Friday, April 30, 2010

Fish Tacos

So this is less of a recipe, more of my adventures in Fish Taco land. My sister-in-law always makes these and they always sound so awesome. I had some leftover cabbage from Cabbage Wraps that I wanted to use up and Fish Tacos came to mind. I didn't really follow a recipe, just started throwing things together. Also, I've been on a kick where I'm really trying to meal plan dinners that I can fully expect the kids to eat too. More on that another day, but for now I'll just say that I decided to fry the fish so that we had it in the tacos, and the boys had it like fish sticks. Everybody wins. Everybody ate it. Mom was happy.

Fish Tacos

White fish filets cut into about 1-2 inch strips (I went with cod because it was on sale... halibut or tilapia would work too)
1 egg
flour, salt and pepper
corn tortillas

For the cabbage slaw:
cabbage, cut into shreds
diced fresh jalapeno
lemon juice (maybe half a squeezed?)
chopped cilantro
1/4 cup greek yogurt
spices: cumin, chili powder, garlic and paprika (enough of each to cover the top. you can't really overspice this so go crazy. Pictured is taco seasoning but I decided at the last minute when the ingredient list looked like a science experiment to just use these spices instead)

Quick Pico De Gallo:
lemon juice
chopped jalapeno

So see the beer batter and the beer below? Disaster. I was a little nervous about frying fish so I bought this batter. It involved coating the filets in this thick, who-knows-whats-in-it batter and then deep frying. And it was hard. I'm just a northern girl who doesn't know how to deep-fry stuff. And there are no pictures because it was CHAOS in the kitchen while I was trying to fend-off starving children while having no idea what I was doing with the fish! It turned out good enough that it worked for the kids, and in the tacos but...

... the next time I did fried fish I did it similar to how I make chicken tenders and it was MUCH better. Simply coat the fish in egg (whisked), then coat with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Fry it in a thin layer of olive oil over medium-hot heat a few minutes on each side until crispy on the outside. Much easier, much healthier, much better!

For the cabbage, chop it into shreds and add the greek yogurt (just enough to coat), the spices, cilantro, lemon juice and chopped jalapeno.

Stir it up and refrigerate it until its ready to use.

And then I realized I didnt have any salsa in the house (I'm part Mexican so this is a sin). But this was way better... just a few tomatoes chopped with cilantro, lemon juice, salt, a touch of garlic powder and chopped jalapeno.

Served the fish, slaw and pico de gallo in a corn tortilla. I LOVED the cold, crunchiness of the slaw with the spicyness of the pico de gallo and the crunch of the hot fish. So even though the fish frying was a disaster, it was still pretty good. Hope this inspires you to give fish tacos a go, your own way!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Hello Monday. I woke up to a broken fridge this morning. The past few days I've felt like it wasn't quite as cold, but wasn't sure if it was just my mind playing tricks on me. Well this morning I came down to grab the milk and it was definitely barely on the cold side. Rats. Thankfully nothing is spoiled... yet. But now I have to wait around for the fridge repair man before I can head out with the kids to run our usual Monday-1 million-errands. The frustrating thing is that I know the problem is going to be something silly, and if I knew anything about fixing stuff I could save us the $100 bucks and do it myself!

Aside from that I'm probably the only person in the history of the world who is sad it wasnt raining when I woke up. I wanted an excuse to be lazy and not go out for a run this morning. I use the term "run" loosely... its half running and half walking, but in any case it makes me feel better to get a little alone time and a little sweat going at the beginning of my day... even if its just a little. But alas, I overslept and then had warm milk and cereal. Not the best start to this Monday!

Here's the meal plan for the week... but if this morning has reminded me of anything, it is one of my favorite quotes... "If you want to see God laugh, make a plan!" So we'll see what else he throws at me this week, but here is my tentative meal plan for the week. :) Happy Monday!


Leftover Veggies Frittata


Sloppy Joes and Sweet Potato Fries



Spring Pasta Carbonara


Date Night!




Saturday, April 24, 2010


I like this because its super easy and super colorful. You know how they say you should eat all the colors of the rainbow? This comes pretty close. You just need some BIV (blue, indigo and violet). Not sure how I would incorporate those colors though. :)

I used the Teriyaki sauce I still had from the Teriyaki Salmon in Foil. So if you're meal planning, both of these recipes are super easy and you can make double use of your ingredients.

Pineapple Pork

Pork Tenderloin (I only used 1 small loin here and really bulked up the veggies)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
half a fresh pineapple or a can of pineapple chunks, drained
handful of baby carrots
teriyaki sauce
ginger (optional)
brown or white rice

Add a little olive oil to a skillet and stir fry the pork (sliced into strips). Once slightly browned, add in the veggies. Stir fry a few more minutes then add in about 3/4 cup (? I eyeballed it, enough to coat the veggies and pork) of the Teriyaki sauce.

Stir in the pineapples and let them heat through. Serve over rice. I like to add some crushed red pepper too because I like the combo of the spicyness with the sweetness from the pineapple.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crabby Patties

I have two boys who, despite my efforts to prevent it, LOVE spongebob. I thought if I renamed these salmon cakes Crabby Patties they would get eaten. Like most times, the younger one ate them and loved them, while the older one dry heaved in his napkin at the table. So, maybe you'll have better luck! This recipe was actually passed on by a friend who said her 20 month old gobbled them up.

It's a Giada recipe that I took some liberties with. Her originial recipe called for using fresh salmon filets, cooking them and flaking them into the patties. In an interest of time I used canned salmon that I already had in my pantry (gotta love Costco). I also swapped out some of the mayo for Greek Yogurt.

I will say my husband wasn't crazy about them but from my point of view they were great. Anything that is this easy to make, that at least one kid will eat, and is healthy, is a winner in my book.

Salmon Cakes with Lemon Caper Yogurt Sauce

1 egg, beaten
2 cans canned salmon
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
20 saltine crackers crushed
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 tbl dijon mustard
1 tbl mayo, 2 tbl greek yogurt
1 tbl capers
Half a squeezed lemon
Zest from 1/2 lemon
olive oil

For the sauce:
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbl capers, chopped up
other 1/2 of the squeezed lemon juice
zest from the other half of the lemon
salt and pepper

Now easy enough, mix all the ingredients for the patties in a bowl.

And form into the shape of a patty. If its too wet and wont meld well, add more saltines crushed up. If its too dry, add more greek yogurt.
Now you have to stick it in the fridge for an hour, or I just threw mine in the freezer for 30 while I gave the kids a quick bath. P.S. you can totally freeze these to use for another night too.

While I fried up the patties I made the sauce real quick. Again, just mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and put it in the fridge to chill.

Fry the salmon cakes in a bit of olive oil, a few minutes on each side. They're better when they're nice and crunchy on the outside.
...Like this

Then serve with a bit of the sauce!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Quick menu plan for the week... got too much to do and I move way too slowly to get it all done!

Teriyaki Pork with Pineapple
Halibut Fish Tacos with Baja Sauce and Slaw
(still havent gotten around to making these puppies)
Chicken Tenders and whatever veggies on sale for a side

THATS IT! We've got plans the rest of the weekend, so I'm off :)

Have a fantastic Monday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pasta

Spring is in the air!!!! Borderline summer actually. Today was quite hot, but I'll take it over cold. The perfect warm/sunny days and cool nights are the perfect growing season for some of my favorite things... spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes! In fact last week my mom so kindly came and cleaned up my vegetable garden for me and planted spinach, parsley, kale and broccoli. I went out to water them the other night and they were GONE! A rabbit ate them all. Guess I'm not the only one who loves Spring veggies.

This is a Rachel Ray recipe (courtesy of my sister's friend) that I followed pretty closely, except I ended up using a can of artichokes (not marinated). See how I have both the can and the real artichoke?? I was hoping to be ballsy enough to figure out how to cut up the real artichoke to use. I watched a couple youtube videos but they were all different. Then when it came down to dinner time I had two kids sword fighting with butter knives at my ankles and said screw it, and opened the can. One day...

Spring Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pasta
1 box of penne

4 cups packed (1 large package) baby spinach

1/4 cup almonds

1/2 cup parm, freshly grated

a few dashes of nutmeg

zest from 1 lemon and the juice from half

1 can artichoke hearts or 1 pound of fresh artichoke hearts

2 to 3 cloves chopped garlic

1/2 cup white wine

olive oil

salt and pepper

First get your pasta boiling. Then get started on the pesto. I don't have a food processor but my blender makes perfect margaritas, pestos, and baby food :) I bet yours works fine too! Put all the ingredients for the pesto in the blender... HALF of the spinach, almonds, lemon zest, lemon juice, parm, salt, pepper, and about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Blend, and stream in about 1/4 cup of olive oil as you blend it. You might have to work with your blender a little (if youre ghetto like me and don't own a food processor) - stop and stir it up a few times, or add more pasta water if it really won't budge - before it really gets going....

...annnd looks like this! My kids wouldn't try/didn't like the straight green pesto BUT I mixed it in with some jarred red sauce and they had no idea they were licking up spoonfuls of spinach. muahaha.

In a saute pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the artichokes and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Then add the white wine.

Stir in the remaining spinach until it wilts.

Then simply add your penne to the saute pan, add the pesto, and stir everything around. Serve it with some of the freshly grated parm.

And here's someproof that your kid might actually think green pasta is cool. Unfortunately this wonderful child doesn't belong to me. My friend's kid was over playing and she said "Ms Karen! Can I please have some of that delicious green pasta!!" And she gobbled it up!
Not much to say about running these days... I'm running/walking now and Im just thankful for the Spring weather and the beautiful mornings that I get to enjoy a few times a week. I'm just thankful to be outside, and be moving, no matter how slow that happens to be!! Hope you are enjoying this Spring weather too... whether its outside exercising or inside cooking up some of these amazing Spring veggies.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easy Peasy Teriyaki

I'm starting a new label and its going to be called Easy Peasy. From here on out I'll tag recipes that are wonderfully easy and still delicious, and that anyone could do in 10 minutes. So for my first Easy Peasy post...

Teriyaki Salmon in Foil
Salmon filets (1 per person)
Stiry Fry veggies of choice, chopped roughly (I did broccoli, its in season!! mushrooms and sugar snap peas)
Teriyaki Sauce (you could make your own, but then it wouldn't be Easy Peasy. Do yourself a favor and grab a premade bottle at the store. Trader Joe's sells some good ones!!)
Aluminum Foil

Preheat the oven to 400, and start your rice in the rice cooker if you want it! Toss about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the Teriyaki sauce in with your veggies in a bowl. Just put enough to coat the veggies.

Each person will get their own little foil pouch. On a piece of foil put a serving of the veggies.

Top with the salmon, and then drizzle the leftover marinade in the bowl on top.

Wrap up the salmon pouches like so... leaving a small opening at the top for steam to escape.

18 minutes later at 400 and dinner is done!!! Serve atop rice...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

I wish I had pictures for this but I didn't make it. My sister made it on Easter, and I wish I had taken pictures while she was working on it in my kitchen!! She is much more of a baker than I am, and she has a knack for seeing a recipe that I would skim over and giving it a try. Strawberry and Rhubarb?? I would read rhubarb and continue searching for a recipe title with "chocolate" in it. :) But this was sooooo delicious and seemed pretty easy. Best of all, it's a Weight Watchers Recipe so its basically GOOD for you. Ok maybe not good for you, but not horrible for you. Also, Rhubarb is in season so its a great time to experiment with this vegetable that is known for its fibrous stalks and sweet-tart like flavor.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler (with many changes made by Laura!)

  • 2 1/2 cartons of Strawberries (tops off and chopped up)
  • 4 large stalks of Rhubarb, chopped (looks like red celery)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tbl cornstarch
  • 3 tbl sugar, divided
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbl butter, cut into small pieces (recipe calls for margarine, but margarine is creepy and disgusting, people. another story for another day)
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
Preheat the oven to 375. Coat an 8X12 pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch (when Laura made this at my house I actually didn't have cornstarch because it kind of creeps me out. She used a tablespoon of flour instead, and it worked fine!) Mix well and spoon into the bottom of the 8X12 pan.
To prepare dough, in a large bowl mix flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Add the butter, sour cream and milk and use your hands to knead it around in the bowl.
Spoon about 16 individual blobs on top of the fruit mixture. Gently press down to flatten a bit. You are supposed to brush the surface of the dough with an egg wash (1 egg whipped with a touch of water) but Laura forgot to do that and it still tasted perfect. She DIDN'T forget the last most important step, which is to sprinkle the last tablespoon of sugar on top of the dough. :)
Bake about 45 minutes until top is golden brown and cool 15 minutes before serving.

P.S. I know from experience this goes perfectly with a big spoonful of vanilla ice cream (and guess what, Breyers is on sale AGAIN for $1.99 this week at Giant) :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sausage Cheese Biscuits

At the last minute we decided we would be having Easter breakfast after church at our house, just my little family and my sister. I quickly brainstormed a go-to breakfast menu... veggie frittata, bagels, fruit, juice, coffee, and sausage/egg casserole. Yes, we were only having one extra person over but it's the Italian in me to make enough food to feed an army in these situations! While talking to some neighbors on Easter Eve, my one neighbor (who is an aweeeesome cook, I ask her what she's making for dinner every time I see her just so I can salivate a little) recommended making these biscuits instead of the egg casserole since I already had the egg frittata.

These were SOOOOO easy. A caveman could do it :)

Sausage and Cheese Biscuits

2 1/4 cup Bisquick Mix
2/3 cup Milk
Ground Breakfast Sausage (like the Bob Evans brand)
about a 4 oz block of cheddar cheese, shredded (freshly shredded cheese melts so much better than the preshredded stuff)... should make 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Follow the directions on the Bisquick Box for Drop Biscuits... simply stir together the mix and milk. Then add in about 3/4 of the 1 pound of sausage. It seemed like the whole pound would be too much so I went with a little less. Throw in the cheese. Now you pretty much HAVE to use your hands to stir this up really well. Just do it.

Put aluminum foil over a baking sheet and spray liberally with PAM to prevent sticking. Place the drop biscuits about 2 inches apart, and make them to be about the size of your first (unless you're a man reading this, make them the size of your lady's fist :) ).

Put them in a 400 degree oven for 18 minutes. Mine got a little burned because I was experimenting with temperature and time but 18 minutes at 400 should be about right. Just check that the sausage is cooked through.

Then take them out of the oven, put them on a serving plate and stick them directly on your butt. Yes, these are terrible for you, theres no way around that! But they are soooo good! This is the kind of thing that would be perfect to bring to a Brunch. Believe me everyone will be asking you for the recipe!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pulled Pork Part 2 of 3

So for Part 2 I kept it nice and simple. I took the pork that I had refrigerated and not yet shredded (see post below), and simply shred it up and added our favorite store bought BBQ sauce. I put it in the oven at a very low heat while I made the potato salad.

Lightened Up Spring Potato Salad

3-5 red potatoes, diced smallish
1 hardboiled egg
chopped celery and onion
peas (but really, whatever you have/like in your potato salad works)
2 tbl dijon mustard
4 tbl greek yogurt
salt and pepper

I cut up three red medium sized potatoes (unpeeled, thats where all the nutrients are!) and added them into a big pot of water and turned up the heat so it would come up to boil. I threw in my egg that I wanted to hardboil for the potato salad too. Season the water well! The potatoes absorb the flavor... salt, bay leaf, herbs, chicken broth, use whatever you want or have on hand.
While it boils, get your other veggies for the potato salad ready. I went with what I had on hand... peas (leftover from the Buffalo Chicken Salad, and I like peas because they're Springy), onions and celery.

So, my husband HATES mayonaise and while I don't hate it, I don't particularly love putting huge spoonfuls of it in my food. So instead of mayo I used 1-2 tbl of dijon mustard, and 4 tablespoons of greek yogurt (also leftover from the Buffalo Chicken Salad). It was soooo good. It was still creamy, but not nearly as heavy or dense as it is with mayo.

Toss in your spices, I used fresh chives and dill (happened to have these on hand for the deviled eggs I made over the weekend. Again you don't have to use these spices, but I will say I really liked the dill in this).

When the potatoes are done, drain and run them under some cold water and toss them in with your yogurt/veggie/herb mixture. Peel the hardboiled egg, omit the yolk, finely chop the whites and toss it in too. Fridge til ready!

And the final products... I worked really hard on the beans too (opened up a can and heated it up).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pulled Pork Part 1 of 3

Okay, this series of recipes I'm going to post over the next few days utilize my absolute favorite things... using the crockpot (because it does all the work for you) and making several meals out of one. I LOVE THAT!! I feel like any subsequent meals you get after the first one are basically free.

I was really excited about this too because I got the pork shoulder from the Home Farm Store. It was $6.99 a pound which is definitely steep for pork shoulder, BUT I got three meals out of it, so it was totally justifiable.

Southwestern Pulled Pork Tacos

1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)

1 can of corn (drained)

2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder

1 jar of salsa

2 tbl of oregano

2 tbl of chili powder

2 tbl of unsweetened cocoa powder

Smother allll the ingredients (except corn and black beans) on the pork. I know... it looks kinda nasty. Now go away and let the crock pot work its magic for 6-8 hours on low heat.

When its ready, take it out, cut it in half and scrape off the seasonings from one half. Stick that in the fridge for another nights meal!!

Then shred what is left. Shred, rough chop, whatever you need to do to get the job done.

So it looks like this...

Then add the corn and black beans into the crock pot with the salsa-y goodness

Add the pork back in.... yummm
Serve it up in a corn or flour tortilla with your favorite taco toppings! (My personal fave, guacamole... avocados, lime juice, salt, garlic powder, onion, tomato, chopped fresh jalapeno and cilantro... mmmmm so good).
So I still had a TON of the pork leftover after we ate. I put what was left in a container and froze it and actually used it up tonight in Enchiladas. I'll post that too!

Menu Planning Monday

Here we are again, Monday!! This morning I woke up early and headed out into the dark for a ... WALK! I ran up the one half mile hill that leads out of my neighborhood but then my friend and I (also pregnant) walked like two old ladies for three wonderful miles. I've always kind of poo-pooed walking. I know, I'm not very nice. But my walk was LOVELY this morning. Although we walked a similar route as our usual run, I noticed things that I never really noticed before! Houses going up, streets being built, birds chirping all around. Yes, I could walk later with the boys (in fact, I'm 100% positive given this weather forecast we'll walk quite a bit today) but it was wonderful to get in some quiet, reflection time without them. AND walking is still great for you... it can prevent colds, lowers blood sugar, and prevents cancer and glaucoma just to name a few benefits.

FINALLY in other running-related events I wanted to wish a big GOOD LUCK to my friends running in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this weekend! Good luck to MEGAN running her first race back after having her second baby!! To DOROTHY who will be racing on her birthday!! And to GWEN who will be running her first 10 miler ever!! Is anyone else going to be there this weekend?? Let me know so I can look for you and cheer you on too!

I have a ton of recipes to share from this past week. We had a great Spring Break and Easter week and there was definitely a lot of cooking going on because of it. I have a lot of leftover ingredients around so I'm hoping to save money on groceries this week by using them up! ALSO the weather is going to be 80's this week so since I know we will be outside a lot I'm going to keep it simple this week!!

Pulled Pork Enchiladas
(part three of the slow cooker pulled pork I made last week...
can't wait to share this recipe, I've made three meals out of it!!)
Japanese Curry
Burgers and Grilled Asparagus
(if you live by a Harris Teeter, its on sale for 99 cents this week because its in season! And totally unrelated, but Breyers Ice Cream is on sale for $1.99... amazing.)
(recipe curtesy of Kathryn DC! These ingredients also are in season so should be cheaper)
Saturday or Sunday
Don't forget to check out for hundreds of others meal plans!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wings and Beer

Not really, but this is what the taste of this salad makes me think of. It was delicious, but you won't like it unless you like a good spicy hot wing dipped in blue cheese. Buuuut, the great thing is that this is way healthier than that!!

Speaking of getting healthy... registration opens for Army 10 Miler this morning!! Last year the race sold out in 6 short days!! I've only run Army 10 once, the year I had my second baby. I had done a few half marathons, but this was my first 10 miler ever. ANYONE can sign up for this race. If you've been running for a while, then a 10 miler is a great distance to work on improving your speed. If you are newer to running, a 10 mile race is such a great goal to set!! It's a totally attainable distance to train for, and such a huge accomplishment. And this particular 10 miler is so well organized and well marketed. So SIGN UP today! Don't think about it, just do it. Just sign up right now and figure out the rest later. I can promise you this, you will NEVER regret the runs you do, but you will always regret the ones you skip!!

Thanks ELINA for the great recipe!

Spinach Buffalo Chicken Salad

For the salad:
shredded chicken breast (not pictured, I had two breasts cooked and leftover from the weekend, but a rotisserie chicken would be perfect)
Red Hot (one of the healthier buffalo sauces b/c its not laden with butter)
big bag of spinach
sweet peas
carrots (shred or thinly slice)
celery (chopped)

For the dressing:
1 tbl mayo
3 tbl greek yogurt
handful of blue cheese
olive oil (maybe a tbl to two... enough just to loosen up the dressing)

Mix about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Red Hot with the shredded chicken

Cut and prepare all your veggies and put them in a big bowl...

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing (it will be thick-ish) and toss it in the veggies. Use your hands!! The dressing is thick so its the only way to get it through. When I make this again, I will toss just the carrots, peas and celery in the dressing and then put it on top of the spinach... this will make it easier to save leftovers!!

Top with chicken...
See? Hot Wings and Beer with zero guilt :)