Monday, August 31, 2015

Maque Choux

Today I made cajun marinated chicken (which I totally forgot to take a picture of... evidence of how fast we ate them... don't worry I'll make it again!) and needed a side dish.  I stumbled on this New Orleans side and decided it would be perfect!  Corn is in season right now and I didn't need to turn on the oven, I was sold!
When I set out to make this, I unfortunately couldn't use my "holy trinity" in this dish (onions, bell peppers, and celery) because I used all my pepper in the Tex Mex Sweet Potato Salad I made the day before.  Whoops!  I doubled the celery, and didn't really miss it, but it would have added a nice sweetness to the dish.  I included it in here for you guys, but if you don't have any pepper, you can double the celery, I promise.

Maque Choux

Maque Choux

Ingredients:
3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup tomato, finely diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon parsley
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the corn, tomatoes, cream, and parsley and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree 1/4 of the corn mixture.
Mix in the green onions, season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Salad

I really needed a side dish for my cilantro lime salmon and this seemed like a perfect solution!  I'm not a huge fan of overly mayonnaise-y potato salads, so I really wanted something that would fill me up without being too much.
This potato salad uses a homemade honey mustard dressing that feels like a nice light solution to mayo.  I halved the dressing recipe for you guys because there was a ton in the bottom of the bowl when I was done.  
This recipe is also very easily made vegan, substitute agave or maple syrup for the honey!

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Salad

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients:
about 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 jumbo), washed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced 
1 cup corn (I use frozen that I allowed to thaw)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, minced
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Add the sweet potatoes in an even, flat layer. Evenly drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until fork-tender and done. Halfway through baking flip potatoes to ensure even cooking. Baking time will vary, I recommend starting to check at 30 minutes for doneness.
Add the green onions, red pepper, corn, cilantro to a large bowl; set aside.
Add the honey, dijon mustard, lime juice, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper, optional cayenne pepper to a medium bowl, whisk to combine; set aside.
After potatoes are cooked, add them to the bowl with the beans and vegetables, add the sauce, and toss to combine. Taste, check for seasoning balance, make any necessary tweaks, and serve. Potato salad can be served warm, at room temp, or chilled.  
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Averie at Averie Cooks

Cilantro Lime Salmon

Ever since Matt came back from Santa Fe, he has had a hankering for salmon; Santa Fe is not a hot bed for seafood, you know, being in a desert.  I came across this recipe from Closet Cooking, a blog I've been following for a long time and thought it sounded perfect!  I did not realize however, that my cilantro had gone bad, so this is a little sparse on cilantro, I had to scavenge around for a few good leaves.  Oh well!
I paired this with Tex Mex Sweet Potato Salad and it was a great meal!

Cilantro Lime Salmon

Cilantro Lime Salmon

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. oil
1 lime, juice and zest
2 Tbsp. cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. salmon, either one big filet, or split into 2

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400.
Combine oil, lime juice and zest, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
Rub oil mixture on salmon and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until salmon is cooked to your liking.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Brown Sugar Baked Peaches

Tonight I really wanted something sweet for dessert, but I didn't want to make a whole batch of cookies or brownies.  I remembered I had pinned a recipe for baked peaches recently, and as luck would have it, I had bought peaches!  The weather was finally cool enough to turn on the oven, it seemed like fate.
These were great because they took about 5 seconds to prepare and they smell delicious as they're cooking.  They were super yummy and took away my craving for some sugar while remaining somewhat healthy.  Perfect!

Brown Sugar Baked Peaches


Brown Sugar Baked Peaches

Ingredients:
1 peach
*1 tsp. butter, divided (to save even more calories, I used Smart Balance)
2 tsp. brown sugar, divided
cinnamon, to taste

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375.
Halve peach and remove pit.
Place skin side down in baking dish.
Place 1/2 tsp. of butter and 1 tsp. brown sugar in each peach half.  Sprinkle both sides with cinnamon.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen is my Playground

*You could also use a different butter substitute and make these vegan!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Skinny Off the Cob Mexican Street Corn

Have you ever had Mexican street corn?  It's very tasty, cheesy, and messy.  However, one thing it is not is healthy.  It's full of mayonnaise and cheese.  This version is lightened up with Greek yogurt and made a little less messy by going off the cob- it's still packed with flavor though!


Do you see all the cheesy gooeyness?  I promise it's good for you!



I served this with Mexican Spice Crusted Salmon for a low carb meal!


Skinny Off the Cob Mexican Street Corn

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 12 oz. package frozen corn
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cotija or feta cheese
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt, to taste

Preparation:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt butter.  Once butter is melted, add package of corn.  Saute until cooked through and the liquid is evaporated.
While corn is cooking, combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
Add corn to Greek yogurt mixture.
Combine.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Double Dipped Life

Mexican Spice Crusted Salmon

I love salmon.  I could live everyday on salmon, with an occasional steak thrown in.  After coming back from New Mexico, I have had a craving for fish, as evidenced by my fish tacos... I have also had crab cakes and I even had crab cake eggs benedict for brunch today, I can't get enough!  Perhaps it's because being in the desert for a month has left me with a hankering for it.  Perhaps it's because salmon was super on sale today.  Whatever the reason, this salmon was yummy!
The best thing about this spice rub (besides the fact that it's yummy!) is that because it's equal parts of everything, it's easy to half to make a dinner for one, or double for a dinner for four!

Mexican Spice Crusted Salmon

Mexican Spice Crusted Salmon

Ingredients:
2 salmon filets
1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Avocado (optional)
Pickled Onions (optional)

Preparation:
Combine salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, onion powder, and pepper in a small bowl.  Pat on the outside of the salmon.  Keep in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Take salmon out of fridge.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add oil.
When oil is hot, add salmon.
Cook skin side down (if you filets have skin) for 4 minutes.  Flip and cook an additional 4 minutes.
Top with avocado and pickled onion, if you wish!
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Laylita's Recipes

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Sauce and Pickled Onions

These tacos are amazing.  My only complaint is that because Matt is still in Santa Fe and Alyssa doesn't eat fish, I only made one piece... I wish I had more.  I even thought about just wrapping up the sauce and some pickled onions in a tortilla and eating that.  (I didn't.)
These tacos tasted like the ones you get at a restaurant, but healthier because I didn't fry the fish, trust me, it doesn't need to be fried.
Also, I now know why restaurants normally double up the corn tortillas... mine crumbled up, but I just grabbed a fork and ate them up.
I'm planning on crab cakes tomorrow and am stoked to top them with the leftover sauce and onions!

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Sauce and Pickled Onions

Fish Tacos

For the Pickled Onions:
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove gaarlic
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Add sliced onions to a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over onions so that they are covered. Count to 10, then drain.
Toast cinnamon, cloves and the red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.
Whisk in vinegar, lime juice, a 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until sugar and salt have dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour brine over onions.
Allow to stand at room temperature until cooled, cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

For the Cilantro Sauce:
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup mayo
½ tsp lime (I used lemon because I used all the lime for the onions, so actually, either is fine)
1 handful of cilantro..I like a lot, I usually add more than a handfull
1 Tbsp. onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor. Blend until creamy, cilantro won't really blend, but that's okay!.  Transfer to the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving (this part is necessary for the ingredients to really shine!) Enjoy!

For the Fish Tacos

2 4 oz. mahi mahi filets
2 Tbsp. butter
4 corn tortillas (or 8 if you want to double up)
4 leaves red leaf lettuce
Salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
Cilantro Sauce, above
Pickled Onions, above
Cilantro, to taste

Place nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add butter and allow to melt.
Meanwhile, cut filets in half (it's easier to fit in tortillas), season both sides with cumin, salt, and pepper, to taste.
Place fish in pan, cook both sides about 4 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
While fish is cooking, heat up tortillas; I like to do mine over the burner for a few seconds, but if you have an electric stove do it in the microwave!
Assemble fish tacos with lettuce on the bottom, add fish, then top with a dollop of cilantro sauce and some pickled onions.  Add cilantro, if you would like!
Enjoy!

Recipe for pickled onions adapted from Adam and Joanne at Inspired Taste
Recipe for Cilantro sauce adapted from Sherron at Simply Gourmet

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Black Beans and Rice

I'm about to go back to Philly, so this is my last post from Santa Fe :(  Also, Matt is staying (because it's his job!) for an extra week and a half so I figured instead of him eating cereal every night for dinner, I would make him a few meals.  Ziti happened because I was trying to use up a bunch of things in the fridge and I also made him these black beans and rice.
Going into my cooking, I was more excited for the ziti, but after tasting these, they are so good.  You could use them as a side for simple grilled chicken, or use them as a filling in tacos. They could also be a main dish with a salad on the side for a light summer meal!
These are also super easy to make vegetarian/vegan, just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and you are done!

Black Beans and Rice


Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup basmati rice (or you can use regular white rice)
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian/vegan version)
3/4 tsp. taco seasoning
2 cups black beans

Preparation:
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add onion, and sauté 3 minutes, until onion is tender. Add pepper and garlic, sauté one minute longer.
Add uncooked rice, and stir, toasting it for about 2 minutes. .
Add stock and taco seasoning. Stir together, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, according to rice package directions, usually 15-20 minutes.
Remove lid, stir in beans, and cover again. Turn off heat, and let stand for 3 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Andi at The Weary Chef

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mango Salsa

Mango salsa screams summer.  Fresh flavors, plus being in New Mexico, it seemed like a no brainer.  I made this as an appetizer for dinner with a few friends, but then ended up putting it on the turkey burgers I made.  (It was also good on some bean and cheese tacos I had for lunch the next day).  This salsa is super easy and the flavors speak for themselves.

Mango Salsa


Mango Salsa

Ingredients:
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced (about 3 cups)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1 lime, juiced
Salt, to taste

Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Season lightly with salt, to taste.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pork Florentine

Pork Florentine sounds very fancy, looks very fancy, but is not that hard to make, my favorite!  Plus it's healthy because of the spinach... right?  (Definitely not, but that's okay).
The great thing about florentine is that you can florentine just about anything... don't eat pork?  No problem!  You can make chicken florentine or salmon florentine or tofu florentine!  (I haven't tried that one, so let me know how it goes!)  The florentine sauce is super yummy and a great splurge for a chilly fall night.

Pork Florentine


Pork Florentine

Ingredients:
10 oz of baby spinach leaves, chopped into large pieces
1 lb of thinly sliced boneless pork chops (about 4 to 5 chops)
4 tablespoons of flour, divided
½ of a white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of chicken broth
½ cup of heavy cream
1 cup of grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
3 Tbsp. Olive oil

Preparation:
In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and saute until wilted. Lightly season with salt, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Place 2 tablespoons of flour in a shallow bowl and lightly dredge the chops, shaking off any excess flour. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until brown on both sides and completely cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
Slowly add the chicken broth and heavy cream, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let simmer until sauce thickens. (This happened for me in about 2 minutes).
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the spinach and Parmesan.
Plate the chops, top with the spinach cream sauce and eat.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Egg Me On