Monthly Archives: August, 2012

Baja Fish Tacos

I love fish tacos… they always take my husband and I back to our vacation in Mexico this past winter.  The recipe I tried tonight was delicious.  Our favorite parts were the Pico de Gallo and the Southwestern Slaw.  The fish was just a nice base for it!  We agreed that we would even love to simply do black bean tacos with the Slaw and Pico next time. 

Baja Fish Tacos

Recipe adapted from www.epicurious.com

2 lb. talapia or other mild white fish
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. lime juice
5 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
salt/pepper to taste
tortillas (we used whole wheat)
Southwestern Slaw (see recipe below)
Pico de Gallo (see recipe below)
Mexican Crema (see recipe below)

Instructions: 

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large freezer bag.  Either freeze and thaw in fridge on cooking day or marinate 3-4 hours.

Remove fish from marinade and grill over medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side until fish is flakey.

Cut fish into large chunks.  Divide over tortillas with a scoop of southwestern slaw, pico de gallo, and Mexican crema to top. 

Enjoy!

Southwestern Slaw

 
2 cups fine-shredded green cabbage
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp minced red onion
2 tsp minced jalapenos
2 tsp chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
 
Combine all ingredients and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
 
Pico De Gallo
 
1 cup medium-dice tomatoes (seeded before dicing)
4 tsp minced red onion
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
 
Combine ingredients, stirring well.  It is ready to use immediately but can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
 
Mexican Crema
 
1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 tsp lime juice
 

Combine all ingredients well.  It is ready to use immediately but can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge.

Husband Rating: 7 out of 10

Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers

These turned out sooooo yummy!  I love how crispy the chicken tenders were without any need to fry!  They didn’t even need a dipping sauce in my mind.  My only regret is that I didn’t get a nicer picture of them!  Next time… 

Pecan Crusted Chicken Strips

12 chicken tenders
2/3 c. honey
1/3 c. mustard
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 c. panko
1/2 c. pecans

Combine honey, mustard, oil, salt, garlic, and pepper.  Pour into large freezer bag and add chicken breasts.

Combine panko and pecans in a smaller bag.  Freeze the two bags together.

To serve, thaw chicken completely in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place breadcrumb mixture on a plate.  Shake excess sauce off chicken, roll in breadcrumbs, and place on greased baking sheet.

Bake 30 minutes.

Chicken Cutlets in White Wine

Though lovely in presentation, this meal was just average in my mind.  It wasn’t bad, just a bit bland.  However, my children must enjoy the occasional bland meal because they both ate really well!  So, not a loser recipe, but not my favorite either.  I served it with a rice pilaf and steamed asparagus topped with grated parmesan.


Chicken Cutlets in White Wine

8 chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 lb. total)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 c. dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 2/3 tsp. dried thyme)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Instructions:

Stack cutlets in a gallon freezer bag.  In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. melted butter, wine, garlic, and thyme.  Whisk to combine.  Season with pepper.  Pour into bag and freeze.

Thaw chicken in refrigerator overnight.  Remove cutlets from bag and discard marinade.  Gently shake chicken to remove liquid and season with salt. 

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Add cutlets to pan and cook until browned and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Flip halfway through and adjust heat as necessary to prevent from over browning.

Husband Rating: 4 out of 10

Food for Thought: I do think that this recipe could be improved in two ways.  I used chicken tenders for the recipe.  If I instead had used chicken breast and sliced into three pieces (approximating the size of tenders) the meat would have been better in my opinion.  I also am a sauce person… I would have liked a little sauce to go with the chicken though not sure what that would be at this point.  I will noodle on that and if I come up with an idea, I will share it.  If you have one, please share it! 

Apple Cinnamon Granola

I wish I had remembered to take a picture of this.  I will add one later.  This is the best granola recipe we have made to date.  It was sweet, crunchy, and delicious.  Everyone in the family has been eating it.

Apple Cinnamon Granola

5 c. multi-grain oats
2 c. sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. oat bran
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. agave
1/3 c. honey
1 c. apple sauce
2 Tbsp. coconut oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine first 10 ingredients (multi-grain oats through cinnamon). 

In a small sauce pan, combine agave, honey, apple sauce, and coconut oil.  Heat over medium-low heat until coconut oil melts and is runny.  Pour over oat combination and stir well.

Spread over two cookie sheets topped with parchment paper.  Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden brown. 

Cool and store in large ziploc bag.  Enjoy!

Garden Veggie Salad

I needed to use up some corn on the cob that wasn’t bad but definitely not the best.  My sister-in-law makes a salad similar to this often and so I decided to borrow the recipe.  It was delicious.  I even think that if you threw a can of black beans, drained and rinsed, into this, it could be a meal in and of itself.

Garden Veggie Salad

1 avocado, cubed
1 orange bell pepper, diced
5 ears corn
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. basil, chopped
1/4 c. red onion, minced

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large pot of water to boiling.  Add corn and bring back to a boil.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Drain and let corn cool. Using a sharp knife, cut corn from the cob.

In a large bowl, combine veggies.  In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and salt/pepper.  Pour over veggies and serve cold.

Food for Thought: Any veggies work in this, carrots, sugar snap peas, potatoes, etc.  It’s a nice way to use up any veggies from around your kitchen. 

Pineapple Pork Marinade

This is another one of those great make ahead marinades that I did with my friends.  You can toss it all together and keep it in your fridge for up to a week or freeze and thaw when you are ready to cook.  The kids loved the sweetness but it wasn’t overly sweet for my husband and me.  I used pork tenderloin in it but it would also be delicious with chicken, maybe on kabobs with large chunks of grilled pineapple.  Ahhh, next time….  But, it was great with pork.  I served it with a rice pilaf and some garlicky greens.  It was a nice, summery meal! 

Pineapple Pork Marinade


1 c. crushed pineapple
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. cidar vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. powdered cloves

Toss all of the ingredients together in a large freezer bag.  Add your choice of meat (I used 2 pork tenderloins) and marinate in the fridge for several hours or freeze.  Be sure to thaw in the fridge when you are ready to cook. 

I grilled the pork over medium heat for about 8 minutes a side.  But cooking times will vary depending on the meat you use. 

Husband Rating:

Garlicky Greens with Tomatoes

My friend, Sarah, offered me some swiss chard and kale from her garden and I am glad I accepted!  I have never cooked with either before and was looking forward to seeing how our family would eat them, knowing how good for you they are.  I found a great recipe from one of my favorite blogs, www.101cookbooks.com and adapted it to our flavor preferences.  It turned out delicious!  Sarah (or any of my other friends with bountiful gardens), if you have more you are looking to get rid of, we will definitely take it! 

Garlicky Greens with Tomatoes

Recipe adapted from www.101cookbooks.com

1 large bunch of kale and/or swiss chard, stems removed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

Instructions:

Roughly chop the kale and swiss chard.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat.  When hot, add salt (to taste) and greens.  The pan should hiss and spit a bit if it is hot enough.

Saute the greens for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic and tomatoes.  Saute for another 1-2 minutes or until the greens are just wilted. 

Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.

Food for thought: After posting this recipe, my friend Katie gave me some swiss chard from her garden as well.  This time, I sauteed the swiss chard and tomatoes and then added 1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta to it.  It turned out delicious.  I highly recommend it! 

Tomato Quinoa Black Bean Salad

This night, we were supposed to be having pork tenderloin.  However, I realized at about 4:00 that it hadn’t thawed all the way in the fridge as I had expected.  So, I looked around the kitchen, thought about what I had, and threw these things together to make a nice, easy dinner.  It turned out great in my mind, even though this style of meal isn’t my husband’s favorite.

Tomato Quinoa Black Bean Salad

1 c. quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
6 Tbsp. olive oil
salt/pepper
arugula
English cucumber

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa to package directions.  Set aside and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, shallots, and tomatoes.  Pour dressing over the top and stir well.

On each plate, place some arugula and cucumber.  Put a scoop of the quinoa mixture over the top.  Enjoy!

Husband Rating: 5 out of 10

Tomato, Basil, and Chicken Gemelli

This is a recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs, www.fortheloveofcooking.net.  The blogger always has great recipes that are easy to recreate and my family generally loves them.  I liked that we were able to use a bunch of the fresh basil we got from my friend Katie’s garden as well as the tomatoes from the farmer’s market.  I also think that this will be even better as a cold salad for lunch tomorrow. 

Tomato, Basil, and Chicken Gemelli

12 oz. whole wheat gemelli
2 chicken breasts
salt/pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
asiago cheese, to taste

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a clean, dry pan, cook pine nuts over medium heat until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken, approximately 5 minutes per side, until cooked through.  Set aside for 2 minutes before cutting into bite sized pieces.

In the same pan, toss cooked pasta, garlic, tomatoes, pine nuts, and chicken with 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Top with asiago cheese.

Husband Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Food for Thought: This was better the day after… I took it as a cold salad for lunch on our picnic and it was delicious.  I think next time I might even chill the pasta and eat it cold right away! 

Spicy Shredded Pork Sandwiches with Avocado

This recipe was a nice change of pace for us.  There was something in there that everyone in the family liked.  As I was putting the sandwiches together, I was a bit unsure of how it would all taste.  The individual ingredients didn’t taste all that good on their own.  However, when put together as a sandwich, it was great.

Spicy Shredded Pork Sandwiches with Avocado

1 pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 c. mayo
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. chipolte chili powder

hearty bread (I used a 9-grain bread)
avocado

Instructions:

In large freezer bag, combine first four ingredients and marinade for 4+ hours.

Prepare the pork.  Grill it for about 8 minutes per side on medium heat until it was medium well.  Then, let it sit 5 minutes before shredding.

While pork sits, saute onion, jalapeno, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder in olive oil.  Add shredded pork and remove from heat.  Do not cook too long or it will become dry.

Whisk together mayo, lime juice, and chipotle chili powder. 

Spread a thick layer of the chipotle lime may on the bread and add a layer of avocado and pork.  Maybe even put a dollop of mayo on your plate to dip the sandwich in.   It’s that good! 

Husband Rating: 7 out of 10

Food for Thought: The mayo was too spicy for my little guys so they had their sandwiches without.  But, my husband and I loved it!  You could easily prepare the marinade for the pork and stick it in the freezer as well as in a separate bag put the onion mixture raw.  Then, on cooking day, simply thaw the pork and cook as directed.  Saute the onion as directed as well and serve. 

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