Looks as Lovely as It Tastes! Saint Martinique Salmon and Shallot-Cranberry Green Beans

Looks as Lovely as It Tastes! Saint Martinique Salmon and Shallot-Cranberry Green Beans

I was so psyched to make maple-dijon salmon fillets for dinner this week. We had some frozen salmon in the freezer, and maple + dijon always equals so, so good. But then, when I started to make dinner and put together the sauce, I realized that our maple syrup had gone bad! Cue, saddest face.

Bill was on fillet duty since he is the fish boss in our house, so we scrambled together to improvise something to replace the icky syrup. Enter: MOLASSES!

I will admit, I was skeptical at first – won’t that be too sweet? It would overpower the fish? Right? WRONG!

Turns out, molasses is a truly delicious salmon glaze. The heartier taste of the fish stood up to the smoky sweetness of the molasses, and it was helped along by the herbaceousness of all the other delicious ingredients. We definitely needed to brighten up and serve as a base for this savory and sweet salmon.

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The next addition to our party: green beans! Shallots, cranberries, and red wine vinegar made a delicious, complex base of flavor, with some saltiness added by a last-minute addition of parmesan cheese.

All together, this was a truly delicious dinner and it photographed up so pretty too 😉 I asked Bill what we should call it, since molasses salmon doesn’t sound tasty. He decided that, based on the French flavors in the recipe and the Caribbean influence of the molasses, plus the salmon (of the sea) – a French island colony would lend the perfect name. Enjoy!

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Saint Martinique Salmon

Ingredients:
  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets, 4 ounces each, boned
  • 4 Tbsp molasses
  • 1½ tsp freeze-dried shallots
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine all the non-salmon ingredients until you have a thick paste. Add more spices and/or molasses to taste.
  4. Generously baste the salmon fillets with the molasses mixture. Use up all that molasses-y goodness!
  5. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until the salmon is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove skin, and plate!

Based on a recipe from the Cookin’ Canuck

Shallot-Cranberry Green Beans

Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freeze-dried shallots
  • ½ tsp granulated roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions:
  1. Steam your green beans – personally, I like the steam-in-the-bag ones I grab from HEB.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil, salt, and green beans.
  3. Saute green beans for 1 minute, then add the shallots and roasted garlic.
  4. Saute green beans for 1 minute more, then drizzle with the red wine vinegar and add the dried cranberries.
  5. Continue stirring the green beans for 2-3 minutes more, or until they reach your desired crisp-ness.
  6. Top with the parmesan cheese, stir until cheese begins to melt, then serve!

Based on a recipe from Food Loves Writing

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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

 

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!

Tang and Crunch: Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

Tang and Crunch: Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

I’ve used a lot of things to crust chicken breasts: flour, corn flakes, Ritz crackers, saltines and more, but it never occurred me to use salty, crunchy pretzels on tender, moist chicken breasts. Now that I’ve tried it, though, I may never go back, especially when you use a tangy honey-mustard sauce to not only sauce but bread the chicken!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

First, we crunch pretzels into smithereens and toast them with that perfectly crunchy texture maker: panko breadcrumbs! The toasting makes the coating extra crunchy with a deeper savory flavor. Then, we whip up a delightfully zesty honey mustard sauce with Dijon mustard, honey and red wine vinegar for a really tangy, sweet, spicy flavor. Then it’s dredging time!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

By dredging the chicken through both flour and honey mustard sauce before adhering the crumb coating, you get a hearty dose of flavor that really sticks to and permeates the chicken throughout. The thin-sliced chicken breasts cook up in a jif while remaining juicy and flavorful inside their delicious crust. Every bite will have a little crunch, a little tang, and succulent chicken within. I recommend serving this with couscous and spinach salad on the side so you can soak up every bit of that delicious sauce!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • ⅙ cup honey
  • ⅛ cup water
  • 1½ Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound thin-sliced, boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup flour, plus more if needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Add pretzels to a food processor and pulse into small crumbs. Combine the pretzel crumbs and panko bread crumbs.
  3. Toast the mixed crumbs in a skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring constantly. Pour crumbs onto a plate and allow to cool.
  4. Rinse the food processor bowl, then add the olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, water and vinegar. Combine on low speed until smooth and well-incorporated. Add salt, pepper, honey or mustard to taste. Pour half of this mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Season thin-sliced chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Pour flour on to a plate.
  6. One at a time, coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dunk into the set-aside bowl of dressing, and finally cover with pretzel crumbs on each side, patting well to ensure adhesion. Place in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and continue process until all chicken has been coated.
  7. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. Allow chicken to rest for 2 minutes after you remove it from the oven, then top with the remaining honey-mustard dressing.

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

based on a recipe from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

Healthy and Flavorful: Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

Healthy and Flavorful: Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

It’s time for another recipe from slightly questionable literary providence… I found this recipe in an ad within Real Simple magazine and gravitated towards it because a) it looked delicious and b) I had a package of garlic and rosemary chicken sausage languishing in the freezer that needed used. We had all of the other ingredients on hand, so this week we delved into the Mediterranean for dinner!

I just love the flavors in this easy skillet: fresh pops from the grapes, savory herbal tones from the basmati rice and spices, hearty rich flavors from the chicken sausage plus the creamy, almost-cheesey taste from the simple addition of Greek yogurt. This is one delicious, lean and healthy dinner!

Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

  • 12 ounces chicken sausage, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon sage, ground
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered
  • 1 cup red grapes, quartered
  1. In a large saute pan, sauté oil and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Add the sausage slices to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, or until sausage is cooked and warmed through.
  2. Add rice, broth and sage to the pan and simmer 3-4 minutes. Add yogurt to the pan and stir well to coat, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Season dish with salt and pepper. Fold in grapes and almonds.

MediterraneanChickenSausageSkillet

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Based on a recipe from Al Fresco sausage

Parmesan Oven Potatoes

Parmesan Oven Potatoes

There’s something about potatoes that gets me every. single. time. I’m like Samwise Gamgee; I’ll take them any way, boiled, mashed, in a stew, or (in this recipe) oven-roasted! Thin sliced potatoes tossed with spices and topped with parmesan cheese to create a half-chip, half-home fry hybrid that I would welcome at any meal. I made a batch to accompany some delicious paninis that are coming later this week, but they would be a great side dish for any meal.

Parmesan Oven Potatoes

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Cut potatoes in half, then into thin slices so they look like half moons.
  2. Place the cut potatoes in a bowl and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Mix until well coated with the seasoning.
  3. Place the potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

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These potatoes are one addictive side dish! Enjoy them with sandwiches, dinner entrees, or even with your morning eggs. Customize the seasonings to your own tastes for a one-of-a-kind delicious treat.

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Based on recipe from 1 Cup Awesome

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!