My December Secret Recipe Club assignment, Mom’s Fridge, gave me a view of the American food system I sometimes forget about: cooking and meal planning for a family.  Barb’s blog has a nearly infinite number of chicken recipes for a family, monthly meal plans, and some comments about feeding the kids (teenagers). Barb’s quite the bread baker too, so check out her blog if you’re looking for some recipes to change up your normal (wheat) bread regime. The only tricky part of navigating her blog is that she doesn’t have a recipe index, but fortunately Google can come to the rescue!

Maple Dijon Salmon

I switched out the chicken for salmon, and cut the number of servings. Six servings of salmon seemed a little much for just me… Oh, and I used fresh garlic, as I’m still noshing away at the garden’s harvest from this summer. The recipe struck me as quite sweet, so I might finish it with a little lemon juice, parsley, or chopped green onions next time. It definitely tasted great on the cooked kale.

2/3 lb salmon fillets
1 T Koszkiusko mustard or other grainy, spicy brown mustard
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T maple syrup (grade B for max maple flavor)
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix the mustards, maple syrup, garlic, and marjoram in small bowl. Place the salmon skin side down on a shallow pan covered in foil. Coat the top of the salmon in the mustard sauce, and bake for 15 minutes (adjust according to the thickness of your salmon fillets). Cooked fish should be flaky but not dry. I generally prefer my fish in the under-cooked end of the spectrum, though, so you may want another few minutes. Keep in mind it will continue to cook for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven.

Recipes like this are easy to fit into the protein quarter of the “plate” nutrition model. A veg or two can fill half the plate, and a whole grain can fill the last quarter. I generally aim to have orange and/or green vegetables (preferably both, but I’m not quite that organized!) each day, and mix up my grains. Whole grain bread is always an option, but a few other ideas include corn, polenta, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, kasha, whole wheat cous-cous, whole grain pasta, cornbread (whole grain corn meal is available via arrowhead mills), millet, barley, bulgur, oats, or wheat berries. note: Wheat, barley, rye, common oats, and items made from them are NOT gluten-free.

Secret Recipe Club is this fun group where we are handed the name of a stranger’s blog from which we chose one recipe to make each month. Quite fun, and good for expanding horizons. (You can, of course, change recipes as needed for dietary restrictions or ingredient availability. We even tweak slightly for flavor variations!) Previous SRC-inspired recipes include: Ginger Cookies, Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies, Coconut Risotto with Roasted Plums and Almonds, and Fresh Corn Cakes with Peppers.