food: salmon in parchment

it seems to me like this whole paleo/giving up wheat thing is pretty popular among some of my friends right now… and as i mentioned in an earlier post, i’m intrigued.  my friend jen posted about it the other day – and i’ve been trying to do some more reading about it when i have time (when that is, i’m not exactly sure)

in any event, i’ve been making an active effort to avoid wheat in my meals.  this is HARD.  especially when you’re not planning ahead.  like most things, i guess… planning is the key.
yesterday i found myself at work with no food… okay, so breakfast is easy, i have oatmeal, but lunch?  the only thing really accessible is sandwiches or frozen meals.  eek.  i ended up going with a salad from safeway and a box of rice crackers, which was fine, but obviously i need to get some better ideas than just salad or i’ll go crazy.

at home, where i have options and can make things from scratch, it gets easier.  and my husband is on board (kinda) so when he makes meals, he’s trying his best too.  he doesn’t really have the same struggles with wheat that i do, so he doesn’t fully wrap his brain around the importance of it… he’s more just trying to be a good husband and be supportive (awww, right?  what a guy)

on tuesday i came home to this fabulous meal waiting for me:


that makes me hungry just looking at this photo.

the salmon was cooked with slices of orange, a sprig of fresh rosemary & a little hot sauce from our collection and wrapped up in parchment to steam.  takes about 12 minutes in the oven – no dish washing required, dead easy.

the vegetable mixture is butternut squash, asparagus & tomatoes.  it’s been pan roasted with a little butter, white wine to deglaze the pan and fresh sage.  he also roasted & seasoned the squash seeds and tossed them in at the end.

and let me tell you, i in no way felt like i was “missing” anything when i ate it.  it was fresh, healthy & simple clean food.  which makes natalie a happy girl.

i had forgotten all about the fun of cooking in parchment.
obviously, it’s ideal for seafood, but vegetables, chicken… anything like that works well in parchment too.  and i love these zero to low cleanup dishes, especially on a weekday.
not to mention that you can cook whatever without added butter or oil if you desire… although, i must say that if you put butter mixed with herbs & anchovy in with say, a piece of sole, it comes out to be pretty magical.


the comfort food chronicles: chicken casserole

part of winter is definitely comfort food.  it’s slow cooker meals in the form of stews & soups… it’s everything warm & comforting like snuggling up in a blanket just out of the dryer.  it’s about indulging those cravings that would seem obscene in summer months when skin is bared… because, as my husband says, a little extra weight in the cold months is just a winter coat.

on the weekend i woke up with a very specific craving for chicken casserole that my mom used to make when i was a kid.  this recipe is a classic “soup can” kinda recipe.  quick & easy and oh-so yummy to me. and it’s a one dish recipe, which is always a selling feature for me.

here’s the bones of it, as made for 2 people:

3/4 cup uncooked rice
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of milk
2 chicken breasts, raw
1 crown of broccoli, chopped into bite size-ish pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2tbs melted butter

now, here’s what i did to make it fun…

square casserole dish – throw the rice in the bottom.  add the soup & milk, whisk together… season.  i used a little dijon mustard, some garlic powder (lazy) and some ancho chilli.  stir to combine well.
layer the broccoli over the soup mixture, lay the chicken breasts on top and cover with cheese (i used slices of cheddar because they were handy, and again, i was lazy)
combine the breadcrumbs & melted butter, sprinkle over the top
bake at 400 for 45 minutes.