What’s New for Dinner? : Lemon Garlic Tilapia

Welcome to my series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

Oh, this week I had such high hopes for new recipes. I had three of them picked out ready to go and then life happened. My family and I all caught a terrible flu bug. And let me tell you, the last thing on your mind when you have the flu is food. Especially new recipes. I was fortunate enough that a few days before the sickness hit, I did get to try one new recipe called Lemon Garlic Tilapia. One of my goals this year is to try to get more fish/seafood into our monthly menu plan. I’m not one to like the more smelly or strong tasting fish varieties so I’m usually pretty leery about venturing out and trying new fish. I had heard a few good things about tilapia so I figured that would be one for us to try. I wanted a very simple recipe—and one that I had all the ingredients on hand–so I choose the Lemon Garlic Tilapia one I found on AllRecipes. (one of my favorite recipe sites)

I was very surprised at how simple the recipe actually was to make. It didn’t require much prep work and while it was baking, I had time to clean up my kitchen. You gotta love multi-tasking!

The Verdict: I think we’ll definitely be adding this into our menu routine randomly. I made the mistake of not cutting back on the lemon, as I only used three fillets but it still tasted pretty good.  I think next time I make tilapia, I’ll try a breaded recipe, possibly this Ranchy Breaded Fillets one.

Well, that’s my small cooking adventure for the week. I’ll have to save the other two I had planned for another week. Did any of you branch out from your typical menus and try something new this week? I’d love to hear about it!

What’s New For Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips

Welcome to my new series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

The whole reason for me wanting to start this series was to push me to make the things I’ve been wanting to make for awhile. Awhile back, I ordered some Tahini and Organic Garbanzo Beans on Amazon when I found a good deal on them. I didn’t realize how long it had been until I went to create the links and saw it say, “Jaycie, you ordered these on September 20, 2010.” Wow. Talk about procrastination, right? This is just one of the many things I’ve bought last year with hopes of trying to create them. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has done this. (and if so, please lie and tell me I’m not alone….)

The original recipe I found was for a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus but when I was at the store and saw the price of them right now, I cringed and debated making a plain hummus. I caved and bought one and I’m glad I did. Not only did the red pepper add a nice additional flavoring but it gave the hummus this amazingly beautiful red/orange coloring, making the dish all the more appealing. So, I did follow the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe this week but first, I had to find out How to Roast a Red Pepper. These instructions were really great and actually fairly easy to do. While it was roasting, I was putting together other ingredients so it didn’t add much time to the process. The skin peeled off so easily and I’ve now found something to add to our sandwiches and such during the week. (when peppers are in season!)

I also wanted to try my hand at making my own Homemade Pita Chips. These are just made from store-bought Pita Pockets so they are only slightly homemade. Here’s how everything looked mid-stream:


Chips coated and ready to bake. This was just batch #1 and I only used half the pockets, overall.


This is my roasted red pepper split up. I am still shocked how easily the skin peeled off and how easily the seeds and stem came off, too.


This is the hummus right before I blended in the red peppers and basil.


And this is our delicious little afternoon snack! The kids got a kick out of how I displayed it on the plate. The side bowl is what I saved for later in the week.

As I mentioned, I only used half of the pita pockets. The other half, I kept to make chicken pizza pockets for supper. I just threw in some leftover chicken from earlier in the week, along with some black olives, pepperoni, tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. I baked them at 400 degrees just until they were heated and the cheese melted. Not much more than 5 minutes. I added some fruit for a side dish and we were all set!

Verdict:
I thought that the hummus might have had a little bit too much Tahini in it. On my next batch, I’ll think I’ll dial it back just a touch. I also liked my pita chips super crispy. So I flipped them over on the other side for just an extra minute and I liked how they turned out. My kids loved this little snack and I thought it tasted a lot fresher than the store bought stuff, which I loved.If you buy garbanzo beans with no salt added like I did, you may have to add a little salt for flavoring later. But I’d wait until everything’s blended in your food processor just to be sure you need it.

This was my “What’s New for Dinner” for this week. Did any of you attempt to make anything new this week? If so, how did it turn out? Don’t forget to check out Jenn’s adventure this week. She made some Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken Chili this week for her family.

What’s New For Dinner?: Breaded Beef and Roasted Vegetables

Welcome to my new series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn. So check her site for what she’s tried this week, too!

The recipe I tried this week wasn’t the one I originally had planned. I found my original one to be a little more involved, like something I should try to make on a weekend when my hubby could watch the kids. But I’m really happy that it worked out this way as I stumbled onto a great recipe.

I had done a search on allrecipes.com for anything I could make using a Beef Rump Roast. Isn’t it great that you can search by ingredients there? I then scrolled through them to find one I could make with what I had on hand, and in the end, deciding on the recipe for Breaded Beef.

