Monday, May 25, 2015

Corey's Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Corey's Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

There are thousands of great Caprese Salad (hopefully), there is one more.  I love these salads and it is a great addition to my recipes for entertaining.  I wanted one with a balsamic glaze - and think this is really nice mix.  It is very simple to pull together and really completes many meals.  Since Pam does not like tomatoes - I will have to use this for entertaining!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
1 1/2 cups Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Brown sugar
1 lbs Mozzarella cheese (fresh)
4 Tomatoes (vine ripe or Roma work well here)
1 large bunch of Basil, leaves removed from the stems
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Pinch of Black pepper
2 tsp Olive oil

1. Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar into a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then lower and simmer for 22-25 minutes.  Removed the reduction from the heat and let cool.
2. Slice the tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese into even pieces.  Arrange the salad with alternative layers of tomatoes, cheese and basil.
3. Sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper atop the tomato mixture.
4. Drizzle the olive oil and the balsamic reduction atop the tomato mixture.

Serve and Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Crab-Stuffed Tilapia with Roasted Vegetables

Crab-Stuffed Tilapia

We have been making tilapia (a nice white fish) a regular on our weekly menus these past few months.  I wanted to play with this a bit and decided that I needed to try a stuffed tilapia.  This recipe really came from two different inspirations.  First, I adapted the tilapia recipe from Crabmeat Stuffed Tilapia (at  Second, I adapted just the vegetables from my Roasted Vegetables with Tilapia.  This is going to be very welcome in the mix for fish recipes in our house.  This came out amazing!  If you want the fish a bit more moist, melt 1 tbsp of butter and pour it over the fish before you bake.  The vegetables are not photographed - but they are the same as with the original dish.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3):

Roasted Vegetables:
12 Fingerling potatoes, cut in half
12 Baby-cut carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp Kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp Black pepper, divided
12 Kalamata olives, pitted
2 tsp Garlic, chopped (or cloves)
2 crowns Broccoli, trimmed with small amount of stems

Crab-Stuffed Tilapia:
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion (small), finely chopped
1 Celery rib (small), finely chopped
2 tsp Garlic, chopped (or cloves)
1 tbsp Parsley, dried
1⁄4 cup Breadcrumbs
6 oz can Crab meat, drained
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Kosher salt (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp Black pepper (adjust to taste)
3 Tilapia fillets
1/2 tsp Paprika

Vegetables Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. In a mixing bowl, add potatoes, carrots, 1 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 tsp each of kosher salt and black pepper. Stir thoroughly. Arrange in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 15 minutes
3. While the potatoes are cooking, use the same mixing bowl then add olives, garlic, broccoli, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp each of kosher salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly. When the 15 minutes of roasting (above) are complete, add the olive mix to the pan and stir thoroughly.  Cook for 20 or 22 additional minutes.

Crab-Stuffed Tilapia Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery & garlic; saute until tender (5-7 minutes).  Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl.
3. Add parsley, breadcrumbs, crab meat, lemon juice, Kosher salt and black pepper to the onion mixture.  Mix thoroughly.
4. Spray casserole or oven pan with cooking spray.
5. Spread the mixture over the connected section of the tilapia fillets and fold over the ends over the stuffing.  Place leftover stuffing on top of the folded fillets & sprinkle with paprika.  NOTE: if you want the fish a bit more moist, melt 1 tbsp of butter and pour it over the fish before you bake.
6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.

Combined Timing:
1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. Prepare the Tilapia stuffing & prepare the fish.
3. Place Vegetables in a pan in the oven (potatoes and carrots).
4. After 15 minutes, add other vegetables to that pan (as directed).  Also, put the fish in the oven.
5. Both will be done in 20-22 minutes.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pan Roasted Chicken

Pan Roasted Chicken

This is a great way to prepare chicken as entrees or for making salads.  I tweaked this a bit and came up with these directions over the past few attempts.  Very happy with where it is now, so it is ready to share!  The secret here is having a pan that can go from the stove to the oven.  A few year's ago, my mom bought me a Le Creuset iron skillet for Christmas.  I had long wanted one of those - if anything to use to defend myself should it ever be needed.  MAN that weighs a ton.  But one of the great features of an iron skillet is that you can move from the stove to the oven.  So I have been playing with some recipes here and I will do so more - now that I have the hang of how to best use these.  The picture is for five breast halves that I cooked the other day.

Ingredients (adjust as needed)

1 tbsp Olive oil
3 Chicken breasts (skinless), cut in half if large
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp Black pepper (adjust to taste)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Season chicken breasts with Kosher salt and black pepper.
3. Heat olive oil at medium-high heat in cast iron pan (or other stove to oven pan).
4. Add chicken to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
5. When both sides are seared, place pan in oven and let cook for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes in the pan.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Slow Cooker Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

Slow Cooker Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

My last recipe was in preparation of Chris coming home over the summer.  It was Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili and was really great.  I wanted to try getting some good meatless meals going in the slow-cooker and a vegetarian chili seemed like a great way the start. I loved the way this turned out, but it was just a bit soupy.  I served it (including for lunch) over a portion of brown rice and it make a great meal.  But I wanted to make a new version that was a bit more chili.  So I swapped out some ingredients and am working on a take two!  This was fantastic and will be on the short list of recipes to make!  Great comfort food for meatless meals.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1 small Red onion, chopped
1 small Yellow onion, chopped
1 Red bell pepper, chopped
1 Green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium Sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
5 tsp Garlic (or cloves), chopped
2 tbsp Chili powder
1 tbsp Cumin, ground
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Ground red pepper (adjust to taste)
1 15 oz can Black beans, rinsed
1 15 oz can Kidney beans, rinsed
1 15 oz can Pinto beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Petite-diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can Crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup Vegetable broth


1. In a large slow cooker, combine the fresh ingredients (red onion, yellow onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, sweet potatoes, and garlic) .

2. Add the dry spices over the vegetable mixture (chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, Kosher salt, black pepper & red pepper).

3. Add the black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable broth to the mixture.

4. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.  Stir thoroughly and cook for 2 more hours.