Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chicken Marinara, Spinach Linguine, and Roasted Asparagus

Use your favorite spaghetti sauce to create an EASY baked chicken dish, add your favorite pasta, and try this Re-DIQUE-ulously De-LISH-ious roasted asparagus! (Even my kids, who like the canned stuff dipped in mayo liked it!)  (A few pieces were sampled before the pic was taken.)

Baked Chicken

  • Chicken pieces, about 8 thighs or breasts, skinless
  • Jar of spaghetti sauce*
  • Seasonings to taste 

Purchase or prepare skinless thighs or breasts, as you prefer -- if the pieces are very large, divide them so the sauce can permeate more easily. Simply rinse and place the chicken pieces in a casserole dish, cover with a jar of marinara or any flavor of spaghetti sauce, add extras of whatever you like -- garlic, Italian herbs, rosemary, basil -- and bake in 400 deg F oven for 45 minutes.  What could be easier?

*I have found that a very light marinara sauce gives less flavor than a full-on spaghetti sauce. I've also tried this with 3-cheese spaghetti sauce, and it was very good. Parmesan or Romano cheese at the table is a must for this dish.

Roasted Asparagus
  • Fresh asparagus, 1 bunch
  • 2 T olive oil or other (I like avocado oil)
  • 1 T fresh garlic from the jar (or mince your own)
  • 1 or 2 T Parmesan and/or Romano cheese
  • A few shakes of sea salt, pepper
  • Lemon juice from one lemon

After the chicken goes into the oven, wash the asparagus, and cut about 2 inches from the ends. Place on a (foiled-covered) tray, drizzle oil, sprinkle cheese, and shake seasonings (not lemon juice) over them and toss to coat thoroughly. Lay the pieces out in a single layer.

Bake for about 10 minutes in a 400 deg F oven -- check for roasted appearance and possibly cook another couple of minutes.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over them for a tasty symphony of flavors.

Spinach Linguine
  • Spinach linguine or other pasta, 4 to 6 servings
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Water 

During the last 10 minutes that the chicken is baking, prepare pasta according to the package.  This one was a really nice 3-minute pasta with a light flavor that complemented the chicken dish well, but any pasta works, even reg'ol' spaghetti!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Powerhouse Salmon with Red Onions, Pesto, Lemon, Tomatoes

Healthy eating is a growing priority in my life, and I bet in yours, too!  Not only is this recipe delicious, fast, and easy, it combines super good-for-you ingredients. This whole meal was inspired by a list of the top foods to help the body fight those baddies of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and help you feel fabulous. And my family loved it -- thus earning its spot in my blog!

Here it is, ready to go in the oven for 12 minutes:

Here's what the whole meal looks like, if you were to come to dinner at our house -- help yourself!

Side dishes:

  • Organic broccoli steamed in the microwave, drained, then tossed with olive oil, Trader Joe's 21 seasons blend, salt & pepper, and Parmesan
  • A grain blend from Trader Joe's with orzo and other goodies (cooked like rice, it takes about 10 min)

And here's how to make the salmon:


  • Salmon -- about 6 oz per person -- I used two medium fillets for my family, and we had leftovers
  • Red onion -- half -- sliced thinly, then roughly chopped
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Pesto sauce, 1/2 cup  (or a blend of basil, olive oil, salt & pepper, and Parmesan)
  • Olive oil, 2 T (or avocado oil, or other healthy oil)
  • Lemon juice, half or whole lemon, to taste


Thaw salmon if frozen, either overnight in the fridge, or soaked in its package in a sink of cold water for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pull out all your ingredients, your chopping board, and knife.

Peel and cut the red onion in half and slice one of the halves very thinly, then chop the slices roughly -- see the photo.  (I chopped the other half up and stored it in the fridge for later use on salads, etc.)  It needs to be thinly sliced because it won't be cooked long

Remove salmon from packet and rinse in cold water; drip dry for a moment. Lay in a casserole dish of about 9 x 12 inches.

Blend pesto sauce, oil, and lemon juice, then pour over salmon.  Sprinkle onion over salmon. Add cherry tomatoes beside the salmon.

Bake for 12 minutes, test for desired doneness by checking the center -- my family prefers it just cooked, barely flaking, not dried out.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Steak Marinade

I haven't posted a recipe in a while -- but this marinade turned out SO YUMMY, I want to share it with you (my imagined friend in cooking)!  I ran out of Worcestershire sauce, which made me come up with something new -- necessity being the Mama of invention and all! This is pretty classic, but I think the molasses gives it a nice extra dimension.

Makes: ½ cup
·         Avocado oil – 1/8 cup  ( or other high heat oil)
·         Balsamic – ¼ cup + 1 T
·         Molasses – 1 T
·         Soy sauce – 1 T or 2 packets
·         Seasonings:
o   1 t salt
o   ½ t pepper
o   1 T Trader Joe’s 21-blend
o   1 t garlic
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Place steak pieces in small bowl so marinade covers them.   Even after just half an hour, this is yummy.  Great for broiling or BBQ-ing!

I have an old flame broiler at the bottom of my oven, and I broiled the marinaded steak pieces for 5 minutes per side.  They were on the medium/well-done side, and super flavorful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Winter Soup Gladness: Beans, Orzo, Vegies, Mushroom, Hambone,...

It's sorta like a cuppa human kindness, except it's a bowla soup gladness (see what I did there?).

We had a wonderful glazed ham from Trader Joe's, for Christmas dinner, and this left us a week later with a beautiful big ham bone. Given my Southern roots, I new how nicely that would flavor a pot of beans or soup! This had wonderful flavor, and would feed a crowd. This is very nutritious, has great flavor in the broth, and I especially love the texture that the orzo gives it.

  • 1 lb bag of mixed beans and lentils, pre-soaked
  • 6 cups broth - or - 2 T chicken "better than bouillon" and 6 cups water
  • hambone from a cooked ham
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups carrots, in big chunks
  • 2 cups celery diced
  • fresh basil, large handful, chopped fine (or 1 t dry basil)
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine (or 2 t crushed or powdered garlic)
  • 1 package dried wild mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (I might use 2 jars next time)
  • 1 lb orzo
  • optional: diced ham
  1. To pre-soak beans, either soak them over night, or bring them to a boil in a few cups water, simmer for 2 minutes, drain, and rinse.
  2. Put the beans in a big soup pot with the broth and the hambone.
  3. Heat the oil in a big frying pan to high heat and stir fry the vegies in batches (onion, carrots, celery) until soft; add to the soup pot.
  4. Add the herbs, garlic, mushrooms, and marinara to the soup pot.
  5. Simmer for about an hour, until the beans are tender.
  6. Add the orzo and cook 10 minutes longer. (Ensure there is enough liquid to cook the orzo, and when it is done, add water if needed to make the soup have a broth.)
  7. Meanwhile, heat the ham in the frying pan.
  8. To serve, ladel soup into bowl and add ham to taste. Serve with warm bread or onion bagels.
  9. Note: I didn't add salt or pepper, but season to taste at the table.
Bon Soup-a- teet!!!