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!

Homemade Oreos

 

In the weeks leading up to my China trip, Jesse dropped several hints about bringing along some home-baked goodies. There was no question what his number one choice was, chocolate chip cookies. But other than that he left it pretty open saying he just wanted a few things that I made. Oreos have long been a favorite of his, so when I re-stumbled upon an old bookmark for homemade oreos I knew it was meant to be.

So, 2 days before I left the baking began and the results was just as good as I had hoped it would be. To be perfectly honest, if you took a bite of this cookie and then a bite of a real Oreo, I don’t think you would be fooled into thinking they are the same cookie. The homemade version is softer and chewier than the store bought, but in my book that makes them even better. Besides, I think for a lot of people the filling is really what the Oreo is all about, and this filling is pretty spot on. I filled mine the “double stuffed” way because, let’s face, go big or go home and I haven’t bought a bag of regular Oreos since being introduced to the double stuffed variety.

I tried a few different ways of packing the Oreos but I was afraid to lose any of that delicious filling and God forbid the beautiful cookies get smooshed! Finally, I decided that Oreo had the right idea storing the cookie in a “sleeve”. I had an empty plastic wrap box and once I lined it with Parchment paper it was PERFECT for storing and transporting the cookies. All cookies made it to China in one piece and were thoroughly enjoyed by Jesse (and me!).

 

 

A Taco Stand Favorite

>
One of my favorite things about living in San Diego is the availability of really delicious authentic Mexican food. There is a taco stand on almost every street corner, no seriously, not an exaggeration. On any given block there will be an Alberto’s, Roberto’s, Rigaberato’s… The girls (that I nanny for) helped introduce me to my favorite place Taco Surf, or as the girls like to call it, Surf Taco. I could eat there 3 or 4 times a week. I love the carnitas and the carne asada is amazing. Occasionally I indulge in the rolled tacos, YUM.

Rolled tacos are one of the most popular taco stand foods. Deep fried little rolls of heaven. All my life I’ve seen them called taquitos and I had only tasted the frozen variety, which are nothing to write home about. But rolled tacos from a taco stand, those are something I can get down with. Of course if I really ate these taco stand delights as often as I would like I’d have to go around in elastic waist pants all the time.


Needless to say, when I saw this recipe I was instantly intrigued. They are a healthier homemade version. I love the fact that these taquitos, or rolled tacos, are not deep fried but still have a nice crispy salty finish. These are not a dead match for taco shop rolled tacos, but I think I actually like them better, let’s face it, it’s nice to know what’s inside and not have to worry about mystery meat. They come together quickly, can be frozen and baked later, and taste wonderful! Try them today!

Creamy Baked Taquitos or Rolled Tacos
(Adapted from Pink Parsley)

3 oz cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup salsa
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any fresh so I used dry but fresh is best)
3 Tbs chopped green onions
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (boiled, roasted, left over, anything works)
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
8-12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Stack tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap. Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable. (Mine took 60 seconds total after coming straight out of the fridge)

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole.