A quick and easy dinner – Salmon, mango & avocado salad

IMG_0706Sometimes there are just too many things to do. Too much work, too many errands, too many projects. That’s when imagination is key, because despite being busy, I still want to eat well. And I still want it to be good. I am always amazed at the last-minute, 15 minutes or less dinners I come up with. When friends or colleagues say that they’re just too busy to cook, I have to scratch my head. Build up a repertoire of easy go-to recipes and from time to time, improvise. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with! The weather isn’t quite what it usually is at this time of year, however I really crave fresh fruits and veggies. Although these are not local, avocado, mango with tomato and basil really work well together and as a side to salmon, well it’s just really delicious!

RECIPE

120 gr. salmon filet,

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1/2 mango, peeled and thinly sliced

5-6 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

Thinly sliced red onion

Basil, cilantro and mint, minced

1 green onion, thinly sliced, for garnishing

1/2 lime

Mexican chili

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat skillet on medium and add sesame oil to coat. Salt salmon fillet and place skin side up and cook until browned (3-4 minutes). Turn on other and cook a further 2-3 minutes or until salmon is cooked but just pink in center. Remove from heat. In a serving bowl, add avocado, mango, tomatoes and herbs. Season with salt, pepper and mexican chili. Toss to mix and top with salmon. Garnish with green onion slices and a squeeze of lime juice. Serves 1. Bon appétit!

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Stick to your ribs chili and can’t stop eating them biscuits

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, so I was inspired to cook up some comfort fare, such as a delicious chili with biscuits to sop up all that juicy goodness. Each are absolutely delicious on their own ( I actually ate ALL the biscuits, I just couldn’t stop! ), but why deny yourself perfection?  The long simmer of the chili breaks down the chicken and ends up melting into the sauce. The biscuits are so flaky and delicious, they can be eaten alone, with jam & butter, anything really! I used a combination of whey leftover from making greek yogurt and yogourt instead of buttermilk and the result is fantastic! So let the chili simmer, crack open a beer and enjoy your Sunday!

Chicken chili

Ingredients

230 gr. chicken thighs, cubed

2/3 cup red lentils

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 of each orange, red & yellow peppers, diced

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cup corn kernels

1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 stick cinnamon

1 tablespoon mexican chili

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with sour cream, grated cheese, diced avocado and cilantro

Instructions

Sauté chicken thighs until browned, add onions and continue cooking until soft and translucent. Add garlic, chili, cumin and paprika and sweat the spices for 1-2 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn & cinnamon. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Check that chicken has pulled apart, if not muddle with a wooden spoon until meat pulls appart. Continue simmering for a further hour uncovered. Add lentils and cook for 30 minutes more. Serves 2 with toppings and biscuits. Both can be frozen seperately for 3-4 months. Enjoy!

Biscuits

Ingredients

1 cup flour

4 tablespoons butter

45ml whey

45ml yogourt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 ° . Sift all the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter until rough crumbles occur without overworking, add liquid and stir in using a wooden spoon. When you have a shaggy dough, lightly need with your hands 5 or 6 times. It’s important not to overwork the dough, keeping pockets of butter will make the dough flaky. Roll out the dough to 1″ thickness and cut using a floured cutter or glass. PLace on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool. Makes 6 medium or 8 small biscuits, biscuits can be frozen in an airtight container for 3-4 months.

A big bowl of sunshine to combat the february blues

This is the last stretch, the long haul before the light at the end of the tunnel. I need as much sunshine as I can get to see me through. I crave colour and strong flavours. I also fight the instinct to crawl into bed and not come back out for air before spring! This soup is all that and more, colorful, flavorful and very satisfying and the bonus is it is quick to make. 20 minutes from start to finish. BAM! Party in my mouth! Why resist when happiness is so quick and easy to achieve 🙂  I made mine with shrimp but you could easily swap the shrimp out for chicken or beef strips, tofu, fish… Whatever floats your boat! The most important part to acheive perfection is to have good quality ingredients, the stock being one of them. Making your own stock is simple even if it needs some time to simmer, you can just leave it simmering on the stove and go on with your day, you’ll see a huge difference between your homemade stock versus the grocery store variety.

Coconut & red-curry shrimp soup

Ingredients

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 of each orange, red & yellow peppers, thinly sliced

White & pale green parts of a leek, thinly sliced

100 gr. shrimps

1/4 cup coconut cream

1/2 teaspoon red curry paste

Kafir lime leaves

Lemongrass stalk, cut in 2 inch pieces

Salt to taste

Thinly sliced green onions, cilantro & lime for garnish

Instructions

Bring stock to a boil with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass stalk. Simmer for 5 minutes then add curry paste, shrimps and vegetables. When stock comes to a boil again, add coconut cream. Let soup come back to a boil tbefore serving. Garnish with cilantro and green onions and a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!

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The most scrumptious cream of butternut soup and a special grilled cheese

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It’s been so grey this winter, it’s hard to not feel a little down when the sun goes awol. Kind of wish I had the means to hop on a plane and head south…! So to combat the grey skies I’m cooking with colour! This creamy delicious butternut squash soup brought a smile back, at least for a short moment! Be sure to scoop out the seeds and use them as well, nothing should go to waste, plus they’re delicious!

Cream of butternut squash soup

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed, seeds removed and reserved

1 medium onion

Enough stock (I used chicken) to cover veggies

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon grilled sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoons hawaiij spices (recipe below)

1 can cream of coconut, reserve 1/6 for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro leaves and sliced green onions for garnish

Sauté onions in olive oil until soft and translucent, add butternut, spices and sesame oil and sauté until well blended. Add stock and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Add to blender with coconut cream and blend on high until smooth. Serve and garnish with reserved coconut cream, green onions and cilantro.

Grilled cheese

1 large slice of country bread

2-3 slices of aged cheddar

Red curry paste

Cilantro

Sliced green onions

Butter

Spread a thin layer of the curry paste on the bread, garnish with the sliced green onions, cheese then cilantro. Cut in half and close into a sandwich, butter both sides and grill in hot pan with a weight to brown well. Check and when bread is golden brown turn over and repeat.   Enjoy with your soup for a delicious meal!

Hawaaij

Hawaaij is a Yemenite spice mixture, varying from home to home, much like the curry mixes in India. This is a blend that Melissa Yeh shared on her blog, My name is Yeh

2 tablespoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Roasted pumpkin or squash seeds

1 cup seeds rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

dash of ground chipotle

Blend all ingredients and spread on a lined baking sheet. Cook in a 350º oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Will keep at least one month stored in an airtight container. Enjoy sprinkled on soups or as a snack!