Glazed Salmon

It’s been so long since my last post, and it’s not as if I stopped cooking. No, I’ve still been plugging away, cooking the majority of our dinners. And, I’ve been trying some wonderful recipes! My heart, however, just hasn’t been into blogging. Sometimes updating my blog, after everyone is quietly snuffling in their beds, can be difficult. Sometimes I just want to read. Sometimes I want to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I want to check in with my FB friends. Or play Hay Day. Sometimes that is the hard part of being a full-time wife and mom, as well as working outside the home full time. But, as winter sheds it’s coat (yes, we have a Cali version of winter) and spring dawns anew, we can all feel somewhat reborn. Throw aside what has been holding you down, sit outside and soak up the sun. Take a walk and marvel at what beauty springtime brings. Ride a bike and feel the warm breeze  on your face. Ahhh, to start anew. It’s a wonderful thing!

What better way to pay homage to spring than wild caught salmon? Don’t get me wrong, I can eat salmon year-round. But there is something about salmon that speaks to warmer weather.

Ingredients:

1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 lbs skin-on salmon filet
Pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 recipe glaze (below)

Glaze:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and evenly spoon glaze over salmon. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until fillets register 125° (for medium-rare) and are still translucent when cut into, about 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Grenache
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen

PicFrame

Glazed Salmon


Enchirritos

What is your first thought when you hear the word Enchirritos??  GO!!  For me it is Taco Bell.  I had never even heard of them before Taco Bell.  Unfortunately, like most fast food, Taco Bell left a horrible taste in my mouth.  Luckily, over time, my palette and budget has drastically improved.  And thanks to my Mexican husband, so has my understanding of Mexican food.  Now  a pet peeve of mine is when someone calls a burrito with sauce an enchilada.  If it’s a flour tortilla, it’s not an enchilada.  And that is what I love about this enchirrito.  It’s not pretending to be something it’s not. This enchirrito is no resting on the hard work of its parent to define it as either a burrito or an enchilada.  This enchirrito is standing proud, telling everyone it is of a mixed “race”.  Part enchilada, part buritto.  Embracing both of its cultures.  All hale the Enchirrito!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups water
3 Tbs Mexican Blend Seasoning (Morton & Bassett)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 lb ground beef (I always buy the lowest fat; but you can also sub chicken or turkey)
1 lb ground sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion (Look at the pre-chopped in the produce aisle.  It looks expensive until you calculate the value of your time chopping it.)
1 cup refried beans (I used Rosarita Traditional)
8 flour tortillas (8 inches) warmed (the best way to warm tortillas, no matter what anyone says, is with a skillet. Warm the first one on medium high and as you fill it, warn the next one, be sure to turn over at least once)
3 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend from the dairy aisle)
Optional toppings: shredded lettuce; diced tomatoes, sour cream

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Sir in flour until smooth.  Slowly add water.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until thickened (about 1 minute).  Stir in Mexican Blend Seasoning and garlic salt. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, sausage, and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in beans; heat through.

Spread 1/4 cup of the in a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Spread 1 Tbs sauce in the center of a tortilla and spread around  Place 2/3 cup meat mixture down center of tortilla.  Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese.  Roll up and place seam side down  Once all tortillas are complete, pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (add a handful if you need to, no one will judge.)  Bake uncovered 18-22 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Franc
Gamay
Grenache
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves: 6 big servings

Total time: 50 minutes

*Derived from Mandy’s Recipe Box
Enchirritos

Enchirritos


Go To Chicken

We all have a “go to” recipe.  It’s a must for the days when the evening gets away from you, for when you are trying to do too many things at once, for when cooking seems like too much.  This chicken is so incredibly easy, so incredibly tasty.  I’m sure you’ll add it to your “go to” list as well.  PS – This is not healthy my friends, just a warning.

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp minced garlic
4 Tbs worcesteshire sauce (such as Lea & Perrins)
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 whole chicken legs (original recipe calls for 24 whole chicken thighs, but that’s too much for us. I’ve adjusted it to please the adults, by adding the thighs, as well the kids, who get the drummies)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add lemon juice, salt, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce and stir.  Set aside.

With metal tongs, dip chicken one by one into the butter mixture and place on baking sheets.  Once all of the chicken is coated and on the baking sheet, take a pastry brush and give them another coating of mixture.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, turning them over and basting one more time after about 15 minutes.  For more color, turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes.  Remove when golden brown.  Serve immediately with rice or potatoes.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4 – 6

Total time:  40 minutes

Go To Chicken

Go To Chicken

*Derived from Ree Drummond’s Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

Lemon-Butter Chicken with Asparagus

Before I started grilling I kind of thought it was really simple.  I mean, why else would that be most men’s sole form of cooking?  I’m learning, however, how wrong I was.  I’ll give you that burgers and dogs are simple, once you get used to the grill.  And that’s the key, getting used to your grill.  Like oven and stove tops, they are all pretty unique in how they heat.  Some can take forever, such as the case with my crappy stove top, while others heat like a stove top is supposed.  I’m finding this pretty much sums it up with grills, too.  Also, finding that perfect spot to grill where the outside doesn’t get charred while leaving the inside raw.  And timing, when to turn it, when to move it, etc.  I’ve found a whole new appreciation for those that grill, and grill well.  But don’t tell them or I’ll deny it.  🙂

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
4 chicken pieces, with bone & skin, about 10-12 oz each piece
1½ lb asparagus
Olive oil
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges (for garnish – optional)

Lemon Butter:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (as a time saver sub Litehouse freeze-dried parsley)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (which is super simple since you just zested one)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preparation:

In a small bowl mash the lemon butter ingredients, including ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper, until thoroughly blended.  (This can be a bit challenging as the lemon juice and butter do no naturally combine well)

Carefully lift the skin of each piece of chicken, being careful to not puncture the skin.  Spread 1 tablespoon of lemon butter around under the skin.  Lay skin back in place.

Transfer remaining lemon butter to small saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Set aside

Prepare grill for direct and indirect heat over medium (350° to 450°F).

Remove and discard the tough bottom of each asparagus.  This is done easiest by taking one and bending it gently at the bottom until it snaps at its natural point, then line the rest up and cut them at about the same location.  Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Brush chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken, skin side up over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until nicely marked on the bottom, about 5 minutes.  Without turning the chicken, move it over to indirect medium heat, close the lid and continue cooking until the meat is opaque all the way to the bone, about 30 minutes.  About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, brush the tops with some of the melted lemon butter and then turn chicken over to skin side down.  Slide over to direct medium heat, close the lid, and continue cooking until the skin is brown, basting once more with the lemon butter.  Remove from the grill, cover, and let rest 3 – 5 minutes.

Grill asparagus over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until crisp tender, 6 – 8 minutes.  Turn occasionally.  Arrange asparagus on serving platter and drizzle with remaining butter.  Serve chicken warm with asparagus and garnish with lemon wedges.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Barbera
Chardonnay
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes / Grilling time:  43 minutes

Lemon-Butter Chicken with Asparagus

*Derived from Jamie Purviance

 


Lasagna with Zucchini

Lasagna is the quintessential comfort food.  And when you want comfort food, it doesn’t matter if it’s winter (the perfect weather for lasagna) or the start-up of summer.  Since I found this recipe in my June issue of Cooking Light, I felt it was the Food Gods way of telling me I need to make this.  Stat!  While midst of cooking, I realized it is the perfect remake of the perfect comfort food.  The zucchini and squash hold up well in place of Italian sausage or any other meat.  I found myself not even missing the meat.  Also, the sauce was not heavy, but so flavorful and rich.  The next day when I reheated for lunch, I did notice the zucchini and squash had a stronger flavor, but it still was very good and a meal that will make it to my rotation.  PS – This meal takes a LONG time to pull together, definitely keep for the weekend or when you have some additional time.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil
3 cups julienne-cut zucchini
2 cups julienne-cut yellow squash
1½ Tbs chopped fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (this is where I cheated, b/c I always have to cheat.  I used pre-chopped garlic)
¾ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
¼ cup water from fresh mozzarella container
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
2½ oz grated fresh Parmesan
1 (9 oz) package refrigerated fresh lasagna noodles (Our market did not carry this and I don’t care of the No Boil variety, that is until I found Delverde Ondine Instant Egg Lasagna.  Unlike our American brands, it did not take doughy or uncooked to me.  Certainly will use again and again!)
Cooking Spray

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add zucchini, squash, time, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes.  Stir in ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.  Remove zucchini mixture from pan and cool.

Combine remaining ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper, ricotta, mozzarella water, and mozzarella in food processor or blender.  Pulse until smooth.  Combine ½ cup ricotta mixture and ½ cup Parmesan.

Coat 8″ baking dish with cooking spray; arrange 2 noodles, trimming to fit if needed.  Top with half of zucchini mixture and half of ricotta mixture.  Repeat layers, ending with noodles.  Top with the rocotta-Parmesan mixture.  Cover dish with foil and back for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake additional 15 minutes.

Turn broiler to high.  Sprinkle lasagna with remaining 2 Tbs parmesan cheese.  Broil 2 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Cabernet Franc
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 6
Hands-On time: 20 minutes; Total: 65 minutes

 Lasagna with Zucchini

 *Derived from Cooking Light

Fat Taquitos

Sometimes I wonder if my life resembles the chicken and the egg a little.  Did my love for Mexican food come before my love for a Mexican?  Or did my love for a Mexican enhance my love of Mexican food?  As long as I can remember I’ve loved Mexican food.  Hot, spicy Mexican food.  Then I fell in love with a Mexican and found a whole new appreciation for Mexican food, and, well, all things Mexican in general.  And that brings me to my Fat Taquitos.  I’m always on the hunt for Mexican food recipes, and for new ways to make Mexican food.  And one of the strongest Mexican food critics sits at my table!  I had a feeling these were going to be good, but did feel a bit apprehensive as I set the plate down at lunch a few Saturdays ago.  Would they pass muster?  Would I be sent back to the drawing board?  They passed muster!  And I got a thumbs up from one of my little foodies!! 

Ingredients:

8 small (6″) corn tortillas
1½ cups shredded chicken
½ cup prepared salsa (I like to use the fresh salsa usually found in the produce section)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp Morton & Bassett Mexican Blend seasoning
Sour cream and guacamole for dipping

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the chicken and salsa.  Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While chicken and salsa is in refrigerator, begin warming tortillas for use. In a small skillet heated to medium-warm add one tortilla at a time.  You want to warm the tortilla and not cook it.  When tortilla is warmed on both sides, set aside and keep warm.  Continue with all tortillas

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375°.  Remove chicken salsa mixture from refrigerator and drain any liquid.  Add cheese and Mexican Blend seasoning.  Combine well.

Take one tortilla and lightly brush what will be the outside with olive or canola oil.  Lay on clean, dry surface and spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling down the middle of the tortilla.  Roll tightly and place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.  Add a sprinkling of kosher salt across the tops.

Bake 14-16 minutes, until crispy.  You might need to pop on the broiler for a few minutes.  Serve with enchilada sauce, salsa, sour cream, and / or guacamole!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Malbec
Merlot
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Baking time: 16 minutes

Taquito

*Derived from Hungry Girl

Maple Salmon

We know I like salmon, that is an undisputed fact. But did we know I like maple, because apparently I do. It seems like I make a lot of salmon and maple recipes. I can’t help it, I love the savory with the sweet. If done right, the salmon almost looks pickled by the syrup, in that you can see that the fish has completely accepted the syrup, invited it into its flesh. THIS is when I know I’ve got a great dish emerging before my eyes. This one, I’ll be honest, I questioned. I made it completely off the cuff. I overslept by, oh, I don’t know, maybe an hour this morning ( 1 FULL HOUR! Hello office, I think I’m going to be late . . .). So, in the mad dash to get the four of us out the door I grabbed what I thought I could work with when I got home from work. Of course I had salmon. 🙂 I didn’t even have to stand, tapping my foot, in front of the pantry wondering, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” I spied the brown sugar. I spied the maple syrup. A dish was coming together.

Ingredients:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets

Preparation:

Combine sea salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Spread evenly over salmon fillets.  Let stand 30 minutes.  About 5 – 10 minutes before salmon is done, preheat broiler to high.

Spray broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Add salmon, skin side down.  Broil 12-15 minutes, check for doneness after about 10.  Serve with salad, rice or mashed potatoes, and some warm, buttery bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Gris
Riesling
Viognier

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes; Total time: 25 minutes

Salmon

*Original Serves 4 Recipe