Chili and Paprika Seasoned Tilapia with Orzo and Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts

There is no doubt that I love to cook, I’m pretty sure that can be accepted as truth.  However, I don’t always have others to cook for.  Not in any kind of bad way, there are just a lot of times where my roommates have already eaten or have plans and I have a specific recipe that some of them wouldn’t particularly like.  This meal in particular combined two aspects that are not universally loved dishes.  Although I seem to me meeting more and more people who enjoy fish or at least would try it, I tend to avoid cooking fish for others unless I know they will thoroughly enjoy it.  And on the other side, I feel that in general, brussel sprouts are not a dish that most people turn to.  At least, not many of my friends.

I actually had never tried brussel sprouts until this past December.  It was never a dish that my family made and never a side dish I would lean towards when ordering food at restaurants.  However, it came time that I realized I needed to try this dish that gathered such polarized responses, I needed to form my own opinion.  So I ordered a dish with brussel sprouts for dinner one night and came out feeling pretty indifferent towards them.  The glaze was a little too strong with dijon mustard but the actual vegetable was palatable.

I have also never cooked tilapia myself.  I’ve had it for other dinners and knew it would be a relatively easy fish to cook since it is light, thin, and very mild.  When I saw frozen filets at Trader Joes I knew I had to get them.  Because the fish is so mild it can be seasoned any way you wish, eaten by itself or put in tacos.  And although I rarely pass up the option to make mexican food, I knew the fish would pair well with the brussel sprouts, and over a bed of orzo it all tied together perfectly.

This dish is really easy to make, the fish takes about 15 minutes to cook because it is so thin and the brussel sprouts simmer until cooked through. (of course you could easily pair it with a different vegetable like broccoli or even a salad, if brussel sprouts are not your side dish of choice)

Chili and Paprika Seasoned Tilapia with Orzo

Ingredients: 3 servings

  • 3 small tilapia fillets (They come in packs of three at Trader Joes)
  • 1 tbl chili powder
  • 1/2 tbl paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 cup orzo (could substitute rice)


  1. If the filets are frozen make sure they are thawed completely in the fridge before using (bacteria forms easier if meat in general is thawed out on the kitchen counter)
  2. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. cook orzo according to packaged instructions, set aside.
  4. place filets in a shallow baking dish, squeeze lemon juice and olive oil over the filets, season evenly with chili powder and paprika on both sides of each filet
  5. add salt and pepper to taste
  6. place in oven and bake 15-20 minutes until the filets are not opaque but white all the way through (I like baking my fish when I am eating it straight, if it is in something like fish tacos Ilike to pan sear the filets so they get crispier.  But it is up to you if you have a preference for crispy or not)

Balsamic glazed brussel sprouts


  • 1/2 lb fresh brussel sprouts halved
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. wash brussel sprouts and cut each in half
  2. preheat oven to 350
  3. lay the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and toast about 5 minutes until golden brown, remove from oven and add cheese, mix.
  4. heat oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add brussel sprouts and saute until slightly crispy around the edges
  5. add water and simmer covered on low until the sprouts are fork tender.
  6. drain the sprouts and return to pan.  Add the vinegar and coat the sprouts in the pan and turn heat to low.  cook about 10 minutes
  7. remove sprouts to a serving dish and top with breadcrumbs.  bake an additional 15 minutes. ENJOY!

[The finished product]


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