Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Homestyle Skillet Potatoes


So as you all know, a big hunk of salmon isn’t a very "complete" meal – no matter how good it is (and trust me, it’s GOOD). You need a side to go with the meal!

When I first started cooking, I completely disregarded the importance of a good side dish. For the first few months of my cooking life, the only side I ever made was Birds Eye frozen vegetables. None of the cooking blogs I looked at ever really mentioned side dishes, and I was so focused on the main dish that I didn’t give it any thought. However, I now know that a good side dish is what really makes a meal special.

That is why I’m sharing this homestyle skillet potatoes recipe.

It’s hard for me to believe that there’s a single soul out there that doesn’t like potatoes. Seriously, what’s not to love? They’re salty and starchy and savory. And there are so many ways to cook them too.

What’s great about these skillet potatoes is that they’re exactly the type of comfort food I crave without all the added butter and cream found in mashed potatoes or loaded potatoes. Also, these skillet potatoes are very versatile meaning that you can season them however you please. I’m personally partial to garlicky potatoes with a little cayenne kick, but you could certainly season them with dill or rosemary or even paprika and cumin for a southwestern flair.




SKILLET RED POTATOES
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
·      4 red potatoes
·      1 tablespoon vegetable oil
·      2 teaspoons garlic powder
·      1 teaspoon salt
·      1 teaspoon cayenne
·      1/2 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS
1.     Dice the red potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes
2.     Combine the garlic powder, salt, cayenne, and pepper in a small bowl
3.     Toss the potatoes with the seasonings
4.     Heat the vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes (it should be very hot but not smoking)
5.     Add the potatoes to the skillet so they’re in a single layer
6.     Allow the potatoes to cook untouched for 3 minutes
7.     Stir the potatoes and let them sit untouched once again for 3 minutes so you can brown the other side
8.     Now that you’ve formed a crisp, outer layer it’s time to let the potatoes cook on low so they become tender. Do this by turning the burner temperature to about a 2 on the burner heat scale
9.     Let the potatoes cook on this low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t stick
10. Remove the skillet from the stove and dump the potatoes on a towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil


Close-up of uncooked, diced potatoes with seasoning
Seasoned potatoes in bowl

Potatoes cooking in a single layer
Potatoes after turning them so they can brown on the other side
The finished product
Close-up of these savory spuds
Eat the homestyle skillet potatoes alone or pair them with a hearty filet


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brown Sugar Teriyaki Salmon


Hooray for my first blog post! It took me forever to decide what I wanted to post first. I knew I wanted to post something that everyone would enjoy. So I chose... salmon! Now that may seem like a funny choice because not everyone likes salmon. They have their own opinions about it, whether they think it's too expensive, too fishy or too complicated. And that is exactly why I wanted salmon to be my first recipe. Because I am going to debunk all of those thoughts!

The first time I ever made salmon was about 2 years ago. In fact, before then I had never even been to the seafood counter, and to be honest I was kind of intimidated by the whole process. But I got my salmon filets and was very surprised that my total cost was about $10, especially considering most salmon dinners at a restaurant are around $25.

So I went home and told Kyle that we were having salmon for dinner. And it was very apparent that he was not the biggest fan of the idea. He said he wasn’t sure if he actually liked salmon and he was rather concerned that I could make us both very sick with food poisoning from undercooked seafood. But I reassured him that if worse came to worse we could just order a pizza.

At this point in time, I still wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to cook this salmon. So I did what I do best, and decided to Google “Best Salmon Recipe Ever.” And sure enough, the second one from the top sounded pretty good to me, so that’s the one I went with.

Prior to this salmon experience, my favorite salmon ever was from The Cheesecake Factory, oddly enough. They have a miso salmon that has just a little Asian vibe to it and in a weird way it's kind of sweet and salty. Anyway, this particular recipe sounded somewhat similar with its soy sauce and brown sugar marinade.

So I made the marinade and let the salmon soak. When I was all ready to finally cook the salmon I realized the recipe said to put it on the grill. This was problematic because I certainly did not own a grill, and I wouldn’t have known how to use one even if I did.

Fortunately, a user left a comment on the recipe saying how she always cooks her salmon in foil packets in the oven. So that’s what I decided to do! And it turned out PERFECTLY!

This was the first time I made a dish where Kyle was just completely blown away with the results. The filets poached gently in their own juices and it came out so flaky and flavorful and tender. It didn’t have a strong, fishy taste typically associated with salmon. Instead it was savory and salty and sweet.

Two years after making this dish for the first time, it is still one of our absolute favorites. I'm still amazed that it turns out perfect every single time. There’s no crossing my fingers and checking on it every 3 minutes to make sure it’s okay. I just stick the salmon in the foil, stick the foil in the oven, pull it out, and bam! Beautiful salmon.

And my personal favorite part about this recipe is that THERE’S ZERO CLEANUP! Seriously, all you do is wad up the foil packets when you’re done and toss it in the trash. It doesn’t get any easier than that! 


BROWN SUGAR TERIYAKI SALMON

INGREDIENTS
  • ​1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon filets​
DIRECTIONS
  1. ​Pour soy sauce, brown sugar, water, olive oil, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Pour that mixture into a gallon-size Ziploc bag.
  3. Place the salmon in the bag, seal it, and turn it so the meaty side of the salmon is soaking in the mixture
  4. Refrigerate the bag and let the salmon marinate for a minimum of 45 minutes to a maximum of about 4 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. Take a big sheet of aluminum foil and fold it so it forms a little packet. Make an aluminum foil packet for each individual salmon filet.
  7. Spray the aluminum foil packet with cooking spray
  8. Put one filet in one foil packet. Do the same for each filet
  9. Put the foil packets on a baking sheet to give the foil packets a sturdier foundation
  10. Bake the salmon for about 15 minutes.
  11. The salmon is done when it is pale pink and flakes easily

(This recipe is adapted from a post I found on allrecipes.com)
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