But it's so hard.
To me, those typical winter dishes are the epitome of comfort food. It's not easy to say "so long" to my favorites like mashed potatoes, pasta that swims in cream, vegetable meatloaf, chili, hearty crock pot recipes and mac 'n cheese masterpieces.
Enter Caesar Salmon! It's my transitional crutch. A two ingredient recipe that goes back and forth between hearty or light, depending on how you serve it. And because the secret ingredient is fat free Caesar dressing, you can enjoy the indulgent flavors without feeling guilty. Which is exactly what I need when I'm trying to change my habits back to fresher, healthier eating.
I've included that really hard, really complex, two ingredient recipe below (this is one of those times when a sarcasm font would come in handy). You prepare the salmon the same way and then serve it anyway that floats your boat. Here are my suggestions:
For those chilly nights when dessert is a hot chocolate with marshmallows...
Cook salmon according to the recipe and serve with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable or a Caesar salad. Maybe add in some crusty french bread if you dare.
For the nights when you just want to sit on the patio with a glass of wine...
Cook salmon according to the recipe. While the salmon is cooking, bake Parmesan crisps to go on the side (see recipe below). Try not to eat the Parmesan crisps before your salmon is done. Build a salad of romaine greens and using your hands, pull apart the cooked salmon and spread over the salad. Top with croutons and Cardini's dressing and add whatever remains of your baked Parmesan crisp to the side.
It's delicious however you prepare it. Enjoy!
Caesar Salmon Salad with Parmesan Crisp
Baked Caesar Salmon
Cardini's fat free Caesar salad dressing
Rinse salmon fillets in cold water and pat dry. Place in a Ziploc bag or a shallow dish (whatever you prefer) and marinate with Caesar salad dressing for 30 minutes.
Lay a piece of aluminium foil on the counter (about 1' x 1'). Place salmon in middle of foil and fold and pinch the edges on all sides so it makes a little tented envelope or package. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with other salmon fillets. Discard the remaining marinade.
Bake the packages at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the fish flakes.
Baked Parmesan Crisps
1 c. coarsely grated Parmesan Reggiano
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make 4 flat circles of cheese on the baking sheet. Make sure the cheese in the circles is spread out a bit so you get the lacy effect.
Bake 8-9 minutes until cheese is golden and lacy. Remove and let cool 1-2 minutes. Loosen from the baking sheet with a spatula.
Note: Stay in the kitchen and watch these cook. Once they are done, they're done! I start checking mine after about 5 minutes.