Sunday, February 12, 2012

We're having company for dinner!

I am so excited to share this next set of recipes that I can't even think of something witty to say.  We had company for dinner tonight.  This was the sort of company that you don't feel like you have to clean your house for.  That works for me because less cleaning time = more cooking time.  We had an amazing dinner of artichoke, beet, and spinach salad, tilapia, and marinated veggies.  It was ah-may-zing....and all the recipes were mine!  A little disclaimer about that....I don't exactly measure ingredients as I go, so all these measurements are educated guesses.  The good news is, that basically means you can't mess any of these up...and no need to use measuring cups and spoons! 

The first thing I did was make some roasted beets.  I actually did this yesterday and just kept them in the fridge overnight. 

  • 6 beets, peeled and cut into eighths
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 cup orange juice
  • 1/8  cup balsamic vinegar
1.  Preheat oven to 400.
2.  Put peeled beets into a dish and drizzle with olive oil.
3.  Add fresh thyme.  If you don't have fresh thyme, use dried.  If you don't have dried thyme, skip this step.
4.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5.  Roast until beets are soft, around an hour 15 minutes.
6.  Mix orange juice with balsamic vinegar and pour over cooked beets.

Set beets aside and let them cool.  Any leftovers are going in the mini's lunches tomorrow.  For all of you out there that do not like beets, try these beets.  If you try them and still don't like beets, then don't like beets.

Next step is to make the brown-sugar walnuts for the salad topping.

  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • handful of walnuts
1.  In a pan, melt butter over low heat.
2.  Add brown sugar and stir.
3.  Add walnuts and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes.
4.  Cool walnuts on parchment paper.

Final prep step is the Citrus Vinagrette.
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
1.  Whisk all ingredients together.

This salad dressing may be my best one yet.  It is absolutely delish. 

Roasted Beet and Artichoke Salad
  • 5 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • feta cheese
  • roasted beets
  • one can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • red onion, sliced
  • brown-sugar walnuts
  • citrus vinagrette
1.  Toss all ingredients together.

I have to confess, I was so excited about this dinner that I forgot to take pictures until after we had eaten!  So this is the leftovers that I am saving for tomorrow.

I thought the salad was the star of my dinner, but everyone else loved the tilapia I served it with.  Even the minis loved it.  Score!

Bread-crusted Tilapia
  • 3-4 tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used breadcrumbs made from stale bread)
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • garlic salt
  • fresh grated italian cheeses (parmesan, asiago, etc)
  • one egg, beaten well
1.  Preheat oven to 350 and grease a glass baking dish. 
2.  Mix breadcrumbs with spices and fresh grated cheese (use amount the works with your personal taste preference, I use a lot!)
3.  Dip each tilapia filet in the beaten egg.
4.  Dredge each tilapia filet in the breadcrumb mix.
5.  Put tilapia filets in pan and spray with non-stick spray.
6.  Bake until white and flaky, approximately 30 minutes.

My brilliant company brought a dish of marinated veggies to share.  These were delish and could easily be used many ways.  I can't wait until this summer when Mr. McGhee can grill these up while I lay in the pool yelling at him to make sure they aren't over-cooked (I prefer my veggies crisp!)

  • 1/2 cup thickly sliced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 16 large fresh button mushrooms
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
  1. Place the zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, squash, red onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic. Pour over the vegetables. Cover bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Cook on the grill or stove top in a pan.

Delish!  If you are a blessed like I am and have friends and family that will come over to your messy house and let you cook for them....this is a meal I would highly recommend.  I hope you are as lucky as I am and they will love it so much that they do the dishes before they leave!