A few years ago my oldest offspring decided she wanted to be a vegetarian. It all began with her affection for pigs and tiny piglets. She collected cute pictures of the little creatures over the internet and watched video after video of them doing any number of things like jumping over hurdles on YouTube or finding websites all about pigs. Not long after, she announced at the breakfast table that she would no longer eat pork. It sounds amazing coming from a 10 year old, but it wasn't exactly the hardest feat for her. We don't eat a lot of pork to begin with, aside from bacon and sausage once a week. And, she had never cared much for those anyway, often giving away her prized greasy slabs of bacon to whoever had the fastest hands. The hardest was giving up her love of baby back ribs. Yet, all she had to do was think of her precious piglets and she had no problem turning her nose up.
It wasn't long afterwards that she decided to cross off everything with meat in it, including my beloved
and fried chicken (two of her favorites). The only non-meat meat she'd touch was seafood. Lucky for her she has always enjoyed seafood and it is the one food she is most adventurous with, including raw oysters. The girl won't touch a piece of asparagus and has some odd aversion to rice, but she will eat oysters, raw or fried. She still makes no sense to me sometimes!
Her ban of meat lasted almost two years before she finally decided to begin introducing it back into her meals. She was afraid to admit that she wanted to eat meat again, thinking she had failed. I was very proud of her and surprised that she lasted as long as she did. She definitely did not fail, and I reminded her that she can choose at any time to go back to being a vegetarian. She still prefers mostly food without meat, but she doesn't mind it mixed into her food.
The biggest benefit to us during her vegetarian phase was that we ate a lot less meat. My meal planning was less focused on meat as the main course, and we ate a lot more meals centered around pasta and vegetables (especially mushrooms) as the headliner. As a result, I began to notice I was feeling a lot less sluggish and full after our meals. Gary and I began to lose weight, especially around the middle. Plus, we both felt much healthier and lighter overall.
Spinach Salad with Slivered Almonds, Sliced Cucumbers, and Kumquats
Even though Madison is back to eating meat (part-time), we have continued to eat with less meat still in mind. Typically, I only plan one meal a week with meat. In between, we eat pasta, a salad, or some sort of seafood. Salmon is always a popular choice and goes over well with all of the kids. Salmon is quick and easy to cook. You can grill it, saute it, or broil it.
For this particular recipe, I created a honey-sesame glaze using several pantry staples such as honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. I added a bit of orange peel for flavor and to complement the spinach and kumquat salad I prepared to go with the meal. You can saute the salmon if you wish, broil it, or in my case grill it (yes, I used the George Forman grill). Add a nice, green salad on the side and you've got a fabulous, light, and easy meal to make on a weeknight.
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Honey-Sesame Glazed Salmon
Two large wild-caught salmon fillets or four small fillets (2 lbs. total)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Dark Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon toasted Sesame Seeds
Can you tell Trader Joe's stocks my pantry?
In a small bowl, add soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and orange peel. Stir to combine.
In a shallow dish, place your salmon fillets. Pour the marinade over the fillets. Cover and place in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I left mine in for about 2 hours.
Before cooking, sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the salmon.
If you are grilling, grill the fillet about five minutes on each side. If you are sauteing, heat a saute pan coated with cooking spray to medium-high. Add the fillet one at a time, cooking with the skin side up for 3 minutes. Flip over and cook an addition 6-7 minutes on the other side or until desired degree of doneness. I like my salmon moist and cook for the minimum amount of time.