Monday, February 27, 2012

Best tilapia ever

Our whole family absolutely loves this Parmesan tilapia. We could eat it every week. It's incredibly easy and fast to make. We hope you like it as much as we do.


1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless tilapia fillets, completely thawed
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (not the powder)
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. each dried basil, black pepper, onion powder, chili powder

Mix cheese, butter, mayo, lemon juice and seasonings in small bowl.

Turn oven to broil setting on high. Move rack to highest possible position, which is 4 or 5 inches from heating element. Let oven preheat. Place tilapia fillets on baking pan or cookie sheet coated in cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Tuck under any very thin parts of the fish to ensure even cooking. Place in oven for 2 minutes. Flip over fillets and salt the other sides, then place in oven again for 1 more minute. Remove and spoon Parmesan mixture over all. Cook for 2 minutes more.

Fish is done when the color becomes opaque and the fish flakes easily with a fork. It will still look and be moist. If you are new to cooking fish, please restrain yourself from the need to overcook the fish. It only needs a few minutes under this kind of intense heat and it's perfect.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Molten lava

You want some, don't you? Who wouldn't want a molten lava cake? This is what my family had for our Valentine's Day dessert, with a nice scoop of cookies and cream ice cream on the side.

The picture shows a cake made in a custard dish, which results in a runnier center. I have made baby versions in muffin tins, which also have melty centers but just not enough to run out like that. Either way is delicious. I'm sure the smaller ones are good for portion control, but only for someone who has self-control. Not I.

P.S. The recipe comes from Kraft Foods.


4 ounces Baker's semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. flour

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease four small custard cups and place on baking sheet. Or, line 10 muffin tin cups with paper liners.

Microwave chocolate and butter for 1 minute, then stir together until smooth and melted. Stir in sugar, then eggs, then flour. Spoon into prepared cups. Bake for up to 12 minutes if using custard cups and up to 9 minutes if using muffin tin. (This is according to my oven, which is electric.) There might be a slight dip in the center even when they're done. The centers should jiggle. Don't overbake!

Let stand for a minute or two, then run a knife around the edges if using custard cups and invert onto a serving plate.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A trip to Santa Rosa

I'd like to introduce you to Santa Rosa salad. I don't know how the name came about, but I do know the salad is a wonderful medley of flavors and textures. The dressing has a tangy zip, and the pecans and snap peas add a delightful crunch. Thanks to my friend Carolyn for posting this recipe on her blog.


2-3 c. chopped, cooked chicken breast
1 box long-grain and wild rice, made according to package directions*
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lime juice
3 green onions, finely chopped
3/4 c. diced red bell pepper
3/4 c. diced green bell pepper
Handful snap peas, ends removed and cut into thirds
1 avocado, diced
1 c. toasted pecans

Mix all ingredients except avocado and pecans. Stir in dressing and refrigerate at least two hours. Add avocado and pecans before serving.


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. seasoned rice vinegar**
1/3 c. canola oil

Mix ingredients in blender.

*I used Rice-a-Roni brand. Any brand with a seasoning packet will do, even if they yield different amounts of rice. It doesn't have to be exact.

**If you do not have seasoned rice vinegar, which is different from regular rice vinegar, then use 1/3 cup regular but add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sunny side up

Wouldn't it make you happy to see colorful flowers on your breakfast table? These fried egg flowers are a fun way to start the day. Slice into them with a knife and fork, and dip each bite in salsa. They taste good, and the bell peppers give them a yummy southwest flair.


Bell peppers, sliced in 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch rings
Salt and pepper
Salsa for serving, if desired

Lightly oil frying pan and bring to low heat. (The right heat was #2 on my electric stove top.) Place pepper rings in pan and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on desired yolk firmness. If your frying pan doesn't have a lid, use foil. Serve with salsa.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Heaven-sent sauce

The holidays are long over, but I can't help posting this recipe. In an effort to bring a new human into the world, I was sick and vomiting all through the Christmas season, which made food blogging a big no-no. It wasn't fair to this delicious eggnog cake. I could eat the caramel-rum sauce with a spoon. Remember it for the 2012 holidays, okay? Or, make the sauce whenever you darn well please and spoon it over regular yellow cake instead of eggnog cake.


1 yellow cake mix
3 Tbsp. flour
2 c. eggnog
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. rum extract
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat ingredients until smooth. Pour into greased bundt pan or two greased loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Watch carefully and check with a toothpick so cake doesn't overbake. Toothpick should come out with a few moist crumbs.

Caramel-rum sauce:

1 1/8 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. butter
3/4 c. cream
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/8 tsp. rum extract

Mix brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add cream, powdered sugar and spices, whisking until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened but still pourable. Remove from heat and add rum extract. Spoon generously over eggnog cake.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Couscous is cool

This was a unique meal for our family. It's always fun to try something new, and even more fun when we like it. This couscous with chicken apple sausage fell into that category. It was easy to throw together, which is a huge plus for me. The different flavors and textures made for an interesting conversation topic at the dinner table. The recipe came from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.


1/3 c. pine nuts
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 ounces precooked apple chicken sausage, cut in 1/4-inch rounds
1/2 tsp. each salt, dried thyme, cumin, coriander, curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. chicken broth, divided
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1 c. dry couscous

Cook couscous according to package directions. Cook it in chicken broth for extra flavor.

In large, nonstick skillet, cook pine nuts over medium heat, tossing frequently, until golden. Remove pine nuts and set aside. Heat olive oil, then add onions and saute until tender. Add chicken sausage and brown lightly. Add 1/3 cup chicken broth, along with seasonings. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until liquid is mostly absorbed. Mixture will still be wet but not soupy.

Add cranberries and remaining 2/3 cup chicken broth to skillet. Stir in couscous and let entire mixture simmer for a few minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed but couscous is not dry. Stir in toasted pine nuts and serve.