Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baked Salmon with Dijon & Garlic

Since Publix had wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon on sale this week and since I also had a coupon for $2 off any Publix fresh seafood item, I googled "sockeye salmon recipe" and came up with this fast, easy, tasty recipe from Natasha's kitchen ( I was very happy with the results.

I used two 7-ounce fillets for the two of us, but I made the same amount of sauce specified in the recipe. I used it all on the two fillets.


1.5 lbs salmon (this was wild sockeye salmon)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 large OR 3 small cloves of garlic, pressed
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard (grey poupon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup mild olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon slices (mostly for effect)


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Line a rimmed baking dish with foil. (Natasha wrote that she had not lined the dish and regretted it because she had to scrub the dish fiercely for a day and a half to get it clean. I followed her advice.)

3. In a small bowl, combine the chopped parsley, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well.

4. Cut salmon into even portions: I made 4 generous cuts of salmon. (I used only two cuts of salmon.) Lay them onto the lined baking dish skin side down.

5. Generously brush all sides of the salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices.

 6. Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Don’t over-cook or the fish will be dry. (I had two pieces of salmon - one thin and one thicker. I cooked the thin one for 12 minutes and the thicker one for 14 minutes. That worked fine.) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lobster Roll Sandwich Recipe - Delicious, but Can Be Expensive

Thanks to our daughter pointing out a nice and easy recipe, we had delicious lobster roll sandwiches last night. The recipe was from Real Simple magazine ( Depending on the time of year, the lobster can be expensive.

The recipe serves 4. I scaled the amount of lobster and corn down to serve the three of us.

The recipe supposedly takes 20 minutes to prepare. It took me a bit longer, principally because the lobster did not come out of the shell as easily as I had hoped.


- 4 lobster tails (about 1&1/2 pounds total). The lobster tails I used were small and would not have produced that amount, so I calculated that this recipe calls for 6 ounces per person. It took six 3-oz tails.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh corn (from 1 ear) (The ear I bought yielded only 2/3 cup.)
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt & black pepper
- 4 potato hot dog buns (Publix didn't have the potato hot dog buns, so I used their tasty hoagie rolls.)


1. Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer and place the lobster tails in the steamer basket. Cover the pan and steam until the lobster is opaque throughout - about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the tails. Using kitchen shears, cut straight down the central membrane (the thin, paler pink portion on the inside of the tail) and pull apart to break the tail in half. Remove the meat from the shell immediately (to stop the cooking) and coarsely chop. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, tossing, until tender - 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Reserve the skillet.
3. Into the bowl with the cooled corn, add the lobster, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to combine.
4. Brush the insides of the buns with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Brown the buns, buttered side down, in the reserved skillet over medium heat until golden - 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Divide the lobster salad between the buns.

A Nice Philly Cheesesteak at Charlie's Steak and Hoagie

After visiting the doctor's office the other day, I had a hankering for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich (  I decided to head to Charlie's Steak and Hoagie, not far from the doctor's office. I had enjoyed Philly cheesesteaks there before, but it had been a number of years. I discovered the sandwiches are as delicious as ever. I'm getting hungry as I type this post.

My sandwich included chopped steak, American cheese, onions, peppers, and mushrooms on a nice hoagie. It was prepared quickly as I waited. It was fantastic.

The hoagies are available in two sizes - 6" and 10". I had a 6", which was perfect for me. It cost $6.41 with tax.

Charlie's offers a variety of other hoagies, deli sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, etc.
They serve breakfast, and are closed on Sundays, and are not open for dinner.

You order at the counter. Service was fast and friendly.

It is a bit small - two tables for 6, four tables for 4, one table for 2, and 5 seats at the counter.

It is located in the Gold Tree Plaza at 2854 Ringling Blvd., at the intersection of Ringling and Tuttle.

Another Nice Moroccan Chicken Recipe

In looking for a recipe to use some leftover dates with couscous and leftover rotisserie chicken from Publix, I found a nice Moroccan chicken and couscous recipe at ( It is easy to prepare - a total of about 40-50 minutes of prep and cooking time. It serves two. (I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it sure tastes good.)

I made a couple of changes:
- The recipe calls for a pound of cut up boneless chicken breast. I had about half a pound of mostly breast meat on a whole rotisserie chicken. The chicken was Bourbon Maple chicken. That flavoring was primarily on the skin, which I removed.
- The recipe called for two tablespoons of flour, but did not say how to use it, so I eliminated it. That did not seem to affect the terrific flavor. (I assume this was for dredging to better coat the chicken. I'll probably do it next time to see the difference.)
- the couscous called for 1& 1/4 cups water. I used 1 cup chicken broth (The RiceSelect brand Moroccan-style couscous I use calls for 1 cup of liquid per 1 cup of couscous.) The chicken broth adds flavor.

