Sweet and Smokey Salmon with Lemon Pasta and Grilled Asparagus

Salmon – by far, my favorite fish.  It’s healthy, it’s delicious, and it’s hard to mess up. While I typically bake my salmon, last night I decided to throw it on the grill. This was a wild-caught Sockeye Salmon from Costco, which meant it was a perfectly cut filet, de-boned and great price. Win, win, win! I went for the sweet and smokey flavors of honey and Worcestershire along with some garlic and grilled the salmon on top of lemon slices. It turned out awesome! I paired it with grilled asparagus that I marinated in Worcestershire as well and a lemon angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, butter and fresh basil. Yummy, yum, yum.

Sweet and smokey salmon


Sweet and Smokey Grilled Salmon

2 lb salmon filet, skin-on, de-boned
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lemon, sliced thin

1.) Rinse salmon filet to ensure there are no scales on the fish. Place in the casserole dish.
2.) In a small bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, honey, olive oil, garlic, minced onion and pepper. Stir well.
3.) Generously salt the salmon and then pour the marinade over top. Spoon the marinade that collects in the dish back over the salmon to ensure it well covered. Let it marinade for at least 15 minutes.
4.) On a preheated grill, place lemon slices in the shape of the salmon filet. Place the salmon on top and close the grill’s lid. Grill over high heat for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked to desired temp. No need to flip the salmon.

Sweet and smokey salmon1

Sweet and smokey salmon2

Sweet and smokey salmon3

Lemon Pasta

8 ozs angel hair pasta
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1.) Boil pasta according to package. Set aside.
2.) In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil. Once butter is melted, add garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour sauce over pasta and toss.
3.) Add fresh basil and parmesan and toss some more.

Lemon pasta1

Lemon pasta

Grilled Asparagus

1 lb of asparagus, ends cut off
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Place all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag. Toss well and let sit for about 15 minutes.
2.) On a preheated grill, place asparagus perpendicular to the grill grates.
3.) Grill for about 5 minutes, turn asparagus over, then grill for 5 more minutes.

Grilled asparagus1

Grilled asparagus

Garlic and Herb Veggie Kabobs

Kabobs – another summer staple. I grill all year round, but love to make veggie kabobs in the summer when the zucchini is fresh and plentiful. I had been grilling kabobs for years but always felt like they were under-seasoned… when it occurred to me that I should marinate the veggies before I put them on the skewer! Problem solved – perfect kabobs.

The marinade I like the most is this one – a mix of garlic, herbs and dried minced onion. Full of flavor! One of my favorite things about this marinade and process is that the mushrooms get a whole lot of the garlic and herbs stuck in the little nook where the stem once was and it is so, so good.


Garlic and Herb Veggie Kabobs

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large zucchini, cut into 16 pieces
16 cherry tomatoes
8 large mushrooms, stems removed
1 sweet onion, cut into eighths
8 wooden skewers

1.) In a gallon Ziploc bag, combine olive oil, garlic, minced onion, salt, thyme, oregano, basil and pepper. Close bag and shake to combine well.
2.) Add veggies to marinade and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
3.) Place veggies on skewer – tomato, onion, zucchini, mushroom, zucchini, onion, tomato.
4.) Cook on a hot grill for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn them over and grill for another 5 to 7 minutes.


Garlic Herb Kabob

Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Guacamole Spread and Grilled Tomatoes

I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of ground turkey. I think it’s a texture thing. But if I’m going to do ground turkey, it’s got to be a burger. With turkey burgers on the menu this week, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to spruce them up… but then it hit me today – add black beans and cilantro and top it with guacamole.  And then, as if that wasn’t crazy enough, add some grilled marinated tomatoes. Now we’re talking.

So if texture was my issue with ground turkey meat, the black beans totally fixed that – it was like the best of both worlds – a lot of the taste of the black beans (I love black beans!), but the turkey held it all together and it was still very meaty (I love meat!). It was the perfect the marriage. I added colby jack cheese, the guacamole spread and grilled tomatoes, and this was seriously one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. (I know, I’m doing it again.)

And so here’s my new best friend, Mr. Black Bean Turkey burger. Hope we get to hang out again soon. 😉

Black Bean Turkey Burger


Black Bean Turkey Burger

1 lb ground turkey
1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup green onions, diced (white parts too)
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lime
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
Colby Jack cheese (for topping)
Guacamole spread (for topping, recipe below)
Marinated Grilled Tomatoes (for topping, recipe below)
5 buns

1.) Mix the first 10 ingredients together and form into patties (I made 5 burgers).
2.) Grill for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side on a preheated grill over medium-high heat.
3.) Serve on a toasted bun topped with Colby Jack cheese, guacamole spread and grilled tomatoes.

Guacamole Spread
1 ripe avocado, diced and scooped out of shell
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine
2 tbsp sweet onion, chopped fine
Juice of half a lime
1/4 tsp salt

1.) Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir well, mashing the avocado against the side of the bowl with a spoon until a somewhat creamy texture is achieved.

Marinated Grilled Tomatoes
1 large tomato, sliced thick
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt

1.) Place all ingredients in a bowl and let the tomatoes sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
2.) Grill for about 3 minutes on each side.

Black Bean Turkey Burgers1

Black Bean Turkey Burgers2

Grilled Tomatoes

Guacamole Spread

Black Bean Turkey Burger3

Black Bean Turkey Burger4

(Homemade) Ranch Grilled Chicken with Skillet Potatoes

Dinner tonight was two of my favorites – chicken legs and potatoes. Inspired by the ranch dip and carrots that Blake was snacking on this afternoon, I decided to try something different with a ranch marinade for my grilled chicken legs. I used buttermilk and the herbs and spices I use in my ranch dip, and at the suggestion of my in-home chef, I added a little tarragon too. The flavor of the chicken was great, although it’s hard to go wrong when you’re grilling chicken legs. For the potatoes I actually made one of my breakfast time favs – skillet potatoes. These are super, super simple and absolutely delicious. I rounded the meal off with a little roasted lemon and garlic broccoli and stopped just short of licking my plate. Hope you enjoy!

Ranch Chicken and Skillet Potatoes

(Homemade) Ranch Grilled Chicken

10 chicken legs (skin on)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp dill
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Place all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag and toss until evenly coated. Let sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature.
2.) Place chicken on a hot grill and then reduce the temperature down. Chicken should cook with the grill at about 450 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken legs).

Ranch chicken1

Ranch Chicken

Ranch chicken2


Skillet Potatoes

Skillet Potatoes

3 tbsp veg or canola oil
1/4 of a large sweet onion, julienned
4 medium sized russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Add oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onions and potatoes, making sure that potatoes are all separated and evenly spread around the pan. Add salt and pepper.
2.) Stirring occasionally, cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat. At the end of the 20 minutes, potatoes should be tender enough to cut with the spatula. If they are not that tender, continue cooking. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Skillet Potatoes1

Skillet Potatoes2


Scalloped Potatoes and Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

I love a good side dish. Sometimes, more than the “main course”.  For me, scalloped potatoes have the potential to trump any meat, any day. And while this honey mustard grilled chicken was really good, the scalloped potatoes were great. I’ve attempted these half a dozen times before, but never got it just right. All that practice paid off with these bad boys. Issues I’ve had before – not enough/the right cheese, potatoes not cooked through and overall too bland were solved with using parmesan cheese (and lots of it), cooking it at a high heat (425 degrees) and flavoring it with thyme and green onions. Viola. Awesome potatoes.

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

6 medium sized russet potatoes
2 cups parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup flour
2 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 ½ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp pepper
1 stick butter, divided
2 cups half and half
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme

1.)  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes and slice thin. Place in a bowl of water to prevent discoloring.
2.)  In a separate bowl, stir together 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, flour, green onions, ¾ tsp salt and pepper. Set aside.
3.)  In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add half and half, half the stick of butter, garlic, thyme and ¾ tsp salt.  Heat thoroughly and stir occasionally.
4.)  While sauce is heating, place the other half stick of butter in a casserole dish and place in the oven to melt. Watch that it doesn’t burn.
5.)  Drain and dry potatoes. Once butter is melted in the casserole, remove dish from oven and begin by layering a thin layer of potatoes on bottom, sprinkle evenly with the cheese/flour mixture, and then pour some of the sauce on top as well. Repeat until you’ve layered all potatoes (I think I had 4 layers). After the final layer, take remaining ½ cup of parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top.
6.)  Bake for 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and potatoes are fork-tender.

Scalloped Potatoes1

Scalloped Potatoes2

Scalloped Potatoes3

Scalloped Potatoes4

Scalloped Potatoes5

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

3 chicken breasts
¼ cup Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

1.)  Place all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag and make sure chicken is evenly coated. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
2.) Grill on a preheated grill for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

Honey Mustard Chicken and Scalloped Potatoes

Asian Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Ginger Rice and Sesame Green Beans

I’ve been cooking a lot this week, but haven’t had the time to post… so I’ll be trying to catch up this weekend. With Blake being home in the evenings now, I was able to come up with some new recipes. One of the dinners from this week was a grilled Asian pork tenderloin that I served over lemon jasmine rice with sesame green beans. It was a clean-your-plate kind of meal – delish!

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Asian Pork Tenderloin

1 package of 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs total)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried minced onion

1.) Place all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and let it marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
2.) Grill on a preheated grill for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side.

Asian Pork Tenderloin1


Lemon Ginger Rice

1 cup jasmine rice
1 2/3 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic

1.) Place water, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil and stir in rice. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in 1 more tablespoon of olive oil.
2.) In a small sauté pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon zest, ginger and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the lemon, ginger and garlic in with the rice.

Ginger and lemon

Ginger and lemon2


Sesame Green Beans

1 lb of French green beans
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sesame seeds

1.) In a large saute pan, heat sesame oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in green beans and sauté for another minute.
2.) Add chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, or until beans are just slightly tender. Stir in sesame seeds.

Sesame Green Beans

Lemon and Herb Grilled Salmon

The beautiful weather yesterday had me dabbling into some Spring-ier recipes for dinner- Lemon and Herb Grilled Salmon, Carrot and Lentil Salad, Lemon Sautéed Spinach and some Olive Oil Herb Bread.  All of these were new recipes and I’ll make all of them again… especially the salmon.  All these dishes had a Mediterranean/Greek flare to them and there were a lot of shared ingredients. If I weren’t making the bread (which I rarely do, but it was so good I may do it more often), this could totally be done on a weeknight. But the bread required (according to the recipe) 4 hours of “rising” time, which I just did not plan accordingly for… therefore I skimped a little and made it happen in about 2 1/2, and it still tasted great and the texture was exactly what I hoped for it to be. Anyways, I’m getting pretty pumped about spring and sharing some more of my lighter dishes. Hope y’all enjoy this one!

Lemon Herb Salmon Dinner

Lemon and Herb Grilled Salmon

Salmon fillet, skin on and boneless (between 1 to 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
Zest from half a lemon
Dried oregano
Dried dill
Coarse salt

1.) Preheat grill over high heat. Place salmon fillet in a casserole dish. Pour olive oil over fish, add garlic and lemon zest. Using the back of a spoon, spread out the olive oil, garlic and zest so that it evenly covers the fillet.
2.) Sprinkle oregano, dill, salt and pepper over the salmon (see pictures below for about how much). Let salmon sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes prior to grilling.
3.) Place salmon on a grilling rack (to prevent it from sticking to grill), skin side down. Place rack on grill and close lid. Grill for about 10 minutes (if salmon is about 1-inch thick). If salmon is thicker, it may require more time.

Lemon Herb Salmon1

Lemon Herb Salmon2

Lemon Herb Salmon


Carrot Lentil Salad

Carrot and Lentil Salad

1 cup diced carrots
1 cup dried lentils (I used green)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup diced sweet onion
1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano

1.) Place carrots and lentils in a medium sized sauce pan. Add enough water to cover lentils and carrots by about 1 inch. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
2.) Remove bay leaf and drain water by pouring into a mesh strainer (you don’t want to lose all the garlic or thyme). Place back in pan and add remaining ingredients. Stir well and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Adapted from Lentil & Carrot Salad


Garlic and Lemon Sauteed Spinach

Lemon Sautéed Spinach 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 lb fresh spinach
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1.) In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, stirring constantly as to not burn the garlic. Add spinach, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
2.) Stir constantly to make sure spinach doesn’t stick to bottom. Remove from heat once spinach is mostly wet and wilted looking. It will continue cooking once removed.


Olive Oil Herb Bread3

Olive Oil Herb Bread

1 1/4-ounce packet of active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for lining bowl and brushing)
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fine salt

1.) Stir yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in the large bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit until foamy, or about 5 minutes.
2.) Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, flour, herbs, salt and 3/4 cup warm water. Knead using the stand mixer’s dough hook attachment on the stir setting until dough forms. Turn speed to medium for about 5 minutes. Add a little more flour if dough sticks to the sides.
3.) Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Place dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place in kitchen (I have under cabinet lights that provide some warmth) and let it sit for about 1 1/2 hours (dough should have doubled).
4.) Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal sized pieces. Working with one piece at a time fold top of dough up and over, and bottom of dough up and over. Do the same thing to the right and left sides until you have something that resembles a square. Turn dough over so that the seams are on the bottom and tuck the “corners” under. Dough should be in the shape of a ball with the smooth surface up. Place on a large cooking sheet coated with olive oil. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. Make sure there is about 5 to 6 inches between each dough ball on the sheet, if not, use 2. Let dough sit in a warm spot (I placed it on the stove top as I preheated the oven to 400 degrees) for about an hour.
5.) Bake dough for 10 minutes, remove, brush with olive oil (and salt and herbs if desired) and place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

