Spinach and Gruyere Stuffed Tilapia

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Fish Friday is weekly event my family likes to keep in mind; however, there are only so many ways to enjoy fish–or is there? Tilapia is a bland, tender cichlid fish. Thus, it works spectacular when paired with the strong flavor of Gruyere. The spinach and Gruyere stuffed tilapia works in making tilapia shine and fish Fridays a staple in all households.

Tilapia is mainly a freshwater fish, inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes; the fish is less commonly found living in brackish water. Historically, tilapia was one of the three main types of fish caught in Biblical times from the Sea of Galilee. Tilapia, which is itself a latinisation of thiape, is the Tswana word for fish. They typically have laterally compressed, deep bodies. The fillets are skinless, boneless and found commonly in grocery stores. Tilapia consists of low levels of mercury and fast-growing, lean protein rich bodies. With a primary vegetarian diet, they are low in saturated fat, sodium and calories–a great addition to healthy meals.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I suggest using Pam in place of the oil. Greasy onions gross me out, so if using oil reduce the amount. Also, the fish really does not need to be oiled before entering the oven.
  2. I used the same amount of stuffing for 4 fillets; keep that ratio in mind when re-creating this dish.
  3. Line the baking dish with foil to allow for an easy cleanup.
  4. I used extra spinach. Greens are your friends with zero calories so indulge.
  5. I used lemon juice in place of a fresh lemon because it is what I had on hand. If not using a fresh lemon, add the lemon to taste.
  6. Let the vegetables cools before adding the other ingredients. Adding the egg and cheese in too early will scramble the egg and melt the cheese creating a gooey mess.
  7. You can cut the fillets or roll them as is. They will be difficult either way.
  8. Extra filling I placed along the sides of the fillets in the pan to cook.
  9. Use a toothpick and place the fillets face down to keep them from unraveling.
  10. When finished cooking, tilapia will be opaque in color and tender to the touch.

The dish is a wonderful way to enjoy tilapia. Originally bland and boring, adding a touch of Gruyere and the health benefits of spinach–Popeye–creates an intricate dish. Pair the meal with green beans and roasted potatoes for a nutritiously balanced dinner fit for any family. Try adding other vegetables and cheese to compliment your fishy tastes. There are no wrong stuffing or flavors that tilapia won’t absorb.

Leave a comment with your favorite fishy flavors. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Grilled Halibut with Orange Salsa

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Craving a healthy taco night? Try this grilled halibut w/orange salsa.  It’s simple to make and full of flavor.  From the Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism, you’ll have a quick, easy, delicious and healthy meal.

Fish is a great source of protein and healthy omega-3 fats that we so desperately need.  Jillian notes that we should have a type of fish almost daily.  Fish provides a low calorie meal, healthy fats, and a fresh taste.  The thing to love most about this recipe is that you can curve those
taco cravings.

For 300 calories you can make four delicious servings.  Mix 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp lime juice, salt, pepper, and 4 halibut fillets (6ozeach).  Grill them.  Meanwhile mix 2 oranges, 2 limes, cilantro, garlic, 1 tsp rice vinegar, salt, pepper, 1 Serrano chile, and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add the two together and place on top of corn tortillas.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Mix the fish in the Ziploc bag well to make sure the spices get equally incorporated among the fillets.  If you don’t use a bag you can brush the seasonings on liberally.
  2. I cooked the halibut stovetop for around 10-15 minutes instead of grilling it.  I find fish hard to grill because it begins to fall apart.
  3. When making the salsa be ready for your hands to get juicy.  Try to save as much of that juice as possible by scooping it into the bowl you mix the salsa in.
  4. Since limes have such a hard skin, I just used their juice in the mixture rather than cutting them up.
  5. I nixed the cilantro because I am not a fan, but it will add a fresher taste to the dish.
  6. Cut the Serrano peppers into small, tiny, minced pieces.  You don’t want any large chunks in a bite.
  7. Let the salsa stand alone for about 5-10 minutes, mixing every once in a while to allow the flavors to absorb.
  8. I cooked the fish and salsa the night before, mixing them together and setting them in the fridge.  This step kept them cool and let the flavors really sink in.

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Remember that fish is only good for about a day after cooking, so don’t make too much too quickly or it will go bad.  Buy the fish the day of cooking so that it is the freshest piece.  Fresh fish will have the skin that will need to be removed after cooking; however, you can find frozen halibut without skin.  Just remember that fresher is better.  In a few minutes you have a tasty, healthy taco that will fill your stomach and keep you on track.  It’s fresh and light but filling to the bone.

Leave a comment with your fishy thoughts.  Check out my Pinterest.  Be sure to come back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The
Cooking Bug.

Pesto and Halibut

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As we all know, fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.  But, fish can be, well, fishy with its bland flavor and slimy coating.  However, cooked properly and seasoned gracefully fish can be quite tasty and satisfying to your taste buds.  Halibut fits into these categories.

The pesto that I created was so delicious that it couldn’t be too nutritious.  Yet, when using fresh ingredients with no added preservatives and in moderation, anything can be healthy.  The pesto adds a nice flavor that tames the fishiness of the Halibut.  It can be used as a topping to any fish of your choice, tossed in with sautéed vegetables, added with spaghetti squash or with another dish of your imagination.

What you’ll need:

2 cups basil;   3 garlic cloves;   ½ cup walnut pieces;   ½ cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese;   1 tsp lemon juice;   salt & pepper;   ¾ cup olive oil

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. I chopped my basil so that it would be easier to blend, but you can keep yours whole.
  2. You can use walnuts or pine nuts in a 1-to-1 ratio for your pesto.  I think walnuts give it a softer taste than pine nuts which are a bit more robust ground up.
  3. Add everything to the food processor except the olive oil.  Adding the olive oil separate allows for it to incorporate the ingredients evenly.pestoshrimpcaulipizza2
    4.  Add the olive oil slowly while the ingredients are blending.  Again, this process allows for an even incorporation of ingredients.
    5.  Blend for 30 seconds after adding the olive oil making sure to scrape the sides to create a more pastier pesto.
    6.  You can use Manchego or another type of cheese in replacement to the Parmesan.

If you are a pesto lover like myself, you’ll have no problem taking nibbles to make sure your seasoning is perfect before topping your food.  Remember, since pesto has so much olive oil that you will need to mix it before using it each time or the ingredients will separate.  Also, keep in mind that a little goes a long way so use the pesto sparingly.  Now, all that you have to do is top your fish or main dish with a tablespoon of pesto and enjoy.

Leave a comment with your pesto pairings.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

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Sound fishy? We’ve divulged in fish Fridays every week. It can be challenging to mix up your fishy flavors. Teriyaki salmon with sriracha cream sauce elevates your fish in 30 minutes cooking time. Place atop rice and you have a wonderful dish that can compete with sushi restaurants worldwide. I love the complimentary sweet and spicy sparks that sizzles in my mouth with every bite. I don’t usually care for mayonnaise or spice, but this recipe changed my mind. Combined, they create a cooling sensation to the fire of sriracha.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Allow the fish to marinade and collect flavors.
  2. In place of mayonnaise, you could use a greek yogurt. It is a healthier substitute that maintains a cooling sensation.
  3. Sriracha is a widely used hot sauce in many Asian dishes and can be found most commonly in ethnic food sections.
  4. The sweetened condensed milk is foul on its own; it is used to create the creamy thickness of a sauce.teriyakisalmonwsrirachacream
  5. I suggest using the sauce in small increments because it can clear your nostrils. I halved the recipe and still had leftovers.
  6. Add the sauce to a bottle and store in your fridge for later use and to create uniform plating.
  7. Keep eyes on your marinade because it can begin to burn easily on the stove.
  8. I suggest using Coho salmon because it contains the most nutritional benefits.
  9. When cooking your salmon, put a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom of the pan. The excess sauce can cook into the pan and make it harder to clean.

Sweet, spicy and savory the dish hits all the high notes of a tasteful meal. High in omega-3 and full of flavorful notes, you’ll learn to love salmon as much as I do. It can be a versatile sauce for pork and other seafood. Experiment with the “spieety”–sweet and spicy–tastes of this meal.

Leave a comment with your favorite fish recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Pesto, Shrimp and Tomato Cauliflower Pizza

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If you haven’t switched to cauliflower pizza crust, then stop and read this blog! <–

Now, that you’ve decided that cauliflower pizza is delicious and nutritious, we can begin.  We’re taking that “normal” cheese pizza to a whole new level.  I got the inspiration to make this pesto, shrimp and tomato cauliflower pizza after having made the pesto sauce and falling in love.  I replaced the tomato sauce of regular pizza with pesto and topped it with shrimp, sun-dried tomato and a Fontina-Gruyere cheese mixture.

Together these ingredients make the perfect piece of pizza without the unhealthy grease and delivery prices. One pizza or head of cauliflower will make four servings at around 400 calories.  You can cut the pieces in half for 200 calories for a wine and pizza night or
football appetizer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Unlike the first time I made the cauliflower crust, I cooked it for about 20-25 minutes the first round.  The longer it bakes the sturdier and crispier the crust will be.
  2. I spread the pesto (about 4 tbsp) evenly along the crust leaving a 1/2 inch gap along
    the edges.
  3. I then added diced shrimp (fresh or frozen) and sun-dried tomatoes.  You can add as much or as little of these ingredients as needed.
  4. I used a 1/2 cup of cheese as with any pizza is traditional.  You can mix and match the cheese to your liking.  I would suggest keeping away from the Parmesan types of cheeses because those flavors are already incorporated into the crust.
  5. Cook the pizza for an additional 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
  6. Don’t freak out when you see the olive oil from the pesto dripping off the sides.  It will help crisp the crust and disperse flavor.

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Allow your guest to melt under the flavors bursting out of the pizza.  They’ll be surprised to hear the crust is cauliflower.  You’ll be the chef of the century and win recipe of the year awards for the pizza party delight.

There are a lot of links so be sure to check them all out above.  Leave a comment with how the pizza went over in your household.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Check back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.