Lemon Garlic Salmon Pasta

A friend had made salmon pasta a long long while ago and I had been meaning to try it since then.  On the nights kids have basketball practice I try to make something quick and simple and so pasta it was for dinner today … tossed with some protein.  This is a super simple recipe and takes less than half hour to make and kids loved it.  So, it is a keeper and what’s not to love about pasta and fresh basil!  I made the following changes to the recipe:

  • I used only 8 oz of pasta and two salmon filets with skin on
  • The filets I had were pretty thin so I only baked them for 15 mins and peeled off the skin after baking
  • I added 1/3 cup of peas to the last 2 minutes of cooking pasta
  • Skipped zest since the kids are not crazy about it
  • Heated olive oil and sauteed garlic and 3 cups of baby spinach leaves* before tossing with pasta

*Can easily add up to 5-6 cups of spinach leaves

You can get the original recipe here.

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Salmon Provencal

Mark Bittman is no stranger and so when I saw this recipe in NYT Cooking – a favorite site of mine – I had to try this.  Fennel makes this so fragrant and the orange zest gives it a nice citrusy touch.  I loved it but the kids were not too taken by it – fennel is not something that they are used to.  Definitely a simple and tasty recipe and served with a salad dinner is ready in under 30 minutes!

Get the recipe here.

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Chia-crusted chicken!

This is a really simple and quick (around 30 minutes) recipe and so perfect for weekday nights. Self magazine has healthy recipes and I try to save these recipes and make them but not as often as I would like to.  What made this recipe very appealing to me is its one ingredient – chia seeds.  I have been trying to get my kids chia seeds without much success.  They eat anything with chicken and so coating chicken breasts with almond meal and chia seeds and serving them over greens was something I had to try.  Kids liked it enough for me to keep this recipe but I will be making a couple changes that I noted below the recipe.  Chicken can be substituted with firm tofu slices to make this work for vegetarians.  Tofu can be seared on a pan.

Source: Self magazine

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Ingredients:

  • 6 small chicken-breast tenders (10 oz)
  • 2 tbsp almond meal (or almond flour or all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (or bread crumbs)
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (very surprised by this ingredient but I guess turmeric is gaining popularity in healthy recipes for its health benefits)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded kale
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 400°
  2. In one bowl toss almond meal with salt and pepper
  3. In another bowl mix 2 eggs with Dijon mustard
  4. In a third bowl combine chia seeds and coconut
  5. Coat chicken pieces with almond meal, then dip each tender in egg mixture and then in chia mixture
  6. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 10 – 15 minutes
  7. While the chicken is cooking, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, turmeric powder, and garlic powder.  Add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Toss the dressing with kale, brussels sprouts and onions
  9. Serve with chicken

Notes:

  • Just coconut and chia seeds did not stick well.  Adding some bread crumbs may work better
  • Spray the tenders with oil before baking
  • Any salad will do

Raw papaya curry!

Raw papaya is something that I have not embraced until recently.  I knew that it is popularly used as a meat tenderizer – especially dum biryani – but I always skipped it when I made biryani since I was skeptical about it.  Never ate raw papaya growing up…we ate the fruit but I developed the taste for it much later…in my mid-20s.  Although the fruit tastes good it has a strong smell and I wasn’t sure if raw papaya would make my meat smell.  So, I always used curd/yogurt to tenderize the meat.  I don’t remember when exactly I tried raw papaya – at a friend’s place or the raw papaya salad at a Thai place – but I remember being pleasantly surprised by the mild flavor and crunchy texture.  Typical Green Eggs & Ham and now I am a convert.  The fact that papaya packs a lot of nutrients and offers enormous health benefits is just icing on the cake.

I normally grate it and use it in salads but I sometimes also make a simple curry and try to get my kids to eat it by telling them that it’s potato…they think it’s badly made potato and I am sure that that innocence will be lost soon.  I have recently tried papaya in sambar and while it did not lend the sambar any distinct flavor like some other vegetables – radish, drum sticks, sweet potato to name a few – it hopefully made it nutrient rich.  May be, lack of distinct flavor is a good thing when you have picky eaters.

There are quite a few recipes that I would like to try with raw papaya but today, papaya is masked as potato!

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Ingredients:

  • Raw papaya – 1
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust this to suit your spice level)
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder (optional)

Method:

  1. Peel the papaya and slice it along it’s length.  Remove the seeds and dice.
  2. Heat oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds.  When the seeds start spluttering add cumin seeds and dried red chilli
  3. Add papaya pieces, turmeric powder and curry leaves
  4. Saute on high heat for a couple minutes and then turn the heat down and cover the pan
  5. Keep stirring the pot so the bottom layer would not get burned.  Add 2-3 tbsp of water and continue cooking on low heat
  6. When the papaya is almost cooked, add red chilli powder, increase the heat and cook it uncovered for a few more minutes
  7. Add coriander powder and cook for a minute
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot rice or rotis