Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

Here's Patrick's most favorite salmon recipe. It is one of my favorites too but I enjoy trying out different recipes more! The recipe is from the Eating Well website which I absolutely love. Here's the recipe on the website and I've also pasted it below.

This recipe is quick and easy! We usually serve with brown rice and sauteed vegetables!

* 1 scallion, minced
* 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
* 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
* 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce.
2. Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
3. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

*We did not garnish with sesame seeds.
*The marinade is very easy to prepare. Always do a taste test before you marinade to make sure the ratio of sweet and tangy is to your liking! The last time we prepared this we marinaded for about 30minutes and the salmon was the tastiest it had ever been!!

Foster's Creamy Mac, Chicken, and Cheese

Whitney's been bugging me about making a guest post for a while now. Last night she finally gave me the permissions to do so, so without any further excuses, here I am!

Whitney recently gifted me with Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day cookbook. This past Tuesday evening, she had some errands to run, so I offered to cook, and was excited to try something from my new cookbook! Most of the dinner meals in the book are a bit intimidating for the amateur cook, but the Creamy Mac, Chicken, and Cheese looked so good that I psyched myself up to try it. You can find the original recipe here; I've pasted it below with my notes.

Serves 8 to 10
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
½ pound short, bite-size pasta such as penne, ziti, shells, bow ties, or orecchiette We used shells - worked great!
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream Turns out those little cartons only have 1 cup, so that's what I used! Turned out fine still.
3½ cups cooked shredded chicken (from 3½ to 4-pound roasted chicken)
I didn't happen to have a roasted chicken lying around (give me a break, Sara), so I just picked up some raw chicken breast tenders, sliced them up, and cooked them in a pan. I also considered one of those grocery store rotisserie chickens.
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1½ ounces)
8 ounces fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, and drained (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce (Tabasco or Texas Pete) Whitney despises all things spicy, so I left this out to be safe.
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
I just used the 9x9 dish I had. I hate measuring, so I just sort of fudged all the ingredient amounts down a little bit, and it ended up fitting mostly.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander and transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss to coat.
3. Melt the butter with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t brown.
4. Stir in the milk and cream, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by half and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes.
I had realized only after starting to cook this that I had picked a recipe from the "things that take a really long time to prepare" section of the book, so I figured I would try to speed up this step by boiling the mixture, covered, and walking away. Oops. After cleaning up that mess, I still didn't feel like simmering it all the way, so my impatience combined with the reduced amount of cream led to a sauce that was thinner than it should have been. I didn't really mind, but this was the main thing Whitney mentioned for improvement next time.
5. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the chicken, Cheddar, Parmesan, spinach, marjoram, hot sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir until the cheeses have melted and the spinach is wilted. Pour into the bowl with the pasta and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Taste for salt and pepper and season with more to taste.
Couldn't believe that much spinach was going to fit in there, but after waiting for it to wilt a bit, it mixed in well.
6. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish, scraping all the sauce out of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and bake for about 45 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the pasta is slightly brown on top. Let the pasta rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
Because we were already so hungry, I took out some to eat before it went in the oven, and it was fine. The oven just got everything hot and looking good, and let all the stuff blend and absorb.

The chef with his creation.

Close up.

Served with white wine (in front of the TV, of course!)

All in all, a great meal - tasty and hearty, and the spinach is a nice touch. I would cook this again, although I would probably try to find more than two people to eat it!

Spaghetti Sauce from the Can...

One of the easiest "throw-together" meals I cook is pasta with tomato sauce. I do this quite a lot and it's always different! With these easy additions every sauce is its own. Here are 3 things that should always be paired with the sauce for amazing-ness.

To a can regular ol' tomato sauce add:

1. meat
2. veggies
3. wine!

Tonight I added hamburger, onions, mushrooms, and some cabernet.
Growing up Mom always added hamburger but don't limit yourself! Try ground pork, chicken, or turkey! Another flavorful combination is ground pork and eggplant as a veggie. The options are limitless! :-)

Rachael Ray's Eggplant Steaks Parmigiana

Here's a fun recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. This is from "Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book" and is officially called Eggplant Steaks Parmigiana Alla Ringo. This was actually the second time I have prepared them. Rachael Ray's 30-minute meals tend to be quicker each time I prepare them but I've never fixed one in 30 minutes! This recipe is a bit intense but fun if you've got the extra time and willing to put in a little extra effort for one night. When I brought these for leftovers to work I felt like I was eating official fancy restaurant food not something I had made!!

Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
2 medium, firm eggplants
1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes
salt + pepper
1/3 cup pesto
1 cup shredded provolone


-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
-Heat 1/4 cup of the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat
-Line up three shallow dishes on your counter. Add the flour to the first, the eggs to the second, and the bread crumbs, grated cheese, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic to the last. Beat the eggs with a splash of water.
-Cut the top and bottom off the eggplants, slice the skin off of each side, then cut each eggplant lengthwise into 4 steaks, each 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Coat all 9 steaks first in the flour, then in the beaten egg, and finally in cheesy bread crumbs.
-Working in 2 batches, brown 4 of the breaded eggplant steaks in the hot oil until golden, about 2 minutes on each side, then lay them on a baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm. (If you place the eggplant steaks on a wire rack set onto the baking sheet they will get extra crispy.) Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 1/4 cup of EVOO. Repeat the browning process, then transfer all steaks to the oven and finish cooking through, 10 minutes.
-While the eggplant steaks are in the oven, heat the tomatoes and their juices in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Mash up the tomatoes with a potato masher or wooden spoon, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the tomato paste. Once the tomatoes come up to a bubble, simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the pesto.
-Remove the steaks from the oven and switch on the broiler.
-On the baking sheet, stack one eggplant steak topped with a little sauce, then another steak, then another ladle of sauce, and one quarter of the provolone. Make 8 stacks total. Brown the eggplant stacks under the broiler to melt the cheese. Serve 2 stacks per person.

I served with spaghetti and the extra tomato sauce. I had bought a can of plain tomato sauce to serve if I didn't have enough from the recipe but I did have enough.


Oreo Truffles!

These are so amazing... I suggest not trying the recipe because you'll fall in love... with an oreo truffle. yum. The recipe is a bit intensive so after they were complete and chilling I had decided that they wouldn't be made again. However I took one bite and these oreo truffles worked their magic.

Last year for my birthday Granny gave me a food processor with a note and a recipe. The note read "Happy Birthday! This recipe was in the paper one day and Judy tried it - She said you needed a food processor to make it so give it a try. We thought they were delicious." Needless to say the recipe is for Oreo Truffles!!

1 (16-oz) package chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
16 oz semisweet baking chocolate melted with 1 teaspoon shortening, or white-chocolate almond bark, melted

A couple notes before the directions.
1) I halved the recipe and made ~40 1/2inch balls
2) The calorie cutting way: I used reduced fat oreos and light cream cheese! Couldn't tell a difference at all...

Now let the fun begin!

--Place cookies in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Add cream cheese; pulse until mixture is blended and comes together into a dough.
--Roll dough into about 40 small balls, a little over 1 inch in diameter. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate about 1 hour.
--Melt chocolate and shortening or candy coating. Working one by one, drop each ball into melted chocolate, roll around to coat and lift with fork, letting excess run off. Place back on wax paper-lined baking sheet and let stand or refrigerate until set.