Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Herb Butter

Halibut is the perfect fish for the grill. Like sea bass or swordfish, it is dense and firm so it holds up well when grilling. However, even though it is dense, when cooked it is light and flaky.

My husband could eat fish every night, but we usually stick to 1-2x per week. Last week he picked up some halibut and made a lemon-herb butter that was spread across the fish before grilling.

While the fish was grilling skin side down first, all of the butter melted into the fish. The bright lemon highlighted the light and fresh flavors of the fish, and the herbs were fragrant but in no way overpowering.

Look how perfectly that fish flakes!

With some grilled asparagus on the side, this really was the perfect, healthy summer meal.

Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Herb Butter
Adapted from: All Recipes

Ingredients (for 2)

  • 2 one-inch thick halibut steaks
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest from 1/4 of the lemon
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder*
  • 1 tsp dried parsley*
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed*
  • Salt, to taste
  • A few turns of fresh cracked black pepper
  • Fresh lemon slices
*of course fresh can be used, as well, depending on what you have on hand

  • Preheat your grill to high and rub the grates with vegetable oil (put some on a paper towel and use tongs to hold the paper towel as you run it along the grates)
  • Mix the softened butter with the lemon juice, zest, onion  powder, garlic powder, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. 
  • Wash and dry your fish, and then spread the butter mixture evenly over the steaks
  • Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork (skin side down first), about 5-6 minutes per side.
  • Serve with fresh lime slices for squeezing 

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Peanut Butter and Banana Granola Bars

I have always wanted to make my own granola bars. Something healthy, and something I can feel good about eating and giving to my daughter. You can definitely feel good about these bars, packed with real, healthy ingredients and no added sugar. 
The granola bars I made started with toasting walnuts and oats with some cinnamon. 
The glue that brings it all together is a mixture of mashed banana, peanut butter, vanilla and honey. 
For another texture, I added dried mixed fruit - raisins, cranberries, and golden raisins. 
Once everything is combined you spread it out in a baking dish lined with parchment paper. It bakes in the oven for 25 minutes. Once cool you put the dish in the fridge to set. 
I was worried that they would crumble or fall apart once I took them out but nope - look at this huge bar! I used a glass Pyrex baking dish so my bars were on the thicker side. I cut this large bar into 9 bars. For thinner bars you could use a cookie sheet with a short edge. 
These bars are dense, but very tasty and filling. They are not sweet at all so if you are looking for something like the big brand, storebought bars, you'll need to add a bunch more sugar. But if you are looking for a healthy, good for you bar with lots of textures and flavors, this is it! 
Peanut Butter and Banana Granola Bars
Adapted from: Spoon University
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 c creamy, natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c mixed dried fruit (I used the raisins, golden raisins, cranberries mix from Trader Joe's)
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix your oats with the nuts and cinnamon. Spread on a cookie sheet and place in the oven to toast for 12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes.
  • Mash your bananas with a fork. Mix the bananas, peanut butter, vanilla extract and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until combined and warm, about 5 minutes.
  • Place the oat/nut mixture in a large bowl and mix in the berries. Pour in the banana/peanut butter mixture and stir until fully combined.
  • Line a baking sheet or glass baking dish (the size is up to you!) with parchment paper. Spread the granola mixture out evenly in your dish, using the back of a spatula to flatten.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely and then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Remove the bars from your dish using the parchment paper ends as handles. Use a sharp knife to cut the granola into bars. 
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Korean Pulled Pork Tacos with a Creamy Sriracha Slaw

This meal combines so many great flavors and textures - tender pulled pork slow cooked in sweet and salty ingredients. A crunchy slaw tossed in a creamy, spicy dressing with bright cilantro. A sticky, sweet and salty sauce to pull it together, and all wrapped in a soft corn tortilla.

As soon as I took my first bite I was in love. These tacos really do have everything. And once I was done eating I couldn't wait for the next night to have leftovers.

 It's a super easy dish to pull together since the pork cooks all day in your slow cooker. I bought a bag of broccoli slaw and tossed it with a homemade sriracha mayo at the last minute. And the sticky sauce can be made ahead of time and then warmed up when you are ready to eat. It doesn't get any easier!

Do yourself a favor and put these on your menu now!

Korean Pulled Pork Tacos with a Creamy Sriracha Slaw
Loosely adapted from: Eating Richly

Pork Ingredients

  • 2 lb pork - I actually prefer to use a pork loin for pulled pork instead of a fatty shoulder or butt.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion thickly sliced
  • 2/3 c Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c mirin
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
All other ingredients
  • 1/2 bag broccoli slaw (mixture of broccoli, carrots, green and red cabbage)
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime slices
  • Optional: picked radishes or pickled red onions
  • Corn tortillas
  • Prep and cook the pork: Mix the hoison, soy sauce, water, mirin, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic. Place onions in the bottom of your crock pot. Season the pork with salt and pepper and place on top of the onions. Pour half of your cooking liquid all around the pork, reserving the rest of the liquid. Cook on high for 2 hours and turn to low for 4-5 hours. Flip the pork halfway through cooking. Shred with 2 forks. 
  • Pour the rest of the cooking liquid into a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often, reducing it to a sticky sauce. Store in the fridge until ready to eat. Reheat slowly on the stove before serving.
  • Mix the mayo and sriracha. Toss with the slaw. 
  • Soften your corn tortillas by placing them in a hot, nonstick pan for 30 seconds per side.
  • Layer your taco with the pork, sticky sauce, slaw, cilantro, and lime juice. 

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes

I tend to make roasted potatoes in the fall and winter as they can be a bit heavy and you need to keep your oven on for a while. Using small, new potatoes cuts the time in half, and the flavors of lemon and garlic turned these roasted potatoes into a summery side.

I used my handheld immersion blender to combine lemon juice, zest, garlic, parsley with some oil, salt and pepper. A quick toss with the potatoes and then into the oven for 20-25 minutes - look at these beauties!

Using a metal pan for roasting really helps to give these potatoes a nice crust on the cut side. Start with them cut side down before tossing them around halfway through the cooking.

These potatoes are the perfect summer side and the leftovers go great with eggs for breakfast!

Lemon-Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

  • 1/2 lb baby red/new potatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1/4 of a lemon
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  • Using a food processor or handheld immersion blender, combine the oil, parsley, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and several pinches each of salt and pepper
  • Toss the potatoes with the mixture in a large bowl
  • Transfer to a metal roasting pan, cut sides down, and season with a touch more salt and pepper
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping the potatoes once halfway through, until crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside. 
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Skillet Chicken with Bacon in a White Wine Sauce

One pan cooking that starts with rendering bacon fat - how can you go wrong?

Cooking the chicken in the bacon fat and then using that same pan to start your sauce really takes the bacon flavor through the entire dish.

Give yourself about an hour for this one - 25 minutes of prep/active time and then 30 minutes in the oven. And don't forget to baste the chicken to keep it juicy and full of flavor.

My entire family loved this and every last piece of chicken and drop of sauce disappeared.

Skillet Chicken with Bacon in a White Wine Sauce
Slightly Adapted from: Pinch of Yum


  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 sm yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1 c low sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh parsley for topping
  • Cooked egg noodles
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Chop your bacon into small pieces and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon grease in the pan. Turn down the heat.
  • Season your chicken with the thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Turn the heat back up to medium high and add the chicken to the pan, cooking a few minutes per side until golden brown, but not cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate. 
  • Add the olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and turn heat to medium. Cook onions approximately 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add the wine slowly, scraping up all of the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. 
  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Let everything cook until it reduces slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and bake for 30 minutes, basting the chicken with the liquid every 10 minutes, until the internal temp of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. 
  • Garnish with the parsley and bacon and serve over egg noodles. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grilled Red Cabbage Wedges

We love grilled romaine and baby bok choy, and pretty much every other veggie we have ever grilled (except radishes... but that's a story for another day), so why not grill cabbage?

I picked up a small head of red cabbage on a whim the other day. I thought I'd make some kind of slaw, but then decided to throw it on the grill.

I cut the cabbage into wedges, poured olive oil over them and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I had no idea how long they'd take, so I put them on the grill when our pork had about 5 minutes left. I figured that would give me about 15 minutes to cook the cabbage when I factored in 10 minutes of resting time for the pork.

This ended up being perfect! I grilled the cabbage for about 7 minutes on the first side and 4-5 on the second side.

Grilled Red Cabbage Wedges
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

  • Heat grill to high
  • Cut cabbage into wedges (6-8 wedges)
  • Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Place on the grill and let cook for 7 minutes (or until you see it getting nice grill/char marks)
  • Flip and cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes
  • Serve warm

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Yakitori Chicken with Cold Veggie and Soba Noodle Bowls

Grilled chicken with a cold salad has become a staple in our house during the hot weather. 
We have made a lot of variations of this meal, and our most recent may just be one of my favorites - Yakitori chicken over a cold veggie and soba noodle salad with a hoisin-soy dressing.

Yakitori chicken is a grilled and skewered chicken and is so simple, with only three ingredients in the marinade. Since the chicken is in chunks and skewered, it cooks faster than a large breast. You also get a lot of great caramelized bits from the sugar in the marinade. 

Once the chicken is cooked, everyone can put together their own bowl. While my husband skipped the noodles (he has been so good about avoiding carbs most nights! I don't have his will power..), I filled my bowl with all of the veggies and some noodles. And of course my daughter could not turn down pasta. 

The dressing was sweet and savory and tied everything together without masking the amazing flavor from the Yakitori marinade. Again, a great weeknight meal that comes together quickly, especially if you do some prep ahead of time. 

Yakitori Chicken with Cold Veggie and Soba Noodle Bowls
Marinade recipe: Oishii
Bowl recipe an original creation by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations


  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • Marinade: 
    • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
    • 1/4 c mirin
    • 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces each
  • 6 bamboo skewers
  • Chopped romaine lettuce or Napa cabbage (or both!)
  • Chopped carrots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cucumbers, chopped
  • Cilantro
  • Broccoli florets
  • Red bell pepper, chopped
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Radishes, sliced
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Cooked and chilled soba noodles
  • Dressing; mix together: 
    • 1/4 c vegetable oil
    • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour them over the chicken in a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. 
  • Soak your skewers in water for 20 minutes before you are ready to cook.
  • Put your chicken on skewers with green onions between every 2 cubes of chicken. Grill until done (internal temp of 165). 
  • Put noodles in one side of a bowl and create your salad on the other. Top with the dressing and grilled chicken. 

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