Friday, July 30, 2010

Beer Battered Salmon Tacos with Zesty White Sauce

I had a salmon fillet at home with no plans on what to make with it. I came across Oishii's recipe  for beer battered salmon tacos with zesty white sauce. This sounds delicious, so I decided to give it a try.

It’s very easy and relatively fast (about 25 minutes) to make. It was pretty good, it would have been better if I liked Salmon. I’ve come to the conclusion I only liked smoked salmon, not salmon fillets. The sauce yielded quite a bit and not knowing what I could do with the leftovers, I just threw it out (something I hate to do.) So if you are interested in the sauce, I recommend cutting the recipe in half.

Here is my version of the recipe…

Beer Battered Salmon Tacos with Zesty White Sauce

For the White Sauce:

• 1/2 cup plain yogurt
• 1/2 cup mayo
• Handful of chopped cilantro
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano*
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder*
• freshly ground black pepper
* I did not measure

For the Beer-Batter:

• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg
• 1 cup beer ( I used Coors Light)

Making the Tacos:

About 6 oz of salmon fillets, skinned and cut into your desired size pieces
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
Vegetable oil and/or olive oil for frying (I use olive oil to fry tortillas)

**Optional toppings: sour cream, guacamole, lime, Mexican shredded cheese blend**


• In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency thins. Season with oregano, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Add chopped cilantro, mix, set aside.
• In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl blend egg and then blend in beer. Quickly stir into the flour mixture (it’s okay if it’s a little lumpy).
• Heat oil in deep frying pan until hot.
• Dust salmon pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
• Heat tortillas in a hot oiled pan, until slightly crispy on each side. Drain on paper towels.
• To serve, add salmon fillets, whatever toppings you please and drizzle with white sauce. Enjoy!

This made 6 servings. Another Weight Watchers Indulgence: 1 taco = 7 points

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

So all of the ladies on my cooking forum always rave about this creamy taco mac.  I figured I would give it a whirl to see what the hoopla was all about.  It pretty much is a grown-up, no-box version of hamburger helper and it was pretty delicious!  Next time I will try it with fat free cream cheese and fat free sour cream though.

  • 1 ¼ pound of ground turkey
  • 1 can (14.25 oz) Italian style diced petit tomatoes
  • 2 packets of sazon (or you can use 1 packet of taco seasoning)
  • 3 oz of cream cheese
  • 1./2 cup of sour cream
  • 8 oz of whole grain shells
  • 1 cup of reserved pasta water
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fat-free mild cheddar shredded cheese

    1. In a medium pot, bring water to boil for pasta.  Cook to al dente
    2. In at least a 10” skillet, brown ground turkey until no longer pink.  Add in tomatoes and sazon, mix well.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
    3. Add in cream cheese, sour cream, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water.  Mix well until all cheeses (especially cream cheese) are melted.
    4. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness.  Add salt and pepper to taste
    5. Serve and top with shredded cheese.  Mix cheese well in your bowl.
    6. Enjoy!

This makes about 6 servings. 

Weight Watchers Indulgence!  1 serving = 8 points

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shoutout to Bakerella!

Ummmmm I am *still* not quite sure how I have never heard of Bakerella until now! I have been marveling over her site for the past two days now. I pretty much want to try everything!! I think I will start out with some cake pops for my upcoming jewelry party. So stand by for a blog update!

In the meantime I am sure you can occupy your time by looking at every. single. recipe on her site!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oreo Truffles

I saw this recipe and saved it because I knew I had to make these! I saved them for a party since I didn't want these bad boys in my house. I ended up making them for my 90's bash and called them chocolate salty balls. They were heavenly and disappeared quickly leaving my Vanilla Ice-d cupcakes barely touched. 

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreo cookies, finely crushed
1 package (8 ounce) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
10 squares Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted


1. Take 6 of the cookies, finely crush them, and set aside (This can be done in a food processor. I used a magic bullet and it worked okay)

2. Take the rest of the cookies and finely crush them (again I tried the magic bullet and its didn't work so well with this many, so I ended up putting them in a ziploc bag and going over it with a pin roller)

3. Mix the crushed cookies and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 1-inch balls. After this, stick them in the freezer for a little bit so that they harden. It makes it easier when it comes to dipping.

4. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler ( I don't have one, so I just boiled water and then put a heat safe bowl on top) and dip the balls in the melted chocolate. Place the balls on a wax-covered baking sheet and then sprinkle with the crumbs that were set aside.

5. Refrigerate until firm & ready to serve!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fish Tacos

I like fish. A lot.  Though I have never in my life had a fish taco!  I guess I never really knew what they were exactly.  Maybe I thought it was some weird fish I wouldn’t like or… something.  Either way, I’ve never tried them.  So I decided to see what all of these were about and started looking at recipes to make some myself.  Tilapia is our fish of choice so I went from them and just kind of improvised a recipe. They were awesome!  Even the hubster said he was impressed (he’s never had them either.)  I think we have a winner.

Fish Tacos

4 tilapia fish filets
1 whole lemon
1 whole lime
Lemon Pepper Seasoning Salt
½ cup cilantro

Sour cream

  1. Season fish with lemon pepper seasoning on both sides.  Place fish on a foil lined baking sheets.  Squeeze 1/3 the juice from lemon and ½ the juice from the lime onto filets. Bake thawed at 425 for 15 minutes.  Flip filets midway through baking, squeezing 1/3 of the lemon & lime juices on top of the filets.
  2. In a bowl, tear apart cilantro and squeeze remaining 1/3 of the lime and lemon juices onto cilantro.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and heat corn and/or flour tortillas.
  4. Remove fish from oven and place in bowl with cilantro mix.  Mix together, breaking apart the fish into pieces (it should pretty much fall apart).
  5. Create tacos topping with cheese, sour cream, salsa and/or anything else your heart desires 

You know I have to assign this Weight Watchers points.  So 3 corn tortillas with 4 oz of fish mix topped with a total of 1/8 cup of Mexican shredded cheese, 1 tbsp of sour cream and 3 tbsp of salsa = 6.5 points

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chicken with Creamy Artichoke Sauce

I had a hankering for artichokes yesterday and I already had taken chicken out for dinner so I went on the hunt for a new recipe.  This one comes from Living Insanity's Blog .  It was delicious but in the future, I will probably chop the artichokes up more and only use ½ - ¾ of the can instead of the full can.

·        3 skinless, boneless chicken breast (I used 1.5 lbs of chicken tenders)
·        1 teaspoon salt
·        1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·        2 tablespoons butter
·        1/2 cup all-purpose flour
·        1/2 cup dry white wine
·        1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
·        1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
·        4 oz. cream cheese
·        1 1/2 tablespoons flour
·        1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1.  Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
3. Add wine, broth, garlic and artichokes to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. If sauce needs to thicken, mix 2 tablespoons of broth with 1 1/2 tablespoons flour (mix together in a cup and then add) and add to sauce.
4. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Serve sauce over chicken & pasta

Weight Watchers indulgence!  1 serving = 9 points

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Corn Salad with Asparagus

Adapted from All Recipes

• 12 ears corn, husk and silk removed
• 1 large bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 5 peppers (3 red & 2 green)
• 3 tbsp minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 tsp basil
• 1 tsp garlic salt
• salt and black pepper to taste

1. Boil corn until done (about 10-15 minutes). Allow to cool, cut kernels off
2. Fill a large saucepan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse immediately under cold, running water until well chilled. Set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan heat olive oil. Add in peppers until roasted and soft.
4. Combine the corn, asparagus, roasted peppers, garlic, basil, garlic salt, and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

Makes 12-15 servings

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

For the first time in our 6 year long relationship, we had no plans this year since we could not join our friends out of town. I decided to invite the family over for a cookout on the 3rd.  With the patio fiasco not being complete until days before, I was quickly regretting ever having mentioned this BBQ.  But in my style, I got it all done and it was a great success.  I tried a few new recipes that I needed to post though.

American Flag Fruit Parfait
Adapted from Taste of Home

  • 2 ½ packages of cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup of white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups of whipping cream
  • 2 quarts of strawberries, halved
  • 1 quart of blue berries
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in whipped cream. Place a third of the mixture in a 4-qt. bowl. Reserve 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries for garnish.
  2. Layer half of the remaining strawberries and blueberries over cream mixture. Top with another third of the cream mixture and the remaining berries. Spread the remaining cream mixture on top. Use the reserved strawberries and blueberries to make a "flag" on top. 
  3. Makes about18-20 servings.
Pretzel Sparklers   Adapted from Taste of Home
  • 1 bag of Ghirardelli white chocolate baking chips
  • 1 bag of pretzel rods
  • 1 container of red, white & blue sprinkles
  1. Line a platter with wax paper or foil (shiny side down).
  2.  In a small, microwave-safe bowl, pour half the bag of chocolate.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment.  Repeat until chocolate is melted.  Be careful not to burn chocolate.  Typically melting time is 1 minute - 1 minute and 20 seconds.
  3. Using a spoon, spoon chocolate onto pretzel rod and spread all around and across ¾ of the rod.
  4. Place on top of foil/wax paper.
  5. Repeat with second bag of chocolate.  While this chocolate is melting, toss sprinkles onto the already made pretzels.

The Patio Fiasco is Complete!

Over 4 months ago, we decided to extend our patio because we did not have a place big enough to put our patio table on.  We would put it on the grass but when it rained, the chairs would sink.  It was not cute.  On top of all of this, we had a small patio that buckled over the winter.  So we decided to replace those patio blocks and extend the whole thing.  We knew we wanted pavers, it was just a matter of procuring a landscaper and being able to afford it.
BEFORE: Area of grass and buckled pavers

This turned into the most stressful project we've ever done.

My mom is a bartender and her bar patron and mainly labor-type workers.  She made mention of our wanting to extend the patio and a customer said he was getting rid of his deck, the wood was new and he would design and install a deck for us.  We were very excited because all we were going to have to pay was labor.  3 days of phone tag later, he shows up on our agreed day an hour late.  I had to work a wedding that day, so I was already nervous. They were there for a while thinking of different designs.  He told me he would call me back later that day with a price.

3 weeks later, he gives MY MOM (not even me) a sketch of his design.  It's *nothing* what we discussed, he blocked off the whole thing where there is no access to the grass (hello!  landscapers need to get across there to mow the lawn!) and all of a sudden the wood is no longer free because he does not have enough.  So we need to buy the material & pay him.. and, oh wait!, the price of lumber is going up so that quote is no longer good.

Veto!  We decide a deck is not even what we wanted and would not be ideal for the space. Next...
I contact 4 concrete contractors and 3 landscapers for paver pricing.  1 concrete guy kept rescheduling to the point where I told him to forget it and the other 3 completely blew me off.  1 paver quote was redic, the other was reasonable and our landscaper's never called us back.

Come to find out my cousin's husband knows how to do this.  we hire him.  He tells us 2 weeks.  We have an idea to hire the landscapers to prep the area - remove existing pavers/dig down 6 inches and remove sod & dig down 6 inches and take it away.  $1000 quote later I told them they were out of their minds.  My cousin insures us he can do this.

We buy the material at Menard's.  Go in one day and get the wrong information from an idiot and a redic quote for material that leaves us thinking we cannot afford this project.  Go back, complain, get the correct help and free delivery.  Delivery comes, missing 2 skids.  The 10 skids still took up all the room in our garage though!

It took 4 more b*tchy phone calls and 4 more days to get the remaining pavers that we needed.  And then we didn't even have enough sand and paver base.  2 car load trips of 1000+ pounds later... we have all the material.  Oh!  But we have 10 bags of sand left and 500 pavers leftover.  *sigh*

We had to "hire" a friend of ours one day to come and help him, rent a sod cutter and borrow a few tools from a friend.  Add in a BUTTLOAD of rain and it took over 3 weeks to prep the area.  We had to find creative ways to reuse the dirt (we're leveling out the 'dip' along our fence in the yard and installing a retaining wall in the front).  We sat looking at a mess for a while:

He basically lived with us for 5 weeks straight while he finished this project.  Most of the delay was from the torrential rainfalls we had during those weeks which resulted in us having to rent a water pump 7 times and losing several days while things dried.  He finished last week Thursday.  2 days before my 4th BBQ.  I was able to get everything done.  I was down to the wire and I can barely walk but it's done.

Although, this was the most stressful project ever we are very pleased with the way it turned out.  We loveour new patio and are sure to get a lot of use out of it!