Pan-Grilled Tilapia with Garlic Rainbow Chard

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I love greens! Spinach, kale, collard, mustard…but I had never tried chard before! So, I was super excited when a colleague brought in a couple of bags of “excess” produce that she had from her membership in the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). My “loot bag” included a large earthy turnip, a big bag of peppery arugula and a beautiful bunch of sweet rainbow chard! I must say, there is something about the rainbow chard…its deep green leaves with colorful veins and stems in purple, orange and green is definitely a thing of beauty!

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Driving home, I made a mental note of how I was going to use up all that beautiful, fresh produce! I decided on South Indian style mixed vegetable and lentil stew (sambar) with the turnip, thin crust pizza (I used a prebaked crust made of whole wheat and kamut flours) with pesto, mushrooms and arugula and…tilapia with rainbow chard sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil with a healthy doze of minced garlic!

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This tilapia/rainbow chard dinner is a snap to prepare. It requires very few ingredients and takes about the same time as watching a pot of water come to boil and cooking a box of pasta! Instead of a bowl of plain, cooked pasta in less than 20 minutes, you get a beautifully plated! I sort of missed the summer BBQ flavors and opted to go with that for this dish! The chard is super simple to make – just garlic, pinch of salt and bit of olive oil! I think the green is so delicate that anything beyond this simple combo might just overpower its natural flavor and taste!

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Isn’t everyone talking about the health benefits of eating fish! So, go for it! Grab yourself a few filets and whip up this dinner in a snap!

Pan-Grilled Tilapia with Garlic Rainbow Chard

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
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Ingredients
4 Tilapia filets, skin removed
1 tablespoon BBQ seasoning or other seasoning of your choice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch of rainbow chard, chopped up
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt

Preparation
1. Lay the tilapia filets on a large plate and coat both sides with the BBQ seasoning.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
3. Place the fish in the hot skillet and “grill” for 4-5 minutes on each side. The fish is done when you can flake it easily with a fork.
4. Wipe down the pan and return to heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the rainbow chard and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
5. Serve the fish immediately over a serving of sautéed chard for a simple, healthy and delicious meal!

Comfort Pasta with Kale and Ground Beef

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What is it with pasta and the gazillion ways in which you can prepare them! They truly are a star pantry item!

I know I said I am going to try to get back on my healthy wagon, so I think you will appreciate this recipe. Yes, yes, it’s almost the end of January when most of the resolutions fall to the wayside. But, after trying this recipe, eating healthy may not be that difficult after all.

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This recipe is pretty simple, something I concocted while recovering from a mini version of the flu (thankfully short-lived due to Tamiflu). I didn’t quite have the energy to spend an hour in the kitchen, but at the same time didn’t want to be bed sofa-ridden for another meal. So, there I lay making a mental rundown on the items I had on hand, especially the pound of extra lean beef I was going to make chili with before I fell sick.

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So, now that the chili making was off the table till next weekend, I figured I should use up the beef in some form rather than freezing it. Pasta dish it will be! Kale, carrots, mushrooms, beef and a touch of cream and garlic! Simple, yet comforting enough!

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What are you waiting for? Grab the handful of ingredients this recipe calls for and whip up this dish while the pasta cooks! Yes, it is that simple! Go ahead and try it, you might actually end up planning to make it again soon!

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  • Servings: ”4″
  • Time: ”20
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Ingredients
1/2 package pasta of your choice (I used penne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 pound lean (or extra-lean) ground beef
1 small bunch kale, rinsed and broken into small pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 cups of slices mushrooms
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
dash of ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons of cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan
crushed red pepper, optional

Preparation
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta per directions.
2. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute garlic and onion till translucent.
3. Add ground beef and brown the meat, breaking up any large clumps.
4. Add the carrots and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
5. Now, add the kale and mushrooms and saute for another 3-5 minutes.
6. Season with Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt per your taste.
7. Add the cream and grate the nutmeg.
8. Toss with pasta and serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and crushed red pepper, if desired.

Soy Glazed Chicken on a Stick

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Anything on a stick seems to elevate to the top when it comes to perfect finger foods that are enjoyed by all – although not all of them are good for you (was your first thought corndog??!). But this recipe is truly not that bad at all – especially if you use chicken breast although I used bones, skinless thighs!

I don’t know if this belongs to the true “chicken satay” category. I probably have most of the satay marinade ingredients in this, but this is more of a general Asian flavor than any one particular cuisine. Marinade consists of sweet soy sauce (it is like molasses – dark and thick), regular soy sauce, dark sesame oil, ginger, garlic, honey, rice wine vinegar and green onions.

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There is not much to this recipe. Hardest part is probably cleaning the chicken to remove all excess fat and slicing them into long strips. Other than that, you just let the chicken (on the stick) marinate for a while and cook! Don’t discard the marinade. Boil it up to make a delicious dipping sauce for your chicken on a stick!

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Soy Glazed Chicken on a Stick

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45min
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Ingredients
4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons sweet dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cooking spray
12 short bamboo skewers
1 tablespoon peanut butter, optional (for sauce)

Preparation:
1. Begin by preparing the chicken. Trim off excess fat and slice into long strips, about 1″ wide. Thread the chicken pieces through the skewers. Set aside in a shallow dish while you prepare the meat. Alternatively, you can marinate the chicken and then thread through the skewers.
2. Prepare the marinade pan by mixing all the ingredients from dark soy sauce through crushed red pepper. Pour over the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for about 15-20 minutes.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Remove the skewers from the marinade and drain the marinade into a small sauce pan. Place the skewers in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Test for doneness. Alternatively, you can grill the chicken as well.
4. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the marinade along with the peanut butter (if using). Bring to a slow simmer and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes. If the sauce looks too thin, you can thicken it by adding a bit of cornstarch. Taste the sauce and adjust salt/sweetness per your taste.
5. Serve the chicken with the sauce and a side of rice or salad.

Creamy ricotta sausage pasta

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Hey guys, I have a question for you…what is the most versatile thing in your pantry? Hmm…so you too think it is pasta! Oh, good, then we are on the same page!

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What is not to love about it, right? It cooks so fast, could be made into a both cold and hot dishes, tastes great with or without meat and comes in many shapes, sizes and varieties! So, yes, I guess they are one of the best things to have around in the pantry, right!

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Anyway, I am glad I had one of those boxes in the pantry the other night! Some cooked pasta tossed with sausage, ricotta, tomato sauce and few other ingredients made for a wonderful dinner after a busy day at work!

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Adding vegetables into this dish makes for a true one-pot dish that provides a well-balanced meal. Kids will likely eat right through without realizing they are actually eating vegetables! A win, right!

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Why don’t you try it out and share your comments!

Creamy ricotta sausage pasta

Ingredients
1/2 package of your favorite pasta, cooked according to directions
4 links of reduced fat sausage of your choice, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
3 large cloves, finely minced
2 cups thinly sliced kale
1 cup sweet peppers thinly sliced
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1/4 teaspoon crushed oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Preparation
1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and lightly brown the sliced sausages.
2. Remove the sausages and keep aside. In the same pan, add the olive oil and cook the onions and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes.
3. Add the veggies and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes. Add back the sausage.
4. Stir in the tomato sauce, herbs, crushed red peppers, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Gently stir in the ricotta cheese. Toss in the pasta.
6. Serve immediately sprinkled with a bit of mozzarella or parmesan!

Creamy and Spicy Southwestern Chicken Chili

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If you have read this blog before, you know I love chili! I make it with beef, ground turkey or chunks of chicken – each one with its unique taste of the moment! This particular chicken chili is made using leftover barbequed chicken rubbed with chipotle chili seasoning and garlic and I must say it was pretty darn good. Now that the warm weather is here to stay at least for the next few months, I thought this could be a recipe to use up your leftover chicken from your backyard barbeque.

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This recipe really doesn’t take long to put together at all and it takes very few ingredients, especially because the chicken was well seasoned. If you don’t have spiced leftover chicken, you can substitute any grilled chicken (as long it was not basted in bbq sauce) and add a bit of southwestern or chipotle seasoning.

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I added beans and some veggies to make this more wholesome. Feel free to toss in diced sweet bell peppers, carrots, celery etc. along with your favorite beans to make this filling and nutritious.

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Stirring in some sour cream towards the end of the cooking makes this dish creamy and a bit tangy which adds to the complexity of the taste. I hope you give this a try!

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Creamy and Spicy Southwestern-Style Chicken Chili

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min
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Ingredients
2 cups diced/shredded leftover cooked spiced chicken
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced sweet peppers
1 cup thinly sliced kale, stems removed
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
Additional chipotle pepper rub or other southwestern seasoning to taste (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Optional toppings
Grated Mexican blend cheese
Diced avocado
Crushed tortilla chips
Sour cream

Preparation
1. Heat olive oil in a medium pot. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add celery, kale, carrot and peppers and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
3. Add the chicken, additional seasoning if desired, beans and tomato sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium heat.
4. Adjust seasoning and remove from heat.
5. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

(See, I told you it is an easy recipe!)