Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Salmon Baked in Foil

I don't have much to say about this other than it was good. Tasty. Easy. The most important qualities for my dinnertime these days.

The salmon came out cooked perfect and the flavors were great - the tomatoes added a little sweetness that was a nice complement to the fish.

From Food Network


4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
2 chopped shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

3. Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Zucchini "Noodles"

What. A. Delight.

Healthy, low-carb eating has been soooo much easier for me this time around with all my newly discovered carb substitutes. First quinoa and now zucchini.

I've always been a fan, but have never thought to make it this way before. By using a vegetable peeler to get thin strips and then slicing those strips even thinner, the zucchini takes on an almost noodle-like quality and appearance and therefore turns into a fantastic sub for pasta! Bonus: It looks pretty too!

I made these to go with the Cheese-stuffed Meatballs below, and topped with some homemade tomato sauce, which I would recommend over a store-bought sauce for this because the chunky, fresh tomatoes helped to bulk up the delicate zucchini - I think a smooth sauce wouldn't hold up as well.

No recipe needed - just peel into thin strips, and then roll up and cut into even smaller strips if you prefer. Saute just for a few minutes in a little olive oil with salt and pepper and there you have it - zucchini "pasta"!

Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

You're going to want to make these meatballs. Trust me on this one. I'm not a meatball lover (unless they are albondigas, which is my only exception) and so if I'm telling you make these, you should listen! Adding some gooey cheese into the middle makes these oh-so much better than a regular old plain, boring meatball. Let's say it together: "No more boring meatballs!"

I made my meatballs pretty big and cooked them up in a 12-cup muffin pan, so they actually came out looking like little meat muffins. Wow, saying "meat muffin" our loud does not make them sound tasty, but trust me they are and you know, they looked pretty adorable. You can put them on a baking sheet if you prefer to keep a more rounded shape and don't want to have to say "meat muffin". I've already said it way too many times.

I served these with some yummy homemade tomato sauce, and over zucchini "noodles" for me and regular fettucine for everyone else. These would also be great for a meatball sandwich if that's your fancy. Any way you like, these are fantastic.


2 lbs. ground turkey (can also use ground beef)
2 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. deli (brown) mustard
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3-4 sticks string cheese, each stick cut into 5 pieces
* I made my meatballs quite large, and so got 12 big ones and 3 smaller ones out of the meat mixture, and used 3 string cheese. If you make them smaller, which I would actually recommend so you get a higher cheese-to-meat ratio, you can probably make at least 20 meatballs.


1. In a large bowl, combine turkey and all other ingredients except string cheese. Mix well to combine (use your hands to get the best results!).

2. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray (or each cup of a muffin tin, if using). Take 1/4 cup of meat mixture and roll into a ball. Press your finger into the center to make an indent, and place a piece of string cheese into it. Roll meat mixture again to cover the cheese completely and make a meatball shape. Place meatballs onto baking sheet or into muffin pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and cheese starts to ooze out. Remember, in this case, ooze is a good thing! Cook them too long and the cheese will start to harden and not be melty (this happened to a few of mine). Serve immediately.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Garlic and Red Pepper Shrimp

I made this shrimp to go with the Quinoa Fried "Rice" below, and it was a great complement to it. I was going to go with a simple garlic shrimp saute, but I had a red pepper I needed to use up and I was glad I did - it was a fantastic added flavor. Definitely a keeper!


3 Tbsp. butter
1 red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced and zest


1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle with parsley and add lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Quinoa Fried "Rice"

I need to do a whole post on my new-found love for quinoa. This stuff is amazing! Its my new favorite "healthy eating" food, because what I miss most when trying to scale back is grains and carbs, and this one fills in for those perfectly so I never have to feel like I'm missing something! It has a nice little chewy bite to it that makes it a fantastic substitute for rice in particular, which is how I used it in this recipe.

Not only is this super easy to put together, using quinoa instead of rice makes it a really light yet hearty-feeling side dish. Feel free to sub in any veggies you prefer.


2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
4 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, mined
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
3 cups cooked quinoa
3 Tbsp. soy sauce


1. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add green onions and garlic and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in peas and carrots and quinoa, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until heated through. Add soy sauce and stir to combine. Serve warm.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baked Zucchini Fries - No Recipe Needed

An easy, light, and delicious way to enjoy zucchini! Best part - no recipe needed!

Here's how:

Cut 2-3 zucchini into thin strips
Lightly coat in flour, dip in beaten egg, and then roll in seasoned Panko bread crumbs (I seasoned with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, and chili powder)
Place on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray
Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 or until golden and crispy


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lemon-Sage Chicken Cutlets

I had some sage leftover from Thanksgiving that I hadn't opened and therefore was miraculously still fresh and perfect, and I was happy to find this recipe to use it in. I really enjoy sage but it seems to only be called for in Thanksgiving-ish dishes (stuffing, butternut squash, etc), so this one appealed to me because it can be enjoyed anytime!

I was definitely intrigued by the process of flour first, egg second, but the chicken actually came out light and crispy and not "eggy" at all. The lemon flavor just peeks through and is a nice complement for the sage. I also skipped the wine/broth/butter sauce at the end, and even though I think it would be good this chicken was yummy without it!

 Recipe from Food Network


2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 large eggs
Juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 sprigs sage, leaves only (I added about 8)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets. Sprinkle lightly with water, place between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Pour some flour into a shallow dish and season with salt. Lightly beat the eggs with the lemon juice in another shallow dish.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off any excess; dip in the lemon-egg mixture, coating both sides. Add the cutlets to the skillet and cook until golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Add the sage leaves to the skillet, then turn the cutlets and cook until golden on the other side, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the cutlets and sage to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. Pour out any remaining oil from the skillet. Add the wine and chicken broth and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and swirl until melted.

5. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Top with the fried sage and drizzle with the pan sauce. Serve with lemon wedges and grains on the side.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fresh Grape Tomato Sauce


I was excited to find grape tomatoes on sale at my produce store this week, and I bought a bunch because I'd been craving a fresh tomato sauce to bring a hint of summer to this cold winter. This one is perfect - so fresh and easy!

I used this one to put over some baked eggplant parm and spaghetti squash (pics of that below), but it would also be fantastic over fish or chicken or pasta.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 pints grape tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

 In a large skillet heat oil on high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add fresh basil and cook another 5 minutes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oven Baked Garlic and Parmesan Fries

I didn't get a photo of these, because they were gone so fast! The herbs and cheese make these a fantastic side dish - not your average fries!


 4 large unpeeled russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (optional)


 1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

 2. Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt. Toss until evenly coated. Lift the fries out of the bowl and spread onto a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer. Save the remaining oil in the bowl.

 3. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through baking. Return the fries to the bowl with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley. Toss to coat, then spread again onto the baking sheet. Return to the oven, and bake until the Parmesan cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the fries with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt to serve.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mushroom (and Sausage) Pie

If you aren't a fan of mushrooms you should probably just stop reading right now. Actually I don't even know if we can keep being friends :). But if you're a mushroom-lover like me, then I highly recommend this dish!

I found this recipe because I had some mushrooms and a pie crust to use up quickly, and luckily I had all the  ingredients on hand for this one. My only changes to the original were using a different cheese (mozzarella vs. monterey jack) and adding some pork sausage to make it a little more of a breakfast treat, but leave that out and you have a yummy, cheesy, mushroomy pie that you could enjoy any time of day.
Original Recipe here
 1 refrigerated pie crust (or be ambitious and make your own)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. sliced mushrooms (I used white button)
 2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
A dash of ground cardamom or nutmeg (optional)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled breakfast pork sausage


 1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place pie crust in a pie pan and line the inside of a pie shell with heavy aluminum foil, pressing it against the side. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil, poke the bottom of the pie crust with the tines of a fork to create air vents. Return crust to oven, bake for an additional 4 minutes, or until the crust just begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. In a large sauté pan melt butter on medium heat. Add mushrooms, stir to coat with the butter. Increase the heat to high, stirring constantly until the moisture the mushrooms has released and evaporated, a few minutes. Lower heat to medium, add minced garlic, stir with the mushrooms for 30 seconds then remove from heat.

3. Beat together the eggs, sour cream, milk, and cream. Add freshly ground pepper, a pinch of salt, and cardamom or nutmeg if using. Stir in the grated cheese and chopped parsley.

4. Spread the sautéed mushrooms along the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Pour the cheese and cream mixture over the top of the mushrooms. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baked Chile Relleno

I love me a good chile relleno, but the deep-fried cheesy goodness variety doesn't fit in well with my current healthy eating plan. I came up with this version so I could enjoy a spicy stuffed pepper without so much guilt! It was also much easier to prepare than a traditional chile relleno, because it was easier to remove the seeds since it didn't matter if the peppers split open too much because they weren't going to be fried.

I really liked the stuffing mixture on its own - you'll notice that I didn't even add any sort of spices or seasonings to it, because of the great flavors of all the veggies in it! You could also omit the chicken sausage for a great vegetarian meal, and if you don't want a spicy pepper this would also be great in a red or gold pepper instead.


4 poblano peppers
2 links chicken sausage (I used a green chile variety)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup canned sweet corn
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese


1. Preheat broiler. Place poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning every few minutes, until skin is completely blackened and blistered. Immediately place poblanos is a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let steam at least 15 minutes. Peel charred skin from the peppers. Cut a slit down one side and carefully remove seeds. Set peppers aside. Turn oven down to 375 degrees.

2. Meanwhile, remove casing from chicken sausage and place in a large skillet. Break up into small pieces and stir frequently until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from pan, drain any fat and set aside.

3. Heat olive oil in the same skillet. Add red pepper, onion, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and mushrooms are soft, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in corn, cilantro, sour cream, and chicken sausage remove from heat.

4. Place peppers on another foil-lined baking sheet. Stuff with the chicken sausage mixture and top with cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baked Salmon

I avoided trying to make salmon at home for a long time, because if its not cooked perfectly its not pleasant to eat. This is such a simple recipe, but the results are a fantastic! Thanks, Marci for sharing!

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Cut salmon into single serving portions and lay on paper. 
Thinly coat with olive oil
Generously season with Old Bay (I also sprinkled with dill).
Lay sliced lemon on top, then pop in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spicy Tortilla Soup With Shrimp

As I finished off my bowl of this soup tonight, I told my husband that it might just be my new favorite! It was a hard thing to say, especially since I feel as though I'm cheating on my long-running favorite Mexican Chicken Lime Soup, but this one might edge it out just a little.

I would hesitate to call this a "tortilla" soup though; I feel like that term gets used rather liberally these days. I would describe it more as a hearty vegetable soup with a little kick.

Whatever its called though, the best part about this soup is that it comes with a great deal of versatility as well. For example:
* I love a spicy broth, but what if you don't? Just omit the chipotles and cut down the chili powder.
* Don't like shrimp? Don't use it! I liked it but I don't think its absolutely necessary, and would be fine without. Or just substitute chicken.

It also fits right in with my low-fat, low-carb diet, and since I'm already sad there aren't any leftovers I think I'll be making this again soon!

See the original recipe from Cooking Light


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1 Tbsp. minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp.chili powder
2 tsp. minced garlic
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly crushed baked tortilla chips (about 1 ounce)
1 cup diced avocado (about 1/2 pound)
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves (optional)


 1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 6 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done.

2. Remove from heat; stir in juice and salt. Divide shrimp mixture evenly among 4 bowls; top evenly with chips and avocado. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque.

How do I love thee? I could count the ways, but it would be much easier to just say that you might just be the perfect soup.

Honestly, a good lobster bisque is such a wonderful treat. I love how the smooth, velvety soup is broken up only by chunks of yummy, sweet lobster. This is definitely a special occasion soup in our house, although this last time I made it I wondered why we didn't allow ourselves to enjoy it more often. Hence the one and only New Year's Resolution I have this year - make more lobster bisque!

I've done my best to post my recipe here. I've been making this soup for years and have never before written it down, because I do my best cooking by taste rather than precise measurements. Somehow even though I've never followed a recipe this soup always comes out tasting the same...must be magic! But when making it earlier this week I decided to finally jot down the steps, so I could post it here and hopefully encourage others to try it too. Or you could just come over and let me make it for you, helping me fulfill my New Year's Resolution of course :)

Oh, and the best part about this soup (other than the taste, of course)? Even though it sounds fancy, other than the lobster tails the rest of the ingredients are very basic, probably things you already have in your kitchen. There - now you have NO excuse not to indulge!


2 lobster tails
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
Shrimp and/or crab shells, optional *see note*
2 tsp. olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup half-and-half
2 green onions, chopped

* If I have them handy (they aren't absolutely necessary), I like to add discarded shrimp or crab shells at this step, to enhance the seafood flavor of the broth. I made this on New Year's, and hit the jackpot because we had both shrimp and crab legs a few days before, so I had lots of extra shells to add.


1. Place lobster tails in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water (about 4-6 cups), and add bay leaf, Old Bay, chicken bouillon, and seafood shells (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until lobster tails are bright red and start to curl up. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard all solids except for lobster tails.

2. Place lobster tails on a cutting board. Split with a knife, remove the meat, and chop meat into small pieces. Reserve shells.

3 . Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring to incorporate onto the vegetables. Pour in clam juice, the lobster broth, reserved lobster tail shells, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, season again with salt and pepper, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into a large bowl, then return to the stockpot. Discard all solids (or, if you are like my husband and can't bear for food to go to waste, you can pick out the lobster shells and eat the vegetables, ha). Bring broth back up to low boil over medium-high heat.

4. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook 1 minute. Slowly add half-and-half, whisking constantly. Once mixture is thoroughly combined, thick and creamy, stir into broth, whisking constantly.
*Note: After this, if your soup isn't as thick as you would like, just create another roux by combining 1 Tbsp. melted butter and 1 Tbsp. flour in a sauce pan. Whisk together then stir directly into soup - this will thicken it a little more!

5. Remove bisque from heat and stir in lobster meat and green onions. Serve warm with crusty bread for dipping. Perfection!


Related Posts with Thumbnails