Pan Roasted Cod & Vegetables Over Pasta

Have you ever seen an ad for one of those health spa getaways?  You know, where you go off to some gorgeous ranch in the middle of nowhere and 22 hours of your day are spent exercising & the remaining two hours meditating.  And of course all they give you after all that exercise is some boring, albeit healthy, ‘spa food’.  Who has ever thought such a trip actually qualifies as a ‘getaway’.

Don’t get me wrong, I eat healthy, do yoga and for the most try to keep my mind zen-like.   But if I am going to pay for an expensive vacation, give me some darn cupcakes & comfort food!

That said, when cooking in my own kitchen for any of my regular weeknight meals, sometimes keeping it light really is what I strive for and in this case, a healthy & light dish is exactly what I got.

Heck, if they put this dish in the ad, maybe I’d think about going.

8 oz. Cod filet (or other light, white fish)*
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp marjoram (or oregano)
Juice of 1 lemon
Splash of white wine (water or a little stock will do if there is no wine)
1/2 cup eggplant, cubed
Handful of green beans
1 cup penne pasta

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a bowl, place the cod and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add lemon zest, garlic, marjoram, pinch of salt and pepper.  Roll fish around so that it is fully coated.

Place 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat.  Once the olive oil is heated (about 1-2 minutes)  add the cod.  Cook 2 minutes and flip over.  Cook another 2 minutes before adding lemon juice and wine, scraping the bottom of the pan as it simmers.  Cook another minute before removing from the heat.

Season the green beans and eggplant lightly with salt and pepper.  Steam until the eggplant is tender and the green beans are still slightly crisp, about 10 -15 minutes (over low heat).

In the bottom of a bowl, place pasta, then vegetables and finally the fish on top.  Pour sauce over the dish.  Garnish with lemon zest and parsley.

* Serving in the photo is about 5oz.  I have special plans for the rest – stay tuned!


Spicy Shrimp Saute

Add some spice to your night with this quicker than takeout meal.  Even better, the marinaded shrimp also are great on the grill when cooking for a crowd

1 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar or honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger (ground works too if you don’t have fresh)
1 tsp sesame oil
6 large shrimp
1 cup green beans
Olive oil

In a bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients.  Add the shrimp and let marinade for at least 10-15 minutes prior to cooking.

Place a skillet over medium heat and warm the olive oil.  Once heated, add green beans and saute for 3-4 minutes (normally you’d want to blanch the green beans first but I was just too lazy and didn’t want to deal with any extra dishes to do!)

After 3-4 minutes,  remove the shrimp from the marinade and place them in the skillet. Cook for 1 -2 minutes on the first side until pink then flip and cook for another minute before adding the marinade to the skillet.  Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  Remove and serve!

Dinner in 3 Minutes..

Sort of.

It’s no secret that being able to stay on track all week does require some added effort somewhere along the line.  Fortunately, it’s up to you to choose when you decide to dedicate some time to preparation.  Personally, Sunday nights are best for this kind of stuff but if Wednesday mornings work better, that works too!

Having a go-to meal that requires little time when you are actually ready to eat means you have less reason to order takeout or eat whatever junk might be lying around.

Case in point: last Thursday night.  After a few post work drinks with colleagues, I definitely was not in the mood for cooking.  Luckily, 2 weeks ago I made a gigantic batch of black bean burgers*.  And by gigantic I am talking 30 – 35 patties.  That extra time in the kitchen on a lazy Sunday night, however, has already paid off.  They work just as well as a burger as they do on top of salads, in a pita or all on their own.  I’ve even eaten them with breakfast instead of bacon!

So once I got home, I defrosted and heated up two of the patties (topped with some cheese of course), placed on an opened pita and served with some more frozen french cut green beans.

Simple yet satisfying.  Can’t beat that.

*Black Bean Burgers:

Store bought black bean or veggie burgers are also great to keep on hand but I do try and make my own when I can.  Not only can I control the flavor & nutritional content, but the whole batch of burgers only cost me around $4.00.  You would need to spend around $30.00 if you wanted so many pre-made burgers.  That said, my favorites include the Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burgers or their Portobello Mushroom Burgers.

I am still working on the detailed recipe for these black bean burgers.  The taste is definitely there but texture needs some improvement.  But really, you barely need a recipe it’s so simple.  Mash up some black beans with whatever veggies you have lying around.  Mine have diced mushrooms & jalapenos mixed in with some chili sauce.  You don’t have to, but I use an egg to bind these together.  Form into patties & grill on a non-stick pan.