Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten season foods

Hello all my lovelies and Catholic friends!

I know that with this Lenten season a lot of my friends and family (including myself) will be giving up a few things, one of which is meat (beef, pork, and for most poultry) every Friday (and for you hard-core Catholics the last week) til Easter Sunday. Here are a few recipes that will hopefully tide you over til we all can start eating meat!

*You can use any fish for these recipes. I just prefer salmon and tilapia.

Goat Cheese Salmon


  • 4 to 6 salmon fillets (depends on how thick they are)
  • 1/2 cup of herbed goat cheese (or plain if you'd prefer)
  • 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease large baking dish.
  2. Arrange salmon fillets in the baking dish. Make small incisions in each fillet, and stuff equal amounts of the herbed goat cheese (if the fillet is thick enough to cut length wise, do so and make a small pocket so you can stuff the goat cheese inside, but don't fill too much because it'll ooze out when baking)
  3. Bake salmon for 15 to 20 mins in oven, or til salmon is easily flaked with a fork. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix Dijon and mayonnaise together (I prefer to use more Dijon than mayo in this recipe). Spoon over salmon once it's taken out of the oven. Wait for 10 mins before serving.  
*If the Dijon/mayo sauce is too vinegary, add a few teaspoons of honey.

    Herb-Crusted Salmon with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce


    • 4 tsp of olive oil
    • 2 tbs of shallots minced (if you can't find shallots, mince a pearl onion)
    • 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup of dried white wine
    • 6 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), minced
    • 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt
    • 1/2 of ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp of dried basil
    • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
    • 1tsp of dried thyme
    • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I use panko)
    • 2 to 4 salmon fillets (depending on thickness)

    Sauce: (I like to make the sauce before I prepare the fish. That way the flavors are all settled in. Then I just reheat the sauce before I pour it over the fish when it's done baking)
    1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Sautee shallots, stirring constantly, til lightly golden.
    2. Add lemon juice, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Turn up the heat to a medium-high flame. Cook until sauce is reduced to about a 1/2 cup.
    3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 in baking dish.
    2. Whatever makes it easier, use a ziplock bag, a larger bowl, or a large plate, combine bread crumbs, basil, rosemary, and thyme. Dredge each fillet in bread crumb mixture, coating well.
    3. Place fillets in the baking dish. Drizzle each fillet with the remaining 2 tsp olive oil.
    4. Bake for 8 to 10 mins, til salmon is easily flaked with fork. 
    5. Take fillets out of oven. Make a slit lengthwise on top of the salmon. Spoon sauce over the fillets. 

    Lemon Pepper Dill Tilapia


    • 2-4 tilapia fillets
    • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
    • 1 half of a lemon
    • 1 tbs of dried dill weed
    • 1 tbs of lemon pepper seasoning
    • 4 tsp of olive oil


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8x8 (or 9x9) baking dish, drizzle olive oil. 
    2. Place fillets in baking dish. Sprinkle evenly dill and lemon pepper seasoning over fillets.
    3. Cut up butter and place on top and around fish.
    4. Place in oven and bake for 15 mins, or until fish flakes off with fork. Before serving, squeeze lemon over fish.

    Bon appetit!

      Tuesday, February 9, 2010

      Comfort foods

      BRRRRRR!!!!! It's cold out there!

      Tonight, in sweet home Chicago, it's supposed to start snowing some time around midnight. We're expecting at least 10 to 12 inches. YIKES!!! With this type of weather all I can think of is warm comforting soups and delicious sweet breads. Tonight I made my favorite butternut squash soup and I experimented with zucchini bread. I wanted a more denser and heartier zucchini bread and I think I got it.

      Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon Garnish


      1. 1 butternut squash halved and pitted
      2. 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup of butter)
      3. 1 1/2 to 2 cups of brown sugar
      4. 4 cups of vegetable broth (if you want a creamier soup, use 3 cups of veg broth and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream)
      5. 1 onion, chopped
      6. 1/2 tsp of pepper
      7. 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (if desired)


      • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
      • Place halved and pitted butternut squash on cookie sheet or 9x 12 in pan (I line it with foil for easier cleanup)
      • Cut stick of butter in half (or split the half cup) and place each half inside the pitted hole of the squash
      • Separate brown sugar and pank in the pitted hole of the squash along with the butter. Spillage of brown sugar is okay, as long as it's on the squash flesh.
      • Place inside oven and bake for 45 mins to 1 hr, or until when poked with fork it slides out easily .
      • While the squash is in the oven, take out a large stock pot and place on stove. Either use a 1 tbs of butter or 1tbs of olive oil and sautee chopped onion on medium heat til the onion is transluscent. Take off heat.
      • When squash is done, take out of the oven, and carefully scoop out the cooked flesh and put it inside stock pot with sauteed onion. Discard skin. Pour vegetable broth and turn on stove to medium heat.
      • Take out hand mixer and puree squash, onion, and broth til smooth. Cook uncovered for 30 mins.
      • When serving soup, sprinkle a tsp of crumbled bacon (if you want to keep this vegetarian, use parmesan shavings)

      Zucchini Bread

      1. 3 cups of all purpose flour
      2. 1 tsp of salt
      3. 1 tsp of baking soda
      4. 1/4 tsp of baking powder
      5. 3 tsp of ground cinnamon
      6. 3 eggs
      7. 2 cups of white sugar
      8. 4 tsp of vanilla extract
      9. 1 cup of vegetable oil
      10. 3 cups of grated zucchini


      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon
      • In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Fold in grated zucchini to egg mixture. 
      • Slowly add in flour combination to the zucchini and egg mixture. 
      • Pour evenly into 2 pre-greased loaf pans.
      • Place inside preheated oven and bake for 1 hr.
      *I like to sprinkle a combination of cinnamon and sugar on top of the zucchini bread the minute I take the loaves out of the oven. It gives it that special something when you bite into it. My roommate Becca likes to eat it with a little butter. It's devine!!

      Bon appetit!