Salmon Salad, a 20 minute meal

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Yes I’m a food blogger.  Yes I love to cook.  And, yes there are nights that like everybody else I just don’t want to even think about cooking.  Nights when I have no motivation or energy to do so and no idea what to make.

Sometimes I turn to take-out but the question of “what do you want to pick up?” is often worse than “what are you making for dinner?”  I swear sometimes by the time we finally decide on what to order for takeout I could have cooked a four course gourmet meal.

This is where your pantry, freezer and refrigerator really come in handy.  One of my favorite items to keep on hand are salmon burgers.  They are delicious, packed with protein and very versatile.  I serve them with some instant brown rice and a vegetable (frequently a frozen veggie also from the freezer) and a complete meal is on the table in 20 minutes.  They’re great put on a bun with a couple condiments of your choice with a side salad.

This particular salad was thrown together by looking in the refrigerator for miscellaneous produce and items in jars in the refrigerator door.  I started with a bed of arugula (any green would do) and added a handful of broccoli slaw mix from a bag, mild banana pepper rings, some chopped fresh basil from the garden and  some chopped cucumber.  The salmon burger cooks from frozen in the oven in 20 minutes.  Top the salad with the dressing of your choice and the salmon burger and you’ve got a great meal; delicious, nutritious and best of all super quick!

This same no brainer meal can be duplicated with a veggie burger, chicken burger or sirloin burger.  I just really love these salmon burgers though.  They seem a bit more gourmet and they feel like a real treat as they’re so meaty and tasty.

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Asian Pasta Salad

Asian.Pasta.Salad4I’ve really been on an Asian-inspired cuisine kick lately.  I just love the flavor profile and I think the light fresh ingredients can be combined so nicely in a variety of dishes, great for summer cooking.  My latest is an Asian Pasta salad.  I’ve used the sesame ginger dressing that I use on my cabbage slaw and it really flavors the pasta nicely.

One of my techniques for quick and easy weeknight dinners is having a repertoire of ingredients and flavors that I can combine into a variety of dishes; over greens for a salad, with pasta, rice or quinoa, in a Panini or over a chicken breast.  This is a great way to keep a few key ingredients on hand and be able to use them to make different dishes.

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Asian Pasta Salad
 
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Author:
Recipe type: pasta salad
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • For the Pasta Salad:
  • 1 box of Farfalle (bow tie) pasta noodles - or your favorite variety of pasta - cooked according to package directions
  • 1 bag of frozen shelled edamame - cooked according to package directions
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups of shredded carrots
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts - chopped
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • For the dressing:
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Just over ½ cup sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated on the microplane
  • 1-1/2 inch round piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated on the microplane
Instructions
  1. Rinse the pasta in cold water after cooking and allow to cool.
  2. Mix the veggies into the pasta.
  3. Place all dressing ingredients into a Mason jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well combined.
  4. Add approximately ½ cup of the dressing and stir into the salad.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. When you're ready to serve the pasta salad, add an additional ¼ cup dressing or to taste.
  7. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the pasta and serve.

Sundried Tomato and Mustard Chicken Breasts

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This was another pulled-from-the-pantry dinner.  Honestly, I would have never thought of putting these 3 ingredients together but it worked and had a lot of flavor, good flavor I might add.

Sundried Tomato and Mustard Chicken Breasts
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - any fat trimmed off
  • ¼ cup deli style mustard - you can use any mustard you like.  I prefer the grainy flavorful deli style
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons capers - drained
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray the bottom of a glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray or drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and season with Koser salt and black pepper.
  4. Spread the mustard evenly on top of the chicken breasts.
  5. Place the sun dried tomatoes on top of the chicken breasts.
  6. Sprinkle the capers over the chicken.
  7. Cover the pan with foil and cook for 30-40 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts.  Cook to an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Turkey Stroganoff…Who me? Cheating?

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I’m an advocate for nutrition and the importance of eating all natural, fresh foods.  I’m passionate about it and I really do believe it’s the secret to looking and feeling your best.  That said, I’m frequently asked “don’t you ever cheat Lisa?”  The answer to that question is of course…well, ummmm, kind-a-sort of.  This dish is a delicious example of a nutritionally sound meal that contains a “cheat” ingredient.  That ingredient is an item from my “cantry” (a canned good pantry); healthy request cream of mushroom soup.  I do like the versatility and flavor cream soups can provide.  I definitely don’t stray from the healthy request variety though.  And hey, if it’s good enough for one of my food blogger idols, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, then it’s good enough for me; at least once in awhile.

Ingredients:

1 box of whole grain egg noodles, penne, rotini or your favorite variety of pasta

1 pound of ground turkey

1 can of healthy request cream of mushroom soup

1/2 – 3/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water

1 small onion, diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons dried Italian seasoning blend

black pepper

1 Tablespoon butter

3 cups of sliced button mushrooms

2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Sautee the mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of butter and a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until they soften up a bit, about 3 minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and sautee for an additional 2 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet brown the ground turkey, 1 Tbsp of the Italian seasoning mix and the onion until the turkey is fully cooked.  Add the can of mushroom soup and the reserved pasta water to thin the soup and make a nice sauce.  Stir in the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning and black pepper.  Add the mushrooms with the juice into the sauce.  Simmer until the sauce warms through.

Serve the sauce over the noodles.

 

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