RK Tip of the Week|Hey baby, what’s cookin’?

Posted on January 20, 2010

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Remember that ad jingle, “I feel like chicken tonight…chicken tonight!” I can say that most nights of the week, I do not agree. I rarely feel like chicken tonight & I’d imagine if you’ve been doing the “healthy kick” since Jan 1, you’ve been doing a lot of baked chicken for its’ healthy-ness & may be waning on your interest in that go-to healthy meal.

Side note: Chicken is a go-to healthy meal IF you’re buying pastured, organic birds – which IS possible to do if you go looking around your local Whole Foods or order online from local farmers. If you’re not buying these “better birds,” you’re getting a product that, well, in the interest of not getting sued…watch this:

So this week, I bring you 4 recipes for so healthy and so good dinners! I really enjoy cooking, so much so, that eating at home trumps eating out almost every time, with exception to when it’s just good to go see friends or it’s a special meal that you just don’t as well do at home.

Eating at home saves you money, a lot of money! It can ensure that you get a high-quality meal and correct portion size that will support your optimal wellness & fitness goals! – and it really doesn’t matter if you’re cooking for 1 or for 4- it’s always worth cooking for whoever you’re cooking for!

My take on cooking is simple – let the ingredients stand on their own – just bring their best qualities to the foreground. Here you’ll find simple recipes, easy prep work, and a final product that is free of heavy sauces or a heavy hand of any kind. So get crazy, bust out of your baked chicken rut & get cooking something new! On the menu tonight…

Seasoned Baked Barramundi with Warmed Vegetable Salad &

Seared Sweet & Tangy Salmon with Warmed Kale & Shallot Salad

Seasoned Baked Barramundi with Warmed Vegetable Salad

  •  – The fish: Savory flavor, firm texture, no “fishy” taste, cooks fast from frozen
  • The salad: Versatile to whatever you’ve got in the fridge, leftover salad stands up well
  • *Time saving tip!* I do not generally wait for the oven to fully heat up- real cooks would probably flip knowing this is about my meal, but when you get home from work at 8:15pm & you’d like to eat by 9 to be in bed by 10…you’re not really interested in waiting for an oven to heat up.

Continue reading for full recipes & pictures…

Ingredients:

  • 1 large filet of barramundi per 2 people
  • 1 large pat of butter – this really enhances the flavor & texture!
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Ground black pepper
  • Seasoning blend: either use BRAGG’S Organic Sprinkle, the best seasoning blend of all time with 24 herbs & spices already in it!, or pull out these seasonings: chili powder, garlic powder, dried cilantro, tarragon
  • 1/4 sweet yellow onion, diced

Recipe:

  • Barramundi can be found in your frozen fish section, finding it fresh will be totally dependant on your store.
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Put frozen fish on a baking sheet covered in foil. Spray foil with olive oil cooking spray.
  • Season fish with several sprigs of fresh thyme, ground black pepper,  & Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle or your seasoning blend.
  • To do the seasoning: 1/2 tsp cilantro, 1/2 tsp tarragon, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less to your tastes, but you want this thing seasoned well)
  • Slice pat of butter into smaller pieces & place around the top of the fish
  • Put in the oven – preferably at fully heated temp, but if not, it will still work – for 12 mins.
  • Begin checking for done-ness after 12 mins, especially if you put it in before the oven beeped to tell you it was ready – fish is done when thickest part flakes when you put a fork in it.

Warmed Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:

  • Pull out whatever veg you have in the fridge. OR, as you’re perusing the aisles at the store & seeing the lackluster quality of the majority of the veg, pick a few things, and a hearty leaf lettuce like spinach or kale.
  • I used: organic spinach- 4 handfuls for 2 people, beets- 3 for 2 people, & asparagus- as much as you’d like
  • Feta cheese, 1 slice per person, cut into small pieces
  • Olive oil to heat pan, use the cap to measure 3/4 of a cap-full

Recipe:

  • Heat pan to medium-low heat. Add olive oil.
  • Add asparagus. Let cook 4 mins. Turn once after 4 mins.
  • Add spinach, using tongs turn to coat with oil. It’s going to shrink down tremendously.
  • Set timer for 7 mins, as your whole salad will be done in that time & you’ll want to add beets for last 3 mins of cook time.
  • Continue turning contents of skillet to ensure even cooking & wilting of spinach.
  • Add beets for last 3 mins of cooking, continue turning salad.
  • When leaves are wilted, but not cooked so far to be stringy remnants of themself, pull pan off heat & plate.
  • Top with feta cheese. Serve!

Seared Sweet & Tangy Salmon with Warmed Kale & Shallot Salad

This was a hugely surprising favorite this week at my house! Again, getting home after 8pm from work & needing food, like, 10 mins ago. Now, I’ve been afraid of my broiler for a long time because I live in a complex where they provide you with the appliances, so is this the “ideal chef’s oven”? Umm, no. Other times I’ve broiled stuff, it’s been, well, gross. Turns out, I just needed this sweet & tangy dressing to go over top to ‘protect’ my food from the less-than-awesome broiler in my stove. If I can make this work, then I know you’re going to have amazing results with your self-purchased oven that actually cooks things well!

Starting your kids off on fish and worried about them liking it? This would be a great starting place for its’ sweetness, crispiness, and tangy flavor. I did this recipe thinking, well, hope this works out or else we’ll be hungry tonight & was so surprised when it came out looking like it was actually cooked in a restaurant, with its browned & caramalized top!

And if you’ve read the blog for a while, you know kale is a favorite of mine for its’ bountiful health properties & surprisingly hearty flavor.

Seared Sweet & Tangy Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 2 4-5 oz. salmon filets (1 per person)
  • The following items all mixed together well, per 2 filets:
  • 1/2 Tbsp of butter (1 large pat), melted
  • 2 squirts of honey (approx. 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Recipe:

  • Place oven rack on top rung, so it’s approx. 4 inches from broiler.
  • Preheat broiler.
  • Place frozen fish on pie pan or baking sheet lined with foil, skin side UP
  • Once broiler is hot, put fish in oven & broil for 5 mins.
  • Take fish out, turn skin side DOWN & broil 5mins more.
  • Take fish out, check fork tenderness of fish now to ensure it’s almost done cooking, & spoon topping over entire top of fish, covering entire area.
  • Return to broiler for 3mins, or until top is caramelizing, starting to bubble. Serve!
  • *Your broiler may vary on cooking time, so if it’s over- or under-done the first time, then you know for next time to reduce cooking times.

Warmed Kale & Shallot Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Two large bunches kale, ripped in pieces from stems, per 2 people
  • 1 shallot, cut into slices lengthwise
  • 3 beets, cut into wedges (get the pre-steamed ones in the produce section of the grocery)

Recipe:

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in pan at medium-low heat.
  • Add shallot & stir often until softened.
  • Add kale that has been ripped into pieces & turn to coat.
  • Set timer for 7 minutes & turn regularly to ensure even cooking; ensure shallots are mixing in with the kale and not sticking in the bottom of the pan- this will give great flavor to the kale & will keep the shallots from burning
  • Add the beets in the last 3 minutes. Serve!

I hope you’re sufficiently hungry now & excited to go try something different in the kitchen soon! To me, baked chicken is just so ho-hum, so it’s imperative to have alternatives that are jam packed with flavor & are minimalistic on ingredients.

Remember, the food that goes in your mouth is what is creating your newly replenished cells. What kind of building blocks do you want to give them?

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