Category Archives: Salmon

Easy Grilled Salmon

The best meals are often the simplest. Take grilled salmon, for example. When my husband and I want to splurge on a meal to celebrate, we browse the seafood counter at Publix and select something extravagant. We’re still paying only half what the meal would cost in a restaurant, and that’s not including tips or cocktails. ☺

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RECIPE

Grilled Salmon Fillets for Two

Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon fillets, approximately 5-6 ounces each
  • 1 zucchini squash cut into ribbons (I use my SpiraLife)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • ¼ sweet onion, julienned
  • 1 sweet pepper, julienned
  • 1 Tbsp. Herbes de Provence
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) fresh basil sprigs

Directions:

  1. Place zucchini, onion, and pepper in a small (1-quart) saucepan over low heat. If you aren’t using waterless cookware, be sure to add at least a Tbsp. water. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes.
  2. Preheat cast iron grill pan over medium heat.
  3. Combine olive oil, herbs, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Rub both sides of each fillet.
  4. Place fillets in preheated grill pan and immediately lower heat. Position the thinner portions of each fillet toward the edge of the pan, farther from the center of heat source to avoid overcooking. Time for five minutes.
  5. Carefully turn each fillet using a spatula. Time for an additional five minutes.
  6. After five minutes, check the thickest part of the salmon for doneness. Do not overcook. If the fish has turned a lighter shade of pink, immediately remove pan from heat. If the middle appears raw, cook for a couple minutes more, taking care not to overcook the salmon.
  7. Remove zucchini mixture from heat. Using tongs, divide the vegetable noodles and place on two plates.
  8. Plate the salmon beside the “noodles.” Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil if desired. Serve immediately with your choice of roll and beverage.

I recommend buying wild caught in USA salmon rather than farm-raised.

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A Pantry Staple: Salmon Croquettes

Stuck for a hasty, tasty, and healthful entree? My standby is salmon croquettes. I keep a couple of cans of premium wild Alaskan pink salmon in my pantry. Similar to crab cakes, croquettes are nutritious and also a good way to stretch your grocery dollars.

I learned to make salmon croquettes when I was 18. My recipe and method has changed little through the years. Here it is:

RECIPE

Salmon Croquettes

Serves Three

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.75 oz. can salmon
  • 8-10 saltines, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped sweet pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Drain canned salmon of liquid. Bones are optional–leave them in or remove them. (I usually pull them out and eat them before I cook).
  2. Combine drained salmon, crushed saltines, onion, pepper, and egg in a 1 quart bowl or measuring pitcher.
  3. Preheat a large cast iron skillet (or a stainless steel griddle) over medium.
  4. Using your hands, form 9 or 10 small patties of the salmon mixture.
  5. Spray skillet with cooking spray.
  6. Carefully brown both sides of the croquettes, turning them once after about five minutes. (If too browned, reduce heat).
  7. Serve with your choice of vegetables.

 

Salmon croquettes served with steamed broccoli and herbed carrots.

Salmon croquettes served with steamed broccoli and herbed carrots.

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Fast Food Can Be Healthful, too

By special request, here is an encore of a post from last year.

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Thaw salmon and season lightly

With quality cookware and ingredients, a supercharged healthy meal is less than half an hour away. On the menu: wild Alaskan salmon fillets, steamed broccoli with red bell pepper, and steamed butternut squash. The food is high in nutrients and antioxidents, especially if it’s not overcooked. I prefer steaming over low heat. More of a technique than a recipe, here is how to have a great and easy meal in a short time.

What you’ll need to make dinner for four: Four salmon fillets, two large bunches of broccoli, one red bell pepper, one medium butternut squash, Butter Buds or Molly McButter, and pumpkin pie spice mix.

Salmon: Be sure to buy wild Alaskan salmon. It may be pricey but it’s worth it, both in nutrition and taste. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. Place fillets in a dry, preheated skillet–skin side down. Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice. Cover, reduce heat to its lowest setting, and cook for fifteen minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek. Serve salmon with…

Butternut Squash: Rich in beta carotine, butternut squash often is overlooked. It doesn’t need butter, salt, or much of anything to season it. It’s tasty on its own.  To serve four, buy a medium size Butternut squash.

I cut the squash into long strips and scrape away the seeds. Then using the Kitchen Cutter and #1 cone, I grate the squash (you can use a hand grater or food processor if you don’t own a Kitchen Cutter). Steam the grated squash in a 1-quart covered sauce pan over low heat. As with the salmon, don’t lift the lid. As soon as the lid spins, turn off the heat and leave covered for about ten minutes. The cooked squash will be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice (Tying the flavor with the salmon) and stir.

The broccoli and red bell pepper make a colorful dish, rich in vitamins and fiber.  Wash one red bell pepper and enough broccoli flowerets to feed four. Julienne the pepper. Steam with broccoli in a covered two-quart sauce pan over low heat. As soon as the lid spins, turn off heat and leave covered for fifteen minutes for crisper vegetables, twenty for more tender. Sprinkle with Butter Buds or Molly McButter and serve.

