Grilled Salmon & Argula with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook.  It's quick, healthy, and the best part is minimal clean up!  It's especially perfect for summertime because honestly, who wants to heat their house up even more with the oven?  Not me!

Last year, Musselmans was kind enough to send me a jar of Apple Butter. I was sort of an Apple Butter virgin at that time but my recipe Spiced Shredded Apple Butter Brisket Sliders turned out so well, I have been using it all the time! In addition to being delicious and versatile, it is gluten free and dairy free.

Musselmans just sent me another jar, a set of recipe cards and a Wilton Armetale Grillware Fish Griller!   This is perfect because I make fish quite often and it can be used in the oven, stove or grill.

Using these items, I wanted to share a simple recipe with you guys that has basically no prep and no clean up.  I do this during the week after work a lot because it's so easy and extremely healthy.  I used salmon but you could easily do this with another type of fish, chicken or steak.  I served the salmon over arugula but the vinaigrette is good with any type of lettuce or green.


Grilled Salmon & Arugula with Apple Butter Vinaigrette
recipe by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 2

Grilled Salmon

2 salmon fillets
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Montreal steak seasoning

-preheat grill to about 500 degrees.  once hot, clean grill with brush
-rinse salmon fillets and pat dry
-brush on olive oil and season 
-place on grill, skin side up
-cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until fish lifts off grates without sticking
-flip, cook for another 3-4 minutes (when finished, salmon should be nice and crispy on outside and opaque and flaky on the inside)
-using spatula, separate the fish from the skin
-remove the fish from the grill leaving the skin behind

Arugula with Apple Butter Vinaigrette
yields approx 1/2 cup of dressing


1 bag of arugula
1/4 cup apple butter
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

-mix apple butter, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt together
-then whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil
-dress arugula with vinaigrette


Baked Feta Chicken with Homemade Marinara Sauce

Happy New Year!  Hope your holiday season was as amazing as mine!  This year I spent the holidays with my family in Arizona.  Quite different from the east coast cold and snow I'm used to but I am definitely not complaining!

Now that the holidays are over and it's back to healthier eating choices, I needed to create something new and exciting instead of the same old boring grilled chicken and veggies.

One of my favorite appetizers is Baked Feta.  I thought about making it but then that would force me to sop it up with crusty bread, which I'm trying to avoid!  I figured I would try it over chicken and it was a success!  This would be great served over pasta but it pairs nicely with roasted vegetables as well.

In the original Baked Feta recipe, I used a jarred organic pizza sauce.  For this recipe I made a homemade marinara sauce.  I've included the recipe for my marinara below but either way is fine.


Baked Feta Chicken with Homemade Marinara Sauce
recipe and photos by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 2

1.5 cups crumbled feta cheese
1.5 cups marinara sauce (recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to heat preference)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
garlic salt and pepper

-preheat oven to 375º
-stir feta, sauce and red pepper flakes in a small bowl
-season chicken with garlic salt and pepper
-place chicken in a baking dish sprayed with non stick cooking spray
-top with the feta and sauce mixture
-bake for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (times may vary depending on
 the thickness of the chicken)

Homemade Marinara Sauce
recipe by halftomatohalfpotato

-4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced (i like to use my hand grater)
-1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
-fresh basil, chopped
-garlic salt and pepper

-heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat
-add half the olive oil 
-add garlic
-cook until garlic softens 
-add tomatoes, basil, salt & pepper and the rest of the olive oil
-turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes

You could certainly make this spicy if you prefer by adding some crushed red pepper flakes.


I'm Back!! Light Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Well hello there old friends!  I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged! I guess a break-up, a cross country move (to a much nicer climate, might I add!), a new job, the passing of my dear grandfather and many other life events take precedence.

Despite all of this, I am finally back!  Although I have not been blogging, I HAVE been cooking and I have so many great things to share with you guys!  Please let me know if you have any suggestions as well.

Since I could not decide what recipe to share first, I figured I would just write about what I concocted today.  I know it's the easy way out.  So what.

I wanted to make something light that would provide me with leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  I decided on a Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry.  I ended up using up a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables but fresh veggies  are even better.  It was light but had a ton of flavor and would be great over rice as well.  I opted to eat it without.

Next time I make this, I may attempt to do so in the Crock-Pot!

Light Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry
recipe & photos by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 4-6

-6 chicken breasts, cut up into bite size strips
-5 cups frozen stir fry vegetables or fresh veggies of your choice
-4 Tablespoons Sesame oil, divided
-3 Tablespoons Coconut oil (or olive oil)
-1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds, divided
-1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
-6 cloves of garlic, minced and divided
1 cup sesame ginger dressing
garlic salt & pepper to taste

-Heat 2 Tbsp Sesame oil & 1.5 Tbsp Coconut oil over medium/high heat in a large pan
-Add half of the garlic and half of the sesame seeds, sauté until garlic is softened
-Add vegetables, stirring frequently
-Sauté for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through

-In a separate large pan, heat remaining oils over medium/high heat
-Add remaining garlic and sesame seeds, saute until garlic is softened
-Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper
-Add chicken to pan
-Sear until chicken is cooked through (Do this in two batches if need be)

-Drain cooked veggies and add back to pan
-Add cooked chicken to pan with the vegetables
-Pour sesame ginger sauce over both chicken and veggies and saute for anotehr 3-5 minutes
-Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve!


Mediterranean Pasta

Both of my parents are turning 60 this year!  I originally wanted to have a surprise party for them at my house but life happens and plans changed.  Since I am relocating across the country in two weeks, I unfortunately won't be here for their actual birthdays, so decided to cook them dinner and have a little early celebration at their house.

One of my mom's favorite dishes is Penne Mediterranean from Bravo restaurant.  This pasta dish includes spinach, feta, sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts, amongst other delicious ingredients.  I decided to re-create it at home and it turned out amazing!  The recipe I found online was enough to feed an army, so I adjusted it so it was enough for one family!

Happy 60th to the most supportive, loving parents a girl could ask for!  Love you both!

Mediterranean Pasta
recipe adapted by recipelink.com
photos by halftomatohalfpotato

- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1.5 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Bercy Sauce (recipe below)
- 2 Tablespoons feta cheese
- 4 Tablespoons softened butter
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 lb cooked penne noodles, al dente
- 2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts (for garnish)
- 2 Tablespoons feta cheese crumbles (for garnish)

- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a sauté pan
- Add garlic and sun dried tomatoes and sauté
- Add 1/2 Cup of Bercy Sauce; let it bubble and reduce, stirring frequently
- Add butter, feta cheese and salt & pepper; mix together
- Add spinach and pasta; toss well
- Place mixture into serving bowl and top with feta & pine nuts

Bercy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 Tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons chicken base
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a pot
- Add garlic and shallots, saute until golden brown
- Add white wine, let it bubble and reduce by half, stirring frequently
- In a separate bowl, mix chicken base and 2 cups water
- Add mixture to pot and bring to a boil
- In a separate bowl, add 2 Tablespoons water to corn starch, mix well
- Add cornstarch mixture to sauce
- Simmer for 10 minutes
- Strain and discard garlic and shallots


Ginger Cilantro Baked Cod

I love making fish for dinner.  It's healthy, easy to prepare, and doesn't take long to bake at all.  Pretty much any fish will work with this recipe.  I prefer cod, which is pretty versatile.  It has a mild flavor, good texture, and is available year round.  No matter which fish you choose, it's important to select wild caught as opposed to farm raised.  As I mentioned in my Spicy Baked Cod recipe, wild caught fish is more natural and of higher nutritional value vs it's farm raised counterpart.

This particular recipe has tons of flavor!  I've made this on several occasions and it's always a big hit.  It's hard to believe it's so easy to make.  I served it over brown rice but if you're watching your carb intake, its also good with a salad or green beans.

Ginger Cilantro Baked Cod
recipe adapted by thekitchn.com
photos by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 2

-1 pound fresh cod
-salt & pepper
-3 garlic cloves
-1 inch fresh ginger, grated, about 1 tablespoon
-1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (optional)
-1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
-1/4 cup white wine
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
-scallions, chopped for garnish
-extra cilantro, to garnish

-Preheat oven to 450°F
-Pat the fish dry, season lightly with salt and pepper, and lay in a 9x9-inch or 8x8-inch ceramic or glass
 baking dish
-Put the garlic, grated ginger, chopped jalapeño, and cilantro in a small food processor with the white
 wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil
-Process until blended (Alternately, you can finely chop the aromatics, then whisk together with the
 liquid ingredients)
-Pour the sauce over the fish, rubbing it in a little
-Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through
-Garnish with the additional scallions and cilantro and serve  


Healthy Crock Pot 3 Bean Turkey Chili

Apparently it's CrockPot month over here!  Due to the 3° weather we are currently experiencing (literally), I wanted to make chili.  I couldn't find a recipe that was both healthy AND tasty...until now!

This 3 bean chili uses ground turkey breast and couldn't be any easier to make. The only thing I added was a little bit of fresh garlic when I was browning the turkey.

I topped mine with a dollop of plain, non-fat greek yogurt (in place of sour cream), cheddar cheese, onion, and fresh cilantro. I have to say, the toppings made the dish for me. So use all or whatever combination you like, but don't skimp!

Healthy Crock Pot 3 Bean Turkey Chili
recipe by skinnytaste.com
photos by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 10-12

-1.25 lb fat free ground turkey breast
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes with green chiles)
-1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
-1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies, drained
-1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, undrained
-1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
-1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, undrained
-2 tbsp chili powder

For the Topping:
-1/2 cup chopped red onion
-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
-shredded cheddar  
-non-fat, plain greek yogurt (optional)

-Brown turkey and onion in a medium skillet over medium high heat until cooked through
-Drain any fat remaining and transfer to Crock Pot
-Add the beans, chilies, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili powder; mix well
-Cook on low for 6-8 hours
-Garnish with red onions, cilantro, cheese and yogurt


Healthy Baked Cinnamon Walnut Apples

Ok, so you all tried my last post, right?  The secret ingredient was apple butter.  Since then, I've been in the mood for all things apples.  I pinned this recipe awhile back on Pinterest and finally tried it.  When I checked out the recipe page, I was pleasantly surprised to see the blogger was from my hometown of Pittsburgh.  I was even more pleasantly surprised once I tasted these!  They taste like mini apple pies, without all the guilt!

To make it healthier, I used apple butter instead of regular butter.  I doubled the filling part of the original recipe and added extra walnuts because the filling is obviously the best part!  The recipe below is my adaptation of the original.

The first time I made them in the CrockPot and they turned out great.  I decided to make them on a whim another night and didn't have 3 hours to let them slow cook, so I baked them in the oven which only takes about 45 minutes.  I prefer the oven method.  You will know when they are done when you can easily slide a toothpick into one of the apples.

These are also good topped with vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream.  You can refrigerate these for up to 3 days, just store them in an air-tight container.


Healthy Baked Cinnamon Walnut Apples
recipe adapted by skinnychef.com
photos by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 6

- 2.5 Tablespoons apple butter (OR 4 Tablespoons regular butter)
-1/4 cup brown sugar (use 1/2 cup if using regular butter)
-1 cup walnuts, chopped
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored

-Preheat oven to 350°F
-In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, butter, & cinnamon
-Core the apples most of the way through, leaving about ½ inch apple left at the bottom
-Fill the apples with the filling and place them into baking dish
-Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour