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Meal Planning 101

Published on May 9, 2013, by in Recipes.

I’ve had a few people ask me lately about meal plans. I’ll give you a run down about how I plan our meals. Brian and I pack and take our lunches to work most days of the week. It’s way cheaper and healthier. Even if you are getting an inexpensive meal out, just keep in mind that restaurants charge you at least 3x or more what it costs them to make it. Meaning: You can make it sooo much cheaper at home. Let’s do the math. If you spend $5 on lunch everyday eating out(which if you live in Chicago you spend more), that means that it’s costs that restaurant at most $1.66 to make your meal. So $5 x 5 days per week is $25 per week on lunches. If you made that same thing at home for $1.66 x 5 days a week, you would have spent $8.33.

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Baked grouper

Published on February 3, 2013, by in Recipes.

While in Texas I made this meal twice for my non-fish loving parents. Grouper is a good gateway fish because it doesn’t taste fishy at all and it’s a little meatier than tilapia. This is a very simply prepared fish with a nice flavor Ingredients: 1 pound grouper fillets 1 tablespoon butter 1 1/2 lemons, thinly sliced 1/2 lemon, whole salt and pepper Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil or butter baking sheet. Place fish on baking sheet. Salt and pepper fish. Top with small pieces of butter. Squeeze half of lemon over fillets. Lay slices of lemon on top of fish. Bake 15-20 minute or until lemon is cooked all the way through. I served the fish with a side of roasted potatoes and some sauteed green beans.

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Asparagus and tilapia

Published on January 13, 2013, by in Recipes.

I made a version of this recipe the other day. Except this time instead of making individual packets, I made 4 servings in a covered roasting pan. I also changed a few ingredients. I started by laying asparagus on the bottom. Then I made a marinade/sauce for the asparagus and tilapia. I used lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Layer the tilapia on the asparagus Pour lemon and olive oil mix over the top. Then add some capers: Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F: Look at that delicious meal: It’s a really inexpensive and nutritious meal and it takes 30 minutes or less to make.  A perfect weeknight meal.

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Memorial feast

Published on May 31, 2012, by in Recipes.

This is the type of meal we eat when I’m allowed to roam free in Whole Foods on a hot day. New York strip steaks were on sale for $12.99/lb. We bought a steak that was a little over a half pound and split it. I also had some shrimp at home. I marinated them in garlic, avocado oil and crushed red pepper.  I put them on the cast iron grill pan after the steak had finished and was resting. They had awesome flavor. Surf and turf. I used my cast iron grill pan to cook some asparagus and corn while I roasted some fingerlings in the oven. I topped the fingerlings with some soy-based Cesar dressing we had gotten at City Farms. So delicious. Washed it all down with some strawberry lemonade that I had left over from making popsicles. Not a bad meal, if you ask me. So

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Honey Lime Fish Tacos

Published on February 27, 2012, by in Recipes.

Brian sent me a link to this recipe and I knew I would be making it soon. Like, for lunch that day, with a few minor changes. These are absolutely delicious. Light and full of flavor. Ingredients: 2 4-6oz flounder fillets zest and juice of one lime 1 1/2 tablespoons honey 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for cooking 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for dredging 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more for dredging 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 cup brown rice flour(or white flour if not gluten-free) tortillas lettuce and avocado, or other favorite taco toppings Make marinade by combining lime zest, juice, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add fish and marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. I let mine marinate for 2-3 hours and they had great flavor. When ready to cook, combine flour and a little more salt and

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Healthy coconut shrimp

Published on January 12, 2012, by in Recipes.

Over at Skinny Taste, Gina does some great things with recipes. I couldn’t resist when I saw her skinny coconut shrimp recipe. You can make these as a meal, or make a smaller batch as an appetizer, like I did. I made 4 of them for each Brian and I. I didn’t make a dipping sauce because they are sweet and tasty enough on their own. Why add unnecessary calories? Here’s Gina’s recipe: Ingredients: 1 lb (24) large shrimp, peeled and deviened (weight after peeled) 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp panko crumbs 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (you will only use 1 tbsp) 1 large egg pinch salt non-stick spray Preheat oven to 425F. Place flour in a small dish. Whisk egg in another bowl. In a separate bowl, combine coconut, panko and salt. Dip the shrimp in flour and shake off the

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Oyster stuffing

Published on November 28, 2011, by in Recipes.

I’m not a fan of stuffing. I would have been happy to not have it at the meal, but Brian really wanted oyster stuffing. So, being the adventurous girlfriend that I am, I made the oyster stuffing. Still not sold on the stuff, but Brian loved it. Recipe adapted from Epicurious. Ingredients: 1 loaf of wheat French bread, torn into 3/4 inch cubes 5-6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1-2 tablespoons olive oil(if needed) 1 medium onion finely chopped 3/4 cup chopped celery 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme 1 teaspoons dried sage 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons parsley 1 stick unsalted butter, melted 3/4 cup oysters, shucked, drained and chopped 1 cup turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth Preheat oven 325F. Spread bread cubes in shallow baking pans and bake until golden brown 25-30 minutes. Cool bread in pans, then transfer to a

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Salmon fillets-two ways

Published on September 17, 2011, by in Recipes.

Here are two easy marinades for salmon fillets. Honey-Soy Salmon: slightly sweet with lots of flavor Ingredients(per 4oz of salmon): 1 tsp honey 1 tsp packed brown sugar 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp melted butter 1/4 tsp minced garlic Combine all ingredients in a resealable bag. Mix well. Add salmon and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Broil 5-9 minutes(depending on thickness) or until fish flakes easily with a fork.   Lemon-Dill Salmon: zesty lemon with a kick Ingredients(per 4oz salmon): juice of 1/2 lemon 1 tsp olive oil 1/2 tsp dill weed 1/4 tsp tarragon 1/4 tsp minced garlic salt and pepper Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Pour into resealable bag, add salmon, toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Broil for 5-9 minutes(depending on thickness) or until salmon flakes easily with fork.  

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Orange and fennel flounder fillets

Published on July 28, 2011, by in Recipes.

These fillets are so flavorful and a great way to get fish without it tasting fishy. They are even simple and elegant enough to make for a dinner party. Recipe adapted from Food and Wine: Ingredients: 2 fennel bulbs(about one pound each), with fronds 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds 4 4oz flounder fillets Directions: Preheat the oven to 450F. While the oven is heating, cut off the tops of the fennel bulbs. Chop fronds and set to the side for later. Cut fennel bulbs in to 8 wedges each. Toss with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Spread the fennel in an even layer and roast for 25 minutes. Stir the fennel and roast 15 minutes longer. While fennel is roasting, combine the orange juice, zest, fennel seeds

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Spicy coconut curry mussels

Published on June 19, 2011, by in Recipes.

  I am a picky seafood eater. Brian is not. Brian is from Florida and loves all things seafood and probably wishes I made it more often. Sometimes I like to surprise him with seafood dishes. I made this over the weekend for the two of us. Adapted from This Girl Can Eat: Ingredients: 2 pounds of mussels(scrubbed, debearded and discard broken) 1 tablespoon butter 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 cup dry white wine 2 tablespoons red curry paste 1 (13.5oz) can of lite coconut milk 1/4 teaspoon fresh, grated ginger 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1/2 teaspoon thai chili sauce 2 tablespoons fish sauce(optional) juice from 1/2 lime chopped cilantro french bread In a large pot, add the butter, garlic, wine, curry paste and coconut milk. Bring this to a boil over high heat. Stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the ginger and

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