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

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

Blueberry Muffins!

This morning I decided on a little impromptu muffin making because I was seriously craving some blueberry muffins. I wanted a little tartness to go along with the blueberry, so I added sour cream, buttermilk and lemon zest (a little trick I learned from Ina Garten). Aside from the fact that I couldn’t manage to get equal amounts of batter in my muffin liners (despite using a scoop!), they turned out really, really good. Beckett and I ate 4 of them right out of the oven in about 10 minutes. And I’d like to blame it all on Becks, but this girl ate some muffins. They turned out light and tangy and were exactly what I was craving.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry Muffins

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries

1.) Preheat oven to 375 and line muffin tins with 18 liners.
2.) Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth, continue beating and add vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Next add salt, baking soda and baking powder, and then pour flour in very slowly while mixing on the lowest setting. Add sour cream, and buttermilk and beat until batter has a silky consistency. Stir in blueberries.
3.) Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned.

Yields 18 muffins

*I topped each muffin with sugar and lemon zest, but next time I make them I will leave off the zest. It got too brown while baking and didn’t add much flavor. 

Blueberry muffin batter

Blueberry muffin batter in liner

Blueberry muffins1

Blueberry muffins2

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

Today is my second day home with sick kiddos. They’ve been sick with the flu, but I’m happy to report they are starting to feel better! I made this soup for lunch today in hopes  it would aid in the “feel better” efforts and both boys enjoyed it. My husband (the real chef) first introduced me to chicken soup with lemon, which at first I thought was a weird combination. Lemon in soup?? That is, until I tried it. I was wrong, he was right (I don’t say this often), and the soup was darn good. So when I asked him this morning for some details on how he made it, he couldn’t remember (go figure), but he could tell me that it was lemon juice (vs. lemon zest). So I made a traditional chicken and rice soup and added lemon juice. It was perfect. So flavorful! The acidity of the lemon is a perfect contrast to the salty/savory chicken broth. This recipe makes a big ole pot… I plan to freeze some of it for later. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

3 cups shredded chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 sweet onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
5 stalks of celery, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup white rice (I used jasmine)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1.) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over high heat and add onions, carrots and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chicken and garlic and sauté for a minute longer.
2.) Add chicken stock, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then add rice.  Stir well then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
3.) In the last 2 or 3 minutes of simmering, stir in fresh parsley. Re-cover and finish cooking.

Big Lemons
I only had to use 1 lemon because it was a gigantic lemon I got from my grandparent’s tree in Florida.

Carrots Celery Onion

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon1


Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon2

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon3

(Real) Lemon Pepper Chicken

Lemon pepper. Nothing too crazy. I’ve cooked with it many times, but never have I prepared chicken (or anything else for that matter) with real lemon pepper.  So last night I decided to use the zest and juice of a lemon mixed with freshly ground pepper to do the trick. It turned out great and was much more flavorful than the seasoning mix I used to use.  The co-stars of my lemon pepper chicken were lemon and garlic roasted brussel sprouts and parmesan mashed potatoes. So, so yummy. One of my co-workers was making fun of me at lunch today saying how every time I post a recipe I go on and on about how good it is. Well, my response to her is that I only post the things that (to me) are really, really good. If I can’t get excited about it, I don’t post it. Might I add that soon after being made fun of, I let her try this meal… and she loved it. So this one is double certified blog-worthy. I hope you enjoy as well.

Lemon pepper chicken

Lemon Pepper Chicken

2 lbs chicken tenderloin (or breast, but it will cook longer)
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
2 tsp dried minced onion

1.) Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and toss to mix thoroughly. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
2.) On a hot grill, cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes (skin on)
3 tbsp butter
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1.) Boil potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, or about 10 to 12 minutes.
2.) Drain and place potatoes back in pot. Add butter, sour cream, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mash with a potato masher. Taste and adjust (or add) ingredients as needed.

Lemon and Garlic Brussel Sprouts

1 lb brussel sprouts, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Preheat oven to 425. Toss all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and mix thoroughly.
2.) Place brussel sprouts in a casserole dish and bake for about 20 minutes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

A brunch at Brogan’s school this week meant I was baking on a weeknight.  I decided on this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake because first, I have made it before and it was excellent, second, it was pretty easy, and third, I had everything on hand.  Grocery shopping is not a Monday through Friday activity for me.

This is called a cake, but it’s closer to a bread to me – either way it’s perfect for breakfast or brunch.  I found this on Pinterest and modified the original recipe by using buttermilk instead of heavy cream, a little more sugar and modifying the temp and cooking time (the first time I made it this took forever to cook!) This cake is moist and full of sweet lemony flavor.  The poppy seeds add a little texture and a nice nutty flavor.  It’s very good, take my word!


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
1 stick of butter (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tbsp)
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

*If you’re too lazy to sift the flour (like me), just use a little less. 

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 12″ x 4″ loaf pan.
2.) Stir together the flour, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a large bowl.
3.) Using a stand mixer, combine butter, sugar, buttermilk and lemon zest and beat until creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add vegetable oil, vanilla and lemon juice.  Beat well to incorporate.
4.) Add in the flour mixture a little at a time, beating on low just until fully combined.  Pour batter into loaf pan.
5.) Bake for 65 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure it’s done in the middle.  Serve with jam on top – fig preserves are my favorite!

DSC_1185 DSC_1186 DSC_1190

Modified from Cafe Fernando’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.