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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Easy Garlic Butter Salmon Packets

Easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
I get messages all the time from readers who are empty nesters or retirees who need ideas of healthy and delicious meals for only one or two people.  And there are also some of you who are single adults who feel the same way.  To be honest, I could lump myself into this category during the daytime when I'm looking for a healthy lunch and don't want to go out to eat or drive through a line somewhere.  Well this is an expand-to-fit recipe, because I'm using individually portioned salmon filets.  Boom!  That will cover all of my peeps looking to do their healthy lunch prep at the beginning of the week as well as those looking to make a meal for one or two.  

I'm just going to put it right out there that the only salmon I'm a fan of is the wild Alaskan sockeye.  I really don't care for the farm raised Atlantic type.  For one, the wild Alaskan sockeye has a higher omega-3 content which makes it more heart healthy.  Additionally, I just prefer the taste.  But you feel free to use whatever you enjoy.  You are the one cooking.  It's your kitchen!  By the way, this meal is so easy my kids could put it together.  It's also super healthy and very quick, coming in at the 30-minute mark!  My kids told me that we've had this so many times now that it's time to put it on the blog for everyone.  So here it is.

*FYI - To pin any of the photos, hover of them and the PinIt logo will appear in the upper left portion of the photo. 

Print this Recipe!

easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.comIngredients: (for 4 servings)

  • 4 individual wild Alaskan sockeye salmon filets 
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (~ 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced very fine 
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 - 2 lemon slices per filet for baking 
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley for garnish
  • Optional fresh dill 
Step-by-Step:
First go ahead and get your oven preheating to 375F.  Grab some pieces of aluminum foil.  Parchment paper won't work for this because of the butter sauce and we'll be putting it under the broiler.  You'll need pieces that are about 12" x 14" or so to make these individual packets.  The foil needs to be large enough to fold over the and seal the fish and veggies.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the butter, fresh lemon juice and minced garlic.  I just threw it in the microwave for a minute to melt the butter and combine the ingredients.
4 Tbsp melted butter + 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely minced garlic
If you have any veggies you need to use up, grab them out of the fridge.  I used some zucchini.  An onion or carrots sliced thinly would work, too.  I didn't want my fish to stick to the aluminum foil.  Turn your foil so that the dull side is facing up and the shiny side is facing down.  Place the veggies on the foil or at least spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  Place the salmon on the veggies.

Pour the melted butter mixture over the salmon.  You may want to bend up the edges so none of your sauce will run out.
Season liberally with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add fresh dill if you'd like.  Add thinly sliced lemon slices cut in half.
kosher salt + black pepper + dried oregano + crushed red pepper flakes
thinly sliced lemons
Fold up each side of the foil over the salmon, making a double fold over the top.  Then fold in the ends, making sure each is well sealed and the sauce does not leak.  You also want to leave room on top of each filet to allow the steam to circulate.


Place your filets in the oven and bake until for around 20 - 22 minutes.  
Open the salmon packets carefully.  Turn the oven on broil for about 3 minutes and return the fish to the oven.  
Remove packets from the oven.  The salmon should flake easily with a fork.   You may want to spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the packet over the top of the salmon and sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top to garnish.
easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
Just an FYI:  This is how it looks if you want to make a bunch of it for a whole family.  This is about 2 1/2 pounds of fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon.  This is how I do it if I'm making if for all of us.  Just adjust the amounts and basically double everything.  *I actually prefer it with the chopped dill as you see in the family style salmon below, but today I somehow left that item off of my grocery list.  Ughh!
easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
Serve your cooked filets with roasted vegetables, rice/quinoa, salad, you name it!
easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
Serve to some people you love!

easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
I hope you have enjoyed this easy, family friendly, healthy entree recipe.

Here are some bonus recipes!
Indian Chicken Korma - Indian food is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  The heat is toned down in this one so that even children can enjoy it.  One of my kids' favorites!
Indian chicken korma_menumusings.com
Mozzarella Stuffed 3-Meat Italian Meatballs - delicate, melt in your mouth tender, yet super tender.  Make them with or without the mozzarella.  These freeze SO well!
Mozzarella Stuffed 3-Meat Italian Meatballs_menumusings.com
Lemon Zucchini Muffins - Even my veggiephobe son liked these!  Score!
Lemon Zucchini Muffins_menumusings.com
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs - You may want to make extra.  My kids demolish these in like 10 minutes!
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs_menumusings.com
Creole Red Snapper - So moist and flavorful and SUPER easy!  One of my favorite fish recipes!
Creole Red Snapper_menumusings.com
Written Method:
First go ahead and get your oven preheating to 375F.  Grab some pieces of aluminum foil.  Parchment paper won't work for this because of the butter sauce and we'll be putting it under the broiler.  You'll need pieces that are about 12" x 14" or so to make these individual packets.  The foil needs to be large enough to fold over and seal the fish and veggies.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the butter, fresh lemon juice and minced garlic.  I just threw it in the microwave for a minute to melt the butter and combine the ingredients.  If you have any veggies you need to use up, grab them out of the fridge.  (Zucchini, onions or carrots sliced thinly work great.)  You don't want the fish to stick to the aluminum foil.  Turn your foil so that the dull side is facing up.  Place the veggies on the foil or at least spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  Place the salmon on the veggies.

Pour the melted butter mixture over the salmon.  You may want to bend up the edges so none of your sauce will run out.  Season liberally with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add fresh dill if you'd like.  Add thinly sliced lemon slices cut in half.  Fold up each side of the foil over the salmon, making a double fold over the top.  Then fold in the ends, making sure each is well sealed and the sauce does not leak.  You also want to leave room on top of each filet to allow the steam to circulate.

Place your filets in the oven and bake until for around 20 - 22 minutes.  Open the salmon packets carefully.  Turn the oven on broil for about 3 minutes and return the fish to the oven.  Remove packets from the oven.  The salmon should flake easily with a fork.   You may want to spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the packet over the top of the salmon and sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top to garnish.

FYI: If you are making a bunch of it for a whole family and can purchase the whole fresh filets, I usually use two whole filets.  This is about 2 1/2 - 3 pounds of fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon.  Just adjust the amounts and basically double everything.  Serve your cooked filets with roasted vegetables, rice/quinoa, salad, you name it!


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Pull Apart Pizza Bites

Pull Apart Pizza Bites_menumusings.com
It's a familiar story to us all.  You have a bunch of kids expected to descend on you after school.  They probably have after school activities and practices, homework and projects.  Everyone is famished and maybe even a little bit on edge - including you.  And face it, it's going to be a long time until dinner.  In all likelihood, unless you intercede, they are going to raid the pantry for ... junk?  Well not today!

I often make a batch of cookies or brownies for my kids as an after school snack, but goodness gracious, they were SO THRILLED to come home to this batch of bite sized delights!  My guess is, your "big guy/girl" would be, too!  Just imagine, you walk in after work and the whole kitchen smells like a pizzeria!  Grab a glass of your favorite beverage, pick up one of these little warm nuggets of goodness, a quick dip into the warm pizza sauce, and pop them into your mouth.  Mmmm.

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound mild Italian ground sausage
    • feel free to substitute ground beef/turkey/chicken or finely chopped mushrooms for a vegetarian version 
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped black olives
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 can premade, canned pizza dough
  • Shredded cheese of your choice
  • Garlic butter with dried parsley flakes (optional) 
  • Warm pizza sauce for serving

Step-by-Step:
Let me first start by saying you don't have to make your filling like mine.  You can obviously make it any way your family prefers as long as you chop everything tiny and the filling is not too "wet."  You don't want the bread to be soggy.
I chose Italian sausage because my family enjoys the taste and it has a lot of flavor in it already, so we are off to a good start.  So let's go ahead and get that browning.
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
When your meat is about halfway cooked, throw in your finely chopped onions.  You will want to be crumbling up your meat as small as you can get it while it's browning.
1 cup finely diced sweet onion
Now just start dumping all of the seasoning in with the meat and onions while it continues to cook.
2 Tbsp finely chopped black olives
My kiddos would have never eaten this if I had actually told them there were black olives in it.  Ha!  But this small amount of briny, saltiness adds a bit of special something in the flavoring that is fantastic and part of that "pizzeria" smell that everyone loves.  Shhhh!  Don't tell them.  Bonus points, they already come chopped up this tiny in the can.  Yay!!!
3/4 tsp kosher salt
(Use a lot less if using regular table salt!)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
And this is what our filling looks like.
*By the way, you could totally make the filling in advance and then just heat it up enough to take the chill off of it to assemble these.
Alrighty.  Let's put these together.  First I sprayed my black iron skillet with a bit of cooking spray and inserted a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.  This probably wasn't necessary in retrospect (because seasoned black iron skillets release cooked products so well), but I was doing it for good measure.  It may still be a good idea if you make this in a tart pan or casserole dish.
Parchment Paper
You may have a favorite pizza dough that you enjoy making from scratch.  If so, feel completely free to use that.  Out of convenience, I chose a premade, canned pizza dough.  Quick and easy.  No shame.   Hey, you do what YOU want to do.  It's your kitchen.
I found a biscuit cutter lurking in the drawer.  I think it was about 2.5" in diameter.  It looked about the right size.  (So scientific, right?)  So that's what I used.

Put a small amount of filling on the dough.  You may want to stretch them out a little bit first.
First, fold them in half, like a taco.
Then, fold your taco in half so that the ends touch each other.  Pinch the ends together.
Now start arranging them from the outside first in your baking dish/pan/skillet.

Ultimately, you will end up with what looks like a large flower.  Somewhat like a chrysanthemum.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Oven temperatures may vary.  Cooking times may also vary according to the type of cooking vessel you are using.  Eg.  A glass baking dish may cook differently than cast iron.  

Optional - When my pizza bites were almost done, I melted a couple tablespoons of butter (I didn't measure), liberally sprinkled in some garlic powder and parsley flakes to brush on top.  I just love the sheen it gives the crust, the smell of that garlic butter, and yes - that taste!
melted butter + garlic powder + dried parsley flakes
Can you just SMELL this?!
 Okay, so I may have tried one or three before the kids got home.  You know.  Just to make sure they were edible.  šŸ˜„



And then this happened.  Here are a couple of today's taste testers.
Mmm.  So good you have to close your eyes while you taste it!
Yumm.  This treat even calls for a Shirley Temple! 
Poor Daisy.  She waited patiently.  It smelled so good.  But alas... no pizza bites for the pooch.
Doggonit.  They sure smell better than dog cookies!
Bonus Recipes - 
Skinny Mexican Pizza - Got teens?  Shhh!  This is turkey!
Shrimp and Corn Soup - Super easy and feeds a crowd!
Super Easy Stuffed Shells - So easy and kid friendly!
Thai Chicken Salad Cones - Perfect for your brown bag lunches or ladies luncheon!
Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup - Because we all need comfort food like Mom and Grandma used to make it!
Check out my cookbook!
These make perfect gifts for your kids about to graduate!  Click the link for more information about this interactive cookbook.  Each recipe has its own QR Code with links back to the blog for complete step-by-step pictures.  

Written Method:
Let me first start by saying you don't have to make your filling like mine.  You can obviously make it any way your family prefers as long as you chop everything tiny and the filling is not too "wet."  You don't want the bread to be soggy.
Brown your meat.  When your meat is about halfway cooked, throw in your finely chopped onions.  You will want to be crumbling up your meat as small as you can get it while it's browning.
Now just start dumping all of the seasoning in with the meat and onions while it continues to cook.

*By the way, you could totally make the filling in advance and then just heat it up enough to take the chill off of it to assemble these.

Alrighty.  Let's put these together.  First I sprayed my black iron skillet with a bit of cooking spray and inserted a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.  This probably wasn't necessary in retrospect (because seasoned black iron skillets release cooked products so well), but I was doing it for good measure.  It may still be a good idea if you make this in a tart pan or casserole dish.
You may have a favorite pizza dough that you enjoy making from scratch.  If so, feel completely free to use that.  Out of convenience, I chose a premade, canned pizza dough.  Quick and easy.  No shame. 

Cut pizza dough into circles of about 2.5 inches each.  Put a small amount of filling on the dough.  You may want to stretch them out a little bit first.  First, fold them in half, like a taco.  Then, fold your taco in half so that the ends touch each other.  Pinch the ends together.  Now start arranging them from the outside first in your baking dish/pan/skillet.  Ultimately, you will end up with what looks like a large flower.  Somewhat like a chrysanthemum.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Oven temperatures may vary.  Cooking times may also vary according to the type of cooking vessel you are using.  Eg.  A glass baking dish may cook differently than cast iron.  

Optional - When my pizza bites were almost done, I melted a couple tablespoons of butter (I didn't measure), liberally sprinkled in some garlic powder and parsley flakes to brush on top.

Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping. 

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