Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pan Fried Tilapia with Mango Salsa

When it's hot weather out I want food that is light and refreshing... and this dinner was exactly that last night.

Plus it was delicious.
And super easy!!

Here's what you need:  Tilapa, cumin, ground coriander, salt, pepper, olive oil, mango, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice.

I started by making a simple mango salsa... I know there are great recipes out there probably better than this, but this complimented the fish so well, I didn't need anything fancier.

I started by chopping up a couple Roma tomatoes.

Roughly 1/3 cup red onion

1 whole mango, nice and ripe and sweet!

And a good handful of cilantro which I gave a rough chop.

Throw it all together in a bowl, give it a mix and smile at the pretty colors.

Then squirt in some lime juice and set the salsa aside in the fridge while you prep the fish.

Hello tilapia...

Start by seasoning the fish with salt & pepper.  Tilapia is very mild so don't be scared to season!!

Generously sprinkle on ground cumin.

And ground coriander on top of that.

Rub it in good with your fingers so the spices are evenly coated and repeat the seasoning steps on the other side.

In a skillet or large frying pan heat a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat and add your fish.  It should sizzle when it hits the pan.  Tilapia cooks very quickly so wait just 3 minutes and then flip them over.

The second side will probably take closer to 2 minutes to be done.  Check fish with a fork, if it flakes easily it's ready.

Serve up immediately and douse with a generous helping of your mango salsa.  The sweet fruit, the tangy onion mixed with the acidity of the tomato and lime juice compliment the richness of the fish beautifully ~ and it's just so pretty on your plate!

I served mine with some wild rice and asparagus and it was a hit with the whole family... including the 1 year old who kept signing "more, more" from his high chair and making "mmmmm mmmmm" noises.

Try this soon!!  You'll be glad you did!

Serves 4


4 Tilapia fillets
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mango Salsa:
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, diced finely
1/4 cup cilantro, rough chopped
1-2 teaspoons lime juice

1.  Mix mango, tomato, red onion and cilantro together in a bowl.  Add lime juice, toss to combine.  Set aside.

2.  Season tilapia with salt & pepper, then rub in cumin and ground coriander evenly and liberally over fish on both sides.

3.  In a skillet or large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add fish and cook for 3 minutes.  Flip the fillets and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

4.  Serve the tilapia immediately and top with the mango salsa.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Time of Mourning

Yesterday I did the unthinkable.

I killed one of my precious Rachael Ray pans.
And it's really dead.

It started so innocently... I was hard boiling eggs for a potato salad that I wanted to get a head start on, but then baby needed a diaper change, toddler needed help finding his blankie for nap time, and by the time I got the boys laid down for their naps I promptly forgot all about my eggs on the stove top and got sucked into an episode of MasterChef on Hulu (oh Gordon Ramsey how I hear you mocking me now... is this because I said I could cook risotto??)

That completely sick to my stomach feeling hit me when I heard a loud "BANG" from the kitchen followed by a curious flying projectile and the room began filling with smoke. While some would have cried "Oh no my eggs" my instant dread was 100% related to my cry/plea/wailing "Dear God, NOT my RACHAEL RAY PAN!!!!!!!"

But alas the damage was done.

Did you know that eggs will explode when boiled dry like that?
That the sheer force of six eggs exploding can and will, blow your glass lid right across your kitchen.
That the smell of the burning eggs combined with the disintegrating non-stick coating on your pan is something that will sear itself in the lining of your nostrils and your mind...forever.

Oh the horror.

My poor little 1-qt sauce pan.

I'm so very sorry.
Please don't tell Rachael what I did to you!

I am ashamed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's a miracle...

I was looking through old pictures last night... when it struck me:

It is a miracle that these two people:

Miss Serious ~ 1 year
Mr. Scary Hair ~ 1 year

Made this:

Mr. Super Cute ~ 3 years

And this:

Mr. Adorable ~ 1 year

Dear God,
Thank you for giving my boys good genes... 
but not necessarily strong resemblances to me or the hubby.  
That was really good thinking on your part!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tomato Corn Basil Risotto

I love fresh basil, and lucky for me I have it growing like a weed in my garden right now.  I've been enjoying delectable things like fresh caprese salads, homemade pesto and this tasty little treat... tomato corn basil risotto!

I love ordering risotto in restaurants... it always feels so "fancy" and paired with the fact that it seemed to be the #1 thing that got people kicked off, cursed at (or both) by Gordon Ramsey on Hell's Kitchen... well I just decided it was probably too hard to make myself. 

So if you've ever felt like I did... I'm here to assure you that you CAN make this, and you'll love it!  It's creamy, it's flavorful, it's fairly simple.. and albeit it's slightly more labor intensive than your average rice dish... it's worth it!!

Here's what you'll need:

2 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen sweet corn
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste

Start by combining your chicken broth and milk together in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Keep the pan over low heat.

Melt your butter in a large skillet.

Add the onion and cook for 3 to four minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the garlic and the Aborio rice, stir constantly for 1 minute. 

* Aborio rice is available at most supermarkets, and should not be confused with regular rice.  It's actually a pasta and will react different than your average long grain rice.

Add 1/4 cup of the milk/broth mixture and stir until completely absorbed.  Keep adding the heated milk/broth mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently.   Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before you add the next.

When the rice has been cooking for approximately 15 minutes and most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the corn kernels and tomatoes, along with the rest of the milk/broth mixture.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender but still slightly chewy.

Add in your salt & pepper.

And your Parmesan cheese.

And lastly your basil leaves, mixing it all together.

Spoon the risotto immediately onto plate, and top with a few more strips of basil leaves for garnish and serve it on up.  The colors will be beautiful, the smell divine and best of all the taste is HEAVEN!!


Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 20 minutes   Ready in: 30 minutes

2 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen sweet corn
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1.  Combine the broth and milk in a medium sized saucepan, heat to a simmer.  Keep the pan over low heat.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and the rice, stir constantly for 1 minute.  Add 1/4 cup of the milk/broth mixture and stir until completely absorbed.

3.  Being to add the heated milk/broth mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently.  Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next.  When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes and most of the liquid has been incorporated, add the corn kernels and tomatoes along with the end of the milk/broth mixture.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender but still slightly chewy.

4. The risotto should take 18 to 20 minutes of cooking all together.  Stir in the salt & pepper, Parmesan and most of the basil.  Spoon the risotto immediately onto plates, top with the remaining basil strands, and serve.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tasty Tueday - Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

One of my favorite meals to make for company is this spinach stuffed chicken breast.  Even though it looks like I slaved over it, it's actually one of the easiest meals I make.
And it has bacon.
It's a win win!

Here's what you'll need (for printed recipe scroll to the bottom)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-10 oz bag baby spinach
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
4 cloves of garlic
Montreal chicken seasoning (or similar)
Black pepper
8 strips of bacon

To start put your spinach leaves into a glass bowl.  Microwave this on high for 3 minutes, stirring every minute or so until the spinach leaves are nice and wilted.

Just like this!  Using a spoon, or a sieve, or fancy cheesecloth if you have it laying around... squeeze all the extra water out.

Then add 1/2 cup sour cream

 1/2 cup shredded pepperjack (or favorite kind of cheese)

4 cloves of minced garlic

A pinch of black pepper

And mix it all together.  Now set aside while we work with the chicken.

Using a meat cleaver, you want to pound your chicken breasts to approx 1/2" thickness.  I find that making a few cuts with a knife in extra thick parts of the chicken before pounding away makes the job far easier too!  When all your chicken breasts are nicely pounded you're ready for assembly.

Start by placing two strips of bacon next to each other.

Add your pounded chicken breast and sprinkle with Montreal Chicken seasoning (or your favorite kind of seasoning for chicken) on both sides.

Take 1/4 of your spinach mixture and dollop it right in the center of your chicken breast.

Then using the bacon strips, fold the chicken in half around the spinach mixture and secure the bacon strips with toothpicks.

Arrange them on a foil lined broiling pan, or wire rack over a baking sheet and bake at 375'F for 35 minutes uncovered, then broil for 5-10 minutes to brown and crisp your bacon.

So easy and so delicious.

Serve it up with some of your favorite sides and enjoy!  It's a meal that's sure to impress anyone! And your tastebuds will thank you too!

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 45 minutes   Ready in: 55 minutes
Serves: 4

1-10 oz bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup sour scream
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
4 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness
Montreal chicken seasoning, to taste
8 strips of bacon

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place spinach in a large glass bowl, and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until wilted. Stir in sour cream, pepperjack cheese, garlic and black pepper. 
  3. Lay two slices of bacon side by side on a clean surface.  Lay a chicken breast on top and season on both sides with Montreal Chicken seasoning (or similar).  Spoon some of the spinach mixture onto each one. Roll up chicken to enclose the spinach, then wrap each chicken breast with two slices of bacon. Secure with toothpicks, and arrange on a foil covered broiling dish. 
  4. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, then use the oven's broiler to cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the bacon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time Well Spent

This past weekend was our first in over a month where we had NO plans ~ so we decided to call it a "family" weekend and focus on our boys and doing things together.

Friday we had a low key dinner on our patio, watched a movie and snacked on rice krispie treats that my evil friend Amy baked earlier in the day and then sent home with me.

I'm helpless to their power...
she knew that...
and she STILL sent them home with me!

Saturday we took the boys to the Portland Children's Museum.  It was the first time any of us had been there and it lived up to the hype.  They really have made it such a fun and interactive place for kids - and we'll definitely visit again.  My boys both loved splashing in water, digging in dirt (well fake dirt, it was actually recycled and chopped up tires... much cleaner), grocery shopping in a kid size store complete with beeping scanner for checkout, art studios, music rooms, face painting - Hayden was in hog heaven and the only bummer about the day is that the battery on my camera was dead... thankfully we have camera phones.

The children's museum... this was actually as we left thus Hayden's painted face!
Now that's a picture!!
Turning all the gears to make water pour out different ways

"Rubber duckie, you're the one... you make bath time (or any water activity) so much fun..."

I loved the water proof aprons they had for all the kids to protect their clothing... GENIUS!!!

He could have played with the watering can all day.

Building our own track for the ducks and the boats to float down.

Grocery shopping

The dig pit
"This is too much fun!"
Digging in action... Hayden was going so fast he's just a blur

Filling up the scales
Loading up the dump truck

They let the kids paint their own faces... oh dear.
My super cute moustached clown face boy!

We also had a beautiful BBQ dinner with Dave's mom, took walks around the neighborhood in the boys wagon, ate fresh zucchini and tomatoes from our garden, welcomed home one of my best friends who just moved home after 5 years away and shared lots of laughter with my boys...

but my favorite thing of the whole weekend...
two days in a row..
two hour naps in the afternoon for all FOUR of us!
It was HEAVEN!

I think I'm declaring the month of August family month - especially if the naps continue for this mommy!

How was your weekend?