Tasty Tuesday-Fish Tacos

This is probably our family’s favorite Mexican recipe…it is almost guaranteed to make an appearance for birthdays (especially Ryan’s and Ladybug’s), Cinco de Mayo, and other holidays/celebrations (like Father’s Day) throughout the year! We like it so much that I always double the recipe, and sometimes, I have to make a triple batch! The fish is great on its own, if tacos aren’t your thing, and the cabbage mixed with the sauce also makes a nice salad on its own…I love a versatile recipe!

For the tacos:

  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for lightly dusting the fish
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 lb. cod or tilapia fillets, cut into small chunks
  • oil for frying
  • tortillas
  • shredded purple cabbage

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 minced jalepeno
  • 2 tsp. minced capers
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregeno
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dillweed
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

To make beer batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don’t worry about a few lumps).

To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.

Heat oil in deep pan or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.

Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve in tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and white sauce.

Tasty Tuesday–Ideas for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! I love an excuse to make a Mexican meal, authentic or Americanized, and my family loves an excuse to enjoy eating it! Here are some of my favorite Mexican recipes (mostly Americanized, I suppose) that I’ve shared over the years…main dishes, a side, and desserts. Some of them even use leftovers!

What are your favorite Mexican recipes?

The Easter Feast

Let’s start by focusing on what I liked about our Easter dinner. I set a very nice table, don’t you think? I love getting out our table linens and china, and making some kind of centerpiece. The side dishes were our standard family favorites: roasted potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts, pan-fried asparagus, cherry cola Jell-O, and mini croissants. Nothing terribly fancy, but dependably delicious. And the dessert was great. I tried a new recipe for a lemon curd swirl cheesecake with a homemade strawberry sauce. It took hours to get the whole thing made yesterday, but it looked and tasted great, so it was worth it. Those are all good things about our Easter dinner!

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the lamb. Despite the fact that I followed the recipe exactly (a recipe I have successfully made in the past, for the record), the lamb was way overdone. I don’t care what anybody who was at the dinner table said…it was not good. And since that was supposed to be the star of the meal, that was a huge disappointment to the chef.

Anyway, I’m going to try to focus on what I liked about the meal. And maybe not make lamb again next year.

Tasty Tuesday–Pan-Fried Asparagus

It’s almost Easter!

I almost always serve asparagus with our Easter dinner…this is the best time of year to buy it, and it’s pretty easy to find local asparagus around here at Easter time, which is a bonus. I’ve prepared it different ways in the past, but this is the recipe that I’ve used for the last few years, because it’s my very favorite!

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the olive oil.. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. Add asparagus, and cook for about 10 minutes (less if your asparagus is very thin), turning asparagus to ensure even cooking. Season with salt and pepper.

Tasty Tuesday–Salmon Pasta

Lent means fish sales. I especially love it when salmon goes on sale, because I love to bake it will a little lemon juice and olive oil. I love it even more when I have salmon leftovers, because then I get to make one of my very favorite pasta dishes! If you don’t love capers as much as I do, feel free to reduce the amount in the recipe.

  • 16 oz. fettuccine
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • leftover salmon, flaked
  • 1 to 2 cans of artichoke hearts, quartered or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 7 oz. capers, drained
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat butter; add garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer two to three minutes until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salmon, artichokes, salt, and pepper.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Stir in cheese, basil, capers, and lemon zest. Serve when heated through.

Tasty Tuesday–Beef Barley Soup

Our family loves pot roast, and we also love using leftover pot roast to make beef barley soup. It’s such a hearty, filling meal, especially on a cold winter night!

  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 10 cups beef broth (if you don’t have enough, make up the rest with water)
  • Approx. 2 cups chopped leftover pot roast
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 11 oz. box quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

In a large saucepan, saute carrot, celery & onion with salt in butter until translucent.

Add the broth, beef, tomatoes, barley, pepper, rosemary, basil, and oregano; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until barley is tender, stirring occasionally.

Tasty Tuesday–Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

Even though I wasn’t planning on making a dessert for New Year’s Day, once I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I did have to make a few changes, based on what was available to me at the store, so you’re getting the recipe I actually used, not the one I found. I also used Kahlúa in place of the coffee required in the original recipe, because I wanted to add more mint flavor, plus, I’m always looking for a new booze-soaked dessert recipe!

  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peppermint hot chocolate mix
  • 1/4 cup peppermint mocha Kahlúa
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows, divided

Place the eggs in a blender and blend on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar and then add the hot chocolate mix and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the Kahlúa, milk, and vanilla and blend until well combined.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch dish and place 1/2 of the cubed bread in the pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows on top. Add the rest of the bread and pack tightly. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and another 1/4 cup marshmallows.

Slowly pour in the custard. Press down on the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to thoroughly saturate. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Bake at 325, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes or until the bread cubes are crisp and browned and the center is firm.

Remove the dish from the oven and top with the remaining mini marshmallows.

Switch your oven settings to broil and broil for about two minutes, or until the marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Watch it closely, the broiler will burn the marshmallows easily.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

A Brazilian Feast for the Opening Ceremonies

The Olympics always provide us with an opportunity to try some new recipes that reflect the food and culture of the host country. I decided to jump right in this year, and have our first Brazilian meal for the Opening Ceremony.

But before we get to dinner, there was first an Olympic snack this afternoon. We made Olympic “torches” again this year…pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate, and topped with red and yellow sugar crystals for the “flame.” I added some Olympics-themed Hershey Kisses that I bought on an impulse at the grocery store this week. I also made Brazilian lemonade (which is made with limes, not lemons…I have no idea why), which was a huge hit!

On to the dinner feast. I tried three new recipes. The main course was a Brazilian black bean stew, which also had ham, chorizo, sweet potatoes, and mango. I served it with Brazilian rice, which was cooked in a similar way to risotto, and had garlic and onion in it. We also had Pao de Queijo, which is a Brazilian cheese bread made with tapioca flour. I was a little worried that this meal would be a little too different for the children, but it was a huge hit!

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For dessert, I made a Pudim De Laranja, which is a Brazilian orange flan. I screwed up the caramel part a little bit, but it was still delicious!

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I have a few more recipes to try over the next few weeks…are you making anything special to celebrate the Olympics?

Mardi Gras 2016

Today we had our annual Mardi Gras celebration. We started the day as we always do…with pączki. I’m still planning on making them from scratch one of these years! Like last year, we had red beans and rice for lunch. Much to everyone’s disappointment, I didn’t make beignets this year (there are only so many hours in the day!), but I did try a new recipe for dinner at Bunny’s request: shrimp gumbo. I even made my own shrimp broth, which was a new and entertaining experience. We finished the day with butterscotch bread pudding for dessert. I know,..that’s Southern, not Mardi Gras, but I really don’t like king cake, so I thought it was a decent substitute.

The celebration is over, and we’re ready for Lent to begin tomorrow!

Celebrating the Year of the Fire Monkey

Since we’ve been learning about Asia this year, I wanted to make a special meal to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I decided on homemade egg rolls (which Turkey has been begging me to try making for quite some time), Szechuan shrimp, pineapple fried rice, and (store-bought, of course) fortune cookies for dessert (yes, I did get the world’s most generic fortune…”Your future looks bright.”).

Everybody liked at least one part of the dinner (Ladybug, my most adventurous eater, liked it all!), and the egg rolls were especially popular. It was fun trying some new foods from a different culture!