Monday, August 31, 2015

Lemon-Dill Salmon with Creamy Feta Sauce

Do you ever have those weekends when you have so much to do, but there just doesn't seem to be enough time to do it all? Yeah, well...I had one of those kinds of weekends. I felt like my to-do list was five miles long and there was no way I could get everything done in just two days. So what do I do? I stress, of course! Unnecessarily? Of course!! And do you know what happened to my "plan" for the weekend? It got thrown right out the window.

Some of the things I had planned to do, just simply didn't happen. And you know what? That's ok! What matters is that I spent time with the hubby and some family and friends throughout the weekend. I got the grocery shopping done - eventually - and the world didn't end because I didn't get those other things done. In fact, I didn't even cook until last night. Not on Friday (we had leftovers) and not on Saturday, either. It's not the norm, but it's not the end of the world, either. All I can say is that I'm blessed to have so much going on that I "stress" about how to get it all done.

But fear not, my friends, because I have an amazing recipe to share with y'all today.

Lemon-Dill Salmon with Creamy Feta Sauce

Yes, it's another salmon recipe. But it's an amazing one that I couldn't put on the back-burner for a later date. Because you need to know about it. You need to make it. And eat it. 

Not only is lemon and dill and super fantastic flavor combo that goes well with salmon any day, but the feta cream sauce?? Good lawd. It uses the simplest ingredients, but the flavor is outstanding. The feta really shines through, but isn't overpowering. It compliments the lemon and dill on the salmon, and of course you  know we love a good sauce with...well...everything. So, yeah...J and I were big fans of this dish and it re-heated for lunch leftovers really well, too! Double win!

Lemon-Dill Salmon with Feta Cream Sauce

Lemon, dill, and garlic seasoned salmon pair perfectly with a creamy feta sauce to make the perfect weeknight dinner!

Lemon-Dill Salmon with Creamy Feta Sauce


For the Salmon
  • 4 6-oz salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp of dill, chopped
For the Feta Yogurt Sauce
  • ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅔ cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2-3 Tbsp almond milk 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking dish (I used a 9x9) and set aside.  
  2. in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, dill, salt and pepper. 
  3. Place salmon filets in the prepared baking dish,  pour the marinade on top, covering each fillet. 
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until salmon is fully cooked
  5. Meanwhile, place all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until well combined and smooth. 
  6. Serve salmon with a generous helping of sauce, and enjoy!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sammich Saturday: Turkey Tikka Burgers

Saturday is my favorite day of the week. It's the one full day that doesn't have work as part of it, or work to prepare for the next day. Sure, it may be jam-packed with things to do fun or otherwise, but it's a full day. I can sleep in if I want, I can stay up late, I can get stuff done or do nothing at all! Well, nothing at all isn't really an option, but...a girl can dream, right?? And of course, we can't forget that it's also Sammich Saturday! It is pretty much my favorite kind of food, and all.

I can't believe it's been 7 months since the last turkey burger post! I pretty much love burgers in general, but I really love when I find a good turkey burger, and this is definitely one of those. Turkey burgers with an extra, healthy surprise inside, topped with a creamy mango chutney yogurt sauce, cilantro, and cucumber slices. Yes, I said cucumber slices. And yes, I thought that was weird when I first saw it, too. But they are crisp and refreshing, and it goes perfectly with the other flavors.

Oh, and the sauce is pretty good to dip sweet potato fries in too. Just sayin'.

Turkey Tikka Burgers

Healthy, juicy, delicious turkey burgers with Indian-inspired flavors and mango chutney yogurt can you go wrong??

Turkey Tikka Burgers with Mango Chutney Yogurt Sauce
As seen on Melanie Makes

  • 1 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp mild curry paste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro
For the Mango Chutney Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mango chutney
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

  1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, curry paste, chopped cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, and ginger. Using your hands, mix well and divide into 4 equal sized patties.
  2. Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray or drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and swirl to coat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Repeat with second batch, if needed. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, mango chutney, and chopped cilantro for the sauce. Stir until well-combined and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. 
  4. Once the burgers are done, toast the buns and spoon a little of the chutney sauce on the bottom buns. Top with a burger patty, more sauce, a few cilantro leaves, and a few cucumber slices. And more sauce on the top bun, if you'd like!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cajun Shrimp & Quinoa Casserole

You can't see me right now, but I'm doing a Friday happy dance. I look forward to Friday all week long. Because Friday when I get off of work, I (usually) get to go home and relax a bit. Not have a ton of things to do to get ready for the next work day. Not have to be in bed so early. You know...enjoy the fact that it's the weekend!

