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!

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

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Turkey Veggie Chili

Now that’s a mouthful! This recipe is a staple ’round these parts because it takes just minutes to assemble, practically cooks itself, and satisfies bellies with its hearty southwestern flavor. I get a little help from a store bought spice packet but I ratchet things up a notch by adding additional spice, liquid smoke and half a can of beer! You can’t go wrong on a cold night with a warm bowl of chili and chips…

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, browned
  • 1, 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I use “fire roasted” tomatoes)
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium Bermuda onion, medium dice
  • 1 Tex-Mex Chili seasoning packet (I use McCormick’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz of beer (I use Corona)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet on the stove.
  3. Combine tomatoes, beans, chopped peppers, onion and seasonings in the slow cooker. Add the turkey, beer and liquid smoke. Mix well.

4. Cook on LOW for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.

5. Serve over rice or with tortilla chips. Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese.

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Monday Minestrone

Sometimes I find it difficult to cook on Monday nights… just because it’s Monday, after all!? But this easy Minestrone soup comes together quickly, feeds a small crowd and will leave you not only full but proud of how you started off your week of suppers!

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (I like Muir Woods, Fire Roasted)
  • 1, 15 oz can dark kidney beans, drained
  • 1 bunch of celery, chopped
  • 3 – 4 carrots chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale (I use Lacinto)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (something small in size like Pipette)

Directions:

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, combine the other ingredients and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender. Remove rosemary stem.
  3. Drain pasta and add to the soup. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.

Suggestions:

  • This soup can be made ahead and reheated. If planning on doing so, leave out the pasta until you’re ready to reheat and serve or it will soak up all the liquid!
  • Try adding additional protein like meatballs! Leftover meatballs work great but if not, I always have Trader Joe’s mini party meatballs in my freezer and they work like a charm!

 

Summer Squash Quiche

Left with a yellow squash, a zucchini and a pre-made pie crust… a quiche is born!

Ingredients: Serves 8

  • 1 pre-mde pie crust
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced thin (approx. 1/8″ thick)
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced thin (same as above)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra
  • 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a mandolin to slice both the squash and zucchini and set a side.
  3. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Add the parmesan, pepper and salt and gently whisk to combine.
  4. Unroll pie crust and cover the bottom and sides of a round 9.5″ glass pie dish. Pierce the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork.
  5. Place the squash and zucchini in alternating layers on top of the crust. For example, I did a layer of overlapping zucchini, followed by a layer of overlapping squash. I was able to repeat the layers one more time for a total of four layers.
  6. Slowly pour the egg and cheese mixture over the layered vegetables and allow it to sink in.
  7. Sprinkle top with a few tbsp of additional parmesan if desired.IMG_4989
  8. Bake 60 – 70 minutes. Quiche is cooked when crust is browned and eggs are firm.
  9. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve warm, room temp or chilled… it’s delicious any which way!IMG_4994

Suggestions:

  • Alternate your layers by including both squash and zucchini in each for a more colorful presentation!
  • Cook time is finicky! It depends not only on your oven but the water content of the vegetables. The fresher they are, the more water they will contain and the longer the bake time will be!

Texas Caviar

I cannot take credit for the catchy name or the tasty combination of ingredients; I know quite a few home cooks who have their own version of this recipe on file! However, I can tell you how I make it as well as list a few unique ways to repurpose your leftovers!

Ingredients: Serves 10 – 12

  • 24 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed), chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (plus extra)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus extra)

Directions:

  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the last six ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Add the liquid to the corn mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Adjust seasoning to your personal taste preferences by adding additional salt and/or pepper..
  5. Let chill 2 – 3 hours, allowing flavors to develop.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftovers:

IF you have them… consider the following (drain any liquid that accumulates first):

  • Add it to eggs in a scramble or a quiche, or use it in egg cups (search site for recipe).
  • Fold into corn bread batter to jazz up your corn muffins/corn bread.
  • Top grilled chicken or fish with a scoop.
  • Toss it with a green salad.