Almond Crusted Tilapia

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but I always seem to find myself feeling a bit restless. And goofy. (No, seriously – you should have seen the fun I had with my Biffer’s love for the Oscars.)

I feel like it’s a seasonal thing, because it’s totally that transitional time of year. I love the winter…and was thrilled that we finally had a snow day here in Memphis on Monday. But now that we’re getting previews of spring-like weather, it makes me look forward to being outdoors!

The thing I’m most look forward to? Getting to sit outside on our patio for breakfast in the mornings or a cocktail in the afternoons to unwind. I have become a total homebody in recent years, and our patio is definitely my favorite place to be.

The thing I’m least looking forward to? Bathing suits. I’m just not quite there. Still trekking along with my weight loss goal – but certainly not the size (or shade – hellooooo Casper!) I’d ideally like to be for “public viewing”.

If you’re in the same boat and are trying to shed a few pounds, I have a great recipe for you. It might seem a little complicated, but I assure you, it comes together very quickly and is probably something you could find at a nice restaurant along the coast. Now you can make it at home. While wearing stretchy pants…if you want to wear pants at all – I don’t judge here. The point is – restaurant quality food cheaper and without the whole hassle of going out. Told you – total homebody.

I think this would be okay with any of the milder white fishes – grouper, flounder, etc. but I tested this one out with Tilapia and am a huge fan.

Almond Crusted Tilapia (Serves 2 – 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients- Almond Tilapia

2 (5 oz.) Tilapia fillets

1 Tbsp. sliced almonds

1/4 cup regular almonds (to grind)

1/2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

1/2 lemon (zest, then slice)

1/2 egg yolk, beaten

1 Tbsp. butter (yes, good ole regular butter – adds so much flavor)

1/2 Tbsp. parsley

Salt and pepper

So the toughest part of this recipe, in my humble opinion, was dealing with the almonds. Honestly, not that difficult. You need about 2 1/2 Tbsp. of ground almond. I just threw about 1/4 cup in a food processor until it was coarse. However, we didn’t have sliced almonds, so I attempted to slice my own, which almost got a bonus slice of thumb. I don’t recommend that – so just chop some into big chunks if you don’t have the pre-sliced ones. The things I do for y’all.

Anyways – take your sliced or chopped almonds (thumb free) and toast them for 5 minutes at 350 in your oven. Remove and set aside.

Take your ground almonds, add the lemon zest, a few dashes of salt and pepper, and the flour in a shallow dish/plate.

Set your fish out next to the almond mixture and your egg yolk. Pat fish dry and brush the tops with egg yolk. Press yolk-side down into the almond mixture to coat. Yes – you only want one half of the fish coated.

Assembly for Almond Tilapia

Melt half of your butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add fish fillets, coating side down and cook 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Season the bare sides with some more salt and pepper. Just before flipping, add the remaining butter and saute the non-coated side for another 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness of the fish).

Remove fish, spoon remaining butter over the top and sprinkle with toasted almonds and parsley.

Almond Crusted Tilapia - Cookingonthebrightside

And voila. This went great with some seasoned sliced potatoes and artichoke hearts heated up with some butter and lemon juice.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

So the first thing I thought of when I woke up today?

This epic scene from Friends. Because we all know I can’t go a day without something relating back to the best show of all time. Could I be any more predictable?

So Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my readers – I love y’all to chocolate-covered pieces!

Obviously, today is a day to let the love flow. I’ve never been a huge fan of a big outing or major to-do on the holiday, but I think any day designated to tell the people you love just that can’t be all that bad.

In addition to a silly card and a bag of the hubby’s favorite candy (anything peanut butter and chocolate) I usually plan a nice meal in for us to celebrate. One year that involved my Mustard Glazed Lamb – and another year that involved us ordering pizza. It is what you make it people.

This year I have a special little treat – which I won’t divulge quite yet since I have a good hubby who reads my blog – but I’ll have to share it with y’all next week. Too fun.

Anyways – obviously I try out a lot of new recipes on my husband. Some good. Some not. Some “meh” – but I always look for an honest response from him on whether or not I should put it in our regular rotation.

Well a few weeks ago, I tried a new recipe from Cooking Light and it was pretty good. The next week I found myself with some ingredients to use up and figured I’d make the same recipe again with some modifications. It must have been better the second time around, because the hubby took a bite and said “Whoa, tell me about this one!”…like he had never had it before. It certainly made me chuckle, but it also made me smile that I didn’t have to coax out an opinion. Clearly, this one was a keeper – just like the Mr. (Awwwww).

Plated Pork Chops

Give it a try and let me know what you think! It’s pretty easy to throw together and the time it spends in the oven gives you time to clean up, assemble sides, etc.

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops (Serves 2 – 8 WW points/serving)

Original recipe from Cooking Light found here.

Ingredients

2 6 oz. boneless lean pork chops, trimmed

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp. orange marmalade

1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 red onion cut into chunks

1 Tbsp. dried rosemary (or 4 fresh sprigs)

1/2 tsp. canola oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

In a small saucepan, whisk orange juice, marmalade and mustard together. Bring to a boil, reduce slightly and cook about 10 minutes, allowing it to thicken.

While sauce is heating, season your pork chops with salt and pepper on each side. Add oil to an ovenproof skillet and heat to medium. Cook chops 5 minutes. Sprinkle with rosemary turn and add onion wedges. Pour the sauce over the chops into the pan and bake 10-12 minutes until cooked through.

Glazed Chops - Add Sauce

Plate chops and spoon sauce and onions over top. This is great with some roasted veggies and any sort of potatoes or bread.

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Hope y’all have a great weekend…and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Chicken Gyros

So I’m about a month into my “back on track” talk I had with myself.

And surprisingly, things are going pretty well! I did celebrate a birthday recently and I certainly believe in celebrating up right, but other than that – I’ve been staying the course!

I sat down with some of my co-workers to discuss our strategies for losing weight and being healthier and one of the big things we talked about was stress. Stress is a huge trigger for me when it comes to food. So one of the things I set out to do was identify some of my triggers that I could actually control.

Like time.

I get so stressed out when I have a small window to throw a lunch or dinner together and sometimes, I don’t want a sandwich or something out of a can.

So impossible situation right? Home cooking that’s good for you and ready in no time?

Turns out – it’s not impossible. But I’ve learned it takes some planning ahead! A few weeks ago we had a conference at church that started on a Friday night and I needed something that I could make in 15 minutes. And now I’m obsessed with this recipe. I made the tzatziki sauce the night before and marinated the chicken overnight so all I had to do was throw it in a skillet. Seriously, I want to try this marinade on all of the things. So give it a try whether you’re short on time or just want to spend your evening out of the kitchen.

Chicken Gyros (2 stuffed pita pockets = 1 serving / 1 serving = 11 WW points)

Chicken Gyros - ingredients

Tzatziki Sauce

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cucumber, shredded and pressed of excess moisture

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. champagne vinegar

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle of olive oil

Chicken gyros

1 tsp. garlic

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper

10 oz. raw chicken breast, cubed

4 (halves) whole wheat pita pockets

Sliced Roma tomato

Sliced red onion

For the tzatziki sauce:

Shred the cucumber in a small food processor. Place on paper towels to drain excess liquid. Then mix with yogurt, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Steps

For the chicken:

Cut chicken into small pieces. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, Greek yogurt, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken and marinate at least 1 hour.

Once chicken has marinated, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and pour in marinade. Turn chicken while cooking and once the marinade has thickened or evaporated, it’s ready!

Chicken gyros_devour

Spread a little tzatziki sauce in each pita and distribute chicken between the 4 halves. Add tomato and onion slices and devour.

Seriously, I’ve already made this 3 times in the past 10 days. I hope you like it too.

Chicken Gyros

Have a great weekend y’all!

Recipe Round Up: “The Big Game”

This Sunday is kind of a big deal.

I mean there’s Groundhog Day. Obviously we’re all pumped for that – who doesn’t love chubby little Phil?

There’s also the Super Bowl – which I am always pumped for, since it combines one of my passions with my profession (that would be football and marketing).

Both are probably marked on your calendar for grocery shopping and wardrobe planning, but do you know what else happens Sunday? This little blog celebrates 2 years!

Obviously a day this epic deserves a recipe round-up – so if you’re looking for some snacks to whip up for “The Big Game” – you have come to the right place. Should I even mention the fact that this might be the best blog to come to for all things buffalo, which is like, a staple for Super Bowl Sunday? That and the game is being played in close proximity to the origin of “Buffalo Wings“. Boom. Droppin’ knowledge.

