Triggerfish with Toasted Pecan Butter

Wow friends, I knew I had been a bad blogger lately but I didn’t realize how bad! I’m sorry.

Perhaps in order to make it up to the masses, I’ll share a creation I’ve been holding for a little while.

CloseUp-Triggerfish

You see, a while back (about 2 year ago) my parents stopped at a nearby mobile seafood market and picked up a variety of things, including Triggerfish, which ended up in my kitchen. Having never done anything with this fish before, I just did what I knew best – sauteed it and covered it with a delicious sauce of butter, wine, lemon and capers. It was delicious – so I shared it with all of you wonderful people.

Then something crazy happened. I realized that I was not the only one who was at a loss for how to prepare Triggerfish. Because people were Googling their hearts out for recipes. And coming to my little blog here.

Now, this blog is a hobby for me right now – my work has been crazy lately and that’s fine. But I get really excited when I get 30+ visits in a day. Well, my Triggerfish recipe started picking up steam a while back – 20-30 hits a day. Then the husband (who also geeks out a little over stats) wanted to see how many I had overall.

As of today, that little recipe I whipped up has over 10,000 views. Which is crazy to me – but obviously, y’all want some Triggerfish!

Well, it’s your lucky day because I aim to please. Hopefully you like this one as much as the last…let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see – I love hearing from my readers!

Triggerfish with Toasted Pecan Butter (Serves 2 / 9 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

8 oz. Triggerfish, cut into 2 portions

2 Tbsp. fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. reduced calorie margarine

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cayenne pepper, salt, pepper

Lemon

Just a reminder that the skin on Triggerfish can be pretty tough – so I score it before cooking with it to keep the fish from curling too much.

Heat your oven to 350. Layer your chopped pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In a shallow dish, mix together flour, a dash of cayenne, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper.

In another shallow dish, add milk. Dip fish fillet in the milk and then dredge in flour mixture.

Dredge and Saute_Triggerfish with Pecan Butter

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add fish and saute 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through.

While fish is cooking, melt butter in a small skillet. Add pecans and a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne. Stir and pour over fillets. Voila – super easy and delicious meal in under 30 minutes!

Triggerfish with Toasted Pecan Butter

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

So the husband and I recently cut the cord.

We are a cable-less household. Honestly…it’s a lot better than I thought it would be. The true test will be during football season – I might will not be such a good sport if I don’t get to wake up to College Game Day every Saturday.

Anyways, the first real challenge came a few weeks ago. When the hubby and I first started dating – as in the second time we ever laid eyes on each other – we discovered we both loved the same TV show. 24. So, we rotated “hosting” 24 night by cooking for each other – obviously that’s how I hooked him!

Well for those of you who are fans, you know that 24 has just started back after several years! It was very exciting news. So, on a Monday night (which was also Cinco de Mayo) – knowing that we no longer have a DVR to record such exciting television events, I found myself in a throw back state of mind. I got home late from work, was all ready to throw together our “Meatless Monday” and “Cinco de Mayo” meal while enjoying the return of Jack Bauer. Woops – forgot it started an hour early. Oh how long it had been since I had to cook during commercials – running back and forth when I’d hear “it’s back on!”. Clearly I had gotten spoiled!

Luckily, the meal I planned was super simple. The longest thing is roasting the vegetables, which doesn’t take much time at all – but man it is so delicious. And it’s really filling, which is awesome. Give this a try on your next “Meatless Monday” or any other day of the week!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (Serves 4 / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

1/2 small red onion, chopped

2 small jalapeno peppers, diced

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

8 tortillas (I use Ole Extreme Wellness, High-Fiber Low-Carb)

Heat oven to 400.

In a lightly greased roasting pan, add potatoes, black beans, onion, jalapeno, seasonings and cilantro. Toss to mix and roast for 20-25 minutes.

Black Bean and Sweet potato - for roasting

Divide cheese evenly in the center of the tortillas. Spoon veggie filling on top, fold tortillas into the center, then tuck in the ends. Add to a baking dish and bake 10-12 minutes.

Burritos-StepbyStep

Serve with salsa for dipping and enjoy!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend y’all!

 

 

Barbecue Chicken Enchiladas

Y’all – I am trying my very hardest not to be an incredibly jealous person right now.

And quite honestly, I think I’m a jealous person by nature. Obviously, we all are – it’s just a human trait. But I live in Memphis. I work downtown. It’s beautiful outside. And it’s the third weekend in May.

What does that mean? Well, for those of you not from these parts – Memphis has a month long celebration every May (dubbed “Memphis in May”) and the third weekend, this weekend, is the World Championship Barbecue Festival – aka “Barbecue Fest”.

It’s an awesome weekend if you’re on a team. Or know someone on a team. Or, you know, are married to somebody on a team. However, the past few years, the husband has been in lock-down study mode so we haven’t been able to attend. So we were of course pumped to be able to go this year – until he found out he had to go out of town for work.

So yeah, I’ve tried not to be jealous. Of the smell of barbecue wafting through downtown as I walked to grab a turkey sandwich and head back to work. Of the pictures of people enjoying the beautiful, cool, sunny day down on the river just steps away from my office. And the thought of those same individuals, parking a chair in the grass, holding a cold beer, doing some high-quality people watching and shoveling down all of the delicious, smoky, sticky barbecue they want this weekend.

I might not get to celebrate with them – but I do have my ways of celebrating in spirit. Enter barbecue chicken enchiladas. Perfect to enjoy on your patio with a cold beer or two! Happy BBQ Fest weekend everybody!

Barbecue Chicken Enchiladas (Makes 5 enchiladas / 5 WW pts. per enchilada)

Ingredients

6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded

5 tortillas (I use Ole Extreme Wellness, High Fiber Low Carb)

3/4 c. shredded fat-free cheddar (divided)

1/4 c. shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

3 Tbsp. chopped green onion

3/4 c. barbecue sauce (divided)

10 oz. red enchilada sauce

1 Tbsp. barbecue seasoning

3 Tbsp. chopped red onion

Heat oven to 350.

Begin by mixing 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cheddar together in a small bowl. Toss shredded chicken with mixed cheese, red onion, barbecue seasoning and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.

In another medium bowl, mix together enchilada sauce and remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce.

BBQChickenEnchiladas-Assembly

Lay out your tortillas and start with 1/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each one. Fold lengthwise, and then tuck the ends under. Repeat until chicken mixture is gone.

Spread a very thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add your enchiladas and pour remaining sauce on top. Bake 20 minutes and remove. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and return to oven, baking another 5-7 minute until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling.

PlatedBBQEnchilada

Sprinkle with green onion and serve.

BBQChickenEnchiladas-CookingontheBrightSide

Okay, I’m a little more in the spirit now!

 

 

BBQ Potato Skins

So my fair city of Memphis, Tennessee just came in 2nd. In worst cities for allergies.

Imagine my surprise. As I gasp through my watery eyes and itchy throat. And sneeze. Three times in a row. Boo on allergies.

But I can endure allergies this time of year. You know why? Cause Memphis ranks #1 in something else – barbecue. We know our barbecue. We take it very seriously. I mean, have you ever had BBQ nachos at a ball game? If not – you just haven’t lived my friend.

This is the time of year when outdoor festivals boast tons of delicious food. We have several crawfish festivals. We have a hot wing festival. And of course, there’s Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest, celebrating all the “swine” things in life. Yes, I went there.

Plated BBQ Potato Skins_Cookingonthebrightside

I had to satisfy my craving for BBQ the other night and needed to do so in healthy way! It was a beautiful weekend – and being a Memphian, I know that nothing goes with beautiful weather like hot BBQ and cold beer. So I whipped up these beauties which are great as an appetizer or for a dinner (since I love eating finger food for dinner!).

BBQ Potato Skins (Makes 10 skins / 2 WW Points each)

Ingredients

6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast

5 small/mini russet potatoes

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, fat-free

1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided (I use Corky’s – a local BBQ establishment)

1/3 cup chopped red onion

BBQ seasoning (I use Rendezvous – another local BBQ establishment.)

Salt and pepper.

Heat your oven to 400. Slice your potatoes in half and scoop out the centers, leaving a thin border around each one. I use a melon baller and throw the extra potato in some water so I can make mashed potatoes later in the week.

