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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Dinner’

Baked Salmon over Pasta with Vegetables

I finally own matching dishware for a service for 12! I was ecstatic the day I brought them home. Hubby, however, just wanted dinner because it was late by the time I brought the new dishes home. I threw dinner together while I washed a couple of my new salad plates to serve it on.

The dinner was incredibly tasty for something so quick and easy. So much so, that I’ll definitely be making it again sometime when we have the kids. They’ll love the pasta and veggies, and they’re always asking when we’ll be having salmon again because it’s one of their favorite foods. Besides, when “my stepmom’s good food” makes one of your kids’ required “things I like” lists for school, how can you not make them what they like?

BAKED SALMON OVER PASTA WITH VEGETABLES
Serves 2; can be doubled easily to serve more

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop
  • Line a baking sheet with foil
  • Place 2 6-ounce salmon steaks on foil, skin side down
  • Drizzle olive oillightly over the salmon, brushing it to coat all of the meat
    • I have rosemary and pink peppercorn infused olive oil my cousin made for Christmas that I love to use on salmon. I think it adds the perfect hint of spiciness and flavor.
  • Season the salmon generously with salt and black pepper
  • Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness; I baked mine for 20 minutes
  • While salmon bakes, add 1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni to the boiling water and cook according to package directions
  • A few minutes before the pasta is done, add 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables to the pasta and continue to boil
  • Once pasta and vegetables are done, drain and toss with 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Divide the pasta with vegetables evenly between two plates
  • Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan and cracked black pepper to taste over each serving of pasta and vegetables
  • When salmon is done baking and easily flakes with a fork, take a metal spatula and carefully remove the steak from the skin and place on top of the pasta with vegetables. I don’t grease the foil specifically so the skin sticks to the foil and the salmon steak slides right off the skin.

Baked Salmon over Pasta with Vegetables

The measurements for the pasta and veggies are an estimate. I had leftovers of already cooked macaroni in my refrigerator that I simply warmed up with some frozen vegetables in the microwave. This meal is incredibly easy and fast to put together. The Parmesan is a must with the pasta and veggies, really adding a punch of flavor. Be sure not to under-season the salmon before baking. You need that seasoning to enhance the flavor of the fish.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Thank you for everyone’s support and prayers for my baby great nephew! His surgery was successful! He is still in the hospital, in recovery, but his sweet mom finally got to hold him a couple of days after the surgery and he has an amazing team of nurses, doctors, and specialists looking after him.

Beef and Barley Stew
Beef and Barley Stew

I am going to discuss a practice this week that I rarely take part in: Freezer Meals. Even when I had a busier schedule, I only made freezer meals a couple times a year. But for many families, they are very helpful, and on occasion I find myself wishing I froze more meals in advance, for days when I’m too tired or sick to deal with the prep work of a meal, or days when our schedule is just plain hectic. I love having a freezer meal option on days when we tackle big house projects, like painting. All the energy spent on home improvement zaps any desire to stand in the kitchen and cook!

This past Saturday, I spent the entire day in the kitchen on a sudden whim to prep as much as possible for the week’s upcoming meals. In one day I made or prepped:

  • Beef & Barley Stew (can be frozen, but I left mine in the refrigerator for Sunday’s dinner)
  • Chimichurri marinade for salmon steaks
  • Two Chicken & Spinach Pasta Casseroles
  • Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken boiled & cut, but meal assembled the next day for lunch)
  • Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
  • Green Chili Pork Stew (chopped meat & veggies, all frozen in separate freezer bags, then stored in one larger freezer bag, prepped and ready to be thrown in the slow cooker another day)
  • 8 cups of chicken broth, divided into portions.

That’s seven meals ready to go, plus a full 8 cups of chicken broth to have on hand for soups, stews, casseroles, and so on. I also restocked the cheeses in my freezer. I buy shredded cheeses in bulk for a lower unit cost, divide them into 1-cup portions, and freeze them. I always keep monterey jack, colby jack, cheddar, and mozzarella on hand for casseroles, enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, lasagna, etc.

Beef and Barley Stew

BEEF AND BARLEY STEW
Serves 4; Stew can be doubled so half can be served immediately and half can be frozen
Downloadable PDF of Beef and Barley Stew

  • This stew can be frozen in individual portions and reheated in a microwave safe bowl or on the stovetop
  • Use frozen stew within 2-3 months
  • Options for freezing and reheating:
    • Freeze portions in individual freezer & microwave safe dishes, topped with foil, then tight-fitting lid. To reheat in the microwave straight from freezer, remove foil, vent lid, and thaw using the microwave’s defrost setting. Once stew and container have gently defrosted enough, microwave at 50% power for 2 – 4 minutes, stir stew, then microwave at full power an additional 1 – 2 minutes until thoroughly hot. Let sit for a minute, stir, then serve.
    • Freeze portions in individual sized freezer plastic bags. To reheat in the microwave, tear the bag away from the frozen stew, place frozen stew in microwave safe dish and follow above instructions. To thaw on the stovetop, tear bag away from frozen stew, place frozen stew in a saucepan, and heat over medium low heat until thawed. Increase heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes until stew is heated through and steaming hot.
    • Freeze one batch of stew in a large freezer safe container. To reheat, place container in refrigerator 24 hours before you want to serve the stew (the night before serving). Pour thawed stew into stock pot and reheat over medium heat, simmering at least 5 minutes, until heated through and steaming hot.
    • When putting a dish straight from the freezer to the microwave, I ALWAYS use the microwave’s defrost setting to thaw the dish and food gently. Many dishes will crack or even explode if exposed to extreme temperature changes so ALWAYS be careful.
  • In a large stock pot, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat
  • To the hot oil, add: 3/4 pound beef stew meat, cut in bite size pieces
  • Sprinkle stew meat with salt and black pepper to season while browning
  • While meat browns, dice 4 large carrots
  • Add diced carrots to browned meat and saute 4-5 minutes
  • To the carrots and meat, pour in 32 ounces low sodium beef broth
  • Add 1/2 cup barley to the soup
  • Stir in 12 ounces cream of mushroom soup (I use Pacific Organic brand, which has a wonderful, rich flavor)
  • Bring soup to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low
  • Simmer for 30 minutes or so
  • Serve immediately, or cool to freeze
  • Cool soup thoroughly in refrigerator before freezing
  • Divide into desired freezer-safe containers, label with date, name of meal, and reheating instructions, and freeze.

Beef and Barley Stew

This is one of my all time favorite stews for fall and winter. It’s so rich and hearty with very few ingredients. It freezes and reheats well, so it’s easy to double a batch and freeze half for later. I have been known to freeze portions of stews in individual microwave safe containers, take them to work, and heat them for lunch. They make an easy and filling homemade lunch at the office.

Remember to always, always ensure your dishes are microwave and freezer safe, and never subject them to sudden, extreme temperature changes for your safety. Exploding dishes are very dangerous. Also be sure to reheat food thoroughly, to steaming hot, to avoid food-bourn illnesses. Never freeze partially cooked meat. Freeze it raw, or fully cooked, never partially cooked. When in doubt, consult the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service’s website on Freezing and Food Safety.

Downloadable PDF of Beef and Barley Stew

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Oven Fried Catfish

This crazy easy meal has been sitting in my “to-post” queue for a while now. Every time I’d look at it, I wasn’t ready to post it. Probably because it’s not really a recipe. It’s 3 ingredients; 4 if you count the bagged cole slaw kit. Talk about an easy dinner. You could make your own cole slaw from scratch, or serve whatever other side you prefer (my top choice is always mashed potatoes – something I contribute to growing up in the Midwest on my grandma’s mashed potatoes).

OVEN FRIED CATFISH
Serves 2; easily doubled (or more) to serve more people
Downloadable PDF of Oven Fried Catfish

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with foil
  • Spray foil with cooking spray
  • In a shallow dish, mix:
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Lite Creole Seasoning; adjust amount to your own liking
  • Dredge 2 catfish fillets in the cornmeal mixture, coating thoroughly on both sides
  • Place fillets on foil-lined baking sheet
  • Spray fillets lightly with cooking spray
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked through and cornmeal coating is crisp
  • Serve with cole slaw or side of your choice and preferred dipping sauce, such as tartar sauce

Oven Fried Catfish

I love turning to this meal when I don’t have a lot of time for cooking, which has been my life the last couple of weeks. First, it was the back-to-back birthday celebrations (one with friends, one with family) for our now 12-year-0ld, followed by my sudden urge to scrub our entire house for the last week. I’ve been scrubbing walls, doors, baseboards, blinds, cabinet doors, and everything in between, one room at a time since early last week. I promise, once I get over my cleaning obsession, I’ll get back into posting regularly. Though, with my other new obsession of Pinterest, I have a ton of recipes “pinned” to try instead of creating my own…

Tonight, our simple, minimal ingredient dinner will be roasted potatoes with seared sea scallops and my standard lemony white wine butter sauce.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Posole

Fall weather and soup go hand in hand, which means I try to make a soup once a week now that we’re finally getting some fall-like weather. One of my hubby’s favorites is posole. My stepaunt makes the best, and I can’t come close to what she makes, but hubby and the kids love this version too.

I used this recipe, but halved it. I don’t like having tons of leftovers that I have to store or freeze. If I wasn’t home to cook dinner every evening, I’d be all about leftovers. But since I’m home, I like making something different every night. I also did not brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. I know many folks would say I’m losing flavor without browning it first, but it was still full of flavor and oh-so-tender without browning it.

SLOW COOKER POSOLE
Recipe from allrecipes.com
(we got 5 servings from the below modifications)
Downloadable PDF of Slow Cooker Posole

  • Chop 1/2 medium onion
  • Saute chopped onion in a dash of olive oil, or whatever oil you prefer, in a hot skillet
  • While onions are sauteing, cut pork
  • Cut 1 pound pork loin roast into cubes, 1-inch or smaller (I like mine smaller)
  • Place cubed loin roast into a 4-quart slow cooker
  • Top cubed meat with sauteed onion
  • Add:
    • 1 14.5-ounce can red enchilada sauce (I use La Victoria brand, mild)
    • 1 15.5-ounce can white hominy, drained
    • Using the empty enchilada sauce can, add 2 cans’ worth of water to the slow cooker
    • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Cook on low 6-7 hours, or until meat is tender
  • Add:
    • 2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cook on low an additional 30 minutes
  • While the soup finishes cooking, prepare home baked chips:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • Cut 5 corn tortillas into strips
    • Cut the strips into pieces, so you have mostly squares of tortilla
    • Cover a baking sheet with foil
    • Very lightly spray the foil with olive oil or cooking spray
    • Arrange the cut tortillas onto the baking sheet – mine covered the entire sheet
    • Lightly spray with olive oil or cooking spray the tops of the tortilla pieces
    • Sprinkle lightly with salt
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or so, until lightly browned and crispy.
    • Remove from baking sheet and set aside to sprinkle onto bowls of soup
  • Serve soup topped with:
    • Splash of lime juice
    • Chopped avocado
    • Home baked tortilla chips
    • Sour cream

Posole

Yum! This soup is so easy, so tasty, and a perfect slow cooker meal for days when I’m too swamped to make dinner. This was the perfect amount to feed our family of four, and have just enough left over for hubby’s lunch the next day. (I have green smoothies for lunch every day, so I try to have something more substantial on hand for him.)

What’s your favorite soup?

Do you like making soups in the slow cooker?

Downloadable PDF of Slow Cooker Posole

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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