Tilapia DeJonghe

Tilapia DeJonghe
(a twist on the traditional Shrimp DeJonghe)
adapted from THIS recipe

2 lbs tilapia fillets
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Lightly grease an 11x 13 inch casserole dish.
Place tilapia evenly in the casserole dish. Pour wine over the tilapia.
Mix together butter, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, parsley and bread crumbs.
Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over the shrimp. Refrigerate now if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until tilapia is firm and topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Spicy vegetarian chili

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Betsy’s spicy vegetarian chili

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups black beans, cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa, medium
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup canned corn niblet

Heat oil in a large pot, saute onions, peppers and garilc for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add remaining ingredients except corn.
Increase heat to high to bring to a boil.
Decrease heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in corn, simmer until heated through.
Makes about 10 cups or 6-7 servings of 1 1/2 cups.

Sixteen Spice Chicken w/Cilantro Cream Sauce

So what’s for dinner? Well, we couldn’t decide on whether to have burgers or BBQ. I figured chicken would be our best bet and decided on Bobby Flay’s recipe for 16 Spice Chicken. This was the entree I ordered when I visited his restaurant, Mesa Grill, in Vegas this past January. It was so wonderfully seasoned, I definitely wanted to try recreating it at home. Why not today?
Here’s Bobby Flay’s recipe for Sixteen Spice Chicken:

3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon chile de arbol
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Canola oil

Combine spices in a bowl. Rub chicken breasts on both sides with rub. Marinate at least an hour or overnight. Oil up the grill until well coated (so it won’t stick) and grill for 10-12 minutes.

With the chicken entree I ordered, I recall having a cilantro cream sauce. So with that, I also made this great Cilantro Cream Sauce.

My husband is a big fan of cilantro and it worked out perfectly with the chicken! Eek, blurry pic, but trust me with how well it tastes! It would work as a great dip with chips and salsa too.
Here’s my slightly adapted recipe for Cilantro Cream sauce, using some of the great Florida food gifts I received:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 cup prepared salsa verde
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon bottled or fresh key lime juice

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl.

Orange You Hungry?

With the Tasty Tools event finished, I guess I should submit a recipe using my microplane grater too! But before I get to the recipe…. Everyday on my commute home on the days I’m in the office, I pass the popular Chinese food chain, Panda Express. One of their popular dishes is the Orange Chicken (sometimes you’re lucky if an employee waves a sample morsel for you on a toothpick as you walk past). So why is it so popular? Better yet, how can I recreate it successfully at home? The answer that I found was in the book, Cooking at Home With America’s Test Kitchen (2006). (I’ve been on a cookbook spree to revive some recipes I have stashed in my bookshelves.) Here’s what ATK has to say about the recipe: We prefer the flavor and texture of thigh meat for this recipe, though an equal amount of boneless skinless chicken breasts can be used. It is easiest to grate the orange zest and remove the strips of orange peel before juicing the oranges; use a sharp vegetable peeler to remove the strips. For extra spiciness, increase the cayenne added to the sauce to 1/2 teaspoon. The whole dried chiles are added for appearance, not for flavor, and can be omitted. To fry the chicken, use a Dutch oven or a straight sided saute pan (with at least a 3 quart capacity): do not use a 12 inch skillet with sloped sides, as it will be too small to contain the oil once the chicken is added. White rice and steamed broccoli are good accompaniments.

Here’s the recipe for Orange Flavored Chicken:
Cooking at Home With America’s Test Kitchen (2006)
page 204


Marinade & Sauce:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skineless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest and 8 strips orange peel (each about 2″ long by 1/2″ wide) from 2 oranges
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup darn brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cayenne (I omitted)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
8 small whole dried red chiles (optional)

Coating & Frying oil:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (I omitted)
3 cups peanut oil (I used canola oil)

  • FOR THE MARINADE & SAUCE: Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag; set aside. Combine the chicken broth, orange juice, grated zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in a large saucepan (with at least a 3 quart capacity); whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup of the mixture and pour into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all the pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.
    Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold waterl which the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simjmer, stirrig occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel and chiles, if using (the sauce should measure 1 1/2 cups); set the sauce aside.
  • FOR THE COATING: Place the egg whites in a pie plate, using a fork, beat until frothy. In a second pie plate, which the cornstarch, bakig soda and cayenne until combined. Dran the chicken in a colanger or large mesh stainer; thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat; transfer the pieces to the coenstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheetl repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • TO FRY THE CHICKEN: Heat the oil in an 11-to 12-inch ducth oven or staight sided saute pan with at least a 3 quart capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees on an instant read or deep fry thermometer. Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350 degrees and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • TO SERVE: Reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmer, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve immediately.

Freezer Meals: The Recipes

In my initial freezer cooking post, I didn’t include the recipes since I was still recovering from the day of cooking. But here are the recipes for some of the dishes I made, including the Chicken Pot Pie & the Southwestern Turkey Chili:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
3-4 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
frozen mixed vegetables, kept frozen
1-2 cups cooked chicken
prepared pie crust

In a dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in oil.
When onions soften, add the butter.
Once butter melts down, add the flour and stir, cooking for about 1 minute.
Slowly add the heavy cream and stir.
Once you have a roux and cream is all mixed in, add the broth.
Simmer until it thickens.
Add frozen veggies and chicken, seasoning to taste.
You can also add your choice of dried herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.
Place mixture in a disposable loaf pan.
Mixture should be luke warm and once cooled completely, cut prepared pie crust to fit the top of the loaf pan, to sit above the filling.
Cover with foil and place in heavy duty freezer bag.

To cook, preheat oven to 350.
Place thawed pot pie on a baking sheet uncovered and bake for 45-50 min.

Southwestern Chicken Chili

Chili is a great dish to freeze and is great during these cold winter months too. I made a southwestern chili and once it cooled, I ladled it into quart size freezer bags. The bags hold a perfect serving amount for 2 people and I like how I can freeze them flat like a book – maximizing the space in my freezer!

(you could even make this in a crock pot, cool then place in heavy duty freezer bags)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons dark chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
flour as needed

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
Add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks, until turkey is browned. Do not drain fat.
Add tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and corn. Stir in broth.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Bring to simmer, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or scalding.
If the chili is too thick, add additional broth. If it is thin, stir 1/4 cup masa flour into an equal amount of water, then stir into the chili. Cook 5 minutes.
If the chili is still thin, repeat with an additional 1/4 cup masa flour.
Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings and spices to taste.

Cheddar Herb Beer Bread

Savory Breads
fresh out of the oven:


We made the following bread during my Quick Bread Cooking Class, which you can read & view pictures of HERE.

Cheddar Herb Beer Bread
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. beer
1 teaspoon chili or cayenne powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients.
Pour into greased loaf pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

Moroccan Morsels

One of my favorite cuisines is Moroccan. There’s something about the combination of commonly used spices that not only delivers amazing taste but comforting aromas. I was in need of comfort food and my Moroccan beef over couscous hit the spot.
Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun ( cumin), kharkoum (tumeric), skingbir ( ginger), libzar (pepper) , tahmira (paprika), anis seed, sesame seed, kasbour (coriander), maadnous ( parsley), zaafrane beldi (saffron) and mint.
In Morocco, stews are often made in a shallow earthenware cooking pots called tagines. Since I don’t have a tangine, I used my crockpot as an alternative with great results!
Here’s my recipe for Moroccan Beef Stew:

2-3 lbs of beef chuck steak, cubed
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 can chickpeas

In a pan, add some oil and brown beef.
Combine the rest of the ingredients except chickpeas.
Place mixture in a crockpot.
Add browned beef.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours.
In the last 30 minutes, add chickpeas and cook until warmed through.

I served this over couscous cooked in beef broth
and garnished the dish with chopped parsley.