Salmon, Wilted Spinach & Polenta Cakes

Salmon, spinach and polenta cakes
I recommend this dish for three reasons. One, it looks relatively impressive for an at-home dish Two, it’s easy and a lot of the steps can be done in advance. And three, it’s really delicious. Oh, and there’s a fourth…it’s pretty healthy. It’s a great meal to make for company.


 Pan Seared Salmon over Wilted Spinach and Polenta Cakes
Serves 2


2 4 oz. salmon fillets
3 cups of baby spinach
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup of instant polenta
1 3/4 cup of water
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup of grated asiago cheese
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Chopped fresh herbs of your choice (such as basil, chives or dill)


Start by making your polenta. I use instant polenta because it’s super quick (as the name implies…). Put your water, salt and polenta in a small saucepan and cook per package directions.


When it’s finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in asiago cheese.

Prepare a small baking tray / jelly pan with parchment paper.
Spread polenta evenly in pan and chill for at least an hour.


When polenta has cooled, measure out spinach and give it a rough chop.

Pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.


Add 2 tsp of olive oil to your saute pan and add spinach and garlic, cooking for just a few minutes until spinach is just wilted. Set aside.


Simultaneously sear your salmon fillets in the remaining olive oil (2 tsp). Cook to desired doneness.


Cut cooled polenta into rectangular shapes slightly larger than the size of your fillets.
Plate it up. Put the polenta cake in the center of your plate. Spread out the wilted spinach over top and then carefully place the salmon filet on the spinach. Finally, top with a tablespoon of creme fraiche and some fresh herbs (I used basil).


Cilantro Pesto Zoodles with Grilled Shrimp

I will never be one of those people who believe that substitutes for pasta are as good as pasta itself. Never. Pasta is amazing. Delicious. The ultimate comfort food for me. With that said, the scale tells me that I may not subsist on pasta alone. Sometimes substitutions must be made. And when such substitutions are made, my preference is for zoodles (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash. And if I had to pick between the two of those, I’d probably say that zoodles are the closest match to pasta. The spaghetti squash is good, in its own right, but has a kind of sweetness that distinguishes it too much from pasta.
This pesto zoodles recipes is one of my favorites and has me positively yearning for spring and summer when produce is abundant and at its peak. For now, I’ll top these pesto zoodles with some shrimp and queso fresco and dream about the warm months to come.
Cilantro Pesto Zoodles with Grilled Shrimp
Serves two
2 large zucchini, zoodled
1/2 of a red pepper, julienned
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp of cilantro pesto, to taste (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper to taste
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 oz. crumbled queso fresca cheese
Cilantro pesto
1/4 cup of cold pressed olive oil
1 small bunch cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or more to taste)
Zoodle both zucchinis. I have a pretty basic zoodler (pictured below), because it’s not something I’m doing everyday. I’ve been happy with this one, it definitely meets my needs.

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Julienne the red pepper. Heat 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in large saute pan.  Sauce shrimp until cooked through. Set aside. Add red pepper to pan and saute for a couple of minutes.

Then add zucchini and cook for another 2 minutes (zoodles cook very quickly and you want them to maintain some texture!).

Toss cilantro pesto with veggies, plate it up, and top with shrimp and crumbled queso fresca cheese. Season to taste.
For the pesto…
Throw the cilantro and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Stream in olive oil while the processor runs. Add salt.


Immune Boosting Green Smoothie w/Coconut Oil


My immune system has been cursed this winter. Just as I’ve finally kicked one bug to the curb another creeps in. I suppose that’s “what happens” when your kids start playing with other kids and the only thing they share well are germs. After having McLaren, I admittedly haven’t taken the best care of my health. I eat whatever’s quick, haven’t worked out in an embarrassingly long time, don’t get enough sleep and sometimes let the stresses of life get the best of me. So I suppose the germs my kids bring home aren’t the only thing to blame for my less than stellar immune system.

A couple weeks ago the kids and I passed around a brutal cold that kept me in bed for a couple days. Determined to kick it, I did a little research on foods that boost your immune system and discovered the benefits of coconut oil. I had actually just purchased some from Amazon to use as a deep conditioner on my hair (seems like a miracle food really). But, on top of being a great deep conditioner for hair, extra virgin coconut oil contains anti-viral properties that help fight off viruses. (Check out this site for additional benefits of coconut oil)
I added a couple tablespoons to a vitamin packed green smoothie for a cold busting treat.
Immune Boosting Green Smoothie w/Coconut Oil
Makes approx. two, 10 oz servings
4 cups greens (I used a mix of spinach, kale, and chard)
1 cup strawberries, hulled
1 orange, peeled
2 T extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 c apple juice
1/4 c mint leaves
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Purée until smooth (I use the juice button on my blender).
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This smoothie is definitely a new go-to of mine!
What immune boosting tips do you swear by?

Super Grain Tabbouleh

Super Grain Quinoa Tabbouleh

It’s February and we still haven’t abandoned our 2016 resolution to eat healthier. (This is good for us). The key seems to be including as much variety as possible so we don’t get too bored with our meal options. To that end. we’ve been eating a lot of Indian, Thai, Japanese, Greek and Middle Eastern food.

For some reason, my parsley plant outside has not just survived the winter but is actually thriving, so I’ve been wanting to make a recipe to use some of it (although I suppose I also could have used some from my wall mounted planters in the pantry). I’m not sure if there is a dish out there with a more pronounced parsley flavor than tabbouleh, so I decided to start there. While it’s typically made with bulgur, I thought I’d make mine with quinoa to increase the protein. But then I stumbled on this ‘Super Grains’ mix on a scouting trip to Aldi’s. It has regular quinoa, red quinoa, millet and buckwheat. It was perfect.

I served this with store-bought falafel and my favorite tzatziki sauce.

Note: if I was making this for myself, I would have added chopped tomatoes as well. But someone I live with doesn’t like tomatoes.

Super Grain Tabbouleh


1 cup of Super Grains (my bag was purchased at Aldi, see below)
2 cups of chicken stock (or sub veggie stock if you don’t do animal products)
1/2 of a red onion, small chop
1 medium English cucumber, medium chop
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse the super grains and add to the chicken stock in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the grains absorb the liquid. Set aside.

Chop your veggies and herbs.


When super grains have cooled, add grains to vegetables/herbs in a bowl and toss. Pour fresh lemon juice over top and add salt and pepper to taste.

I’d recommend letting it sit for a few hours to allow all the flavors to further develop.



My Weekday Breakfast Rotation

I know some people who eat the exact same thing for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Blows my mind. I just can’t do it. I’m pretty sure I’d just stop eating entirely if I only had one option for breakfast. After all, it’s my favorite meal of the day.

I try to eat pretty healthy breakfasts during the week. I usually have at least a few minutes to myself in the morning,  before the day erupts into chaos, so I use that precious time to sit and enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Here’s a pretty typical week for me.

Monday –  Green Smoothie

With the hopes of setting a healthy tone for the week, I’ll usually have a smoothie on Monday morning. Last year, I splurged and treated myself to a Vitamix blender and I use it ALL THE TIME. I’ll alternate between two pretty basic green smoothie recipes. The first calls for a whole frozen banana, half a granny smith apple, two cups of spinach, 1/2 cup of water and the juice of half a lemon. Sometimes I’ll add some OJ in place of/in addition to the water to sweeten it up a bit.
The second recipe tastes a little richer, but the recipe is even simpler. One frozen banana, 2 cups of spinach and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk. Done.


Tuesday – Oatmeal with Sahale Pecan Cashew Nut Crisp (with cherries and cinnamon apples)

I am currently obsessed with this Sahale snack. It’s sweet, salty, warmly spiced…pretty much satisfies any winter-time craving I might have. I get it from Costco, although I just realized that Amazon also sells it (for slightly more $$).I just cook up some plain oatmeal and then crumble some of the Sahale snack on top. Pretty easy!

Wednesday – Sweet Potato Hash

My Wednesday mornings are a little more leisurely, so I have time to actually cook myself a proper breakfast. It’s often some version of a sweet potato hash, depending on what I have on hand. I’ve posted the recipe on my favorite version, the Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash, here.

Thursday – Vermont Parfait

One of my favorite meals from our last trip to Vermont was actually the simplest. I envy those of you who live in Vermont and are able to frequent The Skinny Pancake as often as you like. Usually I skim right over the “Parfait” option when I come across it on a restaurant menu, but something about the description on The Skinny Pancake menu gave me pause. Maybe it was because pretty much every single ingredient in the parfait was made in Vermont – from the fruit, to the house-made granola, to the plain whole milk organic yogurt. Anyway, I had to try it. It’s hearty and comforting and that’s why my improvised version has become a regular in my breakfast rotation.

I use my granola recipe, which I’m continuously tweaking. Key, IMHO, is using plain full-fat greek yogurt and a drizzle of local honey (even if your local isn’t Vermont).

Friday – Almond Butter, Sliced Bananas & Hemp Hearts on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

On Fridays, I do my toughest workout of the week, (a variation of this treadmill workout), so I’ll try to eat something a little heartier to get me through it. This breakfast is easy and soon good. It’s simply a whole wheat english muffin, a tablespoon or two of almond butter (sometimes I treat myself to the vanilla flavored kind…), sliced banana and a sprinkle of hemp hearts on top. This breakfast is so filling that I can usually skip my mid-morning snack.

When all else fails … a KIND bar.

Let’s face it, there are some mornings where time is in such short supply that none of the aforementioned options are feasible. In those cases, I’ll grab a [non-chocolate] KIND bar.Need inspiration for a weekend breakfast? Check out our Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

…or our Blueberries & Cream Cheese Stuffed Crepes