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That's right.  Let me say it again.  I'm No Chef, but this Insurance Agent can Cook.  IMHO!!! 

After a long day of helping families make the right decisions with their insurance needs, after dealing with insurance companies that only want the best of the best customers and everyone else be damned, and after working on quotes all day for people that only want "cheap" insurance, cooking is my primary source of relaxation. 

And, frankly I just want a really good meal.  My kids are older now and I refuse to cook Mac & Cheese anymore.  My daughter (the last one at home) will have to learn to like what I'm making or she can make her own meals.  By the way, she's in high school so don't think I'm being cruel here.

Well, back to the meal.  This meal was fantastic!  My wife couldn't eat it fast enough and she told me she was the luckiest woman on earth.  I couldn't agree more. 

I posted this picture on Facebook and received a number of positive responses with many wanting the recipe so I'm going to post what I did hoping some more men will be encouraged to cook, and maybe some women too.

My Cooking Philosophy

  • Keep it Simple.  I don't have hours to do this so the meal needs to cooked in less than one hour generally.
  • Follow Directions.  If you can't follow the recipe or directions you are screwed.  Unless, you know how and when to make modifications.
  • Try something new.  Get to the local farmers market (here's a post about the Chandler Farmers Market I did recently) and ask about some produce and vegetables you've never seen, touched, or tasted before. You might be amazed at what's out there.

The Dish on this Dish

Talapia

I thawed frozen filets that I get at Costco and followed the instructions on the back for cooking.  My preference is to sautee and I use butter because I like the flavor.  Use about 1 tablespoon for 4 filets in your non-stick pan.  Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side with salt and pepper.  Again, follow the directions on the package.

Mandarin Orange Salsa

I found this recipe online and modified it to what I had.  Since I didn't have a jalepeno on hand (not going to the store for one jalepeno) I left it out.  Other modifications as noted in Bold.

Ingredients:

* 1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained and halved (or you can substitute fresh mandarin oranges)
* 2 Tbsp. chopped red bell peppers (Used about a half of a red bell pepper and a half of a green pepper)
* 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (Didn't have any on hand)
* 1 Tbsp. chopped red onion (Used about a quarter of a small red onion, finely chopped)
* 1/2 Tbsp. finely diced, seeded jalapeno (Didn't have this on hand)
* dash of salt (and pepper)

Kale

I have never tried Kale and obviously never cooked it before last night.  A big shout out goes to Al Gore for making the internet possible for the little people.  I found this recipe online from Bobby Flay and The Food Network.  Here's the link or you can see the ingredients below.  You'll want to follow this to a tee and don't leave this unattended.  This turned out great but I could see this getting bad if I got distracted with something else.

Ingredients
* 1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
* 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
* Salt and pepper
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

SERVES: 4; Calories: 178; Total Fat: 11 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams; Protein: 6 grams; Total carbohydrates: 18 grams; Sugar: 0 grams Fiber: 3.5 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 336 milligrams

Brown Rice with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries

No recipe for this just inspiration.  I used leftover Butternut Squash I had baked a few nights before (my wife goes crazy for butternut squash) and dried cranberries (I keep a big bag from Costco in the house for snacks, oatmeal, and now brown rice).

Cook Brown Rice per package instructions.
Cook Butternut Squash (it's super easy just Google it).  Since mine was cooked already I sauteed diced chunks in butter (I love butter) and added the cranberries to heat them up.
Combine the squash and the rice when the rice is done cooking.

That's it.  Seems like a lot but it really was rather simple.  I hope you enjoy it and let me know how it came out for you and your family.

Author: Richard Morris


Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.
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