Artichoke and Lemon Pasta

Herb ContainersThis new pasta recipe I created is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The fresh flavors of lemon and herbs are perfect for summer. I’ve been cutting the parsley and basil straight from my herb containers that John and I planted. This dish is really quick and simple to throw together after a busy day of fun in the sun. I think you’ll love it too.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (penne or bowtie work well)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley or basil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • sea salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Do not allow it to burn. Add the artichoke hearts and cook over medium high heat for several minutes. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the artichokes. Add the lemon zest and the herbs and drizzle with EVOO. Stir well. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper. I served it with a lovely caprese salad. It was a hit!

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Sicilian Salmon Recipe

Grandma's RecipesLast year my Aunt Gail made me a very special gift. She copied all of her mother’s and her sister’s hand written recipes and put them together for me and my sister in a cookbook. My Grandma Carter was known to be a great cook. My Grandpa was Italian so many of the recipes I received are dishes I’m guessing she learned to make from his family including cannolis, manicotti, meat balls, marinara sauce and much more. I am so grateful to have her family recipes to share with my own family.

Cancer took my Grandma’s life way too soon. All of my memories of her are from my childhood. I recall eating holiday meals with my sister and my cousin at the kids table in her home in suburban Chicago. I remember summer visits where we played in my grandparent’s yard, ate peaches and apples from the trees on their property and picked tomatoes from their garden. Often I think about how I see some of my Grandma in myself. I feel honored to possess some of her qualities. She was a hardworking woman who loved to cook and garden. She was also an accomplished fisher(wo)man. My nephew Ethan has a huge fish she caught hanging in his room. If there was work to be done, Grandma didn’t wait around for help. She was right there doing it herself. I wish I could have had her in my life much longer. I like to think I am keeping her memory alive by making her recipes for my own family and by sharing them with you.

Here’s my version of one of my favorites from her cookbook. I’ve tweaked it a bit to make it a little lighter. It is a low calorie, high protein meal and, of course, salmon is full of healthy omega-3 fats that may help reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. My kids love salmon, (Elizabeth says it is her favorite food), so this meal has become a stand-by for us. It’s healthy and very quick to put together on a busy evening after school and activities.

Grandma Carter’s Sicilian Salmon

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 Salmon Filets, 5 oz. each (Wild if possible)
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Zest
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning or 1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
  • Pepper to taste

Turn on broiler on your oven. Spray casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray or brush with a little olive oil. Place salmon filets in casserole dish. Here’s a tip I’ve learned to save time. If you buy salmon in a big slab rather than individually portioned filets, a quick and easy way to cut the salmon is to use your kitchen shears. They go right through the skin every time. In a small bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, zest, minced garlic, seasoning or herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well and pour over salmon filets. Place in oven on middle rack. Broil for 15 or 20 minutes. We like our salmon well done. I take it out of the oven when the top of the salmon looks brown and crispy.

I usually serve fish with brown rice and a salad or green vegetable. This week I happened to have picked up some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the farm market in town along with some handmade Ohio City fettucine. Normally I buy whole wheat pasta, but he only had black pepper, so we gave that a try. I was excited to eat them both and pasta seemed to go well with Sicilian Salmon, so it was a perfect side dish for this meal. Andy brought home some pretty asparagus from his market, so I decided to use that up too.

To prepare the pasta I just chopped two or three tomatoes and put them in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil, a clove of minced garlic and a little salt and pepper. The fresh pasta only takes two minutes to cook. I tossed it with the fresh tomato sauce. I cut off the ends of the asparagus, then simmer it in a little bit of water and usually give it a little drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of feta.

Buon appetito!

Sicilian Salmon

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 serving of Sicilian Salmon (not including the asparagus and pasta) according to My Fitness Pal.

Calories (1 filet): 356

Fat: 21.8

Cholesterol: 90

Sodium: 368.5

Potassium: 20.1

Carbs: 1.9

Fiber: .1

Sugars: .3

Protein: 30.2