Category Archives: Fish

Coconut Lime Salmon with Cauliflower Rice

DSCN3669Well hello there! After a little blogging break I’m back and so excited to share what’s on my plate with you! Lately, I’ve been experimenting with some different styles of cooking. I highly recommend doing this if you find yourself in a food/cooking rut where you’re making the same things over and over again. That was totally me at the end of the winter and I knew something needed to change.

I turned to some current trends like Paleo and vegan to see if I could step outside of my comfort zone and learn a thing or two. And you know what? It’s working wonders for helping me rediscover my passion in the kitchen. Just to be straightforward, I don’t follow any of these diets nor do I plan to. Mostly, I appreciate that they both focus on eating whole foods. {Plus, I often like these recipes because they don’t involve cheese.} I’m loving incorporating a few Paleo and vegan meals into our weekly menus…even though I usually wash them down with a chocolate chip cookie or two : ) Balance, right?

I also love how they’re teaching me about new ways to use certain foods and ingredients. For this roasted salmon, for instance, I used coconut oil, which I absolutely love. I haven’t used it in many dishes so this gave me a new opportunity to experiment with it {total success}. I also made cauliflower rice, which has been a great replacement for brown rice lately. By the end of this winter, I was ready to ease up on the carbs a little bit anyway. {I’m also loving making zucchini noodles with my new spiralizer. Recipes to come!}

If you’ve never made cauliflower rice it couldn’t be simpler: Send the florets through your blender or food processor until it resembles rice. Pour it out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes. I like to toss the “rice” with a teaspoon or two of sesame oil for flavor. Easy as pie, right?

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did. I’m excited to share some of my other recent cooking successes with you in the coming days and weeks!

Coconut Lime Salmon with Cauliflower Rice

Coconut Lime Salmon with Cauliflower Rice

Serves 2 (with leftovers)

For the salmon:

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 salmon filets (about 6 oz each)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Juice of 1 lime

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425. Place salmon in a glass baking dish and season salmon with salt and pepper. Combine the coconut oil and lime juice in a bowl and pour over salmon. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cooked through.

For the cauliflower rice:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves and stems removed, cut into florets
  • 1 to 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425. If you’re using a food processor, add cauliflower florets all at the same time and pulse until it resembles rice and pour out onto a baking sheet. If you’re using a blender (I used a Vitamix) add florets about a cup at a time, blend just until it resembles rice (you don’t want to mash/pulverize it), then pour out onto a baking sheet, repeating until all of the cauliflower has gone through the blender. Spread “rice” into a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Drizzle 1 to 2 tsp sesame oil onto “rice” and toss to coat evenly.

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

Are you ready for a crazy-easy, totally delectable, healthy weeknight meal? This, my friends, is it. Broccoli and shrimp harmoniously roasted together on a baking sheet. You know what that means? It only dirties one pan! A major win in the world of weeknight meals.

Just toss the broccoli florets with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pop it in the oven for a little bit to get going. Meanwhile, season a pound of shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper, red chili peppers (if you’re into that kind of thing), and the zest of one lemon. Add the shrimp to the baking sheet and let that goodness finish cooking together.

If you like, steam some brown rice or quinoa to round out your meal.

If you’re Robert, douse everything in Sriracha.

What more is there to say?

Dinner is served.

DSCN3230

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

Serves 2 

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of broccoli (about 2 lbs), cut into florets
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili peppers
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss broccoli with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper. Spread broccoli onto baking sheet and cook 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine shrimp, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, chili peppers, and lemon zest. Add to baking sheet and roast about 10 to 15 minutes more, tossing halfway through. Broccoli will be golden and shrimp will be pink and opaque.

Serve with brown rice or quinoa, if desired.

Healthy Winter Detox Salad

Winter Detox Salad

I realize this is the least festive thing you could lay your eyes on right now, but hear me out. If you’re like me then at some point during the holiday season you’re going to be aching for something that’s not coated in sugar, sprinkles, or sauce. And if you could somehow fit some kale and omega-3’s in there, well, it would be a Christmas miracle. I hear you.

So that’s exactly what you see here. Wintery roasted veggies–brussels sprouts, beets, butternut squash, and turnips–with a healthy filet of roasted salmon all served atop raw kale with a citrusy vinaigrette. And don’t forget about the pomegranate seeds!

There are a lot of different components with this meal, but you can essentially stick the veggies in the oven and forget about them for a little while. And if you want to take an even simpler approach,  grab a package of pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s so you don’t have to deal with peeling, slicing, and dicing one of those buggers.

So while this plate of health may look a little insane at the moment, I promise that at some point over the next few weeks you’ll be begging for some good clean food. When that time comes, I’ll be right here. Until then, let’s savor every cookie and every moment we get to spend with the people who matter most to us.

Happy holidays!


