Easy One-Pan Lemon Salmon Dinner

In the midst of moving and packing and renovating while trying to keep life as close to normal a possible, I caved and tried out sheet-pan dinners. And I am IN LOVE!

Salmon, Potatoes, and Green Beans with a Caper Sauce

Seriously, best weeknight dinners EVER.

Let me first say that I tried the Sunday meal prep plan—make a week’s worth of meals on Sunday, and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared through Friday.

Nice in concept, but not a great fit for me. Why?

So Tasty!

I thought the quality suffered—I much prefer chicken breast fresh from the oven/grill rather than the microwave. Even mores with fish.

And this is the big one—I missed cooking. I enjoy making dinner during the week, and I prefer leftovers when they were made in the previous day or two.

Enter one-pan dinners. I get fresh-from the oven dinners, I still can cook during the week. And the leftovers make a great lunch the next day. Win-win-win.

Yummy leftovers (though I probably should have used a bigger container).

I prep some meat or fish, some potatoes or sweet potatoes, and veggies. Pop in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Pull it out, and I have a healthy, balanced dinner ready to eat.

This salmon dinner is one of my very favorites. (On a side note, I almost always cook my fish in parchment packets—keeps it moist and flavorful, and keeps the flavor from seeping into the veggies.)

All done! Ready to plate.

Salmon with Lemon, Potatoes, and Green Beans

  • Servings: 2-4
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Ingredients

  • 2-4 skinless Salmon Filets (one per serving)
  • Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder, to taste
  • 1 Lemon, thinly sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh New Potatoes (3-5 per serving)
  • 1 Vidalia Onion
  • 1 tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1-2 lbs. Fresh Green Beans, cleaned and trimmed

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 ℉.
2. Cut a piece of parchment paper about the length of your sheet pan. Add salmon to one half of the parchment. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder according to your taste (I like a lot of pepper here). Top with lemon slices.
3. Fold over the parchment and roll the edges to make a tight packet for the salmon. Put the packet on one corner of the sheet pan.
4. Spread the green beans on the opposite end of the sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. toss them a bit with your hands to coat.
5. Quarter the potatoes and dice the onion. Add the potato and onion to a medium bowl. Add the parsley, 1 tsp of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add about 1.5 teaspoons of Olive Oil per serving of potatoes, and toss to throughly coat. Pour potatoes mixture on to remaining area of sheet pan.
6. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and check the temperature of the salmon by sticking a thermometer through the paper (do not open in case in needs to go back in the oven—it should be at least 145 ℉). If the salmon is done, remove from the tray and let rest, still in the packet.
7. Check the potatoes and beans. if not quite done, return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until tender and golden brown.
8. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Once you have the basic technique down, you can easily switch it out:

  • Any fish or chicken will work.
  • Almost any vegetable will work.
  • You can use white or sweet potatoes.
  • Vary the seasoning.

My biggest tip is not to overcook the meat/fish. After about 20 minutes, pull the tray from the oven and check the temp of the meat—if it is done, let it rest on a plate while the veggies keep cooking.

Try topping the salmon with an easy sauce, like this Lemon Caper Mayonnaise. Yum!

The combinations are endless. Not in the mood for potatoes? Cook up some rice in chicken stock for a tasty starch (technically no longer one pan, but still fairly hands-off). Or make double veggies and skip the starch.

Yum!

When you’re done, cleanup is a cinch with only one pan. 😃

Have you tried any Sheet Pan Dinners? Are you a fan? What is your favorite combination? Do  you have any other time-saving tips for weeknight dinners?

Roasted Butternut Squash (and a Yummy Risotto)

We walked in the grocery store on Saturday to a huge display of butternut squash from a local farm. Hubby and I looked at each other and both said, “risotto.”

I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman a few years ago, and it is so good, I barely make any changes to it, other than how I make the butternut squash. To save a little time, I roast it in a yummy spice rub while I make the risotto. (I wasn’t planning on posting this until I got a few requests for the recipe, so I don’t have a lot of pictures.)IMG_9263

The spice rub is easy–2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon each sage, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. I know it sounds weird, but it works–trust me.

