Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chipotle Salmon

Last spring I found a delicious alternative to naked chicken and salmon dishes: preservatives + chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Something about the summer months, the want to grill (or fake grill on a griddle to stay out of the heat), and the fruity tastes mixed in is just perfect. I've done raspberry, peach, mango, and cherry jams/preserves with a dash of heat added to it and we just love it! In last night's post, I mentioned we had no meal planning prior to our grocery store run. As we looked for options for the rest of the week, we decided to grab 2 side potentials and some salmon for tonight, then see what we came up with.

For this recipe, I had a can of chipotle peppers in adobo and a plethora of preserves in my fridge.  I decided to go with cherry this time because we hadn't tried that flavor with salmon yet, only with chicken. This time, I decided to change it up a bit with other ingredients I had on hand. The result? Let's just say, it will be made again. And again, and again, and again.

But, let me fill you in on a little something that I learned. For as long as I can remember, I have asked the fish man behind the counter to please remove the skin off the fish for me. This past time when I asked, he turned to me and said "you know, you are losing nutritional value when you do that," - and I said "really, do tell?" - he proceeds to tell me that all the omegas and fish oils are found in the skin. I felt enlightened! The way to take full advantage of this is to cook with skin on, and when you flip it skin-side up, that is when the omega oils filter down into the "meat" of the fish. That created a new wrinkle in my brain, I wanted to pass along that little nugget of wisdom for anyone else that may not have know that either!

This dish was a simple 20 minute fix from prep time to fork finish. Nutritional facts can be found here, calculated at; one 4 ounce salmon is 6 WW points.

Grocery List:
Sauce yields enough for 4 servings
  • 2 salmon fillets, 4-6 oz. each
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cherry preserves
  • 2 tbsp. sauce from chili pepper in adobo
  • 2 tbps. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
Start by greasing and heating a grill or griddle pan on medium-high heat. In a food processor, add the ketchup, preserves, adobo sauce, lime juice, garlic powder and cumin. Pulse until well mixed.

Place the salmon skin side down on the surface. Brush a light layer of the chipotle sauce to top the salmon, then cover. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the sides of the fish begin to look pink/white.

Flip the fish skin side up to allow those omegas to penetrate throughout the fish. Cook for another 3-5 minutes on medium-low heat.

To serve, brush another layer of the chipotle sauce over the top of the salmon and enjoy!
Served with rosemary-garlic roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus

Tastefully yours,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Southwest BBQ Quinoa Bowl

I'll take a little walk down memory lane here for the sake of recipe introduction: as I've mentioned before, it was when we started dating that Mr. Max and I learned just how much we enjoyed cooking both together and in general. Instead of going out to dinner, we would go to the grocery store without a plan and wander the aisles until we came up with something to make.

Flash forward to now.

This past weekend did not yield time to meal plan, so we took off for the grocery store in our more spontaneous vintage fashion. All I knew was that I wanted to use up the quinoa in the pantry and had a plan to revise my Mexi-Texi salad sometime in the near future. We passed by the tantalizing BBQ counter that always smells incredible every time we pass by. They had some BBQ sauce on the counter so we sauntered over to taste test it and that did us in right there! At that moment, the clouds parted and the plan for dinner was formulated. It went a little something like this...

Okay, at the risk of sounding annoying and/or mushy, I had swoon moment #11,876: mid-way through food prep my sous chef informs me that this is his favorite part of the day: when we laugh, talk and make a meal together. I die. (insert high pitched squeal and girly wiggle dance) 6 more months until I'm Mrs. Max!

For nutritional facts, click here; 1 serving is equivalent to 9 WW points.

Grocery List:
Recipe yields 5 servings
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2.5 cups)
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. barbecue sauce, divided (Austin's Own in medium will rock your world!)
  • 2-3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, diced for garnish
To begin, cook the quinoa according to the package. If you got it from a canister rather than in a package, you cook 2 cups water to every 1 cup quinoa. Rinse, lightly toast in a pan to intensify the flavor, it will start to smell a bit like popcorn. Add the water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently until water is absorbed and the curlique of the seed has popped.

Shred the chicken into a bowl and add the 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. Stir well to combine.

In a skillet, add the olive oil and heat to medium-high on the burner. Saute the red onion and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Next add the corn and the black beans, combining with other peppers and onions. Turn the heat to low and let warm until quinoa is fully ready.

Once the quinoa is cooked, set it in a bowl and stir in the lime juice. Add in the pepper, onion, corn and black bean mixture and stir well. Scoop the southwest quinoa combo into a bowl as a bed, then pile on the BBQ shredded chicken, top with the avocado and sprinkle with the cilantro. Finally, add a drizzle (roughly 1 tbsp) of BBQ sauce over the top of your creation and you are ready to dig in!

Tastefully yours,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicken Yakisoba

This was an easy meal for a busy night; one that is simple to throw together after a long day, and let's be honest, we are all in need of those more often than not. After our March girls night in, I had a few repeats with sweet chili sauce and soba noodles. With another pack in my pantry, I grabbed veggies and chicken in the Sunday grocery run, yielding for a simple stir-fry one night that week. This is a delicious and nutritious dish to keep in rotation for ease. You can change it up by subbing in bell pepper or squash, asparagus or green beans!

Nutritional facts can be found here, calculated at, and one serving is 5 WW points.

Grocery List:
Recipe yields 4 servings
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bundle soba noodles
  • 1 cup carrots, grated or shaved
  • 1 crown of broccoli, chopped into small florets  
  • 1 lb. chicken, diced
  • 1/4 cup Tamari (low-sodium, organic soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. mirin or another sweet rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
  • Green onions, chopped for garnish
To start, in a large skillet or saute pan, add the olive oil to heat on medium. Toss in your shaved carrots and broccoli florets. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.

As your veggies cook, cook the soba noodles in water, according to directions on package. In a bowl, mix together the mirin, worcestershire, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, tamari and ginger. When the carrots and broccoli are mostly cooked, move them to the side of the pan and add the diced chicken. Pour half the sauce over the contents of the pan and saute, cooking the chicken until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

Drain the soba noodles into a colander and place in a bowl.

Mix the rest of the sauce into the noodles and dish it out, topped with the chicken and veggie saute mix. Garnish with green onions if you would like and dig in!

Tastefully yours,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grilled Shrimp Papillote with Mango-Avocado Salsa

I blinked and it was May... already halfway through May at that! It's been hard to find spare minutes lately but I finally convinced myself to sit down to create time that isn't solely dedicated to wedding planning. Mr. Max and I made this dish a week or so ago and it was such a refreshing dinner packed with super foods and a taste of summer! For this recipe, we've got spinach, quinoa, shrimp, cilantro, mango salsa, avocado.... all wrapped up in a foil packet, set on a grill and you've got dinner 15 minutes later!

I haven't played with foil packets since the very first post, the halibut en papillote. Here is your "I learned something new today" nugget of wisdom: en papillote is french for pouch, or in parchment. It's a great cooking method that uses the liquids from food to steam and cook in a package. The recipe I found for this creation used couscous, but in my adaptation, I replaced with quinoa instead.

This was a fun one, but don't be discouraged if you do not have a grill or simply don't want to take the effort to use it. If it weren't for the E-grill, I would feel the same way. I gave Mr. Max a Weber for Christmas a few years ago and we hardly ever use it. Sad. The foil packets cook in the oven too, so there is your solution! Whole Foods had a great little mango/pineapple salsa like relish in their fresh produce section that already included those obvious ingredients, red bell pepper, tomato, onion and jalepeno pepper so I saved time and money by grabbing that instead of each ingredient individually.

Nutritional facts can be found here, calculated at; it is 9 points for Weight Watchers.

Grocery List:
Recipe Yields 2 servings
Adapted from Self Magazine
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined 
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh chopped mango salsa (diced mango, pineapple, red onion, tomato, red bell pepper and jalepeno or poblano pepper)
  • 1 small avocado, cubed
Start by pre-heating your grill to a medium-high heat. If you are going to do this in the oven, I guesstimate a temperature of 400 degrees in the oven. Take aluminum foil and tear out two pieces about 18-in long, then fold in half to create a line in the foil. Unfold and coat with non-stick cooking spray. On each piece of foil, arrange 1 cup of spinach.

In a small bowl, mix the water and the quinoa together in a bowl. By adding water, we are helping the quinoa to have something to absorb as it cooks on the grill. It will become magically fluffy in the end!

Now, add the quinoa on top of the spinach. The spinach naturally produces moisture as it cooks, this will allow the quinoa to cook even more. 

In another small bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice and cilantro with the shrimp. 

Lay that next to the quinoa on the foil. 

Fold over that unused half from earlier and begin to crimp the edges, folding each in, to create and enclosed packet. 
 .... like-a-so.

I put our foil packets on a grill basket then set on the grill with the timer at 15 minutes. 

When the timer goes off, the packets will be slightly puffed. Cut them open carefully to reveal wilted, cooked spinach, fluffy quinoa and delicious shrimp! 

Take your mango salsa/relish concoction and scoop half over one packet, half over the other, and add diced avocado. Using a fork, gently mix the contents of the packet and dig in! 

Tastefully yours,

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