Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pantry Pick of the Month: Ro Tel Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro/ Fish Tacos

My pantry pick for the month of January was this:  
I was ill most of the month of  January and didn't get around to making these until this month.  Man, were they good!!!  I often order fish or shrimp tacos in restaurants, but I'd never made them.  This is a really good and really easy recipe. I will be making them a lot from now on! 

Fish Tacos
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro
3 cups tri-color cole slaw mix (found in the produce section) with the dressing packet
1 1/2 lbs. tilapia, thawed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
corn tortillas
oil for frying
Avocados, diced (optional)
 Fresh limes, cut, ready to squeeze

Drain the tomatoes, reserving juice. Stir the sour cream and about 1/4 of the tomato juice together to make a sauce. Set aside.
Drain the rest of the juice  and then put the  drained tomatoes and the cole slaw mix in a bowl and mix together.  Add some( to taste- all of it may be too much) of the cole slaw dressing to make a creamy consistency. This makes a spicy, sweet cole slaw that is just delicious.

Sprinkle the salt and cumin on the fish filets.  Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet.  When hot, cook the fish, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, or until flaky.

While the fish is cooking, heat some oil in a skillet.  Dip each tortilla in the hot oil.  Drain on paper towels.

To assemble: Put some fish on each tortilla and squeeze some lime juice over.  Top with the slaw and some sauce.  Then add some avocado (if desired) and serve with lime wedges.

This makes about 12 tacos.

For other Pantry Picks, click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ketjap Manis

This is an Indonesian sauce that I could not find at any stores around here--not even in an Asian Food Market. So I googled a recipe to make it on my own. It's an interesting process, kind-of like making candy, but not as difficult. I needed it for my Samoan Chop Suey recipe, which I will post if it ends up tasting good. Here are the ingredients, plus water.
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup water
3/4 cup soy sauce
7 TBSP dark molasses
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander (I used ground cumin instead)
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  1. Combine sugar and water in 2 quart saucepan.
  2. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly just until sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase heat to high and continue cooking until syrup reaches 200 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer 3 minutes. It ends up being a thick, dark syrup.
  6. This will keep 2-3 months tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Light and Delicious Lasagna

I got this recipe from  I love that it includes spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, and lower-fat turkey rather than beef.  We had it tonight, and it is really yummy!  My only critique is that it had a lot of liquid. I think next time I make it I will drain the diced tomatoes before adding them.  All in all, I think this is a great way to make lasagna a bit more nutritious.  I loved the fact that I could prepare it in the morning when my daughter was in school. That way when the crazy "bewitching hour" of 4pm hit all I had to do was slide this into the oven and spend that time focusing on my kids.  It take a bit of prep time, but it was worth it.
 Before baking
After baking
  • 2 1/3 Tablespoons Olive oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tsp dried basil
  • 4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 to 10 no-boil lasagna noodles (I used regular lasagna noodles and boiled them first)
  • 3 cups zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with one teaspoon of olive oil.

2.  Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about five minutes. Mix in turkey, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Cook and stir until turkey is no longer pink and the mushrooms have released their liquid, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and spinach. Cook, stirring often, until spinach leaves are wilted, about five minutes; turn off burner.

3.  Mix cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, and parmesan cheese in a bowl until combined. Set aside.

4.  Place 4 or 5 lasagna noodles into the prepared baking dish, overlapping if necessary, and pour half of the turkey mixture over the noodles. Spread half of the zucchini slices over the meat sauce, and top with half of the cottage cheese mixture. Spread half of the mozzarella cheese over the cottage cheese layer.  Repeat layers, starting with four or five more noodles, the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, cottage cheese mixture, and remaining mozzarella cheese.

5. Bake in preheated oven until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and browned, 45 minutes to one hour.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cinnamon Toast- the Right Way

My sister Pam made this for me and told me it was Cinnamon Toast made the right way. I agree.  This is the right way.  I googled the recipe.  It's a Pioneer Woman Recipe and it is yummy.

Cinnamon Toast- the Right Way
8 slices good bread
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (or more)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Put the bread on a large cookie sheet.  In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla.  Spread the mixture on the bread.  Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil until bubbly.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fancy Chicken

This is one of the best new recipes I've tried in a long time.  It is just delicious.  Both my husband and I LOVED it.  I served it over mashed potatoes, but I think it would be delicious over pasta as well.  Bonus:  It's easy!  And it's easy to make bigger or smaller based on your family size.  You're gonna like this one:

Fancy Chicken
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced very thin
4-8 thin slices of prosciutto or ham
Bag of baby spinach (you won't use the whole bag)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 envelope Recipe Secret's Savory Herb and Garlic (with the dry soups)
1/2 cup (more or less) chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Heat your oven to 375.  Spray a 13 x9 pan.  Put the sliced chicken in the bottom of the pan.  Season with a little of the Herb and Garlic mix.  Next layer thin slices of prosciutto or ham over the chicken.  (Prosciutto is delicious, but expensive.  I think thin ham would work, too)  Then layer with a good thick layer of spinach, filling the pan almost full.  Sprinkle on salt and pepper.  Top with the mushrooms.  In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, olive oil and seasoning packet.  Pour overall.  Cover pan with foil and bake it for about 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over all.  Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve with mashed potatoes or cooked pasta.
So, so yummy!!!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 package andes mint pieces  OR if you don't want mint, they are delicous with white chocolate chips

Combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the chocolate pieces.  Drop rounded teaspoon onto a cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes- just until set.  Don't overbake.

I like to bake some now, and roll the dough for the rest.  I freeze it on a cookie sheet, then bag the cookie dough balls in zipper plastic bags and put in the freezer.  Then you can have hot, delicious cookies any time.  These are by far the best when they are warm from the oven.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I haven't made brussels sprouts for years, but I saw some in the grocery store and suddenly had a craving.  I found this simple recipe from Ina Garten.  It was easy and delicious and made a great side dish:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 lb. brussels sprouts
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil (just guess)
Salt and Pepper

If not already done, cut the brown end off of the brussels sprouts. ( You can buy them with it already done and washed.) Put them in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over them. Salt and pepper them well and stir to coat.  Put on a baking sheet and roast at 400 for 25-35 minutes.  Sprinkle with more salt and eat while hot.  They should be salty and the consistency of french fries.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What's For Dinner? February

  I hardly cooked at all in January.  I guess I did the first week, but then I had a terrible cold for about a week and didn't cook at all and then we were on vacation for the rest of the month.  So a few of January's menus are repeats from last month.  Here's What's For Dinner in February:

Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice
Mama's Meatloaf/ Baked Potatoes/ Roasted Brussel sprouts (one of my favorite Sunday dinners- I use time bake on my oven and it's all ready when we get home from church- I have it in the oven right now for today!)
Chicken Stir Fry over sticky rice

Enchilada Casserole/ Green Salad/ Beets

Swedish Meatballs in Cream Sauce over Mashed Potatoes/ Brocolli
 Fish Tacos/ Refried Beans

Lazy Sister Chicken / Green Salad   This is a delicious, easy one-pot meal.

Oh, Baby Sandwiches/ Carrot and Celery Sticks

Scrambled Eggs with Cheese/ Cinnamon Toast/ Grapefruit

New Recipes to Try:
Oriental Chicken Pasta Salad
Wendy's Chili/ Corn Muffins
Disneyland's Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Fancy Chicken

Desserts and Treats: