Roasted Salmon Pasta with Tzatziki

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I pulled out this recipe from an online whole food kitchen class I took a few years ago. I knew it would be a bit of a stretch for my family, and sure enough, each of the kids said “ew” to the description. I did almost lose my nerve partway through, but I am so glad I persevered (not that it was a particularly hard recipe, just that I almost convinced myself I’d be eating it on my own for the next fourteen meals). I needn’t have worried. We ate every single bite, and I think Ian and Clara would have eaten even more had it been available.

Notes for next time: Jason said I could have doubled the salmon (and I agree). I was too lazy to make a gluten-free pasta option for myself, so I just gluten-ed it up with the rest of the family. Also, I didn’t get a picture of the tzatziki, but it was really good as well. The recipe notes say that traditional tzatziki uses mint as the fresh herb but that the dill pairs nicely with the salmon. I agree, but I might experiment with mint or even cilantro.

Also, the original recipe calls this “pasta salad.” I left out the “salad” because it was not at all salad-like in my opinion. The salmon and asparagus had cooled, and the tomatoes were room temperature, but I made the pasta last and tossed it while the pasta was hot, so overall the dish was warmer than room temp but not steaming by a long shot. The tzatziki was cool, and all those temperatures worked well together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (6-ounce) cooked filet salmon, cooled and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I prepared it just like the salmon in this recipe); next time I would double this
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, sautéed and cooled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (remove the woody tips and add to a medium-hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper; sauté just a few minutes until bright green)
  • 1 package tricolor veggie pasta, cooked according to package directions

Directions:

  1. Toss salmon, tomatoes, asparagus, and pasta in a large bowl (or, um, large skillet if you don’t have a large enough bowl)

For the tzatziki

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded (and roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup plain greek-style yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or 3 teaspoons dried dill)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon salt)

Combine all the tzatziki ingredients in a food processor or blender and process on low until well blended.

Serve on the side to be spooned over pasta.

Apple Cider Braised Chicken and Fall Veggies

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I found and saved this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. Finding again and then cooking from a recipe on FB? I don’t even know. So I’m putting it here on NMB, and I can have it for always.

This smelled amazing and hit all the right notes. You know a recipe is a keeper when the kids ask for more vegetables and then even after two helpings go pick at the pan for their favorites (garlic! celery!).

This didn’t cook in the time the original recipe said it would (maybe I had too many vegetables?), so I’m going to post it here just like I made it. It’s a little fussy with moving from one pot to two, but not overly so, I don’t think.

Ingredients:

  • 9-10 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch squares
  • 3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1-inch squares (next time I’ll probably double the potatoes–they were a favorite)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup apple cider or spiced apple cider (I used plain apple juice because that’s what I had)
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled (I’ll use more next time, another favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Start by chopping and peeling all the veggies and setting them aside. This doesn’t actually have to be done first, but I bet you’ll be happier getting it out of the way.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Next, heat coconut oil in a large dutch oven or oven safe pot with lid. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Add garlic and chicken to the oil and let chicken cook on each side for about 3 minutes at medium/high heat. Remove and add 1/4 cup cider to the pan to deglaze. Using something soft like a spatula, stir to remove any stuck bits from the pan. After a minute or so, add chicken back in, then cover with veggies and sage, a sprinkle of salt, 1 cup of cider, and cover. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  5. Now at this point, my chicken wasn’t nearly done, so I moved the drumsticks to a 9×13 glass pan and put the chicken and the veggies (now separated) back into the oven for about 15 minutes. If your chicken is done with the initial bake, great. Proceed to step 6.
  6. Scoop out all the chicken and veggies. There should be some of the cider and fat left in the pot. If its thick, you can use is straight up as gravy. If it’s still too thin, add some of the vegetables back in to the liquid and use an immersion blender to thicken into a gravy to serve atop chicken and veggies.
  7. Plate chicken with veggies, add a drizzle of cider gravy, and enjoy.

Crispy Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce

Taken from Good Housekeeping magazine and served to friends tonight, this dish is a winner. That pan sauce…yum!

2 t olive oil
2.5lb chicken thighs
3/4 t salt, divided
2 medium shallots, chopped
2/3 C white wine
1/4 t dried rosemary
3 T sour cream
1/2 C chicken broth
chives

In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil on medium high. Season chicken thighs with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, skin sides down, 6-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet, skin sides up. Bake in 450 F oven 15 minutes or until cooked through.

To same skillet on medium, add shallots. Cook 2 minutes. Add white wine and rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer 2 minutes, scraping up browned bits. Whisk in sour cream and chicken broth. Serve chicken with sauce, garnish with snipped chives.

