The Best Meal I’ve Had in a While


It was Saturday night and I was looking for pretty much any excuse to not go to the gym and started thinking that I really hadn’t eaten lunch, and since it was already almost dinner time I should probably buckle down and come up with something (leaving no time for the gym). I peeked in the fridge and wasn’t really inspired by anything. Then I remembered a promise I made myself a few weeks ago to start using more cookbooks. I have a bunch of them, some really good ones too, but for some reason when I’m looking for meal inspiration I always start with the internet and my most trusted blogs/recipe sites. So I sat down on the floor in front of my cookbooks and started browsing (this browsing had nothing to do with looking for an excuse to not go to the gym).

I have a few cookbooks marked with sticky notes for things I want to try but still, nothing was calling to me. Finally I pulled out a 5 year old copy of Cooking Light magazine that I impulsively bought at the check out counter but had never actually used. I took one look at the picture on the cover and instantly remembered why I had impulsively bought it. At the time I saw the picture, thought it looked amazing, threw it down on the conveyor and didn’t think twice. When I got home I opened the magazine and read the title of the recipe “Pineapple and Teriyaki Glazed Salmon”. Ick! What had I been thinking, I don’t mix fruit flavors with savory dishes.

Well since that day I have expanded my palate by leaps and bounds. While I still don’t think I’ll be having pork chops and applesauce or eating a big hunk of apple pie, I am no longer afraid of a slightly sweet tang to my savory dishes. So it was decided. I ran to Trader Joe’s and picked up the things I needed. Can I just tell you how much I am kicking myself for not having made this dish sooner? It was amazing. The salmon was moist and flaky and the glaze was sweet, slightly acidic and salty. So so good. I served it with a simple couscous cooked in chicken broth with just a little bit of parsley and oregano added at the end. Also, I’m not usually a fan of frozen vegetable medleys but I saw this Healthy Colors mix a few weeks ago and it wasn’t too bad. Though next time I think I’ll just stick with fresh green beans because the Salmon is the star of this meal.

One last note, the original recipe called for 4 salmon fillets with this amount of glaze, trust me you’re going to want more than that (I got up mid meal to get just a little more). So if you make 4 fillets double the glaze and thank me later.

Pineapple Teriyaki Glazed Salmon
(Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2006)

2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp fresh orange zest
6 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small sauce pan, over high heat, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, orange zest, pineapple juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool and thicken a bit.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon and set in the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes without moving. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Carefully remove the salmon from the pan and place with the cooked side up in the baking dish. (Alternatively you could use a cast iron skillet, flip the salmon and put the whole pan straight into the oven)

Bake for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and generously brush glaze over the tops of the salmon. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

Serve with couscous or rice and a simple vegetable.

Shrimp Fried Rice


The first time Jesse was in China he had a lot of fun shopping for souvenirs. He brought home lots of really cool stuff. And when I say lots, I mean it. He had 3 suitcases, one of them the size of Texas. The suitcase that was the size of Texas was actually overweight to the point that he had to remove stuff and put it in a box to be shipped back. The airline rep at the counter said he couldn’t just pay the overweight fee because it was just too heavy for the workers to lift on to the plane. Yeah, that kind of “lots of stuff”. Granted he also had to TAKE a lot of stuff with him so it wasn’t all souvenirs, but a good amount.

Now, I know you can buy chop sticks here in the US, but I still thought it was awesome when he brought home a pack. He also brought a really nice Chinese tea set. Little yellow cups with black and red masks painted on the side and a matching teapot perfect for brewing tea. As cool as those things are I don’t always have a good excuse to use them. But this week a little celebration is in order. And I think the most appropriate way to celebrate is making Chinese food and using my chopsticks and tea set.

Why the celebration? Because, I AM GOING TO CHINA! I am so excited I can’t stand it. First and foremost, I get to be with my husband. Second, I get to travel to some where completely new and different to me. I hope to find ways to really immerse myself in the culture and learn lots of new things. And of course I plan to try lots of new foods!

As for the fried rice I made, it was delicious. It’s always fun when I get to use my wok and try new ingredients (Chinese cabbage). I can’t say how authentic this recipe is but I will definitely make it again.

Shrimp Fried Rice
(Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 medium head Chinese cabbage, coarsely chopped
3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1/4 soy sauce
1/8 rice vinegar
1/8 orange juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup frozen peas
8 ounces small shrimp, shelled, raw, deveined
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp green onion, sliced (for garnishing, and I forgot but will remember next time)

Heat the oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium-low heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the cabbage to the wok and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 6 minutes, until it appears limp. Stir often.

Create a well in the cabbage and pour in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, orange juice and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and add the shrimp. Cook just until the shrimp is light pink then add the rice and peas. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly making sure to coat the rice evenly.

Make a well in the middle of the rice. Pour the eggs into the well and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring with a fork. Gently fold the eggs into the rice.

Serve immediately with green onions for garnish.

Mahi Mahi

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

I really love fish. I never thought that I would, but anymore I find myself going straight to the seafood section of the menu when I go out to eat and I am always checking the fish counter for good deals or something interesting. I typically end up buying Tilapia because it is on sale fairly often (and is always tasty!) but every once in a while something else will catch my eye. This past weekend Kroger had Mahi Mahi on sale for 4.99 a pound, usually 6.99 a pound, so I of course had to buy it. Since it was so gorgeous outside I knew that I wanted to grill it but I wasn’t sure how I was going to prepare it. I finally settled on a soy sauce marinade and it turned out absolutely delicious. I served the Mahi Mahi with summer squash and rice pilaf. Jesse’s comment was “This is a fish I could eat every night”. I took that as meaning he liked it. 🙂

Grilled Mahi Mahi
(Adapted from


3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (6 ounce) mahi mahi fillets
salt and pepper to taste


In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.

After marinating for 20 minutes pour the marinade into a skillet and bring to a boil. Then turn down to a simmer and let it thicken while you grill the fish.

Grill the Mahi Mahi for 4 minutes on each side. Check for doneness.

When plating spoon the glaze over the fish and serve.