Baked Cod with Fall Salsa, Peas, Mango, and a Side Salad

9-27-11 Dinner Blog

Baked Cod with Fall Salsa, Peas, Mango and a Side Salad

Sometimes even with the best planning, dinners don’t always match up with the schedules.  I was out with activities and carpools from 3:30 -6:40 and had a 6:45 speaker that I had signed up to hear.  What was I thinking when I put the fish on the menu for tonight?!?!

Earlier in the day, I took 5 minutes to make the salsa.  Seriously – 5 minutes.  I had already chopped everything up.  I just put it together, added the balsamic vinegar, mixed it together, and put it in the refrigerator.

The good thing is that fish is very easy and very fast.  At 6:40 I got to work.  I turned the oven on to 350, laid the fish on a lightly sprayed roasting pan, sprinkled ½ t salt, 1 t basil and 1 t thyme on top, and slid into the oven.

Baking Cod with Basil, Thyme, Salt

Baking Cod with Basil, Thyme, Salt

While the fish was cooking, I laid out the plates, and added a small side salad topped with carrots and bell peppers pre-cut for the soup on Thursday and the no-oil salad dressing.  I also warmed up a bowl of frozen peas and cut a mango, dividing both peas and mangos across the plates.

8 minutes later the fish was ready, cracking on top and springing back to the touch.  I portioned the fish, topped with the fall salsa and served!

Baked Cod with Fall Salsa, Peas, Mango and a Side Salad

Very fast!!!

The Verdict

The kids LOVED the fish.  It was moist and flavorful.  They each had a small second serving and everyone rated the fish a 9!  The kids thought the fall salsa was OK.  My husband and I loved it, rating the salsa a 9.  It was really tasty with the cod.  It seemed very versatile to us – you could use it on chicken or pork as well.  So fish for all, salsa for adults or sophisticated palates!

Will I make it again? You betcha!

Sept 26-29 Weekly Menu and Master Shopping List

Sept 26-29 Weekly Menu and Master Shopping List

It’s feeling like autumn and I am looking for warm recipes that meet the healthy, delicious, fast criteria that Busy Lives Healthy Eats is built upon.  I love to: cook once and “reinvent” the second meal; and pre-prep so that the amount of work required during dinner prep, which is often jumbled with carpools and homework, is minimal.  This week, all the recipes are new to me.  I have never prepared them.  I thought this would be a good test as many of the recipes I make would be new to you if you made them.  So be forgiving as I share my experiences of the week with these new recipes!

Weekly Menu:

Monday: Tomato-Herb Chicken, Broccoli, Fruit

Tuesday: Fish with Fall Harvest Red Grape Salsa, Peas, Side Salad, Fruit

Wednesday: Braised Chicken Gumbo, Side Salad, Fruit

Thursday: Mexican Vegetable Soup with Crushed Tortilla Chips and shredded cheese

 Give credit where credit is deserved:

Monday’s recipe is a slight variation of a recipe I found on  I was particularly excited when I saw their “reinvention” of the meal, which is the Braised Chicken Gumbo that is on my menu for Wednesday.  So thank you EatingWell!

Tuesday’s recipe features a “fall salsa”. While the rest of the meal is not new – we have cooked plenty of fish – I was looking for a fall flavor topping.  Better Homes and Gardens featured this fall salsa that looks amazing.  Stay tuned…

Thursday’s recipe comes from “Quick Vegetarian Pleasures”, a cookbook that I have had for over 15 years.  I have had great luck with several recipes of these recipes, and even used their Split Pea Soup recipe as a base for my variation last week. The additional twist is that I plan to make this a crock pot recipe.  Their recipe is cooked on the stove.

