Homemade Fish Sticks


Every once in a while I like what I call a “kid meal”. For lunch, that will mean a peanut butter and jelly with carrot sticks, a juice box, and fruit snacks. (Are people supposed to outgrow PB&J? Because I sure haven’t yet.) For dinner, it’s something like this meal. Fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. But this isn’t your blue box and yellow wearing fisherman kind of “kid meal”. What’s really awesome though, is that it doesn’t take that much more time.

Here’s the break down of how I put this meal together:

  • Prep green beans, set them aside to marinate
  • Get water boiling and pasta going
  • Prep fish sticks
  • Get the fish sticks and green beans in the oven
  • Drain pasta and prepare mac and cheese
  • Fish sticks and green beans out of the oven
  • Meal served

You can’t tell me that takes much longer than the boxed meal. And of course, making it all yourself means knowing exactly what (and how much) is going into your food. I also think that these fish sticks are well worth any extra effort. The panko really adds a nice crunch and there is no freezer burn after taste.

Homemade Fish Sticks
((slightly)Adapted from Elly Says Opa)

2 white fish fillets (such as tilapia or cod) ~1 pound
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko
heaping 1/4 tsp onion powder
heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450. Prepare a baking sheet by placing a wire (cooling) rack over the tray and lightly spraying with non-stick spray.

Cut the fish into strips.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the panko, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and canola oil. Place the egg in separate bowl.

Coat the fish sticks by dipping the strips into the egg first, then the panko mixture. Place the coated strips on the wire rack and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily, rotating pan halfway through.

Have you ever tried Wasabi Mayonnaise? I bought some at Trader Joes and it was AWESOME with the fish sticks!

Garlicky Green Beans

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Living in San Diego has a lot of perks. For one, the weather here is darn near perfect almost the whole year. Not too hot, not too cold. Just mellow. Unfortunately there a few downsides. Most of the downsides have to do with me missing things about Ohio. Family, friends, and my extended dance family.

A little background for those of you that might not know, for almost 10 years I taught Irish dancing. If you do anything for that long it is bound to become a part of you, but I find that dancing especially seeps its way into who you are. Sometimes when I’m driving I’ll start singing a jig, just to make sure I didn’t lose it (because man it took a while to not accidentally slip into a reel mid-song). Other times I catch my feet doing a dance under my seat (or more embarrassingly, while waiting in a long line).

I have to admit that as much as I enjoy having my weeknights and weekends free, I’m a little sad to think that starting this week all my little dancers will be going back to class and I won’t be there. Even though Garlicky Green Beans aren’t really Irish, they are green. And in honor of my green McGing sweatshirt wearing dancers, I am posting this recipe for their first official week of the 2011-2012 dance year.

Quick notes about these green beans. 1) They are ridiculously easy 2) They are flavorful, crunchy, and the perfect fix it and forget it side dish.

Garlicky Green Beans
(Sunny Side Up original)

Ingredients
1 1/2-2 pounds fresh green beans, cleaned and cut to be even
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees*.

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl**.

Spread green beans on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the skin starts to shrivel, stirring once or twice during baking.

* I settled on 450 because that’s the temp my main course required. I’m sure it would be fine to use whatever temp your main course is. If it is less than 450 it will require more time, but will still work.

** For an extra flavorful punch do this about 30 minutes before you plan to cook the green beans and allow them to marinate in the oil/garlic.

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

Before I lived in San Diego I lived in Ohio. But, before I lived in Ohio I lived in Maryland (and before that Ohio, Maryland, Ohio, we liked to move). One of the things I remember most vividly about Maryland is the crab parties we would occasionally have. I can remember going to the docks and my parents picking up a bushel of live Maryland blue crabs. When we got them home my sister and I would pick out a crab and race them across the kitchen floor. Then they were boiled, drained, covered in Old Bay seasoning, and tossed onto a big table covered in newspaper.

OK, so racing your dinner across the kitchen floor before eating it off of a newspaper covered table might sound a little barbaric, but I swear we weren’t the only ones that did. There was usually a crowd of friends there to enjoy and partake in the barbaric activities. It’s kind of a tradition in Maryland, at least in the crowd my parents hung with.

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a crab party but one thing I have continued to enjoy is the flavor of Old Bay seasoning. It takes me right back to those parties and makes me feel warm and happy. I think when we first moved back to Ohio it was difficult to find in the grocery stores but now most stores carry it, conveniently near the seafood.

Now I know this is starting to sound like a cheesy commercial, but I promise you it’s not. This meal was just the perfect option when my sister was in town because she has the same memories as I do. I love that this meal is impressive enough to serve to company but easy enough to make after work on a weeknight (which is exactly what I did while my sister was visiting).

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

(Adapted from Oldbay.com)

Ingredients
1 16 oz box of pasta (I used bow ties)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 Tbsp Old Bay, divided (low sodium kind if you can find it)
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 green onions, sliced thinly

Directions
Cook pasta according to directions on package. During the last minute of cooking add the peas. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of Old Bay. Cook for 3 minutes or until they start to turn pink. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Stir in the half-and-half, reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan cheese and the rest of the Old Bay. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add the pasta, peas and green onion. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving (this gives the sauce a few more minutes to thicken)

Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Creamed Corn

Well, the BBQ Turkey Burgers I posted last week were very well received. I am going to go out on a limb and say it was all that cheesy goodness on top that drew people in. But it wasn’t just the delicious cheese, juicy burger, or savory BBQ sauce that made that meal. The side dish really set that already amazing burger over the top. That side dish was creamed corn. No wait! Stop! Don’t click away. This isn’t your mushy, sodium laden, canned creamed corn. This is homemade, creamy, corny, goodness. I promise. And even better, it’s easy!

Here’s a few notes about this recipe. First, I had a bag of roasted corn from Trader Joes and it was an awesome addition, but I don’t think it’s a make or break for the recipe. If you have it, use it, you’ll like it. If you don’t, no worries, it will still be awesome. Second, the recipe I used called for a crockpot. A crockpot would be great if you’re the type of person that plans ahead and can remember to put everything in the crockpot. Some people I know aren’t like that… I used a dutch oven. Bellow I’ll tell you how to do both ways just keep in mind that my personal experience was with the dutch oven. Third, I used frozen corn. Fresh would be even more delicious, but also a lot of work. Your call. Finally, I cut the recipe in half and it still made a ton (and I will list it below as I made it, if you need more you can double it). Now to the recipe!

Creamed Corn

(Adapted from Bluebonnets and Brownies)

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds frozen sweet corn (it was 2 1/2 bags for me or 5 cups if using fresh)
1 8 oz block cream cheese, diced into 1 inch squares
1/2 stick (2 oz) butter
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a dutch oven or oven-proof pot, over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until all cream ingredients are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 30 minutes.

Crockpot instructions – throw everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours.