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

 

Crispy and Flavorful: Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Crispy and Flavorful: Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

I think this blogging thing might be starting to drive my husband crazy. Each week he has to face down a planned menu full of recipes he’s never heard of, rather than his favorites from our years together. He’d eat Sesame Chicken and Inside-Out Potstickers each once a week, interspersed with frozen pizza and commercial honeybuns, if I let him. Instead, his nutty wife wants to try something new every night so she can make it their own.

Recently, I’ve stepped down my new, bloggy recipes to just 3 times a week so we can enjoy simple classics like pasta with red sauce or Chicken Puff Pastry Pot Pie sometimes as well.  Sometimes I stumble across dishes that Bill demands we add to the “list” of Manckwhite classics so he can enjoy it over and over again; one of the winners we recently found were these delicious Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders!

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I made these delicious double-crusted chicken fingers for us to enjoy with our neighbor Keri during the 2013 NLL finals last weekend. While they may not know it, I think that this tasty dinner is what helped push the Rochester Knighthawks into their 2nd consecutive national title!
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We start with a simple buttermilk bath for our boneless, skinless chicken tenders, then move onto to a hearty double dredging in a tasty breadcrumb and cheese mixture. The combination of the crunchy panko breadcrumbs, light seasoned breadcrumbs and the cheddar cheese makes a wonderful coating that’s both flavorful and filling. By doubling up on the crusting, we get an extra crispy crunch that goes really well with the juicy chicken with its buttermilk tang. We cook these bad boys on a wire baking rack to make sure they stay crispy all the way around, no gooey breading here! Pop ’em in the oven for 20-24 minutes and you’ve got a family (and finger) friendly dinner that everyone will love.

Bill, Keri and I enjoyed our delicious tenders with sides of ranch dressing, ketchup and box lacrosse, but we also recommend trying these with barbecue sauce!

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Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned traditional bread crumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  1. Place chicken tenders in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Allow this to sit, in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, combine panko and traditional bread crumbs, plus flour, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme and stir with a spoon. Fold in cheese.
  4. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk and dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Dip breaded tender back in the buttermilk, dredge through breadcrumbs again, then lay on the wire rack and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes on each side, flipping midway through.

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Based on a recipe from How Sweet Eats

Perfectly Spiced and Tender: Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Perfectly Spiced and Tender: Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Growing up, I didn’t get to see my Daddy, the project manager, as much as I’d like. It wasn’t that my parents were divorced or separated like many of my school friends assumed; rather than have us move every few years when he got a new project, he worked away from home during the week during the school year. He came home every weekend, though, so we could be a whole, reunited family again. Even though he was only home two days a week, Dad managed to build 2 additions to our house with minimal outside help, made it to our football performances (Josh and I were in band), and always made it to church on Sunday.

We didn’t splurge on much during my childhood since Mom stayed at home and we were frugal, but we always got fried chicken for Sunday lunch from Albertson’s as we did our grocery shopping on our way home from church with the mandatory side items: coleslaw, potato salad and hawaiian rolls. My brother and I would argue over the drumsticks, I would turn up my nose as Dad offered me gross potato salad every time, and we would pray together as a family before we dug in. The chicken may have gotten a little soggy by the time we got home, but it was a delicious precursor to the Sunday nap that was always to follow 😉

My brother and I have grown up and moved out since the days of our Sunday chicken tradition, but when I go home to visit my parents we still pick up Albertson’s chicken to take over to Grammy’s house for a special Sunday lunch.

Nowadays, Bill and I don’t eat too much fried chicken (unless we visit Mom and Dad), but I still love a delicious drumstick. Frying at home is such a messy ordeal that I don’t usually get to indulge; luckily I found this wonderful recipe for roasted drumsticks that captures the taste and fun of fried chicken with a lot less hassle and fat along the way. Drumsticks (or any other chicken part) are brined in a buttermilk and spice mixture and refrigerated for 24-48 hours so the flavors really get into the meat. I kept it pretty simple with salt, sugar, garlic, pepper, thyme and smoked paprika, but you could customize the brine with any flavor you desire. I particularly liked the smokiness the paprika added to the chicken without overwhelming it.

After the brine, a quick roast in the oven leaves you with a tasty, bubbly skin and moist, tender meat. The buttermilk brine imparts great flavor to the chicken, infusing the spices throughout the meat. The skin is extra-flavorful without being too greasy or fatty like fried chicken. Cook these ahead for a great picnic food or grill them while you enjoy a sunshiney weekend!

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish
  1. Whisk buttermilk with garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Place drumsticks in a lidded container and pour buttermilk brine over them so all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 24-48 hours.
  2. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425° F.
  3. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until brown and a bit scorched in spots. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Double-Crunch Honey-Garlic Porkchops

Double-Crunch Honey-Garlic Porkchops

For some reason, the ManckWhites aren’t really a big pork family. I enjoy a good pork loin, but Bill never gravitates to the piggie recipes when we’re planning the menu. He always makes an exception for this excellent recipe I originally found on Pass the Cinnamon that coats the pork with a double layer of a flavorful crust chock-full of spices which is then dunked in a delicious sauce that literally makes Bill lick the plate! The flour-based crust mixture includes both sweet and spicy flavors that play very well with the addictive honey-garlic-soy sauce with the solid and tasty base of simple pork chops.

Double-Crunch Honey-Garlic Porkchops

  • 6 center loin pork chops
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1½ Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl, set aside. Combine eggs and water in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, then dip them in the flour mixture. Coat the floured chops in the egg bath, then again with the flour, pressing well so lots of the flour mixture sticks.
  3. Heat a skillet with about ½ inch of canola oil in it on medium heat. When oil is warm, cook the chops for 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden-brown. Drain on a wire rack while you prepare the sauce.
  4. To make the sauce, combine sesame oil and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until garlic is soft, but not browned. Add honey, soy sauce and pepper to the pan and simmer together for 5-10 minutes. Allow this to cool for 2-3 minutes, then dunk the pork chops in the sauce before serving.

Double-crunch is right! This flavorful and crispy crust soaks up the tasty honey-garlic sauce without getting soggy or overwhelming. Delicious, especially over rice or fried noodles!

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Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!