Salads & Soups


Fish paper is so tasty.

Bundle veggies and fish tightly in parchment paper, make them look pretty, and call the dish en papillote–just to sound fancy, French.  We often just refer to this as fish paper.

This is seriously one of the best dishes we’ve made in quite some time.  I can’t remember the last time I had fish so tender and moist (and we even used frozen, bagged, mediocre-at-best looking cheap fish).  I’m sure we’ll try this with chicken, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 rectangular pieces of parchment paper (about 8×11)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tilapia fillets (or any mild, flaky fish)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup onion, julienned
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup summer squash, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
  • 4 jumbo shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and with tails removed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, low sodium/fat, divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
Tilapia, Pre-Oven

Tilapia, Pre-Oven

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 4oo°.
  2. Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Fold each of the two pieces of parchment paper in half lengthwise, then spread it out on the counter.
  4. Cover each center with cooking spray.
  5. Divide all veggies in half.
  6. Place the peppers and onions in the center of each rectangle.
  7. Top each with a fillet of fish.
  8. Top the fish with garlic and then the lemon, squash, carrots, and tomatoes.
  9. Add two shrimp to each bundle.
  10. Pour half the broth and olive oil over each.
  11. Throw a slab of butter on each.
  12. Add more salt/pepper to the ensemble, to taste.
  13. Tightly seal the bundle by folding, twisting, or even adding another piece of parchment to the top.  Be sure it’s well sealed.
  14. Place the two bundles in a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and the shrimp are cooked.
Tilapia, Cooked

Tilapia, Cooked

We also steamed broccoli with salt, pepper, lemon, and crushed red pepper as a side and beforehand ate a salad with baby greens, garbanzo beans, hot pepper rings (the hotter, the better), tomatoes, balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic.

Baby Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Pepper Rings Salad

Baby Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Pepper Rings Salad

Yields 2 servings

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I love salads in the summer.  We made this one a few weeks ago with spring mix greens, radishes, and cucumbers from Perrysburg‘s Farmers Market and mozzarella, hot peppers, and roasted red peppers from Kroger.  No measurements are included because I just chopped veggies until the bowl looked full enough for two servings.

Italian Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Italian Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Salad:

  • Spring mix greens
  • Radishes, trimmed, cleaned, halved, and sliced
  • Cucumbers, chopped
  • Hot pepper rings
  • Roasted red peppers, chopped
  • Mozzarella, cubed

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (use a good quality oil for the best dressing)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, freshly ground and to taste

Preparation

  1. Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl (or get fancy and mix everything but the oil and slowly add it so it blends better).
  3. Drizzle the dressing on the salad and serve.

Yields 2 salads

I’m a big fan of salads with nuts and fruit.  I typically loved crumbled cheese, too, but I settled for crispy bacon in this one (adapted from Cooking Light).  We served this with BLTs with a basil-feta spread.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (Log Cabin will work, but it’s not nearly as good as something Canadian and pure)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices center-cut pepper bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 apple, julienned (Fuji, Honeycrisp, whatever)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pecans), toasted
  • 1  6-ounce package fresh baby spinach

Preparation

  1. Combine syrup, vinegar, and mustard with a whisk in a small bowl.  Gradually add oil, whisking until well blended.
  2. Add chives, salt, and pepper, and whisk until well blended.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat.

Yields 4 servings (or two dinner salad servings)

Leftover noodles and chicken (grilled, rotisserie, whatever, really) work really well with this–especially when making a speedy meal.   Serve as a dinner entree or salad for lunch.

Asian Noodle Salad

Asian Noodle Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 3-4 cups whole wheat noodles, cooked
  • 2 cups skinless, boneless cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2+ tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Thai sweet red chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (with Omega 3 is nice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (or a little less if it’s super juicy/large)
  • 2-3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1+ teaspoons hot sauce (Sriracha is perfect, but Thai garlic chili paste works, too)

Preparation

  1. Combine noodles, chicken, and next 8 ingredients (through water chestnuts) in a large bowl; toss well.
  2. Prepare the dressing by combining the red chili sauce and next 6 ingredients (through hot sauce) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Drizzle dressing over noodle mixture; toss gently to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with peanuts; top with avocado.
  5. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Yields 2-3 servings for dinner, more for a side dish/lunch

Strawberries!

Strawberries!

This is one of my favorite salads.  When I first saw one recipe for a cinnamon vinaigrette and a salad similar to this, I had a feeling I’d fall in love or gag with disgust.  I think I’ve made it seven times in the past few months.

Cinnamon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (or more, to taste)

Candied Pecans

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Salad

  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 3 ounces of Saga Bleu Brie cheese, crumbled
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups radicchio, chopped or sliced

Preparation

  1. The Dressing: Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar/bottle; cover tightly, and shake vigorously.  Taste the combination and adjust as necessary (by adding more of any ingredient).
  2. Chill for a few hours.  Shake well before serving.
  3. The Nuts: Spray sheet of foil with nonstick spray.
  4. Stir sugar, oil, and vinegar in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until sugar melts, becomes syrupy, and bubbles, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Mix in pecans.  Stir with a wooden spoon until nuts are toasted and syrup coats nuts evenly, about 6-7 minutes.
  6. Spread nuts out onto the oiled foil.
  7. Using a fork, separate nuts and cool completely.  In just a few minutes, the coating will harden.
  8. The Salad: Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  9. Drizzle salad with dressing, add cooled pecans (1/2 of them will do; save the rest in a sealed container), and toss carefully as to not smash the cheese and/or avocado.

Yields about 4 servings