Quality Cookware

Steam in covered pans over low heat

The three dishes take only about thirty minutes including prep time. Because the food is steamed over low heat, the pans come clean easily.  The food is delicious without a lot of additives or salt, and it’s figure-friendly.
Dinner!

Colorful and delicious.

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Filed under cooking, Fish, Healthful Eating, Salmon

Fast Food That’s Super Healthful

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Thaw salmon and season lightly

With quality cookware and ingredients, a supercharged healthy meal is less than half an hour away. On the menu: wild Alaskan salmon fillets, steamed broccoli with red bell pepper, and steamed butternut squash. The food is high in nutrients and antioxidents, especially if it’s not overcooked. I prefer steaming over low heat. More of a technique than a recipe, here is how to have a great and easy meal in a short time.

What you’ll need to make dinner for four: Four salmon fillets, two large bunches of broccoli, one red bell pepper, one medium butternut squash, Butter Buds or Molly McButter, and pumpkin pie spice mix.

Salmon: Be sure to buy wild Alaskan salmon. It may be pricey but it’s worth it, both in nutrition and taste. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. Place fillets in a dry, preheated skillet–skin side down. Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice. Cover, reduce heat to its lowest setting, and cook for fifteen minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek. Serve salmon with…

Butternut Squash: Rich in beta carotine, butternut squash often is overlooked. It doesn’t need butter, salt, or much of anything to season it. It’s tasty on its own.  To serve four, buy a medium size Butternut squash.

I cut the squash into long strips and scrape away the seeds. Then using the Kitchen Cutter and #1 cone, I grate the squash (you can use a hand grater or food processor if you don’t own a Kitchen Cutter). Steam the grated squash in a 1-quart covered sauce pan over low heat. As with the salmon, don’t lift the lid. As soon as the lid spins, turn off the heat and leave covered for about ten minutes. The cooked squash will be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice (Tying the flavor with the salmon) and stir.

The broccoli and red bell pepper make a colorful dish, rich in vitamins and fiber.  Wash one red bell pepper and enough broccoli flowerets to feed four. Julienne the pepper. Steam with broccoli in a covered two-quart sauce pan over low heat. As soon as the lid spins, turn off heat and leave covered for fifteen minutes for crisper vegetables, twenty for more tender. Sprinkle with Butter Buds or Molly McButter and serve.

Quality Cookware

Steam in covered pans over low heat

The three dishes take only about thirty minutes including prep time. Because the food is steamed over low heat, the pans come clean easily.  The food is delicious without a lot of additives or salt, and it’s figure-friendly.
Dinner!

Colorful and delicious.

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Filed under cooking, Fish, Healthful Eating, Salmon

Romantic Meal for Two

Valentine’s Day is a week away, and it’s traditional for couples to enjoy a romantic meal together.  But why go to a crowded restaurant when you can create a romantic dinner for two in the privacy of your home (and at a fraction of the cost)?  First, spend a little time on a tablescape.  Use your best dinnerware and flatware, along with red and white linens.  Use heart-shaped paper doilies for placemats or coasters, or sprinkle small valentines across a white tablecloth.  Use your imagination to create the ambiance of an upscale restaurant or fresco. Place your valentine flowers as your centerpiece, if you receive a Valentine delivery.  Or a vase with a single red carnation will do.  Don’t forget a candle or two!

This meal’s simple, affordable, and won’t keep you in the kitchen all afternoon.

Menu:

Grilled Salmon Fillets
Steamed Asparagus
Brown Rice with toasted almonds
Skinny Cow® dessert

Ingredients:

2 frozen salmon fillets, approx. 6 oz.
½ pound fresh asparagus spears (smallest in diameter available is most tender)
½ cup raw brown rice
1 cup fat-free chicken or beef broth
2 Skinny Cow® chocolate mint ice cream sandwiches
1 small tub sugar free Cool Whip®
1 piece peppermint candy

Directions:

Make dessert a day ahead by placing the two ice cream sandwiches in a small freezer-safe container.  Cover the sandwiches completely with the Cool Whip® including all corners of the container.  Crush the piece of peppermint candy and sprinkle over the Cool Whip®.  Freeze.

Take two frozen salmon fillets (Wild Alaskan is best) and thaw in the refrigerator.  Meanwhile, cook ½ cup long grain brown rice in 1 cup fat-free chicken broth in a one-quart covered saucepan until done (Time varies according to cookware, but mine takes about thirty minutes on lowest heat if I don’t lift the lid).  Preheat a 10″ skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds.  No oil or spray is necessary since nuts contain oil.  Stir almonds occasionally until browned (watch carefully; nuts cook quickly), about ten minutes.  Empty almonds onto a plate and allow them to cool.  Return the skillet to heat.

Season the salmon fillets on both sides with herbes de Provence and place in the hot skillet.  Cover and reduce heat to low. While salmon cooks, trim the ends off the fresh asparagus spears, rinse, and drain.

