Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Star Fiesta Salad

I have several go-to ingredients that if I pick them up at the store, I know I can make something delicious out of them. They include:

Red Onion
Bell peppers

For last night's thank you dinner, I made salmon. Jacala, my friend and Megan's roommate, doesn't like salmon, however, so I grilled her a nice piece of chicken for the pineapple teriyaki glaze. That meant I had leftovers, so I decided to make a festive salad for tonight! I made sure to pick up my go-to ingredients last night (well, most of them), along with a few other all stars :) This salad is inspired by a recipe for work that our spokesperson Ingrid Hoffmann created, Mango, Chicken and Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (shameless plug, but I can't help where inspiration strikes!)

All Star Fiesta Salad

Grilled Chicken, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper (about 1 to 1/2 cups)
2 mangos, peeled, pitted and diced
1 avocado, cubed
1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed and slightly roasted
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 can black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
4 ounces romaine lettuce
Olive oil
2 limes
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped and divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil with the zest and juice of 2 limes and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Add in additional olive oil as needed for correct consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a dash of cayenne pepper. Toss into salad and add remaining cilantro. Serve with crushed up tortilla chips for added crunch!

Obviously ingredients can be removed or swapped as desired. I rarely make the same salad twice, but I love trying new flavor combos. I love the pistachios in this recipe for the added crunch!

Now I have a question for you: What's in your all star salad?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Say thank you, with salmon!

Welcome to Apron Adventures!

I've been in between homes for the last 3 weeks as I waited for my duplex lease to begin. Move in day is Friday, and I can't wait! In the meantime, I've been staying with friends who were kind enough to take me in. The best way I can think of to say thank y
ou is by cooking for them.

A trend I've noticed amongst my friends (20-somethings) is that they rarely treat themselves to a nice meal, and they also rarely eat seafood. Not because they don't like it, but they either don't know how to prepare it or are unwilling to pay for it. I try to incorporate seafood into my meals at least once a week, if not more. In light of this, I decided to make a thank you dish for my very dear friend Megan for taking me in during my period of "homelessness." This is a salmon dish that became a favorite of my mom and I when I lived at home a few years ago while interning at an agency in downtown Houston.

Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon

This is a Cooking Light recipe that I pretty much don't deviate from. Tonight was an exception since they didn't have pineapple juice at Whole Foods (really?!), so I exchanged it for orange-- equally delicious!


2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons
canola oil
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated orange rind (optional)


Combine first 4 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 15 minutes). Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of salmon with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over and place in oven; bake at 400° for 3 minutes. Remove from oven; brush 1 tablespoon sauce over each fillet. Return to oven, and cook 1 minute or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with orange rind, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

I love serving this salmon with another Cooking Light favorite in my household-- Herbed Basmati Rice. My roommate Rachel could easily eat the whole pot! (I could too :)) I like to use the fresh herbs I have on hand- tonight was fresh basil and oregano. Also, I like to really up the garlic amount to 4 or 5 cloves (we're definitely not garlic shy at my house!)


1 teaspoon olive oil
Cooking spray
1 cup uncooked basmati rice

1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat olive oil in a medium skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add rice and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until rice is lightly toasted. Add 1 cup water, broth, and salt to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in onions, nuts, Parmesan cheese, basil, thyme, and pepper.

Finally to make this meal nice and balanced, I love serving it with steamed broccoli. In order to spice it up a bit, I go a bit heavy on
the black pepper, add some orange zest that I've saved from the salmon, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese leftover from the rice never hurt anyone ;) Check out the final product of a labor of love-,

and my happy friend!