Sprinkle the insides of each potato skin with salt, pepper and some barbecue seasoning. Place the potato skins on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, then flip each one and bake another 10 minutes until “flesh” is tender when pierced with a fork.

Step by Step_BBQPotato Skins

While the skins are cooking, cook your chicken breast. Allow to cool and then shred. Mix with 3-4 Tbsp. of barbecue sauce and a few dashes of seasoning.

Once your skins are ready, divide shredded chicken between each skin. Sprinkle with red onion and cheddar. Bake another 8-10 minutes and then you are in business…

BBQ Potato Skins_Cookingonthebrightside

I hope y’all have a great weekend!

Greek Pasta Salad

I have a confession to make.

I am completely obsessed with Pharrell’s song “Happy” – and I know I’m not alone. I swear, it just makes me want to stop whatever I’m doing and break out into a dance. Which I have actually done. In the comfort of my home. While folding laundry. And getting the side-eye from my husband. Sorry for letting the music guide my soul babe.

Anyways, the other day my co-worker and I were talking about just the little things that get us through long and/or tough days. A big one was our girl friends and just getting to spend time with them – which we were both lamenting over the fact that we just don’t get to do enough. But then later that day she sent me a message about how the musical score to Harry Potter was making a tedious project almost enjoyable. Which was funny, because I was listening to my Harry Potter (Film Score) station on Pandora and it really is just amazing how music can help shape my mood.

I think the “Happy” song really just brings out my inner happiness, no matter how much it seems to be hiding that day. You know what else brings out happiness for me? Cooking.

Seriously, I know some people hate it. Dread it. View it as a necessary evil in order to provide nourishment. But hello, I have a blog about cooking on the BRIGHT side because I think preparing food for yourself or for others can bring so much joy.

So, in light of all of this talk of happiness and brightness, I’m sharing a delicious and beautiful dish with you – Greek Pasta Salad. This is totally an “eat with your eyes” recipe – and it tastes at least as good as it looks…

Close Up_GreekPastaSalad

Greek Pasta Salad (6 servings / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients_GreekPastaSalad

6 oz. whole wheat or enriched Rotini pasta (I used Barilla Plus)

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium cucumber, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped (I didn’t quite use a whole onion)

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

8 Tbsp. sliced black olives

4 oz. fat-free Feta crumbles

Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to directions.

While the pasta is boiling, chop your veggies and make your dressing by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. I personally like the level of “tang” in this, but if red wine vinegar has too potent of a taste for you – maybe start with 1/8 cup and work your way up. I like the pizzazz.

Veggies-Dressing_GreekPastaSalad

When the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to a medium bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes.  Pour your dressing over the pasta. Then add your chopped vegetables, sliced olives and crumbled feta. Using a rubber spatula, mix until all ingredients are combined.

AssembleSalad_GreekPastaSalad

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. I made a batch of this one Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a beautiful, vibrant and healthy lunch every day that week. Honestly, how can looking at this awesome pop of colors not make you happy?!

Greek Pasta Salad

Have a great weekend y’all!

Stuffed Pork Chops

Let me just put it out there: #sorrynotsorry.

Inside View_Stuffed Pork Chops

(Yes, I just hash tagged my blog. Even in my early 30’s, I’m still hip.)

Let’s face it – pork chops can be boring. And dry. And bland. Not you’d find any of that on this fabulous blog. I don’t tolerate any of those things.

Particularly the boring. 

I mean, who stuffs meat with…meat? Clearly I’m not complaining. And you know why it’s okay? (Other than because it’s March Madness and I feel the need to get a little crazy because I LOVE this time of year!)

This recipe is on my diet. Not a trend diet either. I still eat carbs. And sweets. And dairy. This is totally okay. I mean, if you want to make it not okay, that’s easy. But I use lean cuts of pork. And turkey sausage…which is delicious even when it’s not seasoned, mixed with vegetables and stuffed inside of a pork chop.

But I digress.

I found this beauty in Southern Living (always my “happy mail day!”) – and while I set out to stick to the Cajun roots of the dish with some andouille flavored chicken or turkey sausage, I had some Italian turkey sausage I needed to use and it did the trick!

