Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spicy Grilled Tilapia Tacos with Grilled Corn Slaw

Okay, so I know it isn't Taco Tuesday but you know what?

I. Don't. Care.

You know why?

Because these tacos are just too good to have only one day of the week.  They should be enjoyed every single day of the week...

Alright, that may be a little excessive but you get the gist...

These tacos are p h e n o m e n a l.

And SPPPPICY.  I mean, who doesn't like a good kick- in-your-mouth, HOT.... something that makes 'em sweat a little...

With a homemade grilled corny slaw to cool your mouth down from the spicy fish - but don't hold your breath, there are peppers in the slaw to give you that kick in the back of your throat - wrapped in a warm, corn tortilla topped with homemade guacamole and melted cheddar cheese,  you have what you can call the perfect taco.

So I beg you- go make and these spicy, delicious tacos! I dare you to tell me that they don't deserve to be eaten every day of the week...

Just make sure you have a glass of milk close by...


Slaw: (make a couple hours before you are going to cook fish tacos)
1 package slaw mix 
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 ears corn, grilled and husked
2 6-oz. containers non-fat Greek yogurt 
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
2 limes, zest and juice
1/2 small container chiles in adobo sauce, blended

4 tilapia fillets
3 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Corn tortillas, toasted

In a large bowl, add slaw mix.  

Thinly slice half a red onion and add to slaw mix.

In a food processor or blender, add half a container of chiles in adobo sauce- about 4-5 chiles, and blend. (If you aren't a fan of too much heat, before you add the chiles to the food processor, cut the chiles in half and scrape out the seeds. Discard the seeds and add the chile flesh to the processor.  Blend.)

In a bowl, add greek yogurt, old bay seasoning, cumin, chile powder, lime zest and juice and blended adobo chiles.

Mix together and set aside.

In the meantime, turn grill or grill pan on high heat. Add corn.

Cook for 10 minutes, frequently turning it, until kernels become browned.  Set aside to cool.

Once corn is cooled, cut kernels off cob using a knife.

Add kernels to bowl of slaw.  Add preferred amount of greek yogurt dressing to slaw mix.  (I usually use all of it.)

Cover with saran wrap and chill.  I usually make this a couple of hours before so the flavors can really marry together.  

For the tacos: In a small bowl, combine chipotle chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and lime juice.  Mix together to create a paste.

Take tilapia and brush half the paste on one side of each tilapia.

Take a long piece of aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place paste-sided tilapia face down on aluminum foil.

Take rest of paste and spread on tilapia.

Turn grill on high heat.  Place fish (that is on aluminum foil) on grill.  Cook for 7 minutes.

Flip tilapia, and cook for another 7 minutes.  Fish may break apart in large chunks.  Once cooked for total of 14 minutes and cooked through, take fish off of aluminum foil and place on plate.

Using two forks, shred fish.

Before assembling the taco, take a corn tortilla and grill tortilla on both sides on stove top.

To assemble taco, smear homemade guacamole on top of tortilla.  Sprinkle preferred amount of cheddar cheese.  Top with shredded fish and preferred amount of slaw.  Now, tell me this doesn't look like theeeee perfect taco!  Enjoy :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Faux Fried Ravioli

If you have ever been to an Italian restaurant and ordered 'Fried Ravioli', you know exactly why I have a maaaad obsession with it.  The only problem is, I crave it waaay too much.

I figured since it is not the healthiest item on the menu, I really needed to recreate a more nutritious version of it. 

So I could eat it all the time...

And boy, is it as tasty as ever.   

By coating cheesy, creamy ravioli in tons of salty Parmesan and Italian breadcrumbs, and baking them until they become crispy pop-em-in-your-mouth bites, you will have a faux-fried ravioli that tastes exactly like a real, greasy fried rav from your favorite Italian restaurant.  With half the fat and half the guilt!

I promise, once you eat one, you won't be able to stop.

Dip 'em warm Marinara sauce and you are good to go.   

1 package favorite frozen ravioli (I used three cheese & spinach ravs)
3 egg whites, beaten
1/4 tsp Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
Extra virgin olive oil
1 jar favorite Marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add ravioli once water is boiling and cook for 2 minutes.

Drain the ravioli carefully.  I used a hand strainer to carefully take pasta out of water and place in a larger strainer.

In a dish, add three egg whites and pepper and salt.  

Whisk with a fork until foamy.

In a separate dish add breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Set up a dredging station for the ravs.  

Carefully take a ravioli (avoid breaking & spilling the filling) and with one hand dip ravioli in egg white and coat.

 Using your other hand place ravioli in breadcrumb/Parm mixture and cover.

Coat ravioli in mixture.  Shake off excess breadcrumbs & Parm. 

 Place rav on baking sheet and repeat until you use all of the ravs.

Drizzle the tops of the ravioli lightly with extra virgin olive oil.

Bake ravioli for 5 minutes.  Then broil until tops are brown & crispy!  While ravs are baking, warm up your favorite Marinara sauce to dip! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

World's Best Mac N' Cheese

I don't think I enjoy a meal more than Mac N' Cheese.... Honestly, I don't.

There is nothing that compares to a steaming bowl of creamy, thick, salty, delicious cheesey pasta.  Nothing that creates the same ooey, gooey, endless string that sticks to your fork when you pull out another bite.   Nothing that screams "childhood" or "I just want to sit in my pjs, watch movies, & eat comfort food" more than this dish.

I have had many many many mac n' cheeses in my day...  Everywhere from the infamous Kraft, to the delicious Wisconsin Mac N' Cheese from Noodles & Co..  And I can't forget the Lean Cuisine Mac N' Cheese that brings me back to those nights when I faked a sore throat so I could eat warm delicious Mac N' Cheese for dinner instead of whatever gross, healthy thing my parents were cooking up...  

My whole life I have thought those Mac N' Cheeses were the bomb-diggity.... until I met my own.

Seriously, I don't think I have ever tasted a Mac N' Cheese quite like this.  If Mac N' Cheese could be perfected (Not trying to sound all high on myself-but really) I think I brought it home... even surprising myself when I took that first bite.

This Mac N' Cheese honestly came from no where.  Seriously, I just mixed together some random "mac-n-cheesy" ingredients that I had in my house and just went for it.  I made it up as I went and came up with a Mac N' Cheese that I think could win awards.

Truly, it is the World's best.

With a crispy, garlicky homemade breadcrumb top, filled with 5 different velvety cheeses that soak into delicious, hot noodles... this recipe is a winner.

So, sorry Kraft, Noodles & Co. and Lean Cuisine.  Oh, and sorry to whoever prepares Mac N' Cheese ever again for me... there will never be a Mac N' Cheese that comes close to this one and absolutely none that will ever put a big cheesy smile on my face as this one does!  Now go smile, indulge, and prepare to have your preferences on Mac N' Cheese change forever

1/2 package of rigatoni
1/2 package of pastina
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup part-skim three cheese mexican blend, shredded
1/2 cup reduced fat medium sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (3 TBS reserved for topping)
1/2-3/4 cup Low fat Cottage Cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 slices Sourdough bread, toasted
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pastas according to package.  (You can use whatever pasta you would like!) 

While pasta is cooking, add Mozzarella, Three Cheese Blend, Medium Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan (reserve 3 TBS for topping- set aside), and Cottage Cheese to a food processor or blender.

Blend together until cheese becomes a paste. 

Once pasta is done cooking, drain pasta from water and add to bowl.  Add cheese mixture to pasta.

Mix and coat all pasta.

Toast two slices of sourdough bread in the oven for about 3 minutes.  While toasting, mince garlic.  

In a food processor, break apart sourdough bread and add bread, garlic, and 3 TBS of Parmesan cheese.  Blend together to create breadcrumb-like texture.

Spray a baking dish with Non-Stick Cookings Spray.  Pour pasta into baking dish.  Spoon breadcrumb mixture over pasta.  (You probably won't use all breadcrumbs.)  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil lightly over top of pasta. 

Bake for 10 minutes until pasta is warmed through.  Broil for a few minutes until top of pasta becomes golden brown.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Caprese Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto

Can someone please tell me that it really isn't August yet....

'Cause if that is the truth, summer went by way too fast and that is not okay with me.

I'm serious summer flew by this year, like no summer has before.  Having only a few more weeks left of freedom, sun-bathing, and hanging out with as many friends as possible, I decided to take advantage of what is left of summer...  

So, I made Caprese Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto.

Now if this isn't a summery food, I don't know what is.  The freshest ingredients on top of grilled, salty ciabatta bread slathered with creamy, rich homemade pesto.  Heaven... Summer Heaven.

It only takes a few steps to make and it is so easy to travel with.  So whether you are enjoying your last few days of summer on a boat, in a tent, or by the pool, bring these sammys with you.  They will end your summer with a bang! 

1 ciabatta loaf, halved then sliced 
2 cups fresh basil (reserve 1/4 cup for actual sandwich)
1 cup fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch
2 mozzarella balls

Slice ciabatta loaf in half.  Slice into preferred sandwich portions.

In a small saute pan, add pine nuts and cook on medium heat for about 5 min.  Watch closely and stir them frequently, allowing them to slightly brown and toast.  Set aside and cool.  

In a food processor, combine 1 3/4 cup basil (reserve 1/4 cup for sandwich), 1 cup parsley, 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and salt.  

Pulse together, allowing ingredients to break down.  After a few pulses, begin to blend the ingredients together and slowly add the extra virgin olive oil to the mixture.  

Once you added all of the extra virgin olive oil or enough to allow the pesto to become wet, stop blending.  It should be a beautiful, bright green color!

Turn inside or outside grill on high heat.  ( I used an inside grill pan but outside definitely works better.)  Place pieces of bread face down on grill to toast up.

Watch bread carefully.  While bread is toasting, slice tomatoes and mozzarella about 1/2 inch thick.  Set aside with the reserved 1/4 cup basil leaves.

Once bread is toasted, immediately spread desired amount of pesto on bottom half of sandwich.

Top bottom half with desired amount of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves.

I like to serve mine with a little dish full of balsamic vinegar to dip in and some salty, crunchy potato chips!

Happy Summer!