Walnut Crusted Tilapia with Creamy Mushroom Orzo

Monday night. You know how it is, it’s the night after the first day back to work and one day closer to Friday. Admit it, you were thinking that too.

Since I’m trying cut back on red meat, I’ve been looking for recipes that involve more chicken and fish. I just bought a bag of frozen tilapia filets which means fish is on the menu this week. Instead of making boring old baked fish, I decided to spice it up a bit.

I found this easy Walnut-Crusted Tilapia recipe on Parents Magazine online. I was then faced with another predicament, what exactly was I supposed to make with this faux exotic fish dish? That’s when I came across another easy recipe for Creamy Mushroom Orzo. A quick mental check for the ingredients at home, check and check. I’ll admit, I was a little worried about the outcome. The tilapia, however, was indeed easy and amazing. The orzo was just right.

 

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia

Ingredients

1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon Light Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
4 Tilapia Filets (about 6 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
 

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast 1/4 cup walnuts for 5 minutes.
 In a separate bowl, stir together mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of the mustard.
Finely chop remaining 1/2 cup walnuts.
Brush tilapia with mustard mixture, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon basil and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Press 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts onto one side of each fillet.
Place tilapia, walnut-side up, on baking sheet; bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
 

Creamy Mushroom Orzo

Ingredients

1 cup Orzo
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
8 ounce package of Sliced Button Mushrooms
3 ounce  Cream Cheese
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 clove Garlic
 Fresh Thyme Sprigs (I used dried Thyme)
 

Directions

Melt butter in pan on med-high heat
Crush & mince garlic.  Toss garlic and thyme sprigs in pan to sauté. Stir for about 60 seconds to open up the flavors
Add mushrooms, and lightly sauté
Add chicken broth and orzo. Simmer until al dente
Fold in the cream cheese, until it is melted into the orzo

 

 

 

Eggs Benedict

Last weekend, I mentioned in my post Let’s Do Brunch my affinity for a certain brunch food item, eggs Benedict. It’s my go-to brunch menu item at almost any restaurant. The perfect mix of yolky eggs, hollandaise, and bread, and any other items you want to top it off with.

This weekend, I was on a mission  to perfect the art of poaching an egg. Naturally, I bought two individual egg poachers – how else are you supposed to get the egg to poach? The cashier at Crate&Barrel, a woman who regularly poaches eggs, pointed me to the right gadget, and gave me some tips.

With family on their way over, I began poaching. Let me tell you, even with an egg poacher, it was not easy. First, I brought water in a pot to a simmer, I then added a few drops of vinegar. Vinegar keeps the egg whites from splattering all over. I cracked my eggs into the poachers, placed them carefully into the water and covered them for 10 minutes.

The impatient person that I am, I kept checking the eggs. I had no idea when they would be done. So I watched them carefully until white film covered the yolks. When I decided it was time to take them out, I was faced with a problem – how do I get the eggs out of the egg poacher? Enter the spoon. Since the poacher was so hot that I burned my finger, my solution was to hold the egg poacher in one hand with an oven mitt, and with my non-dominant hand, try to ease the egg out with a spoon. You can imagine that they didn’t turn out perfectly.

After placing the egg on a lightly toasted English muffin, I made some hollandaise sauce from an easy mix, layered on smoked salmon and capers, and then poured the hollandaise on top.

 

I was surprised that they turned out delicious.

 

In all, it was a stressful experience. I’m going to leave the egg poaching, and resulting eggs Benedict to the pros.

 

Goat Cheese Recipes

The other day, as I was rummaging through the fridge for a snack, I came across a package of goat cheese that was only ¼ eaten. Since we don’t keep many salty snacks in the house – because I’d be tempted to eat them, all in one sitting – I decided to snack on some goat cheese and a mix of saltines/Triscuit crackers. I had only eaten a bit more before I realized that this huge package of goat cheese that’s been sitting in my fridge for more than a month will be expiring on September 26.

 

What to do with a little less than half a package of goat cheese expiring in two weeks? Make a goat cheese inspired dinner, of course!

 

On the Menu

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad – one of my own creations with olive oil, rosemary, lemon vinaigrette

Rosemary Goat Cheese Chickenmy own recipe

Mini Goat Cheese Pizzas– my own recipe

 

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad

Ingredients

2 handfuls of Baby Spinach
2 tablespoons crumbled Goat Cheese
2 tablespoons Walnuts (whole or chopped)
1 large Roma Tomato, chopped

Dressing

Mix together olive oil, rosemary (leaves and dry), Lemon juice, salt.
Mix salad ingredients together, add dressing
 
Rosemary, Goat Cheese Chicken

 

Rosemary, Goat Cheese Chicken

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Lemon Pepper
2 tablespoons Pine nuts (sautéed in olive oil)
2 tablespoons Rosemary (fresh and dried)
¼ packet Goat Cheese
½ cup Chicken stock/broth
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Rub chicken breasts with lemon pepper
Sear in a skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil until browned
Place in a baking dish
Sauté Pine Nuts in olive oil until lightly browned
Cut Goat cheese into ½ inch thick pieces
Place pieces of goat cheese over each chicken breast
Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and pine nuts
Add chicken stock
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
 
Mini Goat Cheese Pizzas

 

Mini Goat Cheese Pizzas

Ingredients

1/8 packet Goat cheese, chopped
Tomato sauce
½ onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mushrooms (canned)
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1  can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated biscuits
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

Directions

Sauté onions in olive oil until caramelized,
Sauté pine nuts in the same oil, drain extra oil
Lay biscuits out on baking sheet, and flatten with your fingers
Spoon tomato sauce on each biscuit
Add onions, mushrooms, shredded mozzarella
Top with goat cheese and pine nuts
 Bake at 350 degrees for 14-17 minutes
 

For two people, we have a lot of left overs. That means, I’ll be having pizza and salad for lunch tomorrow. Yum!

What culinary creations have you come up with that involve a surplus or close-to-expriation of a food item? Share your stories in the comments.

Let’s Do Brunch

Brunch is my favorite meal of the week. It’s not quite breakfast and not quite lunch. It’s the perfect blend of savory and sweet. So why is brunch the one meal I look forward to all week?

After running around all week trying to catch my breath between work, errands, the gym, dinner planning and preparation, and mandatory family gatherings, brunch is a meal for relaxation. It’s about catching up on the events of the previous week, or a once-every-two month reunion. Life stories, little known secrets and advice are always shared.

Let’s not forget about the food. There are so many delicious options – my favorite being Eggs Benedict. Disclaimer: I’m absolutely awful at poaching eggs. I’m great at scrambled with cheese and sunny-side up, but poached; that’s a-whole-nother story. Luckily Crate&Barrel makes this great individual egg poacher which I plan to buy, and use to make my own Eggs Benedict. Recipe and photo to follow next week.

In the meantime, I make a mad stovetop eggs frittata.

 

Ingredients

4 oz Fresh baby spinach
4 Eggs
4 tablespoons shredded cheese of your choice (Mozzarella, cheddar, etc.)
½ Green Pepper
½ Red pepper
1 cup Broccoli
(other veggies can be used)
 

Directions

Spray cooking spray in a nonstick skillet.
Wilt the spinach with 1 Tbsp water for 5 minutes, stir as it’s cooking.
Add broccoli, green pepper, red pepper.
Let cook for another 3-5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs (lightly)
Pour eggs over veggies. Do not stir.
Cover and cook until eggs are set (5-8 minutes)
Serve in the skillet.

Servings: 4

By the Cup and Teaspoon

 

My measuring cups and spoons. I recommend metal measuring tools – you’re guaranteed the numbers won’t rub off that way.  I also took mine off the ring because I need flexibility.

My grandmother (Tayta) is a pro, and to my knowledge doesn’t even own a set of measuring cups and spoons. I will openly admit that without them, I’m lost in my own kitchen.

If found, please return.

What do your measuring cups look like?

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