entree

Citrus Shrimp & Avocado Toast

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So, it appears I have a recipe theme of “shrimp meals” going on this month as my last post was this super simple and delicious Grilled Pesto Garden Salad with Warm Balsamic Shrimp. Today I’m continuing on with the theme and sharing my Citrus Shrimp & Avocado Toast Recipe. I have had this one in my recipe binder for years now and it has a regular presence in our home. I don’t know how it has not made it's way to the blog until today! Needless to say, I’m really excited to share this one with you guys.

As you probably already know by now, I’m a big fan of simple meals with simple but tasty quality ingredients. I always ask myself, “How can I bring out the flavors of simple ingredients and pair them together for a memorable meal with family and friends?” I, personally, think this recipe is one that answers this question perfectly. It takes the classic avocado toast but adds a few more ingredients, including a little bit of protein, to help make it a more complete meal and a good option for you and your busy athletes!

The tomatoes can cook on the stove or you can broil them in the oven while you cook the shrimp and toast your bread (I typically broil them so it frees me up to work on the other components of the dish). Once that is complete, you just have to start building your toast! This dish has alllll the wonderful flavors going on with the layer of creamy savory avocado, juicy sweet and salty tomatoes, a pop of sweet yellow corn and those warm citrusy chili shrimp. I seriously do love this dish and it’s so easy for those hot southern summer nights when you want something cool but satisfying for dinner. Whatever your schedule may be, I hope you can enjoy this dish with me this summer!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor


CITRUS SHRIMP & AVOCADO TOAST

Makes 2 toasts


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INGREDIENTS:

For the Shrimp:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (you will have shrimp leftover for meals later that week. I typically do 3 or 4 shrimp per piece of toast)

For the Toast:

  • 2 slices of whole-wheat bread

  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado (about 2 medium avocados)

  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 dry pints of cherry tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons frozen & thawed corn (or you can use fresh cooked)

  • OPTIONAL - 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, served on the side and sprinkled over toast

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the shrimp marinade, combine the ingredients for the shrimp in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.

  2. Add the shrimp to a plastic sealable bag and then pour in the marinade.

  3. Place plastic bag in the refrigerator and allow the shrimp to marinate for around an hour (you could also put in the fridge in the morning and have it ready to go in the evening for dinner)

  4. Set the oven to broil and line a small baking sheet with foil.

  5. Add lime juice to the mashed avocado to flavor it and prevent it from browning while you prepare the rest of the dish.

  6. In a medium bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes with the 1 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

  7. Add the tomatoes to the baking sheet and allow to broil in the oven about 6 to 8 minutes.

  8. While the tomatoes cook, heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.

  9. Add the marinated shrimp to the skillet and cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, until the shrimp are white throughout.

  10. Remove the cooked tomatoes from the broiler and set aside.

  11. Begin to toast your bread and remove the shrimp from the heat when done cooking.

  12. Place your slices of toast on separate plates or a serving platter and assemble by adding to each slice:

    1. Mashed avocado

    2. Broiled tomatoes

    3. Sweet yellow corn (about 1 tablespoon per toast)

    4. 3 to 4 orange lime citrus shrimp

  13. Sprinkle slices with feta, if desired, and enjoy!


NUTRITION NOTES:

The shrimp and whole grain bread provide PROTEIN

The roasted tomatoes are full of VITAMIN C and LYCOPENE. The vitamin C can help the body absorb any iron found in this dish (like in the whole grain bread or any in the shrimp)

The creamy avocado provides POTASSIUM, LUTEIN, and MONOUNSATURATED FATS. Beneficial for bone health, muscle contractions, good vision, brain health and helping fight inflammation!


MAKE IT AGAIN!

Use any extra ingredients as toppings on salads, mix-ins for eggs, or make another round of this delicious toast!

Simple Seven-Ingredient Tuna Burgers

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I know that tuna burgers may not be the most glamorous idea around but this recipe takes them up just a notch, adding lots of flavor, a little texture, and a simple weekday or weeknight meal! I discovered tuna burgers in college, actually. We had a recipe for one in my food science class and my group was in charge of making it. After my very reluctant first bite I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I liked it and, not only did I like it, but I realized I would actually look forward to eating something like this on a regular basis. These tuna burgers, with a few easy adjustments, began to be a college dinner staple for me. In the hot Texas summers I could get home and easily cook up two or three or four of these so I would have leftovers to reheat for the week. Because it was so hot this particular summer, I would make a huge crisp cool salad with mango and bell peppers and some feta and place this warm tuna burger right on top. The flavor combos were perfect! Sometime after college and on into grad school I lost the recipe and stopped making the burgers. However, this past year, looking for more quick and simple meal ideas, I remembered these burgers and began pairing ingredients together to make my own version and bring it back. This is my new tuna burger recipe. It’s an easy source of protein with a little carbohydrate and just the right amount of flavor that makes it perfect any night of the week. You can incorporate it in a salad, on a burger, or on its own with a couple of simple sides. It’s super easy, super versatile, and something everyone might like, from the parent to the young athlete to the adult athlete. So, here you go, the recipe for these Simple Seven-Ingredient Tuna Burgers.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

SIMPLE SEVEN-INGREDIENT TUNA BURGERS:

A Quick Recipe for You & Your Young Athlete

Makes 2 patties

INGREDIENTS

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  • 8 oz canned light tuna

  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic

  • 1/4 + 2 tablespoons cup plain bread crumbs

  • 1/2 cup diced white onion

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Line a medium baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.

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3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together the tuna, eggs, Dijon, garlic and bread crumbs.

4. In a medium skillet, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium heat.

5. Add the onions to the heated skillet and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions have started to brown.

6. Add the cooked onion mixture to the tuna mixture and stir to combine all ingredients.

7. Heat the last two teaspoons of olive oil on medium heat in the medium skillet that you cooked the onions in.

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8. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the tuna mix , shape into a medium-size patty and place on preheated skillet. Do the same with the remaining tuna mixture. If not enough space in your skillet, you can cook the patties one at a time.

9. Cook the patties in the heated skillet for about six minutes per side until browned on both sides.

10. Place patties on lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 4 to 6 minutes.

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11. Remove from the oven and serve as burgers with your favorite toppings and sides.

12. Enjoy!

Make It Again!

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These tuna burgers can be served lots of different ways, which is one of the reasons that I love them! Serve over a crisp cool salad in the summer or serve them like a burger bar, providing lots of different toppings to choose from. I love them simple with lettuce, tomato and maybe mustard or I have served them with a Greek Ziziki sauce, which has also been excellent! Or, you can choose to keep it really simple and serve on their own with a few yummy sides!

Miso Ginger Glazed Salmon

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I was definitely not a salmon lover growing up. Other than fish sticks and fried catfish, I really didn’t care for fish at all. That is, until high school when I started trying more foods and then college where I started cooking, learning about nutrition, and experimenting with different recipes. Now I love it and, because it is recommended to include fatty fish like salmon or tuna in your weekly diet, I have been trying to figure out a way to keep salmon on our weekly menu. It try to mix it up to keep it from getting boring.

Why include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, you may ask? Well, both of these fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which, studies have found and continue to find, can improve our heart health, aid in brain health, and fight inflammation in the body. This is important for pretty much everyone, from the infant needing the DHA and EPA for brain development to the child continuing to grow and develop to the young and adult athlete in states of inflammation after hard practices, games and competitions to the older adult potentially struggling with arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. Plus, it can help all of these groups mentioned maintain a healthy heart! And, if that is not enough, salmon can be a source of vitamin D, which is super hard to get from the diet and its fat helps the body digest the fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin A, D, E and K.

SO, for all of those reasons, let’s start incorporating more fatty fish into our diets, shall we?! I have a few other salmon recipes on the blog including my simple lemon dijon salmon and my spinach & feta stuffed salmon, and I’m excited to add this one to our family list. If you don’t like ginger, it might not be your thing, but if you don’t mind it, then I certainly recommend giving this recipe a try! Here you go. The recipe for my Miso Ginger Glazed Salmon.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

MISO GINGER GLAZED SALMON

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two 6-ounce salmon filets

  • 2 tablespoons yellow miso paste (I used the Light yellow miso that I found at Central Market)

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oli

  • 1 teaspoon grated, minced ginger

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Brush some of the sauce over the salmon filet, covering the top entirely.

