Start your week off rich in Omega-3s with this recipe for Halibut with Zucchini, Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Get your week off to a good start with a lovely serving of Omega-3s! The FDA recommends consuming two servings of seafood per week to boost heart and brain health, which means that it’s not a bad idea to start eating fish earlier in the week so that you can plan your next fish dish before the week is over. And if you’re like me, you can always double up your recipe so that you can dive into more omega-3s for lunch the next day. How is that for fantastic?

Because I’ve been eating a lot of salmon, tuna, and black cod recently, I decided this time to opt for halibut. While halibut is admittedly less rich in omega-3s than the latter, one 6-oz portion is still going to net about 900mg of omega-3s, which is still considerable. So if you find yourself growing tired of seafood highest in omega-3s, don’t hesitate to choose an option in the middle range, like halibut. I think that adding diverse foods to your diet is best, especially because it will lessen your chance for boredom!

Before you dive into meal planning for the delicious recipe below, check out the list made by Seafood Health Facts that details the omega-3 content of various types of fish.


Halibut with Zucchini, Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4

2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped (reserving 2 tsbp oil)
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pits removed, and coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Four (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Add zucchini and salt to a medium boil and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain, and pat zucchini dry.

Arrange 4 long pieces of foil on a work surface and brush each piece of foil lightly with a little of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil.

Add sun-dried tomatoes and remaining oil to a small bowl with cilantro and olives, and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange your zucchini over each piece of foil by overlapping slices about the same size and shape of each fish fillet. Top zucchini with half of the sun-dried tomato mixture. Arrange fish over vegetables and top with remaining sun-dried tomato mixture. Seal each fillet with foil by folding into packets. Set on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the fish has cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 145F.

Carefully open each packet and transfer to serving plates. Enjoy!

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Quinoa Orzo


I came across quinoa orzo at our local natural grocery store last week and had to try it! I was a little skeptical that it would come out as perfect as usual, but it really did, while adding additional protein and fiber to our usual pasta recipe. So below is a recipe for quinoa orzo with lemon chicken that is sure to please! I pretty much licked the plate clean when I was done, and I imagine that you will too.


Lemon Pepper Chicken with Quinoa Orzo

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 4

2 tbsp canola oil, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp lemon pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2.5 cups chicken broth
12 oz quinoa orzo (regular orzo is fine too!)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled, to garnish

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large dutch oven or heavy pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with a paper towel and season with lemon pepper on both sides, about 1.5 tbsp. Add chicken to pan and brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.

Heat the same pan over medium heat with remaining oil and scrape up any browned bits. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, orzo, remaining lemon pepper, 1/2 of the parsley to the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the orzo is tender and the broth is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve on plates garnished with remaining parsley and feta.

Flat Iron Steak with Yellow Squash and Tomatoes


This dish is hands down the most summery meal I’ve made all season! The flavors of the steak and the sherry vinegar glaze are outstanding, and I will say that I decorated this dish after eating a few bites of the steak, and was in such awe of my creation that my artistic abilities certainly overtook me

Below is the recipe! It’s so delicious and easy to make that you might as well take a trip to the store after work and make it tonight!


Flat Iron Steak with Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

Serves 4
Time: 20 Minutes

Salt and freshly ground pepper
1.5 lbs flat iron steak, cut into 4 (6 oz) steaks
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 medium yellow squash, halved
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sherry (or balsamic) vinegar
2 tsp light brown sugar

Pat steaks dry and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet or dutch oven on medium-high with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add squash and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes, or until squash is tender. Set aside.

In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add steak pieces when oil shimmers and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Set aside and cover with foil for about 10 minutes to let steak rest before slicing.

In the same pan, add vinegar, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Slice steak when well rested. Serve drizzled with sherry/balsamic glaze and with squash and tomato sauté on the side.

Poached Black Cod with Butter Beans and Brussels Sprouts


For those of us who love to cook, weekday meals are usually a bit quicker than those on the weekend. Because of that, we sometimes miss out on delicious flavors that take time to develop. Not so with this meal!

Whether you’ve had a hum-drum Monday at work or stayed late on a Thursday to finish up your busy day, you will have time to make this healthy omega-3 packed recipe. The fish broth that develops in ten minutes from poaching the fish is so delicate that you’ll feel as if you’re eating like royalty at a high-end restaurant, when in fact, you’ve saved a few dollars, and you’re sitting comfortably at your dinner table, which is no doubt one of the best places you can be!


Poached Black Cod with Butter Beans and Brussels Sprouts

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

1 tbsp lemon zest
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp minced chives
4 6-oz black cod fillets
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
30 Brussels sprouts, quartered and cored
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can butter beans

In a small bowl, make a gremolata by stirring together lemon zest, garlic, and chives.

