Helping Hands

Tasty and healthy meal assistance

A little help from the store can go a long way to making quick work of dinner. I’m a big fan of portioned proteins for easy freezer storage and easier use for making the right number of portions at a given time. This shrimp and kale dish was elevated with a simple sauce using onion, garlic, a little stock and a roasted eggplant and tomato spread from Trader Joe’s. The spread while low in calories, was packed with flavor that easily added to this quick dish. This took 10 minutes to make and additionally, I made enough to freeze. You can always double this portion for a family of 4 or to have additional portions to freeze for easy meals during a busy week. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of shrimp

2 cups fresh kale

1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms sliced

1/2 cup of onion

1/4 cup of chicken or seafood stock

1/4 cup of eggplant spread

1/2 tbsp avocado oil (or olive)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of water


Directions:

  1. Rinse and kale and add to a skillet with a pinch of water over medium heat. Add onion and stir.
  2. Slice mushrooms while kale cooks and add mushrooms to the pan. Season and reserve a little of the powders for the shrimp. Cook for 3-5 mins.
  3. Add the eggplant spread and stir in. Add stock to deglaze the pan. Cook for 2 minutes and add to a plate.
  4. Add oil and let it warm. Add shrimp and seasoning and cook for 2.5 minutes before flipping and cooking for the same time.
  5. Top greens mixture 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.

Thai Curry Cod

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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!

 

Rice Ingredients:

¾ cup of brown rice medley

1 ½ cups of water

¼ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped cilantro

½ tsp sea salt

 

 

Ingredients:

~ 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

 

 

Directions:

  1. Bring  rice and water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and cook for 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In the last Add green beans to a microwave safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper and optional sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Rinse and chop herbs for rice. Add herbs and salt and mix well with a spoon.
  6. Enjoy.

 

 

 

A Bit of Semi-Homemade

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For nights like tonight, during a busy week, I prefer quick, semi-homemade meals. I braved the cold for needed supplies last weekend and was surprised to find a cool new item in Trader Joe’s, onion and garlic jam. It is basically reduced balsamic vinegar with caramelized onion and garlic. Though its intended use is with meats and cheeses, I thought it could be great on a flatbread. I picked up smoked salmon for the protein since it’s already cooked and flavorful, and cream cheese and capers for that tart pop that the flatbread would need. Tonight it was easy to pick a few leaves of arugula out of my backyard, though store brought is fine, and I added my last kale and Swiss chard for a quick side salad. I needed a change and a nice dose of leafy greens since I have been eating lots of chili this week. This meal definitely gave me that change and lots of flavor to boot! It took less than 20 minutes to make (cooking time) which makes it perfect for later evening meals. I’ve included the recipe for the flatbread below. As always share your thoughts. Enjoy!
Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Ingredients:
1 3 oz pack of smokes salmon
1 bag of fresh pizza dough or 1 roll of thin crust pizza dough
2 tbsp. onion and garlic jam
1/8 cup of cream cheese cubed
1 tbsp. capers
1 tsp. fresh chopped green onion
1/8 cup thinly diced red onion
Approx. 1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:
1. Take dough out of the fridge and let it rest for 15-20 minutes in original package.
2. Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil and evenly spread the of olive oil to prevent sticking.
3. Follow instructions on container to spread out dough and bake for 2 minutes shy of the recommended time.
5. Peel and slice the red onion. Cut a fourth off of a slab of cream cheese and cube it.
4. Remove from oven and spread jam over warmed bread and add the red onion and cream cheese. Bake for another 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the smoked salmon, capers and green onion.
6. Enjoy.