Monday, June 30, 2008

Fish Tacos

When someone used to mention a fish taco to me, I thought it was the most disgusting thing...until I made some. I love Mexican so what's not to love about a fish taco? I just used this recipe that I posted earlier in my blog to marinate and cook the fish. Then I made the sauce to accompany the fish, added some lettuce, fresh salsa and cheese, and voila...dinner!

Recipe for sauce:
1 (8 oz.) container light sour cream
1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers*

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing, combine the sour cream and adobo sauce (hot sauce) in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.

*I used hot sauce instead since I didn't have the adobo sauce. And I probably only used about 2-3 tablespoons.

Brats and Kraut

Growing up with a 100% Polish dad and a 100% German mom, there was no getting away from kielbasa and sauerkraut...and I must say...I do love it. Well we just bought some bratwursts and a jar of sauerkraut and mmmmmm, mmmmmmmm...deliciousness! There's a bunch of different ways to make sauerkraut, and some of the ways depend on how much time you have.

For this particular night, Jim just rinsed the sauerkraut a little, added some bacon grease to a pan, then the sauerkraut and a little bit of water and just let it cook down a little.

My dad does the same thing with the bacon grease and adds the sauerkraut and some water and lets it cook down for about 45 min - 1 hour. At the end of cooking, a roux is added to thicken up the sauerkraut a little. I love it both ways, so it's always tasty to me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chicken Marinade

We're always trying to find new ways to make chicken different. Jim found this recipe on the Food Network, and what's nice about it is that it can be used on different meats. The best part was that we got to use our fresh home-grown herbs. The chicken was served with veggie fried rice.

Basic Marinade:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, a few sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, half a palm full

Combine marinade ingredients in the bottom of a shallow dish. Season meat of choice with salt and pepper and set meat into marinade and turn to coat. Allow meat to hangout 10 minutes. (We let it marinate for longer since it seems hard for me to believe that meat can marinate in 10 minutes). Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add marinated meat to the pan and cook 5 or 6 minutes on each side. Remove meat from the pan to a warm platter.

Veggie Fried Rice

So, Jim was perusing All Recipes and came across this chicken fried rice recipe. He decided to leave out the chicken and just use veggies...with some minor changes and substitutions of course. It was so yummy. We have a ton left over since he didn't cut the recipe in half (6 cups of rice is quite a bit), but I'm sure we'll polish it off in the next few days.

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4" - 1" piece of ginger, minced
6 cups cooked white rice
2 eggs, scrambled
1/3 cup soy sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, then add the 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, ginger and stir-fry another 5 minutes. Then add rice and stir thoroughly. Finally, stir in scrambled eggs and 1/3 cup soy sauce, heat through and serve hot.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spicy Hoisin Glazed Eggplant and Summer Squash

Jim came across this recipe, and since we had some eggplant (and summer squash) on hand, we figured we'd give it a shot. Hoisin sauce is soy-based and regularly used in Chinese dishes, as well as stir-fry recipes. So while I may have had it in a Chinese dish sometime in the past (who knows), we've never gone out and bought it and used it to cook with at home. Let's just say that hoisin has a distinct flavor and I wasn't really too fond of this dish. Jim on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed it. (We didn't have the cilantro, so we just left it out...we're not huge fans of it anyway, so no big loss).

1 tablespoon canola oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 medium eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, lengthwise
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and red chili flakes and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the hoisin, vinegar and soy sauce until combined and then strain, reserving the sauce.

Heat grill to high.

Brush eggplant (and summer squash) slices on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the slices on the grill and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Brush with some of the glaze, turn over and continue grilling just until cooked through, brushing with more of the glaze, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the grill and brush with the remaining glaze. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the cilantro.

Sausage with Peppers, Onions and Beer!

I love the hot turkey sausage from Jennie-O turkey, so I'm always on the look out for a recipe to try it in. I came across this recipe and just tweaked it to what I had on hand. I just served it over some brown rice. This is definitely something I'd make again

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package turkey dinner sausages (hot or sweet, your choice)
1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1-1/3 large red onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/3 (12 fluid ounce) bottles beer
2/3 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I didn't have this so I didn't use it - I used fresh basil instead)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I left this out since I used the spicy sausage)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook sausage until browned on all sides. Remove sausage from pan, and set aside. Pour in 1 bottle of beer to deglaze the pan, scraping up any blackened bits from the bottom. Place the peppers, onions and garlic in the pan. Stir in the remaining beer and the tomato paste. Season with oregano, cilantro (basil), hot sauce (optional), salt and pepper. Cover, and simmer until onions and peppers are tender. Slice the sausages into bite size pieces, and add to the peppers. Cover, and simmer until sausage is cooked through.

