Grilled Salmon Tacos

I love salmon. It is sooooo good for you. And I love tacos. I really love tacos. So when the idea to put them together came up in a clean eating challenge I was doing, I was 100% ON BOARD! And I was not at all disappointed.  

Salmon is really easy to prepare, but until recently, I’d been doing wrong, so wrong, for a long time. I always tried to get the skin off the back before I cooked it. It worked ok, I guess, but I always lost some meat to the cause and it was just a pain in the ass. So, the last time I made salmon, I just threw it right on the grill, skin and all. And you know what happened? I’m sure you do because I’m guessing I’m the only one who didn’t know this would happen. The skin just peeled right off when it was done cooking. Easy peasy. I felt like such an idiot for doing it the hard way this whole time. Well, never again, I tell you. NEVER again. Which is good because I make salmon a lot.

Grilled Salmon Tacos

1/3 cup olive oil

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon chili powder

¾ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Dash of salt and pepper

1ish pounds salmon

Corn tortillas

Guacamole for serving

Cheese for serving

Coleslaw for serving

In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and s&p. Rub on salmon and grill for about 5-7 minutes per side (depending on thickness). You can let this be a marinade if you want, but don’t let it sit too long or the citrus and the salt will start to “cook” the fish and that won’t be good.

When the salmon is done, remove it from the grill and take off the skin. I scrape off most of that grey stuff under the skin as well. I think it’s ok to eat, but since I don’t even know what it is, I take it off. Roughly chop up the salmon.

Serve in a warm corn tortilla with some guacamole and this AMAZING mango jicama slaw I found at Trader Joe’s. 


Or whatever other taco toppings you like.

 

That’s not all! I had lots of leftover salmon, so I reheated it and mixed it in with some brown rice and pesto with that slaw on the side. SO GOOD! I’m going to start making that as the main meal, not just leftovers!

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Orange Cranberry Muffins 

When I was in college, I was a barista at a couple different coffeehouses. I was just surrounded by muffins of all kinds. I almost always ate a bagel for breakfast, but every once in awhile I really wanted a muffin. It was at this time that I discovered the wonderful flavor combination of orange and cranberry.

That was the inspiration for these muffins. When I was trying to think of a good way to repurpose the cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving leftovers, it hit me that they would be great in a muffin! So went to work creating this recipe.

These turned out really yummy. My hubby says they could use a bit more orange flavor, but they were also good as-is. If you also want more orange, I would suggest adding more zest and juice and a little less of the cranberry sauce. You will probably have to compensate for the extra liquid with a bit more flour though.

Orange Cranberry Muffins (makes a dozen muffins)

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar 

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup orange juice 

Zest from one orange

1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil

Leftover cranberry sauce

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Create a little well, and add your eggs, milk, juice, butter, and zest. Mix well.

The batter should be thicker than a cake batter, but not cookie dough. 

Scoop in some leftover cranberry sauce. And fold it into the batter.

Finally, fill a sprayed or lined muffin tin with the batter. I’m a big fan of using the ice cream scoop to fill the cups. It’s usually the perfect amount.

Bake at 375 degrees 15-20 minutes.

Let the muffins cook a bit and drizzle with a glaze made from 1 cup powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make it the texture you want (some people like thicker or thinner glazes).

Serve and enjoy!!!

Chinese Chicken Salad 

There’s this little café in my office building that makes pretty decent food for relatively cheap. Plus, it’s really convenient. 

I usually only get the same few things there, but recently I had their Chinese Chicken Salad. You guys! It was really, really good! I already like Chinese Chicken Salad, but I’ve had it where it was just sort of blah. This was not blah! It was delicious!

 

I wanted to try to recreate it at home, but I sort of opted against a direct recreation. Being the junk food lover that I am, the fact that I view a salad as a treat is a good thing. I think I’ll leave this particular recipe to the pros.

 

I did end up creating my own version of a Chinese chicken salad using my leftover teriyaki chicken. It may not be quite as good as the one from the café, but it was still quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

 

This is what I put in mine, but feel free to riff on your own with what you like: 

Lettuce

Carrots

cucumbers

Prepared teriyaki chicken

Sliced water chestnuts

Mandarin orange segments (from the can)

Fried wonton wrapper, cut in slices (or I think you can buy them in the produce section already crispy)

Chinese chicken salad dressing*

Other optional ingredients that would be good: sesame seeds, sliced almonds, green onion, baby corn, bell peppers, crunchy chow mein noodles (those are soooo good! I could eat the whole package by itself!)

 

*I used Joey D’s brand. My friend at work uses Soy Vay. The café using a sesame ginger dressing, which I’ve also seen in various brands at the store.  

Perfect use for my leftovers!


 

Mix everything together and enjoy! 

Southwestern Turkey Soup

Time to talk turkey, you guys. Leftover turkey to be precise. Thanksgiving (and Christmas too, actually) tends to be a holiday with WAY more food than anyone could possibly eat. Everyone gathers around the table and eats until they are about to burst, but there is still always so much left over. Good thing there are lots of delicious ways to use up that yummy food so it doesn’t go to waste!

My favorite way to eat leftovers is a turkey sandwich: white bread, a little mayo, a little cranberry sauce, some turkey, and cheddar cheese. So simple, but so yummy

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My other favorite way to eat leftover turkey is in a soup. Now, I have a weird confession to make: I’ve never really loved chicken noodle soup. I mean, it’s fine and all, but it just doesn’t get me excited to eat it. So, instead of making turkey noodle soup with my leftovers, I decided to punch it up a bit and make a spin on chicken tortilla soup. I am so glad I did. It was delicious!

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ green bell pepper, diced
¼ yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
4oz can diced green chiles
1 can of black beans, drained
leftover turkey, shredded
5 cups turkey stock (you can use chicken stock)
½ bag frozen corn
tortilla crisps, shredded cheese, sour cream (for topping)

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, until soft.
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To that, add the cumin, chili powder, green chiles, black beans, and shredded turkey. You can add much turkey as you want. Stir altogether.

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Add 5 cups of stock (or enough to cover the turkey you added) and bring to a boil for a minute. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, with the cover on for at least 45 minutes to an hour. I left mine on for 2 hours and it was so good. Either way, don’t add the corn until the last 15 minutes or so.

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For serving, make some crispy tortillas by cutting a tortilla into small strips and frying in a little vegetable oil over medium heat. This doesn’t take long, so don’t walk away.

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Top the soup with some tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream, or whatever you like.

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This really hit the spot on a cold night! Plus, it’s actually pretty healthy, which can be a nice change of pace around the holidays!

Chicken Pot Pie 

I’m going to confess something: I made this for dinner a few nights ago and immediately uploaded the pictures. I saved the post as a draft with the full intention of coming back to it later that night after the kids went to bed. Instead, I immediately forgot all about it.

Oops!!  So, I am hoping I remember exactly what I did. I do make this pot pie recipe quite often, which is great when I’m making it, but not always when trying to tell someone the recipe. I tend to make it on auto-pilot so to know what exactly I do requires a lot of concentration.

Chicken pot pie is really a delicious and comforting dish. Perfect for this time of year. And what’s really great is you can make lots of adjustments to make it how you want.  You can change the vegetables around or leave them out if you really want. You can use chicken or leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Or no meat and make it vegetarian. You can use homemade dough or store bought. I’ve even used puff pastry before and that is so yummy (what isn’t yummy with puff pastry?!)

Here it goes…

For the crust:
1-1/2 sticks of cold butter, cut into small cubes
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar
5-6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups chicken broth (if you are making this vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
3/4 cup milk or cream
about 2-1/2 cups shredded chicken. I used 2 chicken breasts
Vegetables (more on this in the instructions)
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, add all the dough ingredients except the vinegar and water. Cut together with a pastry cutter or two knives, if you don’t have a pastry cutter. Make sure the butter is really cold. Cut the butter into the flour until it looks like small peas.

  Add the vinegar and about 4 tablespoons of water to the flour mixture. Stir together until all incorporated. If you need to add more water, do it 1 tablespoon at a time until it all comes together.  Put the dough in the fridge until ready to use. This is for a double crust. If you only want to use a top crust for your pot pie, just divide it half and freeze the half you aren’t using for another time.
  In a pot or large skillet, melt your butter and add your onions. Cook until soft.  Add in your flour and stir together until a paste forms. Let it cook for a couple minutes to get out the raw flour taste.
  Add your chicken broth and stir to incorporate the roux.  Add the milk or cream and let it come to a low boil. The mixture will thicken up. If it is too thick, you can add some more milk or broth. Reduce to a simmer.
Add your chicken and vegetables. More on the vegetables:

My usual combo is potatoes, peas, and carrots.  I forgot to check my veggie supply before I started and all I had on hand was broccoli, so that’s what I used.  It was still really good.

No matter what you use, make sure the veggies are cooked first, especially if you are using potatoes. What’s great about this is you can use frozen veggies and just throw them in the broth mix. They will thaw very quickly.

  Turn off the stove after the veggies have thawed mostly and take your dough out of the fridge. Divide it in two (one for the top crust and one for the bottom). Roll them out to the size of your baking dish.
  Put the bottom crust in your dish. Fill in any gaps with extra dough that may have flapped over the side of the dish. It doesn’t have to look perfect; this isn’t a beauty pageant. It’ll be delicious.  Pour in your filling.
  And top with the rest of your dough. Fold under the excess dough and poke a few holes in the top to let the steam escape.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remember the filling inside is all cooked, so you just really need to cook the crust.
   This is really so yummy! And comfort food at it’s finest. Plus, my kids love it, so that makes it even better :0)