I've been on a mission the past few days to clear out the freezers and refrigerator in anticipation of the holidays. I found two bags of frozen tilapia fillets toward the back of my kitchen freezer, so I thought I'd go ahead and thaw them and then try to figure out what in the heck I was going to do with them! My natural inclination is always to start with Taste of Home, since I am a bit partial to their recipes and sure enough, I came across yet another "winner"! This was incredibly easy to throw together and both of my kids, who have been a bit reluctant to eat fish lately, inhaled it! I liked that it had the "illusion" of fried fish with the coating, but the ingredients were all relatively healthy...and it was baked!
Easy Baked Tilapia
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning 2 lbs tilapia fillets (approximately 4-5 oz each) ***I used frozen fillets***
In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic salt and oregano. Coat fillets in crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
The more we eat pork, the more fond I am becoming of it! (Especially the affordability...I found these really nice assorted pork chops for $.97/lb at Kroger last week!) As I typically do, I doubled the marinade ingredients and I allowed the pork chops to marinate for a good 24 hrs. I think one of my major "turn-offs" regarding pork in the past has been that it always seemed to dry out so easily. Now that we've gotten the hang of watching our cooking times more closely, we've really found that we enjoy incorporating it into our meal rotation more regularly. This is a great, quick, weeknight meal--especially if you marinate the pork ahead of time, which I would highly suggest...they were absolutely delicious! Also, if you are grilling them, make sure to check them after the 5-7 minutes on each side to avoid overcooking them. Several reviewers on Allrecipes.com said that they actually broiled and/or baked theirs, so that's always an alternative if you don't care to go outside in the dead of winter! I haven't personally tried them that way, so I can't attest to the exact cooking times, but just to give you a rough estimate, one reviewer said she used 3/4 inch center cut pork chops and broiled them on each side for 5 minutes and then covered them with foil and baked them for an additional 10 minutes at a lower temperature. If any of you try them baked/broiled, please let me know how they turn out!
Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops
1/2 cup lemon juice 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 6-8 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon pepper 6 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops
In a large resealable bag, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, oregano, and pepper. Place chops in bag, seal, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Turn bag frequently to distribute marinade.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Remove chops from bag, and transfer remaining marinade to a saucepan. Bring marinade to a boil, remove from heat, and set aside.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill pork chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side, basting frequently with boiled marinade, until done.
I was starting to feel like an awful wife, because my husband is Hispanic and grew up eating more traditional Mexican food, but I, personally, have never been much of a fan. I may have made mention of this in another post, but I absolutely despise things like tamales and will only eat enchiladas if they are made with flour tortillas...I don't know what it is about the corn tortillas that makes me want to gag--the soft ones, that is! I love corn tortilla chips...I could make a meal on chips and salsa! I also love the more "Americanized" versions of Mexican food like fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, etc. Okay, enough of my rant! The point of my story was that I was feeling badly that I don't make more of an effort to incorporate some of the "comfort foods" that he was used to eating during his childhood. I tend to make comfort foods I remember my Mom making (ie: meatloaf), but always kind of cringed when I thought of the smell of some of his "comfort foods" permeating through the house--certain spices literally make me sick to my stomach! Anyway, I went in search of a dish that I thought would be a good compromise...one we'd both enjoy and I found a recipe for steak burritos. The recipe I found was relatively simple and it didn't call for much in the way of toppings, so I followed it for the basic cooking method of the meat and then I added all of our favorite toppings. This is something you could easily customize to your family's liking and the best part is that like tacos, you can kind of create your own burrito with whatever you like--it's not as if everyone has to have onions, tomatoes, cheese, etc. We ate after my son went to bed, but I know he would have had a lot of fun making his own burrito! My husband was very grateful and said he'd most definitely eat them again--when he walked in, he said the house smelled much like he remembered his parents' house smelling when he was growing up...I guess that was supposed to be a compliment :)
2 flank steaks, 1 pound each (I used round steak) 2 envelopes taco seasoning mix 1 medium onion, chopped 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilis 1 tablespoon white vinegar 1/2 cup water 8-10 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Your favorite toppings (Might I suggest any of the following: refried beans, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream)
Salsa Verde (Green salsa), for dipping
Rub steaks on both sides with taco seasoning. Place in slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Top with onion, chilies and vinegar. Add 1/2 cup water to bottom; cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove steaks and cool slightly; shred meat with two forks (or cut into small chunks). Return to slow cooker; heat through.
Warm flour tortillas and top with meat mixture and any combination of your favorite toppings. Fold ends and sides over filling. Serve with salsa verde for dipping.
NOTE: When I prepared my husband and my burritos, I did so in the following order: I warmed the tortillas, spread a thin layer of refried beans, put the meat on top of the beans, sprinkled Mexican-style cheese over the meat and then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sour cream. They were REALLY good like that!
When I'm stressed, worried or upset, I find myself either on a cooking or cleaning tangent! (Hence the abundance of posts lately!) I actually have several recipes I still need to post. Pork is something that I haven't bought much of over the years--I actually only had pork tenderloin for the first time, not that long ago. I really enjoyed it, but it always seemed to be rather pricey. All of a sudden, it seems as if beef has been outrageous and pork has drastically come down in price. I've been able to find pork tenderloin for $1.34-$1.69/lb and I love the fact that it's generally solid "meat"--I can't stand feeling as if I'm paying by the pound and the majority of the weight is the bone! My husband and I happen to really love garlic, so this was an exceptionally good recipe in our book! I even added a little extra garlic for good measure :) I would think this is something you could easily prep ahead of time and then just throw in the oven around dinnertime. I did find that it took longer to bake than the recipe stated...my pork roast was about 4 pounds and it definitely took closer to 2 hrs. Well worth it, though, and I would highly recommend! (Just as an FYI for those of you who have a Kroger nearby...pork tenderloin is on sale this week for $1.37/lb, I believe!) (Prior to cutting it...)
Tuscan Pork Roast
5 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled (I may have used a bit more...we love garlic!) 1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary 2 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 boneless whole pork loin roast (3 to 4 pounds)
In a food processor, combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt; cover and process until mixture becomes a paste. Rub over the roast; cover and let stand for 30 minutes. (I let the rub sit on the roast for closer to an hour).
Place roast, fat side up, on a greased baking rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. (I made a 4 pound roast and it took closer to 2 hrs...make sure you use a meat thermometer to watch it closely!) Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
I always love using my crockpot year-round, but am especially fond of using it this time of year! There's something so comforting about coming in from the cool weather and knowing that you have a nice home-cooked meal waiting for you. I doubled the "sauce" ingredients (as reflected by the amounts I listed in the recipe) and was glad I did--it was nice having plenty of sauce to spoon over the cooked chicken. The only change I would make would be to cut back a bit on the cooking time--I think 3 hrs would be plenty of time, since you are already browning the chicken prior to placing it in the crockpot. (I made a notation of this below, as well!) I served the chicken with buttered rice and sprinkled it with a bit of parsley for garnish, but only served the sauce on the chicken. Enjoy :)
Slow-Cooked Lemon Chicken
6 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 3 pounds), skin removed 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 4 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup water 6 tablespoons lemon juice 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules 4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Hot cooked rice
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Combine the oregano, seasoned salt and pepper; rub over the chicken. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the chicken in butter; transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker.
Add the water, lemon juice, garlic and bouillon to the skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. (I cooked mine closer to 4 hours, but think it may be better to aim for 3 to avoid overcooking the chicken...the flavor was good, but it was a tad bit dry for my liking!)
Baste the chicken. Add parsley. Cover and cook 15-30 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear. If desired, thicken cooking juices and serve over chicken and rice.
My sister, Sarah, made these stuffed peppers several years back and I immediately fell in love with them! We were all up north visiting my parents together and she so kindly offered to prepare dinner...I knew it would be delicious, as she is a wonderful cook! My kids absolutely love the meat and rice mixture and will often make a meal out of that alone :) My VERY picky husband even loves them! My sister served them with mashed potatoes and corn, which is what I've done ever since--definitely great comfort food!
Stuffed Green Peppers
2 cups water 1 cup uncooked white rice 3 large green bell peppers, halved and seeded 1 1/2 - 2 pounds lean ground beef 1 onion, diced garlic powder to taste salt to taste ground black pepper to taste 1 large jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce 2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and begin to brown meat in a large saucepan, over medium heat. While meat is browning, place green peppers in a large pot, with enough water to cover. Boil peppers for approximately 15 minutes. Once meat is browned and drained (and while peppers are boiling), add onion, cooked rice, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the large saucepan with the meat; simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Remove peppers from the water and set aside in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture onto each half of the green peppers. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until mixture begins to turn golden brown.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of each stuffed pepper. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.
This past week has been really difficult--my grandfather passed away last Saturday, somewhat unexpectedly. He will be truly missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him...he was such a warm and gentle soul and would have done absolutely anything for anyone. I miss you, Popie, and this post is in your honor :) (This picture was taken at our house a couple of years ago at our son's b-day party. Popie was always such a kid at heart...note the party hat!)
I actually made these potatoes about a week and a half ago--the same night my sister, Sarah made them...total coincidence. I know she really enjoyed them, as did my husband and I. I found that they did take a little longer than an hour to get tender and I think my sister had the same problem, but they were certainly worth the wait! They were absolutely delicious with butter and sour cream!
3 russet potatoes Olive oil Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste Dried basil, to taste Garlic cloves, sliced into thin slivers
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. After washing the potatoes well, thinly slice each potato, being careful not to cut all the way through. (Place the potato on a large serving spoon so you won't cut all the way through).
Season each potato with basil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Place a thin slice of garlic between each layer. Place the potatoes in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 1 hour or until the potato is tender. Serve with butter and sour cream if desired.
If you were to look up the word "picky" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of my husband off to the left. Growing up, I was exposed to all sorts of different foods and encouraged to experiment with different flavors, but after meeting my husband, I somewhat locked myself into an eight to ten meal rotation and was reluctant to deviate. I have since given birth to two of the least picky eaters on the face of the Earth, thus inspiring me to transform my cooking style. I know many people, like myself, lead such hectic lives, so I strive to find recipes that are quick and easy--especially those that you can whip up with ingredients that you ordinarily have on hand!
A bit about me...I married my husband, Marcus, on June 1, 2003 and we welcomed our son Jacob on March 22, 2005. Our daughter, Madeline, was born on March 1, 2008. I stay home with the kids for the most part, but also work occasional shifts as a registered nurse at a local hospital. I truly hope you enjoy my blog. A special "thank you" to my sister, Sarah, for giving me the idea! Her creativity is hard to live up to, but I'm a very determined person and hope to make her proud :)