Roasted Dill Salmon, Sweet Potato, & Brussels Sprouts

One of the easiest AND delicious meals I’ve made in awhile, this series of recipes will blow you away. It’s so simple, but so good, I don’t know how to explain it.

I’m going to give you these recipes in paragraphs rather than my normal style just to keep it short and to the point. I highly recommend reading before you start cooking, but you do you, maybe you like living on the edge.

This meal is perfect for two for dinner, or just for one loner (like myself) for a lunch and a dinner

So that I don’t get sued, and so that you’re fully aware, the salmon recipe is not mine. I’ll post a hyperlink and give credit where it is due because I’m not a thief (except when I’m stealing your heart with my cooking…. that was such a bad joke just lock me up now).

For the sweet potato:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F degrees and lightly oil a small roasting pan (maybe a tablespoon of oil). Make sure the bottom is coated completely. Take a sweet potato and peel that sucker. Rinse it. Grab a cutting board and cut it into small chunks (not like super small, but smaller than a golf ball). Put the sweet potato chunks into the roasting pan. Sprinkle salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes all over those suckers (more salt than anything). Put them in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan once of twice to turn em. You should be able to easily cut through them with a butter knife, that’s how you know they are ready.

For the brussels sprouts:

  • Preheat oven, if not done already, to 400F degrees and again, lightly oil a small roasting pan with a tablespoon of oil, fully coating the bottom. Take about a 1/2 pound fresh brussels sprouts, rinse them in a colander, and cut off the stems of each little, delicious sprout. Then, slice them in half and place each half flat side down in the pan. Try to pour a little oil on top, then sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Cook them in the oven, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sprouts are browned, even slightly blackened on the outside.

For the dill salmon: 

The original recipe is at this link here. I am just reiterating it for convenience, but it’s not my recipe!

  • Preheat the oven to 475F degrees, after you’ve cooked the veggies above. Take some fresh dill and chop up about two handfuls of it (you should take the “leaves” off the stems and put them in a pile, then take a knife and continually chop through them). Put a few large chunks of butter into a roasting pan, along with the dill. Place in the oven and let cook until that amazing mixture is sizzling. Take out the pan and place the salmon skin side up (if there’s no skin, just whatever side is good). Cook for 4 – 6 minutes. Grab the pan out of the oven (peel the skin off the salmon if there is any). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then flip, and sprinkle again, and place back into the oven for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Serve it with some lemon juice and fresh slices!!

And that’s it! This ridiculously easy series of recipe makes an amazing meal for you and a date, or just for you! Treat yo self.

 

Power Hour Salad

Alright, listen up. You have a limited income (probably, if you’re a college student suffering from a broken lending system that we can’t escape even with bankruptcy LOL FUN), and you may not eat very healthy all the time because of it. That’s okay though, we are going to change that.

Making this salad is just another little step you can take to eat healthy and be a little less broke at the same time. It is vegetarian, but it’s packed with protein and the good stuff (I want to stress that a protein-packed vegetarian meal is not an oxymoron. It’s absolutely a thing). So, to not bore you further, here it goes!

The Power Hour Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of cooked grains such as quinoa, barley, etc.** (I used the “Super Grains” blend from Whole Foods, it’s pretty tasty and relatively cheap)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and DRIED!! with a paper towel**
  • A few slices of a red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 handfuls of mixed spring greens or baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup (or handful) of cherry or grape tomatoes (I really love zima, they are orange and sweet and ugh so good)
  • 1/3 of a large cucumber or 1 baby cucumber, chopped and seeded if that’s your thang
  • 1 spoonful of hummus, whatever you like (I love this hummus, it’s magical)
  • 2-3 spoonfuls crumbled feta cheese

Optional Salad Dressing**:

  • 1/4 cup of Greek Yogurt
  • Juice of half a lemon (use the other half for tea or lemon water. Be creative, not wasteful)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper (to your liking)

Instructions:

  1. **If you’re new to this: Before you do anything, read that ingredients list and prepare everything! Cut and prep everything so it doesn’t take you forever.
  2. NOW, DO THIS NOW; cook your grains. It’s going to take awhile. Pick something like quinoa and read the package for cooking times. Usually, it will take you about 30 minutes. If you do choose to cook quinoa, try to make sure you rinse it through a fine mesh strainer before cooking. So, get that water boiling before you do anything else.
  3. Once you have begun cooking your grains, get a frying pan, heat it to medium-high heat, and add the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Next, add the onion to the pan and cook until they have a slight yellow look to them (but not browned).
  4. Now to add the garlic and chickpeas! Stir it on up and cook for another two to three minutes. Take off the heat and place into a bowl.
  5. If you didn’t already, cut your veggies!
  6. Take out a large bowl and add the salad greens you are using. Start to assemble everything by adding the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas and onions (not all of them, save some and make a pita wrap maybe?), the cooked grains, hummus, and feta cheese.
  7. If you would like to add a simple homemade salad dressing, keep reading. Otherwise, mix it all up and you’re good to go!!
  8. For the salad dressing: Get a small bowl. Whisk together the Greek yogurt, lemon, and honey. Next add the oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix it all together and there you have it! You may choose to add other herbs or spices. It’s really whatever you prefer.

Side Notes:

**It may be easier to make a whole cup of cooked grains and reserve the rest for another recipe!! That’s what I do.

**You need to make sure whenever you fry anything with oil that you limit the amount of water in contact with the item. Please make sure after you rinse the chickpeas, you dry them too to prevent yourself from being burned

**I also think this salad is great with tzatziki, which is a lot like the salad dressing above, as it’s a yogurt sauce that is so delicious. It’s a little expensive though, and if you’re not a big fan you could end up wasting it.

Halloumi Veggie Sandwich

I think one of the greatest downfalls of the United States (besides our blatant inaction to pass legislation on a comprehensive plan to address climate change) is our lack of halloumi cheese.

It’s quite surprising how many people survive without it. After you try this sandwich, I guarantee you’ll be on the phone with your senator asking for more readily available stock piles of this wonderful ingredient.

This sandwich was created in my friend Paul’s kitchen when the two of us were hungover and hungry. If I can make this with a wicked headache and little coordination, you can easily make this for a great lunch to go or Sunday snack. This tastes amazing hungover, and probably even better with a better night’s rest and a couple advil (or is that the hangover that’d be improved….)

My recipe makes two sandwiches, but obviously you can make just one, or six, or ten…. totally up to your digression. I must reiterate though that I’ve given you fair warning; you’re going to fall in obessesive, maybe unhealthy, love with halloumi.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of sturdy bread, multigrain is good
  • 4 pieces (small rectangles) of halloumi cheese, Trader Joe’s has it!
  • 1/2 a medium onion, sliced
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of veggie bacon (or real bacon if you’re freakin lame)
  • 2 or 3 radishes, thinly sliced (this shit is hard, just do your best)
  • 1 small tomato, sliced how you like it
  • Mayo
  • Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Toast that bread up really nicely, however you like it. I recommend just lightly browned.
  2. Take a medium pan, heat it to medium-high heat and place the halloumi cheese in to cook. You’re going to want to brown it on both sides, a nice golden color. About 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  3. In the meantime, mix together the onions with paprika. Take the cheese out of the pan, heat the olive oil, and proceed to cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Take a separate pan of good size and place the veggie bacon in with a little bit of oil. Cook according to the directions on the box (it’s super easy).
  5. Prepare the sandwich by spreading hot sauce on one slice of bread and mayo on the other. Take the halloumi cheese and place it on one side, then proceed with the veggie bacon, tomatoes, radishes, and finally the onions.
  6. Oh my gosh, you’re done! and you have an a-mazing sandwich; one worthy of your dreams and admiration.

Cherry Tomato, Almond, and Feta Salad

I’m going to get to the point real fast for you:

This salad is delicious and you should absolutely make this with a halloumi veggie sandwich

I came up with the recipe on the spot when I had nothing else to eat. It’s great with lunch, and a perfect dinner side dish. Think chicken or sustainably sourced salmon. You can always enjoy it as a quick snack, no judgement from me!

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale (tip on Kale Prep)
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp oil (prefer sunflower, olive works too)
  • 1 tsp of vinegar, like white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, raw or toasted in a pan
  • 1-2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 or 3 fresh basil leaves (chopped), optional

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the spinach and kale. Mix together for even distribution.
  2. Add the honey, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk this together to make a quick, yummy salad dressing.
  3. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the large bowl, along with the almonds.
  4. Mix in the salad dressing (as much as you’d like) and toss the salad.
  5. Add the feta cheese now and lightly mix to prevent the cheese from becoming an absolute disaster in the bowl.
  6. Serve, topping it with fresh basil if available.

Grapefruit Chicken Marinade

The inspiration for this recipe came to me when I was actually reading another marinade recipe online. In the instructions, whoever wrote it said to use any citrus juice you’d like. I don’t think he/she meant grapefruit! It was the only citrus I had at hand at the time, but the marinade turned out perfect.

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I can’t find the inspirational recipe anywhere, but I’ve written my own grapefruit marinade that knocks any others out of the park! I love this recipe because it doesn’t use any sweeteners. Fresh grapefruit juice is enough because as you cook the chicken, the sugars in the juice caramelize for a slight sweet note. I make this ALL the time.

Depending on when you need to cook the chicken, you can make the marinade up to a day in advance. I like to marinate for a good 4-5 hours, even overnight sometimes. An hour is the minimum I’d say.

Ingredients:

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  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice, freshly juiced
  • 2 tbls distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or sunflower)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1-3 tbls sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3-4 chicken breasts

Instructions:

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  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag and stir. Allow to sit for 5- 10 minutes before adding the chicken.
  2. Tenderize the chicken, poking each side with a pair of forks. Place chicken in the marinade.
  3. Put the marinade with the chicken into the fridge for at least an hour, up to a day.
  4. Grill, saute, or bake the chicken after it’s finished marinating!

 

 

THE Broccoli Mac & Cheese

*Heavy breathing and drooling*

THE Broccoli Mac & Cheese
THE Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Let me start off by acknowledging the fact that this recipe is all over the place. I know, I know. “How is this going to be any different? And why do you have to ruin mac and cheese by adding vegetables?!”

If you thought any of those things, I don’t blame you. People have trouble dealing with veggies in any form, but when they’re covered in cheesy, orgasmic goodness, you have to be insane (like straight jacket, rubber wallpaper, the whole nine yards) to say no.

Since I am weird, I like to have equal parts vegetable and pasta (or even more veg than anything else). The number one food I crave is broccoli. For some reason those little green trees are just so damn delicious. Of the countless ways you can cook them (which I will be writing about), I love to blanch the florets, then sauté them in an olive oil and butter mixture with smashed garlic and red pepper flakes. In case you thought that was another language, and the TARDIS isn’t translating it for you, I’ll explain a few cooking terms for you below.

Blanch: Boil for a minute or two on high. Take the contents out of the pan and transfer to a bowl of ice water. This 2nd step is crucial because it stops the cooking process.

Sauté: To cook at a higher heat using a small amount of fat; this could be butter, oil, animal fat, etc.

THE Broccoli Mac & Cheese
THE Broccoli Mac & Cheese

*For a lot of the vegetables I cook, I find that a mixture of butter and olive oil is a damn delicious combination. If you want to be a health nut though, just use olive, coconut, sunflower oil and so on.

Recipe

THE Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets (little trees)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil + a little chunk of butter
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta (or regular, doesn’t matter)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups whole milk (2% and skim are fine), room temperature
  • You have options:
    • Pinch of nutmeg and paprika
    •  Pinch of curry powder and cayenne
    • Whatever the hell you want
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ½ cup shredded Comte or Havarti cheese (These are just my favorites. You can be boring and use cheddar or whatever else you think would be good)
  • Panko bread crumbs + melted butter

Cheesy

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F
  2. Place a pot of water on the stove top and bring to a boil. Blanch the broccoli (remember to put in ice water). You will know it’s done when it turns a bright green. Set the broccoli aside for a moment. Meanwhile add the pasta to the same pot of water (if you like the taste of broccoli and want to conserve water like an eco-friendly badass) or a new pot of water. Cook pasta according to the box directions.
  3. Remove the broccoli from the water and dry thoroughly.* While the pasta cooks, sauté garlic in the olive oil + butter mix until garlic is about to brown. Pour this mix over the DRIED broccoli. Stir that shit up and put back in the pan. Cook the veg until slightly browned. Remove from pan.
  4. Lower the temperature of the pan to low/medium-low. Melt the 3 tablespoons butter, but DON’T LET IT BROWN. Stir frequently to prevent this.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the pan with butter. Mix that up! Let this cook for a few minutes, stirring “constantly” (just stir a lot, but don’t just stand there for 5 minutes focusing on it. It won’t cook if you do that).
  6. Whisk in the milk gradually. I usually follow these steps three times: add, stir, let sit, and then come back and add again. It’s not rocket science. Don’t add it all at once.
  7. By now, your mix should have thickened a little. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes after you’ve finished adding the milk. At this point, you can add your spices/herbs or whatever you have chosen to add.
  8. After you’ve allowed it to simmer, remove the pan from the stove top to add the cheese. You can save a little to top the mac and cheese, but I usually don’t because it can burn. Stir in both the pasta and broccoli.
  9. Place the pasta and broccoli mixture into a medium sized pan (use your damn head; if it looks too small, it is). Top with melted butter and breadcrumbs if you’re feeling like a fancy motherfucker. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. When you take it out, allow the pan to sit for ten minutes in order to allow the cheese mixture to cool and you won’t burn the hell out of your mouth.

Enjoy that shit, it’s good.

Side Notes:

You want to make sure the broccoli is thoroughly dry after blanching because you can and will burn yourself when you go to put it in the pan. If you add water to hot oil, the oil will pop up and onto your skin. Just like in any lab experiment, make sure you take all the necessary precautions to prevent injury. Hot oil REALLY  hurts; I know from experience.

I recommend shredding your own cheese if you have the money and time. Bagged cheese has a layer of powder that is super unappetizing in large quantities. Try my way once, and you probably won’t ever go back to bagged cheese.