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

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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Weeknight Beef Tenderloin and Veggies

Summer months around here can sometimes be hectic as I am sure most of yours can be as well. Last night I spent 3 hours weeding my garden beds. That sounds like I should have a HUGE garden; well I actually have technically 6 raised beds of various sizes; they are all pretty large with one; the one I like the least being huge. It’s not my favorite because I can’t sit on the side and reach for the weeds like my others; I have to walk into it avoiding all the plants to get all the weeds. I am definitely spoiled with my other beds and I like it. Because life is busy I don’t spend every day out there, I tend to weed 3 or 4 times throughout the season and literally pick EVERY weed out of each bed; which is why it takes me so long.
IMG_5320Anyway when life is busy it’s really nice to have a quick painless meal in your back pocket. There is no take-out delivery service in my area so I tend to cook most nights. I am fairly certain that even if there were I would still cook more since I love making something delicious and using up what I have in the fridge and pantry.
IMG_5314One dish meals are wonderful on so many levels, they go together quite quickly, there is  less mess, less clean up and usually they have the opportunity to meld all of their flavors together creating a quite cohesive dish. Plus I really like the quicker clean up. I would like to say that I don’t have to clean the kitchen since I am the one making dinner; but more times than not, I end up getting back in the kitchen to clean it more of the way I like it. The fam may do the dishes but I actually clean all the surfaces so it’s ready for the next time I want to create something yummy.
IMG_5316I had picked up one of those packages of pre-seasoned beef tenderloins to have on hand when we had all the family around a couple of weeks ago. I know they tend to have too much sodium in them, but they do serve their purpose and once in awhile is OK with me. This is a peel, chop and dump kind of recipe. Believe it or not I do not have a small rack that fits in any of my 9 x 13 pans crazy I know right? So this is when your sides become the rack for you. Peel some potatoes and veggies along with some onions for added flavor a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some fresh herbs like rosemary YUM!

Potatoes – chopped
Carrots – chopped
Onions – sliced
Fresh rosemary – chopped
Beef Tenderloin
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Spray or oil your dish, chop the onions and veggies and add them to your dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and the rosemary. Using your hands, or spoon to mix everything up together. Then place your tenderloin over the veggies. Cook not covered for 30-50 minutes depending on the size of the meat. Remove the meat when it is done and put the veggies back in the oven while the meat rests, another 10 minutes. Take out an enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Spareribs

We are getting very close to the end of March and we still have a ridiculous amount of snow on the ground. It is actually snowing as I sit here writing this blog.  Us up here in the North East are itching to get outside, I have already started planning what I want to grow in my garden this year. I also have a Beef Tri Tip steak that I REALLY want to cook out on the grill.  Unfortunately the weather is NOT cooperating at all and even though I have done it before cooking outside in the “winter” is not fun.
IMG_5016It’s funny how people including myself have certain meals they eat at certain times during the years. Colder months people want soups and stews, warmer months they want burgers and pastas. I do use my grill quite a bit in the summer. Some people put their slow cookers aka crockpots away in the summer. I do not, I will use it whenever I need a little break from the stove/oven/grill. It makes great pulled pork anytime and in the dog days of summer it is a great way to have a nice dinner ready for you when you get home. Bonus you don’t have to overheat the house because you don’t need to turn on the stove or oven.

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I pulled out an old recipe that my sister shared with me before I had kids, maybe even before I was married and had my own home.  Yeah it’s that old but it is pretty darn delicious and super easy. You might even have most everything on hand.  It comes together in less than 10 minutes. Cooks all day while you are at work, or out enjoying the day and voila dinner is served.
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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Spareribs

1 large can of crushed pineapple
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Boneless spare ribs or whatever your favorite ones are
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Place the ribs in the bottom of your slow cooker, in a small bowl combine all the other ingredients and then pour over the ribs. Cook on low all day. When you get home you can make some mashed potatoes, egg noodles or polenta.
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Have to share that I spent 10 minutes or less making the ribs and then decided to make polenta for the first time in my life, which took me a good 30+ minute to make.  I even laughed at myself while I was doing it.

Italian Wedding soup

We have had some crazy weather here in NH of late. We had 3 huge snow storms one week and the next week we get up into the high 60’s and some places into the 70’s for a whole week. We went from 3 feet of snow to just a dusting. I really don’t think winter is over yet, I am sure we will have at least one more snowstorm. We are just not that lucky.  We did have 4 days in a row of record breaking warmth and on day 5 we paid for it. It’s super windy aka power outage windy and very cold. We still have power but you just never know.  img_4974
I don’t always have a lot of spare time on the weekends. I am either running errands or hanging out with friends but I had a long weekend last weekend and not a lot of plans so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I made 2 different kinds of meatballs, one for italian wedding soup and the other just to have in the freezer so we could just drop in a sauce for spaghetti or have yummy meatball grinders. I also took the leftover pasta from this soup and made macaroni and cheese.  The next day I made chocolate chip cookies, the one I blogged about and are a little obsessed over of late; along with banana nut bread; I had 3 overripe bananas and oatmeal cream sandwich cookies, I lovingly dubbed big debbies. They taste just like the little debbies that I will admit I used to buy once in awhile.

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Italian Wedding Soup


Meatballs
1 egg
¾ cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
½ dried breadcrumbs
1 small onion diced and sauted
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds ground beef

Broth
2 quarts chicken broth
⅓ cup spinach, frozen or fresh
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl and add the ground beef, mix till combined, try not to overmix/work the beef.  Shape into 1 inch balls, no bigger.  Mine I felt could have been even smaller so they would have been a better small bite versus having to slice them in half.
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Cook your pasta separately and add it at the very end along with the meatballs. You can use the same pot if you want to save some clean up. Cook the pasta first and set aside.
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In a dutch oven or similar pan cook the meatballs over medium heat till cooked. No need to brown them like I did unless you want to. It does change the taste of the soup and a little more depth but entirely your choice!

In the same pan, drain the fat and add the garlic; cook for 1 minute, then add the broth, spinach, onion powder, parsley simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or so.  Add the meatball and pasta heat through and serve.