Chili Salmon with Mango, Cucumber & Avocado Salsa

Salsa Includes Blueberries, Lime, and Jalapeño

Oh my!  This is SO my kind of dinner!  This seriously tastes like healthy summer on a plate.  The salmon is simply seasoned with chili powder and the salsa is sweet and fresh.  Of course the chili powder is a fabulous compliment to salsa, so it’s no wonder this all goes together beautifully.

The salsa is seriously SO good!  It’s so good that it’s kind of a little bit hard not to eat more than the appropriate portion size.  (You’ve been warned!)  I was pretty intrigued with the addition of blueberries in this salsa.  I’ve made and seen several variations of mango salsa, but none that included blueberries.  Let me tell you, it’s awesome!  The burst of the blueberry in the mouth along with the sweetness and tartness of the berry is a perfect compliment to the soft and sweet mango.  The cucumber adds a nice balance to the sweetness as well as good bulk to the salsa (without adding many calories).  You can’t have a salsa without some kind of pepper, so there is a jalapeño pepper in here and you can add as much as you want.  The majority of the heat comes from the ribs and seeds of the pepper so for a mild salsa, remove all the ribs and seeds, for a hot salsa, keep them in.  The avocado adds a richness and creaminess to the salsa that helps to made this stuff so addictive.  Last, but certainly not least, is the addition of  lime zest and lime juice.  This gives the perfect amount of acidity and zing to the salsa and makes it taste amazingly fresh.

This meal can be eaten for lunch or dinner.  We had it for dinner with a side salad.  I think I might start making the salsa for snacks and appetizers too.  It’s that good!

Chili Salmon with Mango, Cucumber, & Avocado Salsa
Adapted from The Chew

For the Salmon:
4 Skin-On Salmon Filets (4 oz. each)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 teaspoon Chili Powder

For the Salsa:
1 mango (cubed)
1/4 – 1/2 English cucumber (diced)
1 avocado (cubed)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 – 1 jalapeno (seeded and minced)
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

For the Salsa: Toss all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed (I use a rubber spatula so that the avocado doesn’t get mashed).  Set aside.

For the Salmon: Preheat a grill (outdoor or indoor . . . I used a charcoal grill for mine) to medium-high, and season lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon chili powder over each of the salmon filets. Season with salt and pepper, and place, skin-side down. After 2 to 3 minutes, flip, and continue to cook on other side for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130F.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Filet & Approx. 1/2 Cup Salsa)
Calories:  284.5
Protein:  30.4g
Carbs:  15.1g
Fat:  11.6g (1.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  6.1g

Baked Chicken Taquitos

These are good.  Really good!  I found them on multiple food blogs about one year ago and figured they had to be good if all of my favorite food bloggers were making them.  Well, I was right . . . kind of.  They were actually better than I had expected them to be.  I was impressed with how easy they were to make, how delicious they turned out, AND I was happy to be able to make them a little more calorie-friendly without sacrificing much flavor.  We’ve got a HUGE winner here.  HUGE!

The filling is full of flavor and I love how the spices get mixed with green onions and cilantro because that gives these little babies a fresh pick-up.  And . . .  the cream cheese and cheddar cheese makes them even more irresistible.  Baking them in the oven with a little cooking spray on top helps to give them that deep-fried flavor and crunch without all the grease (yuck!).  I have been making these for friends, family, and kids and I’ve had NOBODY turn them down or complain about them.  Yep, that’s right!  Chances are that your kids are going to LOVE them too!  They’re great for dinner (and they also make great appetizers too).

Baked Chicken Taquitos

4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup green salsa (red salsa is good too)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 green onion, sliced finely (white & green parts to equal about 2 T.)
12 oz. shredded, cooked chicken
1 cup reduced-fat cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, or pepper jack)

12 small yellow or white corn tortillas (like Mission Thins)
kosher salt, optional
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix softened cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

Working with a few tortillas at a time, place 3-4 between two damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds, until tortillas are soft and pliable and don’t crack while rolling. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture (I use a cookie scoop and put two scoops in each tortilla) on the lower third of a soft tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can.
Place filled taquitos seam side down on the baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch each other. When ready to bake, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and lightly sprinkle some kosher (coarse) salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Serve immediately. Taquitos can be dipped in salsa, light sour cream, guacamole, or any other combination you can dream up (and that your calorie count will allow).

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Taquitos)
Calories:  216.4
Protein:  20.5g
Carbs:  18.7g
Fat:  7.5g (4.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.2g
Sugars:  2.7g

Bruschetta

I love fresh Bruschetta!  I love this recipe because it has balsamic vinegar in it and I’m a huge fan of balsamic vinegar.  I love the powerful punch of flavor it adds and it always pairs well with tomatoes, onion, and basil (in my humble opinion).  This Bruschetta is easy to throw together and can be used as a simple appetizer (I love to pair it with baked pita chips).  I’ve also paired it with part-skim mozzarella cheese which makes it a well-balanced snack.  Enjoy!

Bruschetta
Adapted from Skinny Taste

3 medium vine ripe tomatoes
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Combine onion, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Set aside a few minutes.

Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Combine with garlic, basil, onion-balsamic combo and additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let it sit at least 10 minutes or as long as overnight.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 the Recipe)
Calories:  59.5
Protein:  1.1g
Carbs:  6.6g
Fat:  3.9g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.5g
Sugars:  1g

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

As promised with yesterday’s post, here is how I make my baked corn tortilla chips.  I think they taste WAY better than any store-bought tortilla chip and it’s a huge bonus that they are MUCH healthier too!  Plus, they are super easy to make.  I’ve created the recipe below to serve 2 because that’s how many tortilla wedges I can fit on a cookie sheet.  However, it’s easy to double by just sticking two cookie sheets in the oven at the same time.  If you’re watching your salt intake, then omit the kosher salt.  They will still taste fabulous.

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips
Mimi Original

6 corn tortillas (such as Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas)
cooking spray
kosher salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray each tortilla, front and back, with cooking spray.  Cut each tortilla into 6 chip sized wedges and arrange wedges in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  If desired, sprinkle wedges with kosher salt.

Bake for about 6 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for an additional 6 minutes or until the chips are crisp, but not too brown.  Serve with salsa, guacamole, or other garnishes.

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 3 Thin Tortillas)
Calories:  120
Protein:  3g
Carbs:  24g
Fat:  1.5g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3g
Sugar:  3g

Fresh Garden Salsa

Since I’m still using my garden tomatoes, I’ll throw another tomato post your way.  This is a delicious garden salsa recipe.  I love the fact that I can go out to my garden, pick my peppers and tomatoes, and then have fresh salsa 10 minutes later.  There are a lot of ways to make fresh salsa.  You basically want to have a mixture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  Depending on your liking, the amounts you use of these ingredients can widely vary AND you can easily add other spices and flavorings to alter the taste to your personal preference.  I am a salsa LOVER!  I rarely taste a salsa that I do not like.  With this particular recipe you’ll see that I’ve added some cumin for a smokier flavor, some cayenne pepper for additional heat, and cilantro for a kick of freshness.  Trust me . . . if you just want a traditional garden salsa without any extra spices or heat, leave them out and that’s what you’ll have.  It’s fantastic!  I love to whip this up and eat it with baked corn tortilla chips (recipe/method to come).

Fresh Garden Salsa
Mimi Original

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
1 fresh Anaheim pepper, seeded and very coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 (14.5 0z.) can diced tomatoes (drained or not, depending on how much liquid you want in your salsa)
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. cumin (1.5 tsp.)
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos, Anaheim, and garlic.  Process until finely chopped.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add all other ingredients to the food processor.  Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don’t overdo it).  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/2 Cup)
Calories:  32.8
Protein:  1.4g
Carbs:  7.5g
Fat:  0g
Fiber:  1.8g
Sugars:  3.9g

