Monday, July 25, 2016

cooking light cooking right ~ fish tacos with cabbage slaw

I love Sundays, because we adore our church family.  But sometimes we adore them for so long after church is over, we're rushing like crazy to get home and eat.  On top of that, yesterday, we had to run to the grocery store.  Why we do that to ourselves, I'll never know.  It truly tries every ounce of patience I have and is a really wonderful way to self-reflect on that which the preacher's message has challenged me earlier in the morning.  

Love others.  Do not be easily angered.  Practice patience.  

You know, those things that are oh-so-easy to do at Wal-Mart when the crowd could fill twenty check-out lines but only three are open (insert sarcastic expression here).  

At any rate, after collecting a handful of groceries, getting stuck in the mega-church's dismissal traffic one mile from our house, unloading our car and putting away everything, I was so seriously excited to eat this meal, I only snapped about two pictures and called the family to the table.  It was ~ no joke ~ one of the best meals at home we've had.  Not because it was fancy or difficult, gourmet or laborious.  This meal was fresh and clean and just plain good.  Exactly what I have come to expect from Cooking Light's recipes.  

If you want a quick meal with even quicker clean-up, put a big ol' platter of the fish and fixin's out on the table, distribute the paper plates, and completely and totally chow down.   Oh, and do a side of black beans with a little salt and cumin, because that, my friends, is what you call Sunday lunch.

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

serves 4-6

For the tacos
  • 6-8 tilapia frozen fillets, thawed
  • chili powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
For the slaw
  • 12-oz bag shredded cabbage (or slaw mixture)
  • 1/2 cup diced roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • malt vinegar to taste
To garnish
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 limes, quartered
1. Combine all slaw ingredients and mix.  Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large skillet.  Meanwhile, sprinkle fillets evenly with chili powder and salt.  

3. In hot skillet, cook fillets until they flake easily, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Heat second skillet (I love my cast iron for this) and slightly blister the tortillas on each side.  Place with fish to keep warm until all are heated.

5. Fill platter with cooked fillets, slaw, avocado and lime quarters.  Build tacos to your liking and enjoy!

Recipes for slaw and fish inspired by Cooking Light.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

pan seared scallops with sesame sauce

It has been quite a minute since I've been on here, has it not?  It's actually a little scary to think it's been nearly four months since my last post but feels like yesterday.  I remember being a young adult and having older adults warn me how fast life will go, the older I get.  They were not joking one. single. tiny. bit.  

I have been in my kitchen some this summer, but not much at all.  We have traveled pretty regularly, leaving out on our first trip the day after school got out (you can read about our mission trip here) and getting back from our fourth this past weekend.  In the middle of those was a jaunt up north to Indiana.  

When we visit family, you can bet we'll have a cooler, along with a bag or two, of groceries sent home with us.  It's just how family is, and this last trip was no different.  Within the load of groceries were a bag of bay scallops and box of Asian noodles (Shan Dong, to be exact).  So I set out on a search for an easy recipe to combine those two ingredients, imagining something a little sweet, savory and spicy would work nicely.  

We really, really enjoyed this dish and I LOVED the short prep time.  I believe it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish.  Super-big flavor in minutes flat?  Ladies and gentleman, we have ourselves a winner.

Pan Seared Scallops with Sesame Sauce

makes four servings
printable recipe

  • 8 oz Asian noodles
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds scallops (I used small bay scallops)
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1.  Cook noodles according to package directions.

2.  While noodles cook, in a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add scallops and cook until golden.  Turn with spatula and continue to cook until second side is golden.  Add soy sauce mixture to pan and bring to simmer, about two minutes, until sauce thickens and scallops are cooked through and have an opaque color.

4.  Serve scallops over noodles, toss, and top with scallions.

Recipe from Robin Miller, by way of  


Saturday, March 26, 2016

low-carb ham and cheese quiche

Breakfast.  Lunch.  Dinner.

That's when I ate this dish the handful of days it was in our fridge.  And I promise you it got better with each day.

About six weeks ago, in an effort to calm down joint inflammation, I began significantly lowering my carb intake.  There is no doubt I absolutely love my bread and pasta and sweets, but trying to get chronic low-back and hip issues under control trumped that love.  I still have some of those preferred staples, but I really attempt to fill up on protein, dairy and veggies first, and then top it off with the "good stuff."

I actually came up with this recipe for a brunch last week and I'm planning to make it again this week.  It really turned out light and creamy and would be a b-e-e-autiful addition to your Easter table tomorrow.  I decided to use an immersion blender to mix up the eggs and cream, so I'm fairly sure that's why the result was so tender.  I couldn't have been more pleased.

I know quiche traditionally has a crust, but I am here to say you won't miss it.  It would certainly work fine with it, but low-carb eating or not, I prefer it this way.

