Orange-Glazed Salmon

I’m going to be honest – I have not been feeling it lately.

Y’all know how I love to get in the kitchen and try out new things. But lately, it’s been whatever I can just throw together as quickly as possible. I have been in a cooking funk!

Now that we are coming up on the best time of year (football season people!) I am hoping to get my groove back!

I have been whipping up some new things on occasion – don’t you worry. And one of them just happens to be a great go-to easy recipe. So it allows me to cook without having to spend an hour in the kitchen prepping things when I just need to decompress after a long day. That’s what I call a win-win!

I find my relationship with salmon a little odd. Love it smoked. But sometimes the, well, salmon-ness of it just doesn’t seem appealing. It just always overpowers whatever sauce or breading I try to pair with it and in my opinion, it’s just not great plain.

Enter the orange glaze…mmmm.

Orange Salmon_Plated

This recipe I found in a recent CookingLight magazine – and it seemed to fit the bill. A little sweet. A little spice. And a little citrus. Really complements the salmon flavor without playing complete second fiddle. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Orange-Glazed Salmon (Serves 2 / 6 WW pts. per serving)

Adapted slightly from recipe found in Cooking Light 

2 salmon filets (5 oz. each)

1 Tbsp. molasses (or maple syrup)

1 tsp. orange zest

1 1/2 tsp. fresh orange juice

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

In a small bowl, whisk together molasses (original recipe called for maple syrup – I tried with both and found the molasses had a better flavor and look!) zest, juice, mustard, garlic and pepper.

Place salmon skin side down (if applicable) in a lightly greased baking dish. I line mine with foil for this one since we crank up the broiler! Brush the salmon with the orange mixture, covering the top of the salmon.

Glazed Salmon

Bake at 400 for 5-7 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes until the glaze caramelizes. This gives it a delicious, light crust packed with flavor.

Remove from oven and add to your plate! This is such a versatile dish – it goes great with sauteed veggies if you’re a little pressed for time. I also paired it with some of my Skinny Au Gratin Potatoes and roasted asparagus for a fancier meal and it was fantastic.

Orange-Glazed Salmon_cookingonthebrightside

Hope you enjoy!

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Blue Cheese Pasta with Buffalo Shrimp

Friends, it’s been way too long…since I shared some buffalo deliciousness with y’all.

I mean, we’re in the smack dab middle of college football season and I’ve been giving you salads and quinoa. For that, I am sorry. (Not that they aren’t delicious, they just don’t scream “let’s have a beer and watch football together!”.)

So obviously, I decided to rectify that. Now, this is a recipe I concocted based on a delicious meal I had with my husband’s family at a little restaurant in Pontotoc, Mississippi. The special was a “black and blue” pasta, so it was blue cheese pasta paired with some yummy charred steak.

It was great, but we all know I like some buffalo with my blue cheese. So I have been dreaming up how to pull it off while still keeping it light. I deem this one a success, and it’s perfect to serve with a small group gathered to watch the big game, the perfect balance of fancy and casual. And it can be served with a crisp white wine or an ice cold beer. Everybody wins.

Blue Cheese Pasta with Buffalo Shrimp (Serves 2 / 11 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients_BlueCheesePasta

For the Pasta:

3 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

1 1/2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Shrimp:

8 oz. pre-cooked shrimp (remove the tails)

1 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

2 Tbsp. green onion, chopped

To start, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook your spaghetti as instructed.

While the water gets going, it’s time to get started on your blue cheese sauce – starting with the roux. If you’ve never worked with a roux, the staple of rich sauces and soups (think creamy mac and cheese or your favorite gumbo) then I’ll give you a brief tutorial.

In a small saucepan, melt your butter over medium-low heat. Next, stir in your flour. It will look weird and pasty, but that’s good. Cook for 1-2 minutes to slightly darken (the color of the roux can impact the flavor of your dish or sauce). Now, add a little of your milk (about 1/3 of the full amount), whisking vigorously into the roux. Repeat with the next 1/3, and again until all of the liquid has been added. Once you are happy with the texture, time to stir in the cheese until it has melted. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and adjust accordingly (I probably added another Tbsp. blue cheese crumbles to make sure the kick was there!). Roux_BlueCheeseSauce

Once your pasta has cooked, drain and return to saucepan. Pour blue cheese sauce over the pasta and stir until coated.

So the pasta is in good shape – time for the shrimp! In a medium skillet, add 1 Tbsp. margarine and melt over medium heat. Add chopped celery and shrimp. Saute shrimp for 1-2 minutes, then pour Frank’s Red Hot Sauce over the shrimp. Toss shrimp to coat and cook 4-5 minutes until heated through and hot sauce has reduced slightly.

Now it’s time to assemble. Add the pasta to your plate, top with the shrimp, making sure to drizzle with any excess sauce, and sprinkle with green onions.

Assembled_BlueCheesePasta-BuffaloShrimp

Serve with a slice of crusty bread for any sopping up – trust me, you won’t want any of this deliciousness to go to waste.

Blue Cheese Pasta and Buffalo Shrimp_CookingontheBrightSide

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

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!

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!

 

 

 

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!

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

I know I’ve said before that I have kind of a weird memory. But like, y’all don’t even know the extent.

An example:

I remember the first time I ever ate a caper. It was the summer after 7th grade and my mom and I were in Florida with my best friend, her mom, and her sister and two of her friends. We all went out to eat before the mothers headed back to the condo and the rest of us went to a club for some sort of teen night – which turned out to be hilariously sketchy.

For dinner, I ordered Chicken Picatta. I was hesitant about the little green pod looking things, but figured, meh, what the heck. I ate one and loved it. It reminded me a little of a green olive (I also love all things olives). In that moment, I fell in love with capers. I’m not even sure how to describe them other than “like a green olive, but not as potent.” Yes, they are salty. Maybe with a hint of citrus?

Anyways, I feel that they are underutilized. I mean, other than my eating them straight of the jar (hey – this is a judgment-free zone) – what else do I really use them with other than my “picattas”?

Smoked salmon. But I never actually make that at home. I do love it when I’m out for Sunday brunch somewhere and there’s a table with smoked salmon and all of the fixings. Chopped egg, red onion and, obviously, capers. Any excuse to load up on capers/olive/pickles in public and you can count me in! (Again – no judging!)

So the other night, after attending my workplace’s annual chili cook-off at lunch, I needed something a bit lighter for dinner. I decided on smoked salmon flatbread and I think I have found a new favorite! This version is super easy because I went with a pre-made version but I am sure you can trim off some WW points making your own dough!

Smoked Salmon Flatbread (1 Flatbread = 13 WW Points)

1 piece whole wheat Naan

Olive oil spray

Garlic salt

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese

1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped red onion

2 Tbsp. capers

1 1/2 oz. smoked salmon

Dried dill

Salt and pepper

This is so embarrassingly easy that I didn’t even take step-by-step shots! Spray the flatbread with olive oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 5 minutes.

Spread cream cheese on top, sprinkle onion and capers evenly on top of the cheese. Bake another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and layer the salmon on top. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper.

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Slice, serve and devour. I enjoyed this deliciously light meal with a glass of crisp chardonnay and liked it so much I did it again 3 nights later.

Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Have a great weekend y’all!

Tuna Steaks with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

You know, I’m almost a little embarrassed to share this recipe.

It’s so simple and delicious and I have been making it since college.

You see, while in college, my friend Erin and her parents invited me along on two of their summer vacations. They are big scuba divers, so it was always to a beautiful tropical destination. I know, they really had to twist my arm!

Our weeks were always filled with fun memories that we still joke about to this day such as an evening in St. Lucia when we were returning to our home for the week from dinner via an incredibly steep and windy road which also happened to be filled with gigantic potholes. We’d had a lot of beverages (water, and maybe some rum punches) at dinner – so our bladders were not too happy with the journey. So in order to take our minds off of the torturous ride, we decided singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs would help. What was on the radio? Celine Dion “To Love You More” – it was epic, especially when we got to the chorus.

There was also the evening in St. Martin when we went out for a fabulous dinner overlooking the ocean – and I got mugged after Erin and I walked to purchase her some replacement flip-flops since hers busted as we were walking into the restaurant.

All memorable times, but the most vivid memory was at a restaurant in St. Martin called Temptation. I remember exactly what I ordered, where we sat, talking to the piano player, and even our service. For dinner – I ordered the sashimi tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes. Y’all, it sounds simple – but the entire experience just stuck with me.

So obviously, as soon as vacation was over – I had to re-create it. While I may not be a gourmet chef, my little amateur version of this meal has been a family favorite for years now. The tuna definitely helps with the heat of the wasabi if you aren’t heat-tolerant – but the beauty of wasabi is that it’s a quick burn! Try this one out, it’s action-packed with flavor and is super easy to throw together…

Tuna Steaks with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes (Serves 2 / Tuna – 5 WW pts. per serving / Mashed Potatoes – 3 WW pts. per serving)

2 6 oz. raw yellow fin tuna steaks

1/3 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki marinade

1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed

1/2 Tbsp. fat-free milk

1/2 Tbsp. wasabi paste

1/2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow dish, pour teriyaki marinade and add raw tuna steaks. Marinate for 1 hour minimum, flipping halfway through the process. I threw mine in before I went to work one day – so they soaked up a lot of that goodness!

Remove tuna from marinade, reserve a few Tbsp. of what remains. Heat grill to medium-high and spray with nonstick spray. Add tuna steaks and grill 4-5 minutes per side to get a good medium center. Brush with a little more teriyaki when you flip them.

While all of this is going on, make sure your potatoes are cooking so they’re ready when the steaks are!

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the potato cubes. Boil 7-9 minutes until pieces are tender when pierced with a fork.

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Drain potatoes and add to a small bowl. Whisk in milk, wasabi paste, margarine, salt and pepper. I usually add a little more wasabi, but all depends on preference and texture – if it’s too lumpy, add another splash of milk.

Mix potatoes until smooth and add to plate, topped with grilled tuna steak…

Plated steak and potatoes

 

I roasted some asparagus with a drizzle of peanut oil, some soy sauce and topped with sesame seeds – the perfect addition to this plate of deliciousness. Let me know what you think if you try this recipe out, it’s definitely one of my favorites!

Teriyaki Tuna with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Hope y’all have a great weekend!