Main Dishes, Recipes, Seafood and Fish

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce #bookclubcookbookCC

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce… this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer!

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Once upon a time, when I was a senior in high school, I took AP English. English classes at my high school were awesome–I had the best teachers, and we got to read some wonderful novels over the years. I realize I sound like a complete goody two shoes with those two statements, and let’s face it–I probably was. For one project in AP English [which was totally worth it, btw since I tested out of the two required English courses in college due to acing the AP exam], we had to read a classic novel independently and do a book report/presentation about it to the class. The details are a bit hazy since this was circa 2002, but I remember taking the official list of our book choices to Borders [rest in peace] and walking around reading the backs of zillions of books to make THE choice. This was important stuff, guys!! And it was before my infatuation with libraries. In those days, I could spend hours in a bookstore, especially my beloved Borders next to my favorite Panera. Good times!

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Anyways, after perusing my options, I settled on Love in the Time of Cholera by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. I had two main reasons for my choice: first, it was originally published the year I was born, and two, I liked the cover. Great reasons, huh? These great reasons backfired on me–I hated the book. Not that you came to my blog to read about literary elements or theory, but one of the techniques used in this novel is magical realism–magic alongside everyday events. And if you know me, you know that I’m as realistic as they come. I don’t really like tv or movies with any fantasy elements, and that is how I saw this book. So now you know my feelings on Love in the Time of Cholera…which happens to be the May book choice for #bookclubcookbookCC, hosted by Danielle of Mostly Food and Crafts and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. Yes, I am a little late, but I have a four week old baby so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Love in the Time of Cholera is set in the Caribbean, possibly Colombia, but if I remember correctly, it’s a little ambiguous. And what’s more Caribbean or coastal than a good fish dish? This baked tilapia is jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy coconut-cilantro sauce! It is a snap to put together, so it’s great even for busy new parents to make. [That’s me!] All you do is combine a few tasty ingredients in the blender or food processor and whirl away. The oven does the rest of the work. Love it! This fresh sauce is the perfect blend of tropical flavors with a wee bit of spice. How delightful! I’m sure we will make it over and over again this summer. Hope you love this dish as much as we did… and if you do happen to love the novel this recipe is inspired by, well, then please accept my apologies that I did not. 🙂 Maybe if I read it as an adult I’d have a different opinion, but alas… have a great day, friends!

one year ago: Southwestern Cilantro Mac & Cheese
two years ago: Black Bean and Rice Soup

three years ago: Blueberry Burgers
four years ago: Parmesan Garlic Rolls
five years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from Food Network


  • 4 tilapia fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk [light or full fat, your choice]
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped – deseed as desired
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, for serving


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, then place tilapia in the pan. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, garlic, and jalapeno. Pulse until smooth. Pour sauce over fish, then bake about 15 minutes until tilapia is cooked through–it should be opaque in the center. Serve over rice.

Main Dishes, Recipes, Seafood and Fish, Soups

Mystery Dish: Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles can be classy too! They aren’t just college student food. These ramen noodles feature shrimp–REAL sesame ginger seasoned shrimp–and lots of yummy vegetables, all cooked in a delightful ginger-chili broth.

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

This dish is genius, if I do say so myself. I’ve made a fancified ramen dish before [check it out!] and ever since then, I’ve been dreaming about ramen noodles… but not the uber salty college kind. Ramen noodles with real food. Mmm!

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

But it wasn’t until this month’s Mystery Dish [hosted by Mary Frances of The Sweet {Tooth} Life] when one of our challenge ingredients included RAMEN NOODLES! Woot! Other ingredients we had to choose from included clams, blueberries, heavy whipping cream, chocolate chunks, potato chips, kale, almond butter, chiles, and orange juice. I used chili pepper paste and kale in this recipe too. Originally, I planned to make this a pretty simple kale ramen noodle dish with a chili pepper sauce. But then when cooking, I saw shrimp in the fridge… shrimp that I had been planning to use for the 2015 Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Blogger Recipe Challenge. Then I wondered… what would shrimp ramen taste like? Turns out, it’s pretty fabulous and I’m so proud to enter it in this awesome recipe contest as well as use it for Mystery Dish. 🙂 I didn’t intend to make one recipe for two events but it worked out really well!

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

Before the recipe, let’s talk about how flavorful these ramen noodles really are. Ramen noodles usually just have some sauce on them. Not mine! These ramen noodles begin with a flavorful ginger-chili broth, made with lots of fresh Asian/Thai ingredients like ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chili pepper. Add in some fresh veggies [I used kale, mushrooms, and bell peppers] and some flavorful shrimp and you are set for one classy meal! Ben and I both agreed that the shrimp were the best part of the dish… right next to those slurpy ginger noodles, that is. 🙂

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

To make the shrimp so fabulous, I started with a quick marinade/rub. I used some of the usual suspects–soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, lemongrass, chili pepper–as well as the star seasoning blend from Healthy Solutions… Sesame Ginger Tuna. This seasoning blend is super flavorful and zesty; it’s hard to believe it doesn’t contain sugar or salt.

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

I rubbed all this on some large shrimp and let it hang out while I whipped together the broth, then I sauteed up all the veggies and shrimp. There’s a lot going on in this dish, but with the common flavors–ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chili pepper… everything goes together SO well. And bonus! This dish comes together in about 30 minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight family dinner. If you’re super organized, you could put the rub on the shrimp earlier in the day to infuse more flavor into them but that’s totally not necessary. I’m so excited with how well this dish turned out and I hope you love it too! Thanks to Healthy Solutions and Mystery Dish for the inspiration behind this dish. Enjoy! 🙂
Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles | #MysteryDish #HealthySolutionsBloggerRecipeChallenge

one year ago: Lightened Up Cheesy Sausage Grits Breakfast Casserole
two years ago: Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream
three years ago: Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken
four years ago: Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodles

  • Servings: 4
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for shrimp 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Healthy Solutions Sesame Ginger Tuna seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 1 tablespoon chili pepper paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and devined [mine still had the tails on though]

for ginger-chili broth

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated [from about 1-2 inches fresh peeled ginger]
  • 2 scallions, chopped – green and white parts separated
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili pepper paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 4 cups chicken broth

for ramen

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced [I used the mini red, yellow, and orange peppers]
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated [from about 1/2-1 inch fresh peeled ginger]
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper paste [I used Garden Gourmet brand]
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages ramen noodles, uncooked [any flavor – flavor packets are NOT used]
  • 1 cup kale, thinly sliced into ribbons and firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, to taste
  • additional broken ramen noodles, for garnish
  • chopped cilantro, for serving


In a medium bowl, whisk together Healthy Solutions Sesame Ginger Tuna seasoning blend, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lemongrass, and chili pepper. Add shrimp and toss together to coat. Set aside.

Next, prepare ginger-chili broth. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and the white part of the scallions. Cook, stirring constantly, for about one minute. Add chili pepper paste and chicken broth, and stir until it comes together. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil for another minute. Reduce heat to low and simmer while the rest of the dish comes together.

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms, peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and chili pepper. Saute for three to four minutes, then add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Next, cook the noodles. Break the noodles up and add them to the ginger-chili broth. Turn heat to medium-high, keeping just below a boil. Cook for 3 minutes then remove from heat.

While noodles are cooking, add shrimp to the veggies in the wok. Stir regularly for about three minutes or until shrimp are no longer pink. Next, reduce heat to low and pour ramen and broth in the pan. Add kale, lime juice, fish sauce, and most of the reserved green scallions from the broth. Stir then let rest for about a minute. Serve topped with additional broken ramen noodles, chopped cilantro, and green scallions. Enjoy!

2015 Blogger Recipe Challenge for Healthy Solution Spice Blends |

Disclosure: I received a complimentary packet of Sesame Ginger Tuna Spice Blend by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends for participating in this recipe contest. You can use any sesame ginger seasoning blend for this recipe. I received no additional compensation for this post; all comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own. I was not paid or required to publish positive comments but I happen to love Healthy Solutions Spice Blends… check out my review of them here.

Check out other Mystery Dish recipes below:

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Sandwich Cookies from Flavor the Moments
Blueberry Frozen Custard Pops from Simply Gloria
Sesame Ginger Shrimp Ramen Noodlesfrom The Pajama Chef
Potato Chip Chocolate Chunk Cookies from I Dig Pinterest
Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Potato Chip Cookies from Chez Catey Lou
Blueberry French Toast Casserole from Yummy Healthy Easy
Spicy Clam & Kale Appetizer by Inspiration Kitchen
Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Rice Krispie Treats from The Sweet {Tooth} Life

Main Dishes, Recipes, Seafood and Fish

Mystery Dish: Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

Welcome to December Mystery Dish! Should be a good post for my last recipe of the year. I didn’t intend to take a two week break, but it’s been nice to unplug. 🙂 Sherri at The Well Floured Kitchen was this month’s host for Mystery Dish, and the ingredients she chose for us included: Dark Chocolate, Greek Yogurt, Berries, Coconut Oil, Walnuts, Fish, Baby Spinach, and Pecorino Romano Cheese. We had to use at least two, and I chose to use fish and berries… cranberries to be specific. I know cranberries aren’t always thought of as traditional ‘berries’ but they are in season and I love them so I wanted to use them! For more info on berries, check out Wikipedia. 🙂

Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa |

Ben helped extensively with this recipe–he came up with the idea to make fish tacos, and I wanted to try my hand at a cranberry salsa. Fruit salsas are so complimentary to fish tacos, and this one, though a little more tart than most, was absolutely amazing. I used two types of fresh herbs [rosemary and parsley] and tangerine to flavor it up, then added a little sweetness and tartness with honey and red raspberry vinegar. My goal was to make the salsa be different from my usual cranberry relish [fresh cranberries, sugar, and an orange], and I think I succeeded!

Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa |

While I was cranberry salsa-ing it up, Ben was busy preparing the fish tacos. He’s the fish taco expert in the family, and decided to season the tilapia with some olive oil and vinegar–but not just your average olive oil and vinegar. He used some special blood orange-infused olive oil and coconut-infused white balsamic vinegar from the Bumble Olive Oil Company in his hometown [Toledo, Ohio]. If you can get your hands on these infused oils, DO IT! So good. But if not, use extracts or juices to create the same effect. The result? A sweet, tender, flaky fish that pairs so well with some tart salsa and crunchy cabbage. I also whipped up some Mexican rice with dinner… aka my favorite side ever. Yum yum and yum! Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies
two years ago: Classic Sugar Cookies
three years ago: Cranberry Scones

Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa
click to print


  • 3-4 tilapia filets [frozen or fresh]
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil [mine was blood-orange infused]*
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar [mine was coconut infused]*
  • 1/4 of a sweet yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tangerine, sliced and seeded [leave on peel]
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons red raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • tortillas, for serving
  • chopped red cabbage, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, then place tilapia filets in baking dish. Combine olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl, then brush mixture over tilapia, turning to coat. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. If you use fresh fish, the cook time will be reduced.

Meanwhile, combine onion, garlic, and tangerine in a food processor. Pulse until nearly smooth, then add parsley, rosemary, vinegar, honey, and cranberries. Pulse a few times to break up cranberries, then season with pepper and salt to taste.

Gently slice fish into strips, then serve in tortillas with cabbage and sour cream, squeezing lime wedges overtop before enjoying.

Time: 25 minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

Note: I used infused evoo and balsamic vinegar. You can add a few drops of coconut or orange extract for a similar flavor profile, or a little orange juice or zest.

Please check out the rest of the Mystery Dish posts when you have a chance too. They all look SO delicious!

Mystery Dish Collage

1. Cinnamon Coffee Cake from Buttercream Fanatic
2. Dark Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookies from Chez Catey Lou
3. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart from The Dessert Chronicles
4. Berry Chocolate Streusel Bars from Baking a Moment
5. Green Berry Smoothie from I Want Crazy
6. Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa from The Pajama Chef
7. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Brownies from Joyful Healthy Eats
8. Healthy Homemade Granola Parfait from Yummy Healthy Easy
9. Pear Cranberry Crockpot Oatmeal from See Hubby Cook
10. Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from Culinary Couture
11. Raspberry Chocolate Crumb Bars from I Dig Pinterest
12. Dark Chocolate Walnut Coconut Macaroon Fingers from The Well Floured Kitchen

Main Dishes, One Tablespoon Testosterone, Recipes, Seafood and Fish

OTT: Baked Flounder

Uh oh, here we go again! Ben is back with his guest post column entitled One Tablespoon Testosterone, or OTT for short. Enjoy!


