Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Seared Halibut with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce


Me and my fish
My husband and I had such a great time on our first trip to Alaska!  One of the things we didn't expect going into it, was the opportunity to send some of the delicious halibut that we caught home to Texas.  With 20 lbs. of fresh halibut in the freezer, it's time for me to get cooking and do some research on how to prepare this amazing fish.  I had actually never had halibut until my journey to Homer, Alaska, the "halibut capitol of the world."  I came across this recipe on Food Gawker and thought it'd be the perfect start to my halibut cooking journey.  It was fantastic, but that's probably because it's the fish that I caught.  Just joking- but maybe it was?  I hope you enjoy!

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 large roma tomatoes or 4 medium sized, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 (6 oz) pieces halibut
  • Hot, cooked noodles

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, saute for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, saute for about 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes start to breakdown.  Stir in wine.  Add salt and pepper and increase heat.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until tomoatoes have broken down enough to form a sauce.  Stir occasionally.  Stir in basil.

Once sauce is ready, heat remaining olive oil in a separate large, non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  You want the pan very hot.  Season both sides of the fish with a little salt and pepper.  Add fish to hot oil.  Sear on both sides for about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, add sauce to fish.  Simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through.  Serve over hot cooked noodles if desired.

Original recipe here

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

What's not to love about this dish? Yum!  Once again, the slow cooker proves to be miraculous.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 1/2  lbs uncooked chicken breast (can be frozen) cut into 1-2″ chunks
  • 2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
  • 1 – 15 oz can of white corn
  • 1 onion chopped (sweet/Vidalia)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped (I love garlic so I used 2)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 – 7 oz can of chopped green chilies
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 – 14 oz can of chicken broth
Toppings (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Finely chopped cilantro
  • Fresh shredded cheese (I used Colby-Jack)
  • Corn tortilla chips (the authentic yellow kind)

Place cut up chicken in the bottom of the Crock Pot.  Add beans, corn and onion.  Mix the next five ingredients and pour over the top.  Cover and cook on low in the Crock Pot for 8-10 hours.  (I was running low on time so I cooked mine on low for about 4 1/2 hours and then raised it to high for the last two hours).
Before serving use a potato masher to break up the chicken.  (Make sure you do this very quickly with pressure and alternating directions… the consistency should change from brothy with chunks of meat and beans to a very thick and even consistency.  If it is still brothy, keep mashing).
Add shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, a splash of lime juice, cilantro and chips before serving.  YUM!
* Yield: 6-8
Found here through Pinterest!

Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles

I've been putting the slow cooker to good use lately.  It saves so much time and energy when you're busy.  It also keeps you from turning down those fast food lanes when you're running late from work-- dinner is already waiting for you at home!  This is a simple and delicious beef and noodle combination.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs beef for stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced into halves
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • cooked noodles
1. Optional: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Brown beef on all sides.
2. Combine beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, marjoram, and bay leaf in the slow cooker.  Pour in broth and sherry.  Cover; cook on LOW 8-10 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.  Remove bay leaf and discard.
3. Combine sour cream, flour and water in a small bowl.  Stir about 1 cup cooking liquid from slow cooker into sour cream mixture.  Add mixture to slow cooker; mix well.  Cook, uncovered, on HIGH for 30 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.  Serve over noodles.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

It's no secret that I LOVE Mexican food.  Put anything in a tortilla and it makes it delicious!  When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it.  It's full of my favorite things: black beans, avocados, sauteed onions, tortillas, cilantro.. etc.  Buy a rotisserie chicken to save time or cook 3-4 chicken breasts in a slow cooker covered with water or chicken broth for 4 hours on low.  Use your stand mixer to shred the chicken (see how here).  This casserole can be so versatile for easy substitutions.  Delicious and satisfying to my inner Mexican.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce; divided
  • 1 cup black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pinto beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 6-8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • sour cream (optional)
  • diced tomatoes (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Turn a large, dry, non-stick skillet to medium high heat and add sliced onions. Let onions cook till they turn a golden brown color; stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet add the shredded chicken, 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, black beans, pinto beans, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a 8"x8" casserole dish tear up 3-4 of the corn tortillas into 1" pieces, and layer them on the bottom of the dish. Spoon half of the chicken filling on top of the torn tortilla pieces.
  5. Layer the caramelized onions on top of the chicken filling, then lay the avocado slices on top of the onions. Spoon the remaining chicken filling over the avocados.
  6. Tear up the remaining 3-4 corn tortillas to make a top layer over the chicken filling. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce evenly over the top layer.
  7. Spread out the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the casserole and then sprinkle on the sliced black olives.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.
  9. Serve with sour cream and diced tomatoes. Enjoy!
Found through Pinterest, here.

Easy Cheese Manicotti

I think the reason people don't make complicated meals on weeknights is because, well, they're complicated.  So, when I found this recipe that you don't have precook the noodles, I knew it'd be a winner.  So much less complicated and so much quicker.  You can enjoy a fabulous meal on a weeknight!  And, who doesn't love a classic cheese manicotti?!  I hope you enjoy!

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed completely & squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 box (12 to 14 shells) manicotti noodles
3 to 4 cups marinara sauce (1 jar + a little more)
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for topping


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cheeses, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir together until well blended.
3. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9x13-inch pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom.
4. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. Let it overflow on both sides. Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan. Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling. You should be able to fill 12 to 14 shells- if you run out of room in your pan, use a separate smaller pan to accommodate the extra.
5. Cover the pasta with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Romano/Parmesan on top. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate until you're ready to bake, or you can cover with foil and place it in the oven immediately.
6. Bake, covered with foil, 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Found through Pinterest, here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lemon Bars

I was craving a summery dessert and thought that this recipe would hit the spot.  It did!  I've never made lemon bars before because I thought they were complicated to make.  Not true! In honor of Fourth of July, here's a sweet dessert to add to your collection.  I hope you enjoy!
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 lemons, juiced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup sugar.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm and golden brown.  In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour.  Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.  Pour over the baked crust.  

Bake for an additional 20 minutes.  The bars will firm up as they cool.