Lemon Rosemary Salmon Filet with Rosemary Potatoes

This is a healthy and well-balanced meal that takes only about 30 minutes to whip up. I bought a frozen salmon filet because it was cheaper (about $8 for the whole thing!), but you can certainly use fresh salmon. I also used small golden potatoes that have a smooth, buttery flavor. While the salmon and potatoes were in the oven, I whipped up a salad with the greens I had on hand. You can use any variation of sides with this salmon; I just went with rosemary potatoes to tie into the rosemary I used to season the salmon.

Ingredients:

  • Filet of salmon
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1.5 lemons, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Makes 4 servings.

If using frozen salmon, thaw in fridge overnight, or in cold water for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place skin side down on a sheet pan, and season with olive oil, pepper, rosemary, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Top with lemon slices.

IMG_3691

Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Important: Do NOT season with salt until after it is baked. Doing so before can dry out the salmon.

Simultaneously, cook the potatoes in the oven.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 small golden potatoes, quartered
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Makes 4-6 servings.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all ingredients in a pan, and toss with hands. Bake for 30 minutes.

IMG_3687

For the salad, I simply mixed arugula, grapes (halved), slivered almonds, and feta, and topped it with a simple lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, olive oil). You can use any greens and veggies you have on hand – I just thought the plate could use some vegetables. Enjoy!

IMG_3694

 

Penne with Spinach, Mushroom, White Wine Sauce

This is one of our go-to recipes for a quick and easy weeknight meal. We almost always have the ingredients on hand. It only takes 20 minutes, but it tastes like a gourmet pasta dish! Plus, we like to exclude meat from our diets at least one day out of the week, so this is a great meal for Meatless Mondays and for vegetarians. Follow these instructions for a dish you’ll come back to over and over!

Ingredients
Makes 3-4 servings.

  • 1/2 box of penne (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1.5-2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup of chopped button or crimini mushrooms
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

While penne is boiling, chop mushrooms and garlic. Sautee mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.

IMG_3658

IMG_3661

Add white wine, and let reduce for about 5 minutes. Then add spinach and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper.

IMG_3664

Drain the pasta, and toss in the saucepan. Serve, and top with grated parmesan cheese.

IMG_3666

Notes: For some added protein, you can throw in some grilled chicken. You can also nix the pasta and cut the wine and garlic in half for a delicious spinach mushroom side dish!

Sloppy Joes

Sometimes, we like to make a meal that’s highly nostalgic – for instance, sloppy joes! In this recipe, we ditch the canned Manwich and make a savory and sweet sloppy joe in the crock pot. Plus, we make it much leaner with ground turkey instead of beef. This is a meal kids and adults are sure to love.

Ingredients:
Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 1.5-2 lbs ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 3 Tb. of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tb. of hot sauce
  • 2 Tb. of mustard
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Hamburger buns

Chop vegetables. Saute bell pepper, celery, and onions about 5 minutes in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and saute for one minute.

IMG_3644

Add ground turkey, and cook until browned.

IMG_3646

Transfer the turkey and sauteed vegetables into your slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients (until hamburger buns) into the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours.
IMG_3650After 8 hours, it should look like this:

IMG_3651

Toast your hamburger buns, and top with the sloppy joe. Enjoy!
IMG_3654

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is probably my all-time favorite, and is also my mom’s original recipe. Not only is it delicious (probably because it’s so cheesy!), it’s also insanely easy. Although this is a semi-homemade recipe, these enchiladas are so amazing and taste so authentic that any Mexican guest, or anyone for that matter, would surely give it two thumbs up! And because it’s so simple to put together, you might just make it a weeknight favorite.

Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4-6

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (alternatively, you may use a whole roasted chicken)
  • 1 16 oz bottle Herdez® Salsa Verde
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 19-20 6″ corn tortillas (if using a 13″x9″ pan)
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

If you are using uncooked chicken breasts, place them on an ungreased baking sheet and season the chicken (I like to use Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, but you’re welcome to use whatever you’d like). Broil for about 30 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Let the chicken cool then shred into fairly small pieces.

IMG_3619

IMG_3626

 

Meanwhile, heat the salsa verde in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream (adjust to fit your/your family’s heat tolerance). Cook until the salsa and the sour cream mix together well, about 5 minutes. At this time, preheat your oven to 375°F. Ladle in some of the salsa into the pan and spread it around so the salsa thinly covers the bottom of the pan.

IMG_3623

Heat 5 tortillas at a time in a paper towel for about 40 seconds. The tortillas will be very hot when you take them out, so be careful! Place some shredded chicken into a tortilla and roll it up. Place into the pan, seam-side down. Repeat until the pan is full.

IMG_3630

 

Cover the enchiladas with the rest of the salsa (or as much as you want) and top with the Swiss cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown.

IMG_3633

 

IMG_3638

Serve hot with sour cream and enjoy!

 

Easy Outfit for Cooler Days

Living near the coast in San Diego, most days this summer are in the 70s. On particularly overcast days, it can get a little chilly! This is one of our go-to outfits for days like this.

IMG_3617

Simple black leggings are a must-have for any fashionista. I got these for $5 from Wal Mart years ago, but you can find a similar inexpensive pair almost anywhere. The white knit slouchy sweater was purchased for $10 in the Netherlands. While we weren’t able to track the exact sweater down, this is a similar option from H&M for $24.95, and here’s one from Forever 21 for $19.80.

Lace-up boots complete the outfit. Admittedly, these were a bit of a splurge from Steve Madden, but they’re such a versatile staple in our wardrobe, we don’t regret it! Accessorize with a long chain necklace and a slouchy beanie. You’ll be the cutest (and comfiest) girl in the room!

Maxi Skirts

This summer, we are obsessed with maxi skirts! You can find them at affordable prices at places like Target and Forever 21.

We got this black maxi skirt for $13 at a local boutique called The Closet. It’s super versatile and so comfy! We loved it so much we went back and got it in different color combinations.

IMG_3610Pair it with a crop top, bralette, or cami, and top with bohemian accessories for an easy breezy summer outfit.

We also love this maxi skirt we got from Foreign Exchange for around $20. It has an opaque thigh-length skirt beneath, but boasts a sheer and sparkly layer above that. We took a more revealing route by pairing it with a simple black bralette, but you can pair it with any blouse – just tuck it in so the embroidery remains the focus! 

IMG_3614

We can’t find the skirt on Foreign Exchange’s website anymore, but here is a similar one on sale for $18. Happy shopping!

Ulta Liter Sale

Ulta recently had a sale on liters of some of their highest quality shampoos and conditioners. Most were $15. We printed off coupons for $3.50 off in addition, and scooped up these two liters: AG Fast Food shampoo and Redken All Soft conditioner.

IMG_3602

 

Needless to say, we love these products! They smell great and our hair has never been healthier.

These liters are still discounted online (and possibly in stores?). I recommend signing up for their rewards program. You quickly accumulate points that you can use towards cash off or discounted services, and you get generous coupons in the mail.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Eyeshadow Palette

We love this Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection in Comfort Zone. It transitions easily from day to night, and adds a hint of warmth to any skin tone.

IMG_3606

 

Our favorite shade is the definer in the bottom right – it’s multi-dimensional with a hint of sparkle. At only $4.99, this palette gives designer eye shadows like Urban Decay a run for its money!

You can purchase this palette at drugstores, or here, in three different color collections.

Skincare Routine

If you’re looking for an alternative to face cleansers that are harsh on skin and expensive on your wallet, I swear by the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). The combination of oils I use are Jojoba and Raw Virgin Coconut Oil. You can find these at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc. The best part is these oils were about $5 each!

OCM

For those of you with acne-prone skin who are skeptical, fear not! The concept underlying OCM is the basic chemistry principle that “like dissolves like.” Just choose non-comodegenic oils, and you’ll find that OCM actually improves your breakouts. Jojoba is one of the least comodegenic oils. I have acne-prone skin, and this has really helped improve the health of my skin. Proponents of OCM suggest using castor oil as the base for your oil mix, but I skip this, as it is considered relatively comodegenic.

This method of face washing is good for any skin type. Those with aging skin might consider mixing Vitamin E oil into their mix. Make sure any oil you use is unadulterated – the only ingredient on the back should be the oil. They can also be used to moisturize your skin.

I wet a washcloth with hot water, then steam my face. Then I massage the oils into my skin for 30-60 seconds. Be sure to rub gently on your eyes and eyelashes to remove makeup. Then I steam my face again with the washcloth, and rub the oil off with the cloth thoroughly. Your skin will feel fresh and rejuvenated.

For more info on the Oil Cleansing Method, click here.

 

Cuban-Style Picadillo

Picadillo is a Cuban dish (but makes many other Latin American countries its home) that is a staple in my house. My mom makes the easiest, most delicious Picadillo – and she’s not even Cuban! When my All-American mother married my Mexican father, she learned how to make many of his childhood dinners from his Cuban-Sicilian mother. My mother absorbed these recipes like a pro, and this recipe is so easy that you can too!

I love this dish not only because it represents part of my heritage, but also because it has olives and capers! Serve this on a bed of rice and do not forget to squeeze some extra lime juice on it at the end – the acidity cuts through the oiliness of the meat perfectly and pairs well with the capers.

Note that I suggest you use Mexican oregano. Although it tastes similar to Italian oregano, Mexican oregano is actually a completely different plant. However, do not feel obligated to run to several different stores to find Mexican oregano if your local grocery store doesn’t sell it. Using Italian oregano won’t throw off the taste of the dish.

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1-1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 Russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp Mexican Oregano, crushed
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 10 (or so) olives
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

IMG_3584

 

(The green pepper is missing from the photo above but don’t forget it in the dish!)

IMG_3589

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat. Once the beef is mostly browned, add the green pepper and finish browning the meat. Once the meat is browned, add the tomatoes in juice.

IMG_3593

Stir in the potatoes and add the oregano, bay leaves, lime juice, and capers. Make sure the potatoes are submerged in some liquid. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste, then simmer over medium-low heat until the potatoes are cooked, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in olives (as many as you’d like!) 5 minutes before serving.

IMG_3598

Serve hot with rice and beans. Enjoy!

IMG_3599