Roast Chicken with Potatoes “By the Wall”

I found this recipe as a newlywed back in St. Louis and looked it up today to use as a mercy meal. This time around I approximated on all ingredients, pouring them into 1- and 2-gallon freezer bags to coat the potatoes and chicken. I purchased a tray of eight thighs, another of 12 (ish?) drumsticks, and used 5 lb of golden potatoes. It gave me 2-9×13 pans and 1-8×8 pan for a total of three meals. Score! And it was delicious to boot.

Ingredients

    • 6 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 2 1/4 pounds white-skinned potatoes, peeled, each cut into 6 long wedges
    • 1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I omitted this entirely)

Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush inside of large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Combine remaining 4 tablespoons oil, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano in bowl. Add potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, salt, and pepper. Arrange chicken in single layer in center of prepared pan. Arrange potatoes around chicken. Drizzle chicken with lemon juice and any remaining oil mixture from bowl of potatoes.
    2. Roast chicken and potatoes until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Pork Shoulder Ragu

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I tried this recipe after a recommendation from our friends Lindsey and Bethany. It’s a good one! Getting it in the oven on time was my biggest challenge, but after that, it’s SO SO simple. Great flavor & hard to mess up, this one’s a winner.

2 to 2 1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small pat butter
1 large can whole tomatoes, with juice
1 cup red wine
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh oregano
Small handful of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon hot sauce, for smokiness (I used Trader Joe’s Hot Chili Sauce)
Pappardelle
Freshly grated Parmesean

Preheat oven to 325°F. Liberally salt and pepper the pork roast. Add olive oil and butter to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high until butter melts, but does not burn. Add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in all.

Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Cover, and put in oven. Braise for 3-4 hours, turning every hour or so. Add more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) if needed. (The liquid should come to about 1/3 of the way up the pork.) Meat is done when it’s practically falling apart. Put on a cutting board and pull it apart with two forks, then add back to pot and stir. Cook 1 to 2 pounds pasta according to package directions. When it’s is ready, put into individual bowls and top with ragu and lots of Parm.

**I try to always include the recipe as its creator intended, and then share my own changes below. I used sriracha for the hot sauce (and estimated rather than measured), and replaced pappardelle with egg noodles. No fresh herbs, used dried instead. Other thoughts are recorded at www.tredways.org.

Chicken in Coconut Milk with Lemongrass

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Another recipe in the Koselig Cooking series, this is a good one if you’re a fan of Thai flavors. 

Serves 4 to 6

1 whole roasting chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
juice of one lemon + zest, discard rind
1 stalk lemongrass, 5 inches of white part only, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
6 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 (14- to 16-ounce) can coconut milk
3 cups torn greens (spinach, kale, chard, mizuna, etc.)
2 green onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
Chopped cilantro, to garnish
Cooked rice, to serve

Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper. Put the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or if you’re going to cook it right away, set it aside while you prepare remaining ingredients.

When ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the oil. Put in the chicken, breast-side up, and let it sizzle for about 30 seconds. Carefully flip the bird and crisp the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and pour off the fat in the pot.

Transfer the chicken back into the pot, breast-side up, and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, chopped cilantro stems, lemon, lemongrass, garlic, and coconut milk. Cook, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 60 to 90 minutes (depending on size). Spoon the sauce over the top of the bird to baste every 20 minutes or so. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165°F.

Remove chicken from the pot and put it on a plate. Pull out and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise. Put the pot with the sauce back on the stovetop over medium heat, add the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 10 seconds.

Carve the chicken and serve each piece over rice with sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro leaves.

One Pot Pasta Bolognese

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This recipe is a keeper (thanks, Morgan at Host the Toast!) and is particularly well-suited to hosting a larger gathering of friends or family. Or, if you’re like my family of three, it will serve leftovers for a few days afterwards. If you’re replacing the tagliatelle noodles with fettucine—heads up—you might add a few minutes to your cooking time. The al dente was a step or two shy of al dente-ness, though that meant the reheating process the next day yielded a perfect noodle.

PREP TIME: 10 mins, COOK TIME: 40 mins, TOTAL TIME: 50 mins

Serves: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1.5 lb ground chuck
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock (or 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup wine)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or spaghetti
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until lightly crisped. Mix in the onion, celery, and garlic, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Mix in ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, adding slightly more if you prefer more heat in your sauce. Cook together until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the ground chuck. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Once browned, stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and thyme.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Then, uncover, remove the thyme sprigs, stir the pasta in, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the milk, parmesan cheese, and shredded basil, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with additional basil, to garnish.