This was a fairly simple recipe to make. The kids got a kick out of the big mound of bread crumb mixture and were content to watch me dip the beef into the egg mixture and then the crumbs. If it wasn’t raw meat, I would have let them help.

Since the recipe is simple, I’ll let you refer to allrecipes.com for it. But here are the basic steps:

1) Cut the meat into 1/8″ pieces. (no picture on this one)

2) Whip up the egg and water mixture.

3) Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt.

4) Dip the meat into the egg mixture and then the bread crumb mixture and then place onto a foil lined cookie sheet.

5) Fry up the breaded beef in some hot oil. Note: Always use caution when working with hot oils. You’ll fry it up a few minutes on one side and then the other, until fully cooked.

I then needed a side dish. I had a lot of root vegetables left over from my CSA so I decided to make a batch of Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables, but I only used the vegetables that I had on hand. If you’ve never tried Celeriac, it’s an interesting root vegetable that tastes a lot like celery. It was a new one I tried this fall.

I whipped up a little salad from leftover taco filling we had from the night before and topped it with some star and flower shaped croutons the kids had made. (I’ll share later how to make those!) Here’s what our end meal looked like:

The final verdict: Two thumbs up! I turned my head for a few minutes to help the kids with their plates and my hubby had gobbled down most of his. It was decided that this must be worked into our monthly meal plan!

And this is the “What’s New For Dinner?” for us this week. Did any of you try anything new, too?

Kellogg’s Cereal Printable Coupon and Recipe

RedPlum has a new $1/2 Kellogg’s Cereal Printable Coupon that’s valid on Rice Krispies, Crispix, Corn Flakes or All-Bran Cereals.

I thought I’d share as I know several of these cereals are used in holiday baking items.

Here’s one recipe you can make with Crispix:

“People Puppy Chow”

1) Melt together 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. You’ll have to stir frequently or it will burn very quickly. I’d recommend keeping it on a lower heat.

2) Once melted, pour over Crispix cereal (1-12oz. box) that you’ve already emptied into a large bowl. Stir the cereal mixture (gently or you’ll break them) until all the cereal is covered.

3) Immediately put the chocolatey mixture into a brown paper bag that’s been filled with 1/2 bag (1lb.) of powdered sugar. Close up the bag and shake it until the sugar covers the cereal. It will look like this when you are done:

I usually put some of these into small sandwich bags and tie with a red ribbon as a little gift for someone.

Yummy Zucchini Cake Recipes from Readers

I shared a link on the Coupon Geek Facebook Page about freezing zucchini and a few of my sweet readers offered some recipes that they use for zucchini. I thought I’d share them with all of you in case you have an over-abundance of zucchini or wanted to try something new.

This one comes from Reader Lisa R.:

BLUEBERRY WALNUT ZUCCHINI CAKE

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan

In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside

In large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla and make sure mixture is smooth and creamy. (Next, Gradually stir in dry ingredients mixture.) Fold in zucchini. Fold in blueberries.
Pour into greased baking pan. Top with chopped walnuts

Bake for 55-60 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick in middle comes out clean.

Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Cut serve and ENJOY!

This next one is from Reader Nikki L.:

ZUCCHINI CAKE

3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups grated Zucchini

Sift dry ingredients into LARGE bowl. Add eggs, oil, zucchini and nuts. Stir until no dry pockets remain. Pour into greased 9X13 pan. Cook @ 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick (or knife) poked in center comes out clean.

Nikki shares that they eat theirs without frosting but that a cream cheese frosting might be a nice addition to it.

A very big thanks to both Lisa and Nikki for taking the time to share these with my other readers. I greatly appreciate it!


I actually made Lisa’s Zucchini Blueberry Walnut Cake tonight, since I had all the ingredients here. I took a picture of a slice. It smelt so good that I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely before I stole a slice. I meant to add the walnuts to half before I baked it and the kids distracted me and I forgot. I gave my son a slice and he said, “Yum, yum, yum!” :)

Freezer Cooking: Seasoned Hamburger

Since I posted my last Freezer Cooking Session, I’ve had a quite a few people wanting to know about Freezing Seasoned Hamburger. To tell you the truth, up until then, I had no idea myself that cooked hamburger froze so well. I had made up the recipe for Mini Beef and Bean Burritos from the book Fix, Freeze, Feast: Prepare in Bulk and Enjoy by the Serving. Well, I had run out of shells and decided just to test out freezing the leftover seasoned meat and it worked like a charm!

What’s great is, the original recipe of the mixture calls for 6lbs of meat. You’ll often find that stores will discount hamburger in bulk “family packs” of 3lbs or more. So you’d just pick up two of those at a great price. But you can alter the recipe for any size – just re-figure it accordingly.

What You’ll Need
6lbs of Hamburger
1 cup of Taco Seasoning (around four packets, but measure to be sure, as packet size varies)
3 cups of water

How to Make It

1) Brown the hamburger over medium heat and cook thoroughly until there is no longer any pink–about 20 minutes.

2) Drain and discard properly, any fat. (I even rinse mine to get more fat off.)

3) Add the Taco Seasoning and then stir in the water.

4) Simmer over a medium heat, for about twenty minutes. You’ll want to check it and stir it, if needed. Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated.

5)  At this point, I drained off any extra liquid that didn’t evaporate. Cool the mixture completely. This is important or you’ll have more of a chance of freezer burned food if you add the mixture while it’s still a little warm.

6) Label and date a Ziploc Bag, add the mixture and freeze. I lay my Ziploc bags flat to save room in my freezer. (Just make sure they are sealed really good if you do that!) :)

If don’t want to freeze all of the hamburger mixture but want to make some burritos to freeze, try this:

Spread a 1/3 cup of refried beans and 1/4 cup ground beef onto a tortilla. Wrap the tortilla burrito style and then wrap in tin foil, place them in a labeled Ziploc Bag and freeze. To cook, take them out of the Ziploc bag and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes if frozen or at only 300 degrees for 30 minutes if thawed, prior. These can make for a simple lunch.

It’s really quite simple to make this hamburger mixture. I love doing these big batches and freezing them so I can quickly pull out a bag of it and make some quick tacos or nachos, etc. You just take it out of the Ziploc bag and defrost in the microwave. Or you can defrost it in the fridge the night before and then warm it in the microwave the next day (after you take it out of the Ziploc bag!)

Freezer cooking is a great way to cut down on your time in the kitchen on busy days. I find that making meals ahead and freezing them often helps me avoid carry-out food or the quick processed foods.

If you make this recipe, please use all proper food safety guidelines. I hope that you find this little make-ahead recipe will help you save some time in the future!

Pizza On a Stick Recipe

My son and I have been watching a lot of Emeril together on the Food Network lately. He’s always saying, “He’s silly, Mommy!” It’s a way for us to spend time together and I’m hoping it’s increasing his love for cooking and baking.

The other day, we saw an episode where they made “Pizza On A Stick.” I was intrigued and Nathan thought it looked like fun. So last night, we all have a blast creating our own Pizzas on a stick. This recipe comes from the Emeril show but I’ll post it in case they ever take it off their site:


What You’ll Need:

* 1 cup sliced pepperoni
* 1 cup sliced Italian sausage
* 1/2 French bread loaf, toasted and cubed
* 1/2 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces (but large enough to not fall off skewers)
* 1/2 cup halved fresh mushrooms
* 1/2 cup zucchini slices (or any other veggie of your choice)
* 1/4 cup Italian dressing
* 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
* 1 cup spaghetti sauce, warmed
* You’ll also need a baking/cookie sheet, cooking brush and skewers.

Here’s how you make them:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) The first step is to cut your French Bread Loaf into pieces and toast them. (Just warm them in the oven until they are nice and toasted. Mine took about 5 minutes but our oven heats fast.)

3) Next chop up all your ingredients. I put all of mine in separate bowls so everyone could access them easier. I also microwaved my Italian Sausage so it would cook faster in the oven.

4) Take all of your ingredients and thread them on the skewers, rotating the ingredients. You can do this however you want. We’d pile on meats and veggies and then put a bread layer in between the next layer.

5) As each skewer is finished, lay them on a baking/cookie sheet in a single layer. After all of them are completed, brush each skewer of ingredients with Italian Dressing.

6) Next  sprinkle cheese on each skewer of ingredients.

7) Then they go into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. You’ll want to watch them, though. Our oven cooks very fast and they were done a lot sooner. You’ll want your meats cooked thoroughly, your veggies heated throughout and your cheese melted but not burnt. I recommend watching them close, at least the first time you make them to judge how long is needed.

Allow them to cool for a bit afterwards and then serve. What I did was grabbed a new (cooled) cookie sheet and served them right on that. You’ll use your warmed sauce to dip them in if you want.

While these can be a fun activity with the kids, please make sure you use your best judgment and always be extra safe when making them. The ends of the skewers tend to be very pointy. My hubby helped my son make his but I didn’t allow my daughter to use them. She had fun just stealing ingredients from the bowls, though. :) I also took hers off the skewers when I served them to her and she didn’t mind one bit. She was too busy dipping everything.

What I loved about this recipe is that I kind of just used whatever ingredients we had on hand. Though, I’ll think twice before using cherry tomatoes with the kids next time as they get pretty hot and squirty when bitten into.

I found our skewers at Jewel in their kitchen area. But I’ve also seen them sold at CVS in the summer in their summer section for around $1.99. (Possibly a good “filler item” for your next trip!)

I hope that you have as much fun making these as we did if you try to make them!