Sunday salmon

Confession.  We’re getting carryout sushi tonight from one of our favorite sushi restaurants.  We are trying to get carryout once a week to help sustain restaurants we love during this challenging time.  I didn’t want you to go hungry so here is one of our favorite seafood recipes for you.

Salmon Dijon

  • Salmon fillet, 5 oz per person
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 1 TB Dijon Mustard
  • 1TB Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Horseradish
  • 2 TB Bread crumbs or Panko

Put the salmon in a ceramic baking dish that fits snugly.  Pour white wine, lemon juice and olive oil over fish.  Top with herbs of your choice – I usually use dill and add other herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, etc.) as the modd hits me.  Preheat oven to 425 and place baking dish in oven for 15 minutes.

While fish is cooking combine dijon mustard, mayonnaise and horseradish in a small bowl.  (Feel free to adjust proportions to taste.)  Remove fish from oven and pour off liquid.  Top fish with sauce and breadcrumbs and put under broiler for 2 – 3 minutes or until top is bubbly and breadcrumbs are browned but not burned.  Remove and serve with vegetable of your choice – steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus go well.

Go to meals

I normally spend some time over the weekend thinking about the meals for the week.  I have folders of recipes I have clipped from newspapers and magazines in addition to more than 200 cookbooks.  I look for inspiration and try to create a mix of meals (seafood, poultry, meat, etc.) and a balance of light and heavy.  My schedule is heavier on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I also plan based on evening meetings or activities.  Last weekend we were away on our ski trip so I didn’t have the luxury of my normal structure.  That is why I picked things that didn’t require a lot of thought (sorry for the lack of creativity.)

I didn’t get home from my meeting last night in time to blog the Amatriciana topping but I’ve made it before.  I made it Monday night so Keith and Samantha could assemble their pizza and eat when they were ready.  Keith heated mine up for me while I was on the way home.

Pizza Amatriciana

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic (I was out of garlic so substituted shallots) chopped
  • 3 TB red wine
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pizza crust

Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.  Discard bacon grease reserving about 1 TB.  Cook chopped onion (and garlic or shallot) in bacon grease until golden, about 10 minutes.  Add wine and stir in.  Add red pepper and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Top pizza crust with topping and crumble reserved bacon on top.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake.

Tonight is Caesar Salad with leftover flank steak.  This is a recipe I could make in my sleep.

Caesar Salad

  • Romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 1 egg (I use raw egg and have never had a problem)
  • Juice of 1 lemon or about 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • anchovies, optional
  • croutons, optional

Combine olive oil and garlic and let sit for up to 4 hours.  Strain garlic, reserving olive oil.  Wash and dry lettuce and place in a bowl.  Grind pepper over lettuce and toss with oil.  Add egg and toss well.  Add lemon juice and toss.  Add parmesan cheese and toss.  Serve with anchovies and or croutons if desired.  Top with leftover chicken or other protein of your choice.

A few others that I can turn to when I have little time and/or imagination.  (All are on the blog so search if you are interested):

  • Salmon dijon
  • Chicken with pesto and sundried tomatoes
  • Saucy sirloin
  • Tilapia with butter caper sauce
  • Tomato soup
  • Pizza with sliced sausages
  • Eastern shore grilled chicken
  • Hoisin pork
  • Shrimp and black bean quesadillas

What is your favorite go to meal when you are pressed for time?  Add a comment and share.

 

Family favorites

Last night I went with this quick version of roasted chicken.  Because it is cut in half, it cooks in less time and since the vegetables are in the same pan, it is easy to clean up too.  The chicken juices give great flavor to the apples and vegetables.

Roasted chicken with veggies

  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 chicken broiler/fryer between 3 and 4 pounds
  • 1 bunch leeks, trimmed, well rinsed, cut lengthwise and then sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 package baby kale
  • 2 – 3 Honeycrisp apples, cored and cut into inch chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in 1/2 inch thick slices.
  • 5 whole shallots, peeled.
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter

Mix poultry seasoning and salt.  Using kitchen scissors, cut out the backbone of the chicken (put chicken breast side down).  I will admit that I thought this was going to be very difficult and require butchering skills – it was perfectly straightforward and took about 1 minute.  Then split chicken through breastbone.  Rinse and dry thoroughly.  Rub it with about 1/2 of poultry seasoning mix and butter.  (Save backbone in a freezer bag for making chicken stock!)

Put vegetables in a roasting pan and toss with remaining poultry seasoning mix and olive oil.  Put a rack over vegetables with chicken.  Roast at 450 for about 1 hour.  (After 30 minutes, stir vegetables.)

I was going to fix the shrimp and sausage pizzas that Keith likes so much but they were out of Italian turkey sausage so I switched to another one of his favorites – these quesadillas.

Chipotle shrimp and black bean quesadilla

  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1  – 2 tsp pureed chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (if you are making for the first time, start with 1 tsp until you see how much heat you like)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 6″ flour tortillas (or 2 larger ones and then cut the whole thing in half)
  • 1 additional TB of olive oil
  • sour cream (I use reduced fat)
  • salsa
  • 1 avocado, chopped

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, butter, garlic and pureed chipotle.  Stir to combine for 1 minute.  Add shrimp and cook until just done.  Pour in beans and combine.  Remove from heat to a bowl and stir in cheese so it partially melts.

Divide filling between tortillas.  Top each with another tortilla and brush with olive oil.  Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until top is golden brown and crispy.  Top with a dollop each of sour cream, salsa and chopped avocado (or guacamole).  Enjoy!

So easy a child can make it!

On Sunday afternoon we made chicken chipotle chili.  I say “we” because Samantha (9 years old) did most of the work with a little direction from mom.  We had it for dinner last night and the best part is that Samantha also likes eating it.  She was very proud of herself for being so involved with the cooking.  This also freezes well so the leftovers have been added to all of the yummy stuff piling up in our freezer.  Mom is going to get some more nights off!

Chicken Chipotle chili

  • 3 TB canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained of about 1/2 of liquid
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans black beans

Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan and brown chicken cubes (about 5 minutes.)  Remove chicken and drain on paper towels.  Pour off fat leaving about 1 tablespoon in pan.  Add onions and brown about 4 – 5 minutes.  Return chicken to pan.

Stir together flour, chili powder, cumin and salt and sprinkle over onions and chicken.  Stir and cook about 1 minute.  Add stock, tomatoes and chipotles and simmer covered about 30 minutes.  Add black beans and cook another 10 minutes.

Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

Tonight we had the Pizza Amatriciana.  Samantha decided that she would take 1/4 of the pizza crust and top it with plain sauce, Mozzarella cheese and some cooked bacon.  Love that we are getting closer and closer to more nights when we are eating the same thing!

Pizza Amatriciana

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic (I was out of garlic so substituted shallots) chopped
  • 3 TB red wine
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pizza crust

Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.  Discard bacon grease reserving about 1 TB.  Cook chopped onion (and garlic or shallot) in bacon grease until golden, about 10 minutes.  Add wine and stir in.  Add red pepper and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Top pizza crust with topping and crumble reserved bacon on top.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 450 for about 8 minutes.

Summer Sundays

I wanted to be able to spend the afternoon at the pool.  It was so relaxing – I finished the paper, did the Sunday crossword puzzle and needlepointed.  Didn’t leave the pool until 5:30.  The way I accomplished that was planning an easy dinner.  The chicken marinated in the fridge while I was at the pool.  I came home and sliced some zucchini, brushed them with cilantro/onion infused olive oil and added some salt and pepper.  Keith is going to grill everything and I’m getting ready to have a glass of wine.   That is the way to spend a summer Sunday!

Grilled Eastern Shore chicken

  • Chicken breasts, bone in (two per person for leftovers)
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 oz olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsp poultry seasoning
Combine marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let cool to room temperature and pour over chicken to marinate, preferably for at least 4 hours (can marinate overnight).  Grill chicken until done.

Go to meals

If you are a busy person and you like to eat well (like me) you need a few go to meals that you can fix in a couple of minutes with ingredients that you usually have around.  Other than the salmon, I can count on having all of the other ingredients for this recipe on hand.  It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and only 15 to cook.  That makes it a great weeknight solution.  This is very good with cous cous or a store bought side (Graul’s had their creamed spinach in prepared foods – it is out of this world.)

Salmon Dijon

  • Salmon fillet, 5 oz per person
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 1 TB Dijon Mustard
  • 1TB Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Horseradish
  • 2 TB Bread crumbs or Panko

Put the salmon in a ceramic baking dish that fits snugly.  Pour white wine, lemon juice and olive oil over fish.  Top with herbs of your choice – I usually use dill and add other herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, etc.) as the modd hits me.  Preheat oven to 425 and place baking dish in oven for 15 minutes.

While fish is cooking combine dijon mustard, mayonnaise and horseradish in a small bowl.  (Feel free to adjust proportions to taste.)  Remove fish from oven and pour off liquid.  Top fish with sauce and breadcrumbs and put under broiler for 2 – 3 minutes or until top is bubbly and breadcrumbs are browned but not burned.  Remove and serve.

Variations on a theme

Tonight we had the grilled hoisin pork.  It’s one of my favorites and makes great leftovers (so much for my brilliant planning since my business trip has now been rescheduled to next week!)  One of the things that I try to avoid is getting in a rut.  Even before I started blogging my menus, I hated feeling like we were having the same thing over and over again.  Of course, now that I’m posting for all the world to see, I feel an even greater sense of responsibility to vary the meals.  🙂  The challenge is balancing that with some of our favorites.  One way to help a bit is to mix up the side dish/entree combinations.  Tonight I paired the grilled pork with lemon grilled asparagus.  Both were delicious and it made the familiar seem a little fresher.  I actually made the hoisin marinade yesterday – this is a great do ahead dinner for weeknights because the little time it does take can be done the night before.

Grilled Hoisin Pork

  • 1 jar of Hoisin sauce
  • 3 TB honey
  • 2 TB sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pork tenderloin

Combine Hoisin sauce, honey, sherry and sesame oil in a small saucepan and heat, stirring for about 5 minutes until thick.  Let cool.  Use about 1/2 of the marinade on the pork and refrigerate for 4 -6 hours (or overnight).  Grill pork about 10 minutes or until 140 on a meat thermometer.  Heat remaining sauce and serve with pork.

Grilled lemon asparagus

  • 1/2 lb asparagus (tough ends snapped off)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Toss asparagus with olive oil, lemon zest and pepper.  Grill a few minutes a side until tender.

Swapping nights

People often ask me if I ever change from menu plan.  The answer is that I rarely switch out a meal from the plan once I establish the plan but I do sometimes swap nights.  One of the advantages of having the plan done ahead of time and having all of your ingredients is that you have that flexibility.  The way schedules are working it made more sense to have the shrimp and pesto pizza tonight and the chicken napoleons tomorrow.  I am fixing part of the chicken napoleons tonight and will blog the whole thing tomorrow.  Here is the shrimp and pesto pizza to tide you over until then.

Shrimp and Pesto Pizza

  • 1 prepared pizza crust (Boboli or other brand)
  • 1/4 cup pesto (purchased from grocery store or your own homemade)
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 450. Top pizza crust with pesto and then spread shrimp across pesto. If desired, top with mozzarella cheese. Cook about 10 minutes – shrimp should be pink and pizza should be hot. Slice and serve.