Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Emergency" Dinner

Everyone needs to have at least one meal trick up their sleeve. Something tasty, reasonably healthy, and QUICK to assemble that's more complicated than pasta with jarred sauce and more ambitious than cereal. That said, we've certainly had our share of both in this house. Once in a while, however, when ordering pizza doesn't appeal and breakfast-for-dinner seems a little too much like a cop-out, we have Emergency Dinner.

For this, I keep a bag of frozen salmon fillets (thank you wholesale club!) in the freezer, a quick starch mix in the pantry, and then use either salad or frozen veggies to round it all out. Within 30 minutes or less, we have three items on the dinner plate.

For the salmon:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet or pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place salmon skin-side down and top with yummy things. We like a little S&P, some whole grain mustard and panko breadcrumbs.*

If you want, drizzle a little oil in the top so the breadcrumbs crisp up.
Plan on baking it for about 10-12 minutes if thawed, about 15 minutes if cooking from frozen. (Yes, you can do that.) For a flourish, broil on low the last 2 minutes to brown the topping.

For the sides:

Pre-flavored couscous comes together in about 10 minutes. Last time, we used a rice blend instead (pictured) that took about 20.
Microwave some vegetables. Toss with a little butter or oil and some seasonings while the fish cooks.


What's your emergency stand-by?

*You can use Dijon mustard and regular breadcrumbs too. Also good is a little soy sauce and honey whisked together and drizzled on the fish. Very basic is S&P and some lemon juice (and maybe dill or another herb) sprinkled on top.

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