"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Oven Roasted Tilapia with Shrimp and Spinach Stuffing

 serves 4 people

4 Tilapia fillets, rinsed, then dried with paper towel
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
½ tsp. Paprika
Salt and white pepper, to taste (black pepper works fine also)
Squeeze Fresh lemon juice
8 oz. Shrimp, peeled and deveined, minced (shells reserved for sauce)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Celery, small diced
2 Tbsp Green Bell pepper, small dice
2 C. firmly packed fresh cleaned spinach
¼ C. white wine
½ C. Fresh breadcrumbs + extra for topping
1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 Tsp. Old Bay seasoning
¼ C. Parmesan
¼ C. Colby Jack cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Shallot, sliced thin
¼ C. white wine
Shrimp shells from shrimp for stuffing
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 C. clam juice
½ C. butter
Salt and pepper (white pepper if you have), to taste
Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, celery, and green pepper.  Sweat until soft, 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute. Increase heat to high and add spinach and wine.  Cook until spinach has wilted and released its liquor.  Continue to cook until most of the liquid has cooked off but spinach is still moist.  Remove from heat and transfer to large mixing bowl.  Stir and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Add shrimp and rest of ingredients.  Mix well, reserve on the side.
Prepare a large sheet tray with parchment paper on the bottom.  Drizzle some of the olive oil on the paper and lay the fish (dark line of the filet side down) on oiled paper. Season top of the filets with salt and pepper, onion, garlic powder, and the paprika.  Squeeze lemon juice over fish.  Take the stuffing and top each filet with an equal amount.  Gently press stuffing down onto top of fish.  Sprinkle a little extra breadcrumb on each filet and drizzle with olive oil.  Place in hot oven for 20 minutes. Once done and golden brown, remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve with sauce.
While fish is cooking make your sauce.  In a small saucepan heat oil over medium heat.  Add shallots and shrimp shells, cook until shallots have softened, and shells have turned a ruby pink.  Increase heat to high, add wine and clam juice, reduce by half.  Lower heat to medium and add thyme sprigs and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes. Strain sauce base into new pan, discard solids and over very low heat whisk butter into strained reduction a little at a time making an emulsified sauce.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Reserve sauce on the side warm, do not boil or it will separate. Serve with fish, enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Oven Roasted Tilapia with Potato Chip Crust, Grilled Summer Vegetables

Though I'd add some crunch to a fish we already love, really enjoyed how it came out.  I then served it on a bed of grilled vegetables that I dressed with a little balsamic vinaigrette, accompanied with a great glass of chilled French Sauvignon Blanc and this just became a go to summer recipe.  Enjoy! 

Serves 4

4 Tilapia fillets
1/2 cup crushed potato chips
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 tsp. each onion powder, garlic powder, paprika
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Vegetable Medley-

1 bunch Swiss Chard, leaves only, stems removed and retained for another day
3 Zucchini squash, washed and sliced into 1" strips length-wise
2 Red Bell Pepper, washed, stem and seeds removed, cut into quarters
12 Cherry Tomatoes, washed and put onto wooden skewers 
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice
1 clove Garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. minced green onion
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°

Preheat grill, medium high heat.

Place vegetables on a large rimmed baking pan.  In a small bowl prepare vinaigrette for vegetables.  Put vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic and green onion in a small bowl.  Whisk in oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss vegetables in vinaigrette right on the baking sheet.  Reserve on the side and prep your fish.

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, drizzle a little olive oil on the parchment and then place the fish down (rounded side facing up).  Season with spice blend, salt and pepper.  Spread each fillet with some mayonnaise, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with crumbled potato chips.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and place in hot oven.  Cook for 20 minutes until fish is done, but still moist.  While fish cooks grill your vegetables.

Take dressed vegetables to the hot grill.  Place all on the grill except the swiss chard and grill until tender, turning often, about 12-15 minutes. The tomatoes will only need about 7-8 minutes  Once zucchini and peppers are almost done, add swiss chard to grill for last 2-3 minutes, turning often.  Remove cooked vegetables and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.  Roughly chop (fork sized bites) everything except the tomatoes, reserve warm.

Once fish is done serve with the vegetables.  I like to plate with grilled vegetables as a bed, fish on top and drizzle each plate with some extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Restaurant styled Chopped Salad

Last night I put together this salad, which will look like an "everything but the kitchen sink", but it was awesome (if I should say so myself).  I topped it with a  piece of beautifully seared Salmon, delish!! But, you could serve on it's own or any other protein that strikes your fancy.  Be creative and have fun with it, remember it's just salad people!  

Salad mix
2 C. Romain lettuce
2 C. Red leaf lettuce
1/3 C. each of the following;
Red onion, small dice
Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
Pepperoncini’s, stemmed and sliced
Sunflower seeds
French’s fried onions
Cannellini beans, drained and washed
Grape tomatoes, halved
canned beets, small diced
canned artichokes, sliced
Mushrooms, small diced
Fuji Apple, small diced

¼ C. rice wine vinegar
Juice of halve fresh Lemon
2 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Capers
1 clove Garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh Parsley
1 Tsp. Oregano
1 Tsp. Dill
1 green onion
2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ C. Olive oil
½ C. Vegetable oil
S&P to taste

Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Green onion, sliced thinly

Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or large measuring cup, if using a wand mixer.  Process until emulsified and smooth.  Taste and correct seasoning.

Wash lettuces with very cold water and spin dry, chop to desired size.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add other salad ingredients.  Drizzle desired amount of dressing on salad mix and mix well. Plate portions in large bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and green onion (I like lots of fresh ground black pepper).  Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Peanut Noodles with Vegetables

So, Mondays are "meatless" in our house and I was feeling like Chinese. If you want this to be truly vegetarian, you can swap out the beef broth for vegeatable broth, water, etc.  This preparation is all about the prep, if you've got everything ready to go ahead of cook time, this goes really quickly.  Obviously, you could easily add other vegetables or any protein of your choice to this and it would be terrific.  I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but the outcome is as good as any Chinese restaurant I've been to.  Enjoy!

4-6 servings

2 Tbsp. Avocado oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 zucchini squash, seeds removed then sliced thinly
1 head broccoli, florets only- cut small
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp lemongrass paste
2 eggs, scrambled, cooked, chopped and cooled
1# spaghetti, cooked al dente then cooled and tossed with drizzle of oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


1/2 C. Beef broth
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 C. Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Fish sauce
1 Tbsp Rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 - 2 Tbsp sriracha
1 tsp Dark sesame oil


1/4 C. Chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
Toasted Sesame seeds
3 green onions, sliced thinly
Red chili flakes (optional)

In a large mixing bowl combine all sauce ingredients and reserve to the side.

Place large skillet over medium high heat and add avocado oil.  Once hot add onion, carrot, and celery, cook until they start to turn translucent 4-5 minutes.  Add mushrooms, stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms start to release their liquid.  Now add broccoli, stir and cook until the florets turn vibrant green, about 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and cook for another minute; add zucchini squash, stir and add reserved sauce.  Let come back to temperature, about a minutre and add noodles, stir to coat well and continue to cook, letting liquid reduce and thicken.  Check broccoli (vegetable needing the longest to get tender) to make sure they are al dente.  Then add chopped scrambled eggs and cilantro, stir to incorporate.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve hot on a platter; top with peanuts, sesame seeds, and green onion.  If you want to kick up the heat add red chili flake and serve.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mexican Chicken, Corn and Black bean Stew

The weather is changing, nights are getting pretty cold and a good hot, stick to your ribs stew is always welcome at the table.  I made this last night to harken back to summer with it's warm Mexican spices and tender black beans and corn.  I served with blue corn chips and a torn red romaine salad with a lime-avocado dressing.  Enjoy!

Serves 4 

4 Tbsp+ olive oil

2 Chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 Jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced

1 Tbsp Chipotle in Adobo, chopped (this can be very spicy, so add less or more to taste)

1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes 

2 ears Corn, husk removed and kernels cut from cob (Frozen works just as well)

1 15 oz. can Black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C. Apple cider

juice of 1 lime

1/2 C. Cilantro, chopped 

2 bay leaves

Spice mix:

 2 Tbsp. Garlic powder

 2 Tbsp. Onion powder

 1 Tbsp. Smoked paprika

 1 Tbsp. Oregano 

 1 Tbsp. Cumin

 1 Tbsp. Chili powder

 1 tsp. Salt and ground black pepper

1 Tbsp soft butter

1 Tbsp flour


Sliced avocado

Sour cream

thinly sliced green onion

Place cubed chicken in large mixing bowl, add 2 Tbsp oil and half the lime juice, season generously with spice mix; mix well and reserve on the side at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. 

Please a large heavy bottomed pot on range top (I like to use glazed cast-iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add remaining oil. As soon as oil starts to smoke, carefully start adding chicken, being careful not to crowd the bottom of the pot. Sear all sides until browned, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove seared pieces and reserve on a play on the side. Repeat this step until all chicken has been seared. Reduce heat and add onions and jalapeño pepper, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic, stir and cook another minute. Add chipotle and tomatoes, cider, corn kernels, and bay leaves. Add chicken and any juices from the plate back to pot  Stir, increase heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to simmer; add black beans, the rest of the lime juice and spice mix. Cover and cook slowly for 20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and corn is tender. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine butter and flour and with a fork mix together so flour is completely incorporated into the butter (congratulations you’ve just made a classic French Beurre manie for thickening without lumps). Add beurre manie to stew, stir to incorporate, add cilantro and cook another 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and ground black pepper. Remove and discard bay leaves.  Serve stew over rice (I served it over roasted spaghetti squash) and garnish with avocado slices, sour cream and thinly sliced green onion. Enjoy!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Swiss Chard and Mushrooms with Mustard Sauce

I really like the ways theses greens and earthy mushrooms match with the sweet-sour play of the mustard and sugar in this preparation.  I matched this with a spinach stuffed chicken breast and it worked beautifully.  Enjoy!  

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

4 cups Swiss chard washed, stems thinly sliced, leaves shredded

1 C. Portabella mushrooms, washed, sliced

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. yellow mustard (can substitute Dijon if you prefer)

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1/4 C. Chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place large pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil and get hot. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add stems of the Swiss chard and mushrooms. Season with a pinch of salt to help mushroom release their liquid, stir and continue to cook until mushrooms are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and chard leaves, stir; add remains ingredients, stir to incorporate. Lower heat, cover and cook until sauce has thickened and vegetables are soft, about 10 more minutes. Taste, correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Braised Spanish Pork with Chorizo, Tomoato and Chickpeas

I had some left-over, already cooked, barbecue baby back ribs from the weekend, so I decided to make a Spanish inspired stew served over rice.  This made a tasty, comfort-styled dinner that was terrific for warming us up on this cold autumn evening.  Don't have left-overs, no worries use boneless country pork ribs (please note cook time is 2 1/2 hours if raw).  The recipe below assumes they are in their raw state.  If using cooked left-overs add to stew once thickened and then cook for 5 minutes just to heat up and meld into the dish. I served with a simple leaf lettuce salad tossed with a honey-lemon and thyme dressing. Enjoy!

Serves 4

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 C. yellow onion, diced
1/2 C. Red Bell pepper, diced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2# Pork Rib Meat (boneless country ribs work great for this)
4 oz. ground chorizo sausage
1 C. chopped stewed canned tomatoes with juice
1/2 C. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 C. Chicken stock
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 can chickpeas, washed and drained
1/2 C. chopped cilantro
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat; add oil and get hot.  Season pork ribs liberally with salt and black pepper, add to pot and sear on all sides until browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove ribs and reserve on a plate on the side.  Carefully discard the fat from the pot.  Replace pot on stove and reduce heat to low; add chorizo.  With a kitchen spoon break up sausage and brown; once nicely browned use a slotted spoon and remove sausage, add to rib meat and reserve.
Increase heat to medium-high and add onions and bell pepper.  Stir and cook until vegetables start to wilt, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic; stir and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add flour and stir to incorporate well.  Let cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes.  Add wine, tomatoes, rib meat, sausage and any juices from the plate to the pot.  Add paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and bay leaf, stir. Then add enough chicken stock to just cover the ribs.  Cover pot and cook until rib meat is tender 2-2 1/2 hours.  Check a few times during the cooking to make sure there is enough liquid, you may need to add some additional stock.

Once meat is very tender, remove with slotted spoon and reserve on the side.  Once cool enough to handle break into fork-sized pieces.  Check the consistency of the liquid in the pot.  If too thin, increase heat and reduce to thicken.  If too thick, add small amounts of stock to get to a stew-like consistency.  Once to your liking, remove and discard bay leaf, add chickpeas and return meat to pot.  Add cilantro and correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate let warm for five more minutes.  Serve over rice and enjoy!