Friday, February 22, 2013

Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayo and Fresh Mango Salsa

Right when we thought it was getting warmer, here comes another dump of snow! Somewhat ironic that the very same day we started our tropical sale at work. I love any food that makes me feel like I'm on a vacation. To help the customers get a taste of paradise, I prepared a blackened tilapia sandwich with fresh mango salsa and Hawaiian pulled pork with fresh pineapple salsa and coconut rice. Enjoy!


Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayo and Fresh Mango Salsa

Serves 4

1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon ground thyme
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cooking spray
4 (5 oz.) fresh tilapia filets
4 whole wheat bakery buns, split
Cilantro lime mayo, see below
Fresh mango salsa, see below

1. Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Spray each tilapia filet with cooking spray then rub with the seasoning mixture.

3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Coat the pan with a small amount of olive oil and add the seasoned tilapia. Cook 3-4 minutes per side (or until it flakes easily). Transfer to a platter. Repeat the process until all the filets are cooked.

Cilantro Lime Mayo

1 cup light mayo
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Fresh Mango Salsa

2 fresh mangoes, diced (or 1/2 bag of frozen mango chunks, thawed)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

To assemble the sandwich:

Smear each bun with the cilantro lime mayo. Top with blackened tilapia and fresh mango salsa and serve!

Hawaiian Pulled Pork with Fresh Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice

Serves 6-8

Hawaiian Pulled Pork

4 lb. pork shoulder (or pork butt)
1 (16 oz.) can pineapple juice
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
Salt and pepper

1. Season pork with salt and pepper and place fat side down in a slow cooker.

2. Pour pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce and liquid smoke over the top.

3. Cook on LOW for 6-10 hours. Remove pork from the cooker onto a large platter and shred with 2 forks. Once shredded, return meat to the slow cooker and keep warm.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
1 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeƱo, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust seasonings as needed. Keep at room temperature.

Coconut Rice

2 cups basmati rice
2 cups canned coconut milk (full fat, not light)
1 3/4 cups water
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, top rice with pulled pork, fresh salsa and toasted coconut (optional).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lean Beef

Have you been told you have high cholesterol? Instead of hearing "No red meat!" you'll now hear dietitians encouraging the consumption of lean beef as part of a heart-healthy diet.


The BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study compared the consumption of 4 ounces of lean beef daily to the gold standard of heart-healthy eating, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Both diets contained a similar mix of nutrients, including fewer than 7% of calories from saturated fat, but the BOLD diet contained 4 ounces of lean beef each day while the DASH diet limited red meat. At the end of the study, BOTH diets lowered LDL "bad cholesterol" in participants by 10%, providing evidence that beef may not be as bad for cholesterol and heart health as once thought.

  • Over half the fat in beef is actually monounsaturated fat, the same type of heart-healthy fat found in olive oil
  • There are 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for "lean", including T-bone, tenderloin, top sirloin and 95%-lean ground beef. Look for the words "loin" and "round" in the name to help identify lean beef cuts.
Three easy steps to pan-broil - eye of round steak (works the same for top sirloin steak):

Stovetop skillet cooking is ideal for cooking a tender, juicy steak during the winter months.

Step 1: Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Step 2: Remove steak from the refrigerator and season as desired. Place steak in preheated skillet, don't add water or oil and leave uncovered.

Step 3: Pan-broil 12 to 15 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally. 

*If desired, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup red wine and bring to a simmer. Add 8 oz. sliced mushrooms (and 1 tsp olive oil if needed) and cook until mushrooms are caramelized, 5-7 minutes. Season with a dash of salt and pepper and serve with the sliced steak.