So this weekend while you binge on basketball, give this recipe a try – it’s the perfect game day food that’s not going to leave you feeling like you lost to a #14 seed in the first round of the tournament… 

Ohhhh. Burn.

Stuffed Pork Chops (Serves 2 / 8 WW points each)

Ingredients

Adapted from original recipe, found here.

2 5 oz. lean pork chops, trimmed of fat

2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

2 tsp. olive oil

Stuffing:

2/3 link sausage, casing removed (I used Honeysuckle White’s “Hot” Italian)

8 fat-free croutons

2 Tbsp. yellow onion, minced

1 Tbsp. celery, minced

1 Tbsp. green bell pepper minced

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

2 Tbsp. fat-free chicken broth

Heat your oven to 350.

In a medium skillet, cook your sausage over medium for about 5 minutes, breaking apart into crumbles. Cook through and add sausage to a medium bowl, reserving drippings in the skillet. Sauté onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic for 5-7 minute until tender.

Add vegetable mixture to sausage and stir with Cajun seasoning, croutons, and chicken broth. 

Stuffing Mixture_Stuffed Pork Chops

Season your pork chops with paprika, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Once the chops have been seasoned, cut a pocket in each one – be careful not to cut through to the other side. Spoon sausage mixture into each pocket. You can over stuff at this point, a little will likely fall out while cooking – so don’t fret!

Season and Stuff_Stuffed Pork Chops

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add stuffed chops to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Saute_Stuffed Pork Chops

Enjoy the madness, I know we did…

Stuffed Pork Chops

Have a great weekend y’all!

Skinny Eggplant Parm

Today, T.G.I.F. doesn’t seem to be dramatic enough.

I mean, thank freaking ever-loving goodness it is FINALLY Friday.

Whew, much better!

I feel like I am not alone in saying I miss having spring break. For real – there are no words on how much a week off would do my mind/body/soul some good. I guess I’ll just have to settle for planning what to do when I do take my week off! The small victories, right?

This week I’ve needed things to be simple. Easy. I mean, not at all complicated. For instance – I find my “Chicken Gyros” recipe to be fairly simple and oh so delicious. Which it is. Unless you purchase and use VANILLA Greek yogurt instead of plain.

I will say it did give it a very disturbing unique flavor.

So it was time to break out an old friend I haven’t shared with y’all yet! A super light, surprisingly filling, comfort food that’s perfect for Meatless Mondays or just anytime you’re in the mood for it.

SkinnyEggplantParmesan

My super delicious Skinny Eggplant Parm. I love ordering this dish in restaurants – but hate knowing how much unnecessary “bad for you” stuff is in it. So obviously, I had to rectify that situation. Give this one a try – it really does fill you up for such a small amount of points. I served this with some green beans and a toasted roll (okay okay, it was a hamburger bun sprayed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt – I told you I needed simple!) and dinner was only 9 points. Boom.

Skinny Eggplant Parm (Serves 3 – 5 1/3 WW points per serving)

1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup egg beaters

1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella, shredded

Heat your oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up – or just spray with nonstick spray.

Set up your assembly station – pour your egg in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, mix your bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

Eggplant Parmesan_StepbyStep

Dip eggplant slices in the egg and then dredge in the crumb mixture and add to your parchment paper. Repeat until all slices have been coated.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

While the eggplant is baking, it’s time to “doctor up” your tomato sauce. I prefer doing this because 1 – it’s lower in WW points and 2 – I sometimes find the store-bought sauces to be too sweet. I just mix in oregano, basil, salt and pepper with a few dashes of garlic powder. Season to your own taste – that’s just a good starting point for me!

When the eggplant has finished baking, grease a small casserole dish and pour about 1/3 cup of your tomato sauce to spread in the bottom. Add half of your baked eggplant slices and top with a little bit of shredded mozzarella. Pour remaining sauce over top and stack the remaining eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and bake about 15 minutes until sauce is bubbling.

Skinny Eggplant Parm - CookingontheBrightSide

Serve and enjoy! Each “slice” is just over 1 point. I had estimated we’d each eat half, for about 8 points – but we ended up being pretty content with just 4 slices for dinner, so I took the remaining 4 for lunch the next day. It was a super delicious and satisfying 5 point lunch!

Hope y’all have a great weekend!