I’ll stop now.

The Game Plan

The Warm-Up

Warm Up - Super Bowl Recipes

Buffalo Hummus

Buffalo Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Sins

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Faux Fried Pickles

The Big Game

Big Game

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Game Time Chili

New York (close enough) State of Mind

I had to put this in there because I’m a sucker for a theme. When I think New York – a few staples come to mind. Italian delights – mozzarella sticks and pizza. And of course salmon, bagels and cream cheese, which comes to you in flat bread form below! Maybe I’ll drum up my own creation with some pastrami this weekend!

New York State of Mind

Faux Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Pizza Soup

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

And let’s be honest, I could LIVE off snack foods along – so don’t be ashamed if you just make a bunch of appetizers and call it your meal. That may be exactly what happened in my household last year…and I certainly did not hear any complaints!

Hope you find something you enjoy! Have a great weekend and enjoy the festivities!

 

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Friends – we know I have some issues when it comes to all buffalo flavored things.

As in, I want all of the buffalo flavored things.

Now that the husband and I are getting back on track in watching what we eat and taking care of ourselves, we have started doing “Meatless Mondays” again. It can be tricky making it through one when you are absolutely craving something buffalo flavored.

But I’ve taken care of that.

Roasted Buffalo Chickepea Salad - Overhead

 

You’re welcome.

I’ve heard about (and seen) recipes for roasted chickpeas and they always sounded intriguing. God bless the chickpea. Shameless Friends reference.

Well, I decided to kick up the roasted chickpeas a notch and add some buffalo sauce. But obviously that would be a bit messy. So I threw it on a salad. Nothing like some crisp celery and carrots, some blue cheese crumbles, and spicy buffalo sauce to make a salad exciting.

The best thing about this delicious salad? It’s only 5 WW points…so perfect for lunch or a light dinner! The chickpeas are packed with protein – so it leaves you feeling satisfied.

Some other delicious dishes that require no meat? Our favorite – Baked Tacos. Another buffalo favorite – Buffalo Quinoa Cakes. A yummy Veggie Strudel. A warm Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup. A veggie-packed Tortellini and Vegetable Pasta Salad. And a delicious twist on pizza – Shaved Asparagus Pizza.

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea Salad (Serves 4 / 5 WW points)

Ingredients - Buffalo Chickpea Salad

1 14 oz. can chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

8 cups iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup sliced carrot

1/2 cup Reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

6 Tbsp. Frank’s Hot Sauce

2 Tbsp. Blue Bonnet Light

4 Tbsp. Fat-free Italian dressing

Extra hot sauce

Heat your oven to 425. Drain and rinse chickpeas and pat dry. Add to a small container and toss with oil, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet (line with parchment paper or foil to avoid clean-up duty) and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Let chickpeas cool and assemble your salads.

Each serving gets 2 cups of lettuce and 1 Tbsp. of dressing. (I really just drizzled it on to make sure there was enough of a dressing since the buffalo sauce is added later. I also dotted a little hot sauce over the dressing.) Top lettuce/dressing with 2 Tbsp. blue cheese crumbles and 2 Tbsp. each celery and carrots.

Once your chickpeas have cooled slightly, melt the margarine in a small dish and stir in the hot sauce. Toss with chickpeas to coat and add about 1/4 cup to the middle of each salad.

Buffalo Chickpea Salad - Steps

We only did 2 salads – so I left the roasted chickpeas in an airtight container without the sauce so they wouldn’t get too mushy. They do make a pretty good snack!

Easy, unique, filling and delicious…

Roasted Buffalo Chickpea Salad

What more can you ask for?

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Veal Piccata: Lightened Up

Happy 2014 everybody! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and enjoyed ringing in the new year…whether you were doing it while “resting your eyes” on the couch or toasting champagne at a fabulous party!

Now, it has come to my attention lately that several people (ahem, my husband) aren’t a fan of the whole New Year’s hype and find the whole ordeal “anti-climatic.” To this I say for shame!

I will be the first to admit, it’s not as big of a priority as it once was for me. Planning out an outfit, making sure I had a big-ticket party to attend, staying out too late, etc. However, I still love getting together with friends to celebrate – whether it’s a big festive gathering or a few of us eating dinner, putting on PJ’s and playing games!

I just love the idea of a fresh start – a new chapter if you will. Some may say if you want to have a goal or if you want to do something, just do it. But honestly, it’s nice having that reset button programmed on my calendar. For me it’s like having a brand new notebook on the first day of school (I am a huge nerd and still get excited over new notepads, pens etc.). It’s clean, it’s new and it’s just waiting to be written on – so what mark will you make on 2014?

One of my major resolutions is to focus on myself. That sounds really selfish when I put it out there like that…but I mean more about my “self”. I ate with reckless abandon over the holidays and putting on work pants this week showed me that I’m definitely paying for it. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the eye doctor. I have lived our house for about 4 years and still haven’t really put anything up on the walls. I want to make our house a home. I want to stop squinting when I’m driving at night. And I want to shed my holiday weight (plus a few pounds I’ve picked up from the past year) – I want to be content in my own home and in my own skin.

So – there you have it. I’m going to be cracking down on myself, but y’all will get to benefit because I have some cooking to do!

It’s 2014 people. Time to get to it and make some changes…starting with a favorite recipe of mine that has been changed into a delicious, light and healthy dish! You can use this for any special occasion, or just a Saturday night meal with a glass of wine watching a movie. It’s easy. It’s elegant. But best of all it’s not loaded with fat and calories.

Veal Piccata – Lightened Up (WW points / 10 per serving + pasta)

Ingredients for Veal Piccata

2/3 pound veal scallopini (basically the thin cutlets of veal – I find mine pre-packaged at the grocery store)

1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

Salt and pepper for seasoning

1 Tbsp. canola oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp. capers

Lemon slices for garnish

Begin by sprinkling veal slices with salt and pepper. Then press into flour, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add veal cutlets and cook 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. You may need to work in batches – they do cook down quickly.

Step by Step Veal Piccata

Remove cutlets and set aside. De-glaze pan with white wine and add garlic. Swirl and let heat for about 1 minute. Add butter, allowing it to melt, and then adding chicken broth and capers. Stir and allow to thicken for about 2 minutes, then add in lemon juice, lemon slices and veal. Allow veal to reheat in the sauce for 2-3 minutes and for the sauce to thicken slightly.

Plate veal and pour sauce over top, adding lemon slices for a little visual appeal. I serve this with whole wheat spaghetti (about 1 1/2 oz. uncooked for 2 people) sprayed with a little butter and sprinkled with some garlic salt and reduced-fat Parmesan – making this meal 12 points total. I call that a good way to start off the new year…

Veal Piccata

Have a great weekend y’all!

Drunk Shrimp

I don’t know about y’all, but I say bring on the holidays!

This has to be my favorite time of year – gearing up for a few days to spend with family and reflect on what we’re all thankful for, and then we turn around and get to experience all the joy of the Christmas season. It does seem super busy – but I just feel like everybody is in a better mood right now looking ahead to the holidays!

I have to catch up later on my “what I’m thankful for” list – but some of them were a little more in-depth and I wanted to put some more time into the explanations. “Friends” just doesn’t cut it, you know?

However, one of the overarching things I’m thankful is just nostalgia in general. I love reminiscing about the past and I love when certain things do that for me. Scent is a big trigger for me, as well as food. I’ve probably told you several times that something about seafood, shrimp in particular, reminds of time spent with my grandparents in Gulfport, Mississippi. So many wonderful meals together and some fun times spent on a shrimping boat!

I made this dish throughout college, perhaps because it reminded me of home a little, but also due to the delicious flavor and the ease! It makes a ton of sauce, but trust me, with some potatoes, rice or bread, you won’t mind at all.

Drunk Shrimp (Serves 2 / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingred

8 oz. cooked shrimp, tails removed

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

1 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

6 oz. light beer

In a medium skillet, melt margarine and butter and whisk in Worcestershire. Add salt, cayenne and oregano and whisk to blend.

Add shrimp and stir to coat. Cook over medium for 3 minutes. Pour in beer, stir and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook another 3-4 minutes.

Step by Step

I added the shrimp on top of some mashed potatoes, and then poured that delicious sauce all over them. And I may have brought in a roll for clean up duty when the potatoes were gone…

Drunk Shrimp

Hope y’all have a great weekend!