(Tues.) Mustard Salmon with Swiss Chard & Couscous

So my first post for the What’s For Dinner series of posts is a bit delayed, sorry about that.  Here is Tuesday night’s dinner though in all its glory.  After stuffing myself to the gills for Valentine’s Day & umm… President’s Day, I was ready to have a well rounded meal Tuesday night.

One of my favorite preparations of salmon is simply baked with a spicy & sweet glaze on top.  The combination of mustard & agave nectar here really turns this dish into a winner.  Best part was that I was feeling so darn healthy after eating this that I enjoyed a little bit more of my favorite Valentine’s Day treat, Malted Milk Ball Geltao!

Mustard Glazed Salmon with Swiss Chard & Whole Wheat Couscous

Key Players:

Salmon: These days almost everyone knows that eating fish is good for you but many people are still intimidated to cook it at home.  And what a shame because not only does salmon cook quickly, but it is a also a nutritional superstar providing you with ample doses of selenium , omega-3 fatty acids and protein.  It also provides a large amount of  phosphorous which helps keep bones, teeth and tissues strong.

Whole Wheat Couscous: Couscous (especially whole wheat) is a great weeknight staple because it is so gosh darn quick & easy (talking about the instant stuff here).  It is also a good source for protein & fiber.  Most importantly its just a damn funny word to say.

Swiss Chard: Oh where to start with the culinary & nutritional wonder that is Swiss Chard.  Its flavor is slightly bitter but only in the best way possible.  If you still think these leafy green stalks would be better off in a fancy vase than on your plate though, please give them a chance. If the flavor doesn’t entice you, the health benefits will.  Swiss Chard is loaded with vitamins, minerals and even fiber!  Swiss chard is especially good for those who don’t seem to drink enough milk, the combination of Vitamin K, magnesium & calcium will help keep your bones strong.

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Comforting Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Freezing temperatures, biting winds and post holiday blues.  Although most people have just made their New Year’s resolutions, doesn’t it seem that these are the months when comfort food is needed most?

Comfort food usually conjures thoughts of macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and cheesecake, but on a cold Sunday evening in January there are few things more comforting than roasted chicken.

Perhaps to some people, roasting a whole chicken seems too complicated or just not worth it.  Well, this Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken disproves both of those thoughts and will turn even the most stubborn roast chicken doubters into believers.

Prep time  only takes 10 minutes.  From there the oven goes to work until you are ready to enjoy one the juiciest chicken dinners ever.  And while the lemon garlic flavors are divine, it is mild enough so you can use the leftover chicken all week long.  Quesadillas, soups, pizza.  You name it, with pre-cooked chicken quick meals are right at your fingertips.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

serves 4

(Printable version)

1 6lb. Chicken, giblets removed and patted dry
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 1/2 lemons, quartered
1 head garlic, top cut off plus 4 small cloves, mashed
1 bunch thyme (about 4 springs)
1/2 cup water
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place 1 of the quartered onions and 1 of the quartered lemons on the bottom of a roasting pan to create a bed for the chicken.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Place the bird on top of the bed, breast side up.  Liberally pour about 1/4 cup olive oil all over the bird and some inside the crevice.  Season the crevice of the bird with salt and pepper.  Remove skin slightly from breast meat so that you can rub olive oil and the 4 mashed garlic cloves under the skin.  Leave garlic cloves under the skin for roasting. Place half lemon, remaining onions, head of garlic (top sliced off) and thyme into the crevice. Sprinkle the bird generously with salt & pepper and finish with about a teaspoon of paprika. Pour water into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Cover the bird in foil and place in the oven on the middle rack.  Roast for 45 minutes and then remove the foil.  Continue to roast the chicken for approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes.  The temperature of the inner thigh should be 165 degrees F & the juices run clear.

Remove from the oven and place chicken on a cutting board.  Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

To make quick pan gravy:

Strain out all of the lemon quarters and most of the onions from the pan juices and pour remaining liquid into a small saucepan.   Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until reduced and thickened.  Season to taste and if desired whisk in a half tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

Also try: Quick & Simple Sides Dishes

Better For You Sweet Potato Mash

Peel and cube 2 large sweet potatoes.  Boil water in a medium saucepan.  Place sweet potato cubes in steamer basket and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes.  In a microwave safe bowl,  heat 1 3/4 cups skim milk, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg & 1/8 pepper for 1 minute 30 seconds.  Pour water out of saucepan, add the sweet potatoes and mash with a fork.  Pour in heated milk mixture and stir.  If you desire a smoother consistency, puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

Sauteed Swiss Chard

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add 2 teaspoons garlic and lightly saute for 1 minute.  Add 10 cups swiss chard, rinsed with the inner stem removed and sliced into 1 inch wide strips.  Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5-8 minutes or until wilted.

So how about you?  What is you comfort food?