Salmon with Almond Pesto

I made this recipe after coming upon many different pesto recipes that use pine nuts. While they are a tasty addition to a pesto recipe I find them in only small quantities and quite expensive. This recipe will make enough for two, but can be easily doubled

Ingredients:

2 salmon fillets

2 cups of fresh basil leaves

¼ cup of sliced almonds

¼ cup of bread crumbs

1 lemon

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp of fresh cracked pepper

Olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor combine basil leaves, almonds, salt, and pepper. Grate about one tablespoon of the lemon’s peel into the food processor as well. Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half of the lemon’s juice into food processor. Place the cover on the food processor and pulse several times. Slowly stream in about ¼ cup of olive oil to the food processor until the pesto has thinned some, but is not soupy. Cover a pan with foil and place the salmon fillets on the pan. Evenly divide the pesto on top of each piece of salmon. Then place one slice of the leftover half of lemon on top of each piece of salmon. Finally, divide the bread crumbs on top of the pesto and lemon covered salmon. Sprinkle some olive oil on top of the bread crumbs so that the bread crumbs will turn golden in the oven. Cook the salmon for fifteen minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Salmon with Pesto
Salmon with Pesto
Salmon with Pesto with Lemon Slices
Salmon with Pesto with Lemon Slices
Salmon Baking in the Oven with Breadcrumbs
Salmon Baking in the Oven with Breadcrumbs
The Finished Product
The Finished Product
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Just Say No to Citrus

As our little sweet pea has finally reached stage 2 baby foods, I have been buying up all the different kinds available on my quest to make him a well rounded food connoisseur! However, I learned a valuable lesson in my food buying the other day. There are many different kinds of baby food mixes (including baby food smoothies, which I’m not sure the value of giving your baby a “smoothie” except that it’s trendy, and yes I bought the mango). Anyway, two of these mixes include banana-orange and pineapple-pear. As banana and pear are a favorite in our house I figured these would be great to add into the mix of our other foods. As I found out babies under one year should not have citrus. ANY citrus. This includes tomatoes, oranges, and pineapples. Luckily, we did not encounter any reactions to the fruits, but I stopped giving them to him obviously!  Now being knowledgeable about the no citrus I have been avoiding any of those stated fruits. However I found that the front label isn’t always indicative of the interior product. Once we began meats mixed with veggies I realized that too can be problematic. When I began scanning the store shelves for baby meats I came across several including a vegetable beef. Which as I was reading the ingredients I found  includes tomato paste. While the tomato paste is very low on the list of ingredients (meaning that there are scant amounts) it still brought about many questions. Is a scant amount of citrus okay? Or no citrus at all? As I’m sure most Mom’s encounter it’s better to ere on the side of caution and just avoid, but when we reach a year I hope that our little sweet pea will enjoy all the tomatoes, pineapples, and oranges there are out there to try!

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The Easiest Recipe Ever…Tuna Casserole

I’m not sure if this is a Texas recipe or a Southern recipe in general, but I have been eating tuna casserole since I was little. After I saw it featured on an episode of Reba (Barbara Jean makes a casserole with two kinds of potato chips), I knew it had to be something to do with my Mom’s Texas roots that this recipe has been so popular in our family. It probably won’t get me featured in Bon Appetit’ magazine but my husband and I love it!

Ingredients:

2 cans of tuna

4 bags of single serving potato chips, or half of a large bag (I prefer the plain, but you can just go wild with the options out there, hahaha)

1 can cream of celery

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain tuna well. Mix together tuna, cream of celery and half of the potato chips. Spray a small deep sided pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into pan, cover with remaining potato chips. Cook for 25 minutes until heated through.

Tuna Casserole in my Mom's vintage 70s dish :)
Tuna Casserole in my Mom's vintage 70s dish 🙂

Recipe Remix

* If you have unused tomatoes left from the Cheesy Chicken Orzo dish (featured in a previous post) I use them as a side dish with the tuna casserole. Simply cut the tomatoes in half place on a foil lined deep sided cookie pan (not the flat kind, the tomatoes will fall off) and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven with the casserole for the same temperature and time.

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Plants in the Raised Vegetable Bed

We have gone from seeds to sprouts and now to full grown plants in our raised vegetable bed. Our cucumbers are not doing too well but we have big tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, parsley, basil, flat leaf parsley, dill, thyme, mint and jalapenos. Check out the pictures and ignore the nasty grass near the fence that I keep not using the weed-eater on and our yellow looking squash plants. Now we just have to wait for the juicy vegetables to actually grow…

All our Vegetables and Herbs
All our Vegetables and Herbs
Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers
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Cheesy Chicken Orzo

Ingredients:

1 tbs of olive oil

2 tbs of butter

2 tbs of flour

¾ cup of milk

½ to ¾ of a block of extra sharp white cheddar cheese grated

1 and ½ cups of orzo pasta

¾ cup halved grape tomatoes

1/8 cup of chopped fresh basil

1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken (or you can shred a poached boneless skinless chicken breast)

Fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

*While creating cheese mixture boil 1 to ½ cups of orzo pasta per package instructions.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat. After butter has melted into oil and begins to bubble whisk in flour. Allow flour to cook for a minute then slowly whisk in milk. Whisk milk until clumps disappear and it thickens a bit. Whisk in the cheese a handful at a time until it melts into milk. Turn heat to low and stir in grape tomatoes, basil, and chicken. Let cook for about five to ten minutes occasionally stirring, until the tomatoes and chicken are heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

After orzo pasta is finished, add pasta to cheese mixture. Mix all ingredients together and dash parsley on top. Mixture will thicken a bit upon standing. If mixture looks too thick add a ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

Tips: The orzo may not look like much but it grows considerably while you cook it. If you like spicier dishes I occasionally add a dash of cayenne pepper.

Cheesy Chicken Orzo (*Note. This picture does not feature the chicken as I didn't have any the night I took the picture.)
Cheesy Chicken Orzo (*Note. This picture does not feature the chicken as I didn't have any the night I took the picture.)

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Roast Beef Sandwiches and Gravy

This is a sublimely easy recipe, but these are the recipes I love. It’s super quick and may be one you already know, but I wanted to share. We usually eat it with chips, but you can also make mashed potatoes and use the gravy on the mashed potatoes as well. The recipe below is enough for 2, but can be easily doubled.

Ingredients:

Crusty Sub Rolls (I recently found some called Filone rolls which are delicious, but any crusty sub roll will do. Don’t get soft ones as they will fall apart in the gravy.)

Sliced roast beef (I usually get a half pound for my husband and I)

Sliced cheese (provolone or sharp white cheddar)

1 tbs of olive or vegetable oil

2 tbs of butter

About 3 tbs of flour

1 can of beef broth

About 8 oz of milk

Instructions:

Turn on oven broiler.

Turn on a medium saucepot to medium heat. Drizzle olive oil in saucepot and add butter. Melt butter into oil. After butter has melted in oil whisk in flour slowly and let cook for about 3 minutes. Whisk in beef broth, then whisk in milk. Bring to a low simmer and and let simmer for about 5 minutes then turn to medium low. Stir occasionally while you fix sandwiches. Split rolls in half and butter. Place in broiler for a few minutes until the butter has melted and sides of the bread begin to turn brown. Remove rolls and place a slice or two of cheese on each roll. Place back under broiler for a few minutes until cheese begins to melt (watch carefully! Don’t let rolls burn). Then pile sandwiches with roast beef. Transfer gravy to bowls and dip sandwiches in the gravy.

Bubbly butter and flour
Bubbly butter and flour
Gravy Cooking
Gravy Cooking
Finished Roast Beef Sandwiches and Gravy
Finished Roast Beef Sandwiches and Gravy
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