Pastrami Spiced Salmon

I recently served this dish at a baby shower brunch that I catered and it got rave reviews and several recipe requests! I can’t take credit for the original recipe, however I did make a few tweaks to make it my own. It’s best prepared the day before and served at room temperature*. The fennel and dill sauce is a must! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Easily feeds 10 – 12 people

  • 3 – 4 lb salmon filet, skinned and pin bones removed
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp + 2tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Directions:

  1. BRINE THE SALMON: Mix together the soy sauce, sugar and kosher salt. Combine it with the salmon in a large ziplock bag or shallow dish, making sure the filet is coated evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no more than 3 hrs.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the RUB by combining the paprika, coriander, 2 tbsp of fennel and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Remove salmon from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place salmon on the paper and carefully rub mixture into both sides. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet.
  5. While the salmon bakes, make the GLAZE by mixing together the molasses, cayenne and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then allow mixture to cool slightly.
  6. When salmon is done cooking, remove from oven and glaze. Not all of the glaze may be used. Let salmon cool and then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, allowing sufficient time for the filet to come to room temperature first (3 – 4 hrs)*.
  7. To make the SAUCE mix together the sour cream, horseradish, 2 tsp fennel and dill in a small bowl.

Original recipe courtesy of Paula’s Pantry

Serving:

To display and serve the salmon, I use kitchen shears to trim around the parchment paper and then transfer the filet (with parchment underneath to prevent it from falling apart) to a serving dish. You can try and cut the salmon into thin slices but in my experience, it tends to flake apart. I use a small spatula when serving and break off “slices” and serve it with a dollop of sauce on some kind of small toasted piece of bread.

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Great for a Brunch!

Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Kill two birds with one stone when you feed your peeps this delicious cheesesteak sammie that tastes like it’s straight outta Phillie but looks more like a Sloppy Joe! The best part is that your slow cooker does all the work so you don’t have to; and I made it even easier for myself by using frozen, diced green pepper and onion! You can prep this dish before work in under 15 minutes, turn it on Low and Slow and come home to a tasty, toasty, beefy, cheesy (you get the idea) meal that the whole family will devour! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Makes 6 – 8 sammies

  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra
  • 8 round sandwich style buns, toasted

Directions:

  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet on your stovetop.
  2. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Transfer meat over using a slotted spoon to drain the fat.
  3. Add the diced green pepper, onions and mushrooms. Pour in the beef stock, Worcestershire and ketchup and fold to combine. Add the corn starch and seasonings and mix well.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5 – 6 hours. Mix in the cheese just prior to serving. Divide cheesesteak mixture evenly among the bun bottoms. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired!

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*Recipe adapted from slowcookergourmet.com

Chicken Enchiladas (with pumpkin purée)

Always looking for clever ways to sneak extra veggies into my family’s diet! This is a no-brainer and went completely under the radar until the end of the meal when I came clean! Not only does pumpkin pair well with enchilada sauce, it makes the dish so creamy and rich, you may never make enchiladas without pumpkin again!

For Bridget!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • cooking spray
  • 1, 15 oz can pumpkin purée
  • 1, 19 oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • sour cream
  • guacamole

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, cumin, garlic and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix half the pumpkin mixture with half the can of enchilada sauce.
  3. Lightly spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and add the chicken and the pumpkin/enchilada sauce mixture. Cook on low for 4 – 6 hours (stirring occasionally) until chicken is tender and falls apart.
  4. Remove chicken and remaining sauce from slow cooker, shred with a fork and let cool.
  5. Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Coat the bottom of the dish with a spoonful of cooking sauce. Place a tortilla on a flat surface and schmear a dollop of the remaining pumpkin mixture down the center. Top with a generous portion of the shredded chicken and some of the cooking sauce. Roll the tortilla and place length-wise in the casserole dish. Repeat until all tortillas, pumpkin and chicken is used.
  6. Top enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce and the cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes covered, 5 minutes uncovered or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with chopped cilantro, sour cream and fresh guacamole!img_8105

*adapted from allrecipes.com

 

Deconstructed Big Mac Salad Bowl

Craving a greasy fast food burger but trying to stick to those New Year’s Resolutions you just made to eat healthy? Give this Big Mac Bowl a try and satisfy your itch! It’s easy, low carb and tastes just like the real deal!!

Ingredients: Makes 4 servings

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp pickle relish
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 8 cups lettuce of choice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 dill pickle slices

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Half way through, add the chopped onion and continue to cook until onions are soft and translucent. Drain the fat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the mayo, relish, mustard, vinegar and spices together to make the special sauce.
  3. Combine lettuce and half the sauce in a large bowl and toss to coat. Divide the lettuce among 4 salad bowls or plates.
  4. Top each with a generous spoonful of meat. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and garnish with pickle slices. Drizzle additional sauce over each salad bowl if desired.

