Roasted Salmon with Maple Vinaigrette

Roasted Salmon with Maple Vinaigrette on bed of fresh spinach, Vidalia onion, and quinoa.

Roasted Salmon with Maple Vinaigrette on bed of fresh spinach, Vidalia onion, and quinoa.

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Salmon with Maple Vinaigrette

It’s a Friday and ‘I’m Hungry, But I Don’t Feel Like Cooking’ kind of night, so I tempted myself into the kitchen with the thought of a little experimentation. I don’t like recipes much, they stress me out -too exact. I’m more of a free-form cook. I knew we had some salmon fillets and that was motivational too. We had some other favs in the fridge as well: fresh spinach, a Vidalia onion, pure maple syrup, and a last surviving bit of quinoa.

The quinoa was the impetus as we only had a fourth-cup to feed the three of us who were homebodies on this Friday night. We had pasta last night and didn’t want that again, didn’t have potatoes, didn’t feel like beans, and already had rice earlier in the week. Little as it was, the quarter cup of quinoa won. I love an underdog.

Maple Vinaigrette

While the salmon was thawing, I whipped up a 1-2-3 vinaigrette: 1 part extra virgin olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinegar, 3 parts pure maple syrup. I made it in an old jam jar, added a bit of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a tad bit of garlic powder, topped it with the lid and shook. It only takes a minute and it’s so much better than store bought.

Quinoa

Quinoa is super simple to make too. Check your package directions for quinoa:water ratio. Boil water, pour in quinoa, turn down to medium heat, put lid on pan, and let cook for about 12 minutes. Check to see that all water is absorbed, keep lid on, and remove from burner. Let sit for 15 minutes and fluff with fork. It can sit for quite a while before serving if need be. Sometimes I use chicken stock rather than water, but easy was the name of the game tonight.

Roasted Salmon

The salmon couldn’t have been any easier to prepare… Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Choose a glass pan or other favorite baking dish that closely fits the quantity of fillets you are cooking. I like to use cooking spray for easy clean-up too. Put fillets in sprayed baking dish, spray a little spritz on top of fillets too. The oil seals in the juices, but by being a spray you’re not adding much fat to the meal. I think it’s a win-win. I seasoned the salmon with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a slight bit of garlic powder, and a bit more liberal amount of cajun spice. Bake for  about 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Be careful not to over cook. It’s a shame to have a beautiful piece of salmon and then dry it out.

Final Prep

The vinaigrette is already made, the quinoa will be done by the time the fillets are done, so while they are roasting to perfection in the oven you are free to prepare the dinner plates. Clean and dry spinach, slice the onion as thinly as you can (if they are translucent, they are thin enough). Put a bed of spinach on each plate, followed by some sliced onion, and use fork to sprinkle on desired amount of quinoa. Give vinaigrette another shake and use a teaspoon to drizzle a bit over plates.

As soon as salmon comes out of the oven, use a teaspoon to drizzle a bit of vinaigrette over the sizzling fillets, transfer onto their spinach beds, and top with a touch more vinaigrette.

I hope your family will enjoy this simple and healthy meal. Let me know what you think… Bon Appétit!

Our Favorite Christmas Cookies

I was going to start this blog in 2013, but it’s almost Christmas and I figured that’s a pretty good time to start something new. And, if we’re starting something new, why not celebrate? If you’re celebrating, why not start with cookies?!? And if you’re starting with cookies, you’ve got to start with the biggest favorite of all, Christmas cookies!

Here are some family favorites my three sons and husband requested again this year:

  • PEANUT BUTTER REINDEER COOKIES… These are a fun cookie, my middle son always looks forward to them, even at 16 years old. I usually use regular small pretzels, but the Bakergirl uses small chocolate covered pretzels and I thought I’d try that this year. We like the taste of cinnamon flavored Red Hots candy for Rudolph’s nose. For a brighter, shiny nose, use red M&Ms as the Bakergirl recommends.
Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies from Bakergirl at BuddingBaketress.blogspot.com

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies from Bakergirl at BuddingBaketress.blogspot.com

  • SNOWBALL COOKIES 3 WAYS… These are my husband’s favorite, so I’ve been making them for years. Jessica, at A Kitchen Addiction blog, offers a little variety to the traditional recipe, so I decided to mix it up a bit this year.
Snowball Cookies 3 Ways from A Kitchen Addiction

Snowball Cookies 3 Ways from A Kitchen Addiction

  • PEANUT BUTTER NUTELLA COOKIE CUPS… I usually make Peanut Butter Blossoms with Hershey’s Kisses at my youngest son’s request, but I’m thinking of doing a 50/50 this year and going with some Nutella lusciousness from Barbara Bakes for the other half.
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Cups from Barbara Bakes

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Cups from Barbara Bakes

Candy Decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies from Jamie Cooks It Up

Candy Decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies (Almond Butter) from Jamie Cooks It Up

I like to pick a new recipe and something I haven’t made in recent years for my choice every year:

  • DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT SURPRISE COOKIES… Peppermint is a Christmas requirement and there’s nothing minty on the list yet. Don’t these look fabulous? And, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, you’ll find a surprise inside! Santa hat tip to Deborah over at Taste and Tell for this perfect Christmas cookie.
Double Chocolate Peppermint Surprise Cookies from Taste and Tell

Double Chocolate Peppermint Surprise Cookies from Deborah at Taste and Tell

  • CHOCOLATE-COVERED CHERRY DELIGHTS… I actually made a similar recipe several years ago and they were big hit. I was really glad they caught my eye again while I was perusing the Taste and Tell blog. I know from experience with my husband that if you make a batch of these for a cordial cherry fan you know they will love you forever!
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Delights from Taste and Tell

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Delights from Taste and Tell

  • CANDY CANE BLOSSOMS… A dear friend is participating in a bake sale at work to benefit a co-worker who is experiencing a serious medical issue. We are getting together next weekend to bake cookies for the sale. When I saw these on Diana’s AzoresGal blog I thought they looked like a winner. Tasty and eye-catching in hopes of a very successful benefit event!
Candy Cane Blossoms from AzoresGal

Candy Cane Blossoms from AzoresGal

GINGERBREAD COOKIES… I know these are a Christmas staple, but I haven’t made them for quite a few years. I’m really looking forward to trying BreAna’s recipe at Sugar and Spice & All Things Iced. I had to add a large picture because the batch she made with her kids is just so cute!

Gingerbread Cookies from Sugar and Spice & All Things Iced

Gingerbread Cookies from Sugar and Spice & All Things Iced

My plan is to shop for supplies and get all the dough made before next weekend. Then visit my friend to make the bake sale cookies and some for her family to enjoy too. On Christmas Eve day I’ll bake the batches for our family. If I bake them any earlier, they will surely be gone before Christmas with four cookie-loving men in the house… That’s the plan, but it could change!

Questions:

What are your family’s favorite Christmas cookies and how do you schedule-in your holiday baking? Do you have tips on storing pre-baked cookies? 

You can leave a comment at the bottom of this post’s page here

Thanks for checking out my new blog & MERRY CHRISTMAS BAKING to all.