Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

Entries Tagged as 'main dishes'

simple weeknight salmon

February 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

Salmon-3-with-Text

I’m always on the lookout for simple recipes that work for weeknights in our house — the kind of thing you can pick up in five minutes at the grocery store, without roaming the aisles for esoteric ingredients.  Dishes that are healthy and delicious, but above all easy

I love to cook, but once the baby is in bed, I’d rather sit on the couch and have a cup of tea than spend an hour dicing vegetables. 

So, I make a lot of meals in our slow cooker — twice a week at least.  This started before Bear was born, when I made meals ahead of time to freeze for those early weeks.  (Well-intentioned, but ultimately a wasted effort.  We got sick of them fast and wound up eating take-out.  Eh.)

But the slow cooker was a true life-saver was after Bear was born — on rough nights, Chad and I would eat dinner in five-minute shifts and then resume frantically trying to calm the baby down.  Cooking wasn’t a priority, and meals from the slow cooker don’t burn.  So that was all we ate for, oh, about six months. 

But lately… things have gotten a little easier.  Our son is about nine months old now, so this was a long time coming.  But most nights, now, he reliably goes to bed by 7pm, and Chad and I actually have a few hours of calm in the evenings.  We’ve even watched a little TV.  (Yes, this is a big deal.  Watching an uninterrupted television program is something that has been missing from my life for almost a year, and the return is glorious.)

And with that extra time, I’ve been making some slightly more ambitious dinners. 

Emphasis on the slightly.

Like this one.  Four ingredients, one pan.  It takes maybe five minutes of prep and 20 minutes or so of cooking.  Not exactly Julia Child-worthy, but it’s a big step up — and it’s delicious. 

Maybe in a few months I’ll be back up to baking cakes from scratch, but for now, this is easy, healthy, and good.  And that’s pretty much all we need.

Salmon-2

Simple Weeknight Salmon

INGREDIENTS
1 lemon
4 salmon fillets
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spread olive oil over each salmon fillet, and then season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the salmon.  Slice the other lemon and place two small slices on each portion.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Salmon-1

Tags: food · main dishes

slow cooker vegetable stew

October 8th, 2014 · No Comments

Slow-Cooker-Veggie-Stew-Final-with-Text

Forgive me if I sound a bit intense here.

BUT ZOMG THIS RECIPE IS SO FREAKING GOOD.

It really shouldn’t be.  This dish is basically nothing more than a few fresh veggies, a little butter, and some cheese.  No rare and expensive spices.  No fancy cooking techniques.  Just dump it all into the slow cooker, and come back in eight hours.

That’s literally it.

And yet… so good.  So easy, so simple, so delicious — and so mind-blowingly good. 

The slow cooker has become my best friend in the kitchen lately.  No matter how many times the baby cries or the dogs need to go outside or the phone rings — nothing burns.  It has single-handedly saved our family from starvation (or, at least, from take-out) many, many times in the last eight months. 

As a former vegetarian, this stew is light enough for lunch and hearty enough for dinner over brown rice.  But when I cooked it for a guest, I added panko-crusted chicken breast to serve over the top — based on this gem of a recipe.  Totally easy and completely delicious. 

PS — If you look back at the panko-chicken recipe, you’ll notice me spouting off advice about picky-eater kids… I’ll be taking my own advice in just a few months! 

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Slow Cooker Veggie Stew

INGREDIENTS
1 pound baby carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 bell peppers, diced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup white wine
10 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir to combine.  Cook on high heat for 8 hours.  Serve with additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Slow-Cooker-Veggie-Stew-Final-3

Tags: food · main dishes

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

January 27th, 2014 · 9 Comments

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 3

Here’s the thing about our slow cooker:

We have owned it for YEARS.  I’m not sure if it was a present or just something I picked up one day, but we have a beautiful, fancy-schmancy one from All Clad, and we’ve had it for probably five years.

And up until a few months ago, do you know how many times I had used it?  Once.  (Conveniently documented on Sugarlaws, I used it to make beef chili back in 2009… during which I accidentally fed Chad a spoonful of straight cayenne pepper, oops!  He still brings it up.)

For a long time, I thought our slow cooker might go the way of the breadmaker — a bulky, essentially useless appliance that eventually we’ll either give away or toss when we run out of kitchen space.  But then a few months ago, I thought to myself: “Hey, these things are supposed to be really good for easy meals, and I’m about to have an infant on my hands in a few months, so anything that can make cooking dinner into a five-minute endeavor might be worth revisiting.”

And so I did.  This recipe is about the simplest, easiest thing ever — just a couple of ingredients, and you literally put them in a pot and check back in 5 hours. 

And when I did?  I went to lift a chicken breast out of the pot, and it literally fell apart on the fork.  Needless to say, a big grin spread across my face — this one was an instant success.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 2

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

INGREDIENTS

3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
8 ounces barbeque sauce (I used Bulls Eye Original, because Chad is extremely picky about these things)
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Sandwich rolls, split

DIRECTIONS

Place chicken in a slow cooker.  Mix together the barbecue sauce, italian dressing, brown sugar, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.  Cover, and cook 4 hours on your slow cooker’s “High” setting. 

When the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred the breasts.  Spoon generously onto sandwich rolls (I also like to add a layer of extra bbq sauce to the rolls) and serve. 

Makes enough chicken for 6 sandwiches.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 1

Tags: food · main dishes