Fish en Papillote – baked fish in parchment

I have always wanted to try making fish e paillote which is a fancy way of saying fish baked in parchment paper. Don’t ask me why it has taken me SO long; it was easy, delicious and was a huge hit with the fam. plus it looks pretty cool.
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I bought some wonderful cod from my local market along with some asparagus; I really didn’t have a plan yet but I thought it would at least look pretty with the green vegetable over the white fish. I figured I would slice up some onions or shallots or both and add a slice of lemon a little salt and pepper and voila a meal was born. Well almost!
IMG_5460I figured I needed to add some liquid so everything would steam in the packet and from some reason I was leaning toward an Asian profile.  So I started looking around the internet for some flavor Ideas and there are some great ones out there but I wanted something simple with ingredients I had on hand. I always have soy sauce and I found a bottle of Mirin next to the Soy Sauce; which Mirin is a type of rice wine vinegar that along with some sugar and it made a wonderful light taste to go along with the everything else in my little paillote; well mine was much larger than I think it should have been. When I make it again I will use a smaller piece of fish or at the very least only a few pieces of asparagus. I would do everything else the exact same, it was a very nice simple meal that took under 30 minutes from start to finish even cleanup was minimal.
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Ingredients
Cod Fillet – roughly 4 oz serving per person
Asparagus – trimmed
Fresh Thyme
Lemon – sliced
Cherry tomatoes – halved
Shallots – sliced
Onion – sliced – one of my super small ones from my garden
Kosher Salt
Freshly cracked Black Pepper

Flavoring
3 Tablespoon Mirin
3 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
whisk all in a small pan and heat long enough for the sugar to melt
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place fish in the middle of your piece of parchment, salt and pepper, add slices shallot and tomatoes, place a few pieces of asparagus and a slice of lemon. Pour some of the soy sauce mixture over each packet.
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Start on the side of the parchment and crimp and roll until it is completely closed. Place on a sheet pan with your other packets and place in a 350’F oven for about 15 minutes.
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Macros per packet using 3 spears of asparagus
212 Calories
23.5 Protein
24 Carbs
2.7 Fat

 

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Tis the season for the gardens to be cleaned out and prepped for next year!  It has been a pretty disappointing gardening season for me this year.  My garlic and onions were small, I didn’t get any cucumbers, my pepper and eggplant plants died and I may have gotten 10 squash in total. It wasn’t a total loss I still have a couple of enormous cabbages and I still have some rainbow beets and rainbow carrots that I am leaving in the ground until I need to take them out.
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So processing produce has been kept to a minimum this year and that is OK with me; though who eats that much cabbage? I know we don’t I gave some to my family but they wouldn’t even take one of the huge ones – gosh I can’t understand why…
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I did find a great recipe for Eggroll in a Bowl. Basically it is everything that goes into an eggroll minus the fried wrapper. I know that is probably the best part, this very easy and better for you. The first batch I made it was a little too spicy for my husband so I cut back on the crushed red pepper flakes and it still taste delish. Since I made it twice in a very short period of time, I ended up portioning it out and put them in the freezer. Great when/if you bring lunch to work and have access to a microwave.
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Egg Roll in a Bowl

Ingredients

9 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 medium onions, diced
1 1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup beef broth
4 teaspoon Tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 pound ground or diced chicken – can also use turkey or pork
Scallions for garnish

Instructions

using a large skillet cook the meat till browned, add the onions and sesame oil. cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium; add spices and broth and stir well.
Add the cabbage and stir to coat. Cook stirring frequently until the cabbage slightly wilts.
Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add tamari to taste and adjust flavorings as desired.
Serve plain or you can serve over rice
Garnish with green onions if desired.
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Macros – using diced chicken and 1 cup
97 Calories
2 Fat
16 Carbs
5.5 Protein

