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


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

Chicken minus the Vesuvio

This was supposed to to be a traditional chicken Vesuvio, except I was missing, well, the Vesuvio. Or, the red-skinned potatoes and artichoke hearts. ” so I attempted to make do without.  And boy, did I make do.  This got a thumbs-up from my R Jr., foodie.  And it was literally a thumbs-up because he had a mouthful of food.  Does it really get better than that?  I think not. I’m going to go ahead and add in the ingredients that I didn’t have, since it’s from Giada De Laurentiis, I think I’m safe 🙂  Everything with a * I did not have / did not do.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs olive oil
4 skin on & bone in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ lb small red-skinned potatoes, halved (I did not have this)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
¾ cup dry white wine (ok, everyone MUST keep this on hand)
¾ cup chicken broth
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
8 0z frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I did not have this)
2 Tbs unsalted butter

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Heat olive oil in a large oven proof pot on high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Working in 2 batches, cook chicken in pot until golden brown on all aides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a bowl.  Carefully add the garlic and onions to the pot and cook until softened.  *Add the potatoes and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot.  Add the broth, oregano, and thyme.  Return the chicken to the pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once a boil is reached, cover the pot and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove pot and transfer chicken to platter.  *Arrange potatoes around chicken.

*Add artichoke hearts to sauce in pot. cover and simmer over high heat until artichokes are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes.  Turn heat to low.  Stir in butter.  Add artichokes to chicken and potatoes, pour sauce over dish and serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestion:

Beaujolais
Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Syrah

Serves 6

Total time: About an hour

Chicken minus Vesuvio

Chicken minus Vesuvio

Derived from: Giada De Laurentiis

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

It seems like lately I’ve had those, “This recipe says what?? How am I going to do that??” only because when preparing my menu I haven’t thoroughly read the recipe.  This is one of those times.  I pulled a great looking recipe from Annie’s Eats on Pinterest.  I quickly scanned the ingredients, no worries there.  And that is where I went wrong.  The recipe called for marinating 2 hours.  Yes, I gave the kids a snack but not a great enough snack that I could add 2 hours to the dinner prep.  Sure, we could get more homework done in that 2 hours, but dinner would be ready at bedtime!  So, below is what I came up with by morphing two recipes together.  And wow, it was a huge hit!

Ingredients:

2 small lemons; zested and juiced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp each thyme and crushed rosemary
1 tsp Kosher salt
4-6 Tbs olive oil
2-4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks (I used mostly drumsticks)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.  Combine garlic, lemon zest and juice, herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large ziplock bag.  Add chicken and move it around in plastic bag to ensure even coverage.  Let sit for about 20 minutes (enough time to start your side dishes).

Remove chicken from marinade and place in a baking dish lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Use the marinade to brush over the top of each piece.  Bake for 50 – 55 minutes, until skin is well-browned.  Let stand for 10 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter.  Garnish with lemon slices.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Riesling
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 6

Total Time: 1 hour

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

*Derived from Annie’s Eats and Our Best Bites

Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce

This has got to be one of the easiest and tastiest enchilada sauces I have made.  Not to mention so authentic the hubs gave it a thumbs up!    He even asked that I make some more so he can make huevos rancheros for breakfast.  This will make a regular rotation in my kitchen, and there is plenty with this recipe to freeze.  (I promise to include a picture next time!)

Ingredients:

2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs Morton & Bassett Mexican Spice Blend (my “go to” Mexican seasoning)
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbs canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced

Preparation:

In mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, Mexican Spice Blend, salt and pepper.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, broth, spice mixture, whisk to combine.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, over medium-low heat, add canola oil and sauté garlic until fragrant, being careful not to burn.  Gradually stir in tomato sauce mixture.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  Serve in and over your favorite Mexican dishes.

Serves: 6

Total time: 40 minutes

*Derived from Skinnyms.com

 


Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I don’t think I have discovered a way to make shrimp that my kids WON’T eat.  Not that I’m really trying.  But sometimes I think, “There is no way they are going to go for this.”  And they do.  We even went to our favorite Chinese place earlier in the week at the request of D, for the honey walnut prawns.  I was telling the owner that I tried making them at home, and while they were very good, they weren’t OIC Bowl good.  After she walked away, Berto leaned across the table and whispered to me, “Yours were REALLY good Mommy.”  Heart melting.  Right there.  Right then.  Well, these got the same reaction from the kids, and the Hubs, too!

Ingredients:

Vegetable Oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs linguine
6 Tbs unsalted butter
5 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs minced garlic (time saver tip:  Buy jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
2 lbs large, peeled and deveined shrimp (I always buy them that way)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 small lemons)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced in half-rounds (left mine whole rounds, but half is better)
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)

Preparation:

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, do not skip this step.  It helps keep your linguine from clumping together.  Add 1 tbs salt and the linguine.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, or according to package directions.

While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, in another large, heave-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Keep a close eye, the garlic will burn very quickly.  Add the shrimp, 1 tbs salt, and the pepper.  Sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slice, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Toss to combine.

Drain the linguine and add it back to the pot in batches.  In-between batches, add some of the shrimp and sauce.  Toss well, and devour!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Friulano
Picpoul Blanc
Vinho Verde

Serves 6

Total time: 40 minutes

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

*Courtesy Ina Garten

Crispy Cod and Roasted Tomatoes

I’m a kitchen gadget girl. “Ooh, does the belong in the kitchen? I MUST have it! What? It was part of some magazine survey of the 10 useless kitchen gadgets? Clearly whoever wrote that article has no idea what they are talking about because THIS I will use!” Says me, all the time. Unfortunately for me, this is the one gadget I could really use, but don’t have. A fish spatula. Even to me that sounds a little crazy. “A fish needs its own spatula? Really, because I’ve got this red one. No? How about the green one? Really? Ok, no one turns down the purple. I mean, come on, it’s purple , no one turns down the purple. You are turning down the purple. Well, I’ve two black and a silver left.” And they won’t work as well on delicate fish like a fish spatula will. I think I need to buy one . . . What are you doing this weekend??

Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 Tbs capers
1 Tbs olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil (best way to slice basil: roll each leaf into a thin tube and slice)
1 cup panko
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 (6 oz) Alaskan cod
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil, divided (with a small amount extra for brushing on fish)

Preparation:

Roasted Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400°.  Combine first 3 ingredients in a large ovenproof skillet; toss to coat.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Bake at 400º for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven; top with basil.

Cod: Combine panko, parsley, and thyme in a large zip-lock bag.  Lightly brush cod with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Gently toss cod in zip-lock bag to coat.  Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add to fillets to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degrees of doneness.  Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Pinot Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Voignier

Serves 4 large portions
Total time: 40 minutes

Cod

*Derived from Cooking Light 

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