Blogs, Recipes

Grouper Piccata

Living in Florida has many benefits, sunny days, beautiful beaches, and it also comes with the benefits of AMAZING fresh fish. 

I was lucky enough to grab some grouper fillets from my local fish market but you can also score some at your store’s frozen section. If you are unable to find grouper fillets, you can use snapper, cod, catfish or even chicken. 

This sauce highlights the fish without taking over. In this recipe, I use a simple piccata sauce with lemon and capers to create an easy meal that everyone will love! Oh, and this is a one pan dish! Hello easy clean up! 🙂

I’m not usually a Chardonnay fan but since I received a bottle of Scout & Cellar Fiddleneck Chardonnay I thought I’d give it a try. I am now a Chardonnay fan! The Fiddleneck Chardonnay is the perfect pairing to this recipe! It’s not oaky like most Chardonnays I have tried in the past. It’s light and refreshing with notes of yellow apple, candied lemon peel, and ripe pineapple. It truly is delicious with the buttery lemon flavor of the grouper piccata! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 6-ounce grouper fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Sprinkle grouper fillets with salt and pepper. 

Dredge fillets on all sides in flour. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large skillet. 

Add fillets to skillet; cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove fish from skillet.

Add garlic, lemon juice and wine to the skillet, scraping browned bits from the pan. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. 

Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Tip: if the sauce is too bitter, just add ¼ cup of chicken broth at a time. 

Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, capers and parsley.

Serve sauce over fish.

I served mine with a side of angel hair pasta and baby broccoli.

Tips & Tricks

Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic

Do you have over ripe tomatoes? Don’t throw them out, turn them into Slow Roasted Tomatoes! Save for later and add to other dishes, or even for snacking. Not only are these delicious but your house will smell AMAZING!

Halve tomatoes then place along with garlic cloves on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Drizzle a little olive oil on the tomatoes and add herbs and seasonings if you’d like.

Bake for about three hours in a 225 degree oven.

Allow them to cool then put into a jar, cover with olive oil.

Store in the fridge then use them as you need them. YUM!

Recipes

Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with Pancetta and Walnuts

Ravioli stuffed with a fresh pear and cheese filling and sauteed in a buttery sauce with crispy pancetta, this ravioli recipe is a fancy dinner made easy!

The sweetness of the pears complements the salty and creamy cheese filling of these easy ravioli. It’s sweet and savory, my two favorite flavors! 

As you know by now, I love making homemade pasta and that doesn’t stop with the basics like spaghetti and fettuccine – I also enjoy making homemade ravioli. 

First, you will want to make the filling. 

Peel and core the pears. Then using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl and combine. Add ¼ cup of  the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the chopped parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set to the side. 

If you are making your own pasta, which I highly recommend, follow my Homemade Pasta recipe blog post. 

If you don’t want to make your own pasta dough, you can also use store bought wonton wrappers to cut down on time.

Roll pasta dough into long strips.  I used a pasta machine attachment on my stand mixer to make it easier.

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis or wonton wrapper. Place on a prepared lightly floured cookie sheet. 

This is a ravioli cutter, I purchased from Williams Sonoma.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air. 

Repeat this process until all ravioli is made.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

In a large pot of boiling water, add ravioli and once they float to the top, cook another couple of minutes, save about ¼ cup of the water and drain the rest. You will want to use the reserved pasta water to help thicken the sauce later.

For the sauce, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and garlic. I love shallots, while similar in taste to an onion, I think they have a bit more “refined” flavor and are more delicate, and softer. 

Once the shallots and garlic are slightly brown, add in the chopped pancetta. Pancetta is an Italian salami made of pork belly meat that is salt cured. You can find pancetta in the deli at most local grocery stores, like Publix. If you can not find Pancetta, bacon will work too. Cook the pancetta until crispy. 

Add the stuffed ravioli to the same pan, and coat with the buttery sauce for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time into the pan, this will thicken the sauce slightly. Continue to sauté the ravioli for about 2 more minutes, you want to heat the ravioli all the way through. Lastly, stir in the chopped parsley. 

Place the cooked ravioli on a plate, spoon the buttery sauce over the top and sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts. Yum! 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 lb. Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
  • 8 oz. Pecorino Toscano cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. fresh pasta
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl. Add the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Kitchen Aid Pasta Roller: Using the roller attachment, roll the pasta into a thin sheet and cut into 12-inch-long pieces.

Hand method: Roll out the pasta and cut into 12-inch-long pieces. 

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis. Place on a prepared floured tray.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air.

Transfer the ravioli to a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half of the ravioli and cook until they float and are al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the ravioli to paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sauté the chopped shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes. In the same pan, add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ravioli and gently stir to coat with the butter. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to create a sauce. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley.

Transfer the ravioli to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.

 Inspired by Lidia Bastianich

Recipes

Zucchini Taco Boats

Looking for an alternative to your Taco Tuesday?

These Zucchini Taco boats are made with fresh zucchini stuffed with seasoned ground beef, bell peppers, and topped with cheese and salsa. But the filling could literally be anything, from chicken and corn, to meatballs with tomato sauce! 