Forgive me, I forgot to photograph the initial dough kneading and rising :/

Olive Oil Herb Bread1

After an hour… (second rising)

Olive Oil Herb Bread2 

Olive Oil Herb Bread

Adapted from Almost-Famous Rosemary Bread

Grilled Pork Chops

How should I describe these pork chops… really freakin’ good. Period. This is what grilled pork chops are supposed to taste like. The Dijon and soy sauce is a great combination that really kicks the flavor to the next level. I’ll be grilling well into the winter to keep eating these things. Yum, yum, yum.

Grilled pork chops

Grilled Pork Chops

4 bone-in pork chops
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp pepper

1.) Add all marinade ingredients into a gallon Ziploc bag and make sure it is well combined. Add pork chops and allow to marinade for at least 20 minutes. (If you are going to marinade these overnight, you may want to reduce the soy sauce slightly so it’s not too salty.)
2.) Cook on a very hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

Garlic Dill Chicken

Dill Chicken

If you’ve never marinaded chicken with Greek yogurt – you should try it. The yogurt adds a richness and tartness to the chicken that really takes the flavor to the next level. I got the idea from a chicken tikka masala recipe, and it seemed like the yogurt would also pair well with Mediterranean flavors – it did. The garlic, dill and oregano makes this chicken very unique and quite tasty. This got a thumbs up from the hubs and the boys ate it pretty well too. Enjoy!

Garlic Dill Chicken

3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) In a gallon ziploc bag, combine all ingredients. Chicken can marinate in as little as 15 minutes, or overnight.
2.) Cook on a hot grill for about 7 to 8 minutes per side (this will depend on the size of you chicken; check the temp to make sure it is at 165 degrees).

Dill Chicken Marinading

Rosemary Pork Chops with Mushroom and Herb Orzo

Last year my husband and I tired to grow herbs. Tried. We had no luck with cilantro, basil, parsley or thyme, but the rosemary has hung in there!  I have not given up hope that (one day) I will have a green thumb, but I realized that growing things that require being fed every day is like having another child or animal, and momma ain’t go time for that.  Rosemary, apparently, will survive on rain alone. So, since rosemary is my only free herb, I experiment with it occasionally.  One pairing that has turned out really yummy with my rosemary is pork chops.  Throw a little rosemary, garlic and olive oil together on some bone-in pork chops for the grill – delish!  On the topic of pork chops, I’ve found that bone-in chops are soooo much better than their boneless friends.  You get that gem of a tenderloin, the meat seems juicier and more tender, and it doesn’t have the strange texture that the boneless sometimes does when it is only cooked to medium.  I digress.  So I built my Sunday dinner around rosemary and the meal turned out great.  I also decided to make another pot of orzo.  Once I stumble across an easy and tasty way of cooking something, I replicate the heck out of it (why reinvent the wheel??).  This time I married it with mushrooms, rosemary and thyme; same grain as a couple of nights ago, but totally different taste.  We ate this with lemon and parmesan roasted cauliflower and it was a dinner that the whole family loved.


Rosemary Pork Chops

4  bone-in pork chops
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Combine all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag. Marinate for 30 minutes to overnight.
2.) Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

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Mushroom and Herb Orzo

1 1/3 cup orzo
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 a medium onion)
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 cups of mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

1.) Cook orzo according to directions on box. Drain, toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and set aside.
2.) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and butter in a skillet and sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms, rosemary and thyme. Cook until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Add milk and sour cream, and cook until heated through.
3.) Pour mushroom sauce over orzo. Add parmesan cheese and parsley. Stir well until completely incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Lemon and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.) Cut florets out of cauliflower head, and then cut florets into halves or quarters (depending on the size of the floret).
3.) In a gallon Ziploc bag, add all ingredients and toss until cauliflower is evenly coated.
4.) Pour cauliflower onto a baking sheet and arrange into a single layer. Turn individual cauliflower pieces so that they are laying flat side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges/bottoms are golden brown.

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