Pat the fillets dry and season with salt and pepper and half of the gremolata.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute for 1 minute. Add the Brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and sautee until brussels sprouts turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Carefully ladle fillets into broth. Cover the skillet and cook until fish is cooked through and the sprouts are tender, about 10 minutes.

While fish poaches, heat beans in a microwave-safe bowl for about 1 minute. Lightly mash beans with the back of a fork and divide between deep plates or bowls. Serve fish over beans in a deep plate or bowl, and ladle in broth. Garnish with gremolata and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Mahi Mahi With Avocado-Chile Salsa & Tropical Rice


Healthy Mahi Mahi with Tropical Rice is surely a taste of paradise  Like my rhyme? Lol, regardless, here is a really, really good recipe that might take your taste buds on a trip to your favorite vacation spot for a little while.

Time: 45-60 Minutes
Serves 4

Mahi Mahi
4 Mahi Mahi fillets (about 1.5 pounds)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 ripe avocado, diced into ¼-inch chunks
2 plum tomatoes, diced into ¼-inch chunks
3/4 cup red onion, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Tropical Rice
1.5 cups Whole Grain Brown Rice
1 cup Light Coconut Milk
2 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
8 ounces, Canned Pineapple
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
Toasted Coconut, for Garnish
Green Onions, chopped, for Garnish

Line an oven safe dish with foil. Add fish and marinade ingredients and let sit for 20-30 minutes before broiling. Preheat broiler.

While fish marinates, prepare salsa ingredients and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix and set aside.

Prepare tropical rice. You have two options here: First option: combine the first three ingredients in a rice cooker and cook until rice is tender. Second option: Combine rice, coconut milk, and broth in a medium pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes. Test the rice for doneness and add more liquid if not soft (note that brown rice tends to be a little al dente). Fluff rice with fork and add remaining ingredient, topping with toasted coconut and green onions.

While rice cooks, broil mahi mahi for 6-8 minutes per side.

Serve the fish with the salsa on top and tropical rice on the side.

Purple Cauliflower Soup


Utilizing different varieties of every day foods can mix things up and make cooking more fun and enjoyable. Case in point: Purple Cauliflower Soup! I eyed four different varieties of cauliflower at the store last week with colors ranging from white, to yellow, to green, and purple. Without having a recipe in mind, I grabbed the purple variety without hesitation because I felt like I needed more anthocyanins in my diet at that moment. We all know that feeling when we’re yearning for one pigment over another, right?

Haha, okay, so if you don’t know what anthocyanins are, they’re a pigment that belongs to the flavanoid class of molecules, and tend to make foods look red or purple (think blackberries or cranberries). But what’s really cool about them is that they might be antioxidants and could potentially fight cancer. We don’t have enough studies to prove this yet, but at least know that eating different varieties of fruits and vegetables can provide you with diverse chemical compounds to keep you healthy in the long run.

Want to know the coolest thing about my recipe below? Sprinkling lemon causes a chemical reaction that transforms the anthyocyanin pigment from purple to pink! So if you have kids (or just want to entertain the child within you), have fun getting a little artsy at home with this easy, delicious, and absolutely healthy meal!


Purple Cauliflower Soup

Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 4

1 large head purple cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 medium shallots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon, to garnish
Olive oil, to garnish
Smoked paprika, to garnish
Chives, to garnish

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 25-35 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Puree soup immediately with an immersion blender or let soup cool for a few minutes before pureeing in batches with a food processor or a conventional blender. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with drizzled lemon, olive oil, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper, and snipped chives.



Fettuccine with Guanciale and Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce


Sometimes your best meals are impromptu and deliciously unexpected. Adrian and I were really hungry, but weren’t sure we had anything on hand to make for dinner. That is… until we saw a bunch of ripe tomatoes and fresh basil in our garden, begging to be cooked up into a sauce!

We found that we had a partially used box of fettuccine noodles, a little bit of parmesan, and frozen guanciale from a lovely farm in Davis. Scouring our pasta recipes, we adapted one by by Scott Conant featured on Serious Eats, but simplified it a bit. I’m not kidding when I say that this is definitely the most delicious pastas we’ve ever made and possibly ever eaten (sorry Scott!). I can’t quite vouch for this being the healthiest thing you’ll eat all week, but that’s okay on occasion! A little guanciale or bacon every now and then is perfectly fine. Just serve this one with a side salad, and this Diet Assassinista says you’re good to go.


Fettuccine with Guanciale and Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce

Serves 4-6
Time: 45 Minutes

Ripe plum tomatoes, 20
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Butter, 2 tbsp
Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic, 6 cloves, chopped
Basil, 1 small bunch, chopped
Guanciale, ½ cup, chopped
1 lb. dry fettuccine noodles
Parmesan Reggiano, 1 oz , about ½ cup , grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease about 5 tomatoes in the pot and cook. Let boil for about 15 seconds or until skins appear loose and promptly move them into the waiting ice water. Do this with remaining tomatoes.

Pull off the skin of the tomatoes with the tip of a pairing knife. Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze tomatoes to take the seeds and a little juice out. Reserve juice if needed to thin pasta later.

In a wide pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and sauté until soft, 30-60 seconds. Add the tomatoes. Stir in basil, guanciale, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and season very lightly with the salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften and then use a potato masher to break them up finely. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Cook fettucine noodles in separate pot to 90% of doneness, reserving ½ cup pasta water. Add noodles to tomato sauce and cook for about 3 minutes, until sauce is incorporated. If dry, add some reserved tomato juice and/or pasta water. Serve pasta garnished with parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to taste.



Blackberry Balsamic Chicken


This is another recipe adapted from Leanne Ely’s Saving Dinner. I paired it here with a summer salad of garden-grown tomatoes, red onions, and a couple slices of baguette. It’s super delicious and takes just a few minutes to make. Plus, with fewer than 7 ingredients, it’s easy to meal plan. Theflavor of the chicken preserves is to die for if you haven’t had that combination. It’s August now, but these flavors are soooo making me look forward to Thanksgiving, yum!


Blackberry Balsamic Chicken

Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup chopped red onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
4boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1⁄3 cup seedless blackberry preserves
2tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken to skillet and saute 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Add onion to skillet and saute till translucent. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme. Add preserves, vinegar, and salt and pepper, stirring constantly until the preserves melt. Spoon the sauce over chicken to serve.

Tacos Los Tres Amigos


I’m calling this recipe Tacos Los Tres Amigos because I like consuming tacos in threes. Sometimes I go over my calorie allotment and just eat a little less for my next meal. And that’s totally okay! It’s adapted from a delicious recipe by Rick Bayless. I’m not quite sure anymore, but I’m pretty sure he’s the one that introduced me to the really interesting and yummy herb epazote. Using epazote is optional here and you can use more cheese to make up for the omission. It is available at many Mexican grocery stores, so if you have those in your area, definitely check them out! It’s funny because before I was growing it in my garden, I had to trek a few miles to the store to buy it. But last year when I stayed in Baja California, it was growing wild everywhere. In any case, I’m always curious about new things and if you are too, don’t miss out on this one!


Tacos Los Tres Amigos

Servings: 8-12 Tacos
Time: 45 minutes

1.5 lbs small boiling potatoes, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil + additional to fry tortillas
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
6 medium fresh poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
8 oz crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese
16 leaves epazote, chopped (optional)
8-12 corn tortillas, lightly fried in olive oil

Simmer the potatoes in salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool under running water, peel and cut into 1/4-inch dice.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium-size skillet over medium. Add the onion and potato, and fry, stirring regularly to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, until the mixture is richly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are browning, seed the chiles and roughly chop. Stir them into the potato mixture and season with salt to taste. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Fry corn tortillas in olive oil over medium heat. Fill with potato filling, fold in half, and serve with your favorite hot sauce.

A Pasta Recipe for Slow-Pokes Like Me: Spaghetti with Sautéed Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta


Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of quick meals, even though that’s not necessarily my style. Many of my friends know me as the home chef who essentially slaves in the kitchen for hours on end, and it’s not because I make over-complicated food. I’m just pretty laid back and bring a super relaxed attitude with me wherever I go, which works great for those braises that take a few hours in the dutch oven anyway.

But a slow-cooking home chef has to get food done quickly sometimes, right? Otherwise how would I ever have time for clients and work, let alone the gym, or runs on along the beach? So below, I present you with a quick and delicious pasta on this night that I’m going to the gym. Faster home chefs could probably piece this one together in 20 minutes, but I over-estimated the time to 30-minutes for slow-pokes like me!

I think it’s important for people to know that healthy food is an achievable feat even for the busiest of us. This meal could probably be in your belly faster than running out last-minute to pick up fast food for your family. What was the clean up like? For those of you with a fast food addiction, don’t let these two pans overwhelm you. My clean up was was finished in less than 10 minutes. Dinner  + clean up in 40 minutes is proof that we can simplify and “healthify” our lives at the same time. Sometimes it just takes a little meal planning and thinking ahead to do so.


Spaghetti with Sautéed Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta

Serves 4-6
Time 30 min

1 lb spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb sweet potatoes (2 medium), cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
3 shallots, sliced
1.5 tbsp, fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup ricotta
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta per package directions. Reserve 2/3 cup cooking water, drain pasta, and set aside.

In a large pan, or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, and cook stirring every 1-2 minutes to avoid scorching the sweet potatoes, about 8-10 minutes. Add rosemary and shallots and cook until potatoes are tender, 3-5 minutes longer.

Add cooked pasta and reserved water to sweet potatoes. Stir in grated parmesan. Serve pasta with a few dollops of ricotta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.