Dice the butternut squash (I should add that I use a whole butternut squash, not just a half, since we like this for a meatless entrée), then spread it on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat. Add the spice mix, and toss together until evenly coated.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!

Pop the baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until tender and golden brown.

While that roasts up, add a but of butter to the pan, sauté some onion, add the arborio rice. Make the risotto per the original recipe (found here). At the right time, add in the roasted butternut squash, then finish off the recipe. Yum!

For the record, I have tried the recipe without the cream (I actually use half and half). It is still good, but the cream definitely adds a texture and flavor that makes the extra calories so worth it. 🙂

Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

1 Medium Butternut Squash
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Dried Sage
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar

 

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  2. Peel, remove seeds, and dice a whole butternut squash. Spread on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss together.
  4.  in a small bowl, mix chili powder, cinnamon, sage, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Sprinkle entire mixture over the butternut squash. Use your hands to coat completely.
  5. Roast in the oven about 20 minutes until tender and golden brown.
  6. Add to your favorite recipe (such as this risotto) and enjoy!

Look how creamy! So good!
Look how creamy! So good!

This roasted squash is also great on its own as a simple side dish, or tossed with some store-bough ravioli, a little cream, and some parmesan cheese for a quick meatless meal.

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Do you have a favorite butternut squash recipe? Any go-to ingredients when putting together a meatless meal? And are you as excited as I am to be seeing all of this lovely fall produce in the stores? #yum

 

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Hubby and I have felt a little under the weather lately, thanks to a brutal allergy season.  Nothing serious–just the usually stuffy head, sore throat, watery-eyed fun that comes with walking out the front door in the morning. 😉

IMG_8826The other day, we just wanted comfort food for dinner, and what is more comforting when you aren’t feeling well than a piping-hot bowl of soup?

Yummy roasted vegetables--my favorite!
Yummy roasted vegetables–my favorite!

I started out thinking I would make a standard hearty chicken noodle soup, but until I got all the veggies and chicken in, there was no room for noodles!

After the wine
After the wine

This was super-easy to throw together–I just roasted a bunch of vegetables, browned the chicken, added the roasted veggies and a bit of wine, cooked a few minutes, and added the stock. Just before serving, I added a splash of cream and a bit of fresh-grated parmesan cheese. Easy-peasy!

IMG_8822
Before the cream–probably would have been great just like this!

Easy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

1 lb Creamer Potatoes, cleaned and quartered
3 Cups Mushrooms, Cleaned and sliced
2 Leeks, halved and thinly sliced
1 Onion, Diced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
1.5 lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
1.5 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables (12-16 oz)
1 cup Dry White Wine
1 box Chicken Stock (4 cups)
1/4 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Prepare Potatoes, Mushrooms, Leeks, and Onion and add to a baking sheet. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Mix with your hands and spread the vegetables on the baking tray evenly. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, season the chicken with the Montreal Steak Seasoning (or other seasoning blend of your choice). Let sit 10 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining Olive Oil to a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the frozen vegetables and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the roasted vegetables to the Dutch Oven. Add the wine and stir. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, stirring.
  5. Add the chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover the pot and cook 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the Parmesan and Half and Half. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Yum! Tasty and (mostly) healthy!
Yum! Tasty, hearty, and (mostly) healthy!

I used salted chicken stock (I prefer Kitchen Basics brand), and the Montreal Steak Seasoning has a lot of salt, so I went light on the salt on the veggies and didn’t add any more salt to the chicken or mixed vegetables. I did add extra pepper. Hubby thought it was perfect, though I did salt it a bit at the table.

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Do you ever get a soup craving in summer? Have a go-to dish when you are feeling blah? Please share! 🙂

 

Spring Veggies: Grilled Asparagus

Hubby and I have been focused on eating a bit healthier lately, along with adding in a lot more exercise. We both have more energy, and are feeling happier overall–which makes it so much easier to stick to our healthier lifestyle.