  3. Save any remaining sauce to spoon over the cooked filets, if desired.

  4. Cook the salmon for about 15 minutes or until desired level of doneness.

  5. Serve each salmon filet with your favorite veggies, a crisp green salad and fluffy rice and enjoy!

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Nine - Ingredient Yummy Stuffed Sweet Potato: A Vegetarian Prep-Ahead Meal

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Hi there! So, last week was a busy one! Lot’s of projects due and presentations and program wrap-ups and then we went to Scottsdale for one of my best friend’s wedding. I’m so glad that I did my meal planning the weekend before because there certainly wasn’t lots of brain space left to figure out dinner. One thing to note about my meal planning - there is nothing cookie cutter or perfect about them. I have a general plan that I could follow, but most weeks I actually go off course. This week my stuffed sweet potato was on the menu but I had actually planned to use slightly different ingredients. Then, when Monday came around, I had leftovers from dinner with friends the night before and, with that, a new idea. That is how this recipe came about that I’m sharing with you all today. It’s so SIMPLE!!! And it’s super tasty. It uses ingredients that, years ago, I would not have normally put together. However, after our trip to Israel this year I have become a little more adventurous with food and flavor combos.

This dish is a vegetarian option. However, it’s still packed with great stuff like complex carbs, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, some healthy fats and protein. I talk to so many people who think you have to eat meat to get your protein. Newsflash, you don’t! There are lots' of ways to get protein without eating meat. You may have to eat a little bit more of those foods because plant protein is not as easily absorbed in the body as animal protein, but, it can be done! For example, the 1/2 cup of chickpeas here provides about 7 grams of protein. then there are a couple of grams in the dressing and a gram or two in the potato. So, here is the recipe for my Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potato.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

NINE-INGREDIENT YUMMY STUFFED SWEET POTATO

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1/2 cup of Prepared Slaw (see recipe below)

  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tbsp hummus

  • 1 tbsp water

  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

SLAW INGREDIENTS (from Ina Garten):

  • One 10 oz. package of cabbage slaw

  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Poke holes in the sweet potato with a knife or tongs of a fork and place on a baking sheet. I usually use a fork and poke the holes in a line down the center (longways) of the potato, where I will end up slicing it once cooked.

  3. In a large bowl mix together the slaw, fresh dill and white wine vinegar. Cover and let sit, allowing all of the flavors to meld together. This can be done a day in advance. And for any of you who read my previous posts, this is from Ina Garten’s DELICIOUS salmon taco recipe.

  4. When the oven is preheated, place the sweet potato in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until when you poke the potato with a fork, the tongs come out easily and clean.

  5. You can either allow the potatoes to cool at this point and then wrap in foil and store in the refrigerator, or go ahead and prep them to eat.

  6. To continue prepping, whisk together the hummus, water and lemon juice in a small bowl.

  7. Open the potato so that there is room to pile the toppings on top.

  8. Add about half of the humus dressing followed by about a 1/2 cup of the slaw followed by the chickpeas followed by drizzles of the remaining hummus dressing. Serve and enjoy!

  9. If serving this later in the week, I prep my potato the night before or morning of, opening it and adding the slaw and chickpeas. I package the hummus dressing separately. At the office, I heat up the potato and then add the dressing once heated through. Easy peazy!

NUTRITION NOTES:

Sweet potato: vitamin A

Chickpeas: protein, folate, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese

Hummus: protein, healthy fats…

Slaw: fiber

Ten Minute Mediterranean Tuna Melt

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Hello!

I posted this tuna melt on my stories a while back and had some of you wanting me to share the recipe. So, I’m finally getting it up! This is such a simple meal. You can literally put it together in ten minutes. This meal is full of fiber, whole grains, complex carbs, protein, omega 3’s (healthy fats), and calcium.

It is great for a quick weekend lunch or a quick early dinner before an evening game or practice. It could also be a lighter but refueling option after a late game or practice (when dinner may have been eaten as early as 4:45 or 5:00 p.m. and it’s now 8:30 p.m. and the athlete has been playing for hours).

I actually made one of these this past Saturday. I was going to use the remaining tuna for a salad on Sunday, but when I went to the fridge, it was all gone. Apparently, Kyle is a fan as well… :)


So, here you go! The recipe for this super simple Ten Minute Mediterranean Tuna Melt!



