Tag Archives: dinner party

Salmon en Papillote

Salmon en Papillote | 15 minute healthy meal | AmandaNaturally.comThis recipe sounds fancy. It looks fancy. It tastes fancy. But it’s so darn easy. Which is amazing, since over or under cooking fish is the worst!!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might be familiar with our #TacoTuesday tradition. Since we work late on Tuesdays, we need to make something quick for dinner. Lettuce Wrap Taco‘s have been our go-to for years, however with the recent changes in my life (a.k.a. pregnancy) I’ve been doing everything possible to get as much seafood in my diet as I can.

“Why fish?”, you might ask… well the omega-3 fat found in fish, especially cold-water fish like salmon, is one of the most important (and least consumed) nutrients in our diet. The particular omega-3’s found in fish are EPA and DHA and are absolutely essential for proper development, not to mention all around heath. Here’s why:

  1. EPA & DHA make our cell membranes function better. Since our cell membranes are the brain of the cell (yep, that’s a major dogma shift from what most of us were taught back in highschool/university. The nucleus is in fact, NOT the brain of the cell, it is simply the gonads) if our cell membranes work better, cells work better, which means the tissues that they are a part of work better. All of our organs and systems in our entire bodies work better when our individual cell membranes work better. (note: this is also why we want to avoid vegetable oils because they do the exact opposite)
  2. EPA & DHA have a critical role in the development of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves, eyes).
  3. EPA & DHA are powerfully anti-inflammatory. They provide the building blocks for our endogenous anti-inflammatory molecules known as cytokines. (note: vegetable oils do the opposite, they feed into our pro-inflammatory pathways)

There are 2 very important things to note about omega-3 oils:

  1. The omega-3’s found in plants (flax, walnuts, chia etc.) are not the same. They are a different kind of omega-3 known as ALA. And while we can convert some to the usable form, the amount we can convert is in the range of 1-3% – and that’s with an optimally functioning body, which most people do not have. Which means it would take a cup of flax oil to provide the same health benefits as a few bites of salmon. 
  2. Fish oil supplements only work in the short term. Once you pass 6 weeks, the benefits peter out. So a supplement will not suffice. 

So what does that mean? Well, it’s time to start eating fish my friends. Not a fan? At risk of sounding like a total jerk, that’s kind of not an option if you want to make sure you’re hitting your required nutrients. Now I appreciate that some people have fish/seafood allergies, so that definitely is a roadblock, but unless that’s your case, start learning and wanting to develop a taste for it (trust me – I get it. I did not like liver. But I knew how important it was, so I set my mind to it and learned to like it.) If you are in the transition of learning to like fish, or you are allergic, the only other places you can find usable omega-3 fats in are grassfed beef and pastured egg yolks.

As with all food, the better the quality, the better the nutrition. For fish you want to try and purchase wild, sustainably caught species whenever possible. That can be challenging to find (and crazy expensive) in the middle of the continent, but luckily demand is going up, so places like Costco (where I get my frozen, wild salmon) are carrying more of this type of product! Though it definitely comes at a price, so you want to make sure you cook it up nicely!

Enter: Salmon en Papillote

This meal can be pulled together in 15 minutes flat – as long as the fish is thawed. It pairs beautifully with rice (cooked in bone broth of course!), cauli-rice, steamed potatoes or a simple salad.

Aside from being incredibly heathy and the minimal prep/cook time, one of the best features of this meal is it is super scalable. Last night I made it for just me (not too shabby for a solo dinner eh?) and I’ve also made it for a large dinner party.

The ingredients are very flexible as well, although I am partial to the ones I use! However if you need to avoid nightshades, simply omit the red peppers and if desired, sub another vegetable like yellow squash or bok choy.

Finally, while I made this particular one in the oven, you have the option of using the BBQ as well. We often do that in the summer to keep the house cool!

Salmon en Papillote
Serves 1
Sounds, looks and tastes fancy - actually super simple! Not to mention delicious and nutritious!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1 piece salmon (or other fish)
  2. 4 slices of zucchini
  3. ¼ cup sliced red onion
  4. ¼ - ½ red pepper, sliced thin
  5. olive oil
  6. sea salt
  7. 2-3 lemon slices
  8. squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a heart shape, folded in half.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil under where the salmon will go. Top with zucchini, then onions & peppers.
  4. Place salmon on top of veggies.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze a bit of lemon on top and season with sea salt.
  6. Starting at the furthest point away from the point/bottom of the heart, start rolling the edges together, moving all the way to the point.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Cut open parchment paper (don't get burned by the steam!) and serve!
  1. You can also do the same thing the BBQ. Simply use tin foil (don't worry about the heart/rolling method - just make sure to secure the tin foil tightly) and BBQ at medium high heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Scale up for the number of meals you need!
  3. For AIP friendly, omit the red peppers. Sub in yellow squash or bok choy.
Amanda Naturally http://www.amandanaturally.com/

  Directions in Pictures!

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a heart shape, folded in half.     

2. Drizzle a little olive oil under where the salmon will go. Top with zucchini, then onions & peppers.

3. Place salmon on top of veggies. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze a bit of lemon on top and season with sea salt.

4. Starting at the furthest point away from the point/bottom of the heart, start rolling the edges together, moving all the way to the point. Bake for 10 minutes.   

5. Cut open parchment paper (don’t get burned by the steam!) and serve!

75 Healthy Holiday Recipes

The holiday season can be challenging when you avoid certain foods. If you’re lucky, you can indulge in a few treats that you wouldn’t normally indulge in – if that’s the case go ahead! Just make them count!

However if you’re like me, there’s a line you can’t cross. I don’t care how delicious that apple pie is – the butter and the wheat in it are going to make me pay for days, even weeks. So for anyone out there who, like me, sticks with their way of eating through the holiday season (albeit with a little more sugar!), but misses some old standards, or is stressing about what to make for a potluck – look no further! From dinners to appetizers, to pot lucks and edible hostess gifts, this round up, 75 Healthy Holiday Recipes, has you covered! (PS. I think there are now more than 75 on this list…!)

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites | AmandaNaturally.comAppetizers

Christmas Dinner

Veggies & Sides

Cranberries & Gravy

Stuffing (bread-free)

Desserts/Treats Maple Balsamic Kale | vegan , paleo, AIP, delicious | AmandaNaturally.com

Cookies etc.

Cocktails & Drinks

Hostess Gifts

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites (and why you don’t need to be afraid of bacon!)

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites | AmandaNaturally.comIn honour of the ridiculous report released by the WHO earlier this week (saying that bacon and red meat are akin to cigarettes regarding cancer risk), I’ve decided to share a go-to appetizer in my house – Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites! This doesn’t even really require a recipe per se, it’s more basic directions for the world’s best appetizer!

But briefly, before I jump into the awesomeness that are my BGT Bites, I just want to post a few links to solid articles (and my favourite quotes from each) to put you at ease for eating both red meat and bacon:

World Health Organization, Meat & Cancer – Zoe Harcombe

“…the baseline for the processed meat eaters showed that they were far less active, had a higher BMI, were THREE TIMES more likely to smoke and almost TWICE as likely to have diabetes. This makes processed meat a MARKER of an unhealthy person, not a MAKER of an unhealthy person.”  (bold emphasis is mine)

The Link Between Meat & Cancer – Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

“Where heme becomes a problem is in your gut: the cells lining your digestive tract metabolize it into cytotoxic compounds (meaning toxic to living cells), which can then damage your colonic mucosa, cause cell proliferation, and increase fecal water toxicity—all of which raise cancer risk….Here’s where vegetables come to the rescue! Chlorophyll, the pigment in plants that makes them green, has a molecular structure that’s very similar to heme. As a result, chlorophyll can block the metabolism of heme in your intestinal tract and prevent those toxic metabolites from forming. Instead of turning into harmful byproducts, heme ends up metabolized into inert compounds that are no longer toxic or damaging to your colon.” (bold emphasis is mine)

Bacon Causes Cancer? Sort of. Not Really. Ish. – Sarah, Zhang at Wired

“…smoking increases your relative risk of lung cancer by 2,500 percent; eating two slices of bacon a day increases your relative risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent. Given the frequency of colorectal cancer, that means your risk of getting colorectal cancer over your life goes from about 5 percent to 6 percent…” (bold emphasis is mine)

“[The list of carcinogenic compounds] includes processed meat, and also asbestos. Also alcohol (boo!) and sunlight (yup!).”

“Risk assessment involves looking at different scenarios, finding out real-world exposure levels, and weighing possible benefits. (Useful drugs like Tamoxifen—used to treat breast cancer—are also carcinogens, for example.)”

The moral of the story is: The medical literature simply does not support these recommendations. I am confident in my understanding of the medical literature, to continue to recommend the consumption of a moderate amount of meat (ideally grass-fed, pasture-raised whenever possible) along side as many vegetables as possible.

Now that that’s out of the way….BACON!

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites (a.k.a. BGT Bites)


1 lb pastured bacon (or organic thick cut)

1-2 cups guacamole (see recipe)

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
  2. Slice each piece of bacon into 4 equal pieces. If the slice of bacon is particularly short, only cut into 3 pieces. They lose quite a bit of their size once cooked, so don’t cut too small!
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until very crisp.
    1. Option 1: lay flat on parchment paper lined baking sheet
    2. Option 2: line baking sheet with tin foil, place baking rack on top, lay bacon on rack. This allows you to save the rendered back grease for later use (hello bacon-fried eggs and bacon-mayo!)
  4. Meanwhile, make a batch of guacamole. If you’re out of time, or there aren’t any ripe avocados, Wholly Guacamole is fairly clean. As is the one found at Costco.
  5. Slice the grape/cherry tomatoes into discs – approximately 3-4 slices per tomato.
  6. Remove bacon and let cool.
    1. NOTE: If you are assembling this appetizer elsewhere, store the 3 ingredients in separate containers. You can transport the guac in the ziploc bag (see below), just make sure to squish it all into one corner and get rid of every last bit of air to prevent it from browning! Keep the bacon and tomatoes in separate containers to prevent the bacon from getting soggy. A piece of paper towel in with the bacon can also help this.
  7. Assemble BGT Bites – line a serving tray with bacon pieces. Spoon the guac into the corner of a ziploc bag. Cut off the corner and use like a pastry bag – squeezing a dollop of guac onto each piece of bacon. Top with a tomato slice!

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites | AmandaNaturally.com

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