Updated: Sep 14
It was chili that did it, following quick on the heels of enchiladas, both reoccurring favorites in my husband’s cooking repertoire. Let me make it clear right here I appreciate his cooking contributions, day after day after day. It’s just that I need more raw or lightly cooked vegetables and aim to eat less calorie dense dinners. We talked and agreed if I’d do the meal planning, he’d be up for trying new recipes. Just put them in Paprika, he said. Paprika is an app that helps organize recipes, plan meals and creates grocery lists. (At the end of this article, more on Paprika if you’re interested.) So began my quest for planning light, healthy dinners.
I met Cathy when she joined my BETTER TOGETHER Outdoor class. Through a mutual acquaintance I’d heard about her cooking talents and found out she is on a similar quest, hers motivated by her doctor’s threat to put her on insulin. To prevent that, she has a goal to bring down all her “numbers”, you know the ones that show up in those lab results, in six weeks. What an inspiration. She has gone from a pasta for dinner girl to mostly vegetarian with fish thrown in and in a few short weeks has lost 7 pounds. Weight loss is nice but her dedication to an all-out healthy cuisine is even more impressive. I learned all the details when my husband and I had dinner at her house. Here’s how it came about. We decided to do a trade for the workout classes – she’d cook a healthy something for us to try.
My husband I were impressed by Cathy's organization. She served us a delicious Cantaloupe Gazpacho while she walked us through the dinner recipe, Salmon Grain Bowl (recipe follows). To begin, she showed us her secret formula for the grain base - quinoa and brown rice, Costco style. A few minutes in the microwave, right in the package, and it was done. To spice it up, she sautéed onions and red peppers in olive oil and toss the warmed grains in the pan.
Next she seared the salmon, for about five minutes, then pan and all went into the oven. Another Costco timesaver, Cathy used already flavored blackened salmon.
While the salmon baked, Cathy prepped the raw vegetables. Any raw or cooked vegetables will work. Cathy sliced cucumber and radishes, and added kale, and avocado. Those went on top of the grains in the bowls, sprinkled with cilantro, then the salmon topped it off. She added an optional cashew cream drizzled over it which she had made ahead.
Impressively, the meal was prepped in probably 15 minutes. For dessert, Cathy arranged orange, pluot, and date slices on a platter, sprinkled with cinnamon. No added sugar and it was a delicious end to the meal. We absolutely loved it and felt very satiated in a distinctly healthy way!
Here's the recipe for the Salmon Grain Bowl!
UPDATE: Cathy recently was unable to find the blackened salmon at Costco. An Internet search showed Instacart, Safeway, and other grocers may carry it. Otherwise, any kind of fish will work. We love Costco's (frozen) Chilean Sea Bass!
More About the Paprika App
Tired of looking up recipes online then printing them out or bookmarking them to save them? Think about Paprika as a bright red, empty digital recipe file box with a cute hot pepper logo on front. You purchase it empty. You put recipes inside. You can easily upload them from the Internet or type in a new file card. Then you create folders and organize them the way you wish. You can keep it simple or if you have a fetish for recipes, like me (did I say, my husband does most of the cooking????) you can collect a lot.
Ready to prepare a recipe? Dump the ingredients in a shopping list, it syncs with the apps on both of our phones (and even my iWatch!).
Grocery list on iPhone or iWatch
You can plan ahead by adding the recipes to a calendar or other meal planner. I subscribe to a few food blogs so I get a steady stream of new recipes in my email. Also, we could exchange recipes and they'd go right in your files. I am so passionate about Paprika, contact me any time and we can have a spicy talk about it!