I love fish.  Not as pets, but cooked up and served on a plate.  While some may not because it tastes and smells “fishy”, I do and I won’t apologize for it.  I have had some fantastic complicated fish dishes; but when I really get a craving, I often want something simple.  And that takes me back to my childhood and the delicious, yet simple, baked fish my mom would make.

While there were several seasoning variations she used, one of my favorites that I’ve adapted uses just three ingredients besides the flounder: butter, dill, and lime juice.  I can’t honestly say how close this is to what my mom made, but it does remind me of it.  And if she cares to correct the error of my ways, then she can.  But you know what, Mom?  I’m an adult, and I can make my fish the way I please…so there.

OTT: Baked Flounder
click to print

  • 4 fresh (or frozen) flounder fillets
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 t dill weed
  • 1 T lime juice

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees.  Get out a large baking dish (maybe two if your fish is large) and grease it.  Leave it be for the moment and melt the butter in a small dish.  Add the lime juice and the dill weed, then stir it together.  Rub the mixture on both sides of each fish fillet and place in the baking dish.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork.  And voila, simple yet flavorful fish.

Time: 25 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Reader Question: What was your favorite dinner that your mom made growing up?

Main Dishes, Recipes, Seafood and Fish

Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut

This dish is a keeper! Full of creamy ‘n spicy [if you like it that way] goodness, this easy shrimp dish will impress anyone… 🙂
Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut via thepajamachef.comDear Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut,

How I love thee! You have taught me two very important lessons. Is it okay if I share them now? I hope so, because that is the plan.

Lesson Number 1: Good food gets a man excited for marriage.

I first made you, you delicious dish you, back in spring 2009 [how do I remember these things?] for my then-fiancé, now-husband, Ben, when I visited him before we were married. He was living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment at the time, working in Bloomington, Indiana while I was still in Athens, Ohio working with Cru [which is where we met]. I had to bring most of the ingredients with me, because what bachelor keeps limes, coconut milk, and basil around their kitchen? I did, however, hit up the grocery store for the shrimp because a 5 hour drive with seafood is not advisable. Just a little tip to start your Monday off right [you can thank me later :)]. Anyways, I had you ready when Ben came home from a long day at work and it only made him that more excited for marriage. He loved how spicy and creamy your sauce was, how tender your shrimp was, and how comforting your rice was. Sad to say, he did not love the prospect of going back to boxed dinners for the next several months before we got married. Fortunately though, that has made Ben more appreciative of good food now that we are married. Win-win! And now, when I serve you, he just smiles and grins and asks for more. So thank you, Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut. You have served me well.

But that is not all. You have also taught me another vital lesson.

Lesson Number 2: Always double check with herbs. There is a big difference between dried and fresh.

Oh yes. There is a definite difference between dried and fresh herbs. Yes, yes there is. I know that now. But after I made you for the first time, I went back to Ohio and raved about you to my roommates. One of the girls ended up making it for her Bible study a few weeks later and accidentally used 1/4 cup dried basil instead of 1/4 cup fresh basil [or 1-1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil]. We spent 20 minutes straining your sauce through a fine colander, hoping and praying that the girls would not be early that week, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. So thank you, dear dinner, for such a vital lesson, and for such a fun memory.

I believe this letter is getting long, and I am getting hungry. But again I want to say thank you, for all you have done and for your wonderful nourishment, your tantalizing aroma, and your speedy preparation time. I hope others love you as much as I.


Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from Betty Crocker


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons red or green Thai curry paste [or substitute Thai chili garlic sauce]
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, shells removed, devined, and peeled
  • 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes [use regular diced tomatoes to tone down the spice]
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil [Thai if possible, can also substitute 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil]
  • nam pla [Asian fish sauce, if desired]
  • hot cooked rice


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper and cook for about 2 minutes or until just soft. Add curry paste and cook an additional minute. Add shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, and brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp are fully cooked. Slowly pour in coconut milk, basil, and a dash or two of nam pla [if desired], stirring well to incorporate. Continue to simmer until hot. Serve over rice.