They are low carb and keto diet friendly. 

Start with 3 or 4 small zucchini. 

I used a small cookie scoop to scoop out the middle of the zucchini, but you can also use a small spoon. I got a little close to the edge on one of them, but don’t worry about it. The meat filling will cover it up. I love using the insides of the zucchini I scooped out to add filler, so place the insides to the side.  

Pour 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa in a baking dish- I used Pace. Lay the boats on top of the salsa and sprinkle each with salt. 

Now it’s time to make the filling.  Heat a pan over medium-heat and cook the meat. You can use any ground meat, I used ground beef.  Once the meat is cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the same pan and add a drizzle of EVOO.

Sauté the insides of the zucchini. Make sure to cook it down to reduce the liquid. Then add bell peppers,- any color,  I used red and yellow. Sprinkle it with chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir together and cook for about two minutes. Add the red onion and garlic. It should start to smell like it’s almost Taco time! 

Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has absorbed. Lastly, add the meat back to the pan, and stir together. Once it is combined, it’s time to fill up the boats. Go ahead and fill those babies up- don’t be shy! Let the meat spill over if you need to.

I love cheese and, what’s a taco if it doesn’t have any cheese on it? Cover the filled boats with shredded cheese. I used Cheddar but Monterrey Jack or a Mexican blend would work great, too. 

Place the baking dish in the 400°F preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. 

This recipe  is great if you’re looking for a low-carb option for tacos, or need to get more veggies into your diet. Try them out for Taco Tuesday and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Zucchini
  • 1lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Mixed Red & Yellow Bell Peppers, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Red Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced  
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Salsa

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F

Prepare your zucchini, cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a measuring spoon (teaspoon) to hollow out the zucchini forming a boat… save the insides and set aside. 

Pour salsa into a baking dish.

Place the zucchini boats in the same baking dish and sprinkle a small amount of salt over them.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the same pan and add a drizzle of EVOO.

Add the inside of the zucchini, water will release. Let it cook down to reduce the liquid, then add bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir together and cook for about two minutes. Then add the red onion and garlic.

Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has absorbed. Add the meat back to the pan, stir together. 

Once combined, fill each zucchini boat with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Top the zucchini boats with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes or until zucchini has softened and cheese is melted.

Serve hot! 

Recipes

Stuffed Chorizo Chicken over Yellow Rice

The smells of Spanish cooking never fails to set my tastebuds alight.

Spanish food looks good and tastes great. But the smell of Spanish food cooking adds to the anticipation of dinner, and to the experience of eating it!

I loving making recipes that remind me of being a little girl at my grandparents’ houses.

I love using Chorizo in my cooking, whether it’s for my mom’s Spanish Bean Soup, a breakfast hash or tacos! It adds little richness and spice to a dish. The two most common types of chorizo here in the United States are Mexican chorizo and Spanish chorizo.

Here’s a some quick tips on the difference.

Spanish Chorizo

Spanish chorizo is usually cured or smoked and wrapped in a casing. It does not need any further cooking or preparation to enjoy. I like to eat Spanish chorizo as-is on a charcuterie board with cheeses and a glass of red wine.

Mexican Chorizo

Mexican chorizo is most commonly sold raw and must be cooked before consuming. It should be pan-fried or browned like any ground sausage. I love Mexican chorizo, it’s a highly versatile ingredient for adding huge flavor to any dish. It works seamlessly with soups, chilis, sauces, or as a topping for potatoes, pasta dishes, and breakfast hashes.

For this recipe, I used Mexican chorizo since I will stuffing it into chicken.

I always like to marinade my chicken, especially if I’m using breast. I find chicken breast to not have much flavor on it’s own.

I usually make my own marinade but I had a bottle of Goya Mojo Chipotle Marinade in the frig and it’s pretty good so I figured let’s save some time!

The first step of this recipe is to dump your chicken breast into a ziplock bag and pour enough of the marinade in to cover the chicken.

If you have the time, marinate it over night, if not at least 1 hour.

Now it’s time to get to slicing and dicing! This is where my boyfriend, Brian comes in handy!

Before you start, make sure you have a trash bowl next to your cutting board. I learned this tip from one of my favorite chefs, Rachael Ray! I use my Meme’s old metal colander, it makes me feel like she’s in the kitchen with me!

Evenly, dice the onion, garlic and red bell peppers.

Here’s another tip! When you cut your red bell pepper or any pepper make sure to cut it skin down. This will make it so much easier for your knife and you!

While you are slicing and dicing, heat your skillet. Place the chorizo in a skillet over medium heat and break it up into tiny pieces with a wooden spoon while cooking. Transfer the chorizo to a large bowl lined with a paper towel and let the oils drain from the chorizo.

Next, using that same pan, wipe out most of the oil with a paper towel, but leave some of the chorizo oil, and sauté your onion. Sprinkling the Saxon Con Azafran (I use the Baida brand). Continue to sauté for about 4-5 minutes until tender, then add the red bell pepper and sauté until tender. I add the garlic last because garlic can burn if cooked too long and that is not good for any dish. Sauté all together, for 4-5 minutes until fragrant.

