Monday, April 30, 2012

Beer Battered Tilapia Tacos

I have been trying to add a little seafood to our diets. It is not easy, I have NEVER been a seafood fan. We are starting slowly with mild fish. The consensus I got was Tilapia was a good place to start (so far our only other fish of choice is Catfish) so here we go! I was very happy with the mild flavor. I will  be keeping Tilapia on the menu.
photo is with a full 2 oz portion

1 lb Tilapia fillets, cut into about 2 oz portions
flour for dusting
taco shells(hard or soft, up to you, we prefer hard, amount depends on how much fish you want per taco, we found that splitting most of them in half was more than enough)

Beer Batter:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour(GF works well too)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup beer(GF beers are pretty tasty, we used a Golden Ale)
to taste:
garlic powder
onion powder

1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1 TB lime juice
minced jalapeno(to taste)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin(you can go a little more to taste, it is overpowering so be careful and add slow)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tps garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
red pepper flakes and salt to taste

oil for frying

topping suggestions

pico de gallo
shredded greens(we use spinach, you can use cabbage or lettuce)
fresh tomatoes
squirt of lime juice
taco sauce

Combine all ingredients and whisk well, adding a touch more lime juice(or even water) if the consistency is too thick( you want it a little runny)
Set aside to allow flavors to mingle

Beer Batter:(sorry, spaced on photos)
Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and seasonings.
Whisk together the beer and the egg. Quickly whisk the beer mixture into the flour mixture.

Heat oil to 375(you can do it  in a deep fryer or a large pan)
Lightly dust the tilapia pieces with flour.

Dip into batter and immediately place in hot oil. Fry until golden brown(turning only as needed) until it is flaky(min of 145 degrees, don't go too much over that either, it will get tough)

Drain on paper towels (if you want you can sprinkle a little salt immediately after pulling from the oil)

Heat your taco shells.

Fill each shell with a fish piece(half if you have smaller shells. Top with greens , then add some sauce and whatever other toppings you like.


 This was with 1/2 of the piece.

Homemade Rice Flour

Gluten free baking can become pretty pricey if you rely on store bought GF flours. With a little bit of time and effort you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. I have used this method to make brown and white rice flour. I plan to try it with Sushi Rice to make Sweet Rice Flour too.

3 cups rice
4 cups water

In a medium size bowl place rice and water. Swish around well and allow to soak for 1-2 hours.

Drain the water away, rinse with fresh and drain well again.

Spread rice out over a clean cloth, top with another cloth, pat well, remove top cloth and allow to dry for 2-3 hours "stirring" it around every so often.

Heat a large skillet over medium low heat.

Place all the rice in there and slowly roast until fully dry and slightly golden, as you can see in this photo, I OVER toasted, but it is still good for savory items, not so much for baking sweets.

Allow to cool completely. Then 1 cup at a time place in a blender and blend until very fine.

Run through a fine mesh sieve to remove any clumps

Make sure it is thoroughly cooled then store in an airtight container(in the fridge or freezer for longer storage)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Berry Chicken Pasta Salad

I found a recipe in my coupons this past week and I thought it sounded like a really good dish to take on our road trip. I decided to make up something similar but not quite the exact same thing.
It is easy to prepare ahead of time, is eaten cold and has everything you need all in 1 dish, fruit, veggie, protein and some carbs!

1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c non fat greek yogurt
2 TB canola oil
1/2 c sugar
1 TB minced onion
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 TB poppy seeds

Whisk all ingredients together and place in the fridge to blend flavors(at least 30 minutes)

16 oz pasta of your choice, (I had way too much to do today so we used Sam Mills Gluten Free Fusilli, I really wanted to make a lemon pasta with this....maybe next time!)

1 large chicken breast, poached, chilled and shredded

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh strawberries,
6 oz fresh blueberries
1/4 cup red onion, minced
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, torn

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente, drain and rinse well with cold water, allow to drain very well.

In a large bowl combine pasta, chicken, berries and onion. Toss gently to combine. Add spinach leaves and dressing (you may or may not need/want the entire amount of dressing, pour at your own discretion)

Toss gently to combine everything.

Top with toasted almonds if desired. I also sprinkled with about 1/4 cup flax meal for an additional nutrition boost

Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Toss 1 more time before serving.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cracked Pepper and Parmesan Bread Sticks(Gluten Free Recipe Included)

I love these! I got it from The Bread Machine Cookbook 6 by Donna Rathmell German, I just make them by hand.  You can serve them with any yummy pasta dish. I made them with Spring Pasta.
Sorry no pics, camera was charging.

2 tsp yeast
1 TB sugar
1 cup plus 2 TB warm water
1 TB olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
3 cups flour*
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

1 TB melted butter
sea salt to taste

* i made them gluten free by subbing 3 cups of THIS flour blend.

In a bowl dissolve yeast in water with sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until foamy.

Add in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time. Then add in parmesan cheese. Knead until smooth and elastic.

Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled. (If you are making gluten free, skip this rise!)

Punch down and divide into 16-24 pieces of dough(depending on the size of bread sticks you want)
Roll each piece into a thin rope on a floured surface, then place on a greased sheet(a perforated pizza pan for a crisper crust)

Allow to rise for an hour or so.
^ these are gluten free >

Preheat oven to 400 with a dish of water on the bottom rack(steam makes the crust crisper)
Place pan on middle rack.
Bake for 5 minutes, then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 10-15 minutes more. (GF may require a little longer baking time, check after 15)

Remove from oven and immediately brush with more butter.
Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes.
Serve hot.

Spring Spaghetti

I found a recipe that looked yummy, but of course I had to modify it slightly to what I prefer. This would also be great with some shredded chicken breast added. I toyed with adding a julienne sliced red bell pepper as well, but in the end decided against it. Maybe next time.

16 oz spaghetti(we used Sam Mill's GF pasta)
2 TB butter
3 large carrots, julienne sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, julienne sliced
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 - 5 oz container Frigo 3 cheese Italian blend(parmesan, asiago and romano)
1 TB fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp dill
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and white pepper to taste

1 1/2 TB cornstarch
3 TB cold water

Cook Spaghetti according to package directions to al dente, drain

In a saute pan heat butter over medium heat, add carrots and saute 3 minutes.

Add garlic, pepper and zucchini. Cook until veggies are just tender.

Stir in cream, milk, 3 cheese blend, parsley, dill, salt and peppers, stir until melted.

Stir cornstarch into cold water and add to cheese mixture, stir and cook until thickened.

Remove from heat and add spaghetti tossing well.

Serve with an extra sprinkle of parmesan.

Friday, April 20, 2012

No Pasta Lasagna

I love lasagna, but didnt feel like making GF pasta today. I was going to make this a pizza lasagna but I decided I just wanted a basic one, and since I dont have a basic lasagna on my blog I figured now is the time to do can replace the zucchini with regular pasta and it is a delicious "normal" lasagna.

This sauce is a nice basic sauce for any spaghetti or lasagna, this makes more than enough for this dish(and it freezes beautifully)

1 lb ground beef( you can use Italian sausage or a mix if you prefer)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce(1 -15 oz can)
3/4 cup tomato paste(1- 6 oz can)
4 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced*(1- 28 oz can )
1/2 cup beef broth
1 TB dried oregano
1 TB dried basil
1 (+) tsp white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 pinches of baking soda
* to peel quickly, make a small slash in the skin, dip into simmering water for 15-20 seconds and then dip into cold water, the peel will slip off easily

Cook beef with onion, garlic and bell pepper until the veggies are tender and meat is no longer pink, drain if necessary.
Return to the pot and add remaining ingredients except the baking soda. 
Simmer 2-4 hours. Stir in the baking soda. Stir and simmer until thickened. Taste and adjust sugar per your preference. If it is still a bit acidic add another pinch or two baking soda and simmer 1/2 hour more.

For the Lasagna:

3 medium zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
2 cups mozzarella, shredded(more if you like it cheesy!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups cottage cheese(or ricotta)
1 egg
1 TB fresh parsley
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
baby spinach leaves

Place zucchini slices on a paper towel, lightly sprinkle each side  with salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes. Blot well with a clean paper towel before layering.

In a food processor blend cottage cheese, egg , parsley, oregano, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350

In the bottom of a 8 x 11(you can actually go 9 x 13 if you like, but you might need more zukes) pan pour 1/2 cup sauce to cover the bottom. Make a layer zucchini slices.

Top with  1/2 the cottage cheese mixture, some baby spinach, 1 cup sauce and  1/3 the mozzarella. 

Make another layer of zucchini slices going the opposite direction. Repeat  the layer. 

Top with remaining zucchini going the same way as the first layer. Pour over 1 more cup sauce and sprinkle on remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil ( I spray it with cooking spray to prevent cheese from sticking)and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes more until heated through and browned well.

Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes for easier slicing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Copycat Domino's Tuscan Salami and Roasted Veggie Artisan Pizza

I really loved this one! Seemed simple enough to make a copy so here it is

You can use any dough you like, I used this one that I found as an "Artisan" crust. It is a bit messy but sure tasty! I changed it ever so slightly and the instructions on the link are a bit different for the baking, but I dont have pizza stones so I winged it.

Made enough for 2 pizzas

2 tsps yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Combine the yeast and the water, allow to sit 5-10 minutes until foamy.
Add flour and mix it well(I used my hands, much easier)
Cover and allow to sit for 1 hour.

To the starter add:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup room temp water
1 tsp sea salt
Mix well, it will be very sticky.

Allow to rise in a draft free spot for 90 minutes.

Grease 2 pans very well.

Split dough between 2 pans....sprinkle with flour and pat out to a good pizza size(larger for thinner crust, smaller for thicker) sprinkle more flour as needed.

Brush well with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.
Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

If you want to bake them right away preheat oven to 500.

Sauce:(makes enough for 2 pizzas)
1/2 tb butter
1 TB flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese(not the green can powder)

Melt butter over medium heat, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in flour and cook until bubbly.
Slowly whisk in milk and cook and stir until thickened.
Remove from heat and add in cheese, stirring until fully melted.

Spread sauce over pizza crust.

Toppings:(top to your preference, don't overload!)
Roasted Red Peppers(make your own here, I used 1/2 pepper per pizza)
White Onion
Baby Spinach
Banana Peppers
Mozzarella Cheese

 Bake 10-15 minutes, turn on broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes more.

For the plain eaters LOL:

Snickers Ice Cream Cake

This was my son's request for his 10th birthday! I think it turned out pretty darn good LOL.

Shell peanuts, I used a little under 1 cup.(of course you can buy pre-shelled if you like)

Caramel Sauce:(best made first so it has plenty of time to cool)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
6 TB heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Make sure everything is measured and close to you, this is a quick process and can burn easily.
Heat sugar in a heavy 3 qt sauce pan over medium heat stirring vigorously as it begins to melt.

 When it starts boiling, stop stirring but give the whole pan a swirl every 30-45 seconds.

As soon as all the crystals have melted and it is a dark amber color, add in the butter and whisk until it is melted.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream, whisking constantly. It will foam up(which is why you need a LARGE pan) Add in vanilla. Continue whisking until it is smooth. Allow to cool, then transfer into a jar or bowl if you like.

1 2/3 cup buttermilk(or sour milk)
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium heat bring buttermilk to a low boil, stirring constantly so you don't scald it.

As soon as it boils remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder until well blended.
Set aside and allow to cool

Grease 2 -9 inch cake pans and preheat oven to 350

Sift together flour, soda, powder and salt.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in vanilla.

Add flour and chocolate mixture alternately until fully combined and beat well.

Divided between the 2 pans and bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pans 15 minutes, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ice Cream:
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter(no sugar added is best)
3/4 cup sugar
1 TB cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat all ingredients until they are well combined and add them to your ice cream maker per manufacturers instructions to a soft serve consistency.

No Ice Cream maker click HERE

Line clean cake pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Place cooled cakes back in the pan, top side down.

Reserve 1/4 cup ice cream and divide the rest between the 2 cake pans.

Sprinkle peanuts over the ice cream(save some for the top)
Reserve 1/4 cup caramel sauce and pour the rest over 1 of the cakes.

Cover loosely and place on a level surface in your freezer and freeze at least 6-8 hours.

Pull it out of the freezer, Remove from cake pans and place cake side down, caramel peanut layer on the bottom, then the other layer.

With quick strokes smooth the ice cream around to fill in the middle crack.
Return to freezer at least 1 more hour


1 packet gelatin*
4 tsp water*

1 cup heavy cream*
1/4 cup powdered sugar*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract*
remaining ice cream

dissolve gelatin in cold water, place in a microwave for 10 seconds, remove and stir well, microwave and stir at 5-10 second intervals until the gelatin is completely dissolved, let it cool, but dont let it set

Whip the cream sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened, add remaining (softened/melted) ice cream.

Slowly add the gelatin and beat on high until very thick.

Pull the stacked cake out of the freezer
Frost with topping, working quickly.

* you can use an 8 oz tub of cool whip in place of the whipping cream mixture, just stir in the remaining ice cream and frost away.

Sprinkle top with a touch of shaved chocolate, crushed peanuts and remaining caramel sauce.

Return to freezer for at least 1 hour.