Pasta e Fagioli – similar to Olive Garden

Soup season came pretty quickly; at least for a couple of day. Nothing like going from 90’ to 40’ within a couple of days to start me thinking of making soup; literally any soup is fine with me. I do have a secret fantasy; well I guess it’s not a secret anymore; but to open a little soup shop. Kind of like a loaf and ladle kind of place. Because having a nice piece of bread with a warm cup of soup is just plain heaven to me.
IMG_5441I remember being in NY City quite a few year ago doing some sightseeing with my husband and we went looking for the Soup Nazi – you know the one that the show Seinfeld made a little more famous than he might have wanted to be. It really was a small hole in the wall kind of place on a side street and I thought it was simply brilliant. I can’t remember the exact wording but the sign said something like know what you want to order, have your money ready, place your order and move all the way to the left. Me being; well me I couldn’t stop smiling so I can only guess he knew I was only there because of the Seinfeld episode. My husband and I stepped up with our order and money ready, placed and paid and moved to the left. Apparently not far enough; or he played along; but we were pointed at and motioned to move further to the left. Still brings a smile to my face.
IMG_5439Anyway I loved how you got your soup, a spoon, napkin, an apple and a piece of bread ripped from a loaf all in  brown paper bag. What a great lunch; I would go there daily if I lived or worked close by. So simple yet so fulfilling.
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low, add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.
Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes. Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.
IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2

Chicken-Parm Sliders

There was some ground chicken in the fridge I needed to use up and the only thing I usually make with ground chicken is pan fried dumplings or an egg roll of some sort. I kind of wanted to be slightly more healthy than frying something so I came across a Chicken Parmesan Slider recipe that looked promising.  Plus it just  screams make me when I also have everything on hand. Well almost everything. I didn’t exactly have slider buns but I had some nice french rolls that would do the trick quite nicely.
IMG_5432These are great for a quick weeknight meal as they come together fast, they have great flavor are super moist and quite filling.  And did I say how easy they were to put together. I did think the burger was a little wet to work with but you need that so they stay moist. I would definitely make these again especially since my husband also liked them.
IMG_54242 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground chicken breast
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
⅛ tsp Kosher salt
¼  tsp black pepper
Few sprinkles crushed red pepper – to your liking
8 slices Mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves
8 slider buns or whatever small bun you have
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Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add oil swirling to coat add the chopped onions, oregano, and garlic; saute 3-4 minutes until softened. Place onion mixture in a large bowl; let it cool slightly. Add the ground chicken, parmesan, ½ cup marinara, salt and peppers to the onion mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands and shape into 8 ½ inch thick patties.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
IMG_5428Pre-heat your broiler along with a grill pan on medium-high heat.
Coat pan with some cooking spray. Add the patties and cook about 10 minutes or until done, turning once.
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Toast your buns if you wish; arrange bottom halves of the buns on a baking sheet. Place 1 patty on each roll. Top with 1 tablespoon marinara and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Broil until the cheese melts. Top with basil and the top halve of the buns.

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2 Sliders
408 Calories
12.9 grams Fat
35 grams Protein
37 grams Carbs
4 grams Fiber



Recipe adapted from cooking light magazine

Ground Turkey Chili

I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago trying to pay a little more attention to what I was eating. Well it has been a pretty slow process for me. I refuse to eat something healthy that I can’t stand the taste of just because it’s healthier. In the same breath I have definitely gone the other way and also refuse to waste calories on something that isn’t worth it.  I’ve spit out gum, candy and baked goods  and deemed them not calorie worthy.
IMG_5419So this last week I bought extra lean ground turkey and some ground chicken with absolutely no idea what to do with them, but I knew they were better for me than my lovely Ribeye that I cooked last week wink wink.
IMG_5412So I set myself a task of turning 94% lean ground turkey into something delicious. Or at the very least something I could eat and not throw away. It was surprisingly easy; a few pantry items and some spices I made a wonderful Ground Turkey Chili. I had intended to take one of the cans of beans and smash them to thicken the stew but I forgot and just added it but the next time I might, just to make it a little thicker, though totally not necessary.
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Ground Turkey Chili
1 lb ground turkey
Swirl or two extra virgin olive oil
1 10 oz can rotel
1 15.8 oz great northern beans
1 16 oz can pinto beans
1 15 oz can white hominy
1 32 oz low sodium chicken broth – or homemade
1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small bulbs shallots diced
1 medium green pepper seeded & chopped – I added this because I needed to use it up
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Handful fresh spinach leaves – I added this also to use it up
3-4 drops of sriracha hot chili sauce – to taste
IMG_5415It’s best to take everything out and put it on the counter and chop all the vegetables.
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In a dutch oven or your favorite soup pot. Swirl a little oil in the bottom, add the onions, garlic, green pepper and shallots, sweat for a couple of minutes, add the turkey and brown. Add cumin, salt and pepper then the beans and hominy. Cover with broth and toss in a handful of the spinach. Finish off with some sriracha and taste for salt.

Tastes even better the next day; according to my husband!
IMG_5414I am going to try to start including this information with my recipes; I will do my best but forgive me if they all don’t include it

Serving size: 1 cup
Makes: approx. 12 cups
Calories: 206.53
Fat: 3.56 g
Carbs: 31.78 g
Protein: 13.77 g

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BBQ Steak, Sweet Potato & Squash

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My family has re-discovered the outside patio area. We; well actually I wanted a sitting area on the patio. Not just any sitting area I wanted someplace where we can; after a long hard day of working we could sit and relax comfortably. I finally pulled the trigger on an outdoor couch and we LOVE it!  We make plans of when we could meet, what we are going to drink and who has to get up and make dinner.

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Looks pretty comfortable huh? 

With the nights already getting shorter meals have to be something quick to throw together just so no one has to be away from lounging on the patio for too long. What fun would it be if I spent an hour in the kitchen while they are out there chilling out. No fun at all.

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As long as the raw meat doesn’t touch the tray; you can use it to take everything off the grill

Here is something so surprisingly delicious but so crazy easy that anyone can make this meal and you won’t hear any complaints from the loungers

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I use a little tinfoil so I don’t lose the veggies

Steak – you cannot go wrong with Ribeyes
Squash – whichever kind you like or both
Sweet potato or whatever you have on hand
Large Onion peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

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You still get grill marks even while using tinfoil

That’s it!  Take the steaks out before you start anything else, they are best when the come to room temperature; season liberally with Salt and Pepper and put aside.
Start the grill, Slice the veggies and potatoes. Season those with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grab a sheet pan or whatever you use when you grill and head outside. I have a little plastic basket I put all the supplies I need like the plates, utensils and tinfoil etc. And I usually only have to come back in for a refill of my wine.

Have a wonderful long labor day weekend!

 

Basil Garlic Pesto

This summer has been pretty rough on my gardens. I lost my peppers, eggplants and all but 2 cucumber plants. My squash plants have been flowering quite a bit but not producing like in years past. Not to say we haven’t been eating anything, we have some wonderful potatoes, carrots, beets and apparently I only know how to grow enormous cabbages; who knew!
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he one up side are my herbs; they are amazing this year so much so I think I need to do some research on how to start drying them. I’ve never attempted drying my own herbs; how hard can it be right? Stay tuned!
IMG_5393Basil being one of my favorite herbs but never really having great luck in growing it in abundance; until this year, this is the first time I didn’t have to pick up a package from the store in order to make my yummy pesto.
IMG_5375I had taken out of the freezer some bone in skin on chicken quarters the other day that I needed to cook up. I can’t express enough that a liberal amount of kosher salt and black pepper on both sides and baked in the oven for about 45 minutes on 400’F and you will have the most tasty piece of chicken that honestly doesn’t need anything else but to cover it with a little garlic basil pesto and ahhhhhhh a simple but glorious dinner. I used my trusty little vegetable swirler; I don’t even remember what it’s really called; but for about $20 a few years it is pretty cool!. A small diced up onion sauteing in a little olive oil and add your swirled veggies a little salt and pepper and in a quick 3-4 minutes you have a wonderful side.
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IMG_5392Basil Pesto

6 Ounces of washed and dried basil leaves, stems removed
4 Ounces of pine nut
6-8 Cloves of Garlic
2 Ounces of grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil – Salt and Pepper
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Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor or blender, pulse to combine. Add olive oil until you get the consistency you like, finish by adding the Parmesan cheese a little salt and pepper pulsing until combined.  Enjoy with and/or on just about anything.

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