Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish

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First and foremost, a big huge thank you to everyone who pinned and shared Friday’s post. I figured people would dig the pumpkin and cinnamon (and of course, the rum) but the response well exceeded my expectations. I shared on Facebook that I am blown away by the positive response and that is still true. I blog because I love it and because I believe the way to the heart is through the stomach, so seeing such a positive response to a post I already love gives me the warm fuzzies. Thanks everyone! And hello to new readers!

Today’s post comes from a picture I stumbled on this weekend. It some how fell through the cracks after I uploaded the photos and it’s a real shame because it was one of my favorite grilled meals this summer. If you’re one of those people that thinks cilantro tastes like soap (how?? it’s so yummy!) then it’s probably not for you. If not, then hurry outside and make this before grilling season is over!

This recipe is perfect for people that are new to fish because swordfish is such a sturdy fish that it acts a lot like chicken. Plus the flavorful punch from the stuffing makes the fish taste even more subtle. Some may prefer a simpler preparation, and I can appreciate that, but I also have a hard time saying no to Pepper Jack cheese and cilantro!


Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish
(Adapted from We Are Not Martha)

Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, grated
3 swordfish steaks, each about 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil for preparing the grill grates
Lemon halves, optional

Directions
To the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic cloves and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pulse again until herbs are finely chopped. With the motor running, stream the olive oil and process until emulsified. Remove a 1/4 cup of mixture and set aside for later use. To the bowl add the grated Pepper Jack cheese and process for 15 seconds (it will look kind of crumbly, and that’s ok).

Prepare a grill by lightly brushing the grates with oil and turning the flame to medium.

Prepare the swordfish steaks but slicing a horizontal pocket into the side of the fish. Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper, then stuff each pocket with the Pepper Jack-Cilantro mixture. You can secure the pocket with a toothpick if you feel it is necessary.

Grill the swordfish for 4-5 minutes then, using a metal spatula, carefully flip to the other side. Brush each swordfish steak with the reserved cilantro mixture and grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the fish begins to easily flake. If you opt to use lemon halves, you can grill those for the final 4-5 minutes.

Serve immediately with any additional cilantro sauce. Goes well with Spanish rice.

Homemade Fish Sticks


Every once in a while I like what I call a “kid meal”. For lunch, that will mean a peanut butter and jelly with carrot sticks, a juice box, and fruit snacks. (Are people supposed to outgrow PB&J? Because I sure haven’t yet.) For dinner, it’s something like this meal. Fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. But this isn’t your blue box and yellow wearing fisherman kind of “kid meal”. What’s really awesome though, is that it doesn’t take that much more time.

Here’s the break down of how I put this meal together:

  • Prep green beans, set them aside to marinate
  • Get water boiling and pasta going
  • Prep fish sticks
  • Get the fish sticks and green beans in the oven
  • Drain pasta and prepare mac and cheese
  • Fish sticks and green beans out of the oven
  • Meal served

You can’t tell me that takes much longer than the boxed meal. And of course, making it all yourself means knowing exactly what (and how much) is going into your food. I also think that these fish sticks are well worth any extra effort. The panko really adds a nice crunch and there is no freezer burn after taste.

Homemade Fish Sticks
((slightly)Adapted from Elly Says Opa)

2 white fish fillets (such as tilapia or cod) ~1 pound
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko
heaping 1/4 tsp onion powder
heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450. Prepare a baking sheet by placing a wire (cooling) rack over the tray and lightly spraying with non-stick spray.

Cut the fish into strips.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the panko, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and canola oil. Place the egg in separate bowl.

Coat the fish sticks by dipping the strips into the egg first, then the panko mixture. Place the coated strips on the wire rack and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily, rotating pan halfway through.

Have you ever tried Wasabi Mayonnaise? I bought some at Trader Joes and it was AWESOME with the fish sticks!

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

Before I lived in San Diego I lived in Ohio. But, before I lived in Ohio I lived in Maryland (and before that Ohio, Maryland, Ohio, we liked to move). One of the things I remember most vividly about Maryland is the crab parties we would occasionally have. I can remember going to the docks and my parents picking up a bushel of live Maryland blue crabs. When we got them home my sister and I would pick out a crab and race them across the kitchen floor. Then they were boiled, drained, covered in Old Bay seasoning, and tossed onto a big table covered in newspaper.

OK, so racing your dinner across the kitchen floor before eating it off of a newspaper covered table might sound a little barbaric, but I swear we weren’t the only ones that did. There was usually a crowd of friends there to enjoy and partake in the barbaric activities. It’s kind of a tradition in Maryland, at least in the crowd my parents hung with.

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a crab party but one thing I have continued to enjoy is the flavor of Old Bay seasoning. It takes me right back to those parties and makes me feel warm and happy. I think when we first moved back to Ohio it was difficult to find in the grocery stores but now most stores carry it, conveniently near the seafood.

Now I know this is starting to sound like a cheesy commercial, but I promise you it’s not. This meal was just the perfect option when my sister was in town because she has the same memories as I do. I love that this meal is impressive enough to serve to company but easy enough to make after work on a weeknight (which is exactly what I did while my sister was visiting).

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

(Adapted from Oldbay.com)

Ingredients
1 16 oz box of pasta (I used bow ties)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 Tbsp Old Bay, divided (low sodium kind if you can find it)
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 green onions, sliced thinly

Directions
Cook pasta according to directions on package. During the last minute of cooking add the peas. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of Old Bay. Cook for 3 minutes or until they start to turn pink. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Stir in the half-and-half, reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan cheese and the rest of the Old Bay. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add the pasta, peas and green onion. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving (this gives the sauce a few more minutes to thicken)

Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Shrimp in Tomato Sauce with Feta

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I am working on a verrrrry long China post (hopefully will be posted tomorrow morning), so this is going to be short and simple! Much like the preparation of this meal.

The most time consuming part of this dish was removing the shells and de-veining the shrimp. Luckily you can purchase raw shrimp without the shell. I forgot that half of the shrimp in my freezer had the shell/vein so when it came time to prepare the meal I was happy to have my mom there to help me get through it quickly. As a side note, I can appreciate the tail on for the appearance of the dish, but when it comes to eating I think it would be more pleasant to have the tails removed. It’s really up to you and the dish will turn out great either way.

I think this shrimp would go wonderfully with a simple side of pasta in garlic butter, with rice, or, as I served it, with a nice crusty bread brushed with garlic butter. I liked to use the bread to sop up the extra sauce. Add a green salad or green beans and you have a well rounded meal that will be well received by guests, but also simple enough for week night.



Shrimp in Tomato Sauce with Feta
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1.5 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on if you like)
5 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh lemon wedges, optional for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil . Then add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.

Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, toss together the bread crumbs, parsley, and the remaining tablespoon olive oil.

Carefully pour the tomato sauce into a medium size casserole dish, then lay the shrimp in a single layer on top of the the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the feta cheese then the bread crumbs over top of the shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes until the shrimp is pink and the bread crumbs have started to brown. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over top and serve immediately.