Category Archives: Main Dishes

Walmart Grocery To Go – Part 2

 

This is part two of my experience with the Walmart Grocery To Go service.

This second order was in anticipation of a birthday party. My boyfriend got lucky, our birthdays are exactly one day apart. No excuse for forgetting my birthday, ever.

So we were both at home in our respective states for the holidays, meaning we did not get to celebrate our birthdays together. We decided when we got back we would throw a joint party for all our friends to come hang out and tell stories of their holidays too. This would be the first time we all saw each other in about a month.

I had placed the order a few days ahead of time, and set the delivery for between 6-8PM on Thursday. We had dinner, watched a movie. It was 6:30… 7:30… 8… 8:30… 9. I called the customer service line to figure out what was going on. The representative was refreshingly helpful and kind, he really was awesome. If only all customer service was like this.

However, what he found out was that the location I had ordered from was running four hours behind, and no one could contact the driver of the delivery truck, though my order was apparently already loaded onto the truck.

My order might not be delivered until after 1am… do I still want it? Ummm… no! I’m not staying up way past midnight when I have to wake up the next day at 5:30AM for work.

So I thought he cancelled it, yet I still got a call from someone around 11, who left me a voicemail telling me the same thing, my order will be delivered around 1am, do I still want it?

No.

However, there were no delivery times available the next day, which was the planned day of the party. I could go pick up the order at the store after noon, did I want to do that?

No, thank you.

The whole point of delivery, is that it is delivered. I don’t have to drive a half hour and go into the store to pick it up then load it into my car, drive home, and unload it all.

Needless to say, I was frustrated.

However, three of the people we invited had other things happening that weekend anyways, so we moved the party date to the following weekend. Good news for Walmart I guess.

So I rescheduled the delivery. And as a bonus for having messed up, they increased my budget a little and gave me free delivery again. Something is better than nothing I suppose. Now the delivery was set for the following Thursday night, same time, 6-8PM.

Thankfully, this one showed up on time, right around 6:45.

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I had decided to go with an Asian theme for dinner. I stocked up on some stir-fry noodles, teriyaki sauce, fresh veggies and chicken, sweet & sour sauce, and egg rolls. I already have some chop sticks I bought forever ago, so I busted those out too.

There was one item out of stock (the bok choi for stir fry) and a substitution of Lays brand dip for the Walmart Great Value brand. That wasn’t a problem, because the substituted brand was actually more expensive, but they do not charge you the difference.

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Then for the “party” portion after dinner, I got several types of chips and French onion dip. A few cans of chickpeas and a can of tahini so that I can make my own hummus. Several party size bags of white cheddar popcorn (pretty sure the “white” part is crack. Cause for real, I can eat an entire bag in a day), and jelly beans.

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In terms of the rest of the party experience, I also decided to get some “Island Fresh” Febreze so my house smells pretty, as well as Suave clinical strength deodorant, so I smell pretty too! And bonus for those readers over 21, beer is an option on Walmart Grocery. Count me in for a 24-pack of the 16 oz cans of Budweiser. For after the party, I got a gigantic bottle of lemon scented Cascade, to make dish clean-up easy breezy.

On to the cooking!

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes Thai stir fry noodles
  • 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned bell peppers
  • 2 cups broccoli/cauliflower
  • 1 cup shredded spinach
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 small bottle teriyaki sauce (or make your own)
  • 3-4 pounds chicken breast strips
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch or flour to thicken sauce
  • Sriracha or hot sauce, to taste
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

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Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil, and boil your noodles 7-9 minutes. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the coconut oil. Add the peppers, broccoli, and/or cauliflower and cook 5-6 minutes, covered. Then add the spinach, cabbage, and any spices/hot sauce. Cook another few minutes, until all veggies are soft.

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Step 2: Either in a separate pan, or remove the veggies and keep warm, cook the chicken strips 8-10 minutes both sides, until no longer pink in the center. Pour on the terikayi sauce, heat to simmering. Add the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Cook until sauce thickens. Combine with veggies.

Step 3: Strain the noodles, and add to the pan. Mix everything well, and heat through.

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We had a lovely dinner together, sharing stories and catching up. The stir fry was a hit! The teriyaki sauce is delicious but thinner than I thought. I added some cornstarch to thicken it up and it worked like a charm.

Homemade Hummus

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Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, depending on taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons warm water
  • Dash of ground paprika for serving

Optional: black or red pepper, roasted red peppers, dill, cilantro, parsley, cooked edamame, roasted beets

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Step 1: Add the tahini and lemon juice to a food processor or blender, and blend on high for at least 1 minute, up to 10. According to this recipe from Inspired Taste, this makes all the difference in a smooth, store-bought-like consistency.

Step 2: Open the can of garbanzos, and put in a colander. Run cold water over them for several minutes to remove any toxins & excess sodium. If you wish, add to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes to soften them. Then add to the tahini paste and blend another 4-5 minutes.

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Step 3: Add the garlic cloves, olive oil, and sea salt to taste, along with any other desired ingredients. If you don’t have tahini, try peanut butter or almond butter. You can use whatever spices sound good to you. Roast some beets and add them for a shocking pink hummus or a cup of cooked edamame for a delicate green boost of protein and fiber. Get crazy!

Step 4: Blend everything well until the desired consistency, adding a few tbsp water if needed. Use a spatula to pour into a bowl, and garnish with some olive oil, a dash of paprika, and/or some fresh herbs. Enjoy alone, on sandwiches, or with fresh crudités.

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Several games were gifted to us during the holidays, one of which is always a huge hit at parties: Cards Against Humanity. With game-play much like Apples to Apples but with a much more… “mature” card content, our group of friends loved it.

If your friends (and you) like intricate games with a lot of thought and strategy, you might want to look into Betrayal at House on the Hill.  In this game, you are a band of brave explorers who find a haunted house. You go through the house discovering new rooms. Based on the rooms you find, different events can happen.

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At some point during the game, “the Haunting” is triggered. The game decides who becomes the Traitor, who must now try to accomplish their goal to the detriment of their former friends, whilst the Heroes now try to defeat them first.

With 50 different unique stories, and endless unpredictable variations, this game will keep us entertained for a long time to come!

One whole bag of the white cheddar popcorn disappeared within the first two hours, and the homemade hummus was way better than even the freshest deli purchased tub. No one commented on the Island scent, but no one said it smelled bad either, so that’s a win. And the lemon Cascade works great for clean dishes with no streaks, and just a hint of lemon scent.

All in all, this delivery was far more trouble and frustration, though it worked out in the end. If I had this planned for an event that actually happened the day it was planned and my delivery just didn’t show up until after midnight, I would be extremely displeased. They did try to make it right after the fact, but we are at 50% (one of two deliveries were positive experiences).

One more delivery remains, so stay tuned!

 

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Couscous & Beans with White Fish

 

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Since I made my own canned pinto beans, I’ve kept them in the refrigerator so that there’s little risk of botulism growing. This means that I’ve also been coming up with ways to use them up quickly, so beans have been featuring in meals all week in various ways.

I made a Red Beans & Rice that was absolutely delicious and will be part of my usual meal rotation now, and used my beans in stuffed bell peppers. Now I am considering a pinto bean hummus. Is that blasphemy? I don’t care.

This is a great way to get your fiber for the day and sneak in some extra veggies. Even if you don’t like fish, this blend of flavors and textures may change your mind.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup couscous (cooked)
  • 3/4 cup beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 3 oz white fish fillet
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Salt & pepper & paprika

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Step 1:  To cook couscous, take about 3/4 cup water and heat in microwave 2-3 minutes, until near boiling. Pour over 1/2 cup couscous and let sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

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Step 2: Meanwhile, in a pan combine the frozen veggies, spinach, and beans. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often so nothing sticks. The spinach should wilt to a fraction of its size, and the veggies will soften. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and pour veggies on top.

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Step 3: In the same pan, add the white fish and spray lemon juice over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook 4-5 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side another 2-3 minutes, until it is fully white and flakes easily with a fork. Add more lemon juice if you want.

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Step 4: Put the fish on top of the whole bowl, sprinkle with more seasonings, and dig in!

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Couscous & Beans with White Fish

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: One serving

1 fish fillet, 3/4 c couscous, 3/4 c beans, 1/2 c

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup couscous (cooked)
  • 3/4 cup beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 3 oz white fish fillet
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Salt & pepper & paprika

Instructions

  1. To cook couscous, take about 3/4 cup water and heat in microwave 2-3 minutes, until near boiling. Pour over 1/2 cup couscous and let sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan combine the frozen veggies, spinach, and beans. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often so nothing sticks. The spinach should wilt to a fraction of its size, and the veggies will soften. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and pour veggies on top.
  3. In the same pan, add the white fish and spray lemon juice over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook 4-5 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side another 2-3 minutes, until it is fully white and flakes easily with a fork. Add more lemon juice if you want.
  4. Put the fish on top of the whole bowl, sprinkle with more seasonings, and dig in!

Notes

You can of course sub in any veggies you like, try mushrooms, zucchini, squash, carrots, beets, cabbage, celery, kale. You can also use any type of beans, or fish here. And guess what? You can even use a different type of grain! I bet this would also be tasty with brown rice, quinoa, spelt, or barley.

This is just an outline, as long as you have 3 oz fish, about 3/4 cup grain, 1/2 cup beans or lentils, and 3/4-1 1/2 cups vegetables, this is a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner bowl.

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Bean & Couscous Stuffed Peppers

 

So you might know I’ve been on a bit of a bean kick lately. I love how affordable (read: cheap!) dried beans are and so I’ve been trying to incorporate them more into my daily cooking.

I’ve already found that I can indeed can my own beans. For mere cents per jar this is a great savings over buying them at the store for 60-90 cents per can.

I had already made Red Beans & Rice, and I totally love beef & rice stuffed peppers, and couscous stuffed peppers. I figured beans are a natural option for stuffing, since they are high in fiber and protein, and are good at binding together other ingredients. This is another recipe that turned out accidentally vegan. I’m on a roll and I like it!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 bell peppers any color
  • 1 cup cooked couscous
  • 2/3 cup cooked beans, mashed
  • 1 can tomato sauce, or 1/2 cup pizza/pasta sauce
  • Handful torn kale
  • Garlic salt or other seasonings to taste

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Step 1: If you haven’t already, cook the couscous by covering with boiling water, then waiting 5-10 minutes to absorb. Fluff with a fork. I cooked the beans overnight in a crock pot, then mashed them.

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Step 2: Cut the tops off the peppers and discard seeds. In a bowl, mix the couscous, beans, sauce, seasonings, and kale. Stuff 1/3 of the mixture into each pepper. If you reserve a little sauce you can pour that on top.

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Step 3: Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until the outside of the peppers becomes soft to the touch and easily pierced with a fork.

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These are amazing hot out of the oven or reheated the next day. Recipe can easily be doubled for a big family or to make meals for the whole week.

 

 

Bean & Couscous Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3 stuffed peppers

1 pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 bell peppers any color
  • 1 cup cooked couscous
  • 2/3 cup cooked beans, mashed
  • 1 can tomato sauce, or 1/2 cup pizza/pasta sauce
  • Handful torn kale
  • Garlic salt or other seasonings to taste

Instructions

  1. If you haven't already, cook the couscous by covering with boiling water, then waiting 5-10 minutes to absorb. Fluff with a fork. I cooked the beans overnight in a crock pot, then mashed them.
  2. Cut the tops off the peppers and discard seeds. In a bowl, mix the couscous, beans, sauce, seasonings, and kale. Stuff 1/3 of the mixture into each pepper. If you reserve a little sauce you can pour that on top.
  3. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until the outside of the peppers becomes soft to the touch and easily pierced with a fork.
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Lentils & Wild Rice Bake

 

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This recipe came together on a whim, just because I had recently purchased some pretty ingredients at Sprouts. I wanted something hearty and healthy, but also quick and not too time intensive. Lentils are filled with fiber, and wild rice is packed with vitamins.

Toss in a few veggies and broth, and we have a well-rounded meal. I had some diced ham left over from a few days prior, so I threw that in as well. Feel free to not use that to keep this dish vegetarian, and just bulk up on more added veggies, whatever you got in the fridge.

Ingredients:

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Step 1: In a small pan, mix the rice and lentils with the water or broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid sticking, and add water if needed.

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Step 2: Slice the onion and pepper thinly, and cook in the oil in a pan over medium heat until softened, about 5-10 minutes.

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Step 3: Take the lentils and rice off the heat and put into a large bowl. Mix in the cooked veggies and meat if using. You could also add in any fresh herbs if you want, like parsley, sage, or garlic.

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Step 4: Pour the rice and lentils into a greased 8×8 pan, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes uncovered. This develops a nice crisp coating on the rice bake.

This makes about four hearty servings. Even the picky carnivore loved it!

 

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Lentils & Wild Rice Bake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups, for four servings

1/2 cup, or one quarter of the pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water or broth
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: 1/2 cup diced meat

Instructions

  1. In a small pan, mix the rice and lentils with the water or broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid sticking, and add water if needed.
  2. Slice the onion and pepper thinly, and cook in the oil in a pan over medium heat until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Take the lentils and rice off the heat and put into a large bowl. Mix in the cooked veggies and meat if using. You could also add in any fresh herbs if you want, like parsley, sage, or garlic.
  4. Pour the rice and lentils into a greased 8x8 pan, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes uncovered. This develops a nice crisp coating on the rice bake.
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Red Beans & Rice

 

A long-standing frugal classic, Red Beans & Rice is claimed to have originated in Louisianna. History says that this dish was typical of Monday nights, because Monday was wash day. Laundry was once a very time and labor intensive task, with water to boil, hand-scrubbing each piece of clothing, wringing it out, and hanging it to dry on a line.

This meant little to no time to also cook a complicated meal. Since Sundays were traditionally a ham, the leftover ham bone would be simmered with the beans slowly all day. With the trifecta of veggies (celery, onion, and bell pepper) and some seasonings (garlic, sage, thyme, and/or bay leaf) it is then served over white rice for a simple, cheap, yet hearty meal.

Sometimes sausage is added into the beans, or at the end of cooking, and sometimes pork chops are cooked on the side. Though usually cooked using a ham bone, sausage, and/or bacon grease for flavoring, it is very easy to make vegetarian or vegan. I used some of my home-canned beans for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked beans or 1 1/2 cup dry
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 bell pepper
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • Green onion
  • Optional: black pepper and/or hot sauce
  • Optional: 1/2 cup sliced sausage or ham

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Step 1: Chop the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper very small. Put in a pan with the olive oil, and cook on medium heat 10-15 minutes.

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Step 2: If you want to use sausage or ham, now is the time you can add it to the pan and cook it until no longer pink. If you want it to be vegetarian, feel free to not include sausage.

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Step 3: Either using canned beans, or pre-soaked and cooked beans, add to the pot with the veggies. Add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1-2 hours.

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Step 4: Add the bay leaves and 1 tsp black pepper to the pot. Simmer another hour.

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Step 5: This is optional, but will make your beans much creamier. Take out 1/4 to half the beans, and put into a blender with some cooking liquid. (You can do this before you add them to the pot so you are sure to not include any sausage bits).

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Step 6: Add the blended beans back into the pot. This thickens the liquid considerably. Mix well and heat through.

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Step 7: Remove the bay leaves, cook up a batch of white rice, and serve with some chopped green onion or chives on top.

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This meal is super hearty and will fill you up for hours. It also costs just a few cents per serving, especially if you can your own beans and grow your own green onion.

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Ham & Veggie Burrito

 

Guess what!? It’s my birthday today! That’s right, a few years ago, three days after Christmas and three days before New Years, a doctor handed my mommy and daddy their little tax break. I will be celebrating this day with family, probably with a home-cooked meal and/or some sort of excursion. Maybe swinging by Starbucks to pick up my birthday freebie. Maybe even crazier and beginning my day with a Denny’s Grand Slam! Who knows. YOLO.

In honor of my birthday, I’m writing about one of my favorite things: burritos! Burritos are basically the king of all food types, because there really isn’t much you can’t put into one. Breakfast burritos, vegetarian burritos, dessert burritos. Anything you got leftover, heat it and wrap it up and dinner is served.

Leftover ham lends itself to oh-so-many possibilities! You can check out my article about uses for leftover ham and eggs from a previous Easter for more ideas. Ham is delightful on its own, but there are so many more ways to use it than in sandwiches. The bones and meat make amazing soups, you can put it in stir fry, or make a mean grilled ham and cheese.

This particular inspiration happened when I had a windfall of deli meat leftover, along with some olives and veggies in the fridge. I cooked it all up with some eggs, and made an amazing hot breakfast in under 10 minutes. You could also just wrap all this up with some hummus and/or greens for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup diced ham
  • 3-5 olives
  • 1/3 cup bell pepper slices
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 green onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp crumbly cheese
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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Step 1: In a frying pan, cook the ham, stirring often, until it begins to lightly brown. Cut the tomatoes and olives in half, and slice the bell pepper and onion thinly. Add all veggies and garlic cloves to the pan, and stir fry for 5-10 minutes, until softened and fragrant.

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Step 2: Scramble the two eggs in a bowl, and add to the pan. Add the cheese (I used feta here). Cook, stirring often, until done.

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Step 3: Scoop onto a warm tortilla. Fold up one end of the tortilla, then roll it up one side to the other.

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That’s all there is to it! The soft warm veggies go great with the salty ham and cheese, and the eggs bring everything together. You can add in other veggies, like spinach, kale, cauliflower, or avocado. Try some sriracha, cooked beans, or hummus too.

Pistachio-crusted baked salmon

 

You may have heard that nuts of all kinds are good for you, in small amounts. They all contain healthy protein, and some level of good fats. A personal favorite since I was a kid, pistachios are a great choice. Grown in bunches on bushy trees, pistachios are available year round.

Regular consumption of pistachios in the diet helps to lower total as well as bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol levels within the blood. They are a part of the Mediterranean diet, which is high in heart-healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, as well as vegetable-heavy and fish friendly.

Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in dietary-fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile. Pistachios also contain many antioxidants, carotenes, multiple minerals, B vitamins, and vitamin E.

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Though a good thing, you can get too much. They contain about 550 calories per 100 grams, so as with most good things you need to exercise restraint. A tough task indeed when you have a bowl for shells and a bag of nuts. I know I’ve looked down to see a pile of shells much larger than I thought possible many a time.

While I love pistachios plain in the shell, I also love combining multiple heart-healthy options into a tasty health bonanza. What could be more heart-healthy than a salmon fillet?! With tons of omega-3 fatty acids and protein of its own, salmon is one of my favorite types of fish to cook and eat. Since I also already had pistachios lying about, they seemed a natural match.

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And since I have just done a post about sweet Brown Sugar & Maple Apple Glazed Salmon, this recipe will take the fish in the savory direction.

Ingredients:

  • 2 4-oz salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt (or mayo)
  • Cooking oil

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Step 1: Shell and crush the pistachios. I put them in a plastic bag and slammed them with my rolling pin. Put on a flat plate with the bread crumbs. You could use crushed crackers or flour here too.

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Step 2: Smear 1 tbsp yogurt onto each fillet. Don’t be afraid to get messy and use your hands.

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Step 3: Place the yogurt-smeared side down on the nut and bread mixture and press. This creates the crunchy coating on the fish. The yogurt helps keep the moisture in while the nuts give it texture and great flavor.

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Step 4: Spray an oven-safe baking pan with cooking oil, and place the fillets inside. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until fish is light pink and flakes easily with a fork.

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The fish cooks up nice and juicy, with just a hint of nutty flavor and a crisp outer coating. You can use a beaten egg or milk or mayonnaise in place of yogurt, and other types of nuts, or none at all if you have allergies.

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As you can see, I served mine with a baked potato and sweetly addictive and stunningly easy Mexican street corn.

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So do your heart and your taste buds a favor, and cook this up for dinner soon!

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Brown Sugar and Maple-Apple Glazed Salmon

 

Salmon is one of my favorite kinds of fish. As I’ve said before, white fish are awesome because they are so versatile, but salmon can hold many bolder flavors while also bringing its own flavor profile to the table. With the mainstream becoming more aware of its amazing protein punch and heart-healthy omega-3s, salmon is increasingly becoming a popular protein option for any meal.

Salmon has a stronger fishy taste than some, but that definitely depends upon how you cook it and what you serve it with. There are so many good options for salmon; including grilling, broiling, sauteing, and baking.

Salmon can easily be paired with something savory or sweet. One of my favorite things to incorporate is brown sugar. The sweet, caramely notes work wonders to bring out the fish’s unique layers of taste. And to go with brown sugar, butter and apples are natural accompaniments.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3-oz salmon fillets (or one big 6 oz-er)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium firm apple (such as Gala or Fuji)
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Veggie Rice

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • Garlic salt to taste

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Step 1: Dice the apple into small bite-sized pieces. In a frying pan over medium heat, add the butter, apple juice, apples, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, and simmer 3-5 minutes.

Step 2: Add the salmon fillets and cook 5 minutes. Flip, then sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover and simmer 5-10 more minutes, until sugar is slightly caramelized and the fish is cooked through. It should be light pink in color and flake easily with a fork.

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If you’d like to make this rice as a side, dice up the zucchini. Either in a rice cooker or a sauce pot, add the rice, zucchini, spinach, and 1 1/2 cups of water or stock. In a rice cooker, mix and turn on. Fluff before serving.

If using a pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer on low with the cover on for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve alongside salmon with garlic salt to taste.

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The salmon is flaky and sweet, with a sugar glaze and apple flavor. The apples become soft and sweet, almost like having dessert with your dinner!

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Blender chili

 

I know, the title of the post has you doubtful already. But stick with me, this will be the healthiest chili your husband/kids/friends/you ever ate without knowing it!

One of my all-time favorite ways to sneak healthy veggies into foods without detection is by juicing or blending them. This removes the physical give-away chunks that usually trigger the “ew” factor. You can get people to eat all kinds of yummies if they don’t know it’s there! I won’t tell if you don’t.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (omit for vegetarians)
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 2 cans kidney beans (or any kind)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 cup leafy greens; spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 6 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • Sriracha to taste

Step 1: In a large pan, cut up the celery and carrots. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. You will blend these once cooked.

Step 2: Brown the ground beef or turkey if using. Drain the excess fat.
Step 3: Once the carrots are soft when poked with a fork (9-15 minutes) strain and add the carrots, celery, leafy greens, and one can of beans to a blender. Blend on high until completely liquid. This preserves the vitamins as well as fiber content from your veggies while masking the flavors. Add more water if needed while blending.
Step 4: Add the other whole can of beans to the meat, along with the diced tomatoes (best with green chilies for extra heat!) and the tomato sauce.
Step 5: Add in the veggie-licious paste and mix well. Sprinkle on the spices, mix, and taste test. Add more of whatever is needed to please the palate.
And there you have it! Super nutrient-packed chili that will still taste great and stick to your ribs. Delicious served with hot fresh cornbread, or over spaghetti like cincinnati chili.

One pot chicken pasta

 

As any home cook knows, the best recipes are the ones that combine as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  • Delicious – the family will eat it
  • Fast – not too much prep or cook time
  • Cheap – won’t break the budget
  • Easy cleanup – because who likes dishes?
  • Healthy – because duh

Luckily for you, this recipe combines all those things! In one pan, in under 30 minutes, using frozen, canned, and pantry items, you can have a family-pleasing, heart-healthy, budget and waistline friendly meal on the table.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large frozen chicken breasts (or thawed)
  • 2/3 cup lentils (or other bean if canned)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or stock
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 cup chopped veggies and/or fresh spinach
  • Seasonings of choice – I used garlic salt and some dried onion

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Step 1: In a pan, combine the lentils, water, tomatoes, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered. Cook for 10-15 minutes and turn chicken.

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Step 2: Add the pasta (and more water if you need it) and bring back to a boil. Simmer covered another 7-8 minutes.

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Step 3: Add in any fresh chopped veggies for the final 5 minutes or so of cooking.

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The spinach I threw in last. You could also make this in a crock pot on low for several hours. Make sure the chicken is fully cooked (cut into it and be sure there is no pink) before serving.

If you want to turn this into a soup, you could do so easily by adding more water. If you want a thicker sauce, let boil uncovered a few minutes to thicken.