Baked Lemon and Garlic Tilapia

7 Jan

Hey Everyone!  I’m back!  I was shocked when I went back home for Christmas and was asked by nearly everyone I visited what happened to the Red Headed Chef.  I love knowing that there are actually people that read my blog! :-)   I’m thinking though that one of my New Year’s Resolutions will be to write a few new posts every month.  A 2 month hiatus is just too long!

So today I wanted to share with you a quick and easy recipe for baked tilapia filets.  I figured this is a great recipe to start the new year with because it fits in with a lot of people’s New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight.  These filets are great because they taste good (not too fishy!) and are good for your heart and your waistline!  I can’t stress how simple this is – I could submit it to Rachael Ray for 30 Minute Meals or Claire Robinson for 5 Ingredient Fix… Hopefully that gives you an idea!  And for all you non-fish people out there, you should definitely give it a try.  This recipe did not stink up my house, and and really does not taste overly fishy.  I don’t think I would like it if it did.  It just has a nice, light flavor and will leave you just satisfied, not overly stuffed – which is much needed after the holiday eating spree we went on!!

Lemon and Garlic Tilapia (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 4-oz tilapia filets
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (since I was only making 2 filets I was able to use our toaster oven!).
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray
  • Place filets in the baking dish.
  • Brush filets with lemon juice and then drizzle butter on top.
  • Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake about 15 minutes or until fish is white and flaky.
  • Serve with freshly steamed vegetables, brown rice, and a lemon slice.

Stay tuned because I’ve got some other exciting new recipes coming up like low-fat but still delicious muffins and turkey meatballs!!

Chicken Noodle Soup

27 Oct

Fall is the season for lots and lots of soup.  There’s just something about a steamy bowl of soup combined with chilly temps and colorful leaves that just warms the soul!  Yesterday was one of those days that was perfect for soup.  I was not in the mood for anything tomato-y so I opted for chicken noodle instead. I have to tell you that after making my own, I will never go back to canned chicken noodle ever again.  When you open a can you get a bunch of mushiness with a chicken flavor.  When you make your own you can actually taste the chicken, noodles, carrots, celery, and onions.  It is amazing!  I made a small pot (only used 1/2lb chicken), and somehow by the end of the evening we had eaten at all!

I actually didn’t take any pictures of my soup yesterday – we were both hungry and more worried about actually eating!  I did things a little differently the first time, like cutting the chicken into cubes rather than shredding it.  Also, when I made it last night I added a can of corn which is a little non-traditional but was delicious!  The first time I made this we had little french rolls on the side, but last night, since we didn’t have anything else, I whipped up some quick Bisquick biscuits to go with it.  I hope you give this hearty meal a try sometime this fall!

Click here for the recipe.

First you will want to cook your chicken.  I have cooked it in a pan before, but I actually really like poaching it (cooking it in a pan of boiling water).

While the chicken is cooking chop your onions and garlic.  Begin sauteing them in your soup pot over medium heat.

Next chop your carrots and celery and add them to the pot.  Saute all of this until it begins to soften a bit.

Add 1 box of chicken stock and about an extra cup of water.  Season with salt and pepper as you like. Bring to a simmer.

For the pasta:  I have done this two different ways.  The first time I cooked the pasta on its own, but last night I cooked it in the chicken stock.  I think I prefer the chicken stock method.

When your chicken is cooked all the way through, either dice it or shred it and add it to the pot.

Finally, add corn (optional), and let simmer until the pasta is cooked all the way through.

Serve with a roll or biscuit and wine of your choice!  Enjoy!

Turkey Sliders

25 Oct

Ever since Karl’s dad’s big surgery (his dad is doing fantastic, by the way), we have become much more conscious about avoiding red meat.  We have learned that ground turkey and chicken can be great substitutes in soups, tacos, etc.  The one thing we had not yet conquered was a burger.  Sometimes there is just no replacement for a juicy burger – until now!  Previous attempts at turkey burgers yielded dry, boring burgers that we didn’t even want to finish.  Then one day I saw this type while watching an episode of Down Home with the Neelys.  They suggested adding ricotta cheese to keep the burgers from drying out.  I knew right then I needed to try this!

