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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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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!

Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe Continue reading

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.

Home Cooked Comfort Food: Fried Pork Chops

Fried Pork Chops

In the middle of winter there is a tendency to crave comfort food…fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes. You get the idea. I certainly didn’t say anything about healthy…just comforting. This particular plate of food is one of my favorites. Fried pork chops are homey and comforting and pair perfectly with a healthy spoonful of mashed potatoes and some sweet applesauce.

During my high school years, I spent many of my weeknight dinners with a family friend. Her mother cooked what I consider comfort food on a regular basis. My recollection is that she would cook fried pork chops at least once a week. I don’t recall what we ever ate with those pork chops because they were just so delicious. When I make these Fried Pork Chops, I remember those fun weeks hanging out with friends and looking forward to home cooked comfort food. Delicious!

Fried Pork Chops Recipe Continue reading

Grilled Maple and Mustard Glazed Ham Steak

Grilled Maple and Mustard Glazed Ham Steak

Do you ever crave a big home cooked meal but you have no big family meal planned for weeks? Sometimes I want a turkey, roast beef or ham dinner but the extended family is nowhere to be seen. A single ham steak is a perfect way to solve this little problem.

When I think of a thick slice of perfectly cooked ham, I automatically think of a sweet and slightly tangy glaze. For this particular meal, I wanted maple syrup as my sweet so I decided to combine it with dijon mustard and a grill. The glaze is a perfect complement to the smoky flavor of the grilled ham and fed my home cooked meal craving without all of the big meal fuss. Perfect! And the leftover sandwiches make this feel so homey!

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A Chilly Weather Staple: Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili

Everyone should have a go-to chili recipe. It’s as simple as that. Chili is perfect for the cool weather, football parties, tailgating, and is easy enough for a year round meal. I like to start my chili in a skillet and finish it off in a slow cooker. The extra cooking time in the slow cooker gives the chili that “cooked all day” feel and taste. And isn’t that what chili is supposed to taste like? Pull out your crock pot and make this homey feeling meal soon!

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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!

Crispy Baked Rosemary Chicken Recipe Continue reading