Salmon Series Part Four: Grilled Salmon and Steamed Artichokes

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Patrick picked up this beautiful salmon filet at Whole Foods before driving to Delaware.

As our Chicago chapter came to a close, Alex and I found ourselves traveling all over the city to see friends.  We calculated recently that we have been in 15 states over the past 5 weeks!  We have spent this exciting transition time staying with many wonderful host friends, and saying goodbye-for-now to our Chicago family.  I wrapped up my time as a rehab aide at Athletico, had one last sweep team practice with Lincoln Park Boat Club and witnessed Alex’s graduation from medical school.  Looking back on the month of May, I can see that we filled our schedules to the brim, but I would not have it any other way!  It was a treat to be reunited with the Taylor family for a week of adventures in Michigan and Chicago.  Next, we spent a week on the East Coast with my family, and met my brother’s baby for the first time.

During all of our moving about, we sampled new restaurants and made a variety of recipes in countless kitchens.  Most recently, Patrick shared his family recipe for steamed artichokes, and I requested grilled salmon as a pairing.  My niece, Kayden, and I tried out a recipe for zucchini boats to round out the family feast menu.  Kayden is a skilled baker and loves trying out new recipes in the kitchen.  We will definitely be cooking together again soon.

Now I am off on another racing adventure in the double with Jess.  I will be cooking and learning new recipes and flavors, but may not be blogging while I am away.  Until next time!

 

 

Recipe

Grilled Salmon – serves 6 to 8

I have not tried grilling salmon on my own yet, but I collected the below tips from Patrick.  Remember not to move the fish around on the grill until you are ready to flip!  If you move the fish, it can break apart on the grill and lose its grill lines.

You will need:IMG_4990

  1. 2 lb salmon
  2. 1 t salt
  3. 1 t pepper
  4. 1 t garlic powder
  5. about 1 T olive oil

Steps:

  1. Sprinkle salmon on both sides with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Rub in with a little olive oil.
  2. Heat your grill to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit (close to high heat on our grill).
  3. Grill the meat side of salmon first for 3 to 4 minutes with the grill lid closed.  The fish should start to become opaque on the meat side where it is starting to cook.
  4. Flip salmon once to grill the skin side using a grill spatula or tongs.  Close the lid again and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes until the whole filet is just opaque.
  5. When salmon is ready, the skin should easily fall off.

Recipe

Steamed Artichokes – serves 8

IMG_4987You will need:

  1. 8 whole artichokes, including stems
  2. 6 large garlic cloves
  3. ½ C fresh parsley, chopped
  4. salt
  5. pepper
  6. 3-4 T olive oil to drizzle

Steps:

  1. Cut off the bottom of the stems and slice off the dry end of the stem.  Dice the remaining stem.
  2. Chop garlic and parsley and combine with stem pieces, salt and pepper.
  3. Bang the bottom of the artichoke against the tabletop to open up the flower.  If you need to, you can pull apart the leaves by hand instead.
  4. Stuff diced items between artichoke leaves.
  5. Stand artichokes up in a large pot and fill with about 2″ of water.
  6. Pour oil over artichokes.  Bring water to steam and cover for 45-60 minutes.  Your artichokes are ready when their leaves pull off easily.

Recipe

Zucchini Boats and Caprese Salad – serves 8

We followed a recipe for “Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Tomato Salad” from Cooking Light and MyRecipes.com (see below).  Kayden and I opted to leave out the bread from the original recipe, because we wanted to share the zucchini boats with my mother, who eats gluten-free.  Our zucchini were exceptionally fresh, and we did not miss the bread at all!  The caprese salad from cherry tomatoes was also a big hit, and we keep making that dish as a side for dinner.
You will need:IMG_4985

  1. 4 large zucchini
  2. 4 chicken sausage
  3. 1 small yellow onion
  4. 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese
  5. 2 C cherry tomatoes
  6. 1 T balsamic vinegar
  7. 1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil
  8. 1 t olive oil

Steps:

  1. Wash the outside of your zucchini thoroughly before halving.
  2. Scoop out and save the insides of the zucchini, leaving about 1/4 inch intact beyond the skin.
  3. Cover and microwave the zucchini halves in an oven safe container for four minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dice the zucchini insides and save about 2 cups of material.
  5. Remove casings from chicken sausage and break sausage into small pieces.
  6. Dice onion.
  7. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add spray with cooking spray.  Add onion and sausage and stir to combine for about 4 minutes.
  8. Combine zucchini insides with your cooked sausage and onion in a mixing bowl.  Spoon this mixture into each zucchini boat.
  9. Chop up about 2 ounces of mozzarella cheese and layer on top of your boats.
  10. Halve the cherry tomatoes and combine with remaining mozzarella, balsamic, basil and olive oil.  Set aside in fridge to chill, if desired.
  11. Place zucchini boats on the top rack of your oven and broil for two to three minutes, checking to see if mozzarella melts and browns.

Source: Wise, Deb. “Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Tomato Salad Recipe.” MyRecipes.com. Cooking Light, June 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.

 

Wide Zucchini Noodles and Pappardelle with Meat Sauce

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The pappardelle at the bottom tastes great with a forkful of zucchini noodles and meat sauce with lentils!

Alex and I spent a week apart in different parts of California, and with an anticipated 10 days apart coming up,  we only wanted to spend dinners together this weekend!  This is a glimpse of “Taylor in Your Kitchen” at the Taylor home!  We got creative with more veggie noodles, and I switched up our usual turkey meat sauce recipe by adding steamed lentils, at the recommendation of one of the patients at the physical therapy clinic where I work – an anonymous “thank you!”

This recipe is fantastic for a quick weeknight meal.  The sauce is easy to make once you get used to cooking with multiple pans simultaneously.  To ease your transition to that stage of kitchen comfort, I recommend prepping all of the sauce ingredients before you start cooking.  When the sauce is simmering, you can multitask more easily with the pasta and zucchini noodles.  Pappardelle noodles cook in about four minutes, and while the water is boiling, you can make progress on the zucchini prep.  Otherwise, prep all ingredients first until you get a hang of this recipe.  This dish makes a satisfying vegetarian meal if you omit the turkey; the lentils lend staying power to the sauce.

Recipe

Wide Zucchini Noodles and Pappardelle and Meat Sauce – serves 4

For this recipe, I like to use a peeler for the zucchini instead of the spiralizer, to match the width of the pappardelle pasta.  Zucchini noodles take about 5 – 7 minutes to cook down.  Check out the gallery to see what the zucchini will look like as it cooks.  You can also prep zucchini noodles quickly by microwaving a single serving for just 2 minutes – that’s perfect for leftover sauce.

You will need:

  1. 1 yellow onion
  2. 1 orange pepper
  3. 1 lb ground turkey meat
  4. 1 package steamed lentils – about 10 ounces
  5. 24 ounces of pasta sauce, your choice on flavor!
  6. 1 t garlic powder
  7. 1 t black pepper
  8. 1/2 t hot red pepper flakes
  9. 1 package of pappardelle pasta – about four 2 ounce servings
  10. 1/2 T salt
  11. 4 or 5 zucchini
  12. 1/2 T olive oil

Optional: parmesan cheese to serve

Steps:

  1. Peel the outside layer of zucchinis and discard.  Keep peeling until you reach the zucchini seeds, and discard the center portion.  Retain all zucchini strips – those will be your noodles.
  2. Chop onion and yellow pepper(mini or bite-sized pieces).  Heat a medium pan over medium-low heat, and spray with cooking spray.  Add chopped onion and pepper pieces and stir occasionally while veggies cook.  Your onions should start to become translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a medium pot over medium heat for the turkey and sauce.
  4. Spray with cooking spray and brown turkey meat.  Crush up the turkey meat and season with garlic, pepper and hot red pepper flakes.
  5. While turkey is browning, start heating a pot of water for pasta.  Add just a dash of salt to the water as you bring it to a boil.
  6. Add your veggies to the turkey meat when the meat has cooked through completely.  Stir to combine.  Add pre-cooked lentils last.
  7. Pour your pasta sauce over the meat, veggies and lentils.  Stir and simmer for about 10-15 minutes over low heat until your pasta and noodles are ready.
  8. Add pappardelle to boiling water, and reduce heat to medium-high.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and check tenderness after just four minutes.  Drain as usual and stir in olive oil immediately.
  9. Heat a medium pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add your pile of zucchini noodles, and cover with a lid.  Stir occasionally until zucchini reaches desired tenderness.
  10. Plate pappardelle pasta with an equal amount of zucchini noodles.  Top with pasta sauce and parmesan cheese or more hot red pepper flakes.

Chicken and Broccoli: Slow Cooker Versus Stovetop

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Slow cooker versus stovetop.

My mother sent me a recipe for an Italian slow cooker meal recently, and Alex and I improvised with ingredients by throwing in whatever we had in the fridge.  The end product was a bit of a hodge-podge of flavors, but led us to crave this recipe – slow cooker chicken and broccoli.  We tested our new recipe by cooking half of our ingredients on the stovetop at Aunt Maria and Uncle Robin’s home in San Diego.  We then took their slow cooker and the rest of our ingredients over to Jess’s kitchen for the afternoon to test out the slow cooker process.  This week’s new recipe was truly a team effort!  The slow cooker version of my recipe was our favorite.

Recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken and Broccoli – serves 8 to 10

This recipe works well with fresh or frozen broccoli; the broccoli shreds as it cooks, so you do not need to worry about chopping your broccoli precisely.  If you have fresh broccoli, I recommend peeling and chopping the broccoli stem after you have cut off the florets.  That way you can use as much of the produce as possible in your dish, and the firm circles of broccoli stem add a nice crunch.

You will need: IMG_1547

  1. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  2. 4 small zucchini, chopped
  3. 5 oz baby bella mushrooms, halved
  4. 2 broccoli crowns, chopped – stems included
  5. 10 oz frozen peas
  6. 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 C brown rice
  8. 1 C low-sodium chicken broth
  9. 2 T hoisin sauce
  10. 1 T soy sauce
  11. 14.5 oz can baby corn
  12. 2 8 oz cans sliced water chestnuts
  13. 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  14. 2 t black pepper
  15. 1 t cinnamon
  16. 1 t red pepper flakes

Optional: sriracha sauce for serving

Steps:

  1. Begin by prepping and chopping your first six ingredients (onion through garlic). Set aside.
  2. Next, add rice, chicken broth and 1 C water to slow cooker.  Add hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
  3. Add chopped and canned vegetables, including the liquid from the canned water chestnuts.
  4. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and add to the top layer of your slow cooker.  At this point, a 6-quart slow cooker would be almost completely full.
  5. Finally, season with black pepper, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
  6. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.  Serve with hoisin or sriracha sauce on the side.