Note:  This meal may take 40 minutes of preparation time, but you won’t be working the whole time.

–salmon (the size of three decks of cards)

–blueberries (one-half cup fresh)

–red wine (one-fourth cup)

–sugar (2 teaspoons)

–onion (medium)

–green beans (frozen)

–portabella mushrooms (four button)

–thyme (fresh if possible)

–garlic powder

–salt and pepper

–olive oil


1 – Prepare the berries first, due to lengthy preparation time.  Measure one-half cup of blueberries and add to a food processor.  Measure one-fourth cup of red wine to the processor as well.  Pulse well.  Chop one-half onion and add onion and sugar to the berry mixture.  Pour into a large, wide-mouthed baking dish without a cover.  Cook on high for 3 minutes in microwave.  Then cook on 50 percent power for 15 minutes.  When finished cooking, cover to preserve warmth.

2 – Place the salmon in a baking dish with cover.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Set aside.

3 – Chop onion and portabella mushrooms, and place in baking dish with cover.  Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic powder, and thyme.  Cook on high for 3 minutes.  Add green beans, seasoning with salt, pepper, olive oil, and thyme.  Cook for 5 minutes in microwave on high.

4 – Cook the salmon for 5 and one-half minutes.  Test the center to see if the salmon is done.  If not, return to microwave for 1 minute more.

5 – Serve salmon with the berry reduction on top, with the green beans as a side.

–adapted from Williams-Sonoma.


–penne pasta (dry, one cup)


–garlic powder

–salmon (size of three decks of cards)


–red wine (cooking wine is fine)

–soy sauce


–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.


Note: My husband Paul gave this dinner five stars.



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).