Category Archives: Quick & Easy

Oven-roasted Tilapia with Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Pan Sauce


  • 1lb Tilapia fillets (~4)
  • 3 Pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Zucchini, large cubes
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • Red Pepper Flakes, a pinch goes a long way
  • 1/2C White wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4C Sherry Wine
  • 4T EV Olive Oil
  • 4T Roasted Garlic Butter
  • Basil, ~20 leaves, chopped
  • Parsley
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper

Printable Recipe

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, saute red pepper flakes and minced garlic in 2T olive oil until fragrant. Toss in the whole cherry tomatoes and cubed zucchini, toss to coat and sprinkle with s&p. Saute until tomatoes begin to soften, shrivel up, and release their juices – ~5 minutes. Zucchini will still be firm so cover and let steam for ~10mins until fork tender.

While zucchini steams, prep the fish. In an oven-safe skillet add remainder of oil to bottom. Place filets on top.  Add 4T of roasted garlic butter around the filets. Splash with 1/4C white wine. Sprinkle with s&p, chopped basil, and lemon zest. Roast in oven until edges start to turn opaque.

Back to the tomatoes – uncover, splash in the sherry and remainder of white wine and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Tear up the basil leaves, toss in and mix. Sauce should have thickened up a bit. Taste and adjust for s&p.

Remove fish from oven. Carefully remove fillets to a dish. Dump the tomato and zucchini sauce into the skillet and carefully place fillets on top. Pop skillet back in oven for ~10 minutes or until fish is uniformly white and flakes when plucked with a fork.

Serve fish atop rice (I like rice pilaf with this dish) with a heaping ladle of tomato and zucchini sauce. Finish off with a squirt of fresh lemon, parsley, basil, a light drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of fleur de sel if you have it, and a few twists of the pepper mill.

You’re gonna love this one.

Damn, it feels good to be back!

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Greek Lamb Souvlaki w. Grilled Flat Bread

This is rugged, rough around the edges, uncomplicated, and unpretentious – just the way we like it. It’s a meaty, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty kinda meal. Every now and then it’s cool to delve into dishes characteristic of other cultures and try to eat as they would. Imagine living in old world Greece – where the lamb was slaughtered that morning, herbs were all picked fresh from the garden, and the dough rose on the counter under a cotton towel while tzatziki sauce was stirred together by a wooden spoon gripped by a rough and weathered hand. Meals don’t exactly come together like that in this house – but like I said it’s cool to imagine. Regardless though, this dish is money, and putting all cultural characteristics aside I think you will agree – this is damn close to authentic Greek Souvlaki.

p.s. I know this recipe is so far from something you would cook in fall/winter when everyone else is cooking with root veggies, making beef stew, and cozying up with hot toddy’s and apple pie…but when that inevitably gets played out and you start yearning to fire up the grill – you can break out this recipe and get your Greek on.

Printable Recipe: http://bit.ly/9WG5La

Boneless Leg of Lamb

grab the beast – trim excess fat – slice into big chunks

Cubed Lamb

season lamb with kosher salt and cracked pepper

Fresh Herbs

finely chop the parsley and mint

Marinade

time for the marinade – combine lamb, oil, vinegar, herbs, onions, and garlic in a Ziploc and mix it up

Marinate in Ziploc

cubes should be coated with marinade – now forget about it for a while

Grilled Lamb

grill lamb chunks over medium high a few minutes on each side – yard will smell like the San Gennaro feast

Grilled Flat Bread

my new addiction is grilled flat bread – take my recipe for effin’ Artisan bread http://bit.ly/cAF5yJ and instead of making a loaf you make a pizza round – brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper – grill ~5mins each side – make some now…

here’s how I get down and dirty: grab some flat bread – slap on some tzatziki – pile on the meat – top with thinly sliced tomato, red onion, and lettuce – drizzle more tzatziki – finish off with a sprinkle of feta

roll up your sleeves and dig in!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

What up people?, I’m back! Intended to take the summer off from blogging, but turned into half the fall too, my bad. No worries though, I had my sidearm locked and loaded to capture any impromptu cooking.

For a little summer reading I picked up, A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home. Helped reinforce the idea that cooking is about creativity and the freedom to improvise, not necessarily exactness – unless you’re whipping up a souffle or something. So here’s to less measurements and more freedom, just don’t burn the garlic!

Moving on…let’s talk about this pasta dish I whipped up the other night. It just so happened that I had a ridiculous amount of cherry tomatoes lining my windowsill, ready to be used, and basil overflowing in the garden.