IMG_2366The biggest change for us was eating a lot more vegetables. We have always been good at having a vegetable with lunch and dinner, but now we have added veggies to breakfast and snacks, too.

I am a salad girl, so making sure to get a side salad in with dinner every day–with homemade dressing, of course–was easy. Not sautéing my veggies in boatloads of oil and/or butter should have been harder, but I have learned that grilling or roasting them gives just as much flavor with less added fat.

IMG_7310My absolute favorite, especially in the spring, is grilled asparagus (though this recipe works well in a 425 degree oven as well). Spring asparagus is tender and sweet and cooks up in no time!

 

Grilled Asparagus

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

2 lbs. Fresh Asparagus
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  Kosher or Sea Salt
Fresh-Ground Pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill on high or oven to 425.
  2. Clean the asparagus and snap the ends off each stalk. (Hold the top and bottom and bend until it snaps. This will break off the woody part at the bottom of each stalk.)
  3. Place in a large bowl, and toss with Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper until well coated.
  4. Lay asparagus side-by-side on the grill across the grates, so it doesn’t fall through. Drop heat to medium and close cover.
  5. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until charred. Flip, and grill an additional 3-4 minutes.
  6. Alternatively, lay asparagus on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, flipping once.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Simple, healthy, and super-tasty, this has been a family favorite for years! I hope you enjoy it, too!

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Are you excited for grilling season? Do you have a favorite trick for eating more vegetables? Any great healthy recipes you can’t live without? Please share!

 

 

Cozy Comforts – Easy Tomato Bisque

The temperatures are cooling off here in NC as we head into fall. Our ten-day forecast doesn’t have a single day over eighty degrees–a big change from the sweltering heat of summer.

The refreshing change in weather and the lovely apples and fall vegetables at the Farmers’ Market have me thinking of one of my favorite meals for a chilly day (or even a hot summer day): a rich, creamy Tomato Bisque. 🙂IMG_4332

I used to use a lot of fresh ingredients in this, but I have tweaked it over the years so I can make it almost completely out of my pantry.  I keep a storage baggie of Mirepoix in my freezer, and add any extra chopped onion, celery, or carrots from other recipes.  This way,  I always have some mirepoix in the freezer (though the ratio of carrots to onions to celery is sometimes off) and I don’t have to chop anything for a quick meal like this.

Pantry-friendly ingredients
Pantry-friendly ingredients

Just a note: I have subbed in pureed tomatoes or a can of tomato sauce for the crushed tomatoes, and it still turns out great!

Sauté the Veggies
Sauté the Veggies
Add the tomatoes
Add the tomatoes
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add rice or pasta (optional)
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add rice or pasta (optional)
Stir in some cheese and cream.
Stir in some cheese and cream.
Serve with some crusty bread. I used this recipe, and added some herbs and garlic to one loaf.
Serve with some crusty bread. I used this recipe, and added some herbs and garlic to one loaf.

Easy Tomato Bisque

  • Servings: 2-4
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Ingredients

1/2 Cup Mirepoix (Fresh or Frozen)
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1 Can (14-15 oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
1 Can (14-15 oz.) Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1/4 Cup Cream or Half & Half
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

 

Optional (for Tomato Orzo Soup)

1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Uncooked Orzo or White Rice

Instructions

  1.  Sauté Mirepoix (chopped Carrots, Onions, and Celery) in Olive Oil over Medium Heat until vegetables start to tenderize (about five minutes).
  2. Stir in Basil and cook an additional 30 seconds, stirring.
  3. Add tomatoes and stock. (If using Pasta or Rice, add all of the stock.) Bump temperature to medium-high, and bring to a slow boil.
  4. Add Pasta or Rice (if using).
  5. Drop the temp and simmer for 10-15 minutes (if using pasta or rice, simmer until it is cooked through).
  6. Remove from the heat. Add cheese and cream, and stir until combined.
  7. Enjoy!

This soup is great topped with an extra drizzle of cream or with some croutons.

Tomato Orzo Bisque
Tomato Orzo Bisque

I tend to add the rice or pasta for dinner, but leave them out for lunch. I almost always double the recipe, then freeze half in individual portions for a quick weekday lunch. Perfect with some crusty bread or a fresh salad! 🙂

An old Instagram shot of this soup without the orzo. Still awesome! <3
A really old Instagram shot of this soup without the orzo. Still awesome! ❤

What is your favorite soup? Do you have any cooking shortcuts to help cut tome on your favorite recipes? Any pantry-only recipe favorites? Please share! ❤

Summer Comforts: Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

Over the weekend, Hubby and I were discussing the end of summer and the rapid approach of autumn (my favorite season). He commented that the thing he was most looking forward to about the cooler weather was the hearty comfort foods.

In particular, he was really hungry for meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.Pie

Pumpkin Pie? Sold!

I was planning on steaks for dinner (filet mignon, at that), but I popped them in the freezer in favor of meatloaf mix. Not normally a tradeoff I would make, but we cooked steak almost every weekend for months, and I was up for a change.

We usually do bigger Sunday dinners, and Hubby’s favorite part is that Sunday dinners always come with dessert. When I was on my baking hiatus, that was typically ice cream, but the homemade desserts are so much better.

I zipped up a pie after lunch, and popped it in the oven. Yum! (If you haven’t seen my pumpkin pie recipe, there is a thin layer of cheesecake hidden under the pumpkin. Heavenly!)2015-08-16 19.28.16

By the time dinner was done, my house smelled amazing! Meatloaf, Redskin Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, Sautéed Carrots, and Corn.

I have to be honest, I was never a big fan of meatloaf, but I experimented with different versions over the years and have a couple of recipes I like. This one is my husband’s favorite. It has caramelized onions and mushrooms mixed right in with the meat making it extra moist, although it is really good without the mushrooms, too, if you prefer it without.

Meatloaf and Mushroom Gravy

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

1 lb Meatloaf Mix (usually  a mix of Ground Beef, Veal, and Pork)
½ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
¼ Cup Standard Breadcrumbs
1 Egg
½ Cup Milk
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp. Heinz 57 sauce or BBQ Sauce
2 Tbsp. Stone Ground Mustard
2-3 Tbsp. Ketchup
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
10-12 oz. Mushrooms, Chopped, Sautéed, and Cooled
1 Large Onion, Diced, Sautéed, and Cooled
3 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. Flour
2 Cups Chicken or Beef Stock
¾ Cup Red Wine or Beer
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil (to sauté)

Instructions

    1. Sauté Mushrooms and Onions in Olive Oil. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
    2. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
    3. Mix Meat, Breadcrumbs, Egg, Milk, approx. 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce, Heinz 57 sauce, 1 tablespoon of Stone Ground mustard, Ketchup, and Italian Seasoning in a large bowl.
    4. Add in 2/3 of the mushrooms and onions, and mix.
      1. If the mixture is too wet (it won’t hold its shape), add more bread crumbs.
        **I almost always have to do this.
      2. If the mixture seems dry, add a bit more milk.
      3. Optional: Make a small (approximately 1-inch) patty of the meat mixture, and cook it in a small skillet to taste seasoning. Add salt and pepper as desired.
    5. Form the Meat mixture into a loaf-shape and place on a baking sheet or place meat in a loaf pan. If desired, more ketchup can be spread on top to caramelize. Bake for 1 hour.
    6. Remove from oven. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat is at least 165 degrees. Let meat rest on a platter while you make the gravy. (It will firm up a bit in this time, making it easier to cut).
    7. Add remaining mushrooms and onions and the butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    8. When the butter is melted, add the flour. Cook one minute.
    9. Add the wine or beer and stir. Cook until thickened (1-2 minutes).
    10. Add the stock and the remaining tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and Stone Ground Mustard. Whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, five minutes.
    11. Slice the meatloaf into 8-12 slices. Serve with gravy.
    12. Enjoy!

