Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fish Tacos and Baja Sauce

They turned out really good! I used some nice Mahi Mahi, and made a beer batter using cup of self rising flour, some salt, some garlic pepper, and 1 light lime flavored beer. (Bud Light Lime).. I whisked it together really well.. I seasoned the fish itself with salt and pepper and cut it against the grain into 1.5 inch wide strips.. then dipped the fish in the batter, and fried them in hot veggie oil until golden brown.. It was delicious!

To assemble. I took a freshly cooked toritlla and spread some tartar sauce on it.. then put 3 pieces of fish down the center, topped it with some cole slaw, then some of the creamy baja sauce, and topped with the regular baja sauce.

But before I did all of that... I had to make the Baja Sauce:

And the creamy baja sauce:

My dad loved trying fish tacos for the first time.. He even got seconds and praised them several times. :) I really enjoyed cooking for him... I'm so glad he's moved back to Austin. :)


I totally cheated and got cole slaw from KFC and tartar sauce from Red Lobster. LOL Hey.. Red Lobby makes the best tartar sauce.. and KFC makes the best cole slaw.. I was already making this baja sauce with four million ingredients.. And besides.. I've never once made cole slaw at home that didn't make me want to gag. idk why.. but it's gotta be kfc for me.

Planning a week of good food..

So the bestfriends took us out to dinner at our mutal favorite place to eat together.. Canoli Joe's. It's an all you can eat Italian food buffet. And oh my word, it's like food heaven. They have so many things that are just out of this world.. like a butternut squash gratin. And this amazing pork meatloaf with sweet balsamic glaze.. and a roasted vegetable lasagna that I literally moaned "mmmmmmmmmmmm this is so good" every single time I took a bite of it. It was one of the few things on my plate(s) of food that I ate every single bite of. And went back for more. The only other thing I went back for more of was the mussels fra diavlo..

So this week I have vowed to recreate the roasted veggie lasagna. I have researched a few recipes.. found some that look pretty close, with a few changes.. And I'm gonna make this. I can't wait!

But I have to. Because tomorrow night I am making some fish tacos, with baja sauce, and fresh ready to cook tortillas (next best thing to homemade, because I just won't have time). We are inviting my dad over for dinner and tomorrow night is the only night he can make it.. And he's never had fish tacos.. So I want to make them for him. He's not a fan of Italian food, so I will save my roasted veggie lasagna for Wednesday night.

And Thursday night, we're going to have grilled pork chops and sweet potato fries. Yum! I can't wait to serve all this on my new plates :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Dishes!!

I'm so excited! I finally have all white dishes to photograph my recipes on!!! I decided instead of getting one big set.. I would get 2 pieces of everythinge, I liked.. so I got 3 different styles of plates, two styles of bowls, and 1 set of small plates for little stuff. Oh and I found a really pretty clear glass bowl that the mango salsa I made a couple weeks ago would have looked gorgeous in.. so I had to get one of those too. haha. I could have really gone haywire in there.. for being a dollar store they sure had some really cute stuff! I can't wait to start photographing my recipes on these new dishes.. especially the square dinner plates. :D That pasta I made Thursday would have looked SO good on them. Be on the lookout for my new dishes in pics this week! :) Oh *and* I found my digital camera.. so I will probably be using that instead of my phone for pics.

So basically, be on the lookout for new and improved pics of food! :)

Made the Tequlia Lime Shrimp..

It was yummy!! I used oranges, and made lots of the sauce..first I poured a bit of the sauce over the shrimp in the bowl.. and then tossed the linguini into the rest of the sauce and cooked it for the last 3 or 4 mins of the pasta cooking time in the sauce... Then we spooned shrimp over the pasta on our plates.. it was so freakin wonderful!! The only thing I'm going to change is to go ahead and get tail off shrimp.. The tails on make a nice presentation if they are like a normal main dish eaten alone.. but when mixed with pasta, they are a pain in the ass.. and you spend the first 5 mins of the meal pulling all the tails off so you can just dive in uninterupted. LOL I was really put out by this roadblock to chowing down on some seriously yummy food. So next time we are going with tail off. Otherwise this rocked, as usual. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

Like all good Southern cooks, I make KICKASS homemade biscuits. They are tender and flaky and oh soooooo yummy. Here's my recipe. :) I usually double it for my brood.

3 cups AP flour
2 Tbs sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1/2-1 stick butter, melted

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands.. Then work in the shortening.. you can use a pastry cutter, but I honestly just do it with my hands. I just rub the flour between my hands, working the shortening all through until the flour and like coarse crumbs. I usually dip my hands in ice water to keep them from warming the dough up. Once the shortening is worked in, pour in the buttermilk and work the dough together.. Dump it all out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute just until the dough comes together... roll it out into a half inch thickness and use a biscuit cutter (or as in my case, a wine glass LOL) to cut the biscuits into rounds. Place the biscuits on a greased pan (I like my cast iron griddle but when I am making a double batch, I just do them on a cookie sheet) and make a small indentation into the tops of them with your fingers... Brush the tops of the unbaked biscuits, filling the little indentation, with the melted butter and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown and delicious.

**If you want layered biscuits (like grands flaky layers biscuits) simply roll(very very lightly, don't press too hard) the dough out and then fold it in half. Roll it again and fold it in half again Repeat this process several times before cutting the biscuits.. when they bake they will puff up and you will get layered biscuits.

Chicken a la King

Winner winner chicken dinner!!! That's what The Family had to say about tonight's dinner. Definitely gonna have to make this again. Got the idea from Diners Drive-ins and Dives last night. It was SO filling.. definitely stick to your ribs comfort food. But it was sooooo freakin good!

Here's what I did..

1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup AP flour
1 qt chicken stock or broth
1 cup milk
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic pepper
the meat from 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, pulled into big chunks
1 cup frozen peas

Okay so first I got my big red enameled cast iron dutch oven nice and hot and put the half a stick of butter and oil in it.. once the butter was melted, I tossed in all the diced veggies (but not the peas) and added a heavy pinch of salt to them and gave them a stir and turned the heat to medium low to let the veggies sweat. When they were cooked down and nice and soft and sweet, I added the flour to the pan and turned the heat up and cooked it for just a minute or two. Then I poured in all the stock and whisked the heck out of it. I added the milk, and the seasonings and let the whole thing come to a boil and thicken up to the consistency of gravy. When dinner was ready to be served, I stirred in the peas and the chicken meat. Serve it up over biscuits or mashed potatoes.. or both! That's how Justin did it.. tore up his biscuit, and mixed all of it together. And proclaimed how yummy it was several times while eating.

Really easy, REALLY tasty. Definitely making this again and again. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

These are SO yummy, and so simple! I have a major thing for these, infact, these cookies are the reason I don't hate coconut anymore. Now to be clear, these are NOT delicate French Macarons. Just wanted to get that out there. LOL Now, for the recipe.

5 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (this is one 14 oz bag)
2/3 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (I used the fat free version)
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, flour and salt.. then mix in the condensed milk and extracts and work everything together with your hands until it's well mixed. Pop the bowl into the fridge for 30 mins or longer. This helps firm up the dough and make it easier to form into balls.

When you're ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 and use an icecream scoop to form even balls of dough.. squeeze the balls in your hands a little bit to make sure they are firmly packed together. Bake them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets for 18-20 minutes until the coconut is nicely toasted and browned. Let cool completely.

Now you can stop right there.. but went a step further.. I'm dipped them in chocolate! Yum! Now you can do this one of two ways.. You can buy the little tubs of chocolate in the baking aisle that's made specifically for dipping... or you can just temper some chocolate in the microwave.. I've got chocolate chips, so that's what I used. I melted 3/4 of my chocolate chips, with a bit of shortening, in the microwave in 30 second intervals until it was all melted, then stirred in the other 1/4 of the chips to bring the temp back down.

Dip the macaroons and let them set up and harden on parchment paper. Then devour and experience sublime bliss. Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tequila Lime Shrimp

Thank god I found it!!!!! I have been looking for this recipe all evening. I made it last year sometime, and was telling my sis in law about it. It's super easy SUPER yummy, and best of all... it's a weight watchers recipe(that I've modified LOL)! Yeah.. My foray into fried food is coming to an end.. its time to get a little healthier. I think that since my food bill is going to be drastically less next week, I might just have to make this. We'll see how it goes and if I have money for fresh shrimp after we pay the bills and such. Here's the recipe, so that I never lose it again. :D


1/3 cup(s) fresh lime juice
zest of lime
1/2 Tbsp jalapeٌno pepper(s), minced

1/2 tsp chili powder, chipotle is best but I usually just have regular

3/4 tsp sugar

3/4 fl oz tequila

1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped, divided

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste (plus some for garnish)
1 1/2 pound(s) shrimp, jumbo-size, shelled and deveined (or leave tails on for a nicer presentation)

First you mix together the lime juice, the zest, jalapeno, chili powder, sugar, tequila and 2 tbs of the cilantro together in a small bowl and set aside. Season the shrimp with salt (and I always add pepper cuz i can't not add pepper to things)..

Then you heat up the olive oil in a nonstick skillet till its screamin' hot and toss in the garlic for about 30 secs to a min.. then you add in the shrimp and sautee for about 4 mins or until pink, being careful not to overcook the shrimp. remove the shrimp to a plate. then pour in the sauce and let it reduce for about 2 mins.. kill the heat and pour the sauce over the shrimp, garnish with teh rest of the cilantro and a bit of salt and voila. Yumminess.

I like to double the sauce and serve this over linguini or spaghetti.. but using the juice of an orange for the other 1/3 cup juice.

If I do indeed make this this week, you can be assured there will be pics.. but for now at least I have the dang recipe written down somewhere. LOL

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finally made the chicken tacos!

Isn't that such a lovely looking plate of food?? It tasted just as lovely. :) I used the recipe for the chicken tacos with mango avocado salsa that I posted last week.. it turned out quite yummy! And I did my rice with the chicken stock and cilantro and lime... really good stuff, especially with the mango avocado salsa on top (thats how the husband did his and gave me a bite.. good stuff!) My sis in law made us homemade tortillas and oh man oh man... talk about AMAZING. Here is her recipe:

4 cups AP flour
1.5 Tbs salt
1.5 Tbs baking powder
1/2 cup shortening (or lard if you're adventurous)
1 cup cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then cut in the shortening with a pastry blender (I think you could prolly do this in a food processor as well) until it resembles coarse crumbs... gradually add in the cold water and knead into a soft ball. The dough shouldn't be sticky at all, so add more flour if it is. At this point we refrigerated the dough while we got the chicken and rice cooking. When ready to make the tortillas, roll the dough into 15 little balls, about the size of a golf ball, maybe a tad bigger. Then roll the balls out with a rolling pin into as round a shape you can get.. ours were quite interesting shaped LOL One looked like a dogs head. haha Cook them on a very hot griddle until they are browned on both sides. I used my cast iron griddle. I started cooking them while my sis in law finished rolling the balls into tortillas. Here's what they look like when you have flipped it at the right time:

Aren't they so pretty? They tasted so dang good. I've never done home made tortillas before, and I'm so glad my sis in law showed me her recipe and taught me to do it. The boys were all gone tonight on various sleepovers and camp.. but the twins really liked them and said that Aunt Jamie's "tortitas" rocked! hehe Try them someday soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Sammiches

That's what we had for dinner tonight.. it was *awesome*!! I just did my own thing with it though.. I seasoned the pork tenderloins with salt and garlic pepper and my BBQ rub, seared them off in the pan then finished them in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes.. The husband sliced them up nice and thin and we had it on kaiser rolls with bbq sauce drizzled over them. WAY yummy!

To go along with it I made some baked beans (not the oven ones with bacon, just my stovetop version), mac n cheese, and another layered salad. Skipped the peas and used avacado this time... which tasted great.. but made it REALLY creamy. Almost too creamy. I think when using the avocado under the dressing layer, I only need half the dressing. And PW says to salt and pepper the layer of lettuce, which I did both times I've made this salad.. but the problem here is: Salt makes lettuce weep and get soggy. SO. No more salting the lettuce. I *will* perfect this salad to my tastes. Dangit. LOL

It was a really yummy dinner and we all enjoyed it, even the kids.. and it was easy! This would definitely work as a Sunday Lake Day meal. Gonna have to remember that one of these weekends :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home made tortillas and cilantro rice

That's what I wanna make to go with the chicken tacos with mango and avacado salsa. My sis in law makes home made tortillas from scratch and I've never done it before.. So she's gonna show me something! I'm excited. :) I've been showing her tricks the whole time they've been here.. and so now it's her turn :)

Along with the tacos there has to be rice. But my kids just don't dig mexican red rice. They never eat it. So this time I'm thinking I am just going to cook the rice in some chicken stock, then when it is done, I will add in a bit of butter, a squeeze of lime, and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. They love those flavors so I think they'll like that a lot. :) I'm kind of excited to try it too. :)

So many yummy flavors to look forward to that night.. but not tomorrow... tomorrow we are having chicken parm. It's my brother's only day off this week and I told him I would make him chicken parm to enjoy on his day off and he smiled really big and nodded his head. So, tacos will have to wait till Monday or Tuesday..

Oh and good news! They got the house! Yay! They are moving in on Friday, and are super excited. I couldn't be happier for them... and have to say, yes the food consumption of 11 people has been crazy.. but it's been a lot of fun. I have *really* enjoyed cooking with my sis in law for the past few weeks. And finally getting to show her so many of the recipes I've been telling her about but she never gets a chance to try has been great. :) Looking forward to a smaller grocery bill, though! lol

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Guess whats on the menu?

Yep.. both of the wanna make ideas.. At some point (probably this weekend) we are having the grilled pork tenderloin sandwhiches on kaiser rolls, and the chicken tacos with the mango avocado salsa. Mmmmm! I can't wait!

Other things I'm planning this week are chicken parmesan (at The Brother's vehement and repeated request lol), chili cheese hot dogs with homemade bbq chips, and thats all I got so far. We still need two more meals.. but I got stumped so I'll figure it out later this week and see if anything jumps out at me from some cookbooks and stuff.

Oh and I also got all the stuff to make that layered salad again.. but this time sans peas. lol Gonna put avocado instead of peas. Yum! Just haven't decide which meal that is gonna go with yet. Thinking with the pork tenderloin sammiches.. But maybe the chicken parm.. idk yet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wanna Make: chicken tacos w/ mango avacado salsa

Another one from MyRecipes.com that I got in my email. This may actually be the one I got today and the pork tenderloin sammich from the other day. This one looks really good.. it would obviously have to be quardupled for hte 11 people living her (OMG lmao) but would be easy enough to do.

This are the ingredients needed:
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled mango
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/3 cup prechopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Basically you mix the spices and sprinkle over the chicken then pan sear it, cooking it until it's down.. then you mix the rest of the ingredients except for the tortillas together to make the salsa. And serve in the the warmed tortillas.

Sounds really yummy and easy. One of the reviewers said they served it with yellow rice, which sounds terrific. I'm trying to get back into the swing of healthier eating and try to get some of this weight back off. I'm kind of disappointed in myself for regaining the weight that took me 4 months to lose in only 3 weeks. I mean it's been fun.. don't get me wrong! lol But I gotta stop frying things every other night and baking several times a week. Nevermind that I am making a box of "intense chocolate" brownies from ghiradelli tomorrow for the sister in law's birthday. But that's a special occasion, so it doesn't count! lol

Wanna Make: grilled pork tenderloin sammiches

I got a recipe for this in my email today from MyRecipes.com. Basically it was a spice rubbed pork tenderloin that is grilled, then during the last 5 mins of cooking it is glazed with a jalapeno jelly.. Then it's sliced up and served on crusty hamburger buns with a dressing made of light ranch dressing and bbq sauce.. idk how I feel about that combo, but who knows.. maybe it's kinda like a bbq thousand island??? I think I've seen The Neely's on food network do something similar to that before. I'm thinking I definitely wanna give this a go. I will probably use one of my favorite glazes from HEB on it though. The one I usually use on pork tenderloin, its a pineapple habanero glaze. This could be a really great Sunday Lake Day dish... Easy as hamburgers, but Lori won't grumble (she hates burgers), kinda like pulled pork, but I won't grumble since it's much less work. I'm digging this idea and we might just have to try it out this weekend.

