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Category Archives: quick weeknight meals

Tilapia, Gourmet Potatoes, & Garlic Risotto with a side of bad back

My dearest lovely readers. I realize I’ve been somewhat absent here and in my online communities the past week, except for the occasional photo post of my refrigerator contents or the facebooking references to the contest I’m in (Vote HERE and “like” me on FB here) or the random tweets (follow me here). Alas, my life has been hectic chaos lately.

By hectic, I mean sinus infections and migraines and just when I thought I was getting better, I pulled a muscle in my back that knocked me flat.

By chaos, I mean my husband has taken over most of my motherly-duties and my meds were making me loopy. Which basically meant that he did things like put the opened organic cranberry juice in the cabinet, but I no longer cared.

By loopy, I mean loopier than my normal typical self.

Alas. Bear with me here.

This is what I’ve been up to. When I wasn’t laying in flat-out agony, I mean. I pulled this meal together a few nights ago. It was quick, easy, and simple enough I could manage it right now. I’ve never loved to eat fish, but this stuff was incredible.


Yummy huh? Yes. It was.

Tilapia, gourmet potatoes, and risotto. With that side of bad back.

This was very easy. Even injured.

No, I don’t whine and complain much. Why do you ask?

I used a 28 oz package of Tasteful Selections potatoes and quartered them. I placed them in a skillet and added just enough water to not quite cover them and brought it to a boil and let cook uncovered. These are my favorite potatoes…I use the Sunrise Medley the most, and their fingerlings are wonderful as well. Delicious little things. Trust me.


I let the water boil almost entirely out. Then I added a teaspoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of crushed black pepper, and two tablespoons of butter. I let them slightly sauté until the outside started to crisp.

Meanwhile, I prepped the garlic risotto. It was a GF box mix from Lundberg, shown here. I followed the directions on the box. Honest! Rare for me, I know.

Then. For the fish I used a recipe from a friend and made a few tweaks (I had tilapia on hand, instead of his flounder) and fried it in a heavy cast iron skillet. His original recipe is here. I basically dredged the filets in butter and then in the seasoning mix, and fried them. Click the link, check it out, and go try it!



PS. Best things about cooking with a back that is a mess? I finally have a valid excuse for not being able to load the dishwashers.


Sage Parmigiano Baked Pork Chops


I made these one night, on a whim. I have whims quite often…and much of the time they turn out so-so, or worse. Those don’t get shared here (you’re welcome). These, however, were a huge hit. The kind of hit that has my kids asking excitedly when they come home from school: Are we having those yummy cereal pork chops again tonight?

I used crushed breakfast cereal to create the coating, along with sage, lemon zest, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, and butter.


I also used pork chops, but they were camera shy.

6 center cut bone-in pork chops
2 cups crushed crisp rice cereal (I use Erewhon Crisp Brown Rice Gluten Free)
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup shredded parmigiano-reggiano
1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

First, preheat the oven to 425 and prepare two shallow baking dishes. Then, shred the parmigiano-reggiano cheese. This is the kind to use. If you absolutely cannot get it, then use Parmesan in a block. I’d not use the powdered green canister for this recipe. (Look, Passionate Culinarian, I *do* have some cheese limits!:)


Next, combine the crushed cereal, shredded cheese, sage, salt, pepper, and lemon zest in a shallow bowl.


Melt the butter in another dish.


Dip the pork chops in the butter.


And then the cereal cheese mixture


Place the chops into the baking dishes.


Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, and then set oven to broil and place on top rack for about 5 minutes. Serve!


Easy Taco Meatloaf: Allergy-friendly!


My son absolutely loves meatloaf. My other son hates meatloaf but loves tacos. Meanwhile, my husband eats almost anything. So, one night I threw this together, in my attempt to create something everyone will eat. It was far quicker than my normal Italian-style meatloaf, but really surprisingly good. This recipe might not win any creative awards, but it certainly garnered rave reviews from everyone at my table. I love it when this happens!

I started with these simple ingredients:


I combined:
1 T salt
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 T paprika
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 C chopped red onion
1/4 C water

I stirred all of this together in a medium sized bowl. Then, into the bowl I crumbled:

1 1/2 lbs hamburger (I used 85/15)

I mixed it together loosely, incorporating the mix into the hamburger without over-mixing.

I pressed the hamburger mixture into a prepared loaf pan, and then spread ketchup over it for the topping.

Baking for an hour at 400*, it came out very moist and flavorful.

The baking time takes an hour, but the prep time is less than 5 minutes. after placing the meatloaf into the oven, I threw together a tossed salad and some veggies, and dinner was practically effortless.

Note: A package of Taco Seasoning could be used if you don’t have all the seasonings on hand, adding the onion and garlic. Depending on the brand you choose, it might affect the dish’s status of gluten-free etc. Check the labels.

This easy meatloaf is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and can even be tomato-free if you skip the ketchup topping. My meatloaf-hater found it delicious enough for seconds!

Super easy weeknight dinner

Easy gluten-free dinner for those nights when everyone is rushing in and out.
You need:


Zatarain’s yellow rice mix (it’s gluten-free)
2 tablespoons of butter
Four boneless pork chops
2 1/2 cups of water
A bit of cooking oil for the chops
Optional: pepper and garlic powder for the chops

Brown pork chops with the oil, using pepper and garlic powder.

Add the rice mix, water, and butter.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for about 25 minutes.

VoilĂ .


Very easy, family-friendly rushed weeknight meal. Add some steamed broccoli or other veggies and you’re done. This holds well if you have someone arriving late, as well. Nothing fancy…but it’s great for the busy weeknights!