Tag Archives: Dinner

Raspberry Glazed Salmon

15 Jun

It’s my last week of unemployment before I start my new job next Monday. Hard to believe that it’s been six months of not working a 9-5. I imagine it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment, I’m so used to being able to wake up when I feel like it, go to the gym during the day, do my grocery shopping while everyone else is at work, make a nice lunch at home, then go in and work evenings at the restaurant.

But I’m really excited. And my bank account is even more excited that it will soon see more deposits and fewer large credit card payments.

And my last unemployed week is shaping up to be really great. Last night I went with a group of friends to see the Cardinals play the Nats (they managed to blow a five run lead and then walk home the winning run. It wasn’t pretty). We’ve got some gorgeous weather for a softball game tonight, always a highlight of the week, even if I haven’t been hitting very well this season. Tomorrow night is Ladies Night at Nationals Park, so a big group of girls are heading over for free drinks, food, manicures, and massages before watching the Cards win (hopefully). And then Friday is my new boss’ swearing-in ceremony and reception, after which I’m hoping to make it over to Jazz in the Park with some friends.

And while I’m a little nervous that starting a new job will mean I’ll have a hard time finding time to cook and bake, I realize that I’m actually more productive when I’m busy than when I have a lot of free time. It’s so easy to think that because I have free time, all this stuff will obviously get done, but then it never does. Whereas when I’m busy, I just get on a roll and knock a billion projects out in a week. But I will miss being able to cook lunch at home. I made this salmon for lunch twice last week because a) it is delicious and b) I had an absurd amount of raspberries I needed to use.

Luckily, it’s a really quick and easy dish, so I’m sure I’ll make it many more times for dinner this summer. Plus, hardly any dishes to wash: just one bowl for the glaze, and a baking sheet for the salmon (which I line with aluminum foil, so that shortens cleanup time even more).

I actually stopped eating salmon for quite a while because I got bored with it, but then I remembered how awesome the raspberry/salmon flavor combination is, and it’s back in my cooking rotation. Sometimes you just have to completely ditch the recipes you make too often and start doing something new.

Raspberry Glazed Salmon
Serves 2

Print this recipe!

½ cup fresh raspberries (about 15)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
pinch of salt
2 small salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mash raspberries with a fork. Add balsamic vinegar, honey and salt. Stir/mash it all together. It’ll be about the consistency of jam.

Grease baking sheet with a little bit of oil. Place salmon fillets on baking sheet, skin side down, and put a big spoonful of raspberry glaze on top of each. Spread glaze around to cover the top and sides of the fillets. Set aside the extra glaze for later. (NOTE: Be sure that you don’t touch the salmon with the spoon you are using for the glaze. You don’t want to contaminate the bowl of extra glaze with raw salmon, because you are using it later and it won’t be cooked to kill those germs.)

Bake salmon in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the rest of the glaze. For an extra touch, you can garnish with a few more whole fresh raspberries.


Nacho Pizza

1 Apr

What do you call pizza that isn’t yours? NACHO PIZZA!

Don’t worry, that will be the only lame joke on the blog today.

It’s April Fool’s Day, and I’ve already been pranked a few times. The Washington Metropolitian Area Transit Authority decided to prank me this morning. I had a job interview in SE, so I was going to take the 90/92. I checked Nextbus and it said there’d be a 92 bus in 6 minutes, so I waited. But it didn’t show up. Then it said there was a 90 bus in 3 minutes. Again, I waited. Still nothing. So I had to abort mission and walk to the metro. Ended up being a few minutes late to the interview. Good one, WMATA!

Then I got home and grabbed a Diet Dr. Pepper. The can was weirdly wet, but I didn’t pay much attention. Then I went to move the 12 pack away from the trash cans, and realized the whole box was soaked in soda. Apparently when my roommate hired cleaning ladies yesterday, they managed to puncture a hole in one of the cans, but just left it there leaking on the floor. PUNK’D.

And then I turned on my camera to take pictures of today’s recipe. Nothing. Turns out the battery was completely dead. That one is my bad.

So I apologize, all these pictures are from my phone. Not great. But it was either that, or MS Paint drawings of the meal.

See? No one wants that.

I guess I could have waited for the battery to charge, but I was hungry…

Two things to note: This is actually only 1/4 of the dough from the recipe. I made another mini pizza a couple days ago. 1/4 of the dough makes a pretty good lunch-sized pizza. Second, it looks like I piled on an absurd amount of toppings. It flattens out when it cooks, I promise.

Nacho Pizza

Serves 1

½ of the dough made from the whole wheat pizza dough recipe (maybe you have it left over from the BBQ Chicken Pizza earlier this week?)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained
½ red onion, sliced thinly
½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 small avocado
5 dollops of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breast in a small oven-proof dish and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven use two forks to shred.
Turn oven up to 500 degrees.
Take half of the dough from the whole wheat pizza dough recipe and stretch it into a thin round. Place stretched out dough on an oiled oven sheet.
Place a layer of black beans (drained) on the dough. You can make it as thick as you like, depending on how much you love black beans. Cover with shredded mozzarella. Next layer on the shredded chicken, again, just put on as much as you like. I like to pretty much cover the whole thing with chicken. Toss on your red onion slices, and top with a little extra mozzarella.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and top with slices of avocado and dollops of sour cream. Slice and serve!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes two single serve pizzas

¾ cup warm water
½ tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water, let sit for a few minutes.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt. With mixer on lower, drizzle in olive oil and mix until blended. Still with mixer on low, pour in water/yeast mixture and continue stirring until combined, and dough forms a sticky ball. It’s pretty sticky, don’t worry about that.

Lightly oil a medium sized bowl. Form dough into a ball and put in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1-2 hours.

*This makes enough crust for two single serving pizzas. You can wrap the other half up in plastic wrap, toss it in the fridge and make another pizza next weekend. The dough only gets better after chilling in your fridge for a few days.

Healthy Butternut Squash Lasagna

22 Feb

Well, the deck I was tanning on just a mere four days ago now has a layer of ice and snow on it. Weather is a cruel mistress. The return of winter weather means I needed a hearty meal to warm me back up. One food I always associate with winter is lasagna. Probably just because my mom always makes lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner. My mom’s lasagna is more traditional: tomato sauce, ricotta, etc. And, while I do enjoy her lasagna, I’m not actually that crazy about tomato sauce (one reason being acidic foods give me indigestion…)

This version of lasagna replaces the tomato sauce with a butternut squash puree, and is quite a bit healthier than a normal lasagna, as it omits cream and ricotta, while adding the nutritional benefits of butternut squash and spinach, plus, whole wheat noodles! So I didn’t feel to bad about eating two servings of it at 4:00 in the afternoon yesterday. And while this is definitely not a single girl size dish, the beautiful thing about lasagna is that you can freeze it in individual servings, and then just pop one in the oven to reheat it. I love having leftovers in the freezer for those nights I just don’t want to get any dishes dirty.

I think the other thing that I really loved about this recipe was that it brought me back to a favorite dish I used to eat in Buenos Aires. I would walk around the block to a cafe near my apartment and get a tarta de calabaza for lunch. Pretty soon, the waitress knew me, and as soon as I sat down she would say “la tarta?” and I’d say “claro.” It was such a simple dish: a pie crust, filled with a butternut squash filling, and topped with plenty of cheese, but man, was it good. This lasagna hints at that combination of butternut squash and cheese. And of course, you know me, I added just a few handfuls of extra mozzarella on top…

You could also add meat to the dish, if you wanted. I just stuck with spinach, onions and mushrooms, because they are my favorites.

For some reason, I was also wondering how this would taste with corn in it…maybe I’ll try that this summer, or maybe I’m just a crazy person.

Healthy Butternut Squash Lasagna
serves 6 to 8

1 pound (about 16) whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 to 2 1/2 pound butternut squash (or 2 pounds chopped squash)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 ounces baby spinach
1 pound cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup water or white wine
1 cup milk, plus additional if needed
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan and mozzarella cheese mix

Heat the oven to 375°F. Peel and seed the squash. Cut into 1-inch cubes and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes or until extremely soft.

While squash roasts, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook as directed on the package. When cooked, drain and lay out on clean kitchen towels to dry.

Heat a thin drizzle of oil oil in a large sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium-high, add onions and cook until tender, then add mushrooms and 1/4 cup water or white wine. When mushrooms and onions are tender, and most of the liquid absorbed, push the onions and mushrooms off to the sides of the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic and spinach to the center of the pan. Cook until the spinach is wilted, just a few minutes. Turn off the heat and season the vegetables lightly with salt and pepper.

At this point the butternut squash should be out of the oven and cooled slightly. Scrape all the squash into a food processor or blender and add 1/2 cup milk, the nutmeg, lemon zest and thyme. Puree, adding the remaining milk as you go, until smooth and creamy, but not too thin. (Think thin fruit smoothie.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. To assemble the lasagna, spoon about 1/4 of the butternut sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and spread to thinly coat the bottom. Place 1/4 of the noodles on top (four noodles) and then spread 1/3 of remaining sauce on noodles. Top with 1/2 of the cooked vegetables, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Add another layer of noodles, then sauce, then the rest of the vegetables, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Place the final layer of noodles over the vegetables and spread the last 1/3 of the sauce over top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and a pinch of thyme leaves.

Cover the lasagna with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese is gooey. Remove from the oven and let stand uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

For leftovers, wrap slices in tin foil, and place individual servings together in a large freezer bag. Then you can just pop it in the oven in the foil straight from the freezer, and you don’t get a single dish dirty!