Mahi Mahi with Mango Cilantro Sauce and Cilantro Rice

My family loves seafood and it seems like I can never find enough creative ways to present it – until I found this recipe. I saw this on the Food Network and thought it sounded wonderful – and it was (even if I tweak it a little)! This is a simple crisp summery dish. Yes, it seems like a lot of ingredients, but trust me, there is nothing complicated about putting it together.

This dish was the beginning of me learning that even though my daughter is pretty good for a toddler about trying new things, she won’t like everything just yet. The sauce was a little too “adult” for her, but she gobbled down the mahi mahi we gave her and asked for seconds!

Hands on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 6oz mahi mahi filets
  • salt and pepper
  • mango-cilantro sauce (recipe to follow)

Directions:

  1. Place rice, cilantro, and water in a rice maker.* Rice should be cooked in about 25 minutes.
  2. If you don’t have a rice maker, bring water to a boil in a pot. Add rice and cilantro. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, season mahi mahi filets with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until white and flaky (about 10 minutes).
  4. Serve mahi mahi over rice and drizzled with mango-cilantro sauce.

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  • Place mango, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, and ginger into a food processor. Turn on food processor.
  • Once food is chopped, while food processor is still on, drizzle in olive oil.
  • Stop food processor add salt and pepper and if you want juice of another lime.

Soy-Sesame Flank Steak

With the busy lives we all live, there are times that you just want to get something on the table without much thinking. One of the easiest dinners I can think of that does this is grilling a steak and serving a simple side. The problem is that sometimes a grilled steak is kind of boring – especially if the only recipe you have to prepare a steak is to season it with salt and pepper.

I grew up with this recipe. When I was a child, my brother and I would devour flank steak whenever it was prepared this way. Today, my daughter loves eating it too! It’s flavorful, quick to put together, and is an absolute crowd pleaser! Perfect for busy parents!

Hands on time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes (not including marinating time)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sesame seed oil (found in the international aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1 or 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 flank steak

Directions:

  1. Place the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, green onions, garlic, and ginger in a plastic ziplock bag. squish the bag to mix the ingredients and set aside.
  2. Score the flank steak.
  3. Place flank steak into the ziplock bag with the marinade. Close bag and wiggle marinade and steak until marinade has coated the steak.
  4. Let the steak marinade for at least 1 hour or for as long as 24 hours.
  5. Set your oven on broil or heat grill. Cook flank steak for about 5-7 minutes on side for medium-rare or until flank steak is done to your preference.
  6. Serve with your choice of side like baked potato, quinoa, couscous, or wild rice.

Quick Tip – Cleaning Leeks

Since my last post featured leeks, I figure I would give you my tip for cleaning them.

Now, I’m not a gardener – I have the brownest thumb and I’ve even been banned from wedding by my husband because I don’t “do it right”. So, I wont pretend to understand how leeks are grown or why each layer has sandy grit, but in order to eat leeks, they have to be thoroughly washed so you’re not chomping down on what feels like sand.

In order to clean produce, one might place the produce in a bowl of water to wash them and if they’re small, drain the veggies by pouring them and the water in a colander. If you’re working with a vegetable that has gritty dirt like leeks – all you’ll do is transfer the grit from between the leek layers to all over the leek pieces.

What I prefer to do is to slice them in half and slice them thinly. Place the chopped leeks into a colander. Place the colander into a bowl that can contain it. Fill the colander and bowl with water. Use your hands to stir up and oscillate the leeks to separate the leek layers and get the grit out. Leave the leeks in the water for a minute or so to let the grit settle. Lift the colander (notice that the bowl with the water will have the gritty dirt in the bottom).

For good measure, I’ll put the colander (with leeks still in it) under some running water and do one more quick rinse. Now you’re ready to cook with them without the grit!

Spinach and Leek Quiche

Wow – it has been a while! Between getting situated with my new job, making sure I get in some quality family time, and of course experimenting with cooking it’s been tough to find time to update!!

Well tonight’s recipe is a great quiche flavor combo. If you’re not familiar with leeks – they are a fantastic vegetable. Think of them having a slightly stronger flavor than a green onion. They are a great additive to robust your soups, cream them for a great side dish, and of course use them as an alternative onion flavor in quiche! Just make sure you wash it really well to get all the grit out from between the leek layers before you start cooking with it.

Quiche is a perfect meal to quickly put together if you’re juggling a million things and have almost zero time to spend in the kitchen (I’m thinking guests are coming over and you need to pick up, helping your children with homework, and my favorite these days – catering to your toddler’s “id” factor!).

Hands on time: 15-20 minutes

Total time start to finish: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredient:

  • 1 9 inch pie crust
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and excess water removed
  • 1 cup of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (if shredding yourself, use the large shredder wholes)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375
  2. In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add in sliced leeks and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute until tender (about 10 minutes).
  4. In a bowl, combine cooked leeks, spinach, and cheese.
  5. In another bowl whisk eggs and milk together. Add this mixture to the vegetable and cheese bowl as well as some more salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  6. Add the mixture to the pie shell and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. When done, remove from oven and let the quiche sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Quick Tip: Separating Eggs

The baking bug hit me this past weekend. Part of it may be because I’ve been waiting on a great opportunity to win over my new coworkers with cookies since I have so big shoes to fill (I’m the relief for someone that has been in that position for the last 18 years!).

I made about seven dozen cookies – enough to bring to work but to make sure my husband didn’t feel left out either. To make those cookies, I had to break open a lot of eggs, and with some of them I had to separate the egg yolk and egg white.

Now, if you watch all those cooking shows, you’ll see the chefs separate the eggs by sifting it between the two halves of the egg shells. They make it look easy, but whenever I’ve done it, the egg seems to either take forever to separate, the yolk breaks, or I lose the entire egg into the sink or bowl.

If you have that same issue, here’s the best tip that I’ve found to ease with this, in my opinion, misleadingly simple task:
have two bowls at the ready, break open the egg and dump the entire thing in one bowl. Gently lift the yolk up with your fingers, slightly spread open, and close off the end of your fingers with your thumb – your hand will look like a close off claw. While the yolk is in your fingers, the white will be dangling off in between your fingers. With your other hand, gently pull at the white until it separates from the yolk. Place the yolk in the second bow.

Et voilà! You have a separated egg! You now have an easy tip to help you make egg white omelets, meringues, custard, macaroons, crème brûlée, and of course cookies!

Dill Pesto Salad

I think the DC area is lucky to have the Wegman’s grocery store chain in our area. Compared to most other grocery markets in our area, this place has some of the best quality products at reasonable prices. One of the best things that I love about their store is the herb section; specifically, the amount of herb you get in one bundle! It’s not uncommon to have several cups worth of herbs such as cilantro, parsley, and dill.

It is because of this abundance that I developed this dill pesto sauce. I had so much dill left over from a soup I was making and didn’t want it to go to waste. So I turned it into a really refreshing pesto. The way we used it was in a chilled pasta salad with cucumbers and grilled chicken or salmon. It had that lighter taste you want on a hot day but without either the salmon or the pesto over powering each other.

Hands on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients For the Pesto: 

  • 3 cups dill
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup pistachio
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup parmesan, grated.

Directions for the Pesto:

  1. Place dill (stems and all), garlic, lemon juice, pistachios, and salt into a food processor. Go between pulsing and blending for about a minute.
  2. When the ingredients look chopped and well mixed, add the parmesan cheese. Turn food processor on and drizzle in olive oil until the sauce looks rich and smooth.
  3. Taste and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
Ingredients for the Pasta Salad:
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts or salmon filets
  • 1 cup dill pesto
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges for garnish

Directions for the Pasta Salad:

  1. Bring enough water to cover and cook the pasta to a boil. Add enough salt to the water so that it tastes like the ocean.
  2. Add pasta to the boiling water. Check pasta in about 10 minutes – it should still have a slight bite (i.e., al dente).
  3. Meanwhile, heat up a grill or grill pan.
  4. Season chicken or salmon with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through (chicken about 10-12 minutes, salmon about 7-10 minutes).
  5. Chop chicken or salmon into bite sized peaces.
  6. Drain pasta and place into a large bowl. Add dill pesto, chopped chicken/salmon, bell pepper, and cucumber to pasta. Mix and serve immediately or  chilled.

June Foodie PenPals

The Lean Green Bean
It’s that time again for my foodie penpal reveal! Just in case you’re not familiar with the program, it is a great program that I pairs up food bloggers and readers from around the country to share a little bit of what they like with another person.The idea was started by Lindsay from the Lean Green Bean food blog.
This month I got a great package from a wonderful woman named Dominique from Craftfully Cooks. She’s from Connecticut and writes about being a new vegetarian who is mostly vegan and of course recipes!! I love her blog because it has some really creative recipes that seem to cover tasty healthy food!
The package she sent me didn’t include just vegetarian/vegan stuff – but other items that her family enjoys and that we are now enjoying! So here’s what she sent me:
Coconut Water: These are so good on a hot day. In fact, the other day on NPR they were talking about the health benefits of coconut water and how great it is to help replace lost electrolytes!
Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries: I’ve had chocolate covered raisins, cherries, and apricots, but never blueberries. These are definitely my new addictions!
Guacamole Mix: This is such a great little package – perfect for putting SOMETHING together when you’re not expecting guests! What a fantastic item.
Tortilla Chips: What a unique flavor this brand makes. It makes for a perfect pairing with the guacamole.
Beef Barley Soup: Dominique said in her note that this is something her husband adores and fixes when she’s not in for dinner. With the weather being so hot right now, we haven’t been able to dig in just yet, but I’m looking forward to that really wonderful fall day to dig in!
Chocolate Caramel Marshmallows: These are an interesting treat. It was the first time I’ve seem something like this packaged vs having to make it yourself! What’s fantastic is that a little goes a long way to satisfy your sweet-tooth.

Green Chicken Enchiladas

Do you ever have left over meat of some sort? Be it chicken, steak, or pork from something either you cooked or brought home from a restaurant, enchiladas are a great way to transform your leftovers! It’s also a great dish to introduce your little ones to a different flavor profile. When my daughter first tried this at around 10 months or so, she loved them!

I know a lot of people find making enchiladas intimidating. However, when you break it down, you’re just putting in some well flavored meat and veggie mixture inside a tortilla, rolling it up, toping that with a sauce and cheese and in the oven to bake until it’s nice and bubbly!

The most time consuming part of my recipe is “stuffing” the tortillas. After that, the oven does all the work. Depending on how fast you can move in the kitchen, these can be done in as little as 30 minutes! But I usually get these out within 45 because I’m usually digging through my spice cabinet and carrying a conversation with my husband (who has probably poured me a glass of wine) – making me get distracted from what I’m doing! :)

Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  4. 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. dash of cinnamon
  8. dash of cayenne pepper
  9. dash of ground coriander
  10. 8 tortillas (I used whole wheat this time)
  11. 20 oz enchilada sauce (I used green enchilada sauce this time)
  12. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: 

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add bell pepper and continue to saute until veggies begin to be tender – about 5 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken, cumin, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, and coriander. Saute until meat is heated and all ingredients are well combined. Taste and add more seasoning if desired.
  • Take saute pan off the heat.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Meanwhile, spray a baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray.
  • Divide meat and veggie mixture into eights. Place 1/8 of the mixture near the edge of a tortilla, roll, and place tortilla seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat 7 more times.
  • Pour enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Place baking dish in oven and cook until the dish is bubbly and cheese melted (about 15-20 minutes).

Chicken, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Salad

I feel very lucky to have a family that loves their vegetables. There isn’t one that we aren’t willing to try and we try to make sure we get at least one or two servings of them with dinner.

One of our favorite meals is this salad. There are a bunch of strong flavors and textures, but they all mix well together. It’s a great light dinner to eat outside on a warm night!

Hands on time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 13 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4-5 cups of mixed greens
  • 1 quart of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 of one red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • Plain croutons, for garnish
  • Sliced strawberries or raspberries (optional)
  • Raspberry vinaigrette

Directions:

  1. Season chicken breasts with some salt and pepper on both sides. Grill or broil until fully cooked (approximately 10 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, toss mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, walnuts, and blue cheese together until well mixed.
  3. When chicken is done cooking, slice chicken width-wise.
  4. To serve, place salad on plate, top with chicken, sprinkle with croutons, and add some raspberry vinaigrette.

Maryland Style Crab Cake Sandwich

Now that it’s after labor day and the weather is heating up, it is getting to be good crab eating season! One of the easiest and quickest meals you can cook up is a crab cake and make that into a sandwich with fries or as a platter with veggies and potatoes.

My recipe really brings the restaurant (but better) home. These have minimal filler; I put in just enough ingredients to add flavor and help make sure the crab cakes hold together, but nothing else so that you get a mouth full of sweet crab.

My family loves these. When I made them for my husband for the first time, he loved them so much that he is now very disappointed in what he gets at the restaurant! When my one-year old tried these for the first time, she wolfed down an entire crab cake and was looking for more!

Hands on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb crab meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Lettuce
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • Tartar sauce
  • Lemon

Directions:

  1. Add olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, add crab meat, egg, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, and Old Bay. Mix with your hand or spoon. If the mixture looks too dry add in a little more mayonnaise. If the mixture is too wet, add in some more bread crumbs. You’ll know you have the right consistency when the mixture is able to come together and you can shape it.
  3. Take approximately 1/6th of the mixture in the palm of your hand. Shape into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Place in heated skillet.
  4. Repeat step 3 five more times. Make sure, however, to not crowed your skillet. You may need to do two or three batches in your skillet.
  5. Cook crab cake for about 4 minutes on each side, or until both sides are golden brown. Remove crab cake and place on some paper towels or newspaper to drain off the extra oil.
  6. To serve, put crab cake on a burger bun. Squeeze some lemon on top of the crab cake and top it with one or two pieces of lettuce, one slice of tomato, and some tartar sauce.
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