cornmeal and yogurt crust tilapia with cucumber radish saladSince I’m on a fish kick I decided to share another good recipe I came across. This cornmeal and yogurt crusted tilapia has a creamy inside and a crispy outside – the more you can crisp it the better. Instead of using regular yogurt I used Greek yogurt – this is what really set this dish apart from the original recipe. This would also go well with flounder, sole or any other white fish.

I used skinless fish so I covered each side with a good amount of salt, pepper and paprika and I also put a good amount of all 3 of these spices into the cornmeal. Once the cornmeal and yogurt crusted tilapia is cooked through to your liking (10-15 minutes) place the fish on low broil for 3 minutes or so  to make it extra crispy.

IMG_1012cornmeal and yogurt crust tilapiacornmeal and yogurt crust tilapiacucumber and radish saladcucumber and radish salad with yogurt dressing

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Asian salmon with farroI have a confession to make…I don’t cook enough fish. My husband isn’t the biggest fan of my fish cooking skills so instead of having a failed dinner, I opt to make meat or vegetarian dishes which I know I’m good at. I decided to just get over it.

I came across an Asian salmon with farro recipe which got me excited. This recipe is very easy to make and it’s quite healthy with omega-3 fatty acids, grains and vegetables. I didn’t have any mushrooms or snap peas so instead I used edamame and corn and was not disappointed. I got a little bit soy sauce crazy and made the farro medley a little bit too salty so I learned my lesson for next time.

salmon filet

Asian salmon

Asian salmon farro medley

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spanish riceWhen I can’t think of a side dish for an entree my default is to make rice. Even though rice is great, sometime it’s nice to make it a bit fancier and tastier; that’s when Spanish rice comes into play.

Spanish rice is a wonderful combination of rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers and it can easy be made in a rice cooker. I use chicken stock when cooking the rice for added flavor but you can always use water if you don’t have stalk on hand or if you’re vegetarian.

cooking spanish rice cooking spanish rice

Spanish Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • ¼ pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ Anaheim or jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 cup chicken stalk or water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chill powder
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic and peppers and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add uncooked rice into the frying pan and cook until rice is lightly browned.
  4. Transfer rice mixture into a rice cooker and add tomatoes, chicken stalk, salt, pepper and chill powder. If a rice cooker is not available, combine all ingredients into a saucepan and cook for 30 minutes on low heat until cooked through.
  5. Once rice is cooked fluff with a fork and add additional seasoning as needed.
Notes
Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spanish-rice-ii/?scale=2&ismetric=0

 

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When I see sweet corn tamales on a menu I get excited. I never thought to recreate them at home as they seemed pretty complicated to make but to my surprise they weren’t hard to make…just time consuming.

I’ve made these sweet corn tamales a few time and each time I tried a different filling. Regardless if I’m making these vegetarian, filled with beef or with chicken, I always start with the same masa spread.  This masa spread has the perfect amount of sweetness and pairs well with any filling.

You can fill these sweet corn tamales with beef, chicken or turkey without having to alter the recipe (chicken is our favorite) – regardless of which meat you choose you can use the same recipe.

I don’t have a steamer basked so I created a makeshift version which works just fine – just use a metal strainer!

making masa paste masa paste sweet corn tamale filling tamale soaking corn husks steaming tamales steamed sweet corn tamales

Sweet Corn Tamale Filling
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef, chicken or turkey
  • 1-1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 chilies in abodo sauce, diced
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Throw in ground meat and brown.
  3. Throw in ½ of the spices into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer ground meat onto a plate.
  4. In the same frying pan add additional oil and cook the garlic and onions for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Once onions are soft add the Anaheim and chili peppers and cook for another 3 minutes.
  6. Add ground meat and remaining spices into the frying pan and cook together with the vegetables for another 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. To assemble the tamales:
  8. Pat the husks dry and lay them on your palm with the narrow end toward you.
  9. Place 2-3 Tbsp of the masa paste in the middle of the husk and top with 1 Tbsp of meat filling. Add a strip of cheese or shredded cheese.
  10. Take the right side of the husk and fold it over the left side and then fold the bottom under.
  11. Stand the tamales upright on their folded ends and make sure they’re packed tightly together. Cover the top of the tamales with any remaining husks and steam over boiling water for 30 minutes. Make sure to check the pan to ensure the water didn’t evaporate and if it did add additional water.
Notes
Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/hot-tamales-recipe.html?oc=linkback

 

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vegetarian baked zitiI always loved when we had catering at work and they brought in baked ziti – cheesy goodness always get’s me. I had lots of vegetables and cheese in my fridge this week and decided to make vegetarian baked ziti.

