Catch Up

Sorry...I took a brief hiatus from blogging this week.

I was on Spring Break (I'm a teacher) and had all sorts of plans for blogging and reading and cleaning and projects. And I would have done all those things if I hadn't been watching lots of TV, hanging out with friends and family, eating Easter cookies, and playing Scrabble with Sonny. And you know what? I have chosen to embrace the laziness and not have guilt over all the things I didn't get done this week.

I did do some cooking and tried a few new recipes. Here's a sampling of what I've been cookin' up in my kitchen these days...

Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon
~This can be filed under "Quick and Easy"~
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 (6 oz.) can pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • pepper
  • Additional orange zest for optional garnish
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients and 1/4 tsp of the salt in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Add fish to the pan and cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over and place in the oven.
  5. Cook in oven for a minute or two until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with orange zest if you desire.
Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

Garlicky Roasted Potatoes with Herbs
~These went very nicely with the Salmon~
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds quartered Yukon gold or red potatoes (about 4 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees (because I made these with the salmon, I lowered the temperature so that the salmon wouldn't get overcooked...it worked just fine at 400).
  2. Combine garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Drizzle remaining olive oil evenly over potatoes in a large bowl and toss to coat (I actually just toss them in oil directly on the baking sheet).
  5. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet (coated with cooking spray) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Combine reserved garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Sprinkle garlic mixture over potatoes.
Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

Apricot, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Panini*
~This is delicious and beautiful..I wish I had taken a picture~
  • Loaf of Italian Bread
  • Butter for spreading on bread
  • Thinly sliced Prosciutto
  • Apricot Preserves
  • Goat cheese
  1. Heat up a panini press or a skillet over medium high heat
  2. Spread butter onto two slices of bread. On the other side of one slice, spread apricot preserves. On the other side of the second slice, spread goat cheese.
  3. Put a few slices of prosciutto onto one slice and put together to make a sandwich (buttered sides on the outside, obviously).
  4. Place sandwich on panini press or skillet and let cook until golden brown and crispy. Then flip to cook the other side.
  5. Let cool for a minute so that the preserves don't burn your tongue! (I learned this the hard way)
*My friend, Jill, made this sandwich for me when I went over to her house for lunch. I liked it so much I made it for my sister when she came over a few days later. Prosciutto and goat cheese can be a little pricey, but a little goes a long way and they both keep in the fridge for a while.

Chicken with Lime Sauce
~I served this with Cumin Roasted Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans~
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth*
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice, divided**
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Pound chicken breasts so that they are 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 4 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  3. Add broth, sugar, 2 tbsp lime juice, and mustard to pan. Cook over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  4. Combine 2 tbsp water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan and stir well with a whisk.
  5. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute or until slightly thick. Whisk in 1 tbsp lime juice and butter, stirring until butter melts.
  6. Return chicken to the pan and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes).
*I buy little jars of chicken broth paste called Better than Bouillon. You just scoop out 1 tsp for every cup of broth you need. The paste will dissolve in the water and tastes great! This product keeps you from wasting leftover broth from cans or boxes. It's sold near the broths and comes in lots of varieties
**I got limes at Produce Junction for very cheap

Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

Cumin Roasted Potatoes
~A great way to "turn up the volume" on roasted potatoes~
  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Cut 2 large unpeeled baking potatoes (I used Yukon gold) into chunks or 1/2 inch slices.
  • Combine 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp ground cumin, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a bit of salt and crushed red pepper into a bowl.
  • Spoon mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until golden.
Recipe taken from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007

My very good friend, Mary Beth, came to visit on Friday. She and I were roomies in college and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. I served up some Island Chicken with fresh pineapple, Roasted Vegetables, and Couscous. When dessert rolled around, I enjoyed making her uncomfortable by forcing her to pose for a picture.

Butter Cake with Seasonal Berries
~Doesn't Mary Beth look happy?~
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole large egg and 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 whole milk
  • Mixed berries mixed with a bit of sugar to serve alongside (I did strawberries and blackberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9 inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment. Lightly dust with flour. (You don't have to do the parchment paper, but it ensures that it will not stick).
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add whole egg, yolk, zest, and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
  5. At low speed, mix in flour mixture and milk alternately in batches (by thirds)
  6. Spread batter in cake pan and bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean (35-40 minutes). Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack.
  7. Serve with mixed berries.
I also did some serious research (i.e. checking out books from the library and reading them while watching episodes of Friends on DVD) on freezer friendly foods and will devise some sort of post on that topic in the future.

Happy Easter!

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