Cooking To Impress: Panko Crusted Tilapia

Ben is continuing his series of “cook to impress” recipes.  This sounds delicious and perfect for any quick, but impressive, meal! I agree with his observation that salmon can be tricky.  It is delicious, but its naturally pink color can cause doubt as to the fish’s “doneness,” especially for a casual cook.  It is also a rich fish with a strong taste.  Finding sides to pair it with can make a difference in the success of a meal with salmon as the star.  I love Ben’s choice of Tilapia for this recipe.  You guys enjoy!



So early on while Anna and I were discussing our favorite foods, she mentioned that she really loves fish – particularly salmon and tilapia.  In my experience, salmon can be pretty tough to work with.  Despite what my mother and others may say, I feel it can be unforgiving and I’ve never had much success.  However, I’ve had quite a bit of success working with tilapia (and it’s cheap!)

So, the first time I made tilapia for Anna I went with one of my grandmother’s old standbys in her rainbow trout recipe, then made a few modifications of my own.

Panko Crusted Tilapia   (serves 2)

2 Tilapia filets

Panko-style bread crumbs

Seasoning Salt (Once again, I put Tony’s on everything)

4 tablespoons butter

Lemon juice



Pour panko crumbs onto plate and roll filet in them.  I really press down to get the crumbs to stick to the fish.  Once they’re coated in the crumbs, place them both in a properly sized baking pan.  Add the seasoning salt on top of the filets to taste.

Melt the butter in a bowl, and then add lemon juice to taste.  Pour the lemon butter over the filets in the pan, and then place the dill on top.


Bake the tilapia for 8-10 minutes or until it’s flaky when you cut into it.

I like to serve it alongside any kind of rice or couscous. (Yes, you can buy it from a box at the store.  Not every single thing has to be from scratch in order for your lady to love it!)


It’s Greek to Me!

More and more I’m discovering that many people have bought into the myth that being healthy means being on a diet, when in reality it’s a lifestyle change. And another very common misconception is that when you have a healthy eating style you all of a sudden go from fried foods and fattening desserts to being a vegan in 24 hours.

While yes, eating healthy does mean less fried and fattening foods, it’s not an immediate 180 degree transformation, it’s a LIFEstyle change that slowly becomes a habit. And this lifestyle is obtained by slowly making easy changes in your everyday life until its no longer a chore.

Yogurt is a really good snack that is pretty well liked by most people. But there is a way to make this yummy snack even healthier!! What people don’t realize is that many yogurts are sweetened with the same sugar substitute used in diet drinks – aspartame – which is still under studies, but as far as many dietitians are concerned, this does more harm than real sugar. Your body doesn’t know how to process some of these sugar substitutes because they’re man made!  But rest assured there is a way to still get a calcium filled snack!

Greek yogurt is a wonderful way to still get all the calcium and nutrients of yogurt, but without the potentially harmful aspartame! It actually has about half as much sugar content, in addition to doubling the protein of regular yogurts!  You can even use Greek yogurt in many recipes as a fat substitute!

Greek yogurt is made without sugar substitutes and in my opinion is more filling than traditional yogurt. So when you’re going down the yogurt aisle, go for the Greek!!

I have started using Greek yogurt in many of my recipes as a substitute for heavy cream and for sour cream.  It works really well and holds up to applications where heat is applied (soups and baking).  It is a perfect tangy, creamy substitute for sour cream in twice baked potatoes and even in tacos and enchiladas.  Check out one of my past recipes “Greeky Tilapia” for a use for Greek yogurt in a sauce.  It is a light and healthy recipe perfect for the summer heat.  

“Greeky” Tilapia

2 Tilapia Filets

2T butter (unslated)

3 cloves fresh garlic

Juice of 2 Lemons

½ Cup sliced kalamata olives with brine

½ Can quartered artichoke hearts (non-marinated)

¼ Cup white wine

2 Cups fresh spinach

4 oz Greek yogurt (plain), plus some for garnish

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  1.  In an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, start melting the butter.
  2. Peel and Smash the garlic cloves and add them to the butter.  Once the butter starts to turn sizzle and the garlic is turning golden, turn the skillet off and add the fish filets, the lemon juice, the olives and juice and the white wine
  3. Place the whole skillet under the broiler until the fish is cooked through 6-10 minutes depending on how thick the filets are and how your broiler gets
  4. With a spatula, remove the fish to another plate and tent with foil.
  5. Place the skillet back on a medium burner for about 6 minutes until the liquid in the pan starts to reduce.  Add the Greek yogurt, whisking it into the sauce until it is incorporated.  Add the artichoke hearts and the spinach.  Keep cooking until the artichokes are heated through and the spinach starts to wilt.
  6. Divide the skillet mixture onto two plates.  Place one Tilapia filet on top of each.  Pour any extra sauce over each filet
  7. Top each with a dollop of Greek yougurt and chopped fresh parsley

This would also be pretty and delicious with some chopped fresh tomatoes on top along with a sprinkle of feta cheese.