Crunchy Tomato Bread

Oh, how I love to eat bread!  Bread is a serious weakness of mine.  There are times when I would rather have bread than dessert.  So, when I came across this recipe and stopped to considered this for my carbohydrate for dinner (instead of rice, potato, etc.), I pretty much didn’t hesitate one bit!  It reminds me SO much of bruschetta that it was hard NOT to love it.  The crusty bread, coated in fresh garlic, topped with tomatoes, Italian spices, and cheese . . . uh, you had me at crusty bread!  This is a cinch to pull together and such a wonderful treat this time of year.  The recipe calls for canned plum tomatoes (or diced tomatoes is how we commonly see them on our grocery shelves), but you can easily swap those canned tomatoes out for fresh tomatoes while you have them.  With that said, I’m going to shock several of you when I say that the canned tomatoes are usually better here.  I know . . . I’m gasping right alongside of you!  But, the beauty of this is that you can eat this treat year-round without any hesitation!  Oh!  And, if you’re a balsamic vinegar lover like me, drizzle that over the finish product and you’ll love this even more!

Crunchy Tomato Bread
Adapted from Rocco Dispirito’s “Now Eat This! Diet Recipes”

8 ounces whole wheat baguette
1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
1 cup canned peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cut the bread in half lengthwise.  Place it in a toaster oven (or under the broiler in your oven) and toast.

Rub the toasted halves with the clove of garlic.  Divide the tomatoes in half, and distribute them over the bread pieces.  Sprinkle the oregano, red pepper flakes, and cheese over the bread.  Top with a few drops of olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the bread back to the toaster oven (or broiler) and toast until the tomatoes are warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes (watch carefully to ensure your bread does not burn).

Slice into 6 separate pieces.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  112
Protein:  5.3g
Carbs:  19g
Fat:  2g (0.6 = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g

Mango-Pineapple Salsa Over Shrimp

This Mango-Pineapple Salsa is soooo yummy!  It can be used for several things (it’s great as an appetizer with baked chips), but I really love it with this shrimp.  The salsa has that spicy-sweet flavor that tends to be irresistible to me.  How about you?

When it’s paired with the shrimp, it tastes like vacation.  You get the tropical taste from that salsa and a somewhat Jamaican Jerk taste from the shrimp.  I tell you what – these were meant to be eaten together!  And, just in case you were wondering, I made this for the family while we were in Hawaii.  We used the fresh pineapple and mango we bought at the farmer’s market and after we made the salsa I couldn’t get enough (well, until my calorie counting conscience said, “no more!”)

When I made it at home (with the pictures shown here), I actually used my indoor grill.  If you’re not in the mood to grill or we’re in the colder months, you can also heat a small amount of canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and then cook the shrimp until they’re done.  I love to serve this over couscous (as shown) or rice.

Mango-Pineapple Salsa Over Shrimp
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

For the Salsa:
7 ounces peeled & cored fresh pineapple & mango, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1-1/4 cups total fruit)
1/2 small red pepper, seeded & chopped
1 scallion, sliced thin (or minced red onion works too)
1/2 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
salt & pepper

For the Shrimp:
3/4 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 lb. shrimp

For the Salsa:  Combine the mango, pineapple, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl.  Season with additional lime juice (if needed), salt, and pepper to taste.  Let the salsa sit for at least 10 minutes before serving (can be made up to 24 hours in advance).

For the shrimp:  Preheat gas, charcoal, or indoor grill over medium heat.  Combine the brown sugar, coriander, ginger, garlic powder, pepper, salt, and allspice in a bowl.  Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over both sides of the shrimp.

If desired, thread shrimp on skewers.  Grill shrimp until pink and cooked through (about 2-3 minutes per side).  Gently transfer the shrimp to individual plates and serve with the salsa.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving – Shrimp & Salsa)
Calories:  143
Protein:  23.2g
Carbs:  5.2g
Fat:  2.1g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.4g
Sugars:  3.1g

Nutritional Information (Per Serving, Salsa Only)
Calories:  23
Protein:  0.2g
Carbs:  4.1g
Fat:  0.1g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.4g
Sugars:  3.1g