Halibut Veracruzana

halibut veracruzana

This is one of those recipes that is more a guideline.  Inspired by the flavours of fish we’ve had served in the style of Veracruz in Mexico, this is so easy to prepare at home, and if you have a good source of fish, give it a try!

You will need:

  • enough fish to feed your family (I’ve used halibut here but any white fish will work)
  • green olives
  • fresh tomatoes
  • black olives
  • capers
  • roasted red peppers
  • fresh red peppers
  • your best olive oil
  • lemon
  • sea salt & pepper

Generously butter a baking dish (extra points for using a pretty one that you can also serve this dish in!)

Lay in your fish, cut in serving size.

Chop the olives, peppers and fresh tomato, and then cover your fish with all the toppings.  Again, be generous with seasoning – liberally sprinkling salt and pepper over it all.  Then – squeeze a whole lemon and drizzle olive oil over the top.

Roast at 375 just until fish flakes nicely.  This will entirely depend on the thickness of your fish, so watch it carefully and check after 10 minutes.

Serve over rice, with a bright, crunchy salad on the side.  Add crusty bread to soak up those juicy drippings and you’ve got a quick easy dinner good enough for company.

Tossed Salad

Spanakopita

spanakopita

These little pockets are a great addition to a Greek dinner, or perfect served as appetizers.

 

I loved making these little pockets of deliciousness.  Once I got into the rhythm of the folding and rolling it went quite quickly and they were fantastic.  The recipe came from Food Network, Mary Sue Millikin and Susan Feniger.  My only addition was the fresh dill.

 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound filo pastry sheets
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil. Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).
  2. Stir the feta and as much beaten egg  as needed to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.
  4. Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.
  5. Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)
spanakopita 1

Start with a healthy “dollop” of the spinach mixture, then start folding over into triangles.

spanakopita 3

I quickly discovered that using a healthy amount of the filling made better triangles.

spanakopita 4

spanakopita 5

Ready for baking or at this point you can freeze them for serving later.  Bake from frozen.

Cook’s Note

Variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with butter, on the bottom. Spoon the spinach filling over the filo, then cover with 6 more sheets of filo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.

Honey Garlic Chicken

I saw this recipe on “RecipeTin” and knew right away I would have to make it.  As promised, it is quick and easy, although definitely not as quick as listed.  I never find 15 minute recipes to actually take me that long ….. not sure if it is my common home stove (not gas) or my slow moving self … but nevertheless this was quick enough and the house smelled amazing!  Moist inside, sticky outside and with the best drizzle you can imagine.

honey Garlic Chicken 4

I made this tonight without a trip to the store.  Everything is something you probably have on hand.  If we weren’t trying to clean out our fridge before a holiday I would have had some cilantro, or green onions, or parsley to sprinkle on top and that would have looked so pretty!

  • 1 lb chicken breast or thighs,  boneless and skinless 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (or 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white or other clear vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup  honey (or maple syrup)
Instructions
  1. Cut the breasts in half horizontally to create 4 steaks in total.  If using chicken thighs, you don’t need to do anything to them!  Sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.
  2. Place flour in a shallow dish. Coat chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  3. Melt most of the butter in a large skillet over high heat – hold back about 1 tsp for later.
  4. Place chicken in skillet and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until golden.
  5. Turn and cook the other side for 1 minute.
  6. Turn heat down slightly to medium high.
  7. Make a bit of room in the pan and add garlic and top with remaining dab of butter. Stir garlic briefly once butter melts.
  8. Add vinegar, soy sauce and honey. Stir / shake pan to combine. Bring sauce to simmer, then simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.
  9. Turn chicken to coat in sauce. If the sauce gets too thick, add a touch of water and stir.

  10. Remove from stove immediately. Place chicken on plates and drizzle over remaining sauce.
Honey Garlic Chicken 1

Don’t overcrowd your chicken in the pan or it will just steam instead of developing a lovely crust.

Honey Garlic Chicken 2

Turn once the first side has this lovely crispy, crackly golden crust.  Yes, you sure could do this without the flour to make it gluten free and it would taste delicious, just without that “crust”.

Honey Garlic Chicken 3

When you pour in that mixture of vinegar, soy and honey be ready for this rich, dark sauce to immediately start bubbling and smell tantalizing!  Allow it to thicken slightly, spooning sauce over just until chicken is cooked through.

Fajita Seasoning

Fajita Seasoning 1

Having this seasoning mix on hand makes dinner easy breezy!  (lemon squeezy??) Make a double batch and you can keep it for months in a cool, dry spot.  Use it on vegetables, fish or meat alike, these flavours go so well together and make dinner quick and simple.

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

How easy is this? just toss it all into a bowl and thoroughly mix.  Do yourself a favour and make lots.

Fajita Seasoning

Just looking at this, you can tell it’s tasty, right??

This works with anything your imagination can come up with …. salad dressing or vegetable dip or seafood bake …. you let me know if you come up with more!

 

For fajitas:

  • protein (or not to make it vegetarian)
  • onions
  • peppers

 

To make fajitas, simply generously sprinkle slivered chicken (or any meat, seafood of your choice) and toss in fry pan until just cooked through.

Cook sliced peppers and onions separately so they don’t overcook.

Serve with:

  • lime crema (sounds fancy, but it’s just a squeeze of lime juice with sour cream and a bit of salt)
  • salsa
  • avocado
  • lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro
  • toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • tortillas

You can so easily turn this into what is crazy popular right now,  power bowls!  Just serve with cooked quinoa or grain of your choice.

Turn it into a sheet pan dinner, also featured everywhere right now, just generously sprinkle everything with the seasoning and toss it into a hot oven (?400?).

Yes, you are welcome, you didn’t know dinner could be so quick, easy, healthy and delicious, did you???

 

Taco Seasoning Mix

Taco Seasoning 1

How pretty is this colourful group of seasoning?

Ever noticed how many ingredients you can’t spell or pronounce on those premade taco seasoning packs??  Stop the madness with this mixture.  A little bit of flour makes the ground meat have a wee bit of a saucy texture.  Don’t stop at ground meat for goodness sake (pun? word play?)..  Sprinkle this over vegetables and roast them up – drizzle with a little lime crema and you’ve got an amazingly tasty dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (use less if you aren’t keen on the heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Mix all this up in a small bowl, and then have it on hand to season meat or vegetables.  You’ll be so glad you took a few minutes to get this ready.

Taco Seasoning 2

To use this for ground meat tacos, brown your meat in a fry pan, then add 2 tbsp mixture for each pound of ground meat and add about 2 tbsp water, stir and cook just until meat is cooked through.

If you want to leave the flour out altogether that is just great, that makes it even more versatile:

Salad Vinaigrette:  1 tbsp mix to 2 tbsp lime juice and 7 tbsp olive oil.

Vegetable (or chip!) Dip: 1 tbsp (or to taste) with 1/4 cup each plain yogurt and good mayonnaise.

Grilled Shrimp:   Sprinkle a generous amount over shrimp before grilling.

Taco Seasoning 3

I like to mix up 3 x this recipe and just keep it on hand.  Try it, you’ll do the same thing!

Laksa

Laksa 5

Ready to be garnished with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, bean sprouts, maybe some cilantro sprigs and a few fresh sliced hot peppers – then drizzle more sauce over top and enjoy!

Laksa …. or Thai curry noodle soup …. whatever you call this, you are going to L O V E the exquisitely well balanced flavours in this noodle bowl.  This dish is so versatile and can be a completely vegetarian or even vegan dinner with a few tweaks.

 

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 10 prawns/shrimp , peeled and deveined 
  • or
  • 1 chicken breast, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves , finely grated
  • 2 tsp ginger , finely grated
  • 1 stalk lemongrass , peeled, finely grated 
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Penang curry paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chilli garlic paste or other chilli paste , adjust to taste 
  • about 4-5 cups of fresh vegetables – sliced and ready to be added to the broth
  • 400 g/14oz coconut milk
  • 2 cups /500ml chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 slices fresh galangal
  • 2 tsp lime zest (1 lime)
  • 200 g / 7 oz fresh egg noodles, prepared per packet (although really you can use any noodle)
  • Big handful bean sprouts
Laksa 2

Have everything ready to go before you start cooking, and it will all come together quickly.

Toppings / for serving:
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
  • Sliced red onion or scallions
Laksa 1

Did you even know lemongrass could be grated?  So easy and quick!

 

Instructions
Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add prawns or chicken and sear both sides until light golden (doesn’t need to cook inside). Remove onto plate.
Turn heat down to medium. If pot is looking dry, add a touch of extra oil.
Add garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Saute for 20 seconds until garlic is golden.
Add sugar and fish sauce. Stir and cook for 30 seconds – it should look like caramel.
Laksa 3

 

Add chilli paste, coriander and curry powder. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
Add chicken broth and coconut milk. Stir and bring to simmer, add lime leaves and galangal.
Simmer for 2 minutes, then add lime zest and return prawns and chicken into broth, heat just until cooked through.
Laksa 4

Tonight’s bowl of laksa included mushrooms, snap peas, sweet peppers, zucchini & cauliflower.

Serving:
  1. Place noodles in bowl. Ladle over soup.
  2. Top with bean sprouts and coriander, plus toppings of choice (chilli, red onion, Asian fried shallots).
  3. Squeeze over lime juice to taste.

This recipe came from a great food blog – RecipeTin Eats – pop on over to her blog for some more great recipes.

Tartar Sauce

 

Tartar Sauce 1

I got this recipe from one of Ina Garten’s collections, and it is certainly my go to.  It can’t be much easier, which is always a good thing.  Just through everything into a food processor and give it a good whiz.  Set in fridge to allow the flavours to develop and you are done.  Of course, if you don’t have a small food processor, just chop and blend by hand, still an easy tartar sauce recipe.

  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons small-diced pickles or cornichons
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Tartar Sauce