I paired it with herbed rice pilaf with herbs from my backyard and steamed green beans for a balanced meal. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!
¾ cup of brown rice medley
1 ½ cups of water
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp sea salt
~ 2 lbs. of frozen Cod (about 8 pieces)
¼ cup Thai curry sauce (any you prefer)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. dried parsley
16oz frozen organic green beans
1 tbsp. curry sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring rice and water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and cook for 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Drain fish and add to the baking sheet. Brush each piece with some of the sauce before adding remaining seasoning.
With 25 minutes left on the rice, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes.
In the last Add green beans to a microwave safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper and optional sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Rinse and chop herbs for rice. Add herbs and salt and mix well with a spoon.
Ever ignore the strange pear-shaped green vegetable at the produce stand? Mirliton or coyote squash is easy to transform into a dish everyone will love. Mirliton dressing with seafood and ham is one of my favorites and is an easy dish to cook in larger quantities for the week. In addition to dressing, it can also be pickled, sliced thin for stir fry and curried among many other uses. I used the whole vegetable, skin and all for added nutrients. They are out in abundance and an easy win to add to your shopping list. For the protein, I like ham and shrimp; however it is easy to substitute ground meat or ground chicken for the ham if you do not eat those meats. I did make my own bread crumbs for this dish and will include that recipe below. Certainly your favorite brand will work in this dish as well.Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.
1/2 lb shrimp
8oz diced ham
1 cup diced onion
1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 cups of kale *optional (I added it because I had it)
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 slices of wheat bread (depends on size)
1/2 cup dry oats
2 tbsp of flax seed
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pre heat oven to 350.
Rinse mirliton and boil in a pot over high heat for 30 minutes.
In the last 10 minutes of boiling, toast bread, then grind it, the oats and the flaxseed in a food processor, blender or other device. Place in a baking dish and add seasoning and 2 tsp of olive oil. Mix well and brown in the oven for 10 minutes.
Strain mirliton, rinse in cool water and let cool for 15-20 minutes. While the mirliton cools, rinse and chop kale small. Dice onion and sauté both in 1 tsp. oil.
Peel shrimp and chop before adding to skillet and cooking.
Dice ham and add to skillet. Reduce heat. Remove breadcrumbs from oven
Chop mirliton small and add to the skillet. Add seasoning and mix well. Add in breadcrumbs and mix well.
Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes until top is lightly browned.
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!
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
Open and strain liquid from the can. Add to a small bowl.
Rinse and chop green onion. Chop pitted Kalamata olives. Add both to bowl
Add capers and pepper to the bowl and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well. Add flour and mix well.
Add oil to a medium skillet over medium heat.
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.)
Rinse salad greens, cucumber and tomato. Slice cucumber and tomato and add to plates. Add cakes then a drizzle of lemon juice and dressing.
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.
Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
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.
Rinse all vegetables. Cut ends off zucchini then cut in half. Cut each halfin 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.
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.
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.
In a small blender or bullet device, add pesto ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds until smooth.
Once quinoa is done, add to a bowl and and pesto. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste.
Once roasted veggies and chicken is done, remove from the oven. Turn it off.
*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.
With the latest cold front in Louisiana, I was inspired to make a simple shrimp soup with an Asian flair. A friend of mine introduced me to the Chinese hot pot and I thought some of those flavors would work great in a soup with a few leafy green vegetables and mushrooms. Though this soup would work with any mushroom, I found enoki mushrooms which I had not previously cooked when before and picked up a pack from a nearby Asian food store. They have a very mild flavor and their long stems with the rounded bulb tops look more like a noodle when separated. It’s incredible how well the flavors of simple ingredients gel together for a quick and easy meal on a cool evening. This soup took 20 minutes to make and it was helpful to use one of my frozen bags of shrimp where I peel and devein them in bulk ahead of time and put them into 1 lb, single and double serving portions for later use. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.
3 cups water
32oz organic chicken stock
1 lb raw shrimp
3 cups bok Choy
1 cup spinach
1/8 cup shallots
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 tbsp Lee Kum lee soup base for satay hot pot (or any flavor preferred)
1 cup enoki mushroom
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (Huy Fong)
1 tsp fresh chives (optional garnish)
1. Defrost frozen shrimp in cool water in its plastic bag 15 minutes before starting to cook or overnight unless using fresh.
