Baked Garlic and Caper Salmon

Baked Garlic and Caper Salmon

For the best oven baked salmon with a tender texture, cover the salmon loosely as it bakes. The results of this cooking method will remind you of a fine dining experience!

Side dishes that would pair well: Grilled Asparagus, Caesar Salad, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Lemony Herb Couscous, Sugar Snap Peas, Lemon Green Beans, Rice Pilaf, Honey Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts, or a Mediterranean Chickpea Salad.

Wines that would pair well with the salmon are Pinot Noir, an oak-aged Chardonnay, Viognier, White Rioja, White Burgundy, or a White Pinot Noir.

Makes 2 servings

2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 Tablespoons drained capers

Chopped or torn fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or chives

Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Season the top of the salmon with salt and pepper.

Add the butter, garlic, and capers to a baking dish. Place into the oven and cook until the butter is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, tilt the pan so the butter sauce runs to the side, add the salmon fillets and spoon the butter mixture on top.

Cover the baking dish with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake the salmon, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, and check the temperature.

Bake the salmon until an instant-read thermometer reads at least 125 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part. (The USDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F but most people prefer the taste and texture of salmon less than this.) Watch closely so the fish does not overcook.

Continue to bake, covered, until your desired doneness, 5 to 6 minutes more, depending on how thick the salmon is.

Sprinkle with fresh herbs, and serve with a spoonful of the garlic caper butter on top.

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Hidden Calories: They Can Add Up Fast

Hidden calories: They can add up fast

Think of them as “stealth” calories. Like the military plane that’s able to avoid radar, extra calories can sneak into your diet despite your best efforts to make good choices.

Hidden calories can masquerade in food that seems healthful but is filled with fat. Or, they might be in a food you didn’t know packed a high caloric punch. And if you are trying to lose weight, then you may be shocked to hear that even foods we consider healthy can be high in calories, leading to weight gain.

No matter where extra calories come from, they add up fast. But knowing what foods contain hidden calories can help you stay on track in maintaining a healthful diet.

Tracking hidden calories

Foods that may give more calories than you bargained for include:

  • Reduced-fat foods — Just because some of the fat is gone doesn’t mean the calories are. If you check the label, you’ll often find that the reduced-fat snack you’re eating still has a significant number of calories — sometimes almost as much as “regular” snacks.

Tip: Pay attention to the label, especially the serving size and total calorie content, and you won’t wind up with more calories than you intended.

  • Condiments — A tablespoon of mayonnaise adds 100 calories to your sandwich with one spread of your knife. One tablespoon of salad dressing is another quick way to put up to 100 calories in your salad. And just 1 tablespoon of butter tops your baked potato with another 100 calories.

Think of the other things you typically add to your food without much thought. Do you like jelly on your toast? One tablespoon — even of the all-fruit spreads — has about 50 calories. Do you add cream and sugar to coffee? You could be adding up to 65 calories to your morning java. Honey, often added to tea, has 65 calories per tablespoon.

Tip: To add spice to food without adding as many calories, try ketchup, salsa or one of the many new gourmet mustards. For coffee or tea, use skim milk or a sugar substitute (in moderation) instead. Many flavored coffees or teas are also low in calories, and they don’t need cream or sugar.

  • Alcohol — Cocktail calories add up fast. A 2.5-ounce martini has about 155 calories, while a 2-ounce Manhattan has 130 calories. Other alcoholic drinks are also high in calories. There are 150 calories in a 12-ounce beer, and a 4-ounce glass of white or red wine has about 80 to 85 calories. Even wine coolers tip the scale at over 200 calories for a 12-ounce serving.

Tip: Try light beer (100 calories) or nonalcoholic beer (60 calories). Or, make your own wine spritzer by adding club soda to half a glass of wine.

  • Soda pop — Because of the sugar in it, regular soda has about 150 to 200 calories per 12-ounce can. If you drink three cans a day, which is the amount contained in many of the large refillable cups sold by stores and restaurants, you’ve used up a good share of your recommended daily intake of calories.

Tip: Try making water your main beverage. But if you still want something fizzy, try club soda or mineral water. Add a lemon or lime wedge for flavor with negligible calories.

  • Nuts — Although they’re a good source of protein and vitamin E, just a small handful of nuts can easily contain 100 to 200 calories. For example, there’s about 160 calories and 14 grams of fat in those packages of peanuts handed out on airplanes. And just 1 ounce of sunflower seeds sprinkled on your salad adds 170 calories and about 15 grams of fat.

Tip: Snack alternatives to nuts include air-popped popcorn (25 calories a cup) or pretzels (25 small ones have 110 calories). For crunch on top of salads, try cut-up celery, water chestnuts, radishes or carrots.

  • Olive Oil — Olive oil is a “healthy fat” but it packs a high calorie punch. One level tablespoon has 119 calories, (making it calorically-dense) and those calories can easily add up if you are using olive oil as a salad dressing or to dip your bread in.

Tip: Go easy on the oil and measure it out or use a reduced-fat salad dressing and measure it so you know how much you are getting.

  • Yogurt — Many types of yogurt, including frozen yogurt, may be low in fat but high in sugar and calories. Check the label or ask at the counter to see how many calories you’re getting.

Tip: Look for fat-free yogurts. But be careful — even they may have about 100 calories per serving. And keep the serving size reasonable — have frozen yogurt in a small sugar cone (which has 45 calories) rather than a waffle cone that is 200 calories. Or skip the cone altogether and have the same amount in a dish.

  • Muffins — They seem like a healthful food and they’re often sold in so-called health food stores. But one large muffin can have between 300 and 500 calories, not to mention a good number of fat grams. Even a regular-size muffin can have 120 to 200 calories.

Tip: Choose a bagel, English muffin or slice of hearty, whole-grain bread instead.

  • Fruit juice — Think of how many oranges you have to squeeze for a glass of juice. Now you know why an 8-ounce serving of orange juice can have 100 to 120 calories, even though an orange has only about 60 calories. Other fruit juices — pineapple and grape in particular — may also be high in calories.

Tip: Keep your juice serving size to 6 ounces. Or, eat a piece of the fruit itself instead.

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Grilled Zucchini

Simple and delicious. The grilled zucchini goes with practically anything.

We like to make this when we are on the boat. The zucchini travels and keeps well, it is easy to prepare and we only need a few ingredients that are kept on the boat.

A Note on Balsamic Vinegar

You will get what you pay for and for a good quality vinegar, you will pay a premium. Top-quality balsamic vinegar is labeled as aceto balsamico tradizionale, signifying that the traditional methods from Modena Italy have been used in processing and aging it.

As balsamic vinegar ages, moisture evaporates out, thickening the vinegar and concentrating the flavor. It is this aging process that makes true balsamic vinegar from Modena so expensive. Surprisingly, balsamic vinegar brings out the sweetness of fresh fruits such as strawberries.

Here are a few recommendations that I consider affordable and one that would be a fun splurge!

2 zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thickly

Olive oil

Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Ground black pepper

Balsamic Vinegar

Cut the zucchini into slices. Clean and preheat a grill. Brush the zucchini with oil on both sides and season with sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using tongs, place the zucchini on the hot grill , and cook, 2 to 3 minutes on high covered. Flip and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from grill when tender. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Make sure to snap a pic and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @MariaFairesRD_Personal Trainer and using #MariaFaires


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