Ten Minute Mediterranean Tuna Melt

Makes 1 sandwich (with leftover tuna to make 2 more sandwiches or a salad)

INGREDIENTS:

For the tuna salad:

  • One 5 ounce can of white chunk tuna (packed in water)

  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon plain yogurt (I used low-fat Greek)

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (+ more for sprinkling over top of sandwich)

  • 3 Cherub tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces

  • 2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives (5 Kalamata olives)

For the Sandwich:

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread

  • 1 slice of Provolone cheese



DIRECTIONS:

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  1. Shred tuna in a small bowl.

  2. Using a toaster, toast whole grain bread to desired doneness.

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3. Mix the tuna with the yogurt, dijon and honey.

4. Mix in the chopped tomatoes, olives and dill.

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5. Spread 1/4 cup of the tuna mixture out evenly over 1 slice of toasted whole grain bread.

6. Turn the oven to Broil, on high.

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7. Place toast on a small baking sheet and broil in the oven for about 1 minute until the cheese is all melty.

8. Enjoy!


Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese Pizza

If you've been following along, you know that I have been working on, and loving I might add, this new pizza recipe.  The idea started from a magazine clipping I found in my old binder of recipes collected throughout college and grad school.  However, I've added and edited and played around with so many ingredients since then that I can't actually remember what the original recipe was, other than the fact that it used thyme and goat cheese.  Today I'm sharing with you the recipe results of many tests and tastes.  While this recipe is how I like it best, you can make a variety of little ingredient changes and I bet it will still be wonderful!  In fact, I alternate between two varieties and I want to share that quickly with you before diving into the recipe..

VARIETY #1:  THICK CRUST

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One way I make this, and actually the first way I ever tried it, is on Whole Foods fresh pizza dough that I roll out and use for my crust (I hear Trader Joe's has a fresh whole wheat pizza dough too that is really good).  This version makes a thicker fluffier crust that yields a delicious pizza where the toppings kind of bake into the bread.  Ahh, so, good!  Not only is this option delicious but it can also be an easy way to get more calories and carbohydrates in your young growing athlete that has daily games and practices, depleted energy stores, and increased energy and nutrition needs. This option does take a little more time because you have to flour a surface and roll out the dough, but if time allows, I think it's absolutely worth it!  And, because it has a thicker crust, you or your athlete can throw on more favorite toppings!

 

VARIETY #2:  THIN CRUST

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My second variety is made on the Trader Joe's already-made whole wheat pizza crust that you find in the bread aisle.  I mostly like this version because of how quick and simple it is.  Wednesday night I cooked this variety for some girlfriends.  I got home around 6:00 p.m. and only had to focus on prepping the toppings.  Once the girls were over, I assembled the pizza and popped it in the oven for about 20 minutes and it was done.  I don't know about you, but that's my perfect idea of entertaining on a weeknight - a dish that everyone will enjoy and that allows you to be present with your company, not have to put all of your attention on cooking.  This is the variety that I'm going to share with you today!

PIZZA TAKEAWAY...

I always hear people say, "oh pizza is bad".  Oiy, feels like a punch to the stomach.  While, yes, some pizzas provide less fueling and health - promoting ingredients than others and when eaten too often, in too big of quantities over a long period of time can promote weight gain and other health concerns, I cannot say that pizza is "bad" and here is just one of my examples why.  This pizza uses a whole wheat crust from Trader Joe's (or something similar), easy to make homemade blistered & crushed tomatoes, sweet caramelized onions, soft crumbly goat cheese and fresh thyme.  And, while this is one of my favorite flavor combos, it is just one example,.  You can put any variety of your favorite veggies, cheeses and herbs and spices on here or throw in some chicken or lean ground beef if you want.  A perfectly fueling & filling option if you ask me!

So, here you go, my Mushroom, Thyme and Goat Cheese Pizza..

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 1 Trader Joe's whole-wheat pizza crust

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil + 2 teaspoons olive oil + 1/2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil (last 2 tsp optional)

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes

  • 6 - 8 ounces of mushrooms (your choice - I love picking a variety!), chop larger ones but smaller ones can be left whole

  • 1/2 of a medium white or red onion, sliced into half moons

  • 4 to 6 ounces of crumbled goat cheese

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh thyme

  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon

  • Salt and pepper, to taste



DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the broiler on high.

2.  Line a medium-size rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

3.  To a medium-size skillet, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and heat on medium-low heat.

4.  Add mushrooms to the heated skillet and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until softened.

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5. While the mushrooms cook, in a medium-size bowl toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread the tomatoes out on half your lined baking sheet.

6. In the same medium-size bowl toss the onion slices with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Spread the onions out on the other half of the lined baking sheet next to the tomatoes.

7. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let cook under the broiler for about 10 minutes, until onions and tomatoes begin to charr and the tomatoes burst. Mix with a heat-proof utensil about half-way through.

8. Once mushrooms are done cooking, turn off the burner and set aside.

9. Once tomatoes and onions are done cooking, remove from the oven and turn off the broiler. Gently crush the tomatoes with a fork (being careful not to squirt yourself with tomato juice!) and set aside.

10. Change the oven setting to Bake at 400 degrees F.

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11. Place pizza crust on a pizza stone or a large baking sheet and brush with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.

12. Then spread the tomato - onion mixture in a thin even layer, leaving a little room on the edges.

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13. Top pizza crust with mushrooms, crumbled goat cheese and fresh thyme. This picture was from a trial where I added the mushrooms raw. You can do this if pressed for time, but I thought the mushrooms had a better texture and were more thoroughly cooked when sauteed before adding to the uncooked pizza crust.

14. Place prepped pizza in the 400 degree oven and cook for about 20 minutes until the crust is crispy and the cheese has melted.

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15. Remove from the oven and slice into 4 to 6 triangular slices (or however many you want!)

OPTIONAL - you can whisk together the lemon juice and last 2 teaspoons of olive oil and drizzle over the pizza before slicing and serving. It adds a little pop of flavor!

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16. I always like pairing my pizza with a different salad. Sometimes I keep it simple with spinach and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and sometimes I throw together lots of mix-ins and a fun dressing. Anything works!

17. Serve and enjoy!

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Salmon

The other week we had a friend couple over for dinner and I got to test our my Spinach & Feta Stuffed Salmon again.  It was a crowd pleaser and, therefore, a keeper.  I used my original recipe that I included in my "Dinner Without a Plan" post but doubled the ingredients so that it could serve 4. I've included my updated recipe below.  Hope you enjoy it!

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SPINACH & FETA STUFFED SALMON

Serves 4

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 6 cups of fresh spinach

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

  • Four 6-ounce salmon filets (I used Coho salmon)

 

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DIRECTIONS:

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  1. In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

  2. Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and cook until the spinach starts to wilt down, about 4 minutes or so.

  3. Add the ricotta cheese and feta cheese to the spinach and mix until it is all starting to melt and blend together and the spinach is completely wilted.

  4. Meanwhile, while the spinach mixture heats, add your pine nuts to another small skillet and toast on medium-low heat until they start to brown and become fragrant, about 4 minutes (watch these and you'll know when they are done. They start to brown and you can smell the nuttiness - so good!). You don't need to add any oil to the skillet because as the nuts heat they release their natural oils into the pan. I would actually take them off the heat before they are completely toasted because you will be toasting them again with the salmon and you don't want them to burn. When the pine nuts are done add them to the spinach & cheese mixture, incorporating well with a rubber spatula, and set aside.

  5. Now prep the salmon. Lay the filets out on a cutting board or baking sheet skin side down. Next take a small sharp knife and cut a slit lengthwise down the top of the filet, making something like a pocket to stuff some of the spinach mixture in.

  6. Divide the spinach mixture up evenly between the four salmon filets, stuffing each with a good portion of the spinach mixture (and some will rest on top of the salmon like in the picture).

  7. Spray a grill pan with vegetable oil or canola oil, heat it to medium-high heat and turn the oven broiler on high.

  8. Once the grill pan is hot, add your salmon filets and let those cook for about 5 to 8 minutes until you start to see it cook / turn light pink from the bottom up.

  9. Place your grill pan with the salmon filets under the broiler and let that cook for about 1 1/2 minutes or until the filets reach your desired doneness.

  10. When the filets have cooked to your desired doneness, use oven mitts to take the grill pan out of the oven. Allow the salmon to rest while you plate the rest of your meal.

  11. Serve the salmon hot and enjoy!

Chili Lime Spice Mix

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Remember back in the spring when I made those roasted salmon tacos by Ina Garten?  If you missed it, I made them right before Cinco de Mayo and they were one of my best discoveries yet.  If you are looking for a simple & delicious taco recipe I hiiiighly recommend you try this one.  It was basically "love at first bite" for me and this spice mix and after dinner I started to think up what else I could use it with.



Super Simple & flavorful Chili Lime Shrimp  Salad!

Super Simple & flavorful Chili Lime Shrimp

Salad!



Since then, I've used the rub for my Chili Lime Shrimp Salad.



Originally vegetarian dishes. But the Chili Lime Chicken on these Burrito Bowls was delish!

Originally vegetarian dishes. But the Chili Lime Chicken on these Burrito Bowls was delish!

I have also used it on chicken, which I added to a fall vegetable salad one week and burrito bowls another.  Both recipes were from the cookbook Eat Real Food by Kathryne Taylor.






WHY DO I LOVE THIS SPICE MIX?  I LOVE THIS SPICE MIX BECAUSE:

  1. There are only 3 ingredients!

  2. These 3 ingredients happen to be items I always have in our kitchen, so that's (1) less thought and (2) less groceries to buy.

  3. It takes no time at all to prepare!


This spice mix has come to the rescue several nights already and it is guaranteed to stick around as one of my go-to simple flavorings for meats and fish to add pizzaz to even the simplest weeknight dishes.  Here's how you make it.  I hope you enjoy it and that it helps you get some deliciously simple meals on the table like it has for us!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor


CHILI LIME SPICE MIX

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By Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (or less if you prefer)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

  2. Toss with shrimp, salmon, chicken or flank steak.

  3. Cook your seasoned protein of choice.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

 

NOTE:  This original recipe was for about 1.75 pounds of salmon. (to serve 6)  You could double or halve the recipe depending on how many people you are serving.  I have done both and it's turned out delicious either way!

Dinner without a Plan

Tuesday night's dinner had pretty much no plan at all but turned into something really delicious!  I want to share it with you to demonstrate that just because you don't have a plan, doesn't mean you can't get something simple and tasty on the dinner table after a long day of work / school / practices / motherhood / fatherhood / etc..  I mean, some days you just can't. Period.  I totally get that.  Been there,  This, however, is for those days when you think you can't but you know you have just a little left in you.

We were out of town last weekend and so I didn't do my normal recipe brainstorm and planning.  However, when we got in town on Sunday evening I quickly ran to the store and bought items for big salads plus a few veggies and other staples.  I also knew I had some uneaten veggies from last week that were still good.  

My initial plan was baked salmon with lemon, a spinach salad and bread.  Nothing fancy but it was dinner and it would do.  I actually talked to my husband after work around 6:15 and we almost threw in the towel and went out.  But then we decided to stick with the plan of salmon and somewhere between picking up the salmon at the grocery after work and pulling into the driveway I had concocted a whole new dinner idea pulling together simple ingredients that I knew we had at the house.

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In this post I'm going to list the ingredients I used for this dinner and how I went about getting it all on the table in about 30 minutes.  I didn't measure anything so these are ball park amounts.  I'll make it again and update with exact measurements in one of the upcoming weeks.  However, I think that's the great thing about cooking, sometimes measurements don't have to be exact.  You can play around with it to your liking and it can still be great!  

Before I give you the rundown of dinner, I want to leave you with 3 take-aways to remember so that you can create your own weeknight dinners when you have no specific plan in mind.

 

THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR DINNERS WITHOUT A PLAN:

  • Always have your favorite go-to ingredients stocked in the fridge / pantry. They will be so handy when the unplanned dinner rolls around! (For me this includes things like: feta or goat cheese, a bell pepper, an onion, mushrooms or summer squash, dried herbs, fresh whole grain bread, quinoa or pasta)

  • Tasty & healthy dinners don't have to be complicated. If you have a few great herbs and spices, you can have a delicious dinner!

  • It's ok to keep parts of the meal basic. I used to feel like every part of dinner had to have it's own recipe and be something glamorous. Then I realized (a) that's a lot of pressure for one weeknight meal and (b) that's just not how it has to be. For this meal, I focused on the salmon, then kept the veggies fairly simple and our starch even simpler with one of our favorite hearty whole grain breads toasted in the toaster. Protein, veggies, complex carb, DONE!

 

FOR THIS DINNER YOU NEED:

  • Two 6-ounce salmon filets (I used coho salmon b/c it's a little meatier and a little less "fishy")

  • About 2 to 3 cups of fresh spinach

  • About 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

  • About 1/4 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese

  • About 1/3 cup of pine nuts

  • Pinches of salt, for the spinach stuffing and for the veggies (maybe about 1/4 tsp total but taste test if for yourself)

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced and then each slice halved (so you end up with half circles)

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped into about 1/2 to 1 inch dices

  • 1/2 white onion, peeled and sliced into half moons

  • About 2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

  • About 1/2 tablespoon Herbs de Provence seasoning (or more, if desired)

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread (we used the Seeduction Bread from Whole Foods)

 

HOW I PULLED THIS ALL TOGETHER:

  1. My thought process on the drive home that got me from plain baked salmon & spinach salad to what was actually on the dinner table went a little something like this....... "Can I step it up a notch so that dinner is a little more interesting? I really don't want a salad if I think about it. I know I have an extra pepper in the fridge and, oh yeah, the rest of that zucchini that I didn't make last week (if it's still good. I'll have to check that). And what if I stuffed the salmon?! I know I always keep feta in the fridge and I bought some ricotta last week for something I now honestly can't remember, ha. And toasted pine nuts take everything up a notch! Yep, I think this will work". That's how deep my thought process went - clearly, not too complicated.

  2. I got home and found an onion to add to my veggie medley, which was perfect. I quickly sliced up the yellow bell pepper, zucchini (which I found to still be good) and half of that white onion.

  3. In a small skillet, I heated about 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium low heat. To that I added about 2 to 3 cups of fresh spinach, about 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta (I used the last of what we had) and about 2 big spoonfulls of part-skim ricotta so about 1/4 cup, I would say but you could use a little more if you want.

  4. While the spinach wilted and the cheeses all melted together (you need to stir these a little) I heated about 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once that was heated I added my sliced peppers, zucchini and onions and let those cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies were softened and browned and the onions looked caramelized (probably around 15 minutes or so). A few minutes into cooking the veggies I added one of my favorite seasonings, Herbs de Provence, and a pinch of salt, stirred and continued to let those cook over the stove while I finished the rest of dinner.

  5. After I got the veggies started I added about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of pine nuts to another small skillet and toasted on medium-low until they were browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes (watch these and you'll know when they are done. They start to brown and you can smell the nuttiness - so good!). You don't need to add any oil to the skillet because as the nuts heat they release their natural oils into the pan. When the pine nuts were done I added them to my spinach & cheese mixture, incorporated well with a rubber spatula, and set aside.

  6. Then I prepped my salmon by cutting a slit in the top of each filet and creating sort of a pocket. I then divided my spinach-cheese mixture evenly and stuffed it into the "pocket" of each salmon filet. I sprayed a grill pan with vegetable oil , heated it to medium-high heat and turned my oven broiler on high. Once the grill pan was hot, I added my salmon filets and let those cook about 5 to 8 minutes until you start to see it cook / turn light pink from the bottom up. I then put my grill pan in the oven under the broiler and let that cook for about 1 1/2 minutes.

  7. While the salmon cooked I gave the veggies another stir and then turned the heat as low as it would go just to keep them warm. The veggies should cook in about 15 minutes.

  8. After 1 1/2 minutes I used oven mitts to take the grill pan out of the oven. While the salmon cooled down just a smidge I toasted 2 slices of whole grain toast in our toaster and set the table. When the toast was done, I prepared each plate adding a stuffed salmon filet, big scoops of warm veggies and the slice of whole grain toast.

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This was delish!  The stuffing was mild but had a little bit of a bite from the feta and a nuttiness from the toasted pine nuts.  The veggies were tender but not mushy and the toast was simple but just as good as always.

I hope this post not only leaves you with a new recipe idea but that it also encourages you and helps you get dinner on the table the next time it's 5:30 PM and you haven't yet really thought dinner through.  Remember to use what you have, keep it simple, get creative & don't be afraid to play around with ingredients.  Sometimes the best things happen when you don't have a plan!

 

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Chili Lime Shrimp & Mango Avocado Salad: A Monday Night Dinner After Being Gone All Weekend

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If you've been following along, you know that I have been traveling a lot lately.  It has been super fun but also doesn't leave much room for my regular routine, which usually includes weekend meal planning.  I love traveling and experiencing new foods in new cities, but, to me, there is nothing like a meal cooked in your own home.  It can be the simplest dish around -  nothing more than a grilled cheese and soup,.  However, for me the process of picking my own bread, my own perfect mix of cheeses and the fresh ingredients for a simple tomato stovetop soup is often times the perfect creative re-centering endeavor after crazy airports and plain rides and days of eating out.  