2. Bring liquids to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of soup base and stir until well blended. Peel and dice shallot and add to the pot of liquid. Grate in 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger.
3. While waiting for it to boil, rinse and break off leaves of the bok choy and cut white ends into 1 inch chunks and leafy green tops into large ribbons. (Not too small if you want to keep some texture!)
4. Rinse spinach leaves and slice into ribbons. Rinse enoki and cut off roots. Remove any wilted or slimy mushrooms.
5. Add greens, mushrooms, chili sauce and soy sauce to the pot.
6. Rinse and add shrimp. Reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Bowl and serve with optional garnish.
Father’s Day yielded great family time and a few leftovers to be worked in to this week’s meals. I don’t know about you, but my dad taught me a thing or plenty about grilling and making it worth while. So in addition to the grilled buffalo steak and lobster, I have some grilled green onion sausage for sandwiches, grilled salmon for salad and an easy, one pot dish to stretch the rest. I’ve mentioned before that a little millet goes a long way. At less than $2 a pound at Whole Foods (self serve isle), 2 cups of cooked millet can make enough millet and vegetable salad for 8-10 servings. Millet is a wonderful whole grain that cooks like rice and is easy to replace in dishes such as pasta salad. With an abundance of summer vegetables in season such as bell peppers, cucumbers, tomato and corn (also technically a whole grain), it’s easy to make a millet salad both filling and full of flavor. This dish is also easy to add grilled or baked seafood (fish or shrimp) to for a complete meal. Check out the recipe below and enjoy!
1 cup of dry millet
2 cups of water
2 husks of corn
1 large cucumber
1 large bell pepper
1 large tomato
2/3 cup diced yellow onion
1/8 cup lovage or parsley
1 medium juicing orange (1/8 cup)
2 small lime juiced (1/8 cup)
1/2 cup shredded carrot fresh (1 large carrot)
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cayenne
1. Rinse millet in a small pot and bring to a boil with water. Cook for 20 minutes.
2. While millet cooks, shuck corn and rinse well. Cut from the cob into a medium-sized bowl. Peel and dice onion and add to the bowl.
3. Peel cucumber and cut around the seeded center like a box. Cut each fourth into strips and then dice. Repeat with tomato and set aside.
4. Add hot millet over corn and onion, once cooked and stir to cool and cook mixture.
5. Peel carrot and using a potato peeler or shredder, shred or cut ribbons of carrot into the bowl.
6. Slice and dice bell pepper and add it and the cucumber and tomato to the salad.
7. Chop parsley or lovage and add to the bowl.
8. Juice orange and lime into the mixture. Add seasoning and mix well.
9. Eat as is or with protein of choice.
Though scallops are not native to Louisiana, that certainly does not diminish my love for them. This dish came out of my need to use the kale I picked up from the farmers market last weekend; the other ingredients were items I had on hand. This is a quick and easy dish that takes 30 minutes or less and is modifiable with fish, shrimp or another protein of choice. You can also double the quinoa recipe for a second meal during the week with a different protein; my second meal with be with shrimp. 🙂 The recipe and ingredients are listed below. As always feel free to share your thoughts and the recipe with others. Enjoy!
Ingredients quinoa: (serves 4)
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine (drink worthy)
1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
4-6 sea scallops per person
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
*note the seasonings and butter above are per serving of scallops.
1. Chop onion, garlic and kale and sauté over medium heat in a splash of water.
2. Cook until soft, then add quinoa and toast for two minutes before adding the wine, remaining water and seasoning. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat and topping the pot. Set the timer for 20 minutes.
3. Take out scallops to let rest before cooking once the timer is at 15 minutes.
4. When the clock has 8 minutes remaining, open scallop packaging and lay out in an even layer. Sprinkle half of seasoning in an even coat on one side.
5. Melt butter over medium heat and once it begins to sizzle, add scallops seasoned side down. Season the other side and let cook for 3 minutes then flip to brown other side for another 2 minutes. (optional: add a tbsp. green onion.)
6. Remove from heat and let rest for a minute. (It will continue to cook slightly.)
7. Plate quinoa mixture and add scallops on top.