SHRIMP NOODLE SALAD / ASPARAGUS

–shrimp (60 – 80 small, shelled, deveined, tail off, thawed)

–salad dressing (see below for recipe)

–avocado (chopped)

–Asian noodles (the size of two fists)

–salt and pepper

–basil (fresh if possible)

–asparagus (frozen)

–olive oil

 

Salad dressing:

–1/4 cup of olive oil

–minced ginger (one-half teaspoon)

–mayonnaise (1 teaspoon)

–sesame seeds

–soy sauce

–sugar (1 teaspoon)

–lime juice (1 dash)

–cilantro

Add olive oil to measuring cup to one-fourth cup level.  Add to cup the following:  ginger, mayonnaise, sesame seeds (be generous), soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, and bits of cilantro.  The whole should reach the one-half cup level.  Stir vigorously.

 

1 – Thaw shrimp in refrigerator overnight.  Dump package in wide-mouthed, large dish with lid.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Rinse under tap water to cool.  Refrigerator or put in freezer (briefly).

2 – For Asian noodles, cook, just covered in water but without a lid, in microwave for 5 minutes.  Rinse under tap water.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

3 – For avocado, cut in half lengthwise.  Remove pit.  Cut across two ways, and then use spoon to remove.  Set aside briefly (not too long or color will change).  Note:  If you wish to prepare the salad early and refrigerator, add the avocado just before serving.

4 – Stir together the shrimp, noodles, avocado carefully to avoid mashing the avocado and breaking the noodles.  Add snips of basil.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Pour sauce over all, and fold in gently.

5 – Cook frozen asparagus for four minutes in microwave.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

6 – Serve cold shrimp salad and hot asparagus immediately.

–shrimp salad adapted from White on Rice Couple.

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FETA CHICKEN / GARLIC BROCCOLI / BEANS

Note:  I departed from solely using the microwave for this recipe, using instead a slow cooker (crock pot) for the beans.  Unless beans are canned, they don’t do well in the microwave.

 

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–feta cheese (crumbled)

–tomato (1 medium)

–garlic powder

–oregano and thyme (fresh is possible)

–white wine (cooking wine is fine)

–salt and pepper

–great Northern beans (1 package, frozen)

–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)

–Bac’n pieces (soy artificial bacon)

–broccoli

–olive oil

 

1 – Cook the great Northern beans from the time you leave the house in the morning (8 or 9 a.m.) to your return (5 or 6).  The longer you cook, the better they may be.  Dump a package of frozen beans in the slow cooker.  Add two cups of chicken broth.  Season generously with Bac’n pieces, salt and pepper.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook on low for at least 8 hours.

2 – Chop tomato and place in bottom of baking dish with cover.  Salt and pepper and season with olive oil.  Lay the chicken on top of the chopped tomato.  Snip tiny bits of oregano and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.   Add about one-quarter cup of white wine, enough to cover chicken to about half of the depth.  Sprinkle generously with crumbled feta cheese.  Season with olive oil.  Set aside.

3 – Select one stalk of broccoli.  Cut off stalk, leaving some stem and florets.  Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper, and olive oil.  Cook broccoli in baking dish with lid for 4 minutes.

4 – Cook chicken for 6 minutes in covered dish.

5 – Serve chicken, broccoli, beans immediately.

 

–chicken adapted from Real Simple; broccoli adapted from Parmesan and Chocolate; beans original.

HERBED CATFISH / OVEN FRIED OKRA / SQUASH CASSEROLE

Note:  Now that I have a herb garden, this catfish recipe is a favorite go-to recipe.  The okra and squash are favorites of my husband Paul.

–3 small catfish fillets

–parsley, thyme, oregano, basil (fresh is possible)

–paprika, garlic powder

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

–okra (cut, fresh if possible or frozen)

–cornbread stuffing mix

–2 small squash (fresh)

–onion

–fine bread crumbs (plain)

–Bac’n pieces (soy artificial bacon)

 

1 – Place the tilapia fillets in the bottom of a baking dish with cover.  Add a small amount of water, just to cover bottom of dish and allow steaming.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.  Snip with kitchen shears very tiny bits of thyme, oregano, and basil.  Season with olive oil.  Set aside.

2 – If fresh okra, cut in small chunks about one-half inch in diameter.  If frozen, use cut okra.  Dump in baking dish without cover.  Add two inches of water (about half the level of the okra).  Salt and pepper the okra.  Add a very small amount of olive oil.  Cook on high for five minutes.  Then cook on 50 percent power for 9 minutes.  Add cornbread stuffing mix, stirring well; be sure to cover okra thoroughly.  Add more olive oil (but not much).  Cook on high for 1 minute.  Cover with lid to keep warm.

3 – Slice the squash diagonally and then halve each piece.  Chop one onion.  Make two layers:  squash, onion, salt, pepper, Bac’n pieces, small amount of bread crumbs, olive oil.  Cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes.

4 – Cook the catfish for six minutes.

5 – Serve hot.

–catfish adapted from Allrecipes; okra and squash casserole original.

MEDITERRANEAN TILAPIA / PASTA / GREEN BEANS

–3 small tilapia

–onion

–tomato

–garlic powder

–oregano (fresh if possible)

–basil (fresh if possible)

–salt and pepper

–penne pasta

–olive oil

–green beans (frozen)

 

1 – Cook 1 cup penne pasta in salted water just to cover at 2 and one-half minutes on high, and then 7 and one-half minutes on 50 percent, in microwave.  Cook uncovered.

2 – Chop a medium-sized onion and medium-sized tomato.  Add salt and pepper, olive oil, and set aside while pasta cooks.

3 – Place the green beans in a baking dish with cover.  Salt and pepper, and add a small amount of olive oil for seasoning.  Set aside.

4 – When pasta is ready, place cover over the dish to keep warm.

5 – Microwave the onion and tomato for 3 minutes on high.  Set aside.

6 – Cook the green beans for 5 minutes.

7 – Place the tilapia on top of the onion and tomato.  Add snips of basil and oregano, and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Season with olive oil.  Cook for 8 minutes in the microwave on high.

8 – Drain the pasta in a colander.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and season with olive oil.

9 – When serving, place the tilapia on top of the pasta, with the green beans on the side.

10 – Serve hot.

 

–original recipes.

ASIAN FRIED CHICKEN / BRUSSELS SPROUTS

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–fine bread crumbs (plain)

–olive oil

–ginger

–garlic powder

–soy sauce

–brown sugar

–sesame seeds (toasted, if possible)

–cayenne pepper

–Brussels sprouts (15 to 20 sprouts)

 

1 – Put chicken pieces in plastic bag. Add salt, pepper, ginger, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and olive oil (to coat). Pour out into baking dish with cover. Add soy sauce lightly. Add water to dilute the soy sauce, about one-fourth cup. Top with sesame seeds. Set aside.

 2 – Cut each Brussels sprout into two pieces with sharp knife. Pour into large, wide-mouthed baking dish. Add the same spices as for the chicken–salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and olive oil. Fill to about one inch of water, to cover the sprouts. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes on high, checking toward the end to be sure that water has not boiled out. Cover to keep warm after cooking is finished.

3 – Cook the chicken for 5 minutes.

4 – Serve immediately.

 

–adapted from Real Simple recipes.

COLD BOILED SHRIMP AND BROCCOLI

Note: A simple meal after a busy day.

 

–shrimp (small size frozen, 60 to 80)

–broccoli

–pesto (ready-prepared)

 

1 – Thaw out the shrimp overnight in the refrigerator. Place the entire contents of bag of shrimp in a wide-mouthed, large microwave dish with cover. Spread out the shrimp. Cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Rinse under tap water. Cool in refrigerator, or, briefly, in freezer.

2 – Remove large stalk from broccoli; leave small stems. Cut apart, including the florets. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook for four minutes (for crisp broccoli) in microwave.

3 – Mix pesto with water to make a sauce.

4 – Fill bowls with ice. Parcel out the shrimp in equal portions, placing on top of the ice. (There is no need for seasoning of shrimp.)

5 – On side, serve hot broccoli. Use pesto as a dipping sauce.

–shrimp adapted from Weidman’s (Meredith, Mississippi); broccoli and pesto sauce original.

BARBECUED CHICKEN / VIETNAMESE NOODLE SALAD

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–barbecue sauce (see below for recipe)

–olive oil

–salt and pepper

–rice noodles (one cup)

–spinach (fresh, pre-packaged, pre-rinsed)

–red bell pepper (one-half)

–Sriracha sauce or other Asian chili sauce

 

Barbecue sauce:

–catsup

–brown sugar

–salt and pepper

–lemon juice

–Worcestershire sauce

–olive oil

–garlic powder

–Tabasco or other hot sauce

–apricot preserves

 

1 – To make barbecue sauce, fill measuring cup to one-fourth cup line with catsup. Add one heaping tablespoon of brown sugar, a dash of lemon juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a drop of Tabasco or other hot sauce, a drop of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and add two heaping tablespoons of apricot preserves. Stir well. You should have a sauce of one-half cup. Set aside.

2 – Lay one cup of rice noodles in large, wide-mouthed microwave dish with lid. Fill with water to cover the noodles. Season with one-half teaspoon of salt. Add a package of fresh spinach. Cut up one-half red bell pepper and add to the top. Cook on high in microwave for 5 minutes. When finished cooking, pour into colander and run tap water over the dish to cool. Add two teaspoons of Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce to the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil. Mix very well so that sauce is distributed throughout the noodles.

3 – Lay 4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips in baking dish with cover. Spoon barbecue sauce over the whole. Lightly season with olive oil. Cook in microwave for 5 minutes.

4 – Serve the hot chicken with the cool noodles.

 

–barbecue sauce adapted from recipe by Food.com (chef Lee Lee); chicken and noodles adapted from Real Simple.

HONEYED SALMON / TARRAGON GREEN PEAS / PASTA

–penne pasta (dry, one cup)

–salt

–garlic powder

–salmon (size of three decks of cards)

–honey

–red wine (cooking wine is fine)

–soy sauce

–ginger

–sherry (cooking wine is fine)

–sesame seeds (toasted if possible)

–olive oil

–green peas (frozen)

–tarragon (fresh if possible)

 

1 – Measure 1 cup of penne pasta into cooking dish. Add one teaspoon of salt into dish. Just cover with water. Cook, uncovered in microwave for 2 and one-half minutes. Then cook for 8 and one-half minutes more on 50 percent power. When cooking is finished, cover with a lid to keep warm.

2 – Place salmon in cooking dish with cover. Add one-fourth cup of red wine and one-eighth cup of soy sauce. Sprinkle ginger and powdered garlic on top. Add a very small amount of sherry on top. Cover with sesame seeds generously. Then top the whole with a generous amount of honey. Season with olive oil. Set aside.

3 – Place green peas in cooking dish with cover. Sprinkle with salt, tarragon, and olive oil. Stir. Add one inch of water. Cook on high for four minutes.

4 – Cook salmon on high for four and one-half minutes. Test center of salmon to see if cooked. If not, return to microwave for one minute.

5 – Drain pasta in colander.  For serving, place salmon on top of pasta.

6 – Serve dinner hot.

–Salmon adapted from a recipe by friends Steve and Jan Bly. Green peas and pasta original.

CHICKEN SALAD WITH APPLE, WALNUTS

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–olive oil

–salt and pepper

–apple (medium)

–walnuts (1/2 cup, finely chopped)

 

1 – Prepare the chicken 30 minutes ahead of mixing the chicken salad. (The chicken will dice more easily if cool.) Place the chicken in baking dish with cover. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and season with a very small amount of olive oil. Cook chicken for 5 minutes in the microwave.

2 – When chicken has cooled, cut in small pieces. Place in mixing bowl.

3 – Peel and dice the apple. Place in mixing bowl with chicken.

4 – Add one-half cup of finely chopped walnuts to the same mixing bowl.

5 – Stir in two tablespoons of mayonnaise. Add more mayonnaise to reach desired consistency.

6 – Serve.

 

–adapted from a friend’s tuna salad recipe.

COD / BROCCOLI – QUINOA PILAF

Note: This meal may take 40 minutes to prepare.  My husband Paul had seconds on the broccoli pilaf.

 

Cod (very fresh and the size of three decks of cards)

Paprika

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Broccoli (one stalk, chopped)

Quinoa (two-thirds cup)

Raisins (one-third cup)

Roasted almonds (one-fourth cup, lightly salted)

Onion (one-half, chopped)

Chicken broth (low sodium, non-fat)

 

1 – Cook the quinoa first because of the long cooking time. Measure two-thirds cup of quinoa. Pour into large casserole dish (with lid). Add two-thirds cup of chicken broth TWICE to the quinoa. Add a drop of olive oil. Cook on high for 3 minutes in the microwave. Then cook for 10 minutes on 50 percent power. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the meal.

2 – Chop one-half onion and place in small microwaveable bowl with lid. Add water almost to cover. Set aside.

3 – Measure one-third cup of raisins. Set aside.

4 – Measure one-fourth cup of roasted almonds. Set aside.

5 – Chop the broccoli after cutting off and discarding the thick stalk. Place in medium-sized dish with lid. Add raisins to the broccoli. Salt and pepper lightly. Season with olive oil. When the quinoa has finished cooking, cook the broccoli on high for four minutes.

6 – Place the cod in a covered dish with lid. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Season with olive oil.

7 – Cook the onion for five minutes in the microwave.

8 – Cook the cod for five minutes.

9 – While the cod is cooking, mix the pilaf in the casserole dish with cover. Add broccoli, onion, raisins, almonds to the quinoa. Fold ingredients together.  Cover to allow brief seasoning and to heat the whole together.

10 – Serve meal when the cod is done.

 

adapted from Real Simple.

GARLIC FRIED CHICKEN / BRUSSELS SPROUTS & ONIONS

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–garlic powder

–cayenne pepper

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

–cornbread stuffing

–Brussels sprouts – 15 to 20 individual, fresh

–onion (one-half)

–oregano

 

1 – Place the chicken in a plastic bag. Sprinkle garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper right in the bag on top of the chicken. Add olive oil and cover completely. Sift cornbread stuffing into the bag. Shake. Place prepared chicken in covered dish. Set aside.

2 – Rinse Brussels sprouts. Cut each individual sprout into two pieces. Chop half an onion. Place sprouts and onion in a wide-mouthed large dish; make one layer. Sprinkle with oregano, salt, and pepper. Season with olive oil. Add one inch of water to dish. Cook for 15 minutes in microwave. Check toward the end to see that water has not boiled out; add more water if necessary.

3 – Cook chicken for 5 minutes.

4 – Serve hot.

 

Chicken recipe adapted from Food Network.  Brussels sprouts recipe original.

DILLED SALMON & POTATOES / BROCCOLI

Note: This is my favorite dinner.

 

Salmon

2 potatoes (medium)

Dill (fresh if possible)

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Broccoli (one stalk)

Tabasco or other hot sauce

 

1 – Place salmon (about the size of three decks of cards) in middle of covered baking dish. Put a small amount of water in the bottom. Sprinkle dill, salt, and pepper on top. Season with olive oil. Set aside.

2 – Wash the potatoes with soap and water, rinsing thoroughly. Scrub the potato skins vigorously. Cut potatoes so that each piece is about an inch in diameter. Add an inch of water to a microwaveable dish. Make two layers of potatoes in dish. Sprinkle dill, salt, and pepper over each layer. Season with olive oil. Cook uncovered in microwave for 10 minutes, checking toward the end to be sure that water has not boiled out, adding water if needed.

3 – Cut off broccoli stalk, leaving some stem and florets. Cut apart the florets. Season with salt and pepper, olive oil. Cook broccoli, covered, for 4 minutes. Serve broccoli with Tabasco or other hot sauce on table for seasoning.

4 – Cook salmon for four and one-half minutes. It is necessary with a thick piece of salmon to check for doneness when cooking is finished. Cut slit in middle of salmon. Replace in oven for 1 minute if fish is not yet done.

5 – Serve immediately.

    

–Salmon and potatoes adapted from Real Simple. Many broccoli recipes recommend hot sauce for serving.

EGGPLANT CAVIAR / ROSEMARY CHICKEN / GLAZED CARROTS

Note: My husband Paul gave this dinner five stars.

 

Eggplant

Onion (one-half)

Parsley (fresh is better)

Red wine

Olive oil

Cayenne pepper

Garlic powder

Mayonnaise (optional)

Triscuits to serve with eggplant

4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

Rosemary (fresh if possible)

Parmesan cheese (shredded)

4 carrots

Brown sugar

Toasted pecan bits

Lemon juice

 

1 – Prepare the eggplant early, so that it has time to cool. Wash eggplant with soap and water; rinse thoroughly. Use a fork to spear the eggplant all over. Place on microwaveable plate. Cook for five minutes. Turn over in microwave, and cook the other side for five minutes. Cool in refrigerator if time is short.

2 – Using a sharp knife, cut the stalk off the eggplant. Then cut the eggplant lengthwise. Using a fork, rack out the eggplant from its skin, discarding the skin. Pile the meat of the eggplant together, flatten slightly, and then cut two ways with a knife. Drop into large mixing bowl.

3 – Grab a handful of fresh parsley. Chop finely. Cut onion in half, and chop the half finely.

4 – Add to the eggplant mixture: parsley, chopped onion, cayenne pepper (not too much), olive oil to taste, garlic powder, salt and pepper, red cooking wine, and mayonnaise (if desired). Stir vigorously.

5 – You will have enough eggplant caviar for two small bowls. Freeze one; set the other in the refrigerator before dinner.

6 – Lay out 4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips in dish with cover. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, snips of rosemary. Set aside.

7 – Drop pecan bits on plate. Toast for 2 minutes in microwave; then stir; then cook for 2 minutes more. Set aside.

8 – Peel 4 carrots with vegetable peeler. Cut in half, and then cut again lengthwise. (Be careful of your fingers.) Place in dish with cover. Add pecan bits, rosemary snips, lemon juice, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, olive oil to top of carrots. Cook for 4 minutes.

