Leftovers and Coworker Treats!

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First, let me say, as you can tell from the picture above, our leftover fish tacos and black bean soup were a success!! Click here for recipes. They were just as delicious as last night, but I changed it up a bit.

Instead heating the tortillas and making a traditional taco, I made tortilla chips, as I had previously posted here, and using the shredded cabbage as my base, I made a fish taco salad. It was equally delicious! The crunch of the oven-baked tortilla chips were a perfect compliment to the salad.

So, since I did not make dinner tonight, I felt compelled to make a treat for my coworkers. Only problem was, after being on-call this weekend, I had zero energy to drive to the grocery to buy anything. Therefore, I needed to make something of whatever I already had on hand.

I took to my Pinterest profile to see what I had pinned that I could make, and I discovered these yummy lemon poppy seed cupcakes with lemon glaze. My version altered slightly from the original recipe, in that, I tried to make them a bit healthier and cut down on the amount of lemon zest because I only had a few lemons on hand.

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Lighter Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup margarine, softened (Smart Balance Light)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar (I used the Splenda blend equivalent, which was 3/4 cup, divided)
3 large eggs
1 tbsp poppy seeds

For the citrus glaze:

1 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
For garnish: lemon zest, poppy seeds

Directions

For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line a cupcake pan with the liners of your choice.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Stir together milk and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a small bowl.

Using a hand mixer, beat butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and the lemon zest on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Mixing on low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Beat in poppy seeds.

Divide batter among muffin tins (filling each cup two-thirds full). Made 22 cupcakes.

Bake until golden around the edges, 20-22 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let stand until ready to use

Brush warm cupcakes with half the lemon juice mixture. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes.

Brush cupcakes again with remaining orange juice mixture, and let cool completely.

For the citrus glaze: Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle on the cupcakes (about 1 tsp each) to cover the tops. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, and garnish with strips of lemon zest if you desire. Let sit for about 20 minutes or so until glaze is set.

Luckily for my husband, I made enough for him to try one tonight! Hopefully my coworkers find them as delicious as he did!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Football Saturday Dinner: Blackened Fish Tacos

A few weeks ago, my grocery store had cod fillets on sale, but when I went to purchase them, they were sold out. Because the price was so good, I got a raincheck. Today, when I went to pick up a few things, I cashed in on my raincheck!

Even before the grocery store,I woke up thinking about fish tacos. Maybe they were in one of my dreams?? So, before I headed off to the hospital early this morning to see a few patients, I got on my iPad to find a recipe. Below is my version!

Simple Blackened Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

2 and 1/2 tsp paprika
2 and 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
4 cod fillets
Cooking spray
8 corn tortillas

Directions:

Spray the grill pan before heating. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine spices, honey, and lime juice in a bowl. Using your hands, coat both sides of the fish. Grill each side for 3 to 4 minutes.

Wrapped in a damp paper towel, warm corn tortillas in microwave for 30-45 seconds.

**Recipe Inspiration: Some Kitchen Stories

To top the cod, I also made a black bean and corn salsa, similar to what I made with my healthy chicken enchiladas (minus the edamame). Click link for recipe.

And then, I combined 1 cup of fat free sour cream with 1/4 cup chunky salsa.

Lastly, I had some store-bought shredded Mexican cheese and some green cabbage I shredded in the food processor.

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Also pictured, a black bean soup I had previously made with my baked taco chicken. Click link for recipe.

A delicious success! Little man really enjoyed the fish and black bean soup too!!

ENJOY!! 🙂

GO IRISH!!!

Weekend Recovery

The weekends are always the hardest for me to stay on track and eat healthy. Since I typically do not work on the weekends, there naturally tends to be less structure throughout the day. We wake up whenever little man decides its time to get up. Thankfully, that was not until 9AM this past weekend. 🙂

The time we wake up influences what we do for breakfast. Since I knew we had some things to get done Saturday, we just had some fresh fruit and yogurt, then we got ready and got on our way. My husband was beyond excited that a Trader Joe’s had opened up near us. It was out favorite place to grocery shop when we lived in Philadelphia, and have been waiting 5 years since we moved to Tampa for one to open. Now, we still had to drive an hour to get to it, but it was so worth it!! And since we were near the outlet stores, we stopped there for a bit. Little man needed some new clothes. He is growing far too fast!!! I also needed to pick up a birthday present for someone, but can’t say who, just in case he/she reads this!

