Semper Paratus et Coctus
Dinner tonight: Oven-Baked Breaded Fish, Honey-Ginger-Dill Carrots, & Garlic Lemon Butter Whole Wheat Capellini :)

Fish: preheat oven to 350 F; dredge filet in a wash of 1 beaten egg and 2 T milk, then in seasoned bread crumbs. Place on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet; bake about 15 min or to internal temp of 145 F.

Carrots: slice 4-5 whole carrots on a 1/4” bias/angle; toss in a mixture of 1 T chopped dill, 1-2 T honey, 1-2 T olive oil and a sprinkle of ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Bake alongside fish on same pan for 15 min at 350 F, stirring halfway through.

Pasta: boil a quarter-sized bunch (when curled between the forefinger and thumb) of whole wheat capellini in salted water 6-7 min or to al dente. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 4 minced cloves of garlic, 1 T olive oil, 1-2 T butter or margarine, juice of half a lemon and a sprinkle of onion powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried parsley to taste. Heat bowl in microwave about 15 sec, stir, and continue in 10 sec increments until mixture is hot and melted. Once pasta is drained, toss in the prepared oil-butter-garlic mixture.

Enjoy!

Dinner tonight: Oven-Baked Breaded Fish, Honey-Ginger-Dill Carrots, & Garlic Lemon Butter Whole Wheat Capellini :)

Fish: preheat oven to 350 F; dredge filet in a wash of 1 beaten egg and 2 T milk, then in seasoned bread crumbs. Place on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet; bake about 15 min or to internal temp of 145 F.

Carrots: slice 4-5 whole carrots on a 1/4” bias/angle; toss in a mixture of 1 T chopped dill, 1-2 T honey, 1-2 T olive oil and a sprinkle of ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Bake alongside fish on same pan for 15 min at 350 F, stirring halfway through.

Pasta: boil a quarter-sized bunch (when curled between the forefinger and thumb) of whole wheat capellini in salted water 6-7 min or to al dente. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 4 minced cloves of garlic, 1 T olive oil, 1-2 T butter or margarine, juice of half a lemon and a sprinkle of onion powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried parsley to taste. Heat bowl in microwave about 15 sec, stir, and continue in 10 sec increments until mixture is hot and melted. Once pasta is drained, toss in the prepared oil-butter-garlic mixture.

Enjoy!

Apple-Onion-BBQ Pork Chops & Spicy Tomato Rice!
Perfect example of scavenging crap from your fridge, freezer and pantry to make dinner!  Don’t ever be afraid to create something exciting, original and tasty by searching for what ingredients you have on hand and transforming them into a plate (or bowl) of pure awesomeness! Just be sure to write down your successful attempts for future use, and share your victories with others!
The sweet apples, smoky BBQ sauce, and heat from the spicy tomato rice turned out to complement each other nicely. I even used leftover pork and rice for sandwich wraps the next day (with cheese, sweet pickled banana peppers and spinach). These are the chaotic/experimental moments where one feels pretty darn proud of oneself. Like a boss. :) Enjoy!

Apple-Onion-BBQ Pork Chops(with 1 chop extra for leftovers) :
3 bone-in thin-cut pork chops
splash of beer
1/2 c BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniel’s original recipe)
pan spray
1/2 c onion, sliced thin
1/2 granny smith apple, sliced thin
In a resealable plastic bag, combine first 3 ingredients. Marinate for a few hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a baking dish large enough to hold all three chops with the pan spray. Add chops, then apples and onions, and then drizzle marinade from bag on top. Bake for 45 min or until cooked through (140 F internal temp).

Spicy Tomato Rice:
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 c chicken of vegetable broth
1 T olive oil or butter
1 c brown rice
1-2 t dried parsley flakes
sprinkle of cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, cover, lower heat, and simmer 50 min or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serve.

Apple-Onion-BBQ Pork Chops & Spicy Tomato Rice!

Perfect example of scavenging crap from your fridge, freezer and pantry to make dinner!  Don’t ever be afraid to create something exciting, original and tasty by searching for what ingredients you have on hand and transforming them into a plate (or bowl) of pure awesomeness! Just be sure to write down your successful attempts for future use, and share your victories with others!

The sweet apples, smoky BBQ sauce, and heat from the spicy tomato rice turned out to complement each other nicely. I even used leftover pork and rice for sandwich wraps the next day (with cheese, sweet pickled banana peppers and spinach). These are the chaotic/experimental moments where one feels pretty darn proud of oneself. Like a boss. :) Enjoy!

Apple-Onion-BBQ Pork Chops(with 1 chop extra for leftovers) :

  • 3 bone-in thin-cut pork chops
  • splash of beer
  • 1/2 c BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniel’s original recipe)
  • pan spray
  • 1/2 c onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, sliced thin

In a resealable plastic bag, combine first 3 ingredients. Marinate for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a baking dish large enough to hold all three chops with the pan spray. Add chops, then apples and onions, and then drizzle marinade from bag on top. Bake for 45 min or until cooked through (140 F internal temp).

Spicy Tomato Rice:

  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 c chicken of vegetable broth
  • 1 T olive oil or butter
  • 1 c brown rice
  • 1-2 t dried parsley flakes
  • sprinkle of cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, cover, lower heat, and simmer 50 min or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serve.

Cheap ‘n Classy Lobster Pasta!
Buy-one-get-one on imitation lobster? Yes!! I love using these buttery-tasting meat chunks in cold salads, wraps and sautéed in pastas. Sure, it’s made mostly of Alaskan pollock and egg proteins, but who cares?! Only 90 calories and 6 g protein per 1/2 cup, PLUS it was BOGO, so go ahead, judge me…. But I’ll be laughing all the way to the kitchen table as I devour this tasty, expensive-tasting treat. :) Enjoy!
Cheap n’ Classy Lobster Pasta for 2: 2 T olive oil 1/4 c diced green peppers 1/4 c chopped onions 1 T minced garlic 1 8-oz pkg Imitation lobster meat, roughly chopped 1/2 t chopped fresh dill 1 T chopped fresh basil Splash of wine (red or white) Handful of whole wheat spaghetti (if you hold the pasta noodles together in a circle, it should be the diameter of a quarter) 2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan to taste
Boil pasta 2-3 min shy of package directions for al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil. After oil is heated, add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook until onion is slightly translucent, about 5 min.
Add lobster meat, herbs and wine, cook and stir another 2-4 min. Add pasta, toss and cook 2-4 min until pasta is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in spinach until wilted and incorporated. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese, serve.

Cheap ‘n Classy Lobster Pasta!

Buy-one-get-one on imitation lobster? Yes!! I love using these buttery-tasting meat chunks in cold salads, wraps and sautéed in pastas. Sure, it’s made mostly of Alaskan pollock and egg proteins, but who cares?! Only 90 calories and 6 g protein per 1/2 cup, PLUS it was BOGO, so go ahead, judge me…. But I’ll be laughing all the way to the kitchen table as I devour this tasty, expensive-tasting treat. :) Enjoy!

Cheap n’ Classy Lobster Pasta for 2:
2 T olive oil
1/4 c diced green peppers
1/4 c chopped onions
1 T minced garlic
1 8-oz pkg Imitation lobster meat, roughly chopped
1/2 t chopped fresh dill
1 T chopped fresh basil
Splash of wine (red or white)
Handful of whole wheat spaghetti (if you hold the pasta noodles together in a circle, it should be the diameter of a quarter)
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan to taste

Boil pasta 2-3 min shy of package directions for al dente, then drain.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil. After oil is heated, add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook until onion is slightly translucent, about 5 min.

Add lobster meat, herbs and wine, cook and stir another 2-4 min. Add pasta, toss and cook 2-4 min until pasta is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in spinach until wilted and incorporated. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese, serve.

Hell yes! Y’all are probably like, “I know, I know, use the flat part of a knife to hit the clove so it pops out”, but NO! This is easier, FASTER, and does ALL the cloves at once! Amazing, check it out!

Spaghetti alle Cozze for 2!
   Yes, I’ve been reading waaay too into Fifty Shades of Grey…towards the close of the novel, the two main characters dine on Spaghetti alle Vongole (pasta with clams), and it inspired my taste buds…but my local commissary doesn’t have a fresh seafood counter with fresh clams, so I opted for frozen, green shelled New Zealand mussels. Success! Not only does this recipe include wine (SCORE! stuff to drink AND cook with), but looks mighty impressive once plated. It’s quite a sexy dish (though perhaps not as masochistic as the originating novel’s theme, lol).

Ingredients:
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1 box frozen, half-shell mussels (1.5 lb)
1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1 t red pepper flakes
1/4 c white wine
3 T olive oil
3 T minced flat leaf parsley or sliced green onions
Salt, pepper, grated cheese to taste

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water 2 min shy of al dente (about 5 min). Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic, stir and cook until slightly golden. Add red pepper flakes, stir, cook 1 min more. Add wine and mussels, cover, cook about 10 min, stirring occasionally. 
Drain pasta, and once the mussels are done, remove them with tongs to a bowl. Add pasta to the pan with the awesome garlicky juices, and toss until liquid is absorbed, about 4 min or so (some sources say to add 1/4 c of reserved starchy pasta liquid, but after having some wine myself I forgot to do so, and thusly I didn’t use it—it still came out awesome, so using it is up to you). Plate pasta (2 plates), top with mussels and sprinkle with the green stuff (parsley or green onions). Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and maybe a little Parmesan, and Voilá! A pasta dish that’ll beat your seafood craving into submission! :)

Spaghetti alle Cozze for 2!
Yes, I’ve been reading waaay too into Fifty Shades of Grey…towards the close of the novel, the two main characters dine on Spaghetti alle Vongole (pasta with clams), and it inspired my taste buds…but my local commissary doesn’t have a fresh seafood counter with fresh clams, so I opted for frozen, green shelled New Zealand mussels. Success! Not only does this recipe include wine (SCORE! stuff to drink AND cook with), but looks mighty impressive once plated. It’s quite a sexy dish (though perhaps not as masochistic as the originating novel’s theme, lol).

Ingredients:
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1 box frozen, half-shell mussels (1.5 lb)
1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1 t red pepper flakes
1/4 c white wine
3 T olive oil
3 T minced flat leaf parsley or sliced green onions
Salt, pepper, grated cheese to taste

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water 2 min shy of al dente (about 5 min). Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic, stir and cook until slightly golden. Add red pepper flakes, stir, cook 1 min more. Add wine and mussels, cover, cook about 10 min, stirring occasionally.
Drain pasta, and once the mussels are done, remove them with tongs to a bowl. Add pasta to the pan with the awesome garlicky juices, and toss until liquid is absorbed, about 4 min or so (some sources say to add 1/4 c of reserved starchy pasta liquid, but after having some wine myself I forgot to do so, and thusly I didn’t use it—it still came out awesome, so using it is up to you). Plate pasta (2 plates), top with mussels and sprinkle with the green stuff (parsley or green onions). Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and maybe a little Parmesan, and Voilá! A pasta dish that’ll beat your seafood craving into submission! :)

Homemade sofrito and resulting beef burrito dinner!

Sofrito: heat 2-3 T olive oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat, sauté 1.5 cup diced carrots until softened, then add equal amounts diced bell pepper, onion and tomatoes until cooked through and soft, about 10 min. Add 2T minced garlic, a handful of chopped cilantro, and salt/pepper & oregano (or italian seasoning….I also added 1/4 c beer because I was drinking some at the time and thought it’d be cool to add some) to taste. Lower heat to medium-low. Simmer another 5 min. Mash in pot with potato masher (or process in blender or food processor until smooth—I like chunky sofrito so I did it by hand). Mix into seasoned ground beef or chicken for burritos, or freeze into portions or a resealable plastic bag for future use!

Note: sofrito is the base for much of Caribbean cooking (early origins trace back to the Catalan region of Spain, but have been adapted over time by different island cultures). Like the French love their mirepoix, the Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean cooks love their sofrito. It’s used as a topping, a base, or a last-stage addition to season a dish. In Puerto Rico you may see sweet peppers added, in Cuba some bay leaves and cumin, habañeros in Dominican Republic, and the version I posted in Spain. Play around with it and make it your own! Either way, you’ve got a tasty addition to your next meal!

Homemade sofrito and resulting beef burrito dinner!

Sofrito: heat 2-3 T olive oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat, sauté 1.5 cup diced carrots until softened, then add equal amounts diced bell pepper, onion and tomatoes until cooked through and soft, about 10 min. Add 2T minced garlic, a handful of chopped cilantro, and salt/pepper & oregano (or italian seasoning….I also added 1/4 c beer because I was drinking some at the time and thought it’d be cool to add some) to taste. Lower heat to medium-low. Simmer another 5 min. Mash in pot with potato masher (or process in blender or food processor until smooth—I like chunky sofrito so I did it by hand). Mix into seasoned ground beef or chicken for burritos, or freeze into portions or a resealable plastic bag for future use!

Note: sofrito is the base for much of Caribbean cooking (early origins trace back to the Catalan region of Spain, but have been adapted over time by different island cultures). Like the French love their mirepoix, the Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean cooks love their sofrito. It’s used as a topping, a base, or a last-stage addition to season a dish. In Puerto Rico you may see sweet peppers added, in Cuba some bay leaves and cumin, habañeros in Dominican Republic, and the version I posted in Spain. Play around with it and make it your own! Either way, you’ve got a tasty addition to your next meal!

Poached eggs over wilted garlic spinach and whole grain toast:

Eggs: bring about 2-3” water to simmer for a regular sauté pan, about 1” for a nonstick pan (little bubbles rise but not boiling, this is key). Crack one egg in a small bowl. Swirl the water in a circular motion around the pan to get a little whirlpool going, then gently, touching the surface of the water, pour in the egg. Continue to swirl the water a bit, you will get what’s called a “ghosting effect”. If the egg sticks a bit to the pan, gently loosen it but continue swirling the water (not the egg itself) to keep it moving. This helps the egg keep it’s shape. Repeat with another egg. Simmer about 4-5 min, gently use a slotted spoon to flip the eggs over and cook 1-2 min. You can add a small spoonful of lemon juice or vinegar to the water beforehand to help the eggs keep shape as well, but it’s not necessary.

Spinach: melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp minced garlic, cook until fragrant. Add spinach, stir until wilted throughout. Plate. Top with poached eggs, salt, and cracked black pepper to taste. Add some toasted whole grain bread if you like. :)

Enjoy!

Poached eggs over wilted garlic spinach and whole grain toast:

Eggs: bring about 2-3” water to simmer for a regular sauté pan, about 1” for a nonstick pan (little bubbles rise but not boiling, this is key). Crack one egg in a small bowl. Swirl the water in a circular motion around the pan to get a little whirlpool going, then gently, touching the surface of the water, pour in the egg. Continue to swirl the water a bit, you will get what’s called a “ghosting effect”. If the egg sticks a bit to the pan, gently loosen it but continue swirling the water (not the egg itself) to keep it moving. This helps the egg keep it’s shape. Repeat with another egg. Simmer about 4-5 min, gently use a slotted spoon to flip the eggs over and cook 1-2 min. You can add a small spoonful of lemon juice or vinegar to the water beforehand to help the eggs keep shape as well, but it’s not necessary.

Spinach: melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp minced garlic, cook until fragrant. Add spinach, stir until wilted throughout. Plate. Top with poached eggs, salt, and cracked black pepper to taste. Add some toasted whole grain bread if you like. :)

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite home-cooked comfort food? Mine: Momma’s secret spaghetti sauce! I have figured out a few of her ingredients, but she has yet to tell me the rest of ‘em…I’m determined… So tasty! #remindsmeofhome #homecooking #momsrecipes

What’s your favorite home-cooked comfort food? Mine: Momma’s secret spaghetti sauce! I have figured out a few of her ingredients, but she has yet to tell me the rest of ‘em…I’m determined… So tasty! #remindsmeofhome #homecooking #momsrecipes

Land & Sea Penne for 2!

Cook 1/2 box whole wheat penne according to package directions in salted boiling water, just shy of al dente (so if pkg says 9-11 min, cook for 8).

Meanwhile, over medium heat, drizzle pan with olive oil and sauté sliced fresh baby carrots 2-3 min. Add a splash of white wine (we didn’t have any, which is very unlike us, but we did add some beer instead, lol) a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, black pepper, sliced onions, sliced zucchini and minced garlic, stir, sauté til carrots and squash are slightly tender (2-3 min), stir in 1 can of tuna packed in water (drained). Cook to warm tuna but only just enough so that the veggies still retain a bit of crispness. Remove from heat. To the side, I also cooked up some small grunt filets from the husband’s catch the day before, but it’s not necessary (we just really like fish).

For the sauce: crack 1 egg, draining off whites and reserving the yolk into a small bowl. Add 1 ladleful of starchy pasta water, whisk.

