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Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

27 Jan

I made this… well, let’s just say it was a really, really long time ago. This is one of those recipes that was super backlogged… BUT it’s here finally, and that’s what matters! And I’ve been DYING to make it again, so maybe now I will 😉

The past few days, husband and I have been watching a series by the BBC called “The Truth About Food,” and it has been fascinating. The episode last night was about how to stay looking young and beautiful (in fact, watching food documentaries is one of our favorite pastimes, so I do have several I could recommend!), and the results from the studies conducted were pretty fascinating (so much, so, that it influenced me to post this particular recipe as my first recipe for the new year)! I’ve linked to the episode, and it’s a very informative and entertaining way to spend a few hours, if you really care to make the most of your health. This episode, in particular, highlighted the healing effects of eating fruits and veggies, with a specific study on tomatoes. The study required participants to consume at least 55g (1.9 oz) of tomato paste a day, and, at the end of (i think) 3 months, measured the amount of burn damage done to the skin from light exposure (and compared it with the burn damage measured before the incorporation of tomato into the diet). The result?

Eating tomatoes helps protect your skin from sun damage (a little natural SPF)! However, tomato paste does not sound like the most exciting thing to eat in order for most people to incorporate a beneficial amount into their diet. THAT is where this recipe comes in! I know there are many people out there who do not enjoy eating tomatoes; only in the last few years have I began consuming tomatoes raw. Some days I could eat an entire container of cherry tomatoes! And yet other days, managing to choke down 3 can be a struggle. BLT’s are a great way to mask some of the strong tomato flavor, but eat too many and you risk negating the beneficial effects through a much higher intake of greasy bacon.

I found this combination of roasting tomatoes with salmon an especially fantastic one (since I actually like to eat my salmon with ketchup, as it is). I’d never had roasted tomatoes before this meal, and I fell in love with them instantly and actually regretted not having used more – so feel free to go crazy with the amount you decide to use! Salmon itself is incredibly healthy – it’s got the Omega 3 fatty acids that help lower LDL (AKA: BAD) cholesterol and improve brain function, and Vitamins A, D, and some amino acids that fortify the nervous system, for added security! AND, like most fish, it is naturally low in calories! Which is always an automatic plus for me. Add tomatoes into the mix, and you get a brain and skin preserving supermeal! The thing that makes this all even BETTER?! This meal is almost TOO easy – all you do is throw everything together in a baking sheet and let it cook itself to perfection in the oven for ~25 minutes. Eating fresh and healthy foods doesn’t get much simpler than this recipe, I don’t think…

Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
(via Cooking Light)

What you need:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (or more! However many you want, really!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat tomatoes. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Add fish to pan. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve the tomato mixture over fish. Drizzle with lemon juice.

Additionally, I firmly believe Cooking Light is a magazine everyone should be subscribed to. Even if you hate cooking, it would at least inspire you to healthy life; each issue is full of not just quick (of the 20, 30, and 40 minutes varieties), healthy (low-cal), easy recipes (for entrees, sides, AND desserts!), but lifestyle tips, general nutrition tips, stories, etc. – it really is an awesome magazine! And EVERYTHING I’ve ever made from it over the course of my now… 3 year subscription to it, has been outstanding.

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 265; Fat: 12.6g; Saturated fat: 2.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 6g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2.8g; Protein: 28.7g; Carbohydrate: 9.6g; Cholesterol: 65mg; Sodium: 368mg; Calcium: 37mg

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Chicken Cutlets with Fontina and Fresh Blueberry Sauce

2 Sep

Apologies for the slacking! I was working on my resume and applied to a few jobs this week, so I’e been focusing on that and not my cooking! NO EXCUSES THOUGH! XD So, I managed to make this dish the other day. My camera battery was dead (poor planning!) and thus, I have no pictures of my own. However, like the picture above (from a basic Google images search), this dish is beautiful. The blueberry sauce has a gorgeous dark violet hue to it that compliments the glossy melted Fontina cheese by painting the chicken in their wonderful, vibrant colors. My final product looked very similar to the image above, but imagine more gooey white cheese melted and sliding down over the edges of the chicken.

Blueberries are my absolute favorite thing to eat, period. I could eat them all day long. I have adored in the past the fruit + meat combination in regards to pork dishes. My favorite dishes I’ve ever made involved pork and some sort of berry (assorted, cheeries, blackberries, etc.), the sweetness and juiciness of the fruit just compliment pork SO well. Perhaps it was because of my extreme love of the taste fruit brings to pork, or my love for pork in general (no matter how ‘dangerous’ or unhealthy it may be), but I definitely had some reservations about pairing fruit with Chicken. It’s so rarely done that I was unsure about it. BUT, I am extremely curious in nature, so I HAD to try it! And I was not disappointed. It was not my husband’s favorite thing by any means, nor mine either, but it was still a pleasing dish.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided (1 teaspoon / 2 teaspoons)
  • ¾ lb. chicken cutlets (about four cutlets) –  I suggest slicing them on the thinner side
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup (2 oz.) shredded Fontina cheese
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (but I love them so I threw in extra!)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. IIIIII, on the otherhand, used the entire Tablespoon of butter at this step! Because I forgot to divide it!! So I’ve split it up for you here already. It still worked out though, and I don’t think it really mattered (aside from adding extra calories)! Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

2. Remove chicken to a serving platter; sprinkle with cheese. Keep warm.

3. Combine apple juice, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add apple juice mixture to pan; simmer 1 minute. Add blueberries and thyme; simmer 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons butter. Spoon blueberry sauce over chicken. Serve!

One more note: for the butter, I use Smart Balance Organic. It looks like this:

It is THE best butter you will ever eat, hands down, period. IF you can find it, I swear… try it. It will change your life. I have no idea what it is about this butter, but it just has this certain taste to it that is way more delicious than the original or light Smart Balance, and definitely superior to any other butter or spread I’ve ever had. I do not eat it for that fact it’s organic and vegan (non-dairy – though those are both pluses, I supposed), I eat it for the taste alone. I don’t even remember how I came to buy it in the first place, but I started eating it when I lived in Austin, in 2008. I bought it all the time, until one day when it just DISAPPEARED from every single grocery store shelf in the greater Austin area. I could not find it ANYWHERE, try as I might. I moved back to Houston for a few months, where I still couldn’t find this butter; it seemed to have just disappeared from Texas altogether, with no trace. BUT when I moved here to Seattle, I found STORES OF IT at QFC. I almost had a heartattack I was so thrilled. I freaked out in the middle of the aisle, and David was like, “OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG?!?” I had to compose myself before I alerted him of my monumental find. Because, as I said, this butter changed my life; I ate it, and suddenly bread, cookies, anything – you name it – was never the same without it. I always became so depressed with every single trip to the store where I could not find it. And so I suggest you try it, too!

Nutrition (for the meal, not the butter!):
Calories: 199
Fat: 8.2g
Protein: 23.4g
Carbs: 7.2g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 5.2g
Cholesteral: 73mg
Iron: 0.8mg
Sodium: 491mg
Calcium: 89mg

Primavera Pasta in Fall!

27 Aug

So earlier today, I began marinating more Bulgogi, which I will cook and post tomorrow! I was using the same small, dull, expensive-in-cost-though-cheap-in-make knife I purchased 2 months  ago when we first moved to Seattle, as I always do, to dangerously chop the onion and carrot (what can I say, I must like to live on the edge… #cheappuns, #cheaperthanthedullknife). All of our stuff was in storage, and we had little money to spare on a nice knife, and the Safeway across the street was convenient, so I searched there for a knife, never looking back. However, I cannot lie, with each use grows in me a fear that manifests as a vivid image in my mind: the knife slipping and going straight through my left hand. It is terrifying, and strikes predominantly when I’m cutting onions (perhaps also sparked by the fact I can’t ever see through the immense tears that swell in them). But I digress…

So, I’m slicing away per usual, when in walks our good friend, Ravi. He and my husband have been working on a super secret Windows phone game, so he came over to work on that. BUT, he had in tow with him the wedding present he got for us! WHICH JUST SO HAPPENED TO BE…… guess… A NEW KNIFE SET!! My face immediately lit up, and I found myself suddenly indebted to him, Needless to say, I tore into eagerly, and finished my carrot chopping and beef slicing with my brand new chef’s knife. It was glorious, and effortless. Long gone are the days of pain in my hand, and fear in my heart, and I could not be happier! So, thank you again, Ravi! ;D

Tomorrow you will get to enjoy the fruits of this labor, but the recipe I made for the three of us for dinner tonight actually involved no need of the knives at all. It is probably the simplest recipe I’ve ever made, as it has few ingredients (all of which are ready straight from the store), but we enjoyed it nonetheless: Tortellini Primavera w/Pesto Sauce (I have a relentless headache all day long refusing to subside, so I needed something easy to whip up).

(Also, please, you must bear with me and my currently amateur photography. I JUST received this camera as my wedding gift from my husband, so I am still trying to get the hang of it <3)

What you need:

  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetables
  • 1 (8-ounce) container fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • YIELDS: 4 (1 1/4 cup) servings

To begin, bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pan. Add the tortellini and frozen vegetables, cooking 5-7 minutes, or until both pasta and vegetables are tender. When done, drain in a strainer. Also, a note on the frozen vegetables: my grocery store was limited in their selection of broccoli-oriented stir-fry mixes, which I failed to pay detailed attention to. I bought one that I came to find had water chestnuts in it. While I tend to ADORE water chestnuts in my oriental dishes, I do not so much enjoy them in my pasta dishes. This may just be my own personal preference, but if you feel you, too, may also not enjoy that, then try to find a stir-fry mix without them.

While the pasta cooks, combine the sour cream, pesto, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Generally, my husband and I really do not enjoy sour cream, so I was slightly apprehensive about making this dish. But I do love my pesto, so I decided to go for it. The pesto and sour cream surprisingly compliment each other well by toning the other down a bit, as I feel both have pretty strong flavors on opposite spectrums. A smooth, soft, and creamy pesto tasted better than I had imagined!

After the pasta is drained, transfer it into a large bowl. Pour the pesto mixture over the pasta, and stir well to coat everything. Serve, sprinkling each serving with pepper and Parmesan cheese! Additionally, while the recipe calls for 1/8 t. pepper, I ignored that and just sprinkled as much as I felt was right. Super quick, super easy, straightforward dinner in minutes!

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 331
  • Calories from fat: 33%
  • Fat: 12.2g
  • Saturated fat: 4.5g
  • Protein: 18.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 38.1g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 32mg
  • Sodium: 659mg

I served with slices of Texas Toast (again, easy – just throw them from the freezer to the oven for 5 minutes @ 425 degrees). For the Texas Toast (Pepperidge Farm) Nutrition (per slice):

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 7g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbohydrate: 18g
  • Sodium: 190mg