Four-spice salmon with cranberry spinach salad + my new fall outfit

Fall is officially here in Texas. I was finally able to bust out my fall clothes, including my new hat and scarf. I had been eyeing them on some of my favorite bloggers and finally took the plunge and ordered them. They arrived just in time for the weekend!

I was also looking forward to Halloween weekend. We celebrated Halloween at work earlier in the week, where I dressed up with a few other girls as the Spice Girls. We even created a music video to get in the spirit. That might have been the highlight of my week!

But after a weekend of eating candy, I decided it was time to get back into the game and focus on eating healthy leading up to Thanksgiving. I saw the recipe for the salmon on New York Times Cooking, and knew I had to try it out because salmon is so easy, and I had been craving salmon for a while. And I love pan frying salmon with the skin because it gives it a nice crunchy taste. Some people don’t like the skin, and that’s fine, but I do! For the side, I decided to go for a simple salad. Also, I had a whole bag of dried cranberries and walnuts in my pantry, but you can pretty much toss together whatever you want.

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Salmon

  • 1 lb salmon fillets (preferably organic or wild caught Salmon)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds or ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon whole or ground cloves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed or ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, grape seed or other neutral oil, or clarified butter

Season fillets with all the spices salt and pepper and toss in a dish. Press some of the mixture onto the top of each fillet.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the oil or butter and, when it sizzles, place the fillets, coated side down, in the pan. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spice mixture forms a nicely browned crust. Turn the fillets and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the salmon just slightly resists when pierced with a thin-bladed knife.

I was making the salmon for myself, so I cut up the salmon into serving portions and just cooked it when I was ready to eat it.

Salad

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Toss all ingredients together and add your favorite dressing. I drizzled some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the salad.

Products/What You’ll Need:

Fall outfit

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  • Scarf
  • Hat (this hat was literally named for me)
  • Shirt (similar)
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Cilantro lime salmon with guacamole

Salmon and guac

Who said fish had to taste so fishy? If you’re looking to add more fish to your diet but are not a huge fan of the fishy flavor, especially with salmon, this recipe is your new best friend. Not to mention you’re getting all sorts of great fats with the omega threes from the fish and the good fats that are in avocados. This meal will leave you feeling satisfied and full.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs salmon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbs olive oil (I used light extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • juice from 2 limes (salmon)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ small red onion, sliced
  • Juice from 2 limes (for guacamole)
  • 1-2 tbs finely chopped cilantro (depending on how big of a cilantro lover you are)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

Mix the salt, cilantro, chili powder, onion and black pepper together, rub the salmon fillets with olive oil  and lime juice and this seasoning mix. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Combine the avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a bowl and mix well, chill until ready to use.

Remove salmon from the oven, top with avocado salsa and enjoy!

Honey lime tilapia

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My go-to tilapia recipe is normally spicy baked tilapia, but this might just rival that! The combination of the crispy outside with the sweet honey flavor is absolutely mouth-watering. I highly recommend this for people who are not big fish fans, because it is definitely different and worth trying at least once.

  • 4 fresh (or thawed) tilapia filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour [I used whole wheat pastry]
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
  • additional honey + lime zest mixed for drizzling

60 minutes before cooking, season tilapia filets with salt and pepper then lay in a baking dish or into a large ziplock bag. In a bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lime juice and zest, and crushed garlic and whisk until combined. Pour over tilapia and let marinate for an hour.

Add flour, plus a bit more salt, pepper, and lime zest, to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Dredge each piece of tilapia through the flour until you have a very light coating. Making sure the pan is hot, add tilapia to the oil and cook until flaky and crispy on each side – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove tilapia from pan and let drain on a paper towel for a few minutes. Serve with an additional drizzle of lime + honey.

Pan seared cod with white beans and tomatoes

I love cooking fish because it takes very little time and effort! I came home Friday after an extremely busy week, but still had time to cook this for dinner. I’m trying to slowly introduce the room mate to fish and she enjoyed this one!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cod filets
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (9-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Sear halibut until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions and garlic to the pan, and sauté until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and red peppers; stir to combine. Nestle halibut into the pan, and simmer until fish is flaky and cooked all the way through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in sage, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Honey and soy glazed sea scallops

Once again, when I told my mom I would be making scallops (aka something fishy) for dinner, she wrinkled her nose and said, “I don’t like scallops.”

After she tasted these, she said, “I don’t know what I was thinking, these are great!”

If that is any indication on what these babies taste like, I’ll let that statement do the talking. And this is SO easy. Took me about 2 minutes to prepare and 6 minutes to cook. (Yes, that’s less than 10 minutes)

  • 8 large sea Scallops
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus 1 Tbsp for cooking)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 soy sauce
  • Salt and black pepper (1/4 Tsp each)

In a small bowl or glass, mix together Olive Oil, soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over scallops, generously dousing each one. Allow them to sit in the sauce and marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook scallops for about 3 minutes then flip and cook an additional 3 minutes. They should appear golden brown when cooked through.

When ready to serve on your plate, make sure you drizzle the excess soy/honey mixture over the scallops for extra flavor.

Almond crusted tilapia with zucchini boats

Nothing makes me happier than being home sweet home and having my mom request my tilapia! This is quite a feat since my mom was never a fish person – until she had MY tilapia. Ok, ok. She may have been warmed up to it by a few other dishes, but I like to think that I converted her. I normally make her my spicy baked tilapia, but I was in the mood to try something new. I love how the almonds give the fish an extra crunch. And the Dijon…mmmmmmm! When served with the zucchini boats, this is a perfect, light meal.

For the tilapia:

  • 1/2 cup salted almonds
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, plain or seasoned
  • 4 tilapia filets
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • parmesan cheese

For the zucchini boats:

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 onion
  • Parmesan cheese
  • pepper

Since the tilapia cooks quickly, I recommend starting with the zucchini.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the zucchini. Slice them in half length-ways, trimming the ends. Spoon out the guts, leaving about 1/2 an inch in, until you end up with boat like shells.

Now give the zucchini pulp a good chop, also chop a small onion and 1/2 a tomato while you’re at it.  Sautee the onions in one tbsp oil and cook until brown.

Now add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 heaping tbsp Dijon, a good pinch of pepper, the zucchini pulp, the tomato and crushed red pepper.

Lightly butter a baking dish or line with non-stick foil and put the zucchini boats in. Grab a spoon and fill the shells with the mix. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.

Put them in the preheated oven and cook them about 20 minutes.

While the zucchini boats are in the oven, cook the tilapia.

Place the almonds and breadcrumbs in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground into a crumb-like mixture. Place the crumb mixture on a plate or in a shallow bowl.

Heat oil and butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

Spread each tilapia filet with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard on both sides. Press the tilapia into the crumbs to get it coated on both sides.

Place the fish into the frying pan and cook for several minutes on each side, until the outside is browned and the fish is fully cooked. I usually just check the middle of the fish for doneness – pieces will flake off easily when it’s done.

When ready to serve, sprinkle Parmesan on the top and serve with the zucchini boats.

Salmon piccata

This is the first time I’ve made salmon piccata and I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make. The salmon can easily be substituted with chicken. I made both because my room mate isn’t a fish person, but I let her try the salmon and she really liked it!

I served it with spaghetti and drizzled some of the leftover sauce. Perfect Sunday night meal!

  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half OR 4 salmon fillets, about 1 lb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup All-purpose flour, for coating, plus additional 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup capers

Cook pasta according to directions.

Season chicken/salmon with salt and pepper. In a bowl, dredge chicken/salmon in 2 tbsp olive oil. In another small bowl, dredge chicken/salmon in flour until well coated.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter starts to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken/salmon and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken/salmon is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Melt 2 more tablespoons butter. When butter starts to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken/salmon and brown both sides in same manner. Remove chicken/salmon and add it to the plate.

Immediately into the same pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Return all the chicken/salmon to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken/salmon to serving plates. Then add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons flour to sauce and whisk vigorously until thickened. Immediately pour sauce over chicken/salmon and serve with cooked pasta.