Transfer the veggies and chorizo to a large bowl and stir together. This is the filing a.k.a Chorizo stuffing for your chicken!

By now, the aroma from your kitchen should be calling to your family and neighbors to come over for dinner!

PreHeat your oven to 325F

Next up, prepare the yellow rice! I personally love VIGO yellow rice! It’s made right here in Tampa! If you have never visited the VIGO store in Tampa, you must! They also offer field trips for students!

First melt the butter and EVOO in a saucepan. Then add the rice. A great tip I learned from Gordan Ramsay is to first toast your rice!

The secret to a better pan of rice lies in seasoning and flavoring the grains before they even hit that pot of boiling water.

Once the grains are coated and start to toast (you should smell a deep nutty aroma), take it a step further by tossing in some aromatics — like chopped shallots, garlic, ginger, and/or spices — into the pan. For this recipe, toss in the garlic! Toast for just a few minutes, until the rice starts to look slightly brown on the tips and smells fragrant and nutty. Then add in the 2 cups of chicken broth. Stirring occasionally, bring the broth to a boil. Cover saucepan tightly. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Now it’s time to take out all the stress from the day! Grab your mallet or rolling pin; chicken, and cutting board.

Place the chicken on the cutting board and cover it with wax paper or plastic wrap (keep it covered, you don’t want chicken juice on your rolling pin or mallet). After giving the chicken breast a good pounding on both sides, use your rolling pin to roll it out like pie dough to approcimately 1/4 thick (but keep it in the covered since you don’t want chicken juice on your rolling pin.)

Sprinkle Badia Sazon With Saffron over the chicken. Take a scoop of Chorizo stuffing about 1-2 tablespoons and place it at one end of the chicken breast. Do not let your scoop touch the chicken, you are going to want to save the leftover stuffing for future meals, I used mine in quesadillas the next day! It’s also good in a breakfast hash or even as a salsa!

Unravel the cheese… yup I said unravel! It’s like a ball of yarn but cheese! Super fun!

Cut 2-3 inch strips and place on top of the Chorizo stuffing.

Now roll the chicken, making sure to tuck in the cheese and stuffing. You’re basically rolling the chicken like you would a tortilla for a burrito.

You can use tooth picks or kitchen twine to tie the chicken, so it does not come undone. I used twine but tooth picks are much easier. 😉

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat and drizzle with EVOO. You don’t have to use cast iron – a large skillet will do but I much prefer cooking with cast iron!

Sear the stuffed chicken breasts for 4 minutes on each side until browned. (They will not be fully cooked. You will finish them off in the oven.)

Some of the cheese will ooze out, but don’t worry it will taste amazing like fried cheese!

Take the skillet off of the heat, and pour in 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth. Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165F.

Now it’s time to plate the dish! I love creating the presentation of the meal!

Take a ladle and press the rice to form a dome, then place the chicken next to it with the cheese oozing onto the plate. YUM!

Get creative and post your plated presentation below in the comments, I’d love to see it!!!

Ingredients:

Goya Mojo Chipotle Marinade

4 Chicken Breasts

1 large Onion – diced

5 garlic cloves- minced or diced

2 red bell peppers – diced

1 pound Mexican Chorizo

1 ball of Oaxaca Cheese

2 teaspoons Badia Sazon With Saffron

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth

Yellow Rice Ingredients:

10 oz. Vigo Yellow Rice packet

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Olive Oil – EVOO

1 clove garlic – minced or diced

2 cups Chicken Broth

Instructions:

1. Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over the chicken. Leave in refrigerator at least one hour or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 325F.

3. In a large skillet, sauté Chorizo until cooked through. Place the chorizo in a large bowl lined with a paper towel.

4. In the same skillet, sauté the diced onion, sprinkle with Badia Sazon With Saffron seasoning. Add the diced red bell peppers, stirring occasionally until soft. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

5. Pour onion, red bell pepper & garlic mixture into a large bowl. Add the chorizo into the bowl and stir together.

6. Lay down 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Use the smooth side of a mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken. Start in the center of your chicken and work your way out, until chicken is 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.

7. Scoop the Chorizo stuffing onto one side of the flatten chicken breast.

8. Lay a 2-3 inch slice of cheese on top of the chorizo stuffing.

9. Roll up the chicken, tucking in the stuffing and cheese.

10. Stick a couple of toothpicks in near the opening to keep it all together.

11. Heat up a pan to medium-high heat (I used a cast iron skillet) and sear the meat on both sides about 4 minutes for each side.

12. Pour in 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth.

13. Lower the heat and continue cooking the meat on the stove until it’s done or, if you’re using a cast iron skillet, you can put the skillet in the oven. Just make sure you cook it until the center reaches 165ºF on a thermometer

14. Serve immediately over yellow rice. Enjoy!

Yellow Rice Instructions

1. Melt butter and EVOO over medium heat in a sauce pan.

2. Pour packet of yellow rice into the saucepan. Toast the rice until the edges are slightly brown.

3. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.

4. Pour 2 cups of chicken broth into the saucepan and bring to boil, stirring for about one minute.

5. Cover saucepan tightly. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes.