What’s for dinner tonight? Fish!

What’s for dinner tonight? Fish!

We love fish in this house. I’m always on the lookout for new, simple, and yummy fish dishes.

I tried a new one tonight from Real Simple: cod with marinated tomatoes, polenta, and sautéed spinach. It was wonderful! Quick and easy make… under 30 minutes. Plus it is healthy coming in under 400 calories per serving and using all fresh ingredients.

It is a keeper. All of us enjoyed it.

PS – The tomatoes were from our garden and they were the best. 

Simple, Fresh Summer Sides

Simple, Fresh Summer Sides

I’m often at a loss as to side dishes to serve outside of just veg, rice, and potatoes. So when I came across 10 Make-Ahead Summer Side Dishes in Real Simple, I was pretty excited. I’m all for trying new recipes. Mixing it up.

I like these recipes for a few reasons. All the recipes are made with simple, fresh ingredients. Many are coming from my backyard and farmer’s markets. They are actually beautiful to the eye as well as to the taste buds. And I can make them ahead or in my case the morning before I get really busy and/or really tired. Pair with some simply seasoned grilled meat or fish and you’ve got a perfect summer meal. With leftovers for lunch or another dinner so I good value. All of them seem healthy with calorie counts from 61 to 223 per serving. And that isn’t bad.

The recipes use lots of fresh herbs. I’m a fan of that. I’ve really upgraded my herb garden this season. I’ve found it hard to find herbs consistently here and when I do they tend to be expensive. So I’ve started to grow herbs I haven’t been able to find locally: dill, chives, and tarragon. 

I’ve been looking for a good potato salad recipe. The creamy dill potato salad fits it perfectly. It is so very simple to make. Can I say a potato salad is refreshing? Well this recipe is totally refreshing with sour cream, lemon juice and fresh dill as main ingredients. So glad I planted dill because I’m using it a lot with this recipe. Also the sauce I think would work on salmon.

Easy to make:
– Steam or boil 3 lb of new potatoes halved (I use red new potatoes) until tender about 15-20 min.
– Drain and let cool. I do this first thing in the morning before the house heats up too much.
– Combine 1/3 cup each of sour cream and mayo, 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (one big lemon), and 6 sliced scallions.
– Season with salt and black pepper. I use kosher salt and grind a mixed pepper.
– Toss the potatoes in sauce.
– Put in fridge for up to 8 hrs before serving. Mine’s in there longer and it turns out fine.

Bean salad is another good summer stand-by. The bean salad with bacon and chives is very good and because it is beans, it is very filling.

Another easy one to make:
– Cook six slices of bacon over medium heat until crisp which is about 10 minutes. Crumble it. I actually slice the bacon before I cook it. Drain on paper towels and set aside at room temperature.
– Drain and wash 3 15.5oz cans of cannellini beans.
– Combine 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and whole-grain mustard. I use Gray Poupon.
– Season with salt and pepper.
– Toss the beans with the sauce.
– Put in fridge for up to 8 hrs before serving.
– Just before serving add the crumbled bacon and 3 tablespoons of fresh chives.

I tried one more recipe, the tomato salad with ginger and mint. Sorry no photo of this one, but it was a pretty looking salad. Very unique favors:
– Toss 3 lb halved or quartered tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger.
– Season with salt and pepper.
– Set aside at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
– Just before serving, toss with 2/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves and 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest.

Soon, I will be trying corn salad with Parmesan and chilies and spicy marinated raw zucchini. The combinations intrigue me. I’m thinking of pair them with salmon. And hopefully, I’ll be able to find red chili. I tried four shops today… two in Tarboro and two in Rocky Mount.

And after my eggplant produces, I am trying the grilled eggplant with parsley and pine nuts. So I’m watching my plants like a hawk. I love me some eggplant.

If you are looking for summer side salads to bring to picnics or for family dinners I suggest you out Real Simple. You will not be disappointed.

Food Snobs can use Slow Cookers.

Food Snobs can use Slow Cookers.

Foodie can use slow cookers

Up until a couple of years ago, my nose up to a slow cooker. I didn’t grown up with slow cookers in the kitchen. (They are very American and my Mom wasn’t American.) I had some misconceptions about slow cookers that they were just for football parties or just for chili or cheese dip. An the food produced was slop, unattractive to the eye. I admit I can be a food snob.

Slow Cooker Convert

That changed when I came across some slow cooker recipes in Real Simple magazine. They looked good. And seemed easy. I didn’t even own a slow cooker. Thanks to a friend who had an extra one she didn’t have a use for, I got started.
I’m glad I gave the humble slow cooker a chance and overcame my prejudice. I’m hooked now. It is a time saver allowing me to throw everything into the slow cooker and just go. Due to where we live, we spent a lot of time on the road and add me traveling for work, the slow cooker has been very helpful in providing a good, solid meal instead of fast foodish options for dinner.During the winter I try to use my slow cooker at least once a month.  I’ll be honest I’m lazy when it comes to slow cooker recipes. All of the recipes I use are chop and dump. I like that I can get the meat already cubed. I don’t braise or soften anything. The only other step is if I need to add veg near the end of cooking or prepare rice/noodles separately. If I wanted to do that I’d just “cook.” Is that the point of slow cooking?

Favorite Meat Slow Cooker Recipes


One of my favorites, Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder with rice.

While this isn’t anything like authentic Indian Chicken Tikka Masala, this recipe of Chicken Tikka Masala is tasty.

I’m off to the grocery store to buy ingredients for Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Potpie for Saturday’s dinner.

So break out that slow cooker you got for your wedding … yes that one that’s still in the box in your basement… And try something other than chili.

And by the way, I’m always looking for new slow cooker recipes that fit with the lazy slow cooker mentality. 

Breakfast Rut

Breakfast Rut

You know when you get in a food rut? You eat the same thing morning in and morning out.

Well, I’m in a breakfast rut. I love breakfast and frankly I can’t function without it. Think of coffee drinkers reaction sans coffee in the morning. Come to think of it I should be really skinny since they say folks who eat breakfast don’t eat as much during the day and are able to keep weight-loss off…

But I regress… Breakfast rut. I’m not a magazine person anymore. I just don’t make the time for leisure reading these days, but it was the holidays and I wanted some fun reading. I picked up one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple.

They had a section called 10 ideas for: easy breakfasts. I thought I’d give it a go and picked one: cottage cheese with minted pineapple.

Fairly easy and quick to prepare with just pineapple, sugar, fresh mint, cottage cheese, and pomegranate seeds. I’ve never had anything pomegranate and the jury is still out if I like the seeds or not. On the whole though, it was a nice breakfast.

Perhaps in coming weeks, I’ll sample more of the recipes.

Are you in a breakfast rut?

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