Grilled Garlic Lime Fish Tacos

I don’t know about you but I find fish tacos at restaurants frustrating. Very rarely do I find a delicious fish taco anywhere. Do I find a good fish taco? Sometimes. A great fish taco? Not yet. Why am I so picky? I really don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that many restaurants only offer a fried fish rather than grilled. Maybe it’s the lack of a corn tortilla. Many times it’s the use of iceberg lettuce rather than crunchy cabbage. Whatever it is, I have yet to find that fish taco that has me coming back for more.

What’s the solution to my problem? There are probably lots of solutions to many of my problems. This fish taco problem though…I think the solutions is to make my own fish tacos! I sat down for a few minutes and thought about all of the various components of a fish taco which speak to me (not literally of course!). The chili lime flavors, the crunchy cabbage, the grilled and firm fish, the earthy corn tortillas. Then there has to be a sauce that  brings all of the flavors together. After all of these yummy thoughts, I put together what I thought would be my perfect fish taco. And guess what? They were outstanding! I am so looking forward to the leftovers tonight! Now it’s your turn…don’t go out tonight – make your own Grilled Garlic Lime Fish Tacos!

Grilled Garlic Lime Fish Tacos Recipe

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Cajun Tilapia with Roasted Blueberries

Cajun Tilapia with Roasted Blueberries

It feels so good to be back! After some health issues and a major job change, it is time to get back to what I enjoy. Without these distractions and honestly, all those energy zappers, I have been dreaming about new recipes. Today’s Cajun Tilapia with Roasted Blueberries is one I have tried before. Each time I made it, I was dissatisfied with some minor detail. I think I’ve got it right this time.

First, you have to find your favorite cajun seasoning. Maybe one day I will come up with my own seasoning blend but until then, I will use Weber Grill Creations N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning. Not a plug…just my favorite. It’s got a kick, but it’s not overpowering. Second, go minimal on the salt in your blueberries. If you use too much, it will taste weird…kind of soapy. Third, use a cast iron skillet if you have one. It really does just push the flavor over the top. Once you get the blend of flavors just right, this dish is delicious! It has that mildly spicy kick with the cooling sweetness of the warm blueberries. Try this one this weekend…you won’t regret it!

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Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage

Guinness Corned Beef and CabbageIt is that time of year when everyone is drinking beer (even green beer), wearing green, and rediscovering the merits of their local pub. For me, this weekend calls for trying something new, specifically Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage. And while my version of this Irish classic is not traditional, I find it delicious. My favorite part? The leftovers, of course! Corned beef on Rye bread with homemade Thousand Island dressing? YUM!

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Tonight’s Family Dinner: Baked Ziti

Baked ZitiDo you ever wake up knowing what you want for dinner? Today, I know I want a big Italian style meal. Yes, it was about 6:30 am when I made that decision. My feeling on this early morning decision is that anticipation will make for a great Sunday!

So what exactly am I anticipating? My Baked Ziti is very lasagna like but without the work. Easy homemade marinara, crumbled sweet Italian sausage (the key to a tasty Baked Ziti in my humble opinion), and lots of cheese! Add a fresh green salad, some extra garlicky garlic bread and I am a very, very happy girl. Treat yourself to an Italian feast tonight!

Baked Ziti Recipe

Baked Ziti with Homemade Marinara Sauce

Serves 8

First, make the Marinara Sauce:

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine

1. Heat large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, then onions. Cook onions until translucent.

2. While onions are cooking, add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.

3. Add wine and tomato sauce to onions. Simmer for 30 minutes over medium low, stirring occasionally.

Second, make the Baked Ziti:

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground sweet sausage (not in casings)
  • Marinara sauce (see above)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 slices provolone cheese (not smoked)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking disk to prevent sticking.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook to al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Do not overcook the pasta here or your Baked Ziti will be mushy. Drain.

3. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions and sweet sausage. When sausage is browned, add marinara. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. While meat sauce is simmering, add ricotta, salt, garlic powder and parsley to a medium bowl. Stir until combined. Set aside.

5. Layer the ingredients in the baking dish as follows: 1/4 cup meat sauce, 1/2 of ziti, 1/2 of ricotta mixture, 1/2 of provolone cheese, 1/2 of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 of remaining meat sauce,  1/2 of parmesan cheese, then repeat with remaining 1/2 of ingredients. Cover with tin foil.

6. Bake for 15 minutes with foil. Remove foil and bake for remaining 15 minutes until cheeses are melted and gooey. Allow ziti to sit for 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the dish to set.

Crispy Baked Rosemary Chicken

Crispy Baked Rosemary Chicken

Are you like me and just sometimes crave some crispy chicken? Don’t go through the drive through of your favorite fried chicken joint…try this Crispy Rosemary Chicken. This chicken will be so much more satisfying with more flavor but without the breading. There simply is no need to bread and fry your chicken (which is sooooo messy!) when you can throw this very easy main dish together.

Did you catch that I said “very easy”? I really meant it. Just throw oil, herbs and chicken in a bowl, stir, and bake. The hardest part of this chicken is taking a spoon and basting the chicken at the end (basting is the secret to crispy chicken). Want to make it a full meal? Throw some potatoes and a veg in the oven too! Try this truly simple Crispy Baked Rosemary Chicken this week and let me know what you think. You won’t regret skipping the drive through!

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Cool Weather Coming!: Parmesan Tortellini Soup

Parmesan Tortellini SoupAll of Central Florida is abuzz right now…tomorrow morning we will be waking up to temperatures in the 50’s. For us Floridians, this is a wonderful reprieve from the heat and humidity that calls for fuzzy socks (what? no flip flops?) and relaxing on the back porch. It also means we will all collectively be craving soup. There will be beef stews, chicken noodle soups, and other crock pot concoctions made up this week. I want a quick soup that can be ready for a visit to my back porch. That’s where Parmesan Tortellini Soup comes in. This easy soup is not only quick but is unique in its use of a parmesan rind to flavor the broth. The addition of cheese tortellini gives this soup some heartiness too. I plan on making some this week…how about you?

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Shrimp Piccata

Shrimp Piccata

In my opinion, lemons are one of the most useful ingredients in cooking. They add a unique flavor to some of my favorite meals. That flavor can be assertive, a flavor that knocks you on your you know what, or lemons can be mild with a sweet backnote that leaves you craving more. Lemons add something delicious and zesty to iced tea, lemon blueberry bread, salad dressings, lemon cream cake, and one of my favorites…Shrimp Piccata.

Shrimp Piccata combines the wonderful lemon with lightly breaded shrimp, dry white wine, tangy capers, and buttery noodles (or rice). The combination is simply delicious while the preparation is so easy to prepare. Bread shrimp, saute, add sauce, pour over pasta or rice. Done. Grab some crusty fresh baked bread and make yourself some Shrimp Piccata tonight!

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