Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hudson's Baked Tilapia with Dill Sauce

Ok, continuing the lemon theme of this month, but branching out from desserts (there are more to come, I promise) - fish! With lemon! And dill! What could be better?? (the hubby disagrees on the fish part, but he's rather silly, so we shall ignore him this time)

Makes 4 servings
 4 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
 salt and pepper to taste
 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, or to taste
 1 lemon, thinly sliced
 1/4 cup mayonnaise
 1/2 cup sour cream
 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2) Season the tilapia fillets with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning on both sides. Arrange the seasoned fillets in a single layer in the baking dish. Place a layer of lemon slices over the fish fillets. I usually use about 2 slices on each piece so that it covers most of the surface of the fish.

3) Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

4) While the fish is baking, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, lemon juice and dill in a small bowl. Serve with tilapia.

   I love fish, and the hubby does not, so I'm always looking for new fish recipes for "fend-for-yourself-night", which are at least a bi-weekly occurrence in our household. Plus, anything with dill is always a good option. Add sour cream...even better! Now, on to changes. :D 
   I don't have Cajun seasoning, so I used the Grill Mates Mojito Lime Marinade rubbed on half of the fish filets, and a mixture of seasoning salt, pepper, and garlic salt for the other half. I really liked that combination of flavors with the lemon and dill sauce. I tend to bake my fish a little bit longer than directed, about 25ish minutes for this recipe...I have this phobia of uncooked fish, so I tend on the over-cooked side. These were still moist, so I consider it a success. 
    Made the sauce as directed, with a extra couple dashes of dill (because really, can you have too much dill??), and added a bit less mayo than called for. It was soooooo good! I had more sauce than needed for 1 pound of fish, and I was trying to figure out what else I could use it on! No luck on that, by the way. I served it with roasted asparagus...yum yum! 

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

You are about to be inundated with lemon recipes. ;) The papa-in-law LOVES lemon desserts, and as June host the holiday known as Father's Day, lemon abounds in the Hunt household at this time of year. These are DEFINITELY a keeper recipe, and are great for a large group of people.

Makes ~20 servings

 3/4 cup shortening
 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup rolled oats
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
 1 1/2 cups sugar
 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
 4 eggs
 1/3 cup lemon juice
 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel


1) In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Combine the flour, oats and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Press dough into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Spread with jam.

2) For filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon juice and peel just until blended. Carefully spoon over jam. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set.

3) Cool on a wire rack. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

   I'll be honest...baking is not my strong suit. I much prefer cooking, so when it comes to baking, I stick pretty close to the recipe, afraid that any changes I make will cause it not set, or rise, or whatever it's supposed to do. ;) So for realsies, this is a "follow as directed". (ok, except for I did add a dash of lemon extract to the cheesecake part, as it need a smidge more lemon.)  I used 3 lemons for the juice and zest, and that seemed about right when I measured it out. 
    The raspberry provides a nice foil, keeping the cheesecake part from being too lemony, and the crust isn't overly sweet, providing a nice clean balance. I recommend using a knife run under hot water (frequently!) when cutting the bars to avoid the cheesecake clumping on the knife. A resounding yes from this household, and hopefully from yours too. 

Cheesy Leek and Mustard Soup

Happy Dr. Who day! This month's theme is French Bistro, and since panini's and frittes were already covered, what was left for me but my favorite...soup! Searched my recipe box, and this was the closest soup I could find that seemed like it would be served in a bistro. Plus, I got to use up most of the leeks I had frozen after making Colcannon. Bonus!

Makes 4 to 6 servings
 1 1/2 pounds leeks, sliced
 1 onion, chopped
 1 potato, cubed
 1 carrot, chopped
 1 tablespoon butter
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard powder
 2 teaspoons cornstarch
 1/2 cup water
 salt and pepper to taste
 1 teaspoon white sugar
 5 cups water
 1 cube vegetable bouillon
 1 cup heavy whipping cream
 1/8 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


1) In a large pot over medium heat, saute the leeks, onion, potato and carrot in the butter or margarine and the olive oil for 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

2) Mix the mustard powder and cornstarch with the 1/2 cup water to make a thin paste. Set aside.

3) Season the vegetable mixture with salt and pepper and sugar. Stir in the mustard-water mixture and the 5 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the bouillon cube, reduce heat and simmer for about one hour, until reduced by half.

4) Using a hand blender or upright blender, puree mixture until frothy but not completely smooth.

5) Return this to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the heavy cream, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Heat until cheeses melt, do not boil. Serve hot.

    Ok, so much yum happening in this recipe! I used about 1 and 1/2 cup of chopped leeks - more of a guesstimate than actual measuring. I used two medium potatoes (peeled and chopped) and 3 small carrots, as I wasn't sure how big the potato and carrot was supposed to be! I think that ratio worked out just fine, though I did add an extra dash of olive oil, just in case. Sauteed all the veggies for about 15 minutes, then added the seasonings and liquid. Instead of a vegetable bullion cube, I used my chicken stock bullion mix. Simmered for the hour, and then blended. Just an FYI - blending hot liquid makes the top spit at you when you start it! It blended really well, coming out to a nice mustardy color. Added the cream and about 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese and 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar. I love cheese, so the more the better! I don't think my simmering reduced the soup by half, so it helped thicken it up just a smidge more. Served with a hearty slice of French bread, and it's a meal fit for a king.
     This soup has a great flavor, and the leeks are not too over-powering. I could have added more mustard with no ill effects, and I did have to add some additional salt at the end. It's hard to add seasonings "to taste" when you're only half way through the recipe!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Southwestern Shrimp Bisque

This recipe is Taste of Home magazine, the 2012 April/May issue. After trying it once, it has become a fast favorite at my house, and even makes great leftovers...if there are any, that is. :) I highly recommend doubling the recipe from the get-go. It says that one recipe makes 3 servings, but unless you're referring to the world's smallest bowl of soup, I say double it, and you'll get 3-4 bowls worth.

Southwestern Shrimp Bisque


1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp chicken bullion granules
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 ground coriander
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined  (you can use cooked or uncooked) 
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro and sliced avocado, option

1. In a small saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended. Stir in water, cream, bullion and seasonings, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. 
2. Cut shrimp into bite-sized pieces if desired. Add shrimp to soup. Simmer 5-10 minutes until shrimp is pink. (if you are using cooked shrimp, cook just until the shrimp is warm.) Place sour cream in a small bowl; gradually stir in 1/2 cup of hot soup. Return mixture to the pan, stirring constantly. Heat through (do not boil). If desired, top with cilantro and/or avocado. 

Follow as directed! I haven't used uncooked shrimp, just the frozen pre-cooked ones, so I usually just add the shrimp at the same time as the sour cream mixture. I haven't had any issues with them getting rubbery. Excellent served with crisp green salad and crusty french bread for dipping! 

Mexican Shrimp Bisque Recipe