Steamed Black Mussels in White Wine and Tomato Sauce

When it comes to feeding a crowd at short notice, mussels are cheap, quick to cook, and delicious. They are easy to dress up to look a million bucks. Using frozen prepackaged mussels meals (tomato or white wine varieties) eliminates cleaning, scrubbing and de-bearding. Simply give these frozen meals a boost by making a broth of fresh garlic, basil, tomato and white wine sauce for it. The broth is good on its own, but the steamed mussels make a wonderful addition. Serve with lots of crusty bread or pasta for a hearty, substantial meal.


:: Frozen pre-packaged mussels (Tip: ALDI $2.50 per package)
:: Garlic, chopped
:: White wine
:: Can of diced tomatoes
:: Basil, chopped

:: Sauteed garlic in olive oil until translucent and fragrant.
:: Add diced tomatoes and white wine.
:: Add mussels to the pan to steam. Cover tightly for about 10 minutes.
:: Discard any mussels that did not open fully.
:: Serve with baguette or over pasta.


Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad

Summer means drinks, salads, grilled food, dining under the stars… beaches, sun block and laughter.  It also means getting creative with bowl recipes.

This zesty salmon bowl with a hint of spice is a versatile summer one-bowl dish.  I love that it is easy to eat with a spoon out of a mason jar at work, and absolutely share-able at a picnic.

Tip: For the juiciest, flakiest salmon, I always bake salmon from frozen and a cold oven.  I’ll grab a baking dish, lay a sheet of parchment paper, smear some marmalade jam over the frozen salmon, pop the dish into a cold oven, set the temperature at 375 degrees and walk away for 25 mins for a slice and up to 45 mins for a whole slab.  Allowing the oven and salmon to preheat together prevents overcooking.  Shocking thawed salmon in a heated oven results in a dry rubbery slice of fish.

There’s almost zero clean up, since you used parchment paper. Hooray!

The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice

:: Salmon. Above, then I flaked it with a fork.
:: Brown rice or quinoa.
:: Cucumbers, diced
:: Cilantro/Coriander, roughly chopped
:: Zest and juice of limes
:: Cayenne pepper
:: Salt.

:: To make dressing, combine lime juice, zest, a dash of cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy) and pinch of salt.

The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad

:: In a large bowl, combine rice and cucumbers.
:: Top with the flaked salmon.  Gently fold the salmon into the rice mixture.
:: Top with cilantro.  Add dressing. Give it another gentle toss and get ready to plate!

Variations:  Sometimes we switch things up a bit with tomatoes, bell peppers, string beans, onions…. anything you fancy, really. 

The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad

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Honey Lime Shrimp with Grapefruit Avocado Quinoa

Making this was easy.  Waiting for dinner time was the hard part.  Between the aroma of the honey lime shrimp grilling and the citrusy grapefruit and creamy avocado waiting, my tummy was growling.  This colorful and hearty salad can be made with refrigerator finds so get creative!


For the shrimp
Clean shrimp.
:: Add a spoon of honey, dash of paprika and squeeze of lime.
:: If you have a grill, skewer shrimp and grill.
:: If you don't, pan grill them.
:: Regardless, the honey will caramelize and give you a smokey pretty char.

For the quinoa.
Cook quinoa per instructions.  Set aside to cool.
:: Dice your choice of grapefruit, tomatoes, avocado, black beans, raisins or nuts.
:: Toss and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with fresh cilantro and limes.