9 – At dinner, as an appetizer, serve eggplant caviar with Triscuits. Meanwhile, cook the chicken for 5 minutes. When chicken is done, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

10 – Serve the chicken and carrots immediately.

 

–Eggplant caviar and carrots adapted from Real Simple; chicken adapted from Carmelo’s (St. Paul, Minnesota).

TILAPIA / GARLIC SPINACH / FETA TOMATOES

–2 tilapia fillets

–lemon juice

–garlic powder

–salt and pepper

–capers

–oregano (fresh if possible)

–paprika

–spinach (fresh, pre-washed)

–2 fresh tomatoes

–feta cheese

–olive oil

 

1 – Place tilapia fillets side-by-side in a microwaveable dish with a cover. Sprinkle lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, capers on top. Cover the whole with a very small amount of fine bread crumbs. Season with olive oil. Set aside.

2 – Place spinach in very large, wide-mouthed dish with cover. Press downward. Add an inch of water.  Sprinkle top with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Season with generous amount of olive oil. Cook for five minutes on high in microwave. When done, cut across two ways in dish. You may want to drain before serving; otherwise, use slotted spoon and serve in side dish.

3 – Cut two tomatoes in half. Lay skin side down in dish. Sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano on top. Add one drop of olive oil to each tomato half. Finish with crumbled feta cheese. Cook for six minutes.

4 – Cook tilapia for 8 minutes. Serve piping hot.

 

–Tilapia adapted from Taste of Home; other recipes original.

 

HERBED CHICKEN / VEGGIE CASSEROLE

4 chicken tenderloins or chicken breast strips

Parsley, thyme, oregano (fresh if possible)

Salt and pepper

Bread crumbs (fine)

Chicken broth, low sodium, non-fat

Vegetable medley (frozen)

Onion – one-half, chopped

Bacon bits, artificial (soy)

Cornbread stuffing (pre-packaged)

 

1 – Lay out the tenderloins/breast strips in a microwaveable dish with cover. Sprinkle to taste with parsley, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper. Add small amount of chicken broth. Lightly cover the whole with cornbread stuffing. Drizzle with very small amount of olive oil. Set aside.

2 – Make a vegetable casserole in two layers. Cover bottom of dish in one-half vegetable medley. Add half the chopped onion. Sprinkle with artificial bacon bits (soy bacon bits). Cover lightly with fine breadcrumbs. Then add another layer of vegetables, onion, bacon bits, breadcrumbs. Cover the whole with a light layer of cornbread stuffing. Season from the top with olive oil.

3 – Cook the vegetable casserole for five minutes on high in the microwave. Remove and keep covered.

4 – Cook the chicken for five minutes on high.

5 – Serve immediately.

 

–inspired by ad for Swanson chicken broth.

SALMON / GREEN BEANS / AVOCADO / BROWN RICE

Salmon

Green beans

Chopped avocado

Brown rice

Chicken broth, low sodium, non-fat

Coriander

Salt and pepper

White wine (cooking wine is fine)

Dill

Toasted pecan bits

 

1 – Prepare the salmon first, enough for three servings, about the size of three decks of cards. Wash gently and place in generous-size microwaveable dish. Cover salmon to one-fourth depth with white cooking wine. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper, and coriander to taste. Lightly drizzle olive oil over all. Set aside.

2 – Toast pecan bits for one minute on high, spread out on microwaveable plate. Stir, and then toast for another minute. Set aside.

3 – Measure two-thirds cup brown rice in large covered bowl. Add two-thirds cup chicken broth. Add one teaspoon olive oil.

Cook in microwave on high for five minutes. If chicken broth is cold, you will need more time. Watch to see that the dish does not boil over. If the chicken broth foams up, then reduce power to 50 percent and double remaining cooking time.

4 – Prepare ready-made fresh green beans, enough for three servings. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Set aside, to cook when rice is finished.

5 – Wash skin of avocado with soap and water, rinsing thoroughly. Cut avocado in half, remove pit. While avocado is still in skin, use a sharp knife to cut in blocks. Use a table spoon to scoop out. Set aside.

6 – When rice is cooked, remove from microwave and keep covered. Cook green beans for four minutes on high.

7 – Cook salmon on high for 4 and one-half minutes.  

8 – Stir pecans into rice.

9 – Serve salmon over pecan rice, with green beans, and drop chopped avocado over the whole.

10 – If desired, accompany meal with whole grain rolls, dipping sauce of olive oil or canola oil.

 

–adapted from Real Simple.