There are no guidelines regarding what vegetables you throw into the dish – I used eggplant, zucchini, onions, carrots and mushrooms but some broccoli or yellow squash would work well too. I used a batch of leftover homemade tomato sauce which added a nice hint of spice to the dish but you could use a jar of marinara sauce as well.

I made this dish a bit “healthier” by using whole wheat pasta and reduced fat cheese but let’s be real, there isn’t anything healthy about cheese, so if you’re making vegetarian baked ziti pile that cheese on and enjoy!

roasted vegetables

ziti with homemade tomato sauce

mixing vegetarian baked ziti ingredients

baking vegetarian ziti

vegetarian baked ziti

Vegetarian Baked Ziti
 
Ingredients
  • ½ eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 small carrots
  • Handful of baby bell mushrooms (or any type of mushroom)
  • 2 Tbsp Wegmans basting oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne and red pepper flakes to taste
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • ½ package of whole wheat ziti (or penne)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ shredded Mexican cheese
  • ¼ mozzarella cheese
  • Note: if you don’t have basting oil you can use olive oil and add in dried oregano and dried basil.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Cube all veggies and throw them into a large baking dish
  3. Drizzle veggies with the basting oil, salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime cook pasta per instructions on the box until al dente (5-10 minutes)
  5. Drain pasta and throw it back into the pot, add the marinara sauce and stir
  6. In a large bowl toss the vegetables, pasta, cheese, basil, additional salt, pepper, cayenne and red pepper flakes. Transfer into a lightly oiled baking dish. Top with additional cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

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green beans with lemon dressingGreen beans are a favorite in our house and I never mind cooking them since they’re quick and easy to make. I typically don’t steer way from my traditional green bean recipe but this time around decided to try something new. I came across this recipe for green beans with lemon dressing and knew that I had to give it a try.

This recipe has a nice light flavor but needs double the amount of the suggested lemon juice and extra salt and pepper for added flavor.

steaming green beans

lemon dressing

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Turkey zucchini boats with cheeseI love food, but I love it even more when it looks nice. Now tell me that these turkey zucchini boats don’t look pretty?!?  These boats are filled with healthy goodness – turkey, onions, carrots, peas, carrots and tomatoes. The original recipe uses beef but they taste great with turkey and could be made with ground chicken or even fully vegetarian. Top these with cheese and a bit of sour cream for added flavor.

It may seem cumbersome to make these turkey zucchini boats but it’s really not; it only requires a few little extra steps to make a healthy, delicious and beautiful dish, so go ahead and indulge.

turkey zucchini boat vegetables

 

scooped zucchini

baking zucchini boats

 

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I had some leftover coconut milk from a recipe I made earlier in the week and didn’t want to see it go to waste. I sat and stared at the can for a few minutes trying to figure out how I could use it up and then it hit me…coconut milk oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a quick and healthy breakfast on its own, but cooking it in coconut milk is a whole new experience. Typically I top my oatmeal with honey to sweeten it up but once it’s cooked in the coconut milk it’s naturally sweet and creamy.

Next time you’re in the mood for oatmeal make sure to try this recipe out.

Coconut Milk Oatmeal
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Combine oats with coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Note: if you don’t have enough coconut milk use half coconut milk and and water.

 

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chili garlic beef stir fryHere’s yet another stir fry recipe. This time around I’m making a chili garlic beef stir fry that’s quick and easy and you more than likely already have all of the ingredients on hand – except maybe the chili in adobo sauce.

The star of the show here is the marinate- it’s sweet, spicy and oh so good. The longer you marinate the better, so don’t be shy to throw the beef into the chili garlic marinate the night before. While I was cooking the beef and veggies I threw in another chili pepper  and 2 tsp of adobo sauce to give this chili garlic beef stir fry a  bit more kick.

This dish pairs really well with coconut rice as it plays on the sweet and spicy flavor.

chili garlic beef marinate

chili garlic beef stir fry ingredients

cooking chili garlic beef stir fry

 

chili garlic beef stir fry

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coconut rice with cilantroCoconut rice is something everyone should make – it’s a little bit sweet and really buttery. I really like to pair coconut rice with spicy foods like stir fry.

I make coconut rice in a rice cooker so I just set it and forget it, but if you don’t have one you can just as easily make it on the stove top in a saucepan.

cooking coconut rice

coconut rice

Easy Coconut Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice – I used basmati but jasmine would be great too
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. If using a rice cooker: combine all ingredients into the rice cooker and set to white rice. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  2. If using a stove top: combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until ready. Fluff with a fork before serving.

 

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