Easy Salmon & Asparagus in Foil

Quick and easy foil packets of salmon and asparagus baked in the oven make this dairy-free / gluten-free high protein dinner something to look forward to on a busy night. Thaw frozen fillets in the refrigerator during the day so they are ready to cook when you get home from work.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 14-17 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

2 SALMON fillets
1/2 teaspoon ROASTED GARLIC POWDER
1/2 teaspoon PAPRIKA
1/2 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
1/2 pound ASPARAGUS SPEARS, trim the ends off
1/2 cup VEGAN BUTTER, melted (EARTH BALANCE Non-soy sticks)
3 tablespoons LEMON JUICE
1/2 tablespoon GARLIC, minced
1 teaspoon BASIL

Directions

  • PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees F
  • PREPARE 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil (about 12X18″)
  • CUT the ends off the asparagus and divide the bunch in 2
  • In a small bowl, MIX garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper
  • SPRINKLE 1/2 the dry mixture on one side of the salmon fillets and RUB gently totally covering the fillets
  • FLIP the salmon fillets and SPRINKLE the other 1/2 of the dry mixture and RUB gently to ensure fillets are well seasoned
  • PLACE each salmon fillet in the center of a foil sheet
  • PLACE 1 asparagus bunch next to each fillet on the foil
  • In a small bowl, MIX the melted butter, lemon juice, minced garlic and basil
  • Turn the edges up on the foil packets a little bit so that the butter doesn’t overflow and POUR the butter mixture over everything
  • SEAL the foil packets:
    • With the fillet and asparagus in the center of the foil sheet, BRING the long sides together in the center
    • CREASE the pieces together and tightly fold in a downward motion, continuing to create folds until the foil lies flat against the packet’s top
    • FOLD the shorter sides inward in a similar fashion. You don’t want the steam or juices to escape.
  • BAKE in the oven for 12-14 minutes
  • Carefully OPEN the tops of the foil packets and BROIL for 2 more minutes
  • SERVE with an additional side of rice if so desired
  • STORE in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 1-2 days

Asparagus Salmon Foil Packet dinner inspired by www.eazypeaszymeals.com

Foil Packet instructions inspired by https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-cook-in-foil-packets/

Sweet & Sour Veggie Stir-Fry with Fried Tofu

I really enjoy the mix of sweet and sour flavors and this easy 30-minute veggie stir-fry highlights the flavor combination well. As you know if you have tried some of my other stir-fry tofu recipes, use extra firm cubes, dry them well, roll them in cornstarch and fry them in the wok for that perfect texture.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

SAUCE
Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 can (8 ounces) CRUSHED PINEAPPLE in 100% juice
(drain and retain juice)
1/2 cup packed BROWN SUGAR
1 tablespoon CORNSTARCH
1/2 teaspoon SALT
1/2 cup WATER
6 tablespoons APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
STIR-FRY
1 tablespoon cooking OIL
1 14-ounce block of extra firm TOFU, pre-cubed
1 10-ounce bag of mixed ASIAN Vegetables
2 tablespoons CORNSTARCH
Pinch of SALT
BASMATI RICE, per serving
Optional Toppings: toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions

Directions

  • PREPARE RICE according to package directions
  • PREPARE SAUCE
    • OPEN pineapple can and PRESS out the juice into a separate cup. SET aside
    • In a medium saucepan, MIX brown sugar and cornstarch
    • ADD water and the separated pineapple juice. STIR
    • STIR in the vinegar
    • BOIL over medium-high heat STIR continuously for 1 minute
    • ADD crushed pineapple and continuing stirring until thick
  • PREPARE TOFU
    • If using prepackaged extra firm cubes, DRAIN water from the package. PAT dry with a paper towel. SPRINKLE with a pinch of salt.
    • If using a block of extra firm tofu, DRAIN water from the package. Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels. Place tofu on top of the paper towels and then cover with another layer of paper towels. PRESS gently to remove extra moisture. CUT tofu into 1-inch cubes. SPRINKLE with salt.
    • In a large bowl, PLACE 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
    • ADD dried tofu cubes to cornstarch and roll them around until they are evenly coated.
    • HEAT 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium heat. Roll oil around to make sure to coat bottom and sides.
    •  ADD coated tofu to wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on one side. Do not stir for the first 2 minutes so that it can set. 
    • With a spatula, TURN and brown the tofu on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes until it’s totally golden. STIR occasionally.
    • TRANSFER the tofu to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
  • PREPARE VEGGIES 
    •  COOK frozen vegetables in the WOK according to directions on the package (usually steam for 6 or 7 minutes)
  • COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS
    • Return the wok to high HEAT
    • ADD tofu to the veggies in the wok
    • ADD sauce and using a large spatula TURN to coat everything evenly.  Season to taste.
  • SERVE over rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions.
  • STORE in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Yesterday’s Leftovers Omelet

When there is just a little bit of veggies and rice left over from the night before or you have some fajitas from a Mexican dinner in the refrigerator that you just don’t want to go to waste, the solution is this easy omelet that is great for breakfast or dinner. Basically, you can mix almost anything with a couple of eggs and have a tasty meal in less than 15 minutes.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

Any combination of veggies and starches can work. 
May I suggest:
1/2 ONION, chopped
1 cup MUSHROOMS, sliced
1 BELL PEPPER, chopped
1 small bowl leftover cooked RICE, warmed or
chopped up boiled or roasted POTATOES
2 or 3 small TOMATOES
4 EGGS, beaten
Splash of DAIRY-FREE MILK ALTERNATIVE, I like cashew milk
1 teaspoon DAIRY-FREE BUTTER
SALT & PEPPER to taste
Handful of VEGAN CHEDDAR CHEESE, shredded

Directions

  • Depending on what leftovers you are using, you may or may not need to CHOP them up a little finer before frying
  • In a medium skillet, with a metal handle so that it can go in the oven, over medium-high heat, MELT the butter
  • FRY the vegetable leftovers together
  • WARM rice in a microwave if using
  • ADD rice or potatoes, salt and pepper to taste
  • If you are adding fish (or even meat) now would be the time to mix it in. COOK all ingredients until you feel they are well heated
  • BEAT eggs with a splash of dairy-free milk in a small bowl
  • POUR beaten egg mixture over the leftovers covering all ingredients. Depending on how much leftovers you use, you may need to add another egg or even 2.
  • COOK until the bottom of omelet is golden but the top is still uncooked
  • REMOVE the skillet from stove
  • ADD a handful of cheese shreds and place skillet under the oven BROILER until the top is golden brown and the eggs appear set (cooked through)
  • CUT the omelet in half or quarters, depending on size
  • SERVE with gluten-free toast and fresh fruit for breakfast or try a nice salad for dinner
  • STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days (would you call these leftover leftovers?)

Red Pepper Panko Tilapia – Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free

The secret to this well seasoned gluten-free tilapia dish is browning the panko mixture before you bread the fillets. Tilapia is an inexpensive farm-raised white fish that is easy to cook, low in fat, and a good source of protein. Don’t overlook its nutritional benefits. This recipe gives it flavor and pizzaz. Let me know how yours turns out.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 cup gluten-free PANKO BREAD CRUMBS
3 tablespoons EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
4 TILAPIA FILLETs, about 6 ounces each
1/4 teaspoon ROASTED GARLIC POWDER
1/2 teaspoon GINGER, ground
1/2 teaspoon PAPRIKA
1/2 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER FLAKES
KOSHER SALT, to taste
BLACK PEPPER, to taste
Serving suggestion: LEMON wedge

Directions

  • PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees F
  • PREPARE BREADING
    • In a medium flat bottomed bowl (because you will be using it to bread the fillets), COMBINE panko crumbs, garlic powder, ginger, paprika, and red pepper flakes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. MIX well.
    • SPREAD panko mixture on a baking sheet and BAKE for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
    • RETURN to bowl
  • SEASON fillets with salt and pepper, to your taste
  • PRESS each fillet into the prepared panko mixture, coating both sides thoroughly. (And I mean really PRESS with your hands so it sticks well.)
  • PLACE the fillets on the baking sheet that you used to brown the panko mixture.
  • DRIZZLE the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the fillets
  • BAKE for 15 minutes
  • SERVE warm, with a wedge of lemon
  • STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days

Inspired by Food and Wine’s Crispy Baked Tilapia

Butternut Squash Soup – Vegan & Gluten-free

Apples make this soup sweet while cayenne pepper and smoked paprika give it zest. This soup is simple to make in one pot, naturally gluten-free, and by using coconut milk, it’s vegan too. I was going to use fresh butternut squash, but I waited too long and it went bad, so I grabbed a few bags of frozen chopped butternut squash from the freezer and, voila, an easy and delicious winter delight was born.

Butternut Squash preparation: 1 hour if fresh or 20 minutes if frozen

Soup preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 large ONION, roughly chopped
2 large APPLES, peeled, corded, and roughly chopped
1 medium BUTTERNUT SQUASH (3 lbs) or 40 ounces frozen
1 tablespoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (EVOO)
4 cups VEGETABLE BROTH
1 BAY LEAF
1 sprig SAGE
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER
1/8 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER
1 teaspoon NUTMEG
1 cup canned unsweetened COCONUT MILK (plus some for topping)
Sprinkle of SMOKED PAPRIKA

Directions

  • PREPARE butternut squash
    • If FRESH:
      • PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F
      • CUT squash in half lengthwise
      • SCOOP out seeds and discard
      • SPRAY flesh with cooking spray and a pinch of salt and pepper
      • PLACE flesh side down in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup of water
      • BAKE about 1 hour, until flesh is soft
      • COOL until you can handle and then SCOOP out the flesh
    • If FROZEN:
      • PLACE frozen cubed squash in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water per 10 ounces of cubes
      • MICROWAVE for 5 minutes per 10 ounces (time depending on the power of your microwave). You want the cubes to be soft not frozen.
  • HEAT the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat
  • ADD the onions and SAUTE for 5 minutes
  • ADD the garlic to the onions and SAUTE for another 2 or 3 minutes until the onions are translucent and the garlic is tender
  • ADD the apples, butternut squash, sage, nutmeg, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and vegetable broth and STIR well
  • ADD the coconut milk and STIR until blended
  • Bring mixture to a BOIL and then turn off heat
  • REMOVE sprig of sage and bay leaf and discard
  • PUREE the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender* to your desired smoothness.** Be very careful when working with hot liquid.
    • *If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Transfer the soup in small batches to a countertop blender and puree each batch until smooth. Be careful when filling the blender and make sure to put the top on because hot liquid can really hurt you.
    • **I leave some chunks of apple in my soup, just because I like it that way.
  • ADD additional seasoning to taste
  • SERVE warm TOPPED with extra coconut milk and a SPRINKLE of smoked paprika

Honey Garlic Shrimp with Red Quinoa & Vegetables

My goto protein for a quick 30-minute meal is shrimp. I buy bags of frozen shrimp whenever it’s on sale. Frozen shrimp defrost under cold water in less than 10 minutes. I like tail-on shrimp because it is fun to eat with your hands, but you can cut the tails off if you want to be fancy. There is no harm in using frozen vegetables to make this meal super quick and colorful.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 pound of fresh or frozen SHRIMP, peeled & deveined  
(26-30 large). I like tail on.
1 teaspoon GARLIC, minced
1/2 teaspoon GINGER, minced
1/4 cup HONEY
2 tablespoons Gluten-free SOY SAUCE
SALT & PEPPER to taste
2 tablespoons cooking OIL
1 cup dry RED QUINOA + 2 cups WATER = 3 cups cooked
Vegetable mix (fresh or frozen):
2 cups BROCCOLI florets
1 cup CAULIFLOWER florets, and
1 cup CARROTS, sliced

Directions

  • PREPARE the shrimp
    • if fresh, peel and devein
    • if frozen, thaw (10 minutes under cold running water). Peel and devein, if not already done.
  • PREPARE the marinade (while shrimp is thawing)
    • WHISK together garlic, ginger, honey, and soy sauce
    • DIVIDE marinade and set aside 1/2 for later
  • MARINADE shrimp with 1/2 the sauce for 15 minutes
  • RINSE and COOK red quinoa according to package directions (should take about 15 minutes)
  • CHOP and SLICE vegetables of choice (I used broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  • STEAM vegetables for 8 minutes or until crisply tender
  • ADD oil to your wok or skillet over medium heat
  • SEAR shrimp in the oil and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes per side
  • RUB the shrimp in the sauce that is left in the pan to coat
  • SERVE shrimp over red quinoa with a generous side of vegetable and DRIZZLE remaining sauce over all

Easy Garlic Tofu & Veggie Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is the quickest meal at our house, usually no more than 30 minutes. This recipe is healthy and flavorful while being simple to prepare. Make sure to use the extra or super firm variety of tofu and dry it well before cooking. I like extra firm tofu because It is easier to work with and has a more substantial texture in the dish. Use whatever veggies you have on hand: every time I make stir-fry it is a little different so don’t be afraid to improvise. Just remember that color is important especially in a stir-fry.  

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

SAUCE
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 tablespoon fresh GINGER ROOT, grated or minced
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1/4 teaspoon SALT
3/4 cup VEGETABLE STOCK
1/4 cup gluten-free SOY SAUCE
1 teaspoon CORNSTARCH
1 teaspoon WATER

STIR-FRY
1 14-ounce block of extra firm TOFU, pre-cubed
2 cups CARROTS, sliced
4 cups BROCCOLI florets, chopped
1 cup EDAMAME or chopped GREEN BEANS
1 8-ounce can WATERCHESTNUTS, sliced
2 tablespoons CORNSTARCH
Pinch of SALT
1 tablespoon cooking OIL
BASMATI RICE, per serving
Optional Toppings: toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions

Directions

  • PREPARE SAUCE: In a small bowl, WHISK garlic, ginger root, pepper, salt, vegetable stock, soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Let it sit so that the flavors blend.
  • PREPARE tofu
    • If using prepackaged extra firm cubes, DRAIN water from the package. PAT dry with a paper towel. SPRINKLE with a pinch of salt.
    • If using a block of extra firm tofu, DRAIN water from the package. Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels. Place tofu on top of the paper towels and then cover with another layer of paper towels. PRESS gently to remove extra moisture. CUT tofu into 1-inch cubes. SPRINKLE with salt.
    • In a large bowl, PLACE 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
    • ADD dried tofu cubes to cornstarch and roll them around until they are evenly coated.
    • HEAT 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium heat. Roll oil around to make sure to coat bottom and sides.
    •  ADD coated tofu to wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on one side. Do not stir for the first 2 minutes so that it can set. 
    • With a spatula, TURN and brown the tofu on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes until it’s totally golden. STIR occasionally.
    • TRANSFER the tofu to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
  • PREPARE VEGGIES 
    •  Return the wok to high HEAT until lightly smoking (add more oil if needed). ADD broccoli florets, carrots, edamame, and water chestnuts, STIR and TOSS veggies frequently.  Veggies should be cooked but still firm (anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes should do it). Note: You can even use frozen mixed Asian vegetables, just follow directions on the package to cook.
    • TRANSFER the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
  • COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS
    •  Return the wok to high HEAT and ADD sauce mixture. STIR and COOK until sauce is boiling. 
    • ADD tofu and veggies to the wok and using a large spatula TURN to coat everything evenly.   Season to taste.
  • SERVE over rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions.