Friday, December 3, 2021

Cooking for Newbies

Ask the Life Coach

Dear Coach,

I heard through the grapevine that you like to cook. For me, making a meal at home used to mean unwrapping takeout. As I’ve had more time to cook, I’m trying to embrace my inner-chef and take on some new recipes (well, recipes period.) Any suggestions for a Newbie?


Dear Newbie,

You’re right. I love to cook. Being a kid growing up without a mom, my dad and I cooked together, and I spent many summers alone in the kitchen, cooking old-time recipes.

For the last 5 years, I’ve been a member of Smoking Pots (go ahead, laugh), a cooking group associated with Newcomers Club of Marco Island. We shared recipes, enjoyed demonstrations, and ate some really good food. 

One of my favorite seafood recipes is from Jan, a fisherwoman extraordinaire, who I met at Smoking Pots. I use grouper, but you could use other white fish or even chicken. This is great served on top of jasmine rice with a side dish of roasted carrots.

For 2 pounds of fish, mix: 

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 3 T mayonnaise
  • 3 T chopped green onions
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 t salt and a dash of Tabasco

Place fish on baking sheet, top each filet with the mixture, bake 400 degrees until firm and brown (about 20 minutes). 

When you’re ready for something a bit more labor-intensive, try Zucchini Boats. This is just right for two generous servings. I pair this dish with mixed grains—the kind you microwave in the pouch. 

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 4 oz sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage, HOT)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 1 medium to small tomato (remove seeds) chopped


  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/8 cup breadcrumbs
  • Fresh parsley to taste

Cut zucchini in half, lengthwise, scoop out zucchini flesh leaving a nice shell—I do this with a regular spoon. Cook sausage, add onion, garlic, tomato, and scooped out zucchini flesh. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stuff this cooked mixture into the four shells, top with parmesan, mozzarella, crumb, parsley mixture. Cook 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *