Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lemony Fish

Yikes! Due to my superb fish fillet flipping skills this dish looked like one hot mess. Instead of fillets I ended up with nuggets. It tasted completely fine. Mr. Lawyer really liked the in your face lemon flavor. I liked the thin crispy bits of fish, they had the best flavor.
Sauteed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Sauce
(From Cooking Light)
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons drained brine-packed green peppercorns, lightly crushed (or capers)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 (6-ounce) tilapia or sole fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons butter
Lemon wedges (optional)
1. Combine first 3 ingredients.
2. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
3. While butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and black pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess flour.
4. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until butter turns golden brown. Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fillets from pan. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in two teaspoons of butter with a whisk. Serve sauce over fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tuna Melts

I love Cracklin Oat Bran but it's not really healthy and it's normally over five bucks for a small box. Today I saw it on sale for $2.50 and was all prepared to grab ten boxes. I grabbed a box and whomp whomp, it was the last box...pushed all the way up to the edge of the shelf. So sneaky.
Other things I love that I don't have that often? Mr. Lawyer's Tuna Melts....and egg sandwiches. Actually, I miss a lot of his cooking and meals from grad school but big kid work schedules are lame. I picked up all the fixings for it and then waited for him to get home and then waited some more for him to make it. It was worth it.
Lemon-Pepper Tuna Melt!
By Mr. Lawyer
First you set your oven to broil (500 degrees) and toast your bread. Next you layer on some of Grandma Nancy's pickles and top with lightly mayo-ed tuna. Next comes the cheese and it must be Cooper Sharp from the deli. Sprinkle on some lemon-pepper seasoning and broil until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown. Serve it up with some more pickles!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Fries!

Sweet potatoes are surprisingly difficult to cut! Maybe a different knife is in order. The taste on these sweet potato fries was delicious. I used my creole seasoning which is always delicious. I had difficulty getting them completely crispy, some bits stuck to the pan and began to burn so I couldn't bake them longer. I found one recipe that suggested sprinkling the fries with cornstarch to help them crisp up, I'll have to try it. I will definitely use parchment paper next time too but I'm all out!
Sweet Potato Fries!
1 or 2 sweet potato
Olive Oil
Creole Seasoning or preferred seasoning
1. Cut up the sweet potatoes. Try to get it as uniform as possible for even baking.
2. Lightly coat the sweet potatoes with olive oil and seasonings.
3. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay the fries in a single layer. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Flip fries over and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until crispy.
As you can see it got a little messy! Still delicious though. I'll be giving these another go.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bacon and Guac!

And yet another big kid grilled cheese hit. The spicy guacamole was tempered by the smokey bacon and cheese. Yum yum. Served up with the leftover Tomato-Orzo soup.
Cheddar, Bacon, and Guacamole Grilled Cheese
Nice bread
Cheddar Cheese
Spicy Guacamole!
1. Assemble sandwich and grill!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

It's a little bit chilly out and this sandwich provided a little bit of heat. I made a batch of my Tomato-Orzo Soup (I omitted the cream). It's almost gone, clearly still a favorite. This Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese was spot on. It actually tasted like a popper! They are a bit on the rich side so I don't think you could have more than one. It was really fun (and easy!) roasted the peppers. It added a nice smokiness. I also baked my bacon on a wire rack so it wasn't soaking up the grease. The perfect lunch for a chilly day!
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
(Pinterest find!)
Ingredients for 2 sandwiches:
2 jalapeno peppers
4 pieces of bacon
4 slices of good bread
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese
Cheddar cheese, desired amount
1. Broil the peppers on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes, until blackened. Remove from oven and place peppers in a zip-lock bag. Once cool, peel off the skins, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cook the bacon to the desired crispness. 
2. Butter the outside of bread and spread the cream cheese on the inside. On each sandwich layer 1 sliced up jalapeno, 2 slices of bacon, and cheddar cheese.
3. Grill your cheese! Serve with soup.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

We stuck with our Valentine's tradition of staying home and cooking salmon. In my opinion, this year was the best because I've found a marinade recipe that both of us absolutely love: Sweet and Salty Salmon. It was my second time preparing salmon this way and it didn't disappoint.
I loved showing off my new colorful tableware.
Our Valentine's Day Salmon Tradition!
Year 3!
It's always served up with asparagus. Can't go wrong with that.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Heavenly Refried Beans

"Touch that clock, and you can never come back!" a quote from All Dogs Go to Heaven that was burned into my little four year old brain. This recipe illustrates that quote: once you touch these refried beans you'll never go back to canned. I know I can't.
For starters you don't need to soak the dried beans over night. Which is great in case you forget important steps like that. It's a crockpot recipes, can't beat the ease of that! (added bonus: it made the place smell amazing all day). You can control the consistency: Mr. Lawyer likes things chunky so I lightly mashed the beans but left in most of the water/broth for a more creamy-chunky texture. And the flavor! So rich and delicious. It's suppose to freeze well too. The original post doubled this recipe, that's a lot of  refried beans! But it's so delicious I could have just had the beans for dinner, I didn't even want the quesadilla! A note on the quesadilla: Mushroom Onion Provolone Quesadilla. Mr. Lawyer thought it was an odd choice of cheese but it was a marvelous combination.
Crockpot Refried Beans
(Adapted from Pennies & Pancakes)
1 lb dried pinto beans
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (could be omitted, I didn't taste the spiciness)
2 tablespoons jarred minced garlic
1 1/4 tablespoon salt (or less if desired)
1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2.5 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1. Rinse the beans in a colander. Pick out any bad beans.
2. Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot. Remove any floating beans. Cover, and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or until beans are soft.
3. Uncover, and remove extra liquid. Leave enough liquid to reach the desired consistency when the beans are mashed. Mash beans with a potato masher to desired consistency. If it is still too soupy just let it simmer in the crockpot for an hour or until the desired consistency is reached (which is what I did).
4. Serve warm. Store in air-tight containers in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks, or freeze in ziplock bags for later use.

Homemade Crackers

I have a weakness for Wheat Thins so this pinterest recipe caught my eye. I wouldn't call it an exact copy cat recipe but it was decent. The thin ones definitely had the texture down but I felt the taste was lacking. I'm sure it's all the icky chemicals that give the real crackers that delicious flavor. It might be the whole wheat thing. I'm desperately trying to like it in a effort to be healthy but I'm not really a fan. It was a pain to get the crackers that thin, my second batch wasn't as good....I got bored with all the rolling! The appearance is spot on too. It was a fun experiment but I will stick to the real deal, it will be my guilty pleasure!
Thin and not so thin
Also a sign of lazy rolling: weird cracker shapes!
Wheat Crackers
(Pinterest find! King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Additional salt for topping (optional)
1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor. Combine the water and vanilla, and add it to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
2. Pre heat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing, at least 1/16 inch thick. Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together, as they don’t expand while baking. Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt, if desired. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and reroll them all at once just one time.
4. Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast! Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a plate; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cilantro Tilapia

Here comes the first super healthy recipe! It was good but Mr. Lawyer suggested that it didn't need the ginger and he was completely right. I tasted mostly cilantro and sesame with hits of jalapeno. I don't think the ginger added a ton to the recipe. The fish was very moist and there was plenty of extra sauce to drizzle over it (and you know I'm a sauce girl).
Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia
(Pinterest Find! Adapted from
1 pound tilapia fillets
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated, about 1 tablespoon
1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Scallions, chopped for garnish
Extra cilantro, to garnish
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Pat the fish dry and place in an 8x8 baking dish.
2. Put the garlic, grated ginger, chopped jalapeño, and cilantro in a small food processor with the white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Whir until blended.
3. Pour the sauce over the fish, rubbing it in a little. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through.
4. Garnish with the additional scallions and cilantro.

Monday, February 4, 2013

January Roundup!

There's not a lot to roundup for January. I did a pretty good job using all my photos. I do have one...
Green Onions!
I saw a tip on pinterest about re-growing your green onions if you only needed the green parts. It's worked pretty well! I haven't let any go to waste. On the right are some freshly chopped ones and on the left are some re-sprouted ones that are a week old. I was surprised at how quickly they grew! This has been very convenient for recipes that only need a little green onion: buffalo chicken bread, the dill steak, and our healthy veggie soup.