Let’s get to it.

Printable Recipe:

http://tinyurl.com/25u34gp


Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

ripe cherry tomatoes – slice in half – toss into a baking dish

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

tear up all of the fresh basil – toss half in with tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

add in olive oil, sherry wine, garlic, s&p – mix it all up

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

roast @ 450F for about 30 mins – stir a few times  so nothing burns

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

spaghetti will take about 5-7mins,  cook pasta when tomatoes are almost done

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

when tomatoes finish leave in roasting dish and toss in remainder of fresh basil and a handful of pecorino romano – drain pasta – save 1C pasta water – scoop pasta in roasting dish – mix it all up – you want it saucy, so if dry add in pasta water a lil at a time

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati
mix well – you wanna get all the sauce stuck on the pasta – serve with more pecorino romano and fresh cracked black pepper – if you have an aversion to tomato skin than pulse the sauce when it’s finished in a food processor or put it through a food mill – don’t ever say I didn’t try to help…

enjoy, this pasta is muy yum

Grilled Tilapia with Fresh Avocado Salsa

Call me the Colonel because I have a bangin’ original recipe for you. I’m talking lite, healthy, bursting with flavor, quick, easy, and sexy. I take a nice hunk of simply dressed tilapia and throw it on the grill for a few and dress it with a super flavorful avocado salsa. It screams fresh…throw this into a tortilla and hit it with some spice and call it a fish taco or do what I did and serve it with a side of warm grilled flat-bread. Money.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15mins
Cook time: 6mins

Get yourself:

  • 4 Fresh Tilapia filets
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Tomato (you can use a beefsteak or a handful of cherry/grape)
  • .25 Red Onion, diced
  • .5 Lemon, juiced
  • 1.5T Red wine vinegar
  • 1t Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, small and diced fine or grated
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • .5t Kosher salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Printable Recipe

Get that avocado opened

…nice and easy when you drop the blade on the pit…

Let tilapia get to room temperature and brush some evoo on

Sprinkle with some kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Spray your grates with Pam or brush grates with evoo

Preheat your grill on medium

Salsa time!

…muy caliente..

Chop your avocado, tomato, red onion, garlic, and parsley and toss into a bowl

…nothing fancy a nice rough chop will do…

Add in your fresh squeezed lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper

…mix it good…

…mix it real good…

Taste

Stomp your feet in a fit of joy

Throw the tilapia on the grill for a few minutes on each side

Fish is done when flesh is opaque and flaky

Careful when handling on grill…get a good spatula….

…it can easily go from…

“Oh my, look at that beautiful hunk of fish” to “OMG! I just smashed my fish into smithereens!

Hopefully your fish comes off in one piece…

Dress it up with a little of that delicious avocado salsa…

Break off a piece of that luscious warm grilled flat-bread…

…and EAT!

I will post a recipe for the flat-bread ASAP!

Tilapia Oreganata

Gotta switch things up a bit…can’t always be eating meat and pasta…at least that’s what Mom says. Tilapia is a great white fleshed fish that takes well to any preparation and when cooked properly is flaky and velvety. I like to make most of my fish Oreganata style, which is simply fish encrusted with seasoned breadcrumbs and baked. I’ve been on a Panko kick lately so when I came across the Tilapia I immediately thought about using Panko instead of only regular seasoned breadcrumbs…I’m glad I did…you will be too…

Prep time: 15mins
Cook time: 20mins
Serves: 4

Get yourself:

  • 4 Fresh Tilapia fillets
  • .5C Panko
  • .25C Seasoned bread crumbs
  • .5C Pecorino-Romano grated
  • 1.5T Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 8 Cloves roasted garlic
  • 1t Dried oregano
  • .5t Garlic powder
  • 2T Extra virgin olive oil
  • .5C White wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • .5 Fresh lemon, juiced
  • 4T Butter, melted
  • 1/8t Kosher salt
  • .5t Black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350F

Printable Recipe

Grab some thick fresh fillets and dry thoroughly

Rub 2 cloves of roasted garlic into each fillet

The garlic will melt right into the flesh

Don’t be too rough though you’ll smoosh the flesh…

…nice-n-easy…

Pop open a bottle of white

Pour a  glass, make sure it tastes good…

…get back to cooking…

Drizzle some olive oil in a Pyrex large enough to hold all of the fish

Pour the wine into Pyrex

Crumb mix:

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley (save a little parsley for garnish)

Mix it all up

Now add the lemon juice and olive oil

Stir

Mixture should be crumbly NOT pasty

Lightly pack the crumb mix on top of fillets

Note: you are not dredging the fish

Drizzle the melted butter directly over the fillets

Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for ~20mins

Check after 15mins by pulling at the flesh with the tines of a fork

Flesh will flake off in layers when cooked

Crumbs should take on a nice golden hue

Serve Tilapia over a bed of sautéed spinach

Light, buttery, velvety, zesty, garlic-y

If you’ve been meaning to eat more fish, well, here’s an excuse…

Enjoy!

Panko Roasted Asparagus

I know I can hear you…”Joe, you have all these entrees, where the heck are the sides?!”

Panko roasted asparagus are my go to side for almost any dish. In my house we refer to the crispy panko crumbs as “crunchies” as in, “babe, sprinkle mad crunchies on my asparagus!” The crumbs are infused with some Pecorino Romano and seasoning then bound together with good quality evoo. Off the hook! The side dish is lite, healthy, fun, delicious, and EASY! You’re gonna love this one…

Prep time: 5mins
Cook time: 15mins
Serves: 4-6

Get yourself:

  • 1 Bunch asparagus
  • 2T Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3C Plain or seasoned Panko
  • 1T Pecorino Romano
  • 1t Dry mustard
  • 1t Garlic Powder
  • .5t Pepper
  • .25t Kosher salt
  • Ziploc bag
  • Preheated oven to 450F

Printable Recipe

Prep the asparagi…

Break off ends

Rinse

Dry

Add olive oil first

You want oil to adhere to stalks, but they shouldn’t be sopping wet

I used ~2T evoo, you may need more

Eyeball it (best kitchen gadget you have)

Next, toss your dry ingredients into a Ziploc bag

Shake it like a salt shaker…

Shake it like a Polaroid pictureeeeeeeeee

Drop ’em onto a foil lined baking tray

Drizzle a lil evoo over stalks for good luck

Make sure crunchies are evenly dispersed over asparagus…

Bake in 450F oven for 15mins

The asparagus should be bright green and still have a bite

Don’t overcook until they wilt…

…not cool…

Crispy, golden, crunchy, savory, cheesy, asparagusy

You never thought a side dish could be so…

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

Chicken Renee

Here’s a slick twist on chicken cutlets that a relative came up with. Instead of an egg batter and deep fry, these beauties are quickly dipped in good quality extra virgin olive oil and coated in a bread crumb mix infused with Pecorino Romano cheese, Panko crumbs, seasoned bread crumbs, and fresh parsley. The flavor is incredible and since they’re dipped in panko and grilled they have a nice crunchy crust. Clean the leaves off the outdoor grill and start ‘er up because spring is here and it’s time to grill my peoples.

Prep time: ~15mins
Cook time: ~15mins
Serves 4

Get yourself:

  • 8-10 Chicken cutlets
  • 1.5C Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1C Bread crumbs (I use Seasoned 4C Brand)
  • 1C Panko crumbs (Seasoned 4C Brand)
  • .5C Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2T Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2t Garlic powder
  • 1t Dry mustard
  • 1t Dry oregano
  • 1/2t Cayenne pepper powder (not flakes)
  • 1t Black pepper

Printable Recipe

Mix all of your dry ingredients together + fresh parsley in a shallow dish

Set aside

Pour the oil into a separate shallow dish

Set aside

Grab yo chicken and dry the hell out of it with paper towels so oil adheres

Here’s the deal…

Cutlet-Dip in oil-Dip in crumbs-Dip in oil-Dip in crumbs-Shake-Grill-Eat

Quick dip the cutlet and let excess oil drip off

Hit with some of that crumb mix

Quick dip in oil again

Hit with more crumbs

You can pack the crumb on with your hands and just hold up and gently shake…

…so excess falls off

There they is…breaded and ready for the heat…

Word to the wise…

Spray the $#%@ out of the grill with Pam

Preheat grill on high and before you drop chicken on…

reduce to medium-low

More words to the wise…

Watch the cutlets because a little oil might drip and cause flare ups

Grill for ~5 mins per side

Last set of words for the wise…

Be gentle with cutlets…I like to transfer the cutlet to a spatula and…

…gently push the cutlet onto the grill grates using tongs…

Don’t play shuffle board with the cutlets or breading will fall apart…

…nice ‘n easy…

Oh damn, look at those grill marks!

Ahhh….this crust is bangin’

Cheesy, crunchy, savory…

Fresh and fruitiness of the evoo…

Moist and tender chicken…

That’s what’s up!

Serve with a side of panko roasted asparagus…

This is going on your recipe rotation…

Enjoy!!