Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Verdict

Of course the salmon croquettes were amazing. I have to swallow my pride and admit they were worth every bit of the time.

This is not the best picture but give me a break, I was hungry! And for you WW people out there, only 7 points!

Recipe from Cooking Light 2005:

Salmon Croquettes with Rémoulade

If you wish to omit the carrots, dollop all the rémoulade on the croquettes.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 2 croquettes, 1 tablespoon sauce, and about 1/2 cup carrot salad)

1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped green onions
2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce
Salmon croquettes:
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 15 crackers), divided
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (6-ounce) cans pink salmon, skinless, boneless, and drained (such as Bumble Bee)
2 1/4 cups grated carrot
4 teaspoons butter
Fresh tarragon sprigs (optional)
To prepare rémoulade, combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl; cover and chill.
To prepare croquettes, combine 1/3 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon mustard, and egg whites in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1/2 cup onion and celery; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Combine onion mixture, yogurt mixture, 1/2 cup crackers, 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and salmon in a bowl; toss gently. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Divide salmon mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Coat patties evenly with remaining 1/2 cup crackers. Cover and chill 20 minutes.
Combine carrot and 1/4 cup rémoulade in a bowl (reserve remaining sauce); toss gently to coat.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; reduce heat to medium. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve croquettes with carrot salad and remaining sauce. Garnish with fresh tarragon, if desired.

CALORIES 273 (30% from fat); FAT 9.1g (sat 3g,mono 2.6g,poly 1.6g); IRON 1.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 43mg; CALCIUM 91mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.7g; SODIUM 743mg; PROTEIN 24.6g; FIBER 3.2g 

Salmon Croquettes or what the hell was I thinking?

Tonight's happy hour was cancelled and Manatee was going to be home at a reasonable hour so I thought- great! I'll make a nice dinner for us. It will be relaxing. Get some wine to wine down from the first day back to work.
I didn't have anything planned and also didn't have many groceries in the house so I did a little googling at lunch time and found two recipes for Salmon Croquettes (via Cooking Light, my favorite cooking publication). I have been on a crab cake kick so it seemed like a good idea.

I haven't actually tried them yet as they are still chilling in the refrigerator. Lesson learned here: READ the ENTIRE recipe. I skimmed through two recipes and chose this one because it seemed to be more of my tastes in terms of ingredients. What I did not pay attention to: the amount of chopped vegetables and the amount of chilling.

Now for a normal work day where I had the ingredients at home, this would not be a bad recipe. But considering that I worked later than usual THEN went to Target THEN had a totally new checkout girl who was totally flummoxed by all of my produce (key codes, what are those?) and THEN had to deal with a tediously long recipe. Well, it's been a long night. I'm about ready to gnaw on my hand and am tipsy from the wine I drank as I prepared the meal.

I'll report on the salmon croquettes post-tasting, but my message to all of you loyal readers (all three of you): read a new recipe in its entirety. Watch out for 'chilling times' and the amount of chopped vegetables/spices required. This equals time and when you have had a long day and you're really hungry, time is of the essence.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marinades and a Summer Salad

So to follow up the vacation meal: the marinade was alright. The chicken was very juicy and it had a very nice taste. My parents loved it but they may have just been 'being kind' and/or they like bland foods. I think marinading may have to be a challenge for me to conquer this summer. My goal will be a marinade that packs a punch using only whole food ingredients.

The star of the evening was a salad we threw together. I think everyone has a similar version of their own, but here's mine:

2 cucumbers, diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of corn, rinsed and drained
1 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
juice from 3-4 limes
2 avocados, diced

Mix everything together except the avocados and let the flavors meld for 3-4 hours. Before serving, add avocado.

Manatee and I are back in frozen tundra. I still owe you a recipe with roasted red peppers (I haven't forgotten) and I will be back on The Plan shortly.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cooking on Vacation

So the lack of posts have been due to a lovely vacation. I have missed cooking and I am still on vacation. We are visiting my parents in Texas and somewhat stupidly, I volunteered to cook and then proceeded to tell my parents to also invite my aunt and uncle. Then my mother told me, 'oh by the way, don't buy anything we don't already have.'
And then, "we're going grocery shopping today and leaving in 15 minutes."
Double sigh.
I knew I wanted to grill chicken breasts and I knew I wanted to marinade. Have I ever marinaded anything in my life? No. And now I also couldn't venture too far from my parents' scarce pantry. I had already told her I wanted balsamic vinegar for a caprese salad which took 20 minutes of persuasion and my father thinks ketchup is spicy.
I went back to the hotel room and started googling marinades. None of which had ingredients that my parents would allow. What I came up with:
juice from 2 oranges, 4 limes and 3 lemons
2 Tbsp of honey
2 Tbsp of olive oil
Chopped garlic (2 cloves) *
4 large chicken breasts

*it would have been minced but all of my parents' knives are the equivalent of butter knives

It is currently marinading. I am also going to make a caprese salad, some kind of corn/black bean/cucumber/avocado/lime juice salad and some kind of flat Mexican bread.

I will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy Salad and Warm Meal for the Winter

As anyone in the Midwest knows, we have had a heck of a snowstorm the last two days! Here is the meal I made Monday night in preparation of the big storm. As an appetizer, I made a caprese salad. This is an easy salad that is sure to impress.

Caprese Salad

Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Basil
Balsamic Vinegar
Toasted Bread Crumbs

  1. Place your breadcrumbs in a toaster over or in an oven set to 350. Keep an eye on them!
  2. Slice your tomatoes and place on a plate.
  3. Slice your mozzarella and place over tomatoes.
  4. Tear up basil and place on tomatoes and mozzarella.
  5. Take your toasted breadcrumbs and sprinkle over other ingredients. 
  6. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the lot of it and enjoy!
Notes: Though I have to admit the tomatoes are better in the summer, this was a welcome break from a green salad. The breadcrumbs do a great job of soaking in that balsamic vinegar. Fresh is always best: I was lucky enough to have some leftover from another dish. To make your own breadcrumbs: add bread, splash of olive oil, italian parsley and parmesan cheese in the food processor and pulse. Or just bread and olive oil to keep it easier. ;)

For a main meal, Manatee and I resorted to one of our go-to meals. Spaghetti squash and whole wheat spaghetti with a robust marinara sauce. 

Now I can give you the ingredients that we used for this particular time, but to be terribly honest, it changes slightly every time we make it. Manatee and I both love eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini so those are always included but customize it to what you like.

Robust Marinara Sauce

1 really big can of diced tomatoes (or two 15 oz. cans)
2 small eggplants
1 16 oz pkg of mushrooms
1 onion
2 small zucchini 
2 small yellow squash
1 green pepper

2-3 organic chicken sausages
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
Splash of red wine
Couple sprays of olive oil spray
Italian seasoning to taste

Spaghetti Squash
Whole Wheat Spaghetti

  1. Cut up vegetables in large slices/dices.
  2. Spray large frying pan with olive oil spray and add all veggies and garlic. Splash on some red wine. Cover and let simmer until veggies start to get soft. This is when I start to boil the water.
  3. Add tomatoes and chicken sausages. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This when I usually put the noodles in the water and put the spaghetti squash in the microwave. 
  4. Add spices to taste. Serve over spaghetti and spaghetti squash. 
More information about cooking spaghetti squash coming soon...

How to Roast Red Peppers

There are many of you out there who may already know how to do this. This is a new thing for me and I wish I would have known how to do this years ago. It would have saved me money and calories as I would not have had to rely on roasted red peppers soaked in oil.

How to Roast Red Peppers

  1. Arrange your oven rack so that it is 5-6 inches from the broiler element.
  2. Turn your broiler on high.
  3. Place your peppers on a heavy lidded baking pan and put them in the oven.
  4. Every five minutes or once the side has been charred black, turn the pepper. It should take 15-20 minutes.
  5. When the peppers are soft and charred on each side, remove the peppers and place them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. 
  6. Once the peppers have cooled, remove the skin, the seeds and the stem.
  7. Chop up and enjoy. 

Stay tuned for a recipe using roasted red peppers....