Tag: seafood

Scallops with Zucchini and Red Onion

I am just getting started with cooking apps on my Iphone.  (It’s about time, right?)  I pretty much only use free apps, and iCookbook Diabetic was highly rated in a magazine and free right now, so I decided to try it for fun.

I found a recipe for Rosemary-Garlic Scallops with Polenta, and adapted it just a bit.  The scallops were great, and made for a quick but ‘fancier-than-usual’ meal.  I would like to eat seafood more often, and this was a simple, healthy recipe.

However, the polenta was far too thick.  If you want to serve the scallops over polenta, just use a standard 4:1 ratio of liquid (such as vegetable broth) to cornmeal.  Or if you have more time, you could make these cute Polenta Triangles.




Scallops with Zucchini and Red Onion

1 T olive oil
1 t minced garlic
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
8 oz. bay scallops
2 t Penzey’s Mural of Flavor
1/4 t black pepper

Heat oil in a medium frying pan.  Add garlic, and stir for 1 minute.  Add onion and zucchini, and saute for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Add scallops and seasoning, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until scallops are done.


Snowstorm Tuna Noodle Casserole

I did get to the grocery store before the Blizzard of 2013, but 1) I didn’t have time to make a list beforehand, and 2) I was pretty overwhelmed by the crowds.  I picked up a few pieces of fruit, a box of cereal, and a quart of milk.  I have so much food in my freezer and pantry that I wasn’t too worried.

As the flakes started to fly on Friday night, I decided to try my hand at a homemade tuna noodle casserole.  I used this recipe as a loose guide, and bulked up the dish with extra vegetables.  Except for the milk, all of the ingredients were things I had on hand.

This recipe certainly isn’t gourmet, but it turned out to be a fine pantry meal.  I liked the creamy sauce, and the seasoned breadcrumbs added in just a bit of flavor and crunch.  With just a little bit of creativity, it’s possible to make a balanced meal even during one of the biggest snowstorms ever!


Snowstorm Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 c. dry whole wheat rotini
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables
1 T Smart Balance spread
1 T flour
1 c. skim milk
1 (5 oz.) can tuna, drained
2 T seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta and vegetables in boiling water until tender.  Drain, and set aside.

Place Smart Balance in a sauce pan over low heat, and melt.  Add flour and stir.  Keep stirring as the mixture browns slightly.  Add in 1/2 c. milk, and whisk until blended.  Add in remaining milk.  Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Add tuna and cook for a few more minutes until heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix pasta, vegetables, and sauce in a large bowl.  Add breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Chili-Garlic Tilapia

I really do like to eat seafood, I just hate cooking it.  I feel like you need to plan so that you can buy the fish fresh and make it that day.  It also doesn’t work as well as leftovers, and I rely heavily on leftovers for meals during the week.

In an effort to overcome these challenges, I bought frozen tilapia fillets at Trader Joe’s.  I wanted to see if frozen fillets would streamline the process without sacrificing quality.  There’s just one catch; you need to defrost the fish in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking.  So it still requires a little planning, but not a trip to the store.

A note on sustainability:  I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t check the label carefully when purchasing this fish.  I have the Monterey Bay Seafood Guide right on my phone so there are no excuses.  Depending on where tilapia is farmed, it can be rated a Best Choice (US Farmed), Good Alternative (Central/South America Farmed), or Avoid (China/Taiwan Farmed).  The fish packaging was already in the dumpster when I sat down to write this post, but I promise I’ll check next time!

The fish was fully defrosted by the time I got home for dinner, and I decided to loosely follow this recipe for Chili-Rubbed Tilapia.  It was so quick and so delicious.  Tilapia can be a little bland but I loved the spicy flavor.  I also sauteed some spinach, and I think this meal was on the table in less than 20 minutes!  I am calling this experiment a success.



Chili-Garlic Tilapia

1 T Chili 3000 (from Penzey’s)
1 t garlic powder
2 tilapia fillets (10-12 oz. total)
2 t olive oil with garlic (such as Garlic Gold)

In a plate, combine chili and garlic powder and spread over the surface of the plate.  Gently press the tilapia fillets into the spices.  Turn fish over and press the other side.  Use your fingers to make sure that the outside of the fish is completely coated.

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Place tilapia in pan.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.


Baked Cod with Spinach and Onions

I think this might be the first cod recipe ever to appear on the blog!  I really do enjoy eating fish, but I prefer to let others do the cooking.  And while I usually like fish that’s prepared very simply, there was something about this recipe for Baked Cod Casserole that appealed to me.  Cod is a very mild tasting fish, but this dish is packed with herbs and spices including thyme, black pepper, and paprika.  The sauteed onions and spinach also add a lot of flavor.  And of course, every casserole needs a breadcrumb and cheese topping.

Although I really enjoyed this casserole, I used a bit of smoked Gouda (leftover from last week’s quiche) and it didn’t melt well at all.  The original recipe called for Gruyere cheese, which would be a much better choice.  Besides that, I wouldn’t change a thing.  This was a great way to enjoy fish in a one dish meal.

I think the only way to become more comfortable cooking fish is to do it more often.  If you want to incorporate more fish into your diet but are concerned about sustainability, I recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.  I use this site to guide my seafood purchases, and this cod was rated “Good Alternative” which means it is not a “Best Choice” but also not a fish which they recommend to “Avoid”.  My goal is to cook another fish recipe using a “Best Choice” soon!





Baked Cod with Spinach and Onions

1 T canola oil
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced thinly
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 c. white wine
1 lb. cod, or other white fish
1 t thyme
1/2 t black pepper
2/3 c. whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
1 t smoked paprika
1 t garlic powder
1/2 c. shredded cheese

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onions for 25-30 minutes until soft and golden brown.  Add spinach and wine, and cook for 5-10 minutes until wine is slightly reduced.  Place mixture in the bottom of an 11″ x 7″ or 13″ x 9″ glass dish.  Lay fish on top, and sprinkle with thyme and black pepper.  Cover with foil, and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs, paprika, and garlic powder.  Spread on top of fish, followed by shredded cheese.  Bake uncovered at 400F for another 10 minutes, or until fish is done.

-Adapted from Eating Well

Lemon Thyme Tuna Burgers

Sometimes I end up running around on weekend days, grabbing snacks here and there, and never really sitting down to an actual meal.  These Lemon Thyme Tuna Burgers from Green Lite Bites took less than 15 minutes to make, and made a balanced meal with some whole grain crackers and grapes.

I modified the original recipe just a bit, adding some diced carrot and using a whole egg instead of just the egg white.  I may have added a little too much lemon juice because the mixture was quite wet.  The burgers fell apart a little in the pan, but still tasted great.  And after a good meal, I was ready to tackle the rest of my day.




Lemon Thyme Tuna Burgers

2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 (5 oz.) can tuna
1/3 c. oats
1 egg
1 T lemon juice
1 t thyme

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Form into 2 patties, and place on a pan coated with cooking spray.  Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.  Flip burger carefully, and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

-Lightly adapated from Green Lite Bites

Italian Seafood Soup

I was at Trader Joe’s the other day and spotted a frozen Seafood Medley containing shrimp, scallops, and squid.  I don’t get the chance to eat seafood as often as I’d like, so I picked up a bag.  I found this recipe for Zuppa Di Pesce which sounded like a nice weekend meal.  A ‘weekend’ meal of course because it calls for red wine, and we all know what happens when you open a bottle of wine for a recipe, right?

But first, a quick word about sustainability.  It seems that Trader Joe’s received some negative publicity about their lack of sustainable seafood practices.  It also seems the company has committed to turning things around by the end of 2012.  So how does the Seafood Medley stack up?  I turned to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, and it looks like the shrimp, scallops, and squid from Thailand are not on the worst list, but not on the best list either.  Next time I am at TJ’s I’ll check out other products to see if I can find the best seafood choices.

Now back to the soup, because it was indeed a nice weekend meal.  I really liked the rich tomato broth, and there was plenty of seafood to keep it interesting.  However, the first bowl was by far the best.  The texture of the seafood wasn’t quite as good the next day, so this isn’t the type of thing you’d want to pack for lunch.  (Not to mention, people get upset when you heat up seafood in the office microwave, right!?)  Still, it was a nice soup for a cold winter night.



Italian Seafood Soup

1 T olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and diced
1 t minced garlic
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
28 oz. water
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. red wine
1 bag Trader Joe’s Seafood Medley

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion, and cook for 10 minutes until softened and lightly browned.  Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, water, and seasonings.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add wine and seafood, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

-Lightly adapted from Comfy Tummy


Spaghetti with Scallops and Peas

When I want help in making a sustainable seafood purchase, I turn to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.  Every type of seafood is listed by the region where it is caught and the method used.  There are 3 possible ratings based on the environmental impact: Best Choice, Good Alternative, and Avoid.

When I wanted to make this scallop recipe from Real Simple, I turned to the handy Monterey Bay app on my Iphone.  The market offered scallops from New Bedford, MA.  Scallops from the US Atlantic caught by dredging are considered a ‘good alternative.’  If the seafood in the market isn’t labeled, it’s OK to ask!  The person helping you may not know the answer, but simply by asking, you’ve let them know that you’re an interested consumer.

So back to the recipe, I made several tweaks from the original.  I wasn’t excited about using browned butter,  so I built the sauce around wine instead.  A fancy scallop meal deserves to be accompanied by a glass of wine anyway.  I swear I bought a lemon, but it was nowhere to be found.  However, I did find some sage in the back of my freezer.

Scallops are one of my favorite types of seafood, and this dish was good, but it wasn’t perfect.  The peas were the element that just didn’t belong, and they kept falling off my fork which was annoying.  I know I use spinach a lot, but I think sauteed spinach might be a better choice here.  Still, this was a nice meal to end a tough week.  I am looking forward to a fun weekend, including reconnecting with my cooking club for a night of “Finger Foods”!


Spaghetti with Scallops and Peas

4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1 c. frozen petite peas
1 T olive oil
8 sea scallops, sprinkled with salt and pepper
1/4 c. white wine
1 T chopped fresh sage
2 T whole wheat breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning

Cook pasta according to package directions.  2 minutes before it is done, add the peas to the pot.  Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.  Place scallops carefully in pan.  Cook for 3-4 mintue on one side, flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes until done.

In a bowl, toss pasta, peas, scallops, wine, and sage.  Serve on plates, and garnish with breadcrumbs.

-Adapted from Real Simple