After about ten minutes (depending on thickness), turn the fillets.  Add the asparagus spears.  Cover and cook an additional six minutes or just until salmon is pink all the way through (Cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillet; thinner cuts take less time) and asparagus is warm but still firm and crisp.  Remove from heat and plate.

Stir in the almonds into the cooked brown rice, divide and add to each plate.  Light candles and dine by candlelight with your favorite beverage.

To serve dessert, remove it from the freezer and cut in half.  Plate each half and serve with a fork.  Enjoy!

A home-cooked meal at home is the most romantic! Round out your evening with a romantic movie DVD. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cheryl

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Healthy Holidays!

HEALTH TIPS

Diabetes
This year I’ve put into practice the importance of reading labels, excercising caution to avoid trans fats, excessive sodium, high fructose corn syrup, and excessive saturated fat and sugar. I also shun refined grains in favor of whole grain products.

I blame much of the current diabetes epidemic on food additives and processing. Yes, we overeat, but why? Some of these additives confuse our bodies and trigger hunger. I proved this in 2007 by changing my diet. I’ve lost weight and have better control of my appetite.
A friend of mine has been diagnosed with Diabetes and recently met with a nutritionist. Here are the guidelines she was given, which boils down eating for diabetes in simple terms:

1400 calories per day
180 carbs per day [break down into 3-45 carb meals and 3-15 carb snacks.]
Eat NOTHING over 5 gms of fat per serving.

Men and children need more calories, so discuss this with your own doctor. I’m not a diabetic and I don’t want to become one, but I’m following these guidelines, too. Maybe I’ll lose a few more unwanted pounds!

COOKING TIP

When making your resolutions for the new year, try incorporating a new health habit, such as: To avoid excess sodium; To eliminate trans fats; To replace refined grains with whole grains. My resolution (since I succeeded in eliminating high fructose corn syrup from my diet in 2007) is to reduce my consumption of sodas. I enjoy my Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper, but all soft drinks are rough on tooth enamel and the digestive system. Much as I hate to give up soft drinks, I plan to limit my intake to one can per day. That’s a step toward eliminating all sodas, but I know me well enough to know I can’t go cold turkey!

Whatever your resolution, make it reasonable and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure with grandiose, difficult goals. Double-digit weight loss is the stuff of reality TV shows but not practical for the rest of us. Still, there are lessons to be gleaned from programs such as The Biggest Loser.

To help you make your cooking healthier, focus on menus with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Make your protein lean and your fats healthy (olive, safflower, canola, or flaxseed oils). For more information on healthful menus, see the December 2007 issue of PREVENTION magazine, featuring “The Biggest Loser Diet” or go to prevention.com/biggestloser .

RECIPES

Easy Holiday Cookies
Makes 4-6 dozen
Holiday cookies are a tradition, one that’s difficult to avoid during the Christmas season. I’ve tried to make up healthful cookie recipes, but let’s face it—this time of year we want a few indulgences. So here is how I make “cut out” cookies that are festive and moderately improved over the store-bought varieties (I use a “healthy” fat instead of butter or trans fats). This method is also a time-saver.
Ingredients:
One 18 oz. size cake mix, any flavor (but Lemon’s my favorite)
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup Canola or Enova® oil
1 Tablespoon water
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine ingredients in a medium size bowl. Batter will be stiff. Work with hands to form a ball of cookie dough. Roll out dough on a pastry board or cutting board (or cover your countertop with wax paper) to ¼” thick. Using your favorite holiday cookie cutters or a small glass, form cookies and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper).
Bake for ten minutes or until slightly brown. Remove from oven. Using a metal spatula, carefully lift each cookie from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Serve plain or decorate, if desired.

The next recipe is our favorite, for holidays or any day!

Foolproof Salmon Fillets
Serves Two
Salmon is farm-raised now and is widely available. I buy it flash-frozen because it tastes great when cooked right—low and slow. Try one of the new Mrs. Dash marinades (I like the Mesquite flavor) or make your own. Avoid high sodium products.
Ingredients:
2 frozen salmon fillets
¼ cup marinade*
Directions:
Preheat a 10″ stainless steel skillet over med/low heat. Add salmon (do not try to move the fish once it “sticks” to the pan), top with marinade, then cover. When the lid vapor-seals (meaning moisture makes it difficult to remove the lid; on some cookware, the lid spins freely at this point), lower the heat and time for 15 minutes.
Lift the lid and check for doneness. Do not overcook. However, when starting out with frozen fish, additional time may be needed. Turn fillets, cover, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes (or in 5 minute increments until fillets are done). Remember to use the lowest heat setting possible and don’t remove lid for the first 15 minutes. This “low and slow” method keeps fillets moist and helps you avoid over-cooking.
Serve immediately.
*Marinades are easy to make yourself. Remember to include an acid and a sweetener for balance, i.e. 1 ounce lime juice, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon grated ginger. Or 1 Tablespoon each: pineapple juice mixed with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey.

Happy Holidays from Chef Cheri!

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