HUZ IN THE KITCH: Roasted Cod with Warm Tapenade

One night last week, this beautiful lady had a much deserved night off from cooking.

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(Doesn’t her new haircut look great?!)

Anyways, on with dinner.

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Roasted Cod with Warm Tapenade:

Leah picked this recipe out of Eating Well with the goal of continuing her Mediterranean-themed week. You probably know by now that she has a great eye for good food. Well, I volunteered to cook this delightful meal with the intention of having it on the table when she got home from her after work haircut; but alas, I got stuck at work longer than I should’ve been and was just starting the prep work when she came through the door. The best laid plans…

Oh well, Leah didn’t seem to mind. She got to enjoy one of her favorite activities….supervising me and telling me what to do. Haha.  😉

Here’s the nuts and bolts of the recipe:

4 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 pound cod fillet,
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cured olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano thyme
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Rub cod with 2 teaspoons oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 20 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add olives and capers; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds more. Stir in oregano and vinegar; remove from heat. Spoon the tapenade over the cod to serve.
Nutrition

Per serving: 168 calories; 8 g fat ( 1 g sat , 6 g mono ); 43 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 19 g protein; 1 g fiber; 373 mg sodium; 286 mg potassium.

My ingredients:

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I like to get all of the ingredients out so I’m not too stressed when I begin to prep the meal. This planning effort doesn’t entirely work, because I tend to stress out when I’m in charge of a meal anyway. The kitchen is still unfamiliar territory for me and I constantly find myself comparing my abilities to my wife’s. That, and I don’t want to displease her….especially when she’s hungry.

Turns out, that I had nothing to stress about with this meal. It really came together nicely once all the chopping and measuring were done (which I highly recommend you do beforehand).

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Once the ingredients were prepped and the cod was rubbed with oil and pepper, I was ready to rock-and-roll.

The cod went into the pre-heated oven and I dove straight into making my first ever tapenade.

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I was surprised at how quickly the tapenade came together and how sensitive the tomatoes were to the heat. I kinda obliterated them. If I were to do this over again, I probably would’ve held off on starting the tapenade until the cod only had about 10 more minutes in the oven. That way, my tomatoes wouldn’t have turned to mush.

The cod turned out perfectly, though. See for yourself:

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Mmmmmmm. To accompany these fine fishies, I the wife decided I should pair them with green beans and another dish of cous cous (so nice, they named it twice) with spinach and sun dried tomatoes.

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Dinner is served.

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This was a very quick meal that was rather manageable to prepare (even by my standards) and pretty darn tasty. Not a wow dish by any means, but certainly a nice way to mix things up and definitely packed with Mediterranean flavor.

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Southwest Chicken Piccata with Peppered Couscous

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Back in the day, when we lived in Edmonds, just under a year ago (yet feels like an eternity), our favorite grocery store was PCC Natural Markets. I’ve raved about them many times. And even though they aren’t local for us anymore, I still see them as a great healthy, local resource!

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And when they say jump, I say, “How high?”

Southwest Chicken Piccata with Peppered Couscous

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, filleted
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 1 Tbs thinly sliced cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice

Peppered Couscous

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup julienne sweet red pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp seasoned pepper blend
  • 2 Tbs cilantro sprigs
  • lime slices

Directions

  • In large sealable plastic bag, place chicken and pound to 1/4 inch thickness.
  • On plate, mix together flour, garlic salt, cumin and pepper. Dip chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat.
  • In large nonstick frypan over medium high heat, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add 2 breast halves and cook about 5 minutes or until lightly browned and fork can be inserted in chicken with ease.
  • Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
  • Wipe pan clean and repeat with remaining oil and chicken. To frypan, add chicken broth and jalapeño pepper; bring to a boil, stirring to loosen brown bits.
  • Cook about 3 minutes to reduce by half, remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
  • Place couscous on serving dish and arrange chicken on top. Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with cilantro sprigs, lime slices, and chile peppers.
  • Peppered Couscous:In small saucepan, mix together remaining cup chicken broth, frozen corn kernels, sweet red pepper, jalapeño pepper, pepper blend and salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in uncooked couscous.
  • Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes.
  • Stir in thinly sliced cilantro.

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This was a stellar recipe. It’s hard to go wrong with these fantastic ingredients though!

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The chicken was moist and flavorful. And the couscous had a wonderful kick to it. Husband would have liked the bell peppers cut smaller but I enjoyed the strips!

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This is a definite keeper. Next time, more of the sauce for the chicken!

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Tunisian Couscous

The other day, I was sifting around the pantry doing a quick analysis and realized, “It’s been awhile since we’ve had couscous!” Next thing you know, it is on the menu for the following week. That’s how I roll.

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The thing with couscous is that it is ridiculously quick and easy to make. There is also something really light and refreshing about it; I think that is why we generally eat it more frequently in warmer temperatures. But towards the end of January, you are needing a bit of summer in your life, even if it is only through a light, fresh lunch.

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Tunisian Couscous

Original recipe here.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 2 cups dry couscous
  • 1/4 cup grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon almond slivers (optional)
Directions
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Place onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and carrot in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red and yellow peppers and mushrooms; cook another 3 minutes. Vegetables should still be firm.
  2. Pour in the vegetable stock and season with paprika, cardamom, salt, orange zest, and cilantro. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low. Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes. Slowly pour in the couscous; stir. Cover pot immediately and remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. The couscous should have absorbed about most of the cooking liquid.
  3. Serve at slightly warmer than room temperature. Garnish with grated cheese and almonds.

There was a lot of chopping involved in this recipe.

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But I loved all of the veggies that were in the mix.

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I added a lot more orange zest than the recipe called for and served the wedges on the side. I didn’t want to waste it!

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I think that the recipe could have used more of the spices. I would probably double them all if I were to make this again.

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It did come together easily once all of the prep work was completed.

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The almond slivers on top were a lovely garnish as well and the added crunch was a nice addition.

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Sweetness

I am slightly embarrassed by myself today.

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That’s Marionberry Pound Cake. x3.

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x2.

Yes, I gorged. Major sweet tooth. I’ll give you two guesses why but you will only need one. 😀

Lunch was leftover shrimp/pasta from last night.

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And an unpictured string cheese.

I managed to tough out work until almost 3 before hurrying home to the boy.

We almost immediately headed to Costco.

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$26.35

And PCC.

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$0 thanks to some coupons!

This brings our grocery challenge total to $34.59.

I didn’t feel like “cooking” so I channeled my inner Caitlin for dinner.

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Kidney Beans.

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Couscous.

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Peas + butter + agave + walnuts = HEAVENLY PEAS.

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Now we are going to the mall to do some window shopping. Hope it isn’t too crazy tonight!

-L4L-

PS – #NotInSF!!!

Getting back in the groove

I think the not great sleep the last few nights have caught up with me. This morning at work I felt a little headache coming on and very very heavy eyes. My cure:

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I know, I know, not the best thing in the world but it’s less calories and more energy than coffee, which I didn’t have this morning! 😉

Morning Snack

I *gasp* didn’t have yogurt this morning! Instead, I ate a peach.

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Or not…

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It didn’t taste pleasant or look pleasant at all. So I tossed it after 2 bites. *sigh*

Lunch

Leftover couscous and roasted veggies.

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Another yum! Quite filling as well!

Afternoon Snack

More boy-chopped mushroom, bell pepper, and carrots dipped in Sabra hummus that I didn’t get to yesterday.

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(only had half the hummus and half the carrots)

(with a chocolate chaser)

I made it to the gym straight after work today! Yay! I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do when I got there though…

I ended up warming up with 5 minutes on the stairmaster then did deadlifts, lat pulldowns, bulgarian split squats, tricep skull crushers, front raises, swiss ball crunches with weights, side crunches with weights, plank, side plank, t-push-ups. That all took ~25 minutes. Then I did 30 minutes on the treadmill, walking. I started at 3.5 mph with no incline and worked up to 4.0 mph and 13% incline while watching Oprah on the cardio center! 😀 Then I did a bit of stretching. Burned 511 calories!

Dinner

Tonight, I made Cuban-Style Black Beans.

I pretty much followed this with some of the modifications in the comments.

I used canned black beans. Almost 2 cans worth. (We used a tiny bit last night on our salads.) I didn’t drain the one can that we opened tonight and used that as the water in the recipe.

I sautéed onion, garlic and a red bell pepper in some EVOO Spray.

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I added the black beans and some frozen corn to the pan and let it simmer.

Then I added the tomato paste (only 2/3’s of a can though b/c I had it in the fridge) vinegar, (brown) sugar, salt (only 1 tsp), pepper and the pimentos. (This is the first time I’ve ever used pimentos!)

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I did not cook this for an hour and a half like the recipe calls for since I used canned beans instead of dried. It cooked for maybe half an hour while the rice was going in my mother’s old ancient rice cooker!

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I served this over wild rice. Topped with a dollop of Daisy.

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To be honest, I didn’t think that it was very “Cuban” but I don’t really know if I know what Cuban food tastes like… Either way, it was tasty. The boy said it was a make-again. That always makes me happy – especially when it is a vegetarian meal! Today was actually completely vegetarian, unplanned! I love that!

We ate in front of the TV watching The Wire.

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Haha, we both have our Blackberry Storms right at hand, me in pink, him in red. (I spy boy feet!)

The boy is off doing a run (it’s 8pm) since it has cooled down a bit. The house is sooo much cooler today. It was in the 90’s instead of the 100’s! Yippee! I’d rather see 80’s though!

Now to enjoy some quality alone time while the boy is out! Yay! Maybe a pedicure? I do need to finalize next weeks meal plan… Hm.

-L4L-

“New” Chocolate and Larabars

Morning Snack

I had fruit salad, from a couple nights ago, topped with Yami Yogurt.

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I might be getting tired of the yogurt morning snack soon… maybe.

Lunch

Leftover Salmon and couscous from last night.

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I feel like I’m lacking on the veggies today. 😦

On my actual lunch break, I ran a couple errands and ended up at Whole Foods. I had some coupons in the car and $7 that was burning a whole in my pocket so I decided to stock a little for my goody drawer at work. I ended up with 2 new (to me) Larabar flavors to try and a new (to me) chocolate bar.

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As soon as I got back to work, I tried a tiny bit of the chocolate.

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Normally, I stick to Endangered Species 88% cacao chocolate bar but I felt the need to have chocolate at work and had a Green & Black coupon for $1 off. I checked out the varieties of dark chocolate and this appealed the most to me. I LOVE orange chocolate. You know those chocolates that are actually in the shape of an orange? Uh huh. My fav. They always remind me of my Opa. This bar was very similar. I might like it better. It had a little more spice to it but the orange and creamy chocolateness still came through nicely. It melted in my mouth! (The 93* weather probably isn’t helping!) From Green & Black’s website: "…blending rich, dark chocolate with a refreshing twist of orange that is perfectly balanced by the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of vanilla." Also known as: heaven.

Afternoon Snack

More boy-chopped mushroom, bell pepper, and carrots dipped in Sabra hummus.

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Except the bell pepper tasted funky and I wasn’t feeling the carrots so I just ate the mushrooms and licked the rest of the hummus off of a carrot.

And then I had another piece of Maya Gold.

Before leaving work, I tried the pistachio larabar.

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I wasn’t insanely impressed but it wasn’t bad either. I ate half of this bar.

I thought about hitting the gym, but was really hot and unmotivated. Probably hormone related. 😦 I took a cold shower when I got home and then started dinner. I was hungry!

Dinner

Made up for my lack of veggies earlier in the day! I made vegetable spaghetti. I used a zucchini, squash, some asparagus, mushrooms, onion, garlic and bell pepper. LOTS of veggies! 😀

I chopped all the veggies and seasoned them with EVOO, salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven. I boiled some whole wheat spaghetti noodles and heated up some Classico Spaghetti Sauce in a small saucepan.

I intentionally did lots of veggies so we’d have some leftovers!

I topped the noodles with some sauce (that I spiced up by adding a can of diced tomatoes, garlic powder, oregano, and a dash of cayenne), added the roasted veggies, and sprinkled with shredded parmesan.

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We had a small amount of Black Box Cab Sauv.

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This is the best boxed wine I have ever had! Very economical and great for just wanting a small pour here and there! I recommend! I think we paid ~$20-25 for the box and I think it is 3-4 bottles worth of wine? How great is that?!

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Dinner was superbly easy and tasty! Yum!

Off to watch an episode of The Wire!

A new toy!

Morning Snack

I had fruit salad, that I prepped the night before, topped with Yami Peach Yogurt and a few fresh raspberries that one of the girls at work gave me!

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So yum!

Lunch

Leftover Shrimp Gumbo from last night.

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It was also delicious but I could tell today that the okra was rather overcooked. Oops! (Don’t worry, I adjusted the cooking time to take that into consideration on my recount of it yesterday.)

Afternoon Snack

The boy did a great job chopping veggies yesterday so today I munched on mushroom, bell pepper, and carrots dipped in Sabra hummus.

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I also had a juice box! 😀

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I worked a little later today because my carpool buddy had a late meeting and I need to stay on her good side. 😉 I picked up the boy, who was patiently waiting for me, we grabbed the car from the shop, and headed home. By this time, it was nearly 7 so we vetoed the run we had planned and just got to work on grub.

Dinner

Inspired by this recipe, I made Walnut Crusted Salmon with Horseradish. Very easy to make! Just slap some horseradish on the fillets, salt and pepper, press in crushed walnuts and drizzle in melted butter. Bake at 425* for 12 minutes!

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While the salmon was baking, I whipped up a quick batch of couscous. To fix up the couscous, I added some halved grape tomatoes, feta and green onions.

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With a side of steamed asparagus

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I only had a half of a fillet, the other half was put away for leftovers!

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Dinner only took maybe 20 minutes to throw together! Not bad, eh?

(Again, I live close enough to Canada to get away with the ‘eh’!)

Also! Amazingness! When we got home, there was a beautiful package waiting for me from Jodus’ mom! It was her hardly used breadmaker which I am sure cost a small fortune to ship but I am super excited to start making my own breads!! Yay! That shall come in the near future after some research. 😉

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