Quick & Easy Salmon Zoodle Bowls

I’ve been on a health kick recently, but with all my recent travels and the start of wedding season, it’s been tough to stick to a steady routine and diet. So many decadent distractions everywhere! That’s why I love super simple recipes that are easy to whip up in the kitchen, but still good for you. Salmon is my go-to protein for weeknight dinners, and I’ve recently been pairing it with a little bit of pesto, garlic, tomatoes and zucchini noodles. So light, refreshing, and packed with a ton of flavor.

Here’s my recipe for Salmon Zoodle Bowls – everything you dreamed of for those busy weeknights. What are some of your tips and tricks for eating healthy with a busy schedule? I’d love to hear from you!

When you’re off your blogging game and Instagram Story is the best picture you have…

Ingredients (serves 2) 

1.5 tbsp olive oil
4 zucchinis – washed, peeled and spiralized into noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 small salmon fillets, cut into three pieces each and marinaded in a little bit of olive oil, s&p and the diced garlic
1/2 a tomato, diced
2-3 tsp of pesto, depending on your taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Recipe

First, prep your zoodles. Lightly fry the spiralized zucchini noodles in 1 tbsp olive oil and garnish with salt & pepper and any other spices to your liking. I usually add some onion powder and parsley flakes, but you can also add red chilli flakes for an added kick. This should only take a few minutes – avoid frying for too long, or the zoodles will become mushy and let out moisture. Keep em’ crispy! Once this is done, arrange the zoodles in a bowl.

Next up, take your salmon pieces (already marinaded in olive oil, s&p and garlic) and lightly pan-fry them for a few minutes on each side in half a tbsp of olive oil. As you’re frying them, drop in the diced tomatoes and add pesto over the salmon pieces. Stir this mixture so that the pesto combines with the tomatoes and coats the salmon. Cover until the salmon pieces are completely cooked (this should taken around 5-10 minutes longer depending how thick the salmon pieces are).

Spoon the salmon, pesto and tomato mixture over your zoodles. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese, freshly cracked pepper and a little more pesto if you please. Enjoy! Guilt-free and delicious.

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Coconut Shrimp Curry (Malai Chingri)

My mom’s coconut shrimp curry (or ‘malai chingri’ as the Bengalis call it) is hands down my favorite dish, ever. No joke. Every time I visit my parents, it’s the #1 item on my list of dishes that my mom must cook for me on my first day back. I’m kind of a brat about it, which is why I was so surprised to learn just how easy and quick it is to make! It’s now my go-to recipe whenever I have guests over for Indian food, and it’s always such a crowd favorite. I’ve been asked for this recipe a million times after guests have tried it, so I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you after verifying all the ingredients and steps with my mom. I sometimes simplify it and skip the cumin and whole garam masala if I’m out, but those spices really make it that much better. Enjoy this creamy, coconut-y, delicious goodness!

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Ingredients (serves 4) 

15-20 shrimp, deveined
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp whole garam masala (cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cardamom)
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tomato, diced
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Kashmiri chili powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 small can of coconut milk
Cilantro, for garnish

Recipe

Heat oil on a medium sized saucepan. Once the oil is heated, add the cumin and whole garam masala. Fry the onions till they begin to brown. Add in the garlic, ginger paste, and tomatoes and stir together till the oil begins to separate. Stir in the shrimp and fry till fully cooked. Add in haldi, cumin and coriander powder, garam masala powder, chili powder, salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Stir in the coconut milk and let boil. Add in more garam masala or chili powder, depending on your taste. Once the shrimp is fully cooked and mixed with the coconut milk, remove from heat and garnish with cilantro. Serve with hot rice.

Travel Diaries: Maui, Hawaii

Aloha! I just got back from an incredible eight-day trip to Hawaii (four days in Maui, four days in Kauai), and have never felt more refreshed and rejuvenated. Aaand…depressed about being back in concrete jungle Chicago. I. love. the. island. life. Take me back already!

This was my first trip to Hawaii and my expectations were set pretty high, for obvious reasons. Having spent much of my formative years in Indonesia, I felt completely at home in the tropical climate the minute we landed in Maui. The warm air, the exquisite greenery, the dynamic landscape–I just couldn’t wait to soak it all up. The Maui leg of the trip was spent with my immediate family to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday, so it made the whole experience all that more special. My parents and brother love traveling as much as we do, and we were adamant about making the most of our four short days on the island.

In no particular order, I’ve recapped my top five moments in Maui below. Not featured but also deserving special mention: sipping on Mai Tais and listening to the sound of crashing waves from our Maalaea Banyans lanai every night, sunset dinner at Kimo’s, and just the beautiful quietness of island life. Such a necessary break from a busy, stressful summer.

The Old Laihana Luau: Rated one of the best and most authentic luaus on the island, the Old Laihana Luau was a fantastic family experience. We booked the luau for my dad’s actual birthday, and it was the perfect celebration. Gorgeous venue right by the water with a spectacular sunset view, incredible service, traditional Hawaii cuisine (which was pretty good for a buffet meal), fabulous entertainment, and an open bar. All for hundred bucks per person. Not a bad deal and definitely worth it, especially during your first few days on the trip to really get in the Hawaiian state of mind.

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The feast at Old Laihana Luau: Fried rice, roasted pork, mahi-mahi, ahi poke, and stir fry veggies

Snorkeling on Kaanapali Beach: I’m a snorkeling newbie, so my husband and I were really, really excited to to check out Maui’s beaches. We didn’t want to waste a whole day on a snorkeling trip (though I now regret not doing Molokini Crater), but we heard that Kaanapali Beach’s Black Rock is perfect for a quick morning snorkeling dip. We had so much fun swimming side by side and saw a ton of little colorful fishies, including a baby sea turtle! It was amazing and an experience I’ll never forget. I just wish we had a GoPro!

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The unfiltered beauty of Kaanapali Beach – no underwater pictures, but you can see the Black Rock in the distance

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Giddy after encountering a baby sea turtle!

Road to Hana: Road to Hana is probably the most popular drive in Maui – I have major motion sickness and can barely drive, so I didn’t think I would enjoy the long, winding roads as much as I did. With some Dramamine in tow and my road trip-loving husband behind the driver’s seat, the entire fam left early in the AM for the spectacular journey to Hana. As my dad kept saying “it’s about the journey, not the destination” because the various stops along the way are just awesome. My favorite stop was the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa National Park – we even brought home a lava rock for our home 🙂 Nature is so freaking cool, especially in Hawaii.

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Salted caramel coconut ice cream from Coco Glen, the cutest little stand on the Road to Hana. So delicious and necessary after the winding roads.

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Feelin’ victorious after reaching the black sand beach!

Sunrise at Haleakala Crater: This was actually a little disappointing for us, because the morning we decided to make the one hour drive up to Haleakala Crater was a foggy one and we didn’t see the full sunrise that most tourists rave about. BUT, the experience is still one that I’ll fondly look back on – we all woke up at 2:30 am, bundled up in sweaters and blankets (it’s 40 degrees up there, especially in the early morning!) and drove up to the crater in eager anticipation of sunrise. The atmosphere was really cool and we felt like we were floating in the cloud with other freezing cold tourists. If we could do it again, I’d go for sunset or check it out during the day so you can actually see the crater. Oh, well.

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…Ahi Poke: Is it weird that one of my top five moments is food-related? If you know me at all, then no. One of our first meals on the island was at Maui Fish Market, after snorkeling on Kaanapali Beach. The food options in Maui and Kauai (especially in Kuauai) are limited–at least compared to big cities in the mainland–but the seafood is incredible. We feasted on baja fish tacos, shrimp, and AHI POKE. Maui Fish Market is where we first tried ahi poke, and it became our standard go-to meal for pretty much the rest of the trip. You just can’t beat that fresh island taste. Nom nom.

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So. fresh.

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Mahi-mahi sandwich. Drooling again.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and stay tuned for my Kauai post, coming next!

Sunday Dinners: Sweet & Salty Vietnamese Stir Fry

Sunday dinners are my favorite. There’s something so relaxing about spending a lazy Sunday bringing an entire meal to life – finding the perfect recipe, getting groceries, and then just chopping, stirring, and cooking away in the kitchen with a good playlist in the background. Sometimes my husband and I will cook together, but he’s been spending most of his weekends this summer at work (he’s a medical resident), so Sunday evenings are just my time to be alone and unwind in the kitchen. And I love it.

This past Sunday, I was inspired by a recipe from My Healthy Dish. If you haven’t checked out My Nguyen’s blog yet, do it! She was a panelist at the Create + Cultivate conference that I attended this past weekend, and I just fell in love with her sassy sense of humour and no BS attitude. Her recipes are super easy and healthy, perfect for a quick weeknight meal. She’s a mother of two, so she’s completely mastered the art of whipping up a quick meal without compromising on nutrition.

I followed her recipe for Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp, but added some extra veggies (asparagus, zucchini, and green bell peppers) and cooked the shrimp and vegetables all at once with the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and maple sugar. Yum! Paired with a light egg fried rice and I’m all ready for the work week 🙂

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