Monday, May 25, 2015

Baked Fish Tacos w/ Chili-Lime Slaw

I know, I know...it's been a while since I've posted on here, and I'm really sorry about that. I've been obscenely busy lately, and I've also been doing a lot of meal planning/batch cooking over the weekend. C & I have been making a concerted effort to eat up what's in the deep freezer, so I haven't really made anything *new* lately. On a bright note, we have ended up WAY under budget on our grocery expenses over the last month or so. I did all of my weekly grocery shopping yesterday morning, and spent a whopping $55 for a week's worth of healthy, homemade meals!

That being said, it's Memorial Day weekend, which, for most people, means grilling out, going to the beach, etc. Basically it's how we kick off summer! Of course, THE most important thing about Memorial Day is to remember what it stands for (and please don't confuse it with Veteran's Day). So, while you're spending your long weekend with family and friends and enjoying that 3-day weekend, take a moment to remember those who gave their lives so we could enjoy this freedom. 

C and I always have individually-wrapped frozen fish filets in the freezer. I'm a salmon fan, and make my Easy Oven-Baked Salmon at least twice a month. He likes to keep cod on hand for Beer-Battered Fish & Chips as well as tilapia for fish tacos. We both like our fish tacos pretty simple - fish, slaw and tortilla, maybe with a squeeze of lime or a tiny bit of Creamy Salsa Verde. Usually he handles the fish tacos, lightly breading the fish and pan-frying it, but I decided to make it more low-carb by baking the fish and using some low-carb tortillas


This recipe is super easy - you don't have to deal with any messy, splattering oil. You can make the slaw while the fish is in the oven, or make it a few hours ahead of time. I made the slaw while preparing the fish marinade, about 4 hours before cooking.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mom's Cajun Cabbage

The last time I went up to my parents' house, Mom insisted that I try some cabbage that she made. I tasted a small sample, loved it, and got sent home with a Chinese takeout soup container full of it. It's not the prettiest dish, but it's damn tasty.

I let C, the cabbage fiend, try some, and he loved it as well. Needless to say, I HAD to get the recipe from Mom. I don't know if she found it online or in a magazine, or if she came up with it herself - she's like Chris in that she likes to wing it in the kitchen, rarely using a recipe or even measurements. 


Anyway, this couldn't be easier to prepare - you simply fry some fresh cabbage, then simmer it with stewed tomatoes and some Cajun or Creole seasoning. This recipe makes a lot, but the ingredients are dirt-cheap!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs in Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Sometimes a dish just comes together and completely blows your expectations away. Like, you expect the preparation to be time-consuming or a hassle, or you worry about a sauce not thickening enough, and then everything falls into place and just ROCKS. 

That's what happened with this dish. It all started with a REALLY good sale on chicken thighs ($0.99/lb). I stumbled upon this recipe, realized it would be low-carb, and then realized that I had everything on hand except for the chicken thighs and sun-dried tomatoes.

The one thing that went wrong? I could NOT find sun-dried tomatoes in oil at several stores (looking at you, Target, Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart). I finally found them at Publix...but anyway, back to this incredible chicken...

The thighs are seared in hot butter, then removed from the skillet. Using the remaining butter and pan juices, you make an incredible cream sauce with just a sprinkling of herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and heavy cream. The partially-cooked thighs are returned to the pan and then finished in the sauce. The sauce is what really makes this dish - the meat retains so much moisture (without being greasy) and the sauce is amazingly rich without being heavy.


Since the chicken is finished in the oven, you obviously will need to use a large ovenproof skillet - I used a vintage Wagner Ware 12" and it fit 8 chicken thighs perfectly!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blueberry Chia Jam

Last summer, C & I bought BUCKETS of Alabama-grown blueberries from the Pepper Place Farmer's Market here in Birmingham. They freeze great, and we've enjoyed them for months - he likes them on Greek yogurt, we made numerous lemon pound cakes with blueberries, and I've now realized that that make pretty darn good jam.

Speaking of jam, I've posted a few jam/jelly recipes here before, and all of them are 'old school' recipes. Meaning, yes, you'll need to use a boiling water bath and can them for food safety. Not everyone wants to deal with this hassle, especially if you want to make a small batch of jam, right? Also, dealing with pectin can be a pain, and most homemade jams and jellies have TONS of sugar. 

 
If you want a lazier, but still tasty jam, keep reading. This recipe uses chia seeds, that awesome little superfood, to naturally thicken the jam. You only need a minimal amount of sugar (and can easily substitute erythritol for low-carb, honey for paleo, and agave for vegan), about 10-15 minutes of cook time, and that's it!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ahi Poke

Poke (pronounced "poh-kay") is a traditional Hawaiian dish of raw fish, almost always yellowfin tuna (also known as 'ahi tuna'), marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce. It's frequently served with fresh avocado as well, or in lettuce cups. Basically, it's like a ceviche, but with a great ginger-y, spicy incredible flavor.


Ahi tuna can be quite expensive - many recipes call for a pound of the stuff, which runs anywhere from $16-$20 for sushi-grade here. I usually make poke in smaller quantities, especially since I can usually purchase ahi in individual servings, vacuum-sealed and frozen, from stores like Whole Foods & Sprouts. I also try to go with the most sustainable option whenever possible. 

The traditional recipe usually calls for green onions. I'm not a fan of them, but, if you want to keep things traditional, just add 2-3 Tbsp of chopped green onions to the marinade mixture. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thin Mint Smoothie

Lately, everyone I know has been posting pictures of their Girl Scout Cookies on Facebook or Instagram. A few friends have even taunted me with theirs, asking me if I want some, knowing that I no longer eat processed foods like cookies. It doesn't bother me at all, though - honestly, after 9 months of this lifestyle, and 50 lbs lost, I have lost the taste for sugar almost completely!

Luckily, I can still enjoy all of the flavors of Thin Mints, while still maintaining my lifestyle. How? With a Thin Mint Smoothie! The vibrant green color comes not from artificial food coloring, but spinach leaves and fresh mint. Plus, I HAD to do something green for St. Patrick's Day, right?



Also, if I really wanted to enjoy Thin Mints, I have this candle... 


With 16g of net carbs, this version is a little higher-carb for ketogenic plans, but fits into my macros now that I maintain my current weight at a daily limit of 30g net carbs. However, the original version used honey and sugar-sweetened chocolate chips, coming in at 41g net carbs, 35g of which was sugar!