Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fried Rice with Stir Fried Veggies and Tilapia

Sometimes our busy lives require that we make dinner in a hurry but that doesn't mean it can't be full of flavor and nutrition! This was something I whipped up tonight and Brian and I agreed that it was "Blog Worthy." 

With the Holidays behind us and all of those cookies and pies lurking on our waistlines I decided to make something on the lighter side. There are three different parts to this dish, the rice, the stir fried veggies and the Tilapia. Don't worry it isn't complicated and takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. I like to use fresh fruits and veggies as often as possible but sometimes I don't have the energy to run to the store so I always stock the freezer with a large variety of frozen veggies so for this recipe you will need a bag of stir fry veggies, a bag of peas and carrots and a bag of broccoli and cauliflower. 

Rice Ingredients:

2       T. olive oil
1       medium onion chopped
1       bag frozen peas and carrots
1       cup Jasmine rice
3       T. Soy Sauce
2       T. honey
1 1/2 c. water

Tilapia Ingredients:

6       Tilapia Filets
1/2    c. *Special Sauce

*Special Sauce (Makes 1 cup)

1/2 c. Thai Sweet Chile Sauce
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
1/4 c. Teriyaki Sauce
2-3 T. Sriracha Sauce
Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
(make sure to separate into two bowls, one for brushing on the fish and one for the veggies)

Stir Fried Veggie Ingredients:

1       bag frozen stir fry veggies 
1       bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli
1       can water chestnuts drained and quartered
1/2    c. *Special Sauce

Step 1, Rice:

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until slightly transparent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 T. olive oil, peas, carrots and rice and brown for 3-5 minutes. Add honey and soy sauce and stir then add water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling then cover, lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until all water is absorbed.

Step 2, Fish:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13"x9" glass pan with cooking spray. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fish filets and brush both sides of the fish with half of the *Special Sauce. Place in oven to bake for 10 minutes then set oven to broil for 3-5 minutes to create a nice glaze. Make sure to keep an eye on the fish so it doesn't burn under the broiler.

Step 3, Stir Fried Veggies:

While fish and rice are cooking heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add in the vegetables being careful if frozen because you don't want the oil to splash. Stir fry all veggies and water chestnuts until cooked through then add the remaining sauce and continue cooking until it is thickened.

Voila! Easy and delicious dinner. This dish would be equally delicious with stir fried chicken replacing the Tilapia if you are not a fan of fish. I will try to post some of the delicious dishes our family shared over the holidays very soon . Until then happy eating.

Food is Love and I Love Food.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Simple Roux

The base to so many wonderful and thick sauces is a simple roux. As a young girl my favorite breakfast was Grandma Verna's Sausage Gravy and Biscuits with a close second being my moms Huevos Rancheros. Both of these completely different and delicious dishes have one very important thing in common, they both start with making a roux.

For those of you that are unsure what a roux is, it is a base for a sauce with roots in French cuisine that is used as a thickening agent in so many of our favorite foods. Whether you are making a delicious Italian Creamy Alfredo, a Southern Style Mac and Cheese or a good old Southwestern Green Chile Stew your base is going to be a roux. It is made simply with flour and a fat such as butter, oil or even the fat renderings of whatever yummy animal you decided cook with.

Let's start with the basics. You will need equal parts oil and flour as well as a liquid such as chicken or beef broth, wine or even milk and a whisk. Once you have the oil nice and hot you can add in your flour, I like to add it a little at a time while whisking until the flour has become a nice golden brown. Next you will lower the heat to medium and add in your liquid this amount will be dependent on how much sauce you are making but always add 1 cup at a time and whisk vigorously in order to really incorporate your liquid and get all of those pesky lumps of flour mixed in. 

Now that we have the basics down we can really start being adventurous. Why don't we try our hand at a basic but delicious Marsala Sauce. 


2   cups mushrooms sliced
1   medium onion chopped
6   T. butter
4   T. flour
2   T. fresh rosemary chopped
2   cups Marsala wine
2   cups chicken broth

Preheat 2 T. of the butter in a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add in the onions and cook until they are just translucent. Add in the mushrooms and allow to them to get tender. At this point you can choose to start your roux with the mushrooms and onions in the pan or remove them for ease of whisking. For the sake of learning we will remove the onions and mushrooms to a plate and add in the remaining butter. Once the butter has melted add the the rosemary and begin to add in the flour and start to whisk. Once all of the flour has been incorporated lower the heat to medium, add 1 cup of the Marsala wine and start whisking. Add the rest of your liquid 1 cup at a time and once the sauce is smooth and without lumps you can add your onion and mushroom mixture back in. Continue to stir the sauce with a wooden spoon or spatula over medium heat until it has reached your desired thickness. Remember to never leave your sauce unattended as this could result in over thickening or even burning to the bottom and sides of your pan. 

Season to taste with salt, pepper or even my secret weapon Old Bay and enjoy over a nice pork chop, chicken breast or whatever your little heart desires. I will post some recipes to go along with this delicious and easy Marsala Sauce in the future. I hope this was helpful and I will be posting a variety of roux based sauces for your enjoyment so get some practice in in the meantime. 

Food is Love and I Love Food. 



Friday, December 16, 2011

Best Salad That Ever Lived (Dinner Thursday, December 15, 2011)

This salad combines so many flavors and interesting ingredient combinations. I am in love with anything Mediterranean and this recipe takes that love to a whole new level.  If this salad doesn't knock your socks off you probably aren't wearing socks.

I am a girl that probably can't survive without hummus and in this recipe the main ingredient of the dressing is just that. I believe in being daring and bold when you are cooking and combining things that on their own taste delicious but when combined make for an explosion of flavor. 


For the Salad:

3    cups Fresh Spinach roughly chopped 
3    cups Mixed Baby Greens roughly chopped
1    cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes quartered
1    cup Fresh Mozzerella pulled apart or cubed
1    cup Feta Cheese crumbled
1    cup Sundried Tomatoes chopped
1    medium red onion halved and thinly sliced

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup Roasted Red Pepper Hummus pre-made (store bought is fine)
1/4 cup Aged Balsamic
1/4 cup Red Wine
4    T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in a large salad bowl and toss. For added flavor I combined the grape tomatoes and mozzerrella the night before with a little bit of fresh basil, balsamic and extra virgin olive oil and refrigerated over night. 

In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until combined. The arugala in the mixed baby greens is very peppery so I prefer not to salt and pepper the dressing but you can if you wish. 

Once your dressing is complete add as little or as much as you prefer to coat your salad, toss and enjoy. You can thank me later.

Food is Love and I Love Food. 



Apple Cinnamon French Toast (Breakfast Friday, December 16, 2011)

The key to any great French Toast is the bread! This was a quick breakfast I whipped up this morning while preparing baby food for my son Kane. I thought that apple sauce would be a welcome addition to the egg mixture and syrup. It was a success. This is a very simple and quick recipe consisting of only 6 ingredients from start to finish. 

While on a recent trip to the grocery store I found the most delicious, thick sliced, tastes like homemade bread. It comes from Smith's and you can find it near the deli. It is called, "Home Baked Goodness Cottage Bread" and I picked up the Multi Grain version. It is light, a little bit crunchy and it tastes great along side some homemade soup, as a PB&J, or in this case as the main ingredient for my French Toast. 

Here is the recipe for a four person serving:


6    egg whites (If you use the whole egg 3 will suffice)
2    cup applesauce
1    t. ground cinnamon 
8    slices bread
2    cups sugar free syrup (or maple if you feel indulgent)
Butter as needed

Start by separating your eggs. Mix the egg whites, 1 cup of the applesauce and the cinnamon in a square dish large enough to fit a slice of bread lying down. Warm your skillet or pan to a medium-high temperature and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. 

While the skillet is warming combine the syrup and remaining applesauce in a microwave safe dish (a Pyrex measuring cup works great here because you can use it to pour). Place in microwave for 30-45 seconds. This can also be done on the stove top over low-medium heat in a small-medium saucepan.

Dredge both sides of the bread in the egg mixture and place in the hot skillet and turn when golden brown. A good indication of this is that the bread no longer sticks to the pan and is firm when nudged with the spatula. When both sides are browned transfer straight to the plate or if making only 1-2 at a time transfer to a cooling rack with a tented foil over the top to retain crispiness while you finish the rest.

Once complete take the syrup mixture out of the microwave and give it a quick whisk and serve with butter. You can also sprinkle with powdered sugar and chopped pecans for additional flavor and texture. I hope you enjoy.

Food is Love and I Love Food. 



This is it!

Well I decided to start a food blog! I wanted a way to not only keep track of the recipes I create but also share that deliciousness with others. I am always coming up with new and very tasty dishes but I never write down the recipe so here we go. 

In this blog I hope to share every kind of dish from quickly thrown together 20 minute or less dinners to complex sauces and even baby food recipes. I will write about breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Most days we don't feel like running to the grocery store for complex ingredients and I have become a pro at taking what I have in the pantry or refrigerator and making a very flavorful and healthy meal. 

While on a daily basis I try to focus on healthy and innovative creations in the kitchen I might throw in some curve balls that may not necessarily be low in calories. I do however believe that in order for something to be delicious it doesn't have to be doused in butter, deep fried or smothered in heavy cream although I do these things in moderation. Indulging in the naughty foods every so often is just one way of not completely losing my sanity. 

I have been cooking and loving food since before I could walk and some of my earliest memories are in the kitchen. I can remember sitting on the counter and helping my Grandma Verna make bread and pour in the flour or hold the measuring spoon. I am so lucky to have been born into a family of amazing home "chefs" and having a mother that can really create in the kitchen is such a blessing. 

Whether you are new to cooking or an old pro I hope this blog will give you some fun new ideas to share with your family! 

Food is Love and I Love Food.