Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baked Parmesan Tilapia

I had a craving for fish and had planned to make it for us tomorrow night (Friday) for dinner, but plans changed and I got to make it last night! I was supposed to have a meeting last night, but it got canceled because of the snow. We didn't get much snow...just around one inch, but it was beautiful. I was happy to have an evening at home to cook and spend time with my husband and fur-babies. :) One the menu was easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia, baked kale "chips," and rice. The tilapia was soooo yummy and fixed my craving. The kale chips were new to me...I have been reading many blogs that posted the recipe and thought I'd give it a try. They were so good! Extremely crisp and paper thin, but very crunchy and great flavor. We also had some rice leftover in the fridge, so to fancy that up I toasted some walnuts on the stove on a pot, then threw the rice in the pot to warm it up and added craisans...a fun variation to boring old rice. Enjoy the recipes below!

Easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia

(makes 4 tilapia filets)
4 tilapia filets (I used fresh, but I think frozen should work too)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup grated/shredded parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
lemon slices for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pat tilapia dry (if frozen, it should be thawed first) with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Lay on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 10-12 minutes. While fish is baking, mix butter with garlic, thyme and parmesan cheese.

Remove fish from oven and gently flip. Spread about 1/2 tablespoons of butter mixture on the fish, and heat the broiler in your oven. Set fish under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes, or until cheese gets golden and bubbly.
Serve with lemon.

Baked Kale Chips, recipe found here

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
3 large handfuls lacinato kale, torn into shreds
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine the salt, smoked paprika, and garlic in a small bowl.

Wash the kale. Rinse the kale leaves, then put them in a salad spinner and spin until the green becomes a blur. Round and round, spinning and spinning — let the kale dry. After it comes out, dry it even more with paper towels. Those leaves should be bone dry.

Oiling the kale. Put the kale leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Massage the oil into the leaves. You might need more. You might have larger hands than I do. Use your judgment.

Bake the chips. Arrange the kale chips onto the sheet try and slide it into the oven. Bake until the leaves are crisp to the touch but still a dark green. (When they turn brown, they turn bitter.) Check at the 12-minute mark, to be sure.

Remove them from the oven. Sprinkle with the garlic smoked paprika salt.

Let them cool a bit. Eat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smoked Turkey with Saffron Red Rice

I made this meal for the hubs and I on Monday night. Because it made so much, it has been great for leftover meals during the week. This was super easy and kind of meal. I had all of the ingredients on hand...except for the Saffron. If you haven't used Saffron before you are definitely in for a Special Treat. For you novice chefs here is some info. about saffron:

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus. A flower bears three stigmas, each the distal end of a carpel. Together with their styles—stalks connecting stigmas to their host plant—stigmas are dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, long the world's most expensive spice by weight, is native to Southwest Asia.
Saffron's bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance result from the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. A carotenoid dye, crocin, allows saffron to impart a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles.

As you can see Saffron is SUPER pricey, especially for the amount you get. I haven't cooked with Saffron in ages so decided it was time for a special treat. The hubs and I do a pretty good job of budgeting our food expenses by eating at home and rarely going out to eat. Therefore---we had some wiggle room to splurge on some saffron. ;)

2 Cups uncooked basmati rice
3 Tablespoons grape seed oil (you can use olive oil if you need)
1 1/2 Cups finely chopped white onion
2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 15 oz cans green beans, drained
8 oz tomato sauce
1 Tbsp McCormick Gourmet Roasted Cumin
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet garlic salt
1 heaping Tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Spanish Saffron threads

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Heat oil into a large 5 quart dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Saute onions for 5 minutes or until translucent and softened. Stir in garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add turkey, salt, pepper and cook until cooked through and crumbled. Stir in green beans, rice, tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, garlic salt and saffron threads. Stir until well combined. Taste and season according to your liking. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve.

12 servings

*If you click on the picture it is enlarged and you can see the food better :)

P.S.- If you are interested in reading more about budgeting for food and how to assess your kitchen by using what you have at home instead of buying more food---check this out. This is my new favorite blog...oh, and the blogger has a pug...enough said :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin, Acorn Squash and onions in a brown sugar/honey glaze...

It's been a super busy week, so this woman hasn't been able to do some serious cooking the past few days. We've been doing a lot of random dinners...eggs, sandwiches, etc. Friday evening I finally had some time to cook...oooh, how I had missed it! I created my own recipe and made Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin, Acorn Squash and onions in a brown sugar/honey glaze with garlic green beans. Twas delish!

First I cut up the acorn squash in cubes, put them in a dish and popped them in the oven at 350 degrees. While this was beginning to cook I made a sauce to put over the squash. I mixed about 2 T. of brown sugar, 1 T. melted butter, and 1 1/2 T. of maple syrup...voila, yummy sauce. Next, I put the pork tenderloin in the oven with the squash (350 degrees). The pork was in the oven for about 40 mins. total. Then, I sliced up a onion and stir fried it for about 5 minutes...then I added it to the squash in the oven. The squash was in the oven for a total of about 50 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of the squash cooking, I put the brown sugar sauce over the squash and onion to let the flavor soak in.

For the pork, I made a honey mustard sauce. I mixed about 2 T. of low-fat mayo, 1 T. yellow mustard and 1 T. maple syrup. (Just play around with the flavors until you get the taste that you prefer) When the pork had about 15 minutes left to cook, I coated it with the honey mustard sauce. For our veggie, we had fresh green beans which I boiled in water and then stir fried with garlic for good flava'. We also had a spinach salad with toasted walnuts and craisins. I served the extra honey mustard sauce on the side for extra dipping.

We loved this dinner and are looking forward to eating pork tenderloin sandwiches this week for lunch. I love is such therapy for me :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

11 Healthy Foods to Try in 2011

This is a guest post from my lovely Mom...

Hi all,
I am sharing information from an article in my latest Tufts Nutrition Letter - 11 Healthy Foods To Try in 2011. Here they are. Enjoy!

1. Sardines

2. Quinoa

3. Greek Yogurt

4. Avocados

5. Chiles – I will put these in things I make for Jim, not me!

6. Mangoes – maybe baby James would like this

7. Pumpkin Seeds – great to add to homemade granola

8. Chinese Broccoli – I am not familiar with this. Will have to look for this. It says it is also known as Chinese Kale, but has a milder taste and tender stalks than usual kale and used in place of other greens.

9. Garlic scapes – Not familiar with this either. Says it may play a role in modulating growth of cancer cells and glucose levels.

10. Lentils – I am ready to make a big pot of lentil soup. That used to be a favorite meal of the boys growing up - not so with Laura but this has changed!

11. Chickpeas – another favorite of the boys growing up. They loved when I put them on salads. It suggests roasting them for a crunchy snack.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2011!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1st dinner of 1-1-11!

Once again...Happy New Year! For dinner this year, I really wanted to make the traditional black eyed peas and greens. Every year that I can remember my Mom has done this on New Years day. Honestly, I never looked forward to it...when I was younger I thought black eyed peas and greens were gross. Oh, but I am thankful that my Mom made us eat this while we were I have come to appreciate all types of food.

I decided that a little more luck for us wouldn't hurt for the New Year by making these foods. This is the explanation from Wikipedia: Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is thought to bring prosperity. The "good luck" traditions of eating black-eyed peas at Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud (compiled ~500 CE), Horayot 12A: "Abaye [d. 339 CE] said, now that you have established that good-luck symbols avail, you should make it a habit to see qara (bottle gourd), rubiya (black-eyed peas, Arabic lubiya), kartei (leeks), silka (either beets or spinach), and tamrei (dates) on your table on the New Year." In the Southern United States, the peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, ham bones, fatback, or hog jowl), diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar. The traditional meal also features collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion.[6] Cornbread also often accompanies this meal. "Hoppin' John", made of black-eyed peas, rice, and pork, is a traditional dish of Southern United States.

I have never made Hoppin John before, so gave it a try yesterday...horray, it tuned out great! Our greens were kale (b/c that's my new fav. veggie right now) and we had ham and cheese "biscuits."

Here is the recipe for the Hoppin John...courtesy of Emeril:


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large ham hock
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 quart chicken stock
Bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
3 cups steamed white rice


Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear on all sides for 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions. Serve over rice.

Here is the recipe for the delicious Kale...will def. be making this recipe again!!!!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups stemmed, torn and rinsed kale
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.
Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

**HAPPY 2011**

Daniel and I had a very enjoyable end to 2010. Here in Richmond it was a beautiful day with temps in the high 50' felt like summer compared to the coooold winteer we've been having! As you know, I am training for a half-marathon in March. I FINALLY got to run outside for the first time since earlier this fall and had a GREAT run. I ran 6.3 miles, but could have run even longer. It was an awesome run...I love when that happens! Hello runners high! Daniel spent some time in our yard planting some shrubs that we've been wanting to plant for a while. It looks great...he has such a green thumb...I am so thankful for this!

Last night we enjoyed a quiet, yet fun evening in. I made bourbon salmon (thanks to the Fresh Market!), olive/oil and garlic roasted broccoli, twice baked potatoes, rolls, we sipped on wine and champagne! Twas delish! This morning when we woke up to greet 2011, we made homemade of our favorite breakfasts to eat together. I have a feeling that it's going to be a great 2011...

For the roasted broccoli, I had a garlic infused olive oil on hand, so I lightly coated chopped up fresh broccoli with this, then roasted it in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes. Yum! For the twice baked potates, I baked the potatoes at 400 for about 1 and a half hours, then cut a oval hole in the top of the potato, took out the insides and mixed them in a separate bowl with low fat sour cream, chives, a little salt and pepper and low-fat cheddar cheese. Once this was all mixed other, you place it back in the potato and put into the oven to get warm...about another 20 minutes. Our dinner was perfect! Of course, I had to make dessert. I found this Peanut Butter Cup Trifle and knew I had to make it! It was sooo good...I can't wait to eat more tonight :)

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

1 (9x13) pan of baked brownies, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (I used fat-free, sugar-free pudding)
3 cups milk (I used skim milk)
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 (8 ounce) container thawed Cool Whip, divided (I used low-fat)
20 peanut butter cups, crumbled
6-8 peanut butter cups to garnish.

Combine pudding and milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and vanilla, beat until smooth. Gently fold in 2 cups cool whip or homemade whipped cream.

Layer in trifle dish ½ the brownies, ½ the crumbled peanut butter cups, ½ the pudding mixture. Repeat. Top with cool whip and peanut butter cups. Chill at least four hours until serving.