*Adapted from homemadeinterest.com

New England Style Clam Chowdah

Jump right in, the chowder is warm, lol! Not exactly a New Year’s Resolution-type recipe featuring copious amounts of detoxifying veggies and no sodium… however, I used light cream instead of half and half and added chopped celery which the original recipe didn’t call for. It may not be the healthiest meal choice but it makes me happy and gosh-darn it, that’s a goal for 2019 too! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Serves 6 – 8

  • 4, 6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams in juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of low sodium bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 – 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups light cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • milk for thinning
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • tabasco, if desired
  • oyster crackers for garnish

Directions:

  1. Drain clams and reserve the juice.
  2. In a large enamel coated pot with lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the bacon and cook until bacon starts to crisp.
  4. Add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent, celery softens and bacon is almost fully cooked.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add the potatoes. Mix well, partially cover and cook for five minutes.
  6. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir to coat.
  7. Add reserved clam juice and mix well until there are no lumps.
  8. Slowly add the cream while stirring continuously.
  9. Add the thyme and bay leaves, reduce heat and let simmer, partially covered for 15 – 20 minutes.
  10. Season with salt, pepper and tobacco to taste. Use milk to thin the soup if desired/needed. Remove bay leaves.
  11. Turn heat off, add clams and mix well. Let stand 5 minutes.
  12. Stir once more and ladle chowder into soup bowls and top with oyster crackers.

*Adapted from Anne Burrell

Easy Crab Cakes

I made these crab cakes earlier today in preparation for our family’s Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. My mother-in-law always hosts the meal but this year, I offered to bring a dish. Looking forward to celebrating this food themed holiday with my peeps; it’s my favorite kind of festivity! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 10 – 12 people, 2 crab cakes each

  • 4 cups oyster crackers
  • 1/2 cup cornichons
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard (preferably with grains)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 pounds lump crabmeat
  • canola oil for frying
  • lemon wedges for serving

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Directions:

  1. Pulse oyster crackers into crumbs using a food processor. Transfer 2 cups to a large bowl, reserve the rest.
  2. Wipe out food processor and add cornichons, capers, scallion and tarragon. Pulse into small pieces. Next, add mayo, lemon juice, mustard and pepper and pulse until well mixed. This mixture is both your tartar sauce and your binding agent.
  3. Remove 1 cup of sauce from the food processor, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the remaining sauce to the bowl with the cracker crumbs. Fold in the eggs and the crabmeat. Mix until combined.
  4. Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large frying-an over medium-high heat. Using a 1/4 cup scoop, form cakes from the crabmeat mixture and roll in the reserved cracker crumbs.
  5. Fry crab cakes in small batches taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook for approximately 3 – 4 minutes per side and then transfer to a paper towel lined plate for draining.
  6. Serve warm with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Notes:

  • Original recipe did not call for coating the cakes with additional cracker crumbs, but I think it helped give them a nice crunchy coating after frying.
  • These can be cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 325 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

*Original recipe adapted from Nancy Fuller, foodnetwork.com

 

Beef Ragú with Herbed Ricotta

This dish was inspired by one of my favorite foodie Instagram-ers and made for the perfect rainy Sunday supper tonight! It takes only minutes to prep, leaving your slow cooker to do all the work. Serve the hearty and flavorful ragú over your favorite pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and you’ll wow everyone at your dinner table any night of the week. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1, 28 oz can chopped tomatoes ( I use fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz chopped carrots (approx. 3 large carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lb of favorite pasta (I use fusilli or pappardelle)IMG_7367

Directions:

  1. Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Rinse and pat dry flank steak. Cut into large chunks with a sharp knife.IMG_7366
  3. Place steak in the bottom of the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in the stock. Add garlic, carrots and spices including bay leaves and thyme.IMG_7368
  5. Top with chopped tomatoes and cook on high for 6 hours.
  6. While meat cooks, combine the ricotta, parmesan and parsley in a small bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.
  7. Remove meat from slow cooker using tongs and shred.
  8. Add honey to the sauce and using an immersion blender, gently purée. Take care, as slow cooker is shallow and sauce will be hot!
  9. Return shredded meat to the sauce and set slow cooker to the lowest setting.
  10. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare pasta of choice according to package directions.
  11. Serve sauce over pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and garnish with additional parmesan.IMG_7410

*Adapted from Pinch of Yum