Once pasta is drained, return to pot over medium heat. Stir in the veggie-fish mixture, toss for about 1 min to continue to cook the pasta, toss in the yolk mixture for another minute, remove from heat. Add more pepper, pepper flakes, and/or salt to taste. We sprinkled ours with a bit of shredded cheese (Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley would be perfect, too).

*Note: this recipe was created out of necessity…meaning we didn’t have much around (wallet-wise and ingredient-wise) so I kind of just threw things together based on what was at hand (we are still squatting in our home waiting for the movers to deliver our things…the joys of military life). We have some pots & pans, an air mattress, and a few other small creature comforts like lawn chairs and a tv with no sound as of yet (long story), but despite that, I’ve discovered from situations like these that sometimes you can still create some of the tastiest dishes simply by throwing together things you have in your fridge and pantry! Luckily, my husband has discovered the joys of fishing and that helps supplement our meat supply, as well—when he catches something, anyway :) On a positive note, after a week of waiting, we should have our household goods delivered late this afternoon. Moral of the story: when life gives you lemons… Well, you know the rest. :)

Land & Sea Penne for 2!

Cook 1/2 box whole wheat penne according to package directions in salted boiling water, just shy of al dente (so if pkg says 9-11 min, cook for 8).

Meanwhile, over medium heat, drizzle pan with olive oil and sauté sliced fresh baby carrots 2-3 min. Add a splash of white wine (we didn’t have any, which is very unlike us, but we did add some beer instead, lol) a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, black pepper, sliced onions, sliced zucchini and minced garlic, stir, sauté til carrots and squash are slightly tender (2-3 min), stir in 1 can of tuna packed in water (drained). Cook to warm tuna but only just enough so that the veggies still retain a bit of crispness. Remove from heat. To the side, I also cooked up some small grunt filets from the husband’s catch the day before, but it’s not necessary (we just really like fish).

For the sauce: crack 1 egg, draining off whites and reserving the yolk into a small bowl. Add 1 ladleful of starchy pasta water, whisk.

Once pasta is drained, return to pot over medium heat. Stir in the veggie-fish mixture, toss for about 1 min to continue to cook the pasta, toss in the yolk mixture for another minute, remove from heat. Add more pepper, pepper flakes, and/or salt to taste. We sprinkled ours with a bit of shredded cheese (Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley would be perfect, too).

*Note: this recipe was created out of necessity…meaning we didn’t have much around (wallet-wise and ingredient-wise) so I kind of just threw things together based on what was at hand (we are still squatting in our home waiting for the movers to deliver our things…the joys of military life). We have some pots & pans, an air mattress, and a few other small creature comforts like lawn chairs and a tv with no sound as of yet (long story), but despite that, I’ve discovered from situations like these that sometimes you can still create some of the tastiest dishes simply by throwing together things you have in your fridge and pantry! Luckily, my husband has discovered the joys of fishing and that helps supplement our meat supply, as well—when he catches something, anyway :) On a positive note, after a week of waiting, we should have our household goods delivered late this afternoon. Moral of the story: when life gives you lemons… Well, you know the rest. :)

Beef, egg, & veggie sliders!

Grill small beef patties seasoned with Montreal seasoning and red pepper flakes til preferred doneness, fry whole eggs over-hard and cut to size to top the patties. Place on split sweet hawaiian rolls, top with lettuce, tomato, onion and sauce of your choice. Cute, mini burgers, full of flavor! We simmered some frozen green beans with butter, garlic, and pepper for our side dish, but fries would also be perfectly paired here! :)

For Tater’s awesome slider sauce: stir together BBQ sauce, sriracha, ketchup, mustard, duck sauce, tiger sauce, and cholula to taste :)

Beef, egg, & veggie sliders!

Grill small beef patties seasoned with Montreal seasoning and red pepper flakes til preferred doneness, fry whole eggs over-hard and cut to size to top the patties. Place on split sweet hawaiian rolls, top with lettuce, tomato, onion and sauce of your choice. Cute, mini burgers, full of flavor! We simmered some frozen green beans with butter, garlic, and pepper for our side dish, but fries would also be perfectly paired here! :)

For Tater’s awesome slider sauce: stir together BBQ sauce, sriracha, ketchup, mustard, duck sauce, tiger sauce, and cholula to taste :)