(The article also included a salad recipe, which I did not use.)


a. For chicken

- 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut up
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste (I used 1/8)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup chicken broth

b. For couscous

- 1&1/4 cups water (I used 1 cup chicken broth.)
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped dates or 1/4 cup raisins (I imagine that other dried fruits like apricots or cranberries would work nicely.)
- 1 tablespoon capers


a. Chicken

- Combine chicken and all spices (I assume now that "all spices" includes the flour.)
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet and put in the chicken-spice mixture. (I used medium heat.) Cook 5 minutes, then transfer the chicken into a bowl.
- Pour the orange juice and 3/4 cup of chicken broth into the skillet.
- Let the sauce reduce.
- When it thickens, put the chicken back into the skillet and cook until done - 7 to 10 minutes.

b. Couscous

1. Put the liquid (water or broth), couscous, bay leaves, dried fruit, and capers into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. (I do this differently. I first put the liquid in the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then I put in the other ingredients.)

2. When the saucepan ingredients reach the boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and cover. The couscous is done when all the liquid is absorbed. (If you do it my way, put in the other ingredients when the liquid reaches the boiling point. Then remove from heat and cover. Done this way, it takes about 4-5 minutes for the liquid to absorb.)

3. (Added by me) After the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork and mix the ingredients well. Remove the bay leaves. You can now serve the chicken and couscous. Depending on your preferences, you can put the chicken on the couscous or alongside it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Tasty Meat Rub - Easy to Make

For my birthday and Father's Day, my sister made and gave me a very tasty cooking rub that she had made herself, using a recipe that she found on Pinterest ( I have now tried it twice - once on a porterhouse steak and once on pork loin chops. I loved it both times.

I tried it on the steak first, and discovered that I probably should have put a heavier coating of it on the steak. I did put a heavier coating on the pork loin chops, and that worked very nicely. Both times, I first brought the meat to room temperature and then coated it on both sides - first with olive oil, and then with the rub. Both times, I cooked the meat in a grill pan.

The rub recipe from Pinterest is:
- 1/3 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and stir until blended. According to the Pinterest recipe, the results are supposed to be a deep red mixture. However, my sister's mix was more of a deep brown. The mix could then be put into a small jar or  Ziploc bag. The Pinterest posting says the mixture is enough for one or two grilling sessions. Since I prepared only one large steak and four small pork loin chops, it is enough for a number of such meals.

Super Simple and Tasty Roasted Asparagus

I combined a couple of super easy recipes, one by Ina Garten and one by Kathleen Daelemens, plus a change by me, to create this recipe. They don't get any easier than this.
It would be very easy to change; e.g., adding minced garlic, changing pepper or salt type, etc.
Serves 3 and takes a total of 25-35 minutes.


1 pound of asparagus

2 tablespoons of olive oil


lemon pepper


Preheat the oven to 400.

Rinse asparagus and break off tough ends. If the asparagus is very thick, consider peeling it.

Put the olive oil in a sealable plastic storage bag. Then put the asparagus in the bag and coat it with olive oil.

Spread the asparagus in a single layer in a baking pan, and sprinkle with salt and lemon paper to taste.

Roast in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp. The amount of roasting time depends on the thickness of the asparagus. Very thin asparagus may be done after 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

If you like zucchini, try this easy side

Thanks to for another winner - Balsamic Grilled Zucchini ( It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and serves 4. There were only two of us, but I had no problem devouring the other two servings.


2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. (I used Emeril's Italian Seasoning)
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat grill for medium-low heat and lightly oil the grate (I used a grill pan on the stove.)

2. Brush zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt over the zucchini.

3. Cook on preheated grill until beginning to brown - 3-4 minutes per side. Brush balsamic vinegar over the zucchini, and continue cooking 1 minute more. Serve immediately.

How easy is that?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Moroccan Chicken with Almond Coucous

Yesterday, I was searching for an easy recipe  in order to use chicken on sale and leftover dates. I came across this Moroccan chicken recipe and made it last night. It was very easy and tasty. I found it at

I did make two changes. I used chicken breasts rather than chicken thighs, and I used cilantro paste from a squeeze tube rather than fresh cilantro. (I did not want to buy a whole bunch of fresh cilantro for only one tablespoon.) I cooked the chicken breasts in the same way that was suggested for the chicken thighs. That worked fine for me.

The recipe with the chicken thighs makes four servings. It took me about 45 minutes to prepare my modified version.


The ingredients are divided into two - those for the chicken portion of the dish and those for the couscous:

Chicken Ingredients

- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 reason cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned (I used two skinless chicken breast fillets. I cut the larger one into three pieces, and the smaller into two. They weighed about 1 pound and a quarter.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1- 1 & 1/4 cups shallots, peeled & quartered
- 1 & 1/4 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth divided - 1/4 cup and 1 cup
- 12 whole pitted dates, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Couscous Ingredients
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted

(The total of two cups of chicken broth equals 16 ounces, but the Publix and brand-name chicken broth come in 14/14.5 ounce cans, so I cut back a tiny bit on the broth so I would need only one can.)


Chicken Portion of the Recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Reserve the remaining flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook 3 minutes on one side. Turn chicken, remove skillet from heat. (I assumed that "turn chicken" meant, turn the chicken and cook the other side for 3 minutes, so I did that.)

Combine reserved flour mixture and shallots. Add to skillet. Stir in 1/4 cup chicken broth and dates. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.

Remove skillet from oven. Place skillet over medium heat, and stir in 1 cup chicken broth. Cook for 1 minute, and stir in cilantro. Return chicken to pan. Cover; remove pan from heat.

Couscous Portion of Recipe

Combine 3/4 cup broth, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in almonds. Serve with chicken and sauce.