Saturday, November 6, 2010

Amazingly Moist Salmon

Anyone who has glanced at our monthly meal plans may feel safe in assuming that we eat a lot of fish.  After all, it is on the menu at least once a week.  That assumption would be incorrect.  Though it appears regularly on the menu, it appears quite irregularly on our plates.  Hey, Babe doesn't really care for fish, for him seafood is only a vessel for either tartar or cocktail sauce.  He does, however, want us to eat more of it because fish is good for you, and so it is my backup meal. 

I do not typically plan into the menu any potential leftovers, so I know that we are going to have more food than days in the month.  As the kids get older, eat more, and get a bit more predictable in what they will eat, this might change. Or I might just make more food and still have leftovers.  For now, I have two fail-safes in place to make sure that we don't have a fridge full of leftovers going to waste.  One is that I plan on eating leftovers from dinner for my lunch the next day, especially when there is only enough left for one person.  The second is scheduling in fish.  If we do not need to make another meal because of a plethora of leftovers, fish night is what gets skipped.

On Sundays we tend to be out and about, going to church and visiting family, so I have taken to planning salmon salad sandwiches for Sunday's dinner.  Since it is Hey, Babe's only day off, if we are home for lunch or dinner on Sunday I don't want to spend it standing in the kitchen and sandwiches are the quickest thing.  I know that this is the reverse of most people, they plan on big Sunday dinners because they are home to cook.  I would rather take the opportunity for family time and cook more meals during the week.

I was surprised when Hey, Babe told me that he liked this dinner, and even more surprised when he actually finished his entire piece (actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes to fish).  Not because I didn't find it delicious, (I did) but simply because it was fish.  I didn't use Salmon, replacing it instead with milder Tilapia.  Right now we use salmon for sandwiches and Tilapia for the occasional cooked dinner.  Eventually I am hoping that fish will grow on Hey, Babe and we can move on to Salmon.  I prefer it, and I believe it is supposed to be healthier. 

The Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole was something that I threw together at the last minute in an attempt to get Little Man to eat more of his broccoli.  It didn't really work, but since Hey, Babe and I found it to be delicious I will definitely be making it again.  Thankfully I am beginning to develop the habit of noting measurement down when I am experimenting in my cooking.  This makes it much easier to reproduce a recipe I created on the fly, such as this one.  This casserole may undergo further experimentation in the future, perhaps being turned into a full meal in itself with the addition of chopped chicken and then spread into a casserole dish, topped with more cheese and baked in the oven until heated through.  Until then, I can still recommend it as it is, a wonderful and filling side dish.

Amazingly Moist Salmon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
dash powdered thyme
pinch Old Bay Seasoning
4 salmon fillets (or tilapia!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 500F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray (important! I forgot this and mine stuck a bit). 

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, parsley and spices.  Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and pepper. Coat each fillet with some of the mayonnaise mixture and set on the baking sheet.  Roast 10 to 12 minutes, until done.

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole
6 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onions
1 cup half and half
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 bag frozen broccoli florets, defrosted

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the rice, salt, and onions.  Continue boiling 30 minutes, uncovered.  Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the water off the rice, allowing rice to stay in strainer for the moment.

In the now empty pot, heat the half and half, cheddar, salt and chili powder over medium heat until cheese is completely melted and mixed in.  Return rice along with broccoli to the pot, stirring until thoroughly combined.  Keep over medium low heat, stirring, until broccoli is heated through.

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