I hope your Easter Sunday is lovely.  For more Easter eats, you might like to try this, this, or this.

Low-Carb Ham and Cheese Quiche

makes one 9x13 pan
printable recipe
  • 2 cups diced fully cooked ham
  • 2 cups finely shredded cheese (a cheddar works very well)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (green parts only)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9x13 pan.

2.  Evenly spread diced ham and cheese on bottom of pan.

3.  Melt butter over medium heat and saute' onions until soft.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about
30 seconds.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.

4.  In mixing bowl, whip eggs, cream, salt and pepper until light and fluffy.  Using an immersion 
blender worked great here, but you could add air into the mixture by using a hand mixer, if you don't have an immersion.

5.  Stir onion/garlic mixture into eggs and stir.

6.  Pour egg mixture over ham and cheese.  Cook 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted into center
comes out clean. Take care to not overcook.

Recipe inspired by Taste of Home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

me and oprah's corn fritters

John and I have been married 19 years this May.  Wow.  I've heard myself say that out loud a couple of times in conversation over the last few weeks, and it sounds really strange.  But what is even more strange is seeing it in writing.  Nineteen years?  Where did they go?

Right before we married, I graduated college and worked part time in the business office of my university, waiting as patiently as possible for a job in the music industry - landing one was a dream of mine.  In the meantime, I was learning to become a wife, and for me, that meant learning to cook.  On my days off, I would do everything I could to make sure and catch Martha Stewart in the morning and Oprah in the afternoon, hoping for anything "domestic" to increase my spousal aptitude.  With pen and paper in hand, I would madly write down the ingredients to an intriguing dish and add it to my stash.  You can find one of my all-time Oprah favorites, here!

This past New Years Day, I pulled out that stash and reminisced.  As crazy as it sounds, there are some pieces of paper with recipes of which I can remember the exact moment I wrote them.  Nineteen years ago...


Six months after graduation I did finally land my dream job, so Martha and Oprah were no longer a daily habit.  I worried about falling by the wayside when it came to my growing ability in the kitchen, but little did I know my new boss was a domestic goddess and food queen.  I learned so much from her that I carry with me to this day.  But once in a while, as I did here, I pull out an Oprah just for old times' sake.  Oh, how I love memories.

These corn fritters are a great addition to many tables.  Served under tangy barbecue, in a bowl of soup, or alongside a stew, they are super-tender and savory.  We recently enjoyed them with this soup I posted not too long ago.  A wonderful blend of flavor and texture, go ahead and add this one to the menu pronto!

Oprah's Corn Fritters

  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (I prefer frozen or fresh)
1.  Preheat griddle or cast iron skillet.  

2.  Mix first four ingredients until smooth.  Stir in corn.

3.  Using "fat" of choice, melt butter/bacon grease or heat oil to medium-high.  

4.  Drop 1/4 cups full onto hot surface and let sit until bubbles form and edges start to dry (similar to pancakes).  Flip and cook until set and cooked through.  

5.  Remove from heat and place in warm oven to keep until ready to serve.

6.  Serve with butter, but for a sweet touch, serve with honey or syrup.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

chocolate cobbler

What do you get when you cross my puppy with my camera's SD card?  Yep.  No more pictures.  It was totally my fault.  I even told myself when I laid it on my nightstand that it could happen, but optimistic me thought it would be OK for one night.  And it was... until I heard crunching the next morning.

Ugh.  So disappointing.

I had several pictures of new recipes I was looking forward to posting, and I had only moved over a couple to my Google Drive.  There's just nothing I can do, so I have to choose to let it go.

As a result, I'm without a camera card for another day or two and used my iPhone last night to snag a picture of this dessert.  It is one of my favorite go-to's, because, more times than not, I have the ingredients on hand.  They're basic staples in many of our pantries.

I ADORE this dish for multiple reasons.  I love that it's fail-proof.  I don't have to worry about over- or under-cooking it.  And I truly, truly enjoy the consistency.  When you scoop into it, you will find a rich, creamy chocolate sauce under a tender crust.  It is kind of like a light brownie and fudge topping all in one.  We had it last night with snow cream.  Vanilla Bean ice cream is perfect any other time snow is not readily available. ;)

Chocolate Cobbler

makes one 9x13 pan

For the cobbler
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 3/4 T cocoa
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the topping
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/4 cups VERY HOT water
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place butter in greased 9x13 dish and put in oven while heating until butter is melted.  

2. Meanwhile, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla.  Batter will be very thick.

3. Once melted, remove pan with butter from oven and spoon mixture evenly in pan.

4. Mix together sugar and cocoa for topping.  Sprinkle evenly over batter.

5. Pour hot water over all and bake 30 minutes.  Serve warm with ice cream.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

saturday morning special ~ egg-in-the-hole sandwich

The speed of life has definitely returned to normal, and there have been far too many days since my last post.  But I couldn't think of a better one for a Saturday morning return than this one!
I've mentioned before how we love our Saturday breakfasts.  They're not always big, but many times they're more special than the bag of cereal or occasional sausage and piece of cinnamon toast we take in the car during the week.  

This sandwich definitely qualifies as special.  The combination of smokey bacon, slightly sweet and seared potato bread, all laced in warm egg and melted cheese... Yes.  Special.  That's a good word for it.  It is very easy, and so, very filling.  A great way to kick-start a day, for sure.

I'm looking forward to this weekend and a little more time to enjoy my boys and good food.  I hope you have a wonderful Saturday and can find a moment to fire up the griddle for something - and someone - special, too!

Egg-in-the-Hole Sandwich

  • 2 pieces potato bread (like this one)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 slices bacon (I prefer thick-sliced for this)
  • 1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp real butter
  • salt and pepper
1. While griddle is heating, cook bacon in pan until done, remove from pan and lay on paper towels to remove excess grease.

2. Transfer about 1-2 tbsp of bacon grease to griddle, add butter, and heat until butter melts.

3. While butter is melting, cut hole in bread using a 2-inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter.  Of course a fun shape, like a heart, would be cute, too!

4. When butter/grease mixture is heated, spread on griddle to cover enough surface for mixture to cover bread pieces when flipped.  

5. Place each piece of bread on the griddle, making sure the hole has adequate butter/grease in it to keep egg from sticking.  

6. Crack eggs carefully, one at a time, and pour in each hole of bread.  Cook until slightly set and flip over, taking care not to bust yolks.

7. Place bacon slices on one slice of flipped bread.  Layer with cheese and top with second piece of bread.  Season with salt and pepper.

8. Flip sandwich one more time to make sure not to overcook bottom egg.  A perfectly runny yolk is key, here. Season again.

9. Remove from griddle once cheese is melted.  Cut in half and serve immediately.

Idea from Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

quickest draw in the south ~ lazy daisy nachos

Snow, beautiful snow... It came in early Friday morning, and it fell and fell and fell.  It was gorgeous. It was peaceful.  It caused the city to stop, for just a moment, and breathe.  What a blessing it was, and as a dear friend said, a wonderful reminder that God is in control.

When both parents and their children work and/or attend the same school, snow days are the best. For four days, we have all been together in our home.  We played a LOT, and we ate even more! With a heads up that this weather was heading in, John called me at work the night before it hit to tell me he and the boys had made a grocery store run.  In his words, we were "locked and loaded."  And we were.  Our junk food cabinet was full, but he also grabbed a few things he knew I would want and need to make big breakfasts and real dinners.  You know... the ones that take a little longer than usual. It was wonderful while it lasted, but reality hits tonight, and I thought I'd share my answer for said reality.

This meal is probably all of my "boys'" favorite.  It's one of my favorites, too, because:

A) I know they love it,
B) it takes NO time to prep, and
C) it requires very, very little cleanup.

It's the card I pull every time I'm in a bind, and I'm serious when I say the family erupts with applause when I announce it's what's for dinner.

I really never thought about posting it until it came up in a conversation with a friend.  When I told her what I do, she enthusiastically responded with a, "Wow.  I never thought to do that.  I'm doing it tonight!"  So, I thought, "Wow.  Maybe I should put this on the blog."  So, here it is.

As a tip, I might encourage you to keep freezer bags of seasoned meat, in one-pound servings, on hand for these kinds of nights.  Sometimes I'll cook in peppers and onions with it before freezing.  I am here to say, it doesn't get any easier!  When the meal has finished cooking (about 10 minutes), put the pan in the middle of the table and serve straight from it.  Such a fun and fast way to enjoy dinner with your family!

Lazy Daisy Nachos

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

3.  Spread nacho chips (these are our favorite) on pan evenly.

4.  Distribute one pound of seasoned meat - chicken or ground beef is our usual - over chips.  You may want to use my favorite taco seasoning.

5.  Layer any items you prefer cooked on top... corn, beans, etc.  If you prefer nothing else, go ahead and spread shredded cheese of choice.  We typically use a fiesta blend.

6.  Watch carefully for cheese to melt and remove from oven, about ten minutes.

7.  Top with what your family loves.  We enjoy sour cream, salsa, jarred jalapenos, cilantro, and chopped avocado, if we have some.

8.  If you have a picky one like I do, adjust nachos as needed.  I always keep a corner free of meat and use just cheese.  One pan.  Suits everyone.  Wad up the mess, and kitchen is cleaned.

Recipe from The Lazy Daisy Kitchen.