Archive for the ‘Main Dish’ Category

Smoky Hickory and Brown Sugar Cured Salmon

This salmon is quick cured first to draw our extra moisture, then hot smoked over hickory wood for a firmer texture. Morton’s Tender Quick is a curing mixture available in the spice section of the grocery store.

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Morton’s Tender quick
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 ounce salmon fillets, skin left on or off

Combine the brown sugar, Old Bay, Tender Quick, and pepper in a small bowl and blend well.

Rinse the salmon under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cover the fillets evenly on both sides with the brown sugar mixture and pack them in a large nonreactive baking dish, covering them with any remaining sugar mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and let cure, or marinate, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare an indirect fire. When it’s ready, throw on 1.5 cups of hickory chips. Place the fillets on the pit, cover, and cook until the fish flakes easily, 40 to 60 minutes.



Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

My friend Daria O’Toole made this recipe one night and I fell in love. Low carbs and healthy with amazing flavor I couldn’t resist to share it with all of you!

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 lb small cubed chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp low sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup cashews chopped
  • 1 head bibb lettuce or romaine
  1. Sautee chicken in coconut oil
  2. Add peanut butter, soy sauce and teriyaki to chicken
  3. Add onion and cashews
  4. Simmer all together for 5 minutes
  5. Garnish with broccoli slaw or crunchy veggies (carrots, cucumber, apple, etc).


Romaine, Arugula and Spinach Salad

This salad is a great starter or main course (add Chicken for extra protein). I topped it with several toppings, but you can add whatever toppings your heart desires. I threw this together today and it was superb.

  • 3-4 oz Spinach
  • 3-4 oz Arugula
  • 3-4 oz Romaine
  • 1-2 handfuls shredded Carrots
  • handful Walnuts, chopped
  • handful Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 2-3 tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley, minced
  • 2-3 Green Onions, sliced
  • 1 Chicken Breast, cubed (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients and toss to mix. Add Parsley to Tomato’s and toss to cover. Add Tomato, Cucumber, Red Onion, Green Onion, Walnuts and Sunflower Seeds. Add Chicken individually if needed to each bowl. Top with Balsamic Vinaigrette of your choice and serve. YUM!

Mushroom-Barley Soup

I made this for the first time today and it was delicious! This soup reminds me of my good friend Sabrina Daisley who would make a similar soup that I adored. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups sliced celery
  • 1.5 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups diced onion
  • 1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium, fat-free vegetable broth or beef broth
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrots and onion; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in broth, 1 cup water, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste; bring to boiling. Stir in barley. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in parsley, and serve.

Spinach & Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Toasted Almonds

This recipe is so delicious! I had a similar salad at one of my friends baby showers recently and fell in love with it. So I went to find something similar online today and found a recipe that came out of the Cooking Light  April 2010 issue. It can either be a starter salad or main dish. I use it for both (main dish for lunch and starter salad for dinner). The herb vinaigrette dressing is very tasty!  I made some minor modifications to this recipe which I’ll note as optional below.

Spinach & Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Toasted Almonds

  • 1.5 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Easy Herb Vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint (optional – I didn’t have this so I used a little dry mint in the dressing)
  • 1 (6 oz) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (6 oz) package of Arugula (optional – I added this as I like arugula)
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to coat (only add a little of the vinaigrette, 1-2 tbsp, as the lettuce will wilt). Sprinkle with almonds and pepper; serve immediately.

Easy Herb Vinaigrette

This recipe makes plenty of dressing to keep on hand.  It’s just plain tasty.

  • 9 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp wildflower honey
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh chives
  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; slowly whisk in oil until combined. Stir in basil and chives. I puréed it so I could keep it in a dressing container but you don’t have to. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chicken and Dumplings

My good friend, Christina Snowden, has helped me so much learning quick meals for the family. She told me about this recipe from the Crock Pot Girls, and wow is it tasty. But best of all, it’s a quick simple meal you can throw together in the morning so dinner is ready when you get home from work. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Feel free to substitute any ingredients you wish, and increase/decrease amounts for the size of your family!

  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can of cream of celery soup
  • 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup peas and corn (optional)
  • Chicken boullion seasoning or cube
  • salt &  pepper

*As for the dumplings… You can make your own dumplings, or use 1 (10 oz) package of refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces.

  1. EXCLUDING THE BISCUITS put all ingredients in…
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  3.  About an hour (give or take) before serving, remove chicken and pull into pieces and return to the soup mixture, place the torn biscuit dough in and cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

(Serves a lot, 6 or more)

The Best Brisket Rub & Mop Sauce

Demian’s friend at work, Rick Seiffert, passed down this recipe to us. Demian made this and the brisket just melts in your mouth. So much flavor and so powerful! I will post the cooking instructions for Demian’s brisket soon.


  • 3 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp garlic salt
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • .5 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Mop Sauce

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup beer of choice
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp hot red pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper