SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E5): Friendzone Your Knife

This week brings a special guest star, Heather Forte, into the kitchen. She is a decent home cook with a self-professed culinary knowledge of a first grader. Her credentials include being a “Top Chef Enthusiast” and knowing what “sous-vide” means. Watch as Amanda leads her through creating a plant-based dinner with the mystery ingredients.

Read on for episode breakdown


Ingredients in this week’s episode:

This week, we brought our friend, Heather down to the Fearless Flying Kitchen. She was expecting to be the peanut gallery, but we decided to put her to work, and let her figure out what to do with the ingredients.

After some deliberation, we decided to make a Vegan curry with the jackfruit as well as other veggies that were in the fridge (zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and garlic). For spice, we added curry powder and a whole jalapeño, which made for a pretty hot curry (so if you don’t like your food super spicy, err on the side of less curry powder and jalapeño.) The Green Goddess Salad Dressing was amazing on its own, and added a more complex flavor to the curry. Since filming this episode, I have used it on several different salads, and its a great staple to have around.

Marie TBT Jackfruit

Marie and her Jackfruit Baby

Jackfruit is having a moment in the culinary world right now, so it was only a matter of time that it found its way into the Fearless Flying Kitchen. Jackfruit is often seen in savory vegetarian and vegan meals because it has a culinary application similar to tofu, in that it absorbs flavors well, and also shreds like meat. In its natural state, jackfruit is absolutely huge (see picture to the right), so the canned version is definitely more convenient for the average home chef. On its own,  jackfruit has a flavor and texture of a plain artichoke heart, but once it was in the curry, it took on a totally different texture and flavor profile. It is a fun ingredient to play with, but since it has no protein, I wouldn’t recommend vegetarians and vegans consider it a “meat substitute” and would still encourage including some other non-meat protein sources (like beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.)

The Multi-Blend with Vegetables was fine on its own, but it didn’t really do a good job at featuring the curry (which is what we wanted it to do). We all agreed that just a regular Jasmine rice or plain brown rice would have been preferred. After filming, we ended up cooking some boil-in-a-bag rice and combined it with the multigrain blend, and it was a huge improvement.

Lastly, the cocktails. It was really fun to make the licorice simple syrup. I would love to explore making other drinks with the syrup, possibly make some kind of mojito or gimlet with it. Out of the two we experimented with, the Tiki Rum Punch was definitely the better of the two, because it felt more complete. However it was very sweet. Let’s just leave the licorice cocktails as a work in progress, and we’ll update you on when we improve it!

Green Goddess Jackfruit Curry with Multigrain Blend

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Heather Forte and Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Dutch Gold Potatoes, chopped
  • 6 ‘teenage’ Carrots, chopped (but they were small)
  • 2 medium Zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2-1 Jalapeno, diced
  • 20-oz can jackfruit, drained
  • 1 can Light Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Miso Ginger Broth
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Green Goddess Dressing
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 Gloves Garlic, Crushed
  • 1 tsp Lime juice
  • 1 bag Multigrain Blend with Vegetables

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in pan. Once hot, brown potatoes and then add carrots and zucchini and jalapeño.* Cook for about 5-8 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add one can coconut milk, 1-2 tbsp of curry powder, 1/4 cup of Green Goddess salad dressing, paprika and garam masala. Cover and let simmer on low for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and jackfruit is easy to shred.
  3. Add lime and shred jackfruit and cover until ready to serve.
  4. Meanwhile, cook Multigrain Blend with Vegetables cook grains as directed, but add splash of miso broth to prevent sticking to the pot. We recommend also mixing with Jasmine rice (Trader Joe’s has a great Frozen microwave brown rice that would pair well).

*At this point, I would also add an onion, we just didn’t have any on hand. You could swap out the veggies for any that you prefer.

Green Godess Jackfruit Curry

Licorice Simple Syrup

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Water
  • 15 Black Licorice
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, uncovered, and let liquid reduce by half. Strain and set aside.

We used the simple syrup to make two different cocktails

Gin-ny Weasley Cocktail

The Gin-ny Weasley

The first was what I like to call the “Gin-ny Weasley” because in theory, you like her and all the ingredients, but there is just something that isn’t right and it just kind of bugs you. She is also a little watered down. To create a Gin-ny Weasley, combine equal parts Gin, Licorice Syrup and Plain Soda Water. Garnish with Basil.

Black Licorice Tiki Punch

Black Licorice Tiki Punch

Heather came up with the second cocktail. She lives and loves Tiki culture and this drink definitely resembles something you would get at Trader Sam’s, and should definitely be enjoyed in a tiki mug. To make, combine 2oz Spiced Rum, 1 oz Licorice Syrup and top off with Blood Orange Soda. Garnish with Basil.

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E4): Valentine’s Day Speed Mole

Love is in the air this week as we celebrate VALENTINE’S DAY on Swashbuckled! Marie brought in some traditional aphrodisiacs and foods associated with Valentine’s Day. Will Cupid strike with a successful meal this week?

Read on for episode breakdown


Ingredients in this week’s episode:

 

In a week of complete and total redemption, Cupid was on our side as we fell in LOVE with everything that was created this week.

Speed Mole Cooking

Chilis, garlic, onions and other spices simmering in chicken broth

First off, the mole that was made in about 45 minutes, as opposed to all day like authentic mole sauce. The flavors were strong and bold, like mole should be. In this recipe, I used 8 arbor chilis, which are on the spicy side. If you like less spice in your food, then go for half the amount. The key to the rich flavor is simmering the chilis, garlic, onions and other spices in chicken broth with the lid off, reducing the liquid and concentrating the flavor. Then it is all blended up with sweet and bold flavors of orange juice, apple sauce, and dark chocolate. This is an antioxidant rich dinner that is loaded with flavor that is sure to impress.

We used chicken thighs for this meal, but the mole sauce can make a great base for any other protein you like, or vegetables like potatoes (potato mole?? Sign me up!) I even used the leftover mole sauce to make an egg and mole breakfast burrito, and it was fantastic!

Mole Eggs

Mole Egg Breakfast Burrito

The brie polenta was a super fun side to make. Polenta is something that I can always prepare at the drop of a hat with ingredients in my pantry: Chicken Stock and Cornmeal. Beyond that, you can completely customize with spices that complement your meal and the cheese you have on hand.

Strawberries and avocado are always a really delicious combination, and turning it into a salsa was a no-brainer for me. I thought of a salad I make all the time from one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas and Their Pod that combines avocado and strawberry to a traditional caprese salad. It’s a bold choice that works really well, and the same flavors combine to make a great, refreshing salsa.

Gummy Candy Champagne Flowers

No romantic dinner is complete without champagne, flowers and XOXO Gummy Candy.

For fun, we also ate XOXO Gummy Candies ($2.99 per bag) and drank La Burgondie Cremant De Bourgogne ($9.99 per bottle) Champagne, which is Marie’s favorite.

Lastly, check out Trader Joe’s flowers as an affordable option this Valentine’s Day! There are some beautiful arrangements (everything from roses to sunflowers to orchids to tulips). Most of the flowers and plants sold at Trader Joe’s are less than $10, making it an affordable treat for the senses.

And if anyone is interested in the Aphrodisiac Cookbook Marie was talking about, you can check it out HERE on Amazon.

Strawberry Avocado Salsa

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Onions, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 Pint Strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 Avocados, diced
  • Juice of 1 Lemon or Lime (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Mince onion and jalapeno, dice strawberries and avocado. Add lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro and just a little bit of salt. Mix everything together and do a taste test to make sure you have enough salt.
  2. Serve with your favorite chips – We love the pita crackers or tortilla chips.

Strawberry Avocado Salsa FFK

Speed Mole with Chicken Thighs and 'Basic' Brie Polenta

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 4 Guajillo Chilis (dried)
  • 4-8 Ancho Chilis* (dried)
  • 15 oz Diced Tomatoes with Chilis
  • 1/2 Onion, peeled sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 4 Smoked Oysters
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Cup Applesauce
  • 1 Goth Chocolate Bar
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • ‘Basic’ Brie Polenta:
    • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
    • 1 Cup Cornmeal
    • .33 lb (about a half a cup) Brie Cheese

Directions

  1. In a medium size pot, over high heat, combine chicken broth, both kinds of dried chilis, canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, oysters, turmeric, salt, and cinnamon.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until mixture has reduced by half.
  2. Blend chili mixture with 1 cup of orange juice and 1 cup applesauce. Return to pan and over medium-low heat, melt in unsweetened dark chocolate. In a separate pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper chicken thighs. Add onion slices to crisp up and brown Chicken Thighs for about 3-5 minutes each side. Add to mole sauce and continue to cook onions until they start to brown, then add to mole sauce. Cover and simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, make polenta. Bring chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal and reduce to a simmer (medium low heat) until polenta starts to thicken. Continue to whisk every couple minutes for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove polenta from heat and whisk in brie cheese. Serve immediately if you want polenta to be porridge-like. You could also pour the polenta into a dish and cool. Once cool, it will solidify and you can slice into your desired shape and pan fry or bake.

*Note Ancho chilis are more spicy than Guajillo chilis. If you like your food on the spicy side, use the full 8 Ancho chilis. If you like a more mild flavor, opt for 4.

Speed Mole and Basic Brie Polenta

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E3): Carbs on Carbs on Carbs

Wanna know what a #HIFD is? Can Amanda keep her success streak going for the third week in a row? Check out the latest episode of Swashbuckled! to find out! (unless your name is Carin Sharin, then just turn it off right now!)

Read on for episode breakdown


 

Ingredients in this week’s episode:

I went into this week feeling extra confident, with two successful weeks under my belt, I thought I would be able to keep the streak going forever! But Marie SWASHBUCKLED me with her ingredients this week. Most notably, the Wild Blueberry Muffins (which were delicious on their own).

Speaking of delicious, that Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky was a little piece of heaven on earth, so do yourself a favor and pick some of that up, stat!

So with all those yummy standalone ingredients, why didn’t the dish work?

Well, for one thing, the texture was funky. The idea of carbs on carbs on carbs was a bust. The quinoa made the casserole extra mushy, and the blueberry muffins didn’t crisp up, taking the mush to the next level.  The spice in the jerky didn’t carry through as expected either, so more flavor and spice needed to be infused into the dish.

Below is the recipe…but, do yourself a favor and don’t make it! Instead, if you are interested in trying this out, make some changes and see what you can do to improve this Highly Instagrammable Fail Dish (#HIFD).

Definitely Not Gumbo Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy, but why would you?
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN…unfortunately

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 bag Butternut Squash
  • 1 Chayote Squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Pineapple, peeled and diced
  • 2 Dorot Garlic Cubes
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 bag Frozen Shrimp, thawed and tail removed
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Chicken Stock*
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa*
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
  • Strussel Topping:
    • 2 Wild Blueberry Muffins, crumbled.**
    • 1 bag Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky
    • 1/2 cup Oat Bran

Directions

  1. First off – Don’t make this meal the same way I did, unless you really want to not be satisfied with the final product. If you insist, proceed to step two.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat Olive Oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add in butternut squash, chayote, and tomatoes. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, then add pineapple, salt, garlic and shrimp. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, then add broth and cooked quinoa and cook down (*or don’t add those and see how it goes. That is what i would have done differently). Transfer mixture to a baking dish.
  3. In a separate dish, combine crumbled blueberry muffins (but…why??), bacon jerky and oat bran. Top on baking dish and bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until top is brown. **But, if you want to make this dish even better, swap out the blueberry muffins for cornbread, and add some shredded mozzarella cheese in there. Omit the quinoa altogether and use just a little bit of chicken broth…

Definitely Not Gumbo

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E2): Asian-Rhode Island Fusion

We’re back this week! And this time, we bring you an Asian-Rhode Island Fusion dish. SAY WHA?! Yup, we made a stir-fry dish out of coffee syrup, soy sauce and rice vinegar. You’ll have to check out the video to see how it turns out.  In this episode, we make Clueless jokes, play “Hipster Roulette,” drink authentic “Coffee Milk” (and decide it tastes much better with a little whiskey) and spend way too much time crushing giant corn nuts.

Ingredients in this week’s episode:

Trader Joes Pork Tenderloin Square

Pork Tenderloin – $3.99/lb

Trader Joes Giant Peruvian Inca Corn Square

Giant Peruvian Inca Corn – $1.99

Trader Joes Shishito Peppers Square

Shishito Peppers – $1.99

Trader Joes Coffee Syrup Square

Coffee Syrup – $4.49

Inca Corn Crusted Pork Medallions

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag Giant Peruvian Inca Corn
  • 1.5 lbs Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Fresh Ground Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Crush Inca Corn and put on a plate. Cut Pork into Medallions, about 3/4 inch in size. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and in yet another bowl, measure almond flour. Heat oil over medium high heat. Dredge pork tenderloin through almond flour, then eggs, then coat with crushed inca corn. Top with a sprinkle of fresh salt and pepper on each side.
  2. Place medallion in hot oil and pan fry on each side for about 3-5 minutes…or until the center reads 145 degrees F. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with Coffee Syrup Stir Fry and Jasmine Brown Rice.

 

Coffee Syrup Veggie Stir Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Coffee Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek, diced
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 1 Eggplant, Peeled and Cubed
  • 6 oz Bag Shishito peppers
  • Garnish: Teriyaki Seaweed Snacks

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and coffee syrup. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add all veggies and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add sauce and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, until soft and cooked through, stirring often.
  3. Garnish with teriyaki seaweed and serve alongside jasmine brown rice and Inca Corn Crushed Pork Medallions.

 

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SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E1): Lonely Alcoholic White Girl Soda

I am so excited to introduce my new project with The Fearless Flying Kitchen – SWASHBUCKLED!!

My best friend, Marie, lives a block away and works at Trader Joe’s. Every week, she is going to bring over FOUR INGREDIENTS that are absolutely random and completely unknown to me. My challenge is to create a dinner with what she brings to me and what I have in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. We film the whole thing for you to witness, and we call it SWASHBUCKLED!

Here is the first episode, followed by the recipes of what we came up with. I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think about our new show in the comments!

Sunchoke and Fennel Chicken Picatta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Flour (can sub All Purpose Gluten Free Flour)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 5 Sunchokes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Fennel Bulb, diced (and dice the fronds for seasoning)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (optional)
  • 1 Lemon, both zest and juice
  • 1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Peach Simpler Wines (or white wine of choice)
  • 1 Sprig fresh rosemary, diced or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • GARNISH: Icelandic Style Plain Yogurt (or greek yogurt, or sour cream) and sprig of rosemary.
  • SERVE ALONG SIDE: Brown Rice, Quinoa, or a Whole Grain Pasta

Directions

  1. Cut chicken breasts into cubes. Season with salt and pepper then toss in All purpose Flour.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add chicken breasts and brown on each side (about 3-4 minutes on each side. Does not need to be cooked all the way through just yet). Remove from skillet and place on paper towel to remove some excess oil.
  3. In the same skillet, add sunchokes, fennel, garlic and lemon zest. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add lemon juice, chicken broth and white wine (peach simpler wines). Add rosemary and fennel fronds. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and reduce for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Serve alongside grain of choice. Garnish with Icelandic Style Greek Yogurt and Rosemary Sprig.

 

Arugula and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Roasted Coconut Sesame Seeds

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup arugula
  • 1 Cup Shaved Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  • 1/2 Cup Strawberries, Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Coconut and Sesame Seeds Clusters
  •  Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper
  • Dressing:
    • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 1 Lemon Juiced
    • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 Tbsp Honey

Directions

  1. Mix together dressing ingredients. Rinse arugula, Brussels sprouts and fruit and dry completely.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine arugula, shaved Brussels sprouts, salt, pepper, and a few tablespoons of mixed dressing. Add fruit and toss well. Arrange on plate and add coconut and sesame seed clusters.

 

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Queso Fish Tacos

questo-fish-tacos

I live in San Diego, home of the best Mexican food in the world (outside of Mexico, that is). We take our tacos pretty seriously around here and my family can get pretty snobby when it comes to Mexican cuisine. It is part of the reason we will never leave San Diego. Ever.

Fish tacos are my husband’s go-to dish. There are so many great choices in San Diego, we usually go to Ranchos or El Zarape in North Park, but are always on the look out for new and delicious spots. (Comment with your favorite fish taco spot, and we’ll either try it or judge you) (half kidding – see above).

One of my favorite tacos shops in San Diego is Lucha Libre, which is a hipster taco restaurant in Mission Hills (and North Park!) San Diego with a luchador (Mexican Wrestler) theme, amazing salsa, and a line out the door. Go there. They are awesome. But my FAVORITE item on their menu is the queso taco – Where they melt cheese on the griddle and make it all crispy, then put it on a corn tortilla and fill it with carne asada, avocados and a secret cream sauce. It is a little sample of heaven on earth. But healthy? Probably not.

In true fearless flying kitchen fashion…I have to try to make the best in San Diego by combining everything I love about tacos (all while trying to make it a pinch more healthy). Why not do a mash up of this delicious cheese and meat filled taco with my husband’s favorite dinner?

Meet the Queso Fish Taco.

Grilled white fish (Tilapia or Mahi-Mahi, I used fresh tilapia from Trader Joe’s – Can’t beat the price either!) seasoned to perfection with chili and lime, a crunchy cheese and corn tortilla wrapper, leafy green cabbage slaw, home made guacamole. It really is the recipe for a perfect taco Tuesday…or any day..or, every day.

giphy

First, I have to talk about my proudest discovery, which was mixing the Cruciferous Crunch Collection with the Cilantro Salad Dressing. I normally look at this salad mix when I am at Trader Joe’s and have never been inspired, since it seems too leafy and kale packed for my liking. But it is definitely worth the purchase. It could be great as just a regular salad tossed with a creamy dressing or used as traditional cole slaw, just with a leafier texture.

img_0132

Cruciferous Crunch Collection (Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Green Cabbage and Red Cabbage) mixed with Cilantro Salad Dressing

Fish Taco Slaw

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag of Cruciferous Crunch Collection
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro Salad Dressing (or amount to taste)

Directions:

Mix well, until combined, and serve as cole slaw, or top with your favorite toppings and enjoy as a salad.

Next step, was some home made guacamole. Now, I can’t take too much credit here. I just copy the table side guacamole from El Torito. But it is delicious, and highly recommended.

img_0133

Homemade “Hibshman Guacamole”

Homemade Hibshman Guacamole

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium Avocados, sliced and mashed up
  • 1/3 of a yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, diced
  • 1/4  Jalapeno, minced very finely (to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (go easy on the salt at first and try it with a chip. Usually don’t need too much salt because the chips are salted).

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Most fish tacos you find out and about are breaded and fried. Not my favorite. We also don’t have an outside grill, so I did a hybrid of the two, and pan fried the fish with a bit of butter (but no breading).

I also haven’t ever cooked Tilapia before.

wotijsqlvocks

So, this was really quite the miracle that this turned out. But, in all fairness, I did a lot of research on it…

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-11-24-41-am

img_0134

Grilled tilapia with a chili-lime rub

Chili-Lime Rubbed Tilapia

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tilapia Filets, cut in half (four total pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or Olive oil…whatever)

Directions:

Mix everything except for the tilapia and butter together. Rub evenly onto the tilapia. Meanwhile, heat a skillet or griddle on medium-high heat and melt a pat of butter (or Olive Oil if you prefer. I like the flavor that the butter adds). Once the pan is hot and butter is melted, cook tilapia for about 4 minutes on each side.

img_0136

We ate our Queso Fish Tacos with pinto beans and watermelon. Other delicious sides include rice, grilled veggies, corn or a simple salad of bell peppers, tomato and cucumber with cilantro, lime, salt and pepper.

Queso Fish Tacos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Eight corn tortillas (two tortillas per person)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Chili-Lime Rubbed Tilapia
  • Fish Taco Slaw
  • Homemade Hibshman Guacamole

Directions:

See recipes above for Chili Lime Rubbed Tilapia, Fish Taco Slaw and Homemade Hibshman Guacamole.

To assemble the tacos, heat a griddle on medium-high heat, sprinkle cheese on griddle, the same size as the corn tortilla you are using. It will melt and then start to crust, and it is in between these two phases that you pop the corn tortillas on top, for about a minute. The bottom will crust up and the top will stick to the corn tortilla. Remove with spatula and put on plate.

Slice fish into large chunks and assemble on crispy cheese, then add your Fish Taco Slaw and Guacamole. Serve immediately and enjoy!

White Chocolate, Raisin and Oat Cookies

 

White-Choc-Raisin-Oat-Cookies-MAIN

My mother-in-law’s chocolate chip cookie recipe is something held sacred among her boys.

I, however, can’t ever get them right, even when I follow her recipe down to the most minute details. And trust me, have had lengthy conversations about her exact process, and I still really can’t figure out how she makes them so perfect each time. I have decided to stop beating myself up and attribute my past failures to the loss of 4.5K in elevation. But I still try! And, I tell ya, every time I make them, I always get a lack luster “yeah… they’re…good! But they just aren’t the same…did you change something in the recipe?”

At first…no, I wouldn’t change the recipe. But then after multiple failed attempts, I started to veer off and blaze a new trail.

Side note/Fun fact: I can never stick to a recipe. I always have to add a little this or a little that to make it more *me.* This aspect of my personality drives my other half absolutely bonkers.

Lucky for me, my daughter thinks it is super fun. If it were up to her, we wouldn’t use a recipe (or logic even) for anything we make.

Baking-Kid

Bless her heart, she just loves to be in the kitchen with me.

Most days of the week, my daughter asks if I want to make cookies with her. I know that she is ultimately asking because she is Cookie Monster’s mini-me, but I like to give her the opportunity to help out as much as possible in the kitchen and pass my knowledge on to her as often as I can. It’s a good life skill to have! So we usually make a little something together a few times a week.

Today, I had a container of oat bran staring me in the face (purchased to make Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins) My MIL’s chocolate chip recipe calls for oats, so I figured I would start with her recipe as a base and make a few…alterations.

First thing I did was swap out the Old Fashioned variety for Oat Bran.

Now, there isn’t anything wrong with old fashioned oats, it is just a little different than oat bran. Since I am super-pregnant at the moment, I need all the protein and calories I can get, I decided to opt for the bran (and here’s why…)

First, let’s have a closer look at oats:

WholeGrainKernel_WGC_0When oats are harvested, their inedible hull is removed and you have Oat Groats. Groats are made up of three parts: the Bran, Endosperm and Germ  (Click here for more information on those layers). In a nutshell…The BRAN layer is the outside layer, rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants and B-vitamins. The ENDOSPERM is the large middle layer that is rich in starchy carbohydrates, and also contains some protein as well as small amounts of vitamins and minerals. The GERM is the innermost layer that contains lots of healthy fats and b-vitamins as well as some minerals, protein.

Old Fashioned Oats come from a processing technique that steams the oats and then rolls them flat, giving you all three parts of the groat, thus making it a whole grain. Oat Bran is not considered a whole grain, because it is just the nutty outer layer that is full of fiber and protein.

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Looking at the nutrients side by side, Oat Bran provides significantly more fiber and protein, and has a texture closer to flour, so it works well in baked goods. Not saying one is superior to the other, they are just different.

Getting back to these delicious cookies…

Some other swaps I made