Monday, November 22, 2010

Crunchy Oven Fried Tilapia

Crispy and flavorful fish is always great, but often times it has to be fried in order to get that result. Great for the taste buds, but not so good for the waistline (or arteries). 

While this recipe isn't exactly fried fish, it is a tasty and healthy alternative.  Abe and Adam loved it.  Adam even had fun helping me make it.  Well, he mainly watched me make it, while stealing bits of the cornmeal/bread crumb mixture (kids eat the weirdest things).  But it would be an easy meal for older kids to make.  The drizzle of olive oil crisps up the fish.  If you want to avoid the calories, you can spray them with a non-stick cooking spray or even just bake them as is.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on

I served it with roasted maple glazed acorn squash and brown rice.


Crunchy Oven Fried Tilapia
Serves 4

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg white
4 tilapia fillets or loins
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift or stir flour, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish, and set aside. In a bowl, beat egg whites until white and frothy. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs with cornmeal and spices.

To bread the fillets, dip first into flour, shaking off any excess, then into egg whites, then into bread crumb mixture. 

Spray a shallow baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Lay fillets flat in the dish, tucking under any thinner ends or edges for more even cooking. Drizzle olive oil on top of fillets. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a folk.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Barbecued Pork Chops

Nothing fancy- just a quick way to cook up some pork chops.  I had something in the oven and couldn't use the broiler, so I used my grill pain.  Jimi, especially, enjoyed it and asked for seconds.

I'd write more, but I'm multitasking by NWB... Nursing While Blogging.  :-)

I got the recipe from  I served it with roasted butternut squash and homemade coleslaw.


Barbecued Pork Chops

1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
1/4  cup  ketchup
1  tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
1  tablespoon  low-sodium soy sauce

Remaining ingredients:
6  (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1  teaspoon  dried thyme
1  teaspoon  garlic salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
Cooking spray

Prepare grill or broiler.

To prepare sauce, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Place 1/4 cup sauce in a small bowl, and set aside.

Trim fat from pork. Combine the thyme, garlic salt, and pepper; sprinkle over pork. Place pork on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 6 minutes on each side, basting with remaining sauce. Serve pork chops with reserved 1/4 cup sauce.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beer Can Chicken

My best friend and her husband have made one of these on their grill.  When I first heard about it, I couldn't believe that the ink from the can doesn't seep into the chicken.  I guess it doesn't, but hmmm.... still was an odd concept to me.

Until I saw it made on Food Network and just had to try it.  It looked so funny and I thought Jimi would get a kick out of seeing a chicken with a can up his wahoo.   He did.  You can barely see the can in my picture, but it does make for a pretty funny presentation. 

If I weren't nursing, I would've enjoyed the bit of beer you drain off to prevent major overspill.  You, on the other hand, I recommend sipping it while the chicken cooks. 

The meat turns out flavorful and very juicy.  It can also be made on the grill. 


Beer Can Chicken

1 (2 to 3-pound) whole chicken
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 (12-ounce) can beer

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix dry ingredients in small bowl. Rub 1/2 of the ingredients on inside cavity of chicken. Gently peel skin away from chicken and rub mixture into meat of chicken. Open beer can pour out about 1/2 cup. Drop the garlic cloves into the beer can. Place chicken, open end down, over the beer can to insert the beer into the cavity. Place chicken, standing up, in large saute pan.

Place chicken in the oven for 10 minutes and then lower temperature to 325 degrees F and cook for another 1 hour, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin

Looking for an incredibly basic and tasty recipe?  Try this, especially when you realize late in the day that you forgot to plan for dinner.  4 ingredients and bam! You've got a tasty dinner.  Abe ate his up.

I got the recipe on  I served it with broccoli mashed potatoes.


Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons steak seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 lb. pork loin, trimmed of fat

Mix first 3 ingredients together in a bowl.  Pour over pork in a resealable bag.  Marinate from 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pork and marinate in glass baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, until internal temperature reads 145 degrees, about an hour.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Cupcake are the new rage.  Cupcake shops are popping up on every corner.  Wedding receptions and 1st birthday parties everywhere have cupcake towers, filled with not just the average white cake and butter cream frosting varieties.  No, these cupcakes have names like Bumpalicious and flavors like Egg Nog and Peanut Butter and Jelly.  And, the biggest indicator of the fad's popularity.... a reality show called Cupcake Wars (yeah, I don't predict it to last).

I have a group of friends who meet every Monday morning for a play date with our toddler boys.  We call it the Smelly Boy group; 6 toddler boys, plus 2 infant boys and 2 infant girls, all pile into a play room to play, throw tantrums, smack a kid or two (that wouldn't be my son :::cough::::) and have a pretty good time, while the moms enjoy lattes and a homemade dessert.  My friend Nancy is usually the host and also usually the pastry chef.  But this week I wanted to pitch in.  And when I saw this recipe, I couldn't type "I'm making the treat this week!" fast enough.

And wow.  They were good.  Really, really good. And surprisingly easy.  Baking isn't my forte, but this came out pretty good.

I got the cupcake recipe from Rachael Ray magazine.  I originally was going to swap out their frosting recipe, which seemed to get poor ratings, for a cinnamon cream cheese frosting I've done before.  But a cooking misstep (me forgetting to add the dry ingredients to the wet) made me have to pitch a batch of cupcakes and therefore, have to use the cream cheese needed for the frosting.  So, I switched it to a cinnamon buttercream frosting.  I'm sure they'd taste good with the cream cheese frosting, too.   


Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes


One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoons salt
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar for 3 minutes. Beat in 1 egg white and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. 

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, granulated sugar, oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture.  

Layer each muffin cup with some of the pumpkin batter, then the cream cheese mixture, then more of the batter. Bake until springy to the touch, 25 minutes. Let cool.  Frost and enjoy.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter, at room temp.
3-3/4 C confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp. milk (or more)
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 tsp. cinnamon

Place butter in large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low until fluffy, 30 seconds. Add conf. sugar, 3 Tbsp.. milk and vanilla. Blend on low until sugar is incorporated, 1 min. Add cinnamon, increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 min. more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chipotle-Barbeque Chicken

No real story behind this recipe.  I just happened to see it in my new Rachael Ray magazine and thought the boys would like it.  And boy was I right.  We had the kids' cousins over today and boys declared that the chicken was "sooooo good" and everyone cleaned their plates.  Well, except for the salad, but that's to be expected.

I found the sauce to be a bit chunky (I guess I needed to chop the onions more finely), so I'd maybe run it through a blender if that bothers you.  It didn't make a difference to my tasters.

Helpful Tip Alert....The chipotle in adobe sauce is often times something that goes to waste.  You buy the can to use in a recipe that calls for one of the peppers and a tablespoon of the sauce and you don't know what to do with the rest.  You think you're going to maybe make a Mexican dish later in the week, you never end up doing it and you are forced to throw the rest of the can away.  Well, one way to store the leftover is in a small freezer bag, laid flat.  That way, whenever your recipe calls for some chipotle, all you have to do is snap off a piece.

I served it with smashed potatoes and salad.

Photo from Rachael Ray's website.


Chipotle-Barbeque Chicken
Serves 4

3 tablespoons butter
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce to the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, worcestershire and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes (throw it in a blender or use a stick blender if you want a smooth sauce).

3.Using tongs, coat the chicken in the sauce and place skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Garlicky Roasted Pork Loin

It's no secret that I am not a chef.  I can't create my own recipe and don't even try.  I don't remember what the purpose of baking soda is in a recipe or what braising does to a piece of meat versus searing. 

I'm queen of looking up a recipe online, though, and have gotten pretty good at knowing what my family will find tasty.  I am pretty good at reading the recipe and duplicating it, even if I can't taste it to adjust seasonings.

This recipe, however, is my first semi-own recipe and even came up with its name (super fancy, wouldn't you say?).   And I'm proud to say that Abe loved it so much, he wants me to serve it on Thanksgiving.  So, yea me!   And Jimi gave it a "that was yummy!" kiss of approval.

It came from me realizing that I didn't have a pot roast, but actually had a pork roast (yes, one is beef and the other is pork and the only similarity was the roast part.. duh).   So, the recipe I wanted to do didn't apply.  I scrambled to find a recipe in order to get dinner ready for my hungry boys.  I didn't want to follow the recipe completely, so I modified it to meet my needs.  And I'm glad I did.

Now, it's nothing fancy, but just a tasty way to serve that pork loin you found on sale.   I served it with brown rice and green beans.  Abe and Jimi enjoyed the leftovers the next day wrapped in a tortilla with sauteed onions and salsa.


Garlicky Roasted Pork Loin

1 (3-4 lb.) boneless pork loin roast
8-10 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

With a paring knife, make small slits over the top of the roast.  Push garlic cloves into each slit. 

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and rub over entire roast. 

Bake, uncovered, in oven for 2 to 3 hours, until meat thermometer reads 160-170 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.