Sunday, March 30, 2014

White Fish with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Years ago friends of mine made this for dinner. I'm not sure if it came out of a cookbook or something he just came up with on his own. Either way, it was good. I immediately asked for the recipe. I've made several different versions of it depending on what I had on hand and depending on the type of fish I've had. I've made it with and without the parsley, used a packaged basil pesto when I didn't have fresh basil on hand, and one time added a bit too much garlic. I think I tasted that version for days. 

The pesto  recipe makes enough for 4-6. Even when I cut it in half, it makes at least enough for 3-4. It calls for you to add the fish stock to the pesto. Because it makes so much, I usually just put it in half and save the other half for sandwiches or panini. I almost never have leftover fish, but I almost always have leftover pesto. You could always quarter the recipe, but that's too much math for me. 

I've used tilapia, flounder, cod and bass for this recipe and it always turns out good. Tilapia is cheap and can be found in almost every grocery store. Honestly sometimes I think it tastes like dirt and without a good cover I really don't like it. This pesto magically turns it into something absolutely delicious. It also doesn't take that long to make and it feels like a gourmet meal. I paired it with parmesan roasted potatoes and garlic asparagus. By far, the bass was the best. It was also the most expensive. 

If you are trying to add cold water fish to your diet, which some doctors recommend three times per week, this is a good option. It's also great for company, since it seems so fancy.

White Fish with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
Yield: 4-6
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 40 min


4-6 fillets of white fish
3-4 stalks scallions or one medium onion, sliced
Zest of one lemon or orange
1/4 white wine
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1 cup hot water
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer oil packed, but dry packed works too)
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fish stock


1. Preheat the oven to 375°. 


2. Rinse fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a baking dish. Top with onions/scallions.  Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Zest the lemon/orange on top. Add wine and olive oil. Break butter into bits and place on top of fish. Bake until flaky. 


3. Blend extra virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, garlic and hot water until pulverized. After the fish is done, add fish stock and stir in basil and parsley. 

Either make a bed with the pesto and place fish on top or place fish on the plate and top with the pesto. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Grilled Chicken Avocado Sammie

This is one of my favorite sanwiches. Chewy bread with a quick homemade sundried tomato pesto and fresh avocado really make this sandwich mouth watering. Add some mozzarella cheese and it's a little piece of heaven in your mouth.

I say grilled, but really it's more like pan fried chicken. It's too cold for me to grill, but this weekend it's supposed to finally warm up. I'm ready for spring. Better yet, give me low 80's with low humidity. If you can, grill the chicken. It makes it that much better.

I think the messier the sandwich the better it is. It always seems that way anyhow. On a napkin scale, I think it was a solid three. The ripe avocado has a tendency to slip out just as you are taking a bite. Of course you could always use a softer bread, but I really like the chewiness of this bread. A ciabatta would work really well.

I sliced the chicken thin or you can pound it out if you need to get rid of some aggression. Sprinkle with oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat until golden brown.

The pesto can't get much easier. Blend the sun-dried tomatoes with a few fresh basil leaves until pulverized in a blender, food chopper or bullet. I use my bullet almost every day. I love it for pestos, smoothies, grinding spices and even egg shells for the garden.

What I did:

Grill the chicken with the following spices:
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

Blend about 5-6 oil packed sun-dried tomatoes with about three to four large fresh basil leaves until pulverized in a blender. (This is enough for one to two sandwiches depending on how thick you spread it on the bread.)

Spread the pesto on the bread, then the mozzarella (use the fresh if you's so much better), chicken and about a half of an avocado.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Best Homemade Granola, Period.

Granola is expensive to buy and it's so easy to make at home. Plus it makes your house smell so good. I've experimented with several recipes and this is by far my favorite. I like it nutty, just like me. It seems to keep well in an airtight container for a few weeks. At least that's all it seems to last in our house.

I love to put it on organic vanilla yogurt. It's also a good way to add flax into your diet. It has more omega three's than salmon (per serving) and a good amount of fiber in it to keep you feeling full longer. If you like coconut, then you'll like using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter in this recipe. It gives it that slight coconut flavor without being overpowering.


5 cups of oats
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped raw almonds
1 cup coconut
2 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the oats on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes stirring at 5 minutes. While the oats are toasting, heat the coconut oil and maple syrup on low until coconut oil is liquid. Take off the heat and add vanilla. Put the oats in a big bowl, add nuts, coconut, flax seeds, salt and cinnamon. Pour the wet ingredients on top. Mix well. Put everything back on the cookie sheet and bake for 25 - 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight jar.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chai Cookies

My boyfriend loves chai tea. It's his go to drink when it's cold out. He's not a coffee drinker at all and only somewhat of a tea drinker, but chai tea is a whole other story. Granted, I like it, but I don't want it all the time. While dreaming up new varieties of cookies, I thought why not chai cookies.

I wanted these cookies to be soft and chewy, not hard like some brittle sugar cookie you get at the grocery store in those see though plastic containers. I did a little research and came up with the perfect chai cookie. Seriously, they are that good. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to photograph them, they way my son and boyfriend were eating them. I think it would be a really good vanilla cookie too, without the chai spices.

It was trial and error with the spices. I didn't want it to be overpowering, but I wanted it to taste like chai. I thought I might have to make a few batches to get it right, but the stars were aligned and they turned out perfect. I tasted the dough to get an idea of what they would taste like and I couldn't stay out of it.  You should never eat raw cookie dough if it has raw eggs in it. It's bad for you. Very bad.

Chai Cookies
Yield: 24 - 30 medium sized cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 10 minutes
Total Time: 3+ hours including chilling the dough


1 cup AP flour
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. Beat butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients. 

3. Roll into 3/4 inch balls and place about three inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. 

4. Bake approximately 10 minutes without opening the oven door (See photo below). Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Naturally Dyed Green St. Patrick's Day Pancakes

Top of the Morning! Happy St. Patty's Day!

My son is uber picky. He basically eats bread and water. He's a carbaholic. Pasta, pancakes, pretzels, soft pretzels, bread, etc. The only vegetable he will eat are cucumbers and once in a blue moon a baby carrot. Yes, one. That's it, he's done. So in an effort to get some vegetables in his body, I made green pancakes. I wanted to be festive for the holiday, but be natural about it. I don't like artificial anything in my food and I looked up some natural food dyes. Lo and behold you can add spinach to green things up without altering the taste.

I decided to steam the spinach in an effort to use the entire leaf and get the most out of it I could. I thought about just putting the raw spinach in the blender with the milk, but decided it would be too chunky. Steaming worked great. I read on the web about juicing the spinach, but I don't have a juicer. I have a lot of kitchen items, but a juicer isn't one of them at the moment. 

After I mixed everything together, it smelled rather spinachy. I wasn't sure how they would taste, but they came out great! You can't really taste the spinach at all, especially after you put the syrup on them. I have a keen sense of smell and taste (my boyfriend thinks they are freakishly strong), so most people probably wouldn't be able to taste them at all. My son ate three. My boyfriend ate, let's just say more than three.

Green Pancakes
Adapted from allrecipes

1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".

Steam spinach.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Blend the milk and spinach until smooth. Add a well beaten egg and vanilla to milk and spinach mixture. Poor the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat or griddle. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip the a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.