Winter Detox Salad

Winter Detox Salad 

Serves 2 with leftovers

  • 1 12 oz. package peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 16 oz. package brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 large beet, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • (2) 6 oz. salmon filets
  • salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Generous squirt of honey
  • Splash balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and turnips on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (about 1-2 Tbsp). Mix with your hands to ensure everything is lightly coated

Separately, place beet pieces in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Mix with your hands and fold the edges of the foil together to form a small packet. Place on a separate baking sheet.

Place both baking sheets in the oven and cook about 40-50 minutes until everything is cooked through and starts to brown.

When vegetables are almost ready, prepare the salmon. Drizzle with olive oil and season with some salt and pepper.

Once vegetables come out of the oven increase the heat to 450 degrees. Remove the package of beets from the baking sheet and place salmon on the baking sheet. Roast salmon, skin side down, in the oven 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

Whisk salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

To prepare the salad: Place kale at the bottom of a big bowl. Massage leaves with your hands until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Top kale with roasted vegetables. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Add as much salad dressing as desired (you might not use it all) and toss until evenly coated. Divide salad ingredients into two bowls. Top each with salmon filet. Add additional salad dressing if you like.

Roasted Salmon with Mushrooms and Potatoes

Roasted Salmon with Mushrooms and Potatoes. ABalancedLifeCooks.comToday’s post is more a public service announcement than a recipe (though there is a recipe so please keep reading!) Did you know you can cook fish that’s completely frozen? Like hard as a brick, slightly encrusted in ice frozen? YOU CAN! And it’s kind of life-changing. Because, if you’re like me, there have been times where you forgot to take the frozen fish out of the freezer in time to thaw for dinner. Then you’re kind of stuck and delivery pizza is sounding really enticing.

After a quick search on the website Cook It Frozen I found roasted salmon, which was my plan all along. (You can also broil, grill, poach, and saute frozen fish.) I just tweaked their recipe to fit what I previously had in mind. Here’s how it goes down: Remove the fish from any packaging. Rinse under cold water to melt any ice, pat dry with a paper towel, and brush with some olive oil. Cook it in a hot, 450-degree oven. About 4-5 minutes into cooking the fish is thawed enough for seasonings to adhere so add some salt and pepper or whatever you like. Pop it back into the oven and finish cooking for a total of about 15 minutes. Yep — it doesn’t even take longer than when the fish is already thawed.

See what I mean? Life-changing. So the next time you see frozen wild salmon, cod, or halibut on sale, don’t hesitate to stock up. Because even if you forget to thaw it, dinner will always be served. We ate our salmon alongside some roasted mushrooms and potatoes, arugula, and a yummy honey vinaigrette that we drizzled over everything on our plate.

Roasted Salmon with Mushrooms and Potatoes. ABalancedLifeCooks.com

Roasted Salmon with Mushrooms and Potatoes

**Instructions are for non-frozen salmon. If it’s frozen follow the instructions above.**

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small new potatoes (ours came in a variety of colors including purple), cut into quarters
  • 16 oz button mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon filet (either one big filet or have it cut into individual 6-oz pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp mustard (such as dijon, stone-ground, or whole-grain)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Greens, such as arugula (optional)

Preparation

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a baking sheet, combine the potatoes and mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast about 20 minutes. Toss. Keep it in the oven to continue roasting.

Place salmon on a separate, foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes until salmon is cooked through. Remove salmon and vegetables from oven. (So vegetables have cooked about 35 minutes total.)

In a bowl, make the vinaigrette: whisk together the mustard, vinegar, honey, and about 2 Tbsp olive oil.

To serve: Place a salmon filet, some potatoes and mushrooms on a plate. Garnish with chopped parsley. Add some greens, such as arugula, if desired. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salmon, vegetables, and greens.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Veggie Crab Cakes

Veggies crab cakes on an arugula salad with corn

Veggie crab cakes on an arugula salad with corn

If you’re looking for a classic crab cake recipe, this isn’t it. Sometimes it’s good to mix up the classics, right? The best way I can describe these crab cakes is more like a crab cake burger. I love my turkey burgers as much as the next gal, but sometimes I get a little bored of them — this is a great solution when you want a healthy, protein-packed dinner. Of course it wouldn’t be a crab cake without some Old Bay, so you can rest assured there’s a dash or two in here.

What else they’ve got: chopped scallion and red bell pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice, some plain breadcrumbs and a little bit of mayo to bind it all together. They’re cooked in a skillet on the stove (about 4-5 minutes per side) and form a slightly crisp outer layer while the insides remain that m-word I avoid using at all costs. Ew. But also yum.

Once they were cooked I realized I hadn’t fully thought out this meal. I had already boiled some corn and sliced it off the cob, but that’s where my plan ended. Although these would be delightful on a soft hamburger bun, there were none to be found in this household. Arugula to the rescue! (Note to self: arugula is always a good idea.) I topped the arugula with the corn from one cob and two cakes and squeezed about half a lemon over everything. If that doesn’t taste like summer then I don’t know what does. Dig in!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

Veggie Crab Cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. lump crab meat

1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

1/2 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)

1/2 red bell pepper chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 tsp Old Bay

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

Salt & pepper

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Canola oil

Preparation

In a large bowl combine crab meat through lemon juice. Mix together with a fork until just combined. With your hands, form mixture into patties (about 10-12).

Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. In batches  (about 4 at a time) cook crab cakes 4-5 minutes until browned, flip, and cook 4-5 minutes more. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining crab cakes, adding additional oil to the pan as necessary.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: Lightly adapted from Health magazine 

 

Pesto Grilled Shrimp

Pesto grilled shrimp with arugula salad & oven-roasted tomatoes

Pesto grilled shrimp with arugula salad & oven-roasted tomatoes

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was productive and relaxing–exactly what the doctor ordered.

A funny thing happened on Sunday. In the middle of the afternoon, despite the perfect weather outside, I got this unshakable craving to watch It’s Complicated. So I stopped what I was doing, cozied into our brand-new couch (love!) and found it On Demand. Oh my goodness. Now that my brain is in full on home decorating mode I was drooooooling over every detail of Meryl Streep’s home and bakery. There were definitely moments when I paused the TV, got up, and examined every square inch I could see. I just want to move right in or order one of everything for our new place (chocolate croissants included). In. My. Dreams.

Anyhoo, let’s talk shrimp. Delicious, pesto grilled shrimp. I’m so in love with the flavors this time of year, I can’t get enough. Can’t stop won’t stop. What you see here: Basil, garlic, squeezed lemon juice, sprinkle of s & p, all whirled in a blender with olive oil. That’s it! The hardest part of this meal is remembering to marinate the shrimp for a little while, but I’m sure it’d be just as spectacular if you only bathed them in the marinade while heating the grill.

We served the shrimp alongside roasted cherry tomatoes (toss with olive oil, s & p, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 20-30 minutes) and a simple arugula salad, but absolutely any seasonal eats would do. Pour yourself a crisp glass of chardonnay and you’ve got yourself a stellar evening meal.

pesto grilled shrimp via ABalancedLifeCooks.com

Dear summer, please never end.

Pesto Grilled Shrimp

Serves 2

Ingredients 

1 cup fresh basil

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper

3 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Preparation

In a blender or food processor combine basil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Blend/pulse until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil until combined.

In a bowl, combine shrimp and pesto and marinate 20 minutes to a few hours. Thread shrimp onto skewers (I used 3). Be sure to soak skewers for about 30 minutes ahead of time to prevent burning.

Heat grill to medium heat and grill shrimp about 3 minutes on one side, flip and cook 3 minutes more. Remove when all shrimp turn pink and opaque.

Coconut Lime Tilapia from Women’s Health magazine

Coconut Lime Tilapia

Coconut Lime Tilapia

Hi friends! Apologies for the radio silence here in the past week. I’m back and have a few posts coming your way over the next few days. Starting with this gem: Coconut lime tilapia. I’ve definitely been on a lime kick lately between this and my margarita lime chicken last week. Limes are just so bright and tangy – like a mouthful of spring on your palate! And when you add some coconut oil? Well, I could swear there was even a little taste of summer in there, too. A girl can dream, right?

I came across this recipe in Women’s Health magazine a little while ago. I know I’m partial because I’ve been writing for Women’s Health for nearly eight years (I can hardly believe it), but this recipe is truly outstanding.

Now, I don’t always go to the big stack of health and fitness magazines I receive each month for recipes–I usually rely on Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, and, most recently, Food & Wine for that. But lately Women’s Health has been killing it with their food section. Really, really great recipes and amazing photos. There’s an entire bonus cooking section in the May issue so definitely check it out! And while you’re at it see the Nutrition, Weight Loss, and Health Scoop pages in the front of the magazine by yours truly, too : )

Let’s discuss this fantastic coconut lime tilapia, shall we? It’s the most flavorful tilapia I’ve ever had, yet still feels light and healthy like you’d expect from the flaky white fish. Plus it’s easy to make: Coat tilapia in a mixture of lime zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and coconut oil then saute in some melted coconut oil. So simple, so great! And if you don’t already have coconut oil (I didn’t) it’s definitely worth buying for this meal (and others). I served the tilapia alongside steamed broccoli, but the original recipe suggests serving it with some tossed spinach or you could even make fish tacos. YUM!

DSCN2254

Coconut Lime Tilapia 

Serves 4

Ingredients 

3 limes, zested

4 garlic cloves, minced

Salt & pepper

4 tsp melted coconut oil, plus more for cooking

4 (5 oz) tilapia filets

Preparation

Combine lime zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and 4 tsp melted coconut oil in a bowl. Brush mixture on one side of tilapia filets.

Heat small amount (about 1/2 Tbsp) of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once coconut oil is melted and the pan is hot, place 2 tilapia filets in the pan, seasoned side down. Brush tops of filets with lime zest mixture. Cook about 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining 2 filets.

Recipe from Women’s Health magazine