I recently just finished back-to-back trips where I went to Belize followed by NYC.  Needless to say, there was zero meal prep done in-between.  Breakfast was pretty easy b/c I managed to stock the fridge with some less-perishable fruit and milk before we left and I always make sure to keep Sun Butter and my go-to granola bars in the pantry.  Those are staples I highly recommend keeping around. While breakfast was simple, Monday night dinner didn't come quite as easily; however, I was excited to still be able to get a fresh and fast dinner on the table.  Being tired from travel and a full day of work, I was tempted to call on my usual go-to's, Zoe's or Eatzi's, but I knew that as tired as I felt, what I really needed was to get in my kitchen and chop and toss and mix and grill.  I know myself and I know that taking an hour or so to myself after work and using that time to create something in the kitchen would leave me more rejuvenated than our standard take-out.  It's something about the mixing of flavors and textures and a variety of spices that inspires me and makes me feel like myself again.  I guess some would say that't the "creative" in me.

Anyway, the recipe I put together this past Monday is what I want to share with you here.  I want to walk you through my train of thought and how this delicious dish got to our table.

Ever since I made those incredibly scrumptious salmon tacos by Ina Garten back in May (see my Instagram post), I knew I wanted to try her salmon rub in other dishes.  I'd been wondering how it would turn out on shrimp for a while now and so that is what popped into my mind first. I knew the marinade would be simple and shrimp takes basically no time to cook.  I also knew that my husband and I were not going to want something super heavy after just coming home from back-to-back trips and, in general, I always tend to crave lighter dishes in the summer.  So, I mentally threw together a picture and ingredient list for this Chili Lime Shrimp Salad in between projects at work, stopped by the store on the way home, and then got to prepping in my kitchen.  This dish is so simple and full of flavor.  You whisk together a 5 - ingredient marinade and let the shrimp sit in it while you chop the mangoes, tomatoes and avocado and plate the mixed greens.  Then fire up the grill (or grill pan) and cook those shrimp before topping them on your fresh mixed greens salad.   The longer you let the shrimp marinade the better.  I let mine marinade while I prepped a few lunch items for the week so it was probably about 30 to 45 minutes but I don't think it's an absolute requirement if you're in a pinch.

Here are the details for my quick and simple Chili Lime Shrimp & Mixed Greens Salad.  I hope you can make it a last minute go-to like I have.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

CHILI LIME SHRIMP & MIXED GREENS SALAD

To make 2 salads I used (& we had left-over shrimp for later in the week)...

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 5 cups of mixed greens (3 for Kyle & 2 for me)

  • 1 small yellow mango, cored, peeled and cut into larger chunks

  • 1/2 of an avocado, cubed

  • About 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 pound of peeled & deveined shrimp. I put about 8 shrimp on Kyle's plate and 5 shrimp on my plate and had about 5 more shrimp leftover, which will perfect for another one of these salads again this week

  • About 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • ~2 - 4 teaspoons EVOO, for dressing

  • Balsamic Vinegar, as desired for salad

  • Crusty bread, optional

  • Marinade ingredients (inspired by Ina Garten)

    • 2 teaspoons chili powder

    • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

    • pinch of salt

    • 2 tablespoons EVOO

    • Juice of 1 lime

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine ingredients for marinade in a large Ziplock bag. Add shrimp, coat evenly and let sit about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

  2. Add mixed greens to each plate or bowl.

  3. Top mixed greens evenly with the chopped mango, avocado and tomatoes

  4. Preheat grill pan on medium high heat.

  5. Once hot, using tongs, place shrimp on grill pan and cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side or until the shrimp are pink and no longer clear in the middle. Place cooked shrimp on a serving platter for guests to add to their salads or go ahead and plate onto dinner salads.

  6. Bake or toast crusty whole grain bread to accompany salads

  7. Serve salads with crusty bread, and drizzles of fresh lime, EVOO and balsamic vinegar as desired.

  8. Enjoy!

 

NUTRITION NOTES

Mangos:  vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, fluid

Mixed Greens:  iron, vitamin K, fiber, fluid

Tomatoes:  vitamin C, lycopene, fluid

Avocado:  monounsaturated fat, potassium, lutein, fiber

Shrimp:  protein, B12, iron, phosphorus, selenium

EVOO:  monounsaturated fat, vitamin E