Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Week 3, Getting Into My Groove....

Week three of this blog and I am really getting into this. I am so excited about all of the positive feedback! Feel free to comment on the recipes, and don't be shy if you didn't like something! If you have a substitution, or just a different way of doing the recipe I would love to hear it!

This week's recipes are ultra-easy, and very delicious: Swordfish Tacos with Fruit Salad, Southwest Style Chicken Burgers with Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta e Fagioli and Chinese Stir-Fry. I like them all, but my favorites are the Swordfish Tacos and the Chinese Stir-Fry.

The tacos are a great combination of flavors. The fresh, delicate seafood and the savory, spicy sauce with the crunchy cabbage and taco shells-it's really terrific! This recipe can be made with fresh or frozen swordfish-or use your leftover swordfish steaks from the night before. Essentially, any fish can be used in this recipe. However, I think swordfish holds up the best in a taco.

The Chinese Stir-Fry recipe is a simple, healthy and cheaper alternative then ordering take out. However, last week when I told my 3 year old that we were having Chinese food for dinner, she told me that she didn't want me to make it; she wanted the Chinese food guy to deliver it. My recipe is a quick, yummy alternative, but nothing beats the original!

Remember if you are buying all of your ingredients in advance, and do not immediately freeze the fish or poultry, that they should be used first. Both fish and poultry are highly perishable.

Enjoy! Happy Cooking!!

Items already in pantry or fridge:

Eggs, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, olive oil, cumin, mayo, dried rosemary, Parmesan cheese, sugar

Shopping List**

1 9 oz bag of plain or nacho flavored tortilla chips
1 green pepper
1 lb ground chicken
2 oz Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno
1 avocado
1 head of iceberg lettuce
2 limes
1 lb fresh or frozen swordfish steaks (preferably 1" thick)
1 medium tomato
1 bunch cilantro
1 red onion
1 bulb of garlic
1 onion
1 bunch of carrots
1 12 oz bag of coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
fruit of choice for fruit salad
8 corn taco shells
1 box of favorite macaroni and cheese
1 jar of hoisin sauce*
1 16 oz bag of frozen Asian vegetables (I recommend the brand Seapoint Farms)
1 9oz box Purdue Shortcuts chicken (original flavor)
1 bottle soy sauce
1 bag of white rice
1 jar sesame oil
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 jar of salsa
1 jar of mango salsa (optional)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with oregano, basil, garlic
16 oz box of small bow tie pasta
2 15 oz cans of white cannelini beans
1 8oz can of water chestnuts
1 pkg taco seasoning

**Most recipes are for 4-6 servings. If you are making more, or less, you will need to adjust the shopping list accordingly**

*hoisin sauce [ HOY-sihn; hoy-SIHN ]
Also called Peking sauce, this thick, reddish-brown sauce is sweet and spicy, and widely used in Chinese cooking. It's a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chili peppers and various spices. Hoisin sauce is mainly used as a table condiment and as a flavoring agent for many meat, poultry and shellfish dishes. It can be found in Asian markets and many large supermarkets.

Swordfish Tacos with Fruit Salad (4 servings)

1 lb of fresh or frozen swordfish

3 tbsp olive oil

1 pkg taco seasoning

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp of sugar

3 tbsp mayo

1 tbsp of cilantro chopped

2 tsp lime juice

1 1/2 cups packaged shredded cabbage or coleslaw

8 corn tacos

Thaw the fish, if frozen. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towel. Cut the fish crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Place fish in a single layer in a greased shallow baking pan. Combine the olive oil and taco seasoning. Brush this mixture over the fish. Cook the fish in a 450 degree oven for 4-6 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the mayo, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, garlic powder, sugar and chili powder. Add to coleslaw mix and toss to coat. If the coleslaw is not moist enough, add more lime juice, or a little milk.

Spoon the coleslaw mixture into the taco shells, cover with fish slices. Top this with mango salsa. Serve with fruit salad.

Optional condiments for fish tacos: fried sweet peppers with onions (usually sold in jar by the roasted peppers), black olives, avocados, chopped tomatoes, chopped red onion

Southwest Style Chicken Burgers with Macaroni and Cheese (4 servings)

1 slightly beaten egg

1/4 cup of finely crushed nacho-flavor or plain tortilla chips

3 tbsp finely chopped green pepper

3/4 tsp of chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 pound ground uncooked chicken

2 oz Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, sliced

4 kaiser rolls

1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and sliced


1 medium tomato

1 red onion

1/4 cup of salsa

1 box of favorite macaroni and cheese

In a medium bowl combine egg, tortilla chips, green pepper, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Add the chicken and mix well. (Mixture will be wet.) Shape the chicken mixture into four 3/5 inch thick round patties.

Place patties on a greased broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 14-18 minutes or until no longer pink and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees. Turn the patties once during broiling time. Top the burgers with the cheese slices and broil 1 minute longer until the cheese melts.

Serve the burgers on the kaiser rolls (toasted if you want), top with avocado, red onion, lettuce and tomato. Serve with favorite macaroni and cheese.

Pasta e Fagioli (4 servings)

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

2 carrots, chopped

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 14.5 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano

1 1/2 cups of small bow-tie pasta

1 15 oz cans white cannellini beans drained and rinsed*

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and carrots; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften. Add the broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and cook 8 minutes, or until nearly al dente*. Add the beans; cook 2 minutes, or until pasta is done. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese. Serve with Italian bread.

*Rinsing the beans is important. By rinsing you can make sure that this soup doesn't repeat on your family! :)

*Al denté: Describes foods, especially pasta, cooked only until soft enough to eat, but not overdone. The Italian translation is "to the teeth."

Chinese Stir- Fry (4 servings)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 16 oz bag of frozen Asian vegetables

2 tbsp of soy sauce

2 tbsp of hoisin sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 9 oz box of Purdue Shortcuts chicken

1 80z can of water chestnuts drained

Heat oil in a medium pan on medium/high heat. Add garlic, cook until fragrant. Add frozen vegetables, cook until heated through. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add chicken and drained water chestnuts, heat through. Serve on a bed of rice.

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