Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

I do not claim to be the wisest woman in all the land, with lo my 2 1/2 years of marriage, but let me impart some wisdom on to you, oh Internet. Wisdom which, hopefully, will lead you to a delicious and happy life.

Wisdom number 1: If your husband is from the Northern lands, trust him with fish. Even if you just wanted salmon to make sliders this week, and your eyes goggle out when he returns with a $24 package of just 1 3/4 pounds of fish. Trust him in this – he has magical knowledge which leads him to the delicious-est fishes.

Sub-wisdom number 1: If your husband knows how to divide and grill fish, make him do it. If you’re like me, you’ll wind up with some funky-sized and -shaped pieces which cook funny otherwise.

Wisdom number 2: If your husband declares dinner the best thing you’ve ever made, make it again. We had this recipe for dinner on Sunday, thinking just to use up some of the ‘extra’ Atlantic fresh-caught salmon Bill chose before I made sliders for dinner on Monday. Behold, we had this exact recipe 3 nights in a row. It is delicious.

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

So, yeah. Bill and I made the best, most delicious salmon of all time. And it is the SIMPLEST marinade. I do not know what sort of hoodoo voodoo is contained within the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook that my aunt gave us  when we got married, but I trust in it. And you should too.

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Succulent, flavorful, simple salmon, topped with a tasty herbed compound butter, served alongside oven potatoes with a salty Parmesan zip and spinach sauteed with shallots. I mean, are you drooling?

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

I mean, the butter just melts into all the little crevices of the perfectly cooked salmon, turning in into this creamy luscious main dish, with the fresh green pop of spinach and the crispy crunch of the potatoes. The balsamic and parmesan used throughout the dish make it a truly cohesive dish that’s not too heavy, but is perfectly filling.

This recipe may seem a little complex, but I have timed just right after making it so many nights in a row!

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

  • 6 fresh salmon fillets, skin on (Bill recommends North Atlantic)
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • ¼ + ½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons herbes de Provence
  • 2 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 2/3 cup + 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound small gold potatoes, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or freeze-dried shallots
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. First, make your delicious compound butter.
    • Place butter, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and the herbes de Provence in a food processor.
    • Pulse butter mixture in food processor until well-combined, add pepper to taste.
    • Scoop out butter mixture into a plastic ziptop bag and squish into a cylinder. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Next, create the marinade
    • Combine 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar with diced garlic, 2/3 cup olive oil and thyme in a wide, shallow dish.
    • Add salmon fillets to marinade dish and turn to coat well.
    • Cover dish and place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Now, get the potatoes going.
    • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and add potato rounds.
    • Add 1/3 cup olive oil, sea salt and pepper to potatoes on cookie sheet. Lift up edges of aluminum foil and shake to combine all ingredients.
    • Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. When the oven timer goes off at 20 minutes:
    • Top potatoes with ½ cup Parmesan cheese, and return to oven for 5 minutes.
    • Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
    • Saute the spinach!
  6. Spinach time!
    • Melt a pat of the compound butter over medium heat in a medium pan. When butter is melted, add shallots and spinach.
    • Stir constantly until spinach is wilted, then cover the pan and remove heat.
  7. Turn the oven off, but keep the potatoes in to continue crisping up that yummy cheese.
  8. Let’s cook the salmon!
    • When grill pan is heated, add salmon fillets and a nice glug of marinade to the pan. (The oil from the marinade will keep the fish from sticking).
    • Cook the salmon for about 3 minutes on each side, or until crisp on the outside and opaque all the way through.
  9. Remove potatoes from oven.
  10. Serve salmon fillets with potatoes and spinach, topping the salmon with another slice of the compound butter.
  11. Enjoy! (make sure you remove the salmon skin before eating)

Based on a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook, plus potatoes and spinach from my brain 😉

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

 

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Bill’s Favorite Sandwich

Bill’s Favorite Sandwich

As I write this, Bill and I are Albany-bound to visit his wonderful parents (my in-laws) via a good ol’ fashioned road trip! Since we’re going up to the great cold North as a pre-30th-birthday celebration for this husband, I figured this would be a great time to share Bill’s most favorite sandwich so you can enjoy it with us!

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

This sandwich is based on one we first enjoyed at the always-mentioned-HEB as part of their World of Sandwiches celebration last month. They combined Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and some sort of proprietary spiced mayo on a baguette, then toasted and served it my salivating husband.

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

To recreate this tasty lunchtime treat at home, we used prosciutto and balsamic mayonnaise, along with melty Manchego and crispy baguette. The balsamic mayonnaise adds a wonderful hint of sweetness to the salty, cured flavor of the ham, while the Manchego’s distinctive goat cheese flavor ties it all together on a crusty base of baguette. A simple toasting in the oven brings it all together.

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

Bill’s Favorite Sandwich

  • Prosciutto
  • Thin-sliced Manchego cheese
  • Balsamic mayonnaise (the one I found was from Hellman’s)
  • Split Baguette
  1. Preheat oven to 375◦ F.
  2. Spread balsamic mayonnaise on both sides of a split baguette. Layer Manchego cheese and prosciutto to your taste.
  3.  Place sandwich(es) on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

Simple Gourmet: Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza

Simple Gourmet: Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza

This is one of those kismet dishes that came perfectly based on impulse purchases at the grocery store last week. When I saw fresh smoked mozzarella in the cheese case, I knew it needed to come home in our cart. The little bundle of goodness came to rest next to the pizza dough I’d grabbed from the freezer case, and a light bulb went off above my head! Smoked mozzarella… pizza?! The more traditional route would’ve taken me straight to the tomato sauces for a base, but I took a simple, more flatbread-ish approach for this tasty dish.

Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza from Mancktastic!

Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza only takes 4 ingredients, but has a really gourmet taste to impress your family and friends. Yeasty pizza dough is topped with smoky, savory mozzarella slices and then drizzled with a thick, decadent balsamic vinegar reduction. The distinct smokiness of the mozzarella melts into the robust, sweet reduction for a distinct and delicious combination of flavors.

Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza from Mancktastic!

Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza

  • 1 batch pizza dough of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup smoked mozzarella, sliced thin
  1. Follow the instructions on your pizza dough for it to rise/defrost. Preheat oven to temperature indicated for your pizza dough.
  2. Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until syrup-like in thickness. Turn burner down to low and keep vinegar on low until ready to use.
  3. Brush olive oil all over the bottom of a pizza pan. Spread pizza dough to fit the pizza pan. Cover with slices of smoked mozzarella.
  4. Bake pizza in oven for the amount of time recommended for your pizza dough.
  5. Remove cooked pizza from the oven and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Smoked Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza from Mancktastic!

Fresh, Fast and Refreshing: Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad

Fresh, Fast and Refreshing: Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad

You’ve got no idea what to make for dinner, you’re staring at a half-empty refrigerator with a rumbling belly and hungry family to satisfy, but inspiration suddenly strikes! Tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic and a little pasta? Sounds like time to make a simple, delightful pasta salad. You’ve got everything you need on hand to make a quick bruschetta while pasta bubbles and balsamic vinegar reduces, so dinner will be done in just 10 minutes. With the hot summer definitely upon us, fast and fresh is definitely the way to go!

Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad from Mancktastic!

I cannot stress enough how simple this dish is to make. Do you know how to boil noodles? Can you watch liquid bubble away? Can you quarter cherry tomatoes? Then you, too, can make this delicious pasta salad that’s way better than anything you’d grab at the deli or salad bar. The secret is the depth of flavor the reduced balsamic vinegar imparts into the pasta, combined with the pops of mozzarella and the fresh herbaceousness and brightness of the quick bruschetta. When you use a small pasta, you can create the perfect bite of fresh tomato, tangy coated pasta and chewy mozzarella. If you’re in the mood for even more savory flavors, try oven roasted tomatoes in place of the bruschetta and top with melty broiled mozzarella rounds.

Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad from Mancktastic!

This would be a great side dish for Bruschetta Chicken on a hot summer’s day. I’m also planning to prepare a big batch of this for potluck dish to enjoy with family and friends at the Fourth of July! If I stick it in a big ol’ blue bowl, it’ll be extra patriotic 🙂

Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad from Mancktastic!

Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces mini penne
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces fresh ciliegine or other small mozzarella balls, drained
  1. Pour ½ cup of balsamic vinegar into a small pot over medium heat. Allow vinegar to reduce, stirring occasionally, until it coats the back of a spoon (about 5-7 minutes).
  2. Cook and drain pasta to package directions and set aside
  3. While the balsamic vinegar reduces and pasta cooks, combine cherry tomatoes, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, olive oil and dried oregano. Stir until all tomatoes are well-coated and place in refrigerator.
  4. Combine pasta and reduced balsamic vinegar, stirring well to coat the pasta. Add tomato mixture and mozzarella balls, stirring to distribute well. Serve topped with additional oregano.

Bruschetta-Caprese Pasta Salad from Mancktastic!

Tangy, Saucy Honey-Molasses Chicken

Tangy, Saucy Honey-Molasses Chicken

There are certain flavors and ingredients I gravitate towards in the kitchen and recipes. I have squeeze bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar right next to the stove, ready for a quick addition to dinner. There’s always a pot of herbes de Provence ready to go in the cabinet, along with thyme and roasted garlic slices. Our refrigerator always holds Dijon mustard, with fresh ginger lurking in the freezer and a pot full of garlic and shallots lying in wait within their comfortable darkness. Honey patiently sits next to the Keurig machine and there are always backup supplies of flour and 3 types of sugar in the pantry for baking emergencies.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

When I see any combo of these favored ingredients pop up while perusing the internet, I’m immediately drawn to hungrily peruse the recipe, hoping it’s right for our family and ready for some Manckwhite tweaking. When I found this recipe for Honey-Molasses Chicken, it was immediately added to the meal plan for the week. Bill asked every day if this was the day for delicious chicken and it finally was a few days back! I was so looking forward to the simple, but powerful combination of ingredients that were to come.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

I was fully prepared for a thick, tangy sauce coating simply spiced chicken tenders, but I was blown away by the depth of flavor that came out of that pan. It’s reminiscent of a vinaigrette, but with a thick, smooth texture like the sauce for Sesame Chicken. It’s a very summery dish with the bright, spiced sauce.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

You get the subtle and separate sweetnesses of honey, brown sugar and molasses, but it’s cut through with the tang of balsamic vinegar and spices of the Dijon mustard with the follow-through of the garlic powder. This sauce begs to be shared with more than just chicken, so I also sauced some apple pieces to top a simple spinach and goat cheese salad. I loved the combination of zesty sauce and tender chicken with the crunch of the apple, freshness of the spinach and creamy goat cheese. It’s a perfectly balanced plate altogether.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

We start with my basic, plain ol’ chicken tenders, liberally spiced with salt and pepper. They’re browned to hold in all their tender juiciness, then cooked through with the delicious sauce. We cover to cook, so the steam opens up the chicken for more flavor as the sauce thickens and develops all around it. A final minute to condense the sauce’s flavors make sure the chicken has a nice, healthy coating so the flavor is carried through in every bite.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

Honey-Molasses Chicken

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 apple, cut into small pieces
  1. Combine brown sugar, water, honey, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, molasses and garlic powder in a small bowl; whisk together and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add chicken to pan, cook for 3 minutes, then flip and repeat.
  3. When the chicken has browned on each side, but is not cooked through, add the  honey mixture to pan, turning chicken to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken every 5 minutes.
  4. Uncover, turn heat to medium-high and cook for an additional minute, so the sauce thickens and the chicken is well coated. Remove from heat; serve immediately, reserving 2 Tablespoons of sauce.
  5. Toss the apple pieces with reserved sauce and serve on the side.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

Based on a recipe from Recipe Girl

Savory Citrus Sweetness: Marmalade Chicken

Savory Citrus Sweetness: Marmalade Chicken

Did you ever have to do a terrible school fundraiser? The cookie dough and chocolates were ok, but wrapping paper and magazines always seemed like the worst sell when you were knocking on neighbors’ doors. “Who really cares about People or Cosmo?” I used to think as I trudged from member to member at church dinners. Sure, I enjoyed the occasional Time when killing time at the library, but I was never a huge magazine person. Give me a nice book, loaded with words and stories that make my imagination soar and take longer than 15 minutes to read cover to cover.

Maybe something changed in my brain as I got older or maybe it was just the siren call of organization and recipes, but now I eagerly await the arrival of each month’s Real Simple magazine in my mailbox. Over the past few years I’ve harvested meal ideas, outfit inspiration and even gift revelations from the pages of this publication. When I saw today’s recipe in Real Simple last year, I immediately ripped it out and added it to my recipe folder for future use. It wasn’t until I already had marmalade on hand for last week’s Light Orange Beef and Broccoli that I remembered to dig this recipe out of the archive, but boy am I glad I did!

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A delicious sauce is quickly whipped up to coat chicken breasts; it’s already ready after just a few minutes on the grill! While this sauce is composed of 5 simple ingredients, the resulting flavor is anything but boring. The tart citrus of the orange marmalade marries with the distinctive savory notes of the balsamic vinegar to create a rich and refreshing flavor that’ll have you licking the plate for more. Since the thin cutlets cook up so quickly, you’ll have this summery dinner done in a flash to share with family and friends.

I recommend you serve this dish with a side of salad, rice or cous cous. We used Near East’s Pearled Cous Cous last night, and it was absolutely delicious! The larger grain makes for a hearty, healthy and filling side.

Marmalade Chicken

  • 4 thin chicken cutlets (1 pound)
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine marmalade, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken to the marmalade mixture and toss to coat well.
  3. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes on each side.

Marmalade Chicken from Mancktastic!

Based on a recipe from Real Simple

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Bruschetta Chicken

Bruschetta Chicken

Every time I turn around it seems like my friends and family in the North are getting blasted with snow and cold this winter. While it might not be inclement in Houston, we are dealing with some strong, cold winds that make nighttime lacrosse games a little less than comfortable. But it’s March! We need to start believing in seasonal change so it comes to us.

Let’s start with a fresh and delicious dinner that evokes Springtime in your mouth with fresh cherry tomatoes and a delicious balsamic reduction! This recipe starts with a quick and easy homemade bruschetta which is tossed atop grilled chicken breasts for that outdoor cooking feel, then finished in the oven with melty mozzarella and a sweet/savory balsamic glaze. Just close your eyes and pretend you’re enjoying this fresh and tasty dish on your back porch while a cool Spring breeze washes over you : )

Bruschetta Chicken

  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 ounces mozzarella medallions
  1. Set oven to broil and move oven rack to the top position.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Combine quartered tomatoes, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. Pour 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan then bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium then simmer and reduce until vinegar is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  4. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook on a grill pan until cooked through, flipping halfway through. Transfer chicken to casserole dish, then top with bruschetta and 1 ounce of mozzarella medallions each.
  5. Broil until cheese has melted then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction.

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This is a fresh and flavorful dish, combining pops of fresh tomato, the tang and sweetness of balsamic vinegar and the luciousness of melty mozzarella cheese, all on top of a lean and delicious grilled chicken breast. It’s great for days when you’re longing for Spring in the middle of winter or a hot summer’s afternoon.

Based on recipes from Iowa Girl EatsOur Best Bites

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!