Manic Monday: Coconut Curry Salmon and Asian Slaw

I think it’s traditional to cook fish on Friday, but when you grocery shop on a Sunday, there’s no way you want that salmon sitting around in your fridge that long.  That is why, despite coming home late from work today with a full-on case of the Mondays, I forced myself to cook that baby up.  Note to self – that’s why planning out the week is so helpful!

Cooking Light is a standard go-to for recipe ideas.  I generally don’t quite follow them to a “T” – meaning my meals are not always fit to be called “light” – but I do enjoy pretending that I’m cooking healthfully.   This one is no exception – heavily inspired by their recipe for Coconut Curry Salmon with Basmati Rice and Snow Peas.

Coconut Curry Salmon with Asian-inspired Slaw

for the fish…

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • juice from a leftover lime and a leftover lemon
  • big spoonful of Sambal Oelek (or any type of chili paste)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • salmon fillets, skinned
  • salt
  1. Combine the sugar, lime/lemon juice, curry paste and can of coconut milk in a large skillet, heat slightly.  Add the fish to the pan and bring it to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes.  Serve over Asian slaw…below.

for the slaw…

  • one bag of cabbage/shaved brussels sprouts (from Trader Joe’s, obvi)
  • garlic
  • soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • sesame oil

1.  Heated two turns of dark sesame oil in a large saute pan; added the garlic for a minute or two and then the slaw.  A few turns with both the soy sauce and the rice vinegar, and then cooked it all down together.

The Verdict:

The husband makes a big point out of not liking fish, but since I plan, shop for and cook the meals, we’re slowly incorporating more fish into the diet.  He cleaned his plate on this one.  This was easy, delicious, and relatively fast.  A definite keeper, even if next time I skip the soy sauce on the slaw…too salty.

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Crockpotin’ Sunday: Polenta and Swiss Chard.

My husband was the first person to introduce me to the magic of the crockpot, and it is a staple tool in our house.  We had a crockpot before we had cutlery (er…silverware).  The crockpot also has its downfalls – lots of recipes can turn into long-simmered mush with indiscriminate flavor.  One of the best crockpot recipe books I’ve found is Williams Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker.  I received this as a bridal shower gift, and despite the Washington, DC summer heat, its pages already feature cooking stains.

A Sunday at home means a more leisurely meal, and unlike work days, I can tinker around with recipes in the 3-4 hour timeframe, as opposed to the 7-9.    This Sunday’s plan was Polenta and Swiss Chard.  As it turns out, neither Trader Joe’s nor Safeway carry ground polenta, and not so much on the Swiss Chard, either.  New plan: Risotto with Bitter Greens.

Risotto

  • 3 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • garlic
  • chopped onion
  • salt, pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 block fontina cheese, cut into blocks

Sticking all the ingredients (minus the cheese!) in the crockpot, I set it on high for 2.5 hours and let it go, stirring a few times.  It was done at about 2 hours…and a little salty, even for my taste.  I added some water to dilute the salt taste, folded in the cheese and topped with the Swiss Chard/Bitter Greens, below.

Swiss Chard (aka Bitter Greens)

  • full bag of greens
  • cherry tomatoes
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • chopped onion

After heating the olive oil and sauteeing the onions, I added the fresh ingredients and let them cook down.  Served over the risotto.

The Verdict: 

Not a meal to make if your pants are feeling a little tight – that risotto sits in your stomach (and the cheese doesn’t help).  The risotto comes out a little gummy, and there is far more risotto than vegetables.  A good meal from the lunch leftover perspective.  All in all, something to tweak for the future.

Planning Ahead.

The idea for this blog is simple: I love to cook, and I love to eat.  My husband especially likes the latter, even if he has a slightly picky palate.  Both of those things require planning ahead, especially if you’re 1) trying to be budget conscious and/or 2) trying to watch the waistline.  I do a mediocre job at both, and this is my attempt to change that.

By plotting out the week ahead against the calendar, figuring out what nights I’ll cook, making a grocery list to fit that plan, executing it… and keeping track of it, I should be able to figure out which meals we like, which meals are easy, which ones are less so but  are worth it, and most importantly, which meals we can turn to over and over again when inevitably, my planning fails.

The Menu 

Sunday – Polenta with Swiss Chard in the crockpot

Monday – Coconut Curry Salmon

Tuesday – Book club, aka WINE & CHEESE night

Wednesday – Ground chicken lettuce wraps

Thursday – Out to dinner with friends

Friday – Frozen pizza (can we call that a real plan?!)

Let’s do this.