Pan-Seared Tilapia with Cilantro, Soy, Ginger and Avocado


I was perusing recipes yesterday that used avocados, as I had four ripe ones ready to eat and knew I didn’t want to make guacamole or add them to a salad, but rather in some kind of main dish. I came across one from Tyler Florence which sounded delicious using sushi-grade tuna, and decided to try it with the tilapia I had on hand. Needless to say, it was fabulous, in addition to being easy to make. Oh, and it’s healthy, too!

Tilapia with Cilantro Sauce and Avocado

Ingredients

  • 2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tilapia filets, about 3 oz. each
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeño, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
  3. Add the tilapia to the pan with half of the cilantro mixture and sauté until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with the sliced avocado and remaining cilantro sauce, drizzled over the fish.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Top ↑

Slow Cooker Hoppin’ John


If you’re not familiar with Hoppin’ John, it is a dish served in the Southern United States consisting of black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock, or country sausage for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. In the southern United States, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, cabbage etc. along with this dish, are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth, being the color of gold. On the day after New Year’s Day, leftover “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny,” and further demonstrates one’s frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.

I made this yummy dish last year, and thought for sure I has posted it right afterwards, but my bad for not doing so. This recipe contains bacon, so if you’d like to make it vegetarian,  simply omit that and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock. This can be served as a stew or you can use a slotted spoon to drain it. Some people like to have the “sauce” on the side to dip their cornbread in.

Hoppin' John

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Black Eyed Peas
  • 4 oz. bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 bunch of carrots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half lengthwise
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock/broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 sprig fresh Thyme
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch Collard greens, leaves stripped from stem

Directions

  1. Rinse the peas under cold water and pick out any stones or discolored peas. Bring the peas to boil in a medium saucepan full of cold water. Boil the peas for 10 minutes. As the beans cool, start chopping the vegetables. If you are planning to simmer the stew all day, skip boiling the peas.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet or the microwave, set aside.
  3. Combine peas, diced bell pepper, onion, carrots, garlic, jalapeño halves, stock and seasonings in a slow cooker. Cook for at least 4 hours on low.
  4. About an hour before you are ready to serve, prepare the collards by cutting the leaves into strips and add them to the stew.
  5. Add the reserved cooked bacon at this time. Cook the stew for another 40-60 minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, thyme stems, and jalapeno halves.
  7. Serve alone or over of your favorite rice. If desired, can top with cheddar cheese, scallions and a drizzle of white vinegar.

Top ↑

Corn Pudding


Surprisingly, I had never tried corn pudding until recently, and am a little sad it took me so many years to discover it. Most of the recipes I found were baked dishes, which I may try at some point, but I wanted something with more of a creamy consistency like I had in July and that was prepared on the stove top. I came across one from McCormick & Schmick’s, which was served with King Salmon and sautéed spinach, and since my first experience with corn pudding was paired with salmon also, I knew this was the one I wanted to make. I adjusted the recipe (and preparation) a bit, and am so pleased with how it turned out. If you’re a fan of corn, then you’ll surely love this.

Corn pudding served with steak and baby potatoes

 

Ingredients

  • 1 can whole-kernel sweet corn (I would’ve used fresh corn from the cob, but didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add drained corn and sugar.
  2. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
  3. Remove corn from pan & place into a bowl, set aside.
  4. Using same pan, add milk and slowly whisk in cornmeal.
  5. Add the cooked corn, jalapeños, and red peppers.
  6. Bring to a boil to thicken, while continuing to stir.
  7. Once thickened to desired consistency, remove from heat and add salt.
  8. Serve immediately with your favorite dish.

Top ↑

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chili


I had been thinking about making chili for quite a while, and after recently chatting with a friend about one he tried (and said was delicious) that was sweet, but also had a good amount of heat, I decided to start researching similar recipes. As you can probably imagine, there are a TON of different chili recipes on the net to choose from! So, after looking at a bunch, and narrowing it down, I decided to go with one that appealed to me the most (of course, with some of my own modifications). I was a little taken-back with the number of ingredients this recipe has, but decided to just go for it. And I’m glad I did, as this is possibly the best chili I’ve ever tasted.

To be noted, this recipe yields a lot of chili (it almost filled up my 6 quart crock pot), so unless you’re feeding a large family (serves 10-12) or plan to bring it to a party, I recommend dividing the recipe in half.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 16 oz. sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 12 oz. top sirloin, cubed into 1/4″ chunks
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 shallot, diced fine
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 1/4″
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 1/4″
  • 1 cup tomato paste (I like Hunts)
  • 1/2 tsp. fine-ground instant espresso
  • 1 15 1/4 oz. can pineapple bits/chunks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 15 oz. cans kidney beans
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 28 oz. can peeled plum tomatoes, chopped (drained, but reserve juice)
  • 12 oz. dark beer (I recommend Guinness)
  • 3 jalapeños peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
About 3 hours to go, but already tasty!

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil. (This step is optional, but I prefer the onions softer by this process).
  2. Add the sausage to the pan, and brown. You may need to do this in batches.
  3. Remove the browned sausage and set aside.
  4. Add the steak to the pan and sear on both sides.
  5. Chop/dice all of the vegetables, and add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, including the meat.
  6. Set the crock pot on low and cook for approximately 6 hours.
  7. Serve and garnish with cheese, sour cream (or substitute plain or honey Greek yogurt)  or your favorite topping.

Top ↑