2015-08-16 19.28.00This was a hearty, yummy dinner that gave Hubby a night off from grilling (with enough leftovers to give us both a night off of cooking later in the week). 🙂 Not normal summer fare, but a nice change of pace.

Don’t forget desert! I served it with a bit (or a lot) of fresh whipped cream. Perfect end to a yummy Sunday dinner!

2015-08-16 21.14.11

Do you make Sunday Dinners? Have another tradition for a day of the week with a bigger, special meal? What is your favorite comfort meal? Please share! 🙂

Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes

Years ago, one of my favorite lunches was a fast-food baked potato topped with broccoli, cheese sauce, and bacon bits.  I gave up the bright-yellow cheese sauce and the salty bacon substitute, but I still love the flavors of bacon, broccoli, and cheese.

I didn't even make it halfway through the steak or the potato! Hubby was thankful for the steak when he got steak and eggs for breakfast the next morning! ;-)
I didn’t even make it halfway through the steak or the potato! Hubby was thankful for the steak when he got steak and eggs for breakfast the next morning! 😉

Enter these twice baked potatoes stuffed with chopped broccoli, crumbled bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Yum! 🙂

Almost ready for the oven!
Almost ready for the oven!

These are the perfect side dish to a nice, juicy steak, or all on their own as a hearty lunch.

Ready to cook!
Ready to cook!

Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes

  • Servings: 3-6
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Ingredients

3 Russet potatoes
1 head Fresh Broccoli, finely chopped
4 slices Bacon
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Shredded Cheddar
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

 Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Scrub Potatoes. Puncture with fork, and wrap each potato tightly in foil.
  3. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, place bacon on a baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp.
  5. Cool bacon and potatoes for about a half hour.
  6. Slice the top off of the baked potatoes. Using a spoon, scoop out most of the potato into a large bowl, taking care not to tear the skin.
  7. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Add the sour cream, and continue mashing until smooth. Add more sour cream if needed.
  8. Crumble the bacon. Add bacon, broccoli, and cheddar cheese to the potatoes, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I used the masher to make sure everything was incorporated).
  9. Stuff the potato mixture back into the potato skins. This will be heaped on top.
  10. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
  11. Bake for 30-45 minutes until warmed through and cheese is browned.
  12. Enjoy! 🙂

I like a half potato as a side, or a whole potato as a meal. To rewarm, I just pop it in the oven for about a half hour until it is hot. Enjoy!

Cheese, bacony goodness!
Cheese, bacony goodness!

Do you have a favorite potato dish? A yummy side dish that takes you back to childhood? Please share! ❤

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Chicken, Corn, and Rice Chowder

It is freezing cold in NC, with a forecast low for this morning of 17 degrees.  Brrr. Maybe we should have moved further south? 😉

2014-10-28 14.27.14Days like today just cry out for soup. I made this one for lunch with a friend a friend a few weeks ago.  It is a great use for leftover chicken and rice, if you have some on hand.  I used white rice last time, but cooked brown or wild rice works, too.   Just be sure it is fully cooked before adding it to the soup. Read more

One-Pot Wonder – Roasted Garlic Chicken

The first time my dad invited Hubby and I over for 40 Clove of Garlic Chicken, we almost said no.  I love garlic, but 40 cloves is a lot, even for me!photo I am so glad we decided to try it, because it has become one of my favorite meals! I have quite a few friends who have said that this is their favorite thing I make. It was also my husband’s suggestion the first time I cooked for new friends after moving to NC (and they seemed to love it, too).  🙂 Read more

Meatless Monday: Spinach, Artichoke, and Tomato Risotto

Hubby and I love fresh vegetables, and try to have at least one or two meals a week where the veggie get to be the start instead of the protein.  Risotto is one of my favorite (mostly) vegetarian dishes (I prefer chicken broth to vegetable broth).Spin Art Risotto

Once you have the basic technique for risotto down, the combinations are almost limitless.  I love grilled asparagus or green beans in a risotto, and it is easy to add in some fish or meat, too.  For something a bit different, try substituting barley for the Arborio rice.

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