So, because of a busy weekend, and usually eating on the go, I like to try to go vegetarian for our dinner on Monday which will typically include fish or seafood of some sort. Tonight that was cod that we picked up while at Trader Joe’s for a fantastic price! I took to the Internet to find something I had never made before, but something that was also easy and quick since I do work. Below is our healthy Monday meal.

Creamy Fish Bake

Ingredients:

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained
4-5 pieces cod fillet (may be able to fit up to 6 pieces depending on the size of the fillets)
2 (10.75 ounce) cans cream of broccoli soup
2/3 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup reduced fat Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoon margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning, plus extra to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 13×9 glass baking dish with nonstick spray.

Arrange cooked broccoli in the bottom of the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Place fish on top of broccoli. Season fish with salt and pepper.

Mix soup and milk and pour over fish. Sprinkle with cheese.

Mix bread crumbs, margarine, and old bay. Evenly distribute on top, then sprinkle with additional old bay on top.

Bake uncovered at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish is done.

**Recipe credit: All Recipes

The addition of the old bay seasoning was a suggestion I came across as I read through the reviews. It was a fantastic substitute for paprika. Definitely made the dish taste better!!

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This was a delicious, healthy, and easy weeknight meal. Even better that little man liked it too!!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Accidental Pasta!

Well, to be honest…..I messed up tonight, but surprisingly it still turned out well! When I went to the grocery store earlier today, I intended to by RICOTTA cheese, but accidentlly bought COTTAGE cheese. And I did not realize it until I opened the container, thought to myself, “what’s wrong with this ricotta?!?!” After further investigation, it was clearly not ricotta.

I had thought back to a baked pasta recipe I had previously made, and thought I’d give it a try, and see how it turns out.

Here is what I came up with!

Lemon-Cottage Cheese Pasta

Ingredients:

1 fettuccine pasta (I used whole wheat)
3 tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 package frozen broccoli, thawed
4 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 container fat free cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the pasta per package directions until al dente. During the last 3-4 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli.

Drain pasta and broccoli. Return to the pot over low heat. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and thyme.

Toss to coat, then season with salt and lots of pepper. Add the cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Mix until pasta is coated evenly.

**Recipe inspiration: Crumb Blog

With the pasta, I served some roasted shrimp as follows:

12 oz extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on (about 20 shrimp for me)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. With her hands, make sure all the shrimp are evenly coated, and return to a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

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I’m still interested to see how it tastes with the ricotta! I’ll have to make sure I buy the right thing next time!!!! 🙂

ENJOY!!!!

Happy Monday!

I know it is hard to believe, but today truly was a happy Monday for me!! We survived the threat of a tropical storm and hurricane, and I got saw a great number on my scale this morning!!!

No one ever said losing weight was easy, but I have found that by simply making wise food choices makes it seem easy! Once I got serious about losing the extra baby weight in July, I began weighing myself daily, usually every morning as soon as I wake up. Since I had not weighed myself since Friday morning, I was not too thrilled to step on the scale this morning, but I knew it needed to be done! Much to my surprise, I had lost a bit more weight!!! Bringing my total weight loss to 12lbs!!! I was beyond excited because this was a weight I had not seen in more than a year!! 🙂

Seeing this weight only further motivated me to continue to make good food choices and eat healthy. Especially since it is difficult for me to incorporate exercise into my daily life. Eating smarts really is my only option.

So, this morning before walking out the door to head to work,I took a look in my freezer to see what types of protein I had in there. My choices were chicken and fish, and since we had chicken last night, fish it was! However, I still did not know exactly how I was going to prepare it. During my lunch break, I did a little searching and came across the recipe below. (NOTE: I did not have enough of 1 type of fish for dinner. So, I used 2 cod fillets and 2 tilapia fillets.)

Broiled Parmesan Fish

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt (I did not have celery salt. I used half celery seed and half regular salt.)
1 pound tilapia fillets(The cod was delicious too!)

Directions:

Preheat your oven’s broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery seed, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.

Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan mixture on the top side.

Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.

**Recipe credit: All Recipes

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I served the fish with a garden salad and steamed green beans. I was hoping for leftovers to take to lunch tomorrow, but it was so delicious my family ate it all!

**Please do not forget to participate in the challenge for your chance to win a FREE slow cooker. See my previous post, Seafood Lasagna, for details.

ENJOY!!!

Seafood Lasagna….and a free giveaway!

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For as long as I can remember, I have loved all kinds of seafood!! I know I told you before that scallops are my favorite, but all seafood is yummy!

With this recipe I was hoping to sway my husband’s negative opinion of crab. Unfortunately, it did not work. 😦

However, I absolutely loved it, and so did my son! 🙂

This is a versatile recipe. You can incorporate any combination of seafood that you and your family like. You could also use any vegetables or greens that suits your family. Below is the recipe for how I made it.

Seafood Lasagna

Ingredients:

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups lowfat milk
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 bag spinach
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
12 no cook lasagna noodles
3/4 lb. deveined peeled large shrimp, cooked, cut into thirds
12 oz. crabmeat, drained, flaked
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in flour until well blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly; simmer on low heat 3 to 5 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan; set aside.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Once oil is hot, add spinach and grated garlic. Sauté until spinach is wilted.

In a bowl mix cottage cheese, 2/3 cup mozzarella, nutmeg, and sautéed spinach until well combined.

Spread 2/3 cup Parmesan sauce onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Cover with 4 lasagna noodles. Layer with half of each of the shrimp, crabmeat and spinach mixture; top with 2/3 cup of the Parmesan sauce. Repeat layers, starting with the noodles. Top with remaining noodles, Parmesan cheese sauce and mozzarella.

Cover with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes, uncovering after 25 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

I served it with a simple garden salad filled with my family’s favorite vegetables.

**Recipe credit: Kraft Recipes

In honor of my blog millstone, having reached 1000 total views, I have partnered with Slim Kicker to do a giveaway for you! Slim Kicker is an online website and app designed to help support you through your weight loss journey. They have different groups and support forums you can participate in, as well as, their weekly level-up challenges. By keeping track of your calories and completing challenges, you accrue points. You upload a picture of a particular reward, like a cheat food, and they will send you reminders when you have reached the points needed to indulge in your rewards!

Entering the giveaway is easy! Leave a short comment (1-2 sentences) below with a suggested weekly challenge, like give up soda for a week. Slim Kicker will then select one of the challenges posted. The person responsible for the selected challenge will receive a free slow cooker!!

Good Luck….and ENJOY!!!

Note to self….

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….always look on the inside, outside, front, and back of food packages. You just might find a great recipe! That’s exactly the case for tonight’s dinner.

To be honest, I had no intention of doing another post today, but after finding this recipe, I had to share!

Broiled Sesame Cod

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs cod fillets
1 tsp butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Directions:

Preheat broiler. Line broiler pan with foil.

Arrange cod on prepared broiler pan.

Mix together the butter, lemon juice, tarragon, salt, and pepper.

Brush over cod. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Broil until fish flakes easily, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Along with the fish, I served some shredded zucchini. I had a bunch I needed to use. This recipe is a combination of two different recipes I found online. Below is what I came up with!

Shredded Zucchini Sauté

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
4 large zucchini, shredded in food processor
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup fat free half&half
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Once the zucchini is shredded, toss with salt (about 2 tsp) in a colander and let it drain in the sink for 1 hour.

Rinse the zucchini very, very thoroughly. Drain on a tea towel or paper towels to get rid of as much moisture as possible.

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, heat half&half over medium-low heat until warm.

Add lemon juice to half&half, stirring vigorously, making sure the half&half does not curdle.

Once the zucchini is cooked, pour half&half mixture over along with salt and pepper to taste. Add chives. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.

After eating, my husband said, “This is really good! Don’t forget these recipes!”

….noted!

ENJOY!!

Cracker-coated Cod

Try to say that three times…..cracker-coated cod, cracker-coated cod, cracker-coated cod!

Anyway, in an effort to continue to eat healthy and in hopes of continuing to lose weight, I feel like I often have to reinvent the wheel. I mean, how many times can you eat baked or grilled chicken in 1 week. Foods like fish and chicken are pretty versatile, and take to spices, herbs, and marinades well.

I was in the mood for fish tonight, and thankfully my grocery store had cod filets on sale this week. I went on a hunt online to find a recipe that looked good, and one that I thought the rest of my family would enjoy. I came across a pretzel-coated fish recipe. This sounded so good, but unfortunately I didn’t have any pretzels on hand, and I wasn’t going to go buy a bag of pretzels just for this recipe. So, like usual, I took to my pantry to see what I had. Saltine crackers…..perfect substitute!!

The original recipe also called for mayo with seasoning salt to coat fish, but I wanted to be a bit healthier. So, I substituted an egg. Below is the delicious recipe I developed!

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Cracker-coated Cod with Dijon Apricot Sauce

Ingredients:

4 cod fish filets (about 5-6 ounces each)
20 saltine crackers, low sodium, finely chopped in food processor
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp olive oil

Combine crackers, seasoning salt, and white pepper.

Coat fish in egg, then coat in cracker mixture. Complete until all pieces of fish are coated.

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Cook breaded fish 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Sauce:

4 tbsp apricot preserves
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp fat free half&half
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Whisk to combine slightly and break up preserves. Microwave on high heat for 20 seconds. Whisk again, breaking up preserves. Microwave another 20 seconds. Whisking until smooth. Add fresh parsley. Top fish with desired amount.

**Recipe inspiration: All Recipes

ENJOY!!

Let’s go Greek(ish)!

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Well, let me first start off by saying, I’m not quite sure if I should be proud or slightly embarrassed that my 14 month old son just ate the entire plate (pictured above)?!?! I have never seen a little guy eat as much as he does on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a sign of how good of a cook I am?? Lol…just a little pat on my back!

Anyway, this lemon baked fish I had made last week using cod fillets instead of the tilapia I used tonight. Last week was the first time I had made fish in a LONG time. Partly because those comments you always here about how easy it can be to mess up or over cook fish always held strong in my mind, but it was time to step out of my comfort zone. It was absolutely delicious with cod, and equally as delicious with the tilapia. A slightly different flavor though. I think the tilapia absorbed the lemon butter much more than the cod. The lemon feta asparagus was a wonderful compliment to the fish.

Below are the delicious recipes from tonight’s yummy dinner….ENJOY! 🙂

Lemon Baked Tilapia —

Ingredients:

1 lb tilapia fish fillets
1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
paprika

Directions:

If fish fillets are large, cut into serving pieces.

Mix butter and lemon juice.

In another bowl, mix flour, salt and white pepper.

Dip fish into butter mixture; coat fish with flour mixture.

Place fish in ungreased square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches.

Pour remaining butter mixture over fish; sprinkle with paprika.

Cook uncovered in 350 degree oven until fish flakes easily with fork, 25-30 minutes.

Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon slices if desired.

**Recipe thanks to: http://www.food.com

Grilled Asparagus & Feta Salad —

Ingredients:

1 bunch thick asparagus, about 24 spears, ends trimmed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest, from one lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

Preheat grill to high.

Place asparagus spears in baking dish and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.

Put asparagus on the grill, making sure spears are perpendicular to grates so they don’t fall through. Set asparagus dish next to grill (do not clean).

Cover and cook asparagus for 3-4 minutes, until nicely browned and tender-crisp.

Remove asparagus from grill and place back in baking dish.

Let cool, then transfer spears to cutting board and cut into 1½” pieces.

Place cut asparagus back in dish, then add remaining tablespoon olive oil, feta, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Toss gently and season with more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve room temperature or cold.

**Recipe courtesy of: Once Upon A Chef