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!

Chicken Fajita Bowls with Mexican Cauliflower Rice

So I’m pretty active on Instagram. I’m not the best at taking pictures of my food, so I really love scrolling through people’s Instagram feeds with beautiful food pictures. I try. I like to think I’m getting better at it, but still. Taking lovely food shots is not my forte.
 

One of my favorite types of pictures are when people do food bowls. I don’t know if this is a new trend or if it just photographs well, but they are so beautiful. The food is organized so cleanly and is usually very colorful. I can’t get enough of them!

All that was said to introduce this Chicken Fajita bowl I recently made. I’ve made similar things before and I swear I posted them on here, but I guess not. Which just means I need to make them again so I can post them again and practice taking better pictures of them! See, it all works out.

This is a super easy weeknight meal that is totally family friendly and can be customized to your tastes.

Chicken Fajita Bowl

Makes enough for 2-4 bowls, depending on how much you put in them

 

Mexican Cauliflower Rice:

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– ½ onion diced small

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 bag riced cauliflower (I used the 12 oz bag from Trader Joe’s)

– 1 ½ tablespoons (or so) of tomato paste

– ½ tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder

– Salt to taste     

Bowls:

Mexican cauliflower rice (you can use regular rice or Mexican rice if you want)

Shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

½ purple onion, sliced

½ each red, orange, and green bell pepper, sliced

Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Plain non-fat greek yogurt for topping

Guacamole or avocado slices for topping

Place the onion and bell pepper slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Mexican cauliflower rice:

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until just starting to soften. Then add the cauliflower rice and cook for about 7 minutes until cooked through. Add the seasonings and tomato paste and stir together until well mixed.

 


Once the rice and veggies are ready (either the cauliflower rice or whatever rice you want to use), you can assemble your bowls.

 

You can be fancy and do layers and sections and organize the whole thing by color or whatever. Or, if you are not planning on taking a photo and you couldn’t care less what your bowl looks like before you eat it because you are just going to mix it all up anyway, you can just throw everything together and have at it.

As long as it tastes good, who care? You do you, love.

Refrigerator Clean-out Turkey Patties   

You know those days where you come home and you are completely worn out? I mean, more than just the usual end-of-the-day tired. I’m talking exhausted, can barely keep your eyes open, WIPED OUT. That was me yesterday. My lovely 3-year-old isn’t much of a sharer, but last week she decided to share her strep throat with me.
 

You guys, I thought it was going to end me.

I had strep when I was in middle school. I remember it being an inconvenience. I remember going about my business of being 13 like it wasn’t that big of a deal. I remember going to the movies, for crying out loud. Nope, not this time. I guess as an adult, strep is a totally different ball game. It laid me out. I was sidelined for a week. I couldn’t do anything. I was *thisclose* to calling an attorney to get my affairs in order. And maybe a priest to read me my last rites. Bottom line: It was awful. So moms, if your child has strep throat, do yourself a favor and go get a hotel room to yourself until it clears up. I only address this to moms, because husbands are apparently made out of steel and seem to somehow resist the death disease.

Anyway, back to the food, which is why you’re actually here. My first day back to regular life went fine, but I was so worn out at the end of the day, I could just cry. And I was starving. But in that state, who has time for a recipe and all that measuring of ingredients nonsense? Not me, that’s who. Instead, I decided to raid my fridge and see what I could throw together. Hence why these are now called “Refrigerator Clean-Out” because that is literally what I did. So creative, I know.

Here’s the scoop:

Finely dice a half a red bell pepper, half a zucchini, and half a leek. Saute over medium heat with some olive oil and salt and pepper, until softened. Just before the mixture is done, add in some minced garlic and cook until done.

Let the veggie mixture cool slightly and add it to a pound of ground turkey. If you are impatient like me and add it right away, your turkey meat will be really sticky. It will still work, but you will just be making it more difficult for yourself. 


Once the veggies are mixed into the turkey, form into patties. Add a little olive oil to a skillet and cook the patties over medium heat for about 7 minutes per side (depending on how big they are). When I flipped the patties, I added a slice of cheese and let it do its melty, gooey, magical cheese thing while the patties continued cooking.

 

I served these with some brown rice and roasted rainbow carrots. (Fun fact: Carrots used to always be “rainbow” carrots, leaning mostly toward purple. Back in the 17th century, the Dutch carrot farmers created orange carrots through selection and hybridization (the Dutch sure love their orange color!). Those carrots were spread throughout the world through immigration and became the carrots known more commonly. The “rainbow” carrots we see are actually the carrots going back to their original roots… pun intended).    

Farro Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is here you guys!!! I know, it is sort of hard to tell if you live in Southern California right now. We are in the midst of a serious heat wave. I’m talking so hot, they had recess indoors at my son’s school. Ugh. This is not my jam. At all.

Anyway, last weekend I put up my fall decor in anticipation of this heat wave breaking and the season finally making an appearance.

Today, I braved my oven (with the AC on) and made my first “Fall” dish of the season: Stuffed Acorn Squash. It was so easy and delicious and healthy just very… FALL.

You should be able to find farro at any grocery store, but if you can’t, I’m sure you can substitute brown rice. Same with the garlic herb sausage. I got this at Trader Joe’s and I know I’ve seen similar varieties at regular grocery stores too. You could probably substitute just about any flavor you like.

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Serves 2 (1/2 squash each. About 360 calories per serving)

1 medium acorn squash
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 chicken sausage links (see note above), cut into small pieces
1/2 leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup COOKED farro
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (you can use dried as well, just cut the amount in half)
1 teaspoon dried sage

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise (or, if you are deathly afraid of cutting winter squash and are scared you are going to accidentally stab yourself, enlist someone else to do it). Scoop out the seeds in the middle and coat with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. Just until slightly fork-tender.

While the squash is roasting, make your farro according to package directions.

Make the rest of the stuffing (you can actually make the stuffing ahead of time, a day or two, and just use it when you are ready).  In a skillet, saute in a little olive oil the leeks, garlic, sausage, thyme, and sage.

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I don’t know why this picture is upside down, but I’m pretty sure you get it…

 

Drain the farro and add it to the sausage mixture. Then put half in each half of the squash. Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Funny story… When I was coming up with this recipe, I had planned on adding a diced apple to the stuffing (include it in the saute). I even bought the apple. I completely FORGOT!!  If you make it, try it with the apple and let me know how it goes. Next time I will include the apple! (I was going to use a Fuji, but any should work).

This was really yummy and quite easy. Perfect for a fall dinner. Now, someone send me pictures of changing leaves and sipping apple cider because I’m melting over here!

Crispy Lemon Chicken 

Fried chicken has to be one of my all-time favorite foods. When it’s done right, of course. Which is why I don’t make fried chicken. 

Can I confess something? This is a safe place, right? I know how to make fried chicken. I can walk you through the steps and tell you everything you need to know about fried chicken. I just have a difficult time actually putting my direction into practice. 

Here’s a confession to my confession: I’ve only actually tried making fried chicken myself twice. And it has been a really long time. But both those times really did a number on my fried chicken confidence and I have been scared to try again ever since. 

After having the world’s best fried chicken in New Orleans and knowing that that this the only place you can get that particular chicken, I feel like I will have to get over my fears and try again. OK. I’ll say it here and now… New Foodie Goal: Make fried chicken! 

In the meantime, I’ll stick with this easier version. Really, it is fool-proof. And it’s delicious. I make this a lot because it is the perfect weeknight meal. You can pair it with anything you want and change up the flavors however you want. 

It’s nothing fancy. It is more-or-less a chicken schnitzel, which is just a thin piece of meat, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried.

Feel free to change up some of the flavors if you want: garlic, spice, etc.

2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise 

2 eggs

2 cups panko 

Zest of one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of one lemon 

In a bowl, combine the panko, lemon zest and some salt and pepper.

  

Set up your dredging station and dip each chicken piece into the egg then breadcrumbs.

  

In a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, add your breaded chicken and cook until crispy and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
  

When the chicken is done, remove to a plate and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the top.

  

Serve with a salad or potatoes or whatever your favorite side is. 
 

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Bowls 

Growing up, my mom used to make teriyaki chicken a lot. I mean, really a lot. It sort of became a bit of a running joke in the family. It was good, but we just had it a lot. Now, my mom is and always has been an excellent cook and she definitely made other things, but we very often had teriyaki chicken. She would put the chicken in a baking dish, pour some Lawry’s Teriyaki marinade over top and bake in the oven. Serve with some veggies and bread and you’ve got yourself dinner.

Now that I am a busy working mom, I get why that was such a go-to meal for her. I mean, really, duh! Looking back, it is such a no-brainer. It fit all four major categories parents strive for in a meal: quick, easy, healthy, and delicious. When you’ve got a job, a house to maintain, and three kids all with different schedules and whatnot going on, you’re lucky to hit just “quick and easy” let alone, all four! 

Fast forward many years later to me cooking for my family and I’ve changed up my mom’s teriyaki chicken game a bit. In my opinion, it is still just as easy, healthy, and delicious. It’s not really quick, per se, because you use your slow cooker. But at the same time, because you are using a slow-cooker, you aren’t stuck in the kitchen the whole time. 

A little side note/kitchen tip before I start the recipe: I always have a supply of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer. You can get a pack of 24 at Costco for, like, $20. They have them at the regular grocery store too, but you don’t get as many and they cost more (not everything at Costco is a deal, but these are). For this recipe, you can use them frozen, but other times, I’ll just take a couple out of the freezer the night before or in the morning before I go to work, and then they are ready for me to use however I want for dinner that night.   

Now back to the recipe: 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts frozen* (you can do this with thawed meat too, just adjust your cooking time)

1 bottle teriyaki sauce/marinade

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

Broccoli

Carrots

3 tablespoons cornstarch

*2 may not seem like a lot, but trust me, when you shred it, add the veggies and serve with rice, you’ll get lot out of this. I would say at least 6 servings.

To your slow cooker, add the chicken, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and honey.

Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 6 to 7 hours.

In the last hour of cooking, add your veggies. This cooks the veggies, but also lets them keep a bit of their firmness. If you want them to be softer, cook them longer. 

  
When you add your veggies, you can also make a cornstarch slurry to thicken up the sauce a bit. Ladle out some of your cooking liquid, whisk in a few tablespoons of cornstarch. Add the slurry back into the slow cooker and stir around for a second. Put the lid back on and let it keep cooking.

When it’s done, serve the chicken and veggies over rice.

  

Easiest Meatloaf Ever

When I think of meatloaf, images of a Norman Rockwell-esque, 1950s all-American family come to mind. Little Bobby and Susie run off to play with the neighborhood kids, while dad’s at work and mom’s busy in the kitchen, after playing Bridge with the girls while the kids were at school, of course. It’s comfort food. It may seem dated, but it really is the definition of a tried and true classic dish. 

Clearly, I thought meatloaf was as American as Apple Pie. However, I was slightly wrong. Meatloaf actually has European origins dating back to the 5th century. It is actually a traditional German, Scandinavian, and Belgian dish, and has many global iterations. For example: 

* In Austria, the meatloaf is wrapped in ham before being baked. Denmark also adds ham or bacon to the top of their meatloaf.

* Many countries add hardboiled eggs, such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Greece, and many others.

* Chilean meatloaf is considered a staple of Chile cuisine in areas having been influenced by German settlers in the 1800s. In addition to beef, they include carrots, sausages, and hardboiled eggs.

* In Cuba, they add ground ham to the beef and cook it on the stove-top instead of baking it in the oven

* In the Czech Republic, they also add hardboiled eggs, but they also sometimes add gherkins, or small pickles.

* In Puerto Rico, they include potatoes and red beans in the meat mixture. 

American meatloaf has it’s origins in something called scrapple, which is very popular in Pennsylvania. Scrapple has been around since Colonial times, but contemporary meatloaf as is common today didn’t appear in cookbooks until the 1800s. Meatloaf gained it’s popularity mainly during the Great Depression because it was a good way to stretch a food budget. 

Fun Fact: Meatloaf was voted the seventh-favorite dish in the US by Good Housekeeping. 

There are so many ways to make a meatloaf. You can change the seasoning, you can change the type of meat you use, you can change your add-ins. This recipe here is my go-to. It is super simple and perfect for a weeknight. It bakes in the oven for about an hour, but the prep time is next to nothing, so you just throw it together, put it in the oven, and move on to other things while it bakes. And my kids like it, so that make it a winner in my book! 

2 pounds of ground beef (you can do a mixture of meats if you want)

3/4 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt 

1 egg

Splash of milk (helps keep it moist!)

In a bowl, combine all your ingredients. 

  

You can form the loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or you can use a loaf pan.

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Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup ketchup with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Pour over the top of the meatloaf and bake another 10-15 minutes.

  

DONE! Serve with potatoes or veggies. This also makes a really yummy meatloaf sandwich the next day.
 

Some fun alterations I’ve made are adding crumbled (cooked) bacon, shredded cheese (different kinds), using BBQ sauce instead of the ketchup mixture, wrapping it in bacon, using turkey instead of beef… I recently saw that you can smoke a meatloaf! I may have to look into that and put my hubby’s smoker to the test! 

What’s your favorite way to eat meatloaf?