I also generally like to make dinner super simple. Not that weekday dinners aren't, but I want something that is really simple. Like, throw it on a baking sheet and in the oven simple. Not dirty up all the dishes simple. You get me, right?

This dish here, is one of those easy dishes. Sure it uses a few dishes, but it's easy to throw together and get in the oven. And that's what I like on a Friday evening, y'all!

Cajun Shrimp Quinoa Casserole

I've actually made this dish several times, but could never get a picture that was any good. Lesson learned - these types of dishes are best photographed in the skillet. Once you scoop it into a bowl, it's no longer picture worthy. The previous times I've made it, I used regular fontina. Which was delicious. But I recently discovered some apple smoked fontina at my grocery store and that just takes the flavor profile to a whole nutha level. Of course, smoked cheese in general is just so much better, if you ask me, makes sense.

Anywho...the Cajun spices, Rotel, and jalapenos give a the dish a little bit of heat, but nothing the kiddies can't handle. Unless you get the HOT Rotel, and keep the jalapeno seeds. That might not be so kid-friendly. But as is, it's a great dish for the whole family.

If you cook the quinoa while you are seasoning and cooking the shrimp, dicing your jalapenos, shredding your cheese, etc. it all comes together and is ready to go in the oven in 10-15 minutes. Then you wait, oh-so-patiently for 15 more minutes while the oven melts that cheese. I suggest setting the oven timer and enjoying a nice beverage with your feet propped up while you wait. Or you could get the dishes out of the way so after you eat you can kick back. Your call.

Either way, this is a great choice for a Friday night, or any night for that matter!

Cajun Shrimp Quinoa Casserole 2

Cajun Shrimp & Quinoa Casserole

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel or other brand)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2½ cups cooked quinoa 
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese (I used a smoked fontina, but regular is good too)
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp and Cajun seasoning together and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 2-3 minutes or until opaque. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan along with the jalapeno and garlic. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so until the jalapeno starts to soften. Stir in the quinoa, tomato paste, ½ tsp Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and Rotel and mix well. Add the shrimp on top, evenly distributed, and sprinkle with the cheese. 
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the broiler to high and broil until the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Triple Citrus Glazed Salmon

As the last week of August is winding down, the kiddies are back in school, and the traffic has picked back up it hits me that summer is about to be "officially" over.  And while I am definitely a summer baby and I prefer warm weather to cold, I'm actually ready for some fall temperatures. Boots and jeans and cute sweaters, too.  Mostly I'm just ready to be rid of all the damn mosquitoes and my polka-dotted-with-bites skin. I hate those little things, and they sure do love me. That said, I'm holding onto the flavors of summer for just a leetle bit longer. Citrus-y, fresh flavors.

Like this salmon. And zucchini.

Salmon and Zoodles

Since one of my birthday presents last week from J was one of those nifty spiralizers, I just had to try it out. Right away. I already had zucchini planned to go with this salmon, and I had an extra sweet potato just hanging out, so guess what happened next? A lot of spiralizing fun, that's what!! Sauteed with some olive oil, salt and pepper, it was the perfect side dish to go with the salmon. 

And that salmon. Or the glaze, rather. Wow. I mean, it's no secret around here that I love me some citrus - especially lemon - but to get all three of them, juice and zest in one delicious glaze, is pure heaven my friends. My mouth is starting to water just thinking about it! 

The garlic, honey, and soy sauce help to neutralize the acid from the citrus so you have a little bit of sweet and tart, but it's not overpowering. J loved the salmon and the veggie "noodles" so we were both oohing and aahing over it as we ate. Good stuff right there, folks. 

Triple Citrus Glazed Salmon
Adapted from The Recipe Critic

  • juice and zest of 1 orange 
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons 
  • juice and zest of 1 lime 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. 
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together all the citrus juices and zest, garlic, honey, and soy sauce.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water together and slowly stir into the marinade and bring to a boil. Heat until the mixture starts to thicken, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
  4. Lay the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and then brush the marinade generously over the top of each piece, reserving some of the marinade to serve with. Cook for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness, until salmon is cooked through. 
  5. Serve the salmon with the reserved marinade and your favorite veggies on the side! I recommend anything of the spiralized variety ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Panko-Crusted Chicken with White Wine & Thyme Cream Sauce

Being a food blogger means always looking for or trying to come up with new recipes, so we don't have a lot of repeat dinners in our house. I mean, sure we do have some things that are quick and easy so they get thrown on the menu or made in a pinch, but we don't have a rotation of repeats all that often. I go through phases where I want to remake some of my favorites (or J's) from the past, but then there are so many to choose from that it can be overwhelming sometimes, too. But during my last round of menu planning, I was having a hard time coming up with the final few meals, and I decided to go digging through the archives for an oldie but goodie. And boy did I find one.

Panko-crusted Chicken with White Wine and Thyme Cream Sauce

I actually came up with this recipe back in 2011, and hadn't re-made it since. Until last night. And now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to make it again. The sauce is so good you will want to drink it right out of the pan. And since the original post (well, picture) wasn't so great, I decided that after 4 years, this little beaut deserved a new post. Normally I don't make a new post for an old recipe that is already on here, but I decided to make an exception this time. This recipe needed to be brought back to the forefront. My friends needed to see this recipe! So, how could I not??

The crispy panko crusted chicken and the creamy white wine and thyme sauce that is drinkably good is worthy of a weeknight dinner with your family or to serve guests at a dinner gathering.

Panko-crusted Chicken with White Wine and Thyme Cream Sauce 2

Panko-Crusted Chicken with White Wine & Thyme Cream Sauce
A Sweet Beginnings Original

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme, finely chopped

  1. Either pound chicken breasts with a meat mallet to 1/4" thickness, or carefully slice them in half, cross-wise so that you have 6-8 chicken breast halves. 
  2. Mix Panko and flour together in a shallow dish. Salt & pepper both sides of chicken and then press both sides into Panko mixture, to ensure it is well-coated.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until browned and crisp. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
  4. Add wine to skillet and deglaze, scraping any browned bits. Add shallots and garlic and cook 30 seconds, then add cream and thyme and heat through. Add the chicken back to the pan to heat through along with sauce.  
  5. Serve the chicken with extra sauce. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Taco Tuesday: Chile Colorado Burritos

If you haven't had lunch already, be prepared for your stomach to start growling uncontrollably. I mean, how can you look at that juicy, meaty burrito and not start salivating immediately??

Chile Colorado Burritos 4

When I got home last night from boot camp, of course I was starving, so I started on dinner right away. J wasn't going to be home until closer to 9, and while most nights I try to time dinner so that it's ready and still hot when he gets home, that courtesy does not apply when the arrival time is 9 pm. Mama's gotta eat, and I'd starve to death by then. 

So, I started cutting up the meat, cutting up the pepper, opening cans, and so on. I cooked the meat, added all the goodies and simmered it down. Made a fresh batch of hot sauce. Rolled the burritos and threw them in the oven.  Looked at the clock...7:30. 


How in the world was it already 7:30?? And how was I still standing?? So then I stared at the oven timer,waiting oh-so-impatiently for it to reach the end. With oven mitts on both hands, I stood there waiting. And with 15 seconds left to go, I shut off the timer and the oven and pulled these bad boys out of the oven. It took me about 2.5 seconds to walk them over to the table where I took photos, then scoop out my burrito and took it's photo, then spoon some salsa on top and devour. 

The beef was perfectly tender, and all the beans and peppers and saucy goodness made me oh-so-happy. And not just because I was about to starve to death. I wouldn't say that this dish has much heat to it at all. Good flavor from the pepper, chiles, and chipotle (adobo) sauce, but not really any heat to speak of. 

Anytime I pour sauce over tortillas, I worry about the soggy/re-heat factor, but when J got home and heated his up, it didn't seem to be an issue, which is always a relief. Soggy bread, tortillas, etc. are not ok. Ever. These burritos, though, are ok. More than ok. Fantabulous, even. 

Chile Colorado Burritos

Chile Colorado Burritos
As seen on Creme de la Crumb

  • 2 lbs sirloin steak (or similar cut), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 10-oz cans mild or medium red enchilada sauce
  • 2 Tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, diced
  • 1 15-oz diced green chiles (I used 2 7-oz cans as that was all my grocery store had)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp cold water + 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4-6 burrito-sized flour tortillas (I used the jalapeno-cheddar variety)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese (I use a Mexi-blend)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray a baking dish with cooking spray, and set aside. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, place the beef chunks and cook until tender (3-5 minutes so that all sides are browned.)
  3. Add the enchilada sauce, peppers, garlic, seasonings, and beans to the skillet and stir gently to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and corn starch. If it seems to difficult to stir, add a little bit more water. Add the mixture to the skillet and stir to distribute. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Spoon a generous amount of the filling into the middle of each tortilla (one at a time.) Fold the sides in and then roll from the bottom (side closest to you) up to the top, and place seam-side down into the prepared baking dish. Spoon sauce from the skillet over the top of the burritos, and then top with shredded cheese. 
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, guacamole, etc. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had an awesome weekend! I know J and I sure did! It was a busy, but fun and productive weekend.

I took my Little to the circus Friday night while J helped a friend move. There were so. many. animals there! Of course my favorite is always the elephants, but there were kangaroos, even!! I love animals, and there was plenty of cuteness there for me to squee over.

Saturday J (finally) used the gift certificate I got him for his birthday last year to go SKY DIVING!! He had so much fun and now he wants to do it again. A lot more times. Oops, I may have created a sky diving monster! After that we met his family to have dinner for my birthday, which is always a good time. I stuffed myself stupid, of course.

Sunday we went to church, then out for lunch, to the gym and then home to do household-y stuff. You  know...J changed the oil in our vehicles, we did laundry, cleaned the kitchen and cooked dinner...that kind of stuff.

Before we kicked off the Saturday fun, I had to feed the hubs, of course. So, I whipped up this salad to have for lunch when he got home from his morning Krav Maga workout.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles

I've been drooling over this salad for weeks. Maybe even months. I even had it on the menu plan awhile back, and then life happened and I didn't get to make it. Um, you guys. This salad. Amazing. 

I mean, I love salad and all, but this one is just a little more advanced as far as salads go. And not in the preparation, but in the flavor. Granted, somehow I managed to make it hotter (spicier) than it probably should have been, but that's just how I roll, ya know? It's not good unless it makes your nose run, right? No? Oops. 

I found out years ago that I really like the addition of noodles to salad, so the rice noodles were really a great addition, for me. And the, so good. The, so hot. I say this to warn you. The recipe calls for three of these bad boys, but you can either use less, or remove the seeds and such before using them. Because they will likely light your mouth on fire, otherwise. Don't say I didn't warn you! 

Now, since I am a glutton for punishment, I added extra dressing and Serranos to my salad. J was sniffling just from the heat of the dressing that had soaked up the heat of the floating peppers. And, of course, you always have the option to omit them from the dressing, or altogether, if you don't like spicy food. The other components of the dressing are delicious on their own, too!

The crunch of the salad mix and the carrots is great with the softer texture of the noodles and the chicken. But in the end, it's really all about the dressing, let's just be honest. The salad part is just a vessel by which to shovel delicious dressing into our mouths. You know I'm right. 

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

So, whether or not you like a little heat in your bowl, this salad is a definite "must make" like, yesterday!!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles
As seen on Pinch of Yum


For the Dressing
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 4 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 6 Tbsp lime juice
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
For the Salad
  • 6 oz rice noodles
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 6 cups salad mix (preferably one with shredded cabbage)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced

  1. Thinly slice the Serrano peppers and set aside. Combine all the remaining dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the sliced peppers.
  2. Soak the rice noodles in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes or until softened. Heat a small amount of the dressing (like, a couple of tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the drained noodles and stir-fry for 5 minute, stirring every 30 seconds or so.  
  3. Meanwhile, heat another skillet over medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray or drizzle a little olive oil in. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the skillet. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until cooked through. 
  4. To assemble, in a large bowl, toss the chicken, noodles, vegetables, and  dressing (to taste) together. Serve immediately. If not eating all in one sitting, only add dressing to individual servings and store remaining dressing and salad separately, so it doesn't get soggy. Nobody likes a soggy salad. 
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