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Growing up we always used to laugh at our parents and relatives when they would sit around talking.  They would say things like “Chile hush!”  “Shut your mouth!” or “Honey hush!”  It never failed to make me laugh.  They also had lots of old adages that they felt were important for us youngsters to know.  This one most definitely pertains to my post today “If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen!”  Yes… you guessed it… I’m still on the heat kick!

As always, I strive to cook something that is healthy, but has character. You know, dishes that are healthy, but haven’t sacrificed flavor and originality.  They are then classified as having “character” in my book.  Most of the food I make has character mainly because I experiment with so many different things.  I like a wide range of foods which some might not ordinarily think of putting together.  But, some how, it works.  I like baking, although I only bake on special occasions, and I love working with fruits and veggies.  For now, we are still dealing with food that packs some heat.  Seriously though, I think I might have a heat fixation or something, because I can’t seem to get away from all things HOT right now.  I mean, The Miami Heat won the basketball game on Saturday to advance to the finals, Go Heat!, it’s beautiful outside with just the right amount of heat (not that Texas 102 heat index kind of heat), and I’m just cooking up a storm with these spicy dishes.  Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be… Ooops… I went off on one of my Doris Day tangents… Sorry about that!  My family isn’t complaining, though I know at some point they will want me to tone it down a bit.  Until then ~ if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen!

Today I’m focusing on tilapia with some flair.  Yes, a little more heat!  Jalapeno heat to be exact. Now, you can tame the heat beast if you like, simply by taking the seeds and ribs out of the jalapenos before chopping them up.  Otherwise, you will definitely feel the fire.  I tend to take the seeds out of one half of one of the jalapenos and leave them in the other half so that it’s hot, but not too hot.  I’m one who can stand a lot of heat and I am of the opinion that the more heat there is, the better it tastes.  My family doesn’t seem to agree.  Can you imagine that?  Someone who doesn’t agree with my heat philosophy? Well… (with my offended look).

Back to the task at hand… Tilapia is a really easy fish to cook with.  It takes on the flavor of most spices, and it can stand up to the vast majority of side dishes.  You can serve it with pasta, rice, veggies or a salad and it compliments each of them perfectly.  This particular dish is best served with pasta as it tends to cool the palette without taking away from the dish.  You can make this dish with whole wheat or gluten free pasta to make it a little healthier.  And as always you can substitute the cream for something a little lighter.  Please feel free to experiment with it and make it your own.  Remember, it’s all about what tastes good to YOU.  And as you have probably already discovered, heat tastes good to me!  (Now, that does not give you carte blanche to put just anything in there.  Remember, the key is to keep it healthy.)   Enjoy.

JALAPENO GARLIC TILAPIA

Ingredients

4-6 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup white flour
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup diced jalapenos
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch garlic salt
1/4 cup of light cream (or fat free half & half works well here)
6 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of lemon juice (or less, if you want less of the lemon flavor to come through)
5 ounces angel hair pasta
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
1/2 cup diced roma tomatoes

Directions

Dredge the tilapia filets in the flour.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the tilapia filets to the pan. Once the tilapia has a nice crust on one side, flip them over and add the jalapenos, spinach, salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
Prepare the angel hair pasta in boiling water and allow it to cook 3 -4 minutes
Melt the remaining butter and add the lemon juice, set aside.
Once the filets begin to flake, add the light cream, and bring it to a slight boil.
Once the cream begins to boil, remove the pan from the fire and pour the lemon butter into the sauce.
Put pasta on a serving platter and carefully pour fish and sauce over the pasta.
Garnish with fresh roma tomatoes and parsley.

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