Master Shopping List

For 2 Adults and 2 Kids



3.5 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1.5 – 1.75 lbs. fish – I will see what the prices are and what strikes me


Greens – for lunch and dinners

4 Red Onions

8 Cloves garlic

¼ C Fresh chopped parsley

2 Bell peppers, at least one red

3 Carrots

3 Medium zucchini

1 Head Broccoli


1 C Seedless red grapes, halved

5 Pears

Other based on what is in season in the store

Dry Goods

1 t Dried thyme

1 t Fennel seeds

1 t Fresh ground pepper

1 Bay leaf

3 C Low sodium chicken broth

8 C Low sodium vegetable broth

1 T Lemon Juice

2 – 28 oz. Can tomatoes, or tomatoes in other shelf stable package

1 ½ t salt

1 T Olive oil or canola oil

2 T flour

1 C Cooked rice

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1 T Balsamic vinegar

1 t Ground cumin

1 15 oz. Can kidney beans


Corn tortillas



Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional – for the Mexican vegetable stew)



1 C Sliced Okra

2 C Frozen corn kernels

1 Bag Frozen peas



Asian Lettuce Wraps, Tomato-Avocado Salsa, Fresh Fruit


Dinner Blog Dinner Prep

It’s a good night when things go as planned.  It’s a great night when someone says they want to drive your leg of the carpool!  Bonus!!!

I found tonight’s recipe on  It sounded easy, delicious, and fast.  Right up my alley.  The recipe estimated 20 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time, which was about how long it took me.  I entered the kitchen at 6:10 and began by cooking the ground beef.  I should have washed the Bibb lettuce first and let it dry, but I was too excited to start the meal to think in the right order…

Once the beef was done, I put it on the side and cooked the onion, adding the hoisin sauce, soy sauce (I used the Bragg’s Liquid Aminos), garlic and rice wine vinegar when the onion was tender. Then I added the beef back to the onion mixture with sliced water chestnuts and chopped green onions.

Mixing the ground turkey, onions, and asian seasonings

I laid out the plates adding pineapple, a sliced peach and the last of the strawberries.  And while the menu shows green beans for tonight, we had them the last two nights, so I made a tomato – avocado “salsa” mixture.  It was a nice change from a side salad since we were already using lettuce for our wraps.

At 6:25 I had to run and pick up my son’s carpool and at 6:45 when I was back home again, I washed the lettuce (should have done earlier so it would dry), and patted it dry.  I warmed up the ground turkey mixture and spooned a bit on each lettuce leaf. I thought we would probably eat more than one wrap, but I wanted to make sure everyone liked them before I loaded them up on their plate.  We sat down to eat at 7:05.

Asian Lettuce Wraps with Tomato-Avocado Salsa, pineapple, strawberries and peaches

Two Thumbs Up!

Everyone liked dinner and I even got points for creativity (using lettuce instead of a tortilla)!  We used the sweet chili sauce (you may still have extra from a couple of weeks ago) and that added another level of flavor.  My son and husband really enjoyed the wraps, had seconds, and gave the dinner a 9 and 9+ respectively.  This is a huge win as my son is not a huge turkey eater… My daughter was a little less enthusiastic, had a small second wrap, and gave the meal a 7, although I am not sure why and I am not sure she knows exactly why…


Ingredients for Asian Lettuce Wraps:

12-16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves

1.75 lbs. ground turkey

1 T cooking oil

1 large onion

chopped 3 cloves fresh garlic

minced 1T plus a little bit

soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)

1/3 Hoisin sauce 1 T plus a little bit,

1T rice wine vinegar

Asian chile pepper sauce or sweet chili sauce

1 8 oz can water chestnuts, sliced or finely chopped

¼ C chopped green onions

2 t Asian dark sesame oil

  1. Rinse lettuce leaves and set aside to dry
  2. Brown the ground turkey.  Remove from pan
  3. In same pan, sautee onion.
  4. Add garlic, soy sauce (Bragg’s), hoisin sauce, vinegar, and chili pepper sauce (or sweet chili sauce) to the onions and stir.
  5. Stir in water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked ground turkey
  6. Lay out plates and add fruit and one or two lettuce leaves
  7. Dice a tomato and avocado and mix them together with a touch of salt.  (for those kids who have strong preferences, add avocado, tomato or both separately on the plate (see the four settings: the adults got the mixture, and one had no tomatoes and one had avocado and tomato separate on the plate…)
  8. Make sure turkey mixture is still warm.  Spoon the mixture into center of leaves, making sure not to put too much in as it will be difficult to wrap.
  9. Serve!
  10. Show the kids how to “wrap” the lettuce like a tortilla – see how many points you get for creativity!