Here's the ingredients so I can find them easily later when I wanna make this.

  • 1/4 cup hot jalapeño jelly
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup sweet hickory smoke tomato-based barbecue sauce (such as Bull's-Eye)
  • 8 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls

Notes for my next layered salad

My brother hated the peas. So if I were to make this again for him, I'd leave them out. I think that a mix of peas and carrots could be good.. or even corn instead of peas. I'm also thinking I would love a layer of chopped or mashed avacado. Maybe if not the frozen peas and carrots.. then a layer of shredded carrots somewhere in there. I really loved this though and can't wait to experiment more with it. Avacado just sounds MMMMMMMMMMM but where? Somewhere in the middle? Right under the mayo?? I'm kinda thinking right under the mayo.. yummm.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Layered Salad and Bacon Mushroom Cheesebugers

Isn't it pretty?! It tasted just as good, too! Gotta thank PW for this one.. With a few changes to fit our tastes. I put one head of chopped iceburg lettuce on the bottom(skipped the baby spinach, cuz my man is picky) and sprinkled it with salt and pepper, then layered on chopped hard boiled eggs(5, but i swear I made 6.. I think a kid stole one), crumbled bacon (1 lb package), then diced tomatoes (3 big romas), 1 small can of sliced black olives, then about 6 or 7 sliced green onions, shredded 2% cheddar cheese (about 6 oz), and about a cup of semi thawed frozen peas. For the dressing I whisked together just over half a cup of hellmans light mayo (when it comes to light mayo, it's gotta be hellmans for me), a little over half a cup of fat free sour cream, 1.5 tablespoons sugar.. I poured this on top of my salad and spread it around with a spatula and then sprinkled the top with a bit of shredded cheese and sliced green onions. And then I put it in the fridge while we lit the grill and got the burgers and stuff ready. When dinner was ready, I tried to toss the salad together while it was still in my pretty bowl.. but it just wasn't working because I kept spilling ingredients out on the counter/floor. So I gave up and went and got my huge tupperware bowl and dumped it all in there and gave it a good toss.

For the burgers... Yummy stuff. Simple patties, just salt and pepper.. kids had american cheese, all the grownups but me had pepper-jack cheese.. but I had the rest of the 2% shredded cheddar on mine. I sauteed sliced cremini mushrooms in a tiny bit of bacon grease and some butter over high heat.. Once they started getting nicely brown after about 8-10 mins, I sprinkled a pinch of salt over them, stirred them.. then deglazed the pan with a bit of beef stock and gave it one shake of worcestershire sauce. Man oh man.. these were some GOOD mushrooms!!!

In the picture above, you see normal burger buns.. but the grownups got to have some toasted onion poppyseed rolls. Those were *the bomb*. I made a little dijon mayo spread for my burger.. took 1 tbs of my light mayo with half a tablespoon of some super thick and grainy dijon mustard and mixed them together.. I spread this on my bottom bun, then spooned on some of my mushrooms, then my patty with melted cheese, a slice of bacon broken and crisscrossed over the top.. and a tiny bit of ketchup on my top bun (cuz I can't eat a burger without ketchup). This coupled with my layered veggie salad and a spoonful of my favorite storebought potato salad.. and man oh man.. talk about an all american yummy 4th of July dinner! The kids were most impressed with the bacon cheeseburgers.. we've never done that at home. And believe it or not.. my two little bacon hounds, Heather and Hannah.. took the bacon OFF their bugers.. wtf?! idk. I'm still stumped about that one.

All in all.. SO yummy! I kinda wish we'd been at the lake having our yearly 4th of July fish fry and watching fireworks.. but Dave hasn't been fishing in months and all the fireworks in town were cancelled due to the burn ban.. So we just made do at home. And you know what? I am kinda glad we did. We'd just now be getting home from the lake and its midnight.. Instead everyone is in bed and no one is maxed out. Works for me. :)

Happy 4th of July everyone!!