Bacon Cheeseburger

I know, not very interesting or hard to make, but I had to include them because they're just so damn yummy! And yes that's pickle relish on my burger. I'm too lazy to slice up a pickle so I just slap some relish on there. Too be honest, I could eat relish by the

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sauteed Corn and Red Peppers

We needed a side dish and had some frozen corn, half of a red pepper and some onion. So I decided to throw it all together and it turned out pretty good.

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed in the refrigerator
1 small onion, diced
1/2 -1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

In a non-stick skillet, heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking Add onion and and pepper and saute, stirring, until tender but still crunchy. Add corn and continue to cook until tender. Stir in garlic powder and cook for another minute or so. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted potatoes

I like to make roasted potatoes every now and then as a side dish. It's pretty simple. I just wash and cut up a few potatoes, but them on a baking sheet, add olive oil, salt and pepper, and whatever herb I'm feeling that day. For the ones in the picture below, I just added dried basil. You could use anything though; chili powder and cumin is good. I cook them at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. Delish!

Tequila Lime Fish

Jim was in charge of the fish for tonight. He did this sort of based on a tequila lime chicken dish. It was pretty good!

1 cup water
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. tequila

2-4 tilapia filets

To Marinate: Combine the water, teriyaki sauce, lime juice, garlic, liquid smoke, salt, ginger and tequila in a medium nonporous glass bowl and mix all together. Add fish and turn to coat; cover bowl and refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 to 3 hours.

We ended up grilling our fish, but it could be broiled or pan cooked as well. You'll want to cook about 4-5 minutes per side, or until fish is flaky.

Friday, June 6, 2008

White Sloppy Joes

So I found this recipe in another blog and also on the All Recipes website. I figured it would be quick and easy to make. The All Recipes recipe called for liquid smoke, but I decided to leave that out since it can be pretty overpowering at times. But once I finished adding all the other ingredients, it was just kind of bland and boring. So I decided to add about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and that really helped.

1 pound ground beef
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 tbsp. milk
4 tbsp. sour cream
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
6 hamburger buns

Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble, until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease. Stir in cream of mushroom soup (undiluted) and milk. Reduce heat to low, and cook just until hot. Stir in sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Serve on hamburger buns.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pasta w/ Garlic & Olive Oil

I believe the correct name for this dish is Pasta con Aglio, and it's really simple and delish. I didn't really measure anything, but this is pretty much what I did.

1 lb. spaghetti or pasta of your choice
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of the pasta water
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Cook spaghetti according to directions. In the meantime, heat the oil over very low heat and add garlic. You're actually flavoring the oil as opposed to cooking the garlic, so you don't want the garlic to turn brown. This should take about 8-12 minutes. In the last minute or two, add the red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Now add the pasta water, pasta and parsley. Use tongs and toss the pasta. I added a little black pepper too. Pretty easy.

We grilled up some zucchini and summer squash as a side dish.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tiliapia with asparagus and rice pilaf

Recipes can be found below. The rice pilaf was just a box mix, so there's no recipe for that

Roasted lemon-garlic asparagus

We LOVE asparagus, but plain old grilled and steamed was getting boring, so I decided to add a little flavor to it.

For regular roasted asparagus (which we probably make 1-2 times a week) I just use olive oil, salt and pepper.

1 bunch fresh asparagus, washed*
2-3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 lemon, zested
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt
olive oil to coat
lemon wedges (cut from the zested lemon)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Add garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, and enough olive oil to coat the asparagus. Using your hands, just sort of mix everything together on the baking sheet until the asparagus are well coated. Cook for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your asparagus. I find that thinner ones take about 15 minutes. When they come out of the oven, squeeze a little lemon juice on them and voila...yummy asparagus.

*Cut/break/snip the ends off the asparagus (hold asparagus, one at a time, in your hands near the cut end and snap it like kindling. Mother Nature saw to it that the asparagus breaks in just the right spot).

Zesty Grilled Tilapia

Jim found this recipe on the Food Network and decided to give it a shot. It was good, and would probably be a great dish for the people that like to eat fish without the fishy taste, but we didn't detect any zestiness in this "zesty" grilled tilapia. Jim thinks that if he would have used Tabasco as opposed to Red Hot, that there may have been more zest. I think we'll give this another shot one day, with some tweaks of course. And we only had two fillets, but kept the recipe the same.

6 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
6 tbsp. olive oil, plus additional for brushing
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
6 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. hot sauce, to taste
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the fish in a large nonmetal dish. Whisk together the 6 tablespoons oil, the orange zest, orange juice, ginger, hot sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste; pour over the fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare grill. Brush the fish with additional oil. Grill until fish just flakes when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes per side for each inch of thickness.