Butter Baked Tilapia

Fish is rarely eaten in our household. Tis a shame as we live on the coast where amazing fresh seafood and fish are readily available. I wish my husband wasn't so picky when it came to tasty water-dwelling protein. I am a seafood FANATIC. I've never lived anywhere that had fresh fish available at the drop of a hat and was of the highest quality.

I decided to try and make some tilapia for the men of the house and see how it went...

HUGE SUCCESS. Not only did Chris go out of his way to tell me it was a good piece of fish, but Alex not only ate his piece... but he also ate half of mine. I guess the mommy has to make the sacrifice when it comes to feeding her young, but I can't say I wasn't a bit reluctant (and bitter) to share mine with him.

Recipe can be found here: http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/baked_tilapia.html

It was so good... we're making it again this week :)

Chicken Cordon Bleu & Creamy Parmesan Sauce

 Need a way to jazz up your chicken? Baked chicken roll-ups. Or at least, that's what I call them.
Pound out a chicken breast so its nice and flat, add some tasty ingredients on top of it, roll it up, secure with a toothpick, and bake at 350 for 20-30 mins or until chicken is cooked. Done.

I've made similar dishes (see Cooper Chicken- stuffed with cheese and spinach). I've also done this dish with blue cheese and bacon in the middle- equally as tasty.

This time, we made them with ham and swiss cheese, a traditional chicken cordon bleu. Growing up, we always had these and they were breaded- but since the low-carb diet forbids breadcrumbs (damn you, diet), we went with a simple salt and pepper seasoned chicken breast. I flattened the chicken breasts, added slices of ham and swiss cheese, rolled them up, and baked them.

The recipe for the parmesan cheese sauce is what truly needs to be shared with you guys. It was soooo amazing.

Parmesan Cream Sauce
Adapted from Laura's Recipe Collection at Laurasrecipecollection.com

 * 1 tablespoon butter
 * 1-2 cloves garlic chopped
 * 1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half (I used heavy whipping cream since half and half was not diet friendly)
 * 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (I used a small pinch of flour since I was out of cornstarch)
 * Original Recipe calls for a splash of white wine... I used chicken stock to make it Alex friendly
 * Salt and Pepper
 * 1/3 cup shredded parmesan

To Make:
 * Melt butter in pan and saute garlic for a few minutes
 * Add splash of wine (or chicken stock) and simmer for a few more minutes
 * Whisk together cream and flour in bowl. Pour into pan with garlic, stir, and cook down until thick and creamy
 * Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until melted and smooth.
 * Serve over chicken/veggies/whatever immediately!
If sauce gets too thick- add another splash of chicken stock and give it a quick stir!

Turkey Rub

Since the Proti household is going low-carb (and I mean seriously low carb- less than 20 a day), I have been desperately searching for ways to jazz up our proteins! I have been googling 'dry rubs' for chickens, turkey, steaks, pork, fish, etc.

Short story even shorter: I found an amazing rub for poultry and we used it on some turkey legs the first night of our low-carb-a-thon. I plan to use it for next Thanksgiving! Give it a shot!

Custer's Old Fashion Turkey Rub
   Recipe from Lee Custer. Found on About.com's Barbecues and Grilling site

(note: this is enough for a 20 lb turkey... we cut it in half and had extra to spare for 3 turkey legs)

Mix together:
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil

  • If you need a recipe for poultry seasoning (like we did), use this:
        Also found on About.com
       (makes 1 cup)

  • 3 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons dried ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake

    Not everything turns out the way you had hoped. The Proti hosted yet another Easter dinner (hoping to compete with our epic time last year). We had about 16 people, an egg hunt, and a ton of delicious food! I made a ham and deviled eggs (recipe to be posted soon), had beverages, and told everyone I was going to make a cheesecake for dessert. I found a positively tasty sounding cheesecake from Martha Stewart, and knew instantly it would be the show-stopper of the event. I spent the better part of the evening the night before slaving away over my soon-to-be-masterpiece, was convinced it was baked to perfection, and was so proud that it hadn't cracked.

    Ah, I will never be convinced I'm baking a masterpiece ever. again. I woke up the next morning, pulled it from the fridge, and felt the top of it... nice and firm, solid all over. WHEW. I decided to wait an hour or so, then it was time to get rid of the springform pan. I snapped the latch, removed the pan, and as I did, the sides came GUSHING out. Instant tears. It had not fully set and was an ooey-gooey mess. I slammed the pan back down around the sides of it, devestated and convinced I had ruined the whole dinner. Dessert was ruined. Chris threw it in the freezer and said that if nothing else, it would be a tasty frozen treat. I made a batch of boxed cupcakes (utterly disgusted with myself for making BOXED cupcakes for a big event) and used the new flavored icing packets (which I'd recommend... they were tasty).

    It was, in fact, a mess when it came time for dessert. It was frozen, but melted quickly. Thank goodness someone else brought a chocolate-mint cake! I decided to put it up on the blog for one reason and one reason only: IT STILL TASTED AAAAMMMAAAZZZIIINNNGGGGG!!!!

    So, give it a try... make it... make sure its baked fully... make sure its set fully... and may you have better luck than I :)

    at least it looked pretty before it fell apart :)


    Fried Raviolis

    Need an amazing appetizer that will impress everyone? Look no further. This recipe is so impressive, Chris has requested I make it for every.single.event. we've been invited to/hosted since Christmas. He's also requested it for dinner alone- and he makes sure we have the ingredients on hand at all times. Chris has never approved of anything I've made this much before. They are also super easy to make. Beware- they are addicting :)

    Ok, even seeing this picture is making me glad we keep the ingredients on hand at all times.

    Fried Raviolis
    Recipe by Southern Living
    * vegetable oil
    * 1 cup italian-seasoned panko breadcrumbs
    * 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
    * 1 tsp. garlic powder
    * 1/4 tsp. salt
    * 1 (25oz) package frozen cheese ravioli, thawed
    * 2 large eggs, beaten
    * 1 1/2 cups bottled marinara sauce

    To Make:
    * pour oil into large dutch oven to a depth of 1". Heat oil over medium high heat to 360 degrees.
    * combine breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic powder, and salt in a shallow dish
    * dip ravioli in beaten egg, and dredge in crumb mixture, shaking off excess
    * fry ravioli, a few at a time, in hot oil 20 to 30 seconds or until golden brown
    * drain on paper towel
    * Serve with marinara sauce

    Cinnamon Rolls

    On Christmas morning, its tradition in our household to have the boys wake up to something freshly baked, toasty, and super sweet. Usually, it has been my mom's sticky bun recipe. Given that Alex is now eating everything we eat, I figured the rich, sticky caramel may have been a little too much for him to handle, so I browsed FoodNetwork.com until I found a suitable substitute! I found it- and by a woman after my own heart- Sandra Lee. I love the fact she is a semi-homemade type of gal, because I'm the same way. I'm not above using some store bough ingredients for the ease of putting meals on the table, especially on a morning like Christmas where my time could be better spent doing family things, instead of in the kitchen :)

    And in case you're wondering... I did spend my morning preppin' Santa toys and stockings instead of completely slaving away- and watching Alex run towards his presents for the first time was well worth the sacrifice of fresh dough !!!

    Cinnamon Rolls
    Recipe by Sandra Lee

    * 1 loaf frozen white bread dough, thawed in fridge
    * flour for dusting surface
    * 1 cup packed brown sugar
    * 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    * 2/3 stick butter, softened
    * 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    * 1 cup powdered sugar
    * 1/3 cup cream cheese
    * 1 teasp. vanilla extract

    To Make:
    * Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to form a 15x7in rectangle.
    * In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon
    * Spread 2/3 cup softened butter over dough and evenly spread cinnamon-sugar mixture
    * Roll up dough like a jelly roll
    * Cut roll into 16 slices and set aside in a warm place to allow dough to rise (until doubled in size- about an hour)
    * Divide rolls among 2 lightly battered round baking pans. Bake for 15 mins until golden brown.
    * Combine  1 stick butter, powered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract together for form icing.
    * Frost the warm rolls with the icing before serving.

    This recipe has been Alexander approved!

    Twiced Baked Potato Casserole

    See Story Below. Theres no point wasted time reading a story about these potatoes when you could already be making them...

    Twice Baked Potato Casserole
    Recipe by Paula Deen

    * 8 medium baking potatoes
    * 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
    * 1/2 cup butter, softened
    * 1 pint sour cream
    * 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    * 2 gloves garlic, minced
    * 1 1/2 teasp. salt
    * 1/2 teasp. pepper
    * 1/4 cup chopped chives for garnish if desired
    * 6 slices bacon, cooked crispy and chopped into pieces

    To Make:
    * Pierce potatoes and place on baking sheet. Bake for 1 hr 15 mins at 350, until soft
    * Peel and mash potatoes in large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and stir again.
    * Spray 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray and fill dish with potato mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
    * Heat oven to 350, remove plastic wrap, and bake casserole 30 to 35 mins.
    * Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted
    * Garnish with chives and bacon bits before serving.

    Corn Fluff

    Yes, Cooker is back. Its April and I'm coming back with a recipe from... Christmastime! It was Christmas Eve and we had our friends over who had just recently had a sweet baby boy. Now, that sweet baby boy is no longer a newborn, but a rolly-polly redhead who could not seem more grown up!
    We had filets wrapped in bacon, salad, twiced baked mashed potatoes (see recipe above), and corn fluff.

    Corn Fluff. Yes, silly name, seriously bad for you, and dangerously good. Its basically super moist and awesome cornbread. Now, I was never a fan of cornbread in my younger years, but fancify it and I'm game!

    I would quote an original author of this recipe, but you can find it online in about 1,000 places. For as common and easy as it is, I can't believe I had never had this recipe until last fall in Mississippi!

    Corn Fluff / Corn Casserole

    * 2 (14 oz) cans cream corn
    * 2 eggs beaten
    * 1 cup sour cream
    * 1 stick melted margarine
    * 1 small package Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

    To Make:
    * Mix all ingredients together and bake in a 9x13 pan.
    * Cook 1 hour at 350 degrees
    * See... I told you it was easy :)


    CookerBlog will be back! Soon!

    I finally, after four plus months of having it out of commission, have my beloved computer back- complete with a ton of photos of meals I've made and recipes to post! I'm finally in the swing of things with two baby boys and one older boy to take care of and my time management is getting better! There will be numerous posts back up on the cookerblog and hopefully a few guest bloggers in the very near future! :)