Karl was pretty skeptical when I told him I was making turkey burgers for dinner.  He thought history would repeat itself and we would soon be calling for pizza instead.  I knew better, and he was pleasantly surprised with the result!  He liked them so much he asked for them again the next week!  These are definitely worth a shot if you are craving a burger but want to stay on the healthy side.  Making sliders makes them even healthier (as long as you just eat one!) because it cuts down on the calories.  So here’s how you make them:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
  • Garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • Slider sized whole wheat buns
  • Cheese slices
  • Burger toppings of your choice – we opted for spciy brown mustard and hot peppers
  1. Dice onion very finely
  2. In a large bowl combine onion, ricotta cheese, and turkey breast
  3. Form meat into 2.5-3 oz patties – I like to do like Rachael Ray and smush the center down so they don’t puff up too much
  4. Cook in  a cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat until all patties have reached 160 degrees F
  5. Top each patty with a half slice of cheese, place on a bun and add your favorite toppings

These would be great with some sweet potato fries (baked, not fried) which I have yet to master.  If you have any sweet potato fry recipes please share them with me!  Since I have not yet mastered the sweet potato fries I served these with garlic smashed potatoes which were really good as well!

Black Bean Tacos

23 Oct

As you’ve probably already gathered, Karl and I like to eat a lot of beans!  They are delicious, filling, and a great substitute for meat in your dishes!  One such bean dish we tried a few months ago and loved is black bean tacos.  We love making black bean tacos for many reasons.  1 – they are delicious.  2 – they are cheap; a can of beans costs only $0.75 while a pound of ground beef is around $3.80.  3 – they are quick and easy; I can have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.  They are so, so simple, and I promise if you try them you won’t miss the meat!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 bell pepper (whatever color you choose – I like to use half of 2 different colored peppers)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour tortillas
  • shredded lettuce
  • Mexican cheese
  • salsa

How to make it:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan.
  2. Dice onion and begin sauteing.
  3. Dice peppers and add them to the pan; cook until onions and peppers begin to soften.
  4. Add beans, green chiles, and cilantro. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Slice tomatoes in half and add just before serving.  Cook until all ingredients are warmed through.
  6. Fill tortillas and top with cheese, lettuce, and salsa.
  7. Enjoy!  We usually eat these by themselves but they would also be great with some Mexican rice.

My First Pumpkin Roll

22 Oct

Last week I got an email from my aunt with a recipe for a pumpkin roll that I just had to try (the above picture was actually one she took of her own). I’ve been seeing these pumpkin rolls pop up all over the place, and they look really interesting. Tis the season for all things pumpkin, and I was excited to make something other than pumpkin pie.   This recipe is super easy and so fast to make!  From the time that you start making the cake to the time you roll up the finished product, it probably takes less than a half hour.  And as much as you will want to try it right out of the oven, my recommendation is to wait until it is chilled.  It is 20 times better cold than hot!

The recipe comes from a website called How Does She.  There they give an awesome step-by-step tutorial with the recipe.  Her recipe is awesome – the only thing I did was add maybe 1/4 cup more powdered sugar to cut the richness of the cream cheese because my hubby doesn’t like it too rich.  So hop on over there and give this recipe a shot!  You should probably make two because I know you will be sad when the first one is gone… we sure were!

And just for fun, here are a few pics of mine:

What’s your favorite pumpkin-y treat?

Chicken Chili Mac

18 Sep

Well, its official, fall is here on the east coast, and I don’t think we are going to warm up again for the rest of this year.  This is my favorite time of year because it means getting out cozy sweaters and sweatpants and a season full of comforting soups and stews.  Karl and I will probably make two big pots of chili a month.  Something that we started last year though was really counting our calories and measuring everything that we ate.  It was shocking to see how much you can overeat on a bowl of chili!  You may think that it is difficult to figure out how many calories are in a serving of a food that you prepare, but actually its pretty simple.  So, today’s post will be dedicated to teaching you how to count exactly how many calories go into your favorite dish!

I always start by weighing the pot I will be cooking in and recording this.  Next I start cooking!  For the chili I sauteed an onion and added my ground chicken.  As I have mentioned previously we are trying to cut down on the amount of red meat that we eat, so we wanted to try eating chili with chicken instead of ground beef.  I will just tell you up front that it was great!  You could not even tell there wasn’t ground beef in it.  I think I prefer the moistness of ground chicken to ground turkey, but if you are a turkey person feel free to substitute 1 lb of ground turkey instead.

After the chicken was cooked all the way through I drained the excess fat then added 2/3 can of tomato paste and a can of diced tomatoes with chopped green chiles and about a cup of water.  We do the spices the easy way and buy a seasoning packet!  After letting this simmer for about 20 minutes, I add the beans.  We both like a lot of beans so we usually use 3 cans – 1 of chili beans, 1 of dark red kidney beans, and 1 of light red kidney beans (both cans of kidney beans should be drained and rinsed).  I add these about 15-20 minutes before serving, but before I do, I make sure to do a sample to make sure the seasoning is ok!

While everything is simmering I write down the quantities of ingredients and calculate the total calories in the pot.  At the very end I weigh the whole pot.  Then I subtract the pot weight that I took initially to get the final weight of the food.  Then I just simply divide the total number of calories in the pot by the total number of ounces of the food – and voila!  If you try this method I think you will be really surprised at how much you should be eating versus what you actually eat.  It is really an eye opener, and a great way to keep yourself on a good fitness track.

At the end, you can serve your chili with your favorite toppings – crackers, cheese, onions, etc.  My favorite way to eat chili is as chili mac, on top of elbow macaroni.  Whatever you choose just be sure to also measure out your toppings!  I this recipe helps you enjoy a chilly autumn day just like it did for us!!

Chicken Chili Mac

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium white or yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2/3 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and and green chiles
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 packet Chili-O seasoning mix
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • choice of toppings such as cheese, onions, elbow macaroni, crackers, etc.

Putting it together:

  1. Dice onion and saute until it just beings to soften.  Add chicken and season with  a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Once meat is cooked thoroughly, drain any excess fat or water.
  2. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, water, and seasoning mix.  Let simmer for 20-30 minutes so that flavors meld.
  3. About 15 minutes before serving add beans and let simmer.
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Overnight Oats

4 Sep

This morning I want to tell you about what I had for breakfast today (and eat about 99% of the time).  They’re called overnight oats.  I first learned about overnight oats from some other blogs that I read, and I have to admit that when I first read about people eating COLD oats, I thought they were nuts.  But I continued to see them popping up on blogs, and people said that they were so filling.  I decided to try them a few months ago, and the first time or two that I ate them I still wasn’t sure about them.  Karl would look at them and give me a look like what I was eating was disgusting.  He absolutely refused to try even a bite!  Sometime after I’d been eating them for a month I guess he figured that there must be something good about them for a rather picky eater like me to like them so much.  Just as it was for me, he was not sure about them the first morning, but now he swears by them.  It is a sad and hungry day for us if we do not make them, and that’s why I want to share them with you.  They are quick to make, and they fill you up so you start your busy day on the right foot!

You have a couple different options for making them.  The first is greek yogurt versus regular light yogurt.  At first I used vanilla greek yogurt, but I also eat a cup of greek yogurt at lunch time.  Since greek yogurt is so high in protein, I found I  was actually eating too much protein.  So, I decided to switch to Dannon Light and Fit yogurt instead.  Another plus of using the regular yogurt is that it tastes a little better so you don’t need to use any kind of sweetener for it.

The other option you have is for when to make them.  I know they are called overnight oats, and making them before bed is a great option.  But some nights you forget, and once you’re ready for bed you don’t want anything to stand between you and your pillow.  So, we have found that they are also really good if you make them when you first wake up in the morning and let them sit out for 1-2 hours.  This is personally my favorite way to eat them!

Making the oats is really simple and should take you 5 minutes or less!  We eat them the simple way with just oats, yogurt, a splash of milk, and topped with fresh fruit, but there are lots of people who add lots of other toppings like peanut butter, nuts, and chia seeds.  So feel free to experiment and make these your own!  Be sure to comment and let me know your favorite way to eat them!

Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. (40 g) old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. (~112 g) yogurt in the flavor of your choice (vanilla works really well)
  • splash of milk
  • fresh fruit toppings of your choice

How to make it:

  1. Mix oats, yogurt, and milk together
  2. Place in refrigerator overnight or let sit covered for about 1-2 hours
  3. Top with your favorite fresh fruit or other toppings, stir, and enjoy!
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