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Summer is here and the June gloom has finally burned off! Weather like this makes me crave really light and fresh flavors. But…my tolerance for staying in a hot kitchen and cleaning up after a tiring day of work & baby is low. You may think I am going to say – Take it outdoors and grill! I have an even simpler idea – cooking en papillote.

Sounds fancy doesn’t it? En papillote is a French term for cooking in parchment paper. It’s very easy, with minimal clean up and super healthy! Sometimes I do a complete meal – halibut & veggies for example or sometimes when I need a side dish and I am feeling lazy I’ll just do veggies this way.

Veggies in parchment

Veggies in parchment

Here is my recipe for cooking halibut en papillote (adapted from Martha Stewart):

  • 8 asparagus spears, cut in half
  • red & yellow bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach, well washed
  • 1 medium leek whites only, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • 2 6-ounce halibut fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • freshly chopped parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using two 12-by-17-inch sheets parchment paper, fold each sheet in half crosswise.
  2. Place 1 sheet of parchment flat on a work surface. Place half of the asparagus, garlic, spinach, leeks, peppers and 2 lemon slices on one side of the crease; season with salt and pepper. Place halibut on top of veggies, season with salt, pepper and thyme top with another lemon slice and drizzle about 2 tsp. of olive oil.   Fold parchment over ingredients. Make small overlapping folds along the edge to seal.
  3. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake until packets have puffed, and fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer packets to individual plates. Serve immediately, opening packets at the table. Garnish with any remaining lemon slices & parsley.

Veggies wrapped up and ready to go!

You can use any combination of veggies….summer squash, baby carrots, shallots, fresh peas the possibilities are endless!  You do want to make sure that veggies will cook uniformly so keep that in mind when you choose & cut your veggies.

With only a week left until my due date I sadly suffer from a few pregnancy side effects.  The worst of which are my swollen hands & feet making it difficult for me to stand for extended periods of time in the kitchen while prepping a meal.  With my in-laws in town last weekend I was looking for a recipe that allowed me to prep at my own pace and to cook hassle free.  I found the answer in the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics!
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Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Not only is her Company Pot Roast recipe easy to prep for;  I could stick it in the oven for 2 hours while sitting down with my feet propped up and the leftovers are great to freeze!

It turned out to be a big hit with everyone!  The meat was ultra tender, and the sauce rich and slightly tangy from the wine and cognac.  Lip smacking good with some crusty French bread to soak up the sauce!   Speaking of the sauce I think I’ll make some buttered egg noodles to pour the extra sauce over – deeeelish!

Here is the link to the recipe on the Food Network site:  Company Pot Roast by Ina Garten.

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