Baked Tuna Melt Pockets

It’s officially back to school for most of the country which means everyone’s anxiety is running a level higher, afternoon schedules are filling up quickly, and time is very precious.  Most of us probably have to slough off those lazy days of summer and get back into the routine of cooking dinner every night, which can also become highly stressful.

How many times have you scratched your head trying to vary your dinner options only to fall back on the same boring pasta dish?

At the end of the day, there’s nothing more frustrating than having tired cranky kids who refuse to eat what’s being served.

Don’t fret, sometimes that elusive new dish is just a tiny tweak away…

My newest recipe to help avoid any potential dinnertime dilemmas is a Baked Tuna Melt Pockets.  Imagine a tuna melt but one that’s actually baked into a neat puffed pastry pocket.  Best part, they come in single servings so everyone can enjoy their own pocket.

I’ve always used the BumbleBee ® brand tuna (the kind my mom loved too), especially the Albacore variety or the Light Tuna that now come in the handy water pouches.  For an apartment dweller like myself, the packed pouches take up little to no room in the cupboard.

bumblebee pouches

Obviously the pouches are also handy for when you’re on the run.  You can just throw a couple pouches in your bag and head out for the day.  But rest assured, Bumblebee® is still available in their iconic cans too.

For this recipe I like to use crescent rolls to help create the “pocket” effect.  Our cheese of choice is cheddar but, feel free to use your favorite.  It’s fun for the kids to get involved making this dish like an art project as assembling the pockets is like working with play dough…see below:

tunainbowlcrescentroll

 

tunainpocketsbakedtunapockets

If you’re looking for additional BumbleBee® recipes, you can check out more here: http://clvr.li/1AXROCL.

What’s your favorite tuna-based recipe you can share?

Hope you enjoy this recipe for a stress-free dinner.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Caramel Flan

Another wonderful summer has come and gone without Mom in our lives.  It’s hard to believe next month will be six years since her death.  She’d be amazed that her grand daughter (my daughter) — the little 6-year old girl she last saw coloring get well pictures on the floor of her hospital room–is now taller than me, has finished losing her teeth and wearing braces, and is entering 7th grade.

Her grandson is no longer the stumbling 3-year old boy but rather a very caring, creative, intelligent 9-year old.  As the years slip by, we’re desperately trying to hold onto the memories she left us but, it’s hard.

Thankfully, she’s very much alive in our kitchen.

This past holiday weekend, part of the family got together to relax and spend some quality time.  We’ve all settled in different states so the limited time we have together is highly cherished.  There was no question that the first meal we’d share together had to be mom’s Garlic Chicken— hands down everyone’s favorite and certainly one of her most memorable dishes.  For the last meal of the weekend, we decided to replicate a version of her Flan recipe.

As children, Mom’s flan was a show-stopper.   After many of her dinner parties — for which she personally cooked all of the dishes–she’d present her flan.  She’d turn off the lights to the room and walk in carrying the gorgeous flan lit on fire.  The blue hue of the flame (induced by the rum that she’d douse all over the top of the dish) created a magical aura that would stop conversation and instill a moment of peaceful silence.  The flan itself was amazing (if you like the custard-like consistency of the dessert).

As we were recreating the flan, I thought once again of the cycle of life.  Mom’s oldest grandson (now 14 1/2) was spearheading the process with her youngest grandson (now 9).  As they took joy in caramelizing the sugar and beating the eggs, I couldn’t help but imagine Mom going through those same exercises in her kitchen in Baltimore.

alexxjacobMom’s oldest and youngest grandchildren recreating her celebrated dish

caramelized sugarCaramelized sugar

flan jacobPouring egg/cream mixture atop caramelized sugar

baked flanfinal flans baked to perfection

We then watched my father lovingly pour the celebratory layer of rum atop the completed dish. We turned off the lights and stood mesmerized at the shimmering blue flame — Mom’s spirit.

flan flameour flan aflame

I’m not sure our flan tasted nearly as good as Mom’s but then again, does anything ever taste as good as the memories?

Enjoy this simple, rich and creamy recipe for Caramel Flan.  It pairs well with any dish and when served cold, it’s very refreshing.

 

 

Grilled Tilapia with Dijon

Grilled Tilapia

We’re desperately holding on to summer even though so many kids have already started school. We’ve got one week left so that means we’ve been firing up the grill every single day.

I realized that while we have been grilling a ton this summer, it’s mostly been meats— flank steak, burgers, chicken— the basics (for me). Remember, three summers ago I was petrified of the grill and never used it but, now I’m I’ve been donned grill master of the household.

Doing some research I realized the last time I cooked with tilapia was when my daughter was 9.  I made some tasty Broiled Tilapia in our small apartment oven.  She’s now 12 1/2!  YIKES.  I was ready to try a new dish since I had successfully convinced my kids (over 3 years ag0) that not all fish tastes fishy.

Grilling a fish is so easy, because as I always say to my kids, with a light and flaky fillet, the fish will taste like whatever you put ON it.

For the fillet I was hovering between sole, tilapia or flounder. We do LOVE swordfish and tuna but, they’re steaks and we were looking for fillets.  I picked tilapia because the fillets looked great in the market and, they’re SUPER cheap too.

For a quick and easy dish, you can always just spread your fillets in some olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and salt, and pepper to taste. Grilling takes mere minutes on high heat.

Last night I decided to make some Dijon Tilapia Fillets. We all love Dijon mustard so I figured there was a 50% chance we’d all love the dish that’s the conduit for the mustard. Then I just got creative and I added in some bread crumbs (to enhance the texture and give it a little crunch) and they were delicious.

Try it for yourself and don’t forget to get adventurous with your fish dishes too!

 

 

Beef, Kale and Vegetable Stew

Beefkalevegetable

I asked Serena, author of celebrated soup blog Seriously Soupy, to share a soup recipe that can help bridge the gap between the end of summer and the kick off to the new school year.  Because, who isn’t searching for easy, time-saving recipes when the afternoon schedules are frenetic.

We love Serena’s Beef, Kale and Vegetable soup and there’s nothing better than serving a hearty soup that functions as a complete meal too.  We hope you enjoy!

Here’s what Serena has to say:

While I love the light summer soups, there is something so comforting of the meal-in-a-bowl option that makes for a wonderful dinner option. Personally, I love rich vegetable soups so I added peas, carrots, potatoes and crunchy kale as well as a base of tomatoes and onions. I also added in some lean beef and rice, which can be easily modified to another type of meat or no meat for vegetarians. Enjoy!

 

About Serena the author of the celebrated  blog called Seriously Soupy: Serena started Seriously Soupy as a creative outlet for herself after her first daughter was born, which combined her passion for cooking with an interest in learning more about soups and soup making.  Since it started, she has given soup tours and taught soup classes and has a catalog of over 100 soups on the site!  You can join Serena on her Soupy journey at SeriouslySoupy.com and twice a month you can find her here, at My Judy the Foodie, sharing her wisdom and helping demystify the world of soup.

 

 

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