When it comes to incorporating more Real Food into your diet, the number one piece of advice that I give to families is to start meal planning!

I plan on doing a more detailed post on meal planning soon, so I won’t get into too much detail today (because I have a yummy recipe for you instead!) However, when I say “meal planning”, what I mean is simply planning your meals at the beginning of the week (or before you do your grocery shopping) so that you have an “action plan” to ensure that your meals are healthy and balanced and so that you can make sure you buy everything you need to make those meals happen (so you are not scrambling at the last-minute).

Along with meal planning, the key to serving consistently healthy and delicious dinners every night without a whole ton of stress and chaos, is prepping things ahead.  Jon and/or I typically spend at least a couple of hours on Sundays cooking meals for the upcoming week and also just doing general chopping and prepping of ingredients (cooking quinoa or rice, mixing up dressings/sauces etc) for other meals so that we don’t have to create a meal from scratch after getting home from work.

However, there are some weeks where we don’t have as much time to prep things ahead.  In these cases, I like to have a few super quick and simple meals incorporated in the meal plan that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less – which is usually about the time limit in which Tyson can amuse himself before he starts begging for some attention

So today I’m sharing one of those quick and easy recipes – my One Pan Roasted Salmon and Vegetables.

Fish is such an important food for kids to eat weekly.  The Omega 3 fatty acids (specifically DHA) are so important for the development of their little brains.  And it’s good for adults too!  Plus, we all love fish in our household  so I end up making this simple One Pan Roasted Salmon and Vegetables quite frequently – I like changing up the type of fish and I choose seasonal vegetables as often as possible.   So really, this dish is not so much a recipe, as it is a formula:

Fish + Vegetables + Flavouring/Herbs/Spices

By roasting the vegetables first and then just throwing the fish on top for the last 20 minutes, clean-up is a breeze with only one dish to deal with.  If you are really looking to save time you can use veggies that don’t require a ton of prep (cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, snow peas, or bagged cabbage, broccoli pieces etc).  But in my personal opinion, you can’t beat roasted root vegetables this time of year.

IMG_3721

One Pan Roasted Salmon + Vegetables

Ingredients

12-16 ounces fresh or frozen salmon, cut into 4 pieces
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 large handfuls of green beans, ends trimmed
1 onion, cut into large pieces
3-4 tbsp olive oil
juice from 1/2 large lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Toss diced sweet potato with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and spread out in a large baking dish.
3.  Place dish in oven and roast potatoes until they are starting to get tender (approximately 25 minutes).
4. Add remaining vegetables* (broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, onion) to pan with remaining olive oil.  Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula to ensure that olive oil is evenly distributed.
5.  Return dish to oven and cook until all vegetables are starting to get tender (approximately 20 minutes).
6.  Take dish out and mix vegetables around again.
7.  Place fish directly on top of vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.
8.  Return dish to oven and cook until fish is cooked through (but not overcooked!) and vegetables are completely tender.  For fresh salmon, this is usually about 15-20 minutes**.  If using frozen, follow directions on package for cook times.
9.  Meanwhile, mix lemon juice, Dijon and dried basil in a small bowl***.  Pour over fish and vegetables once you remove from the oven.
10.  Serve and enjoy!

*As I mentioned above, this is my general recipe but I switch up the vegetables EVERY time I make it – you can roast pretty much anything but you may need to adjust cooking time depending on the types of vegetables you use.  Root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, squash) typically take longer to cook so make sure they are somewhat tender before adding other veggies and fish.
**You will also need to adjust cooking time depending on the type of fish you use.  Tilapia and other white fish tend to need less time in the oven than salmon.
***Okay, you got me – I guess this is technically a second dish, but a small bowl is easy to just toss into the dishwasher 🙂

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This recipe is so versatile that you can even get creative with the flavouring to change it up entirely.  The lemon-Dijon combo is my go-to but here are a couple other mixes I have used:

Asian
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
3 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
* I mix this sauce up and pour over veggies and fish at the same time that I add fish to cook, saving a little to brush over fish right before serving.

Lemon Herb Yogurt Sauce
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or oregano or cilantro)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp olive oil
*Mix ingredients in a small bowl and serve on the side

I’ve also just topped the fish with pesto if I have some in the fridge or spread a little jarred curry sauce on top before cooking.  I’m sure there are about a million other ways you can flavour this – so let me know if you have some ideas.

Oh and of course, I always double the recipe so we have leftovers for another dinner plus lunches and even breakfast.

So just like this recipe, this was a quick and simple post.  I plan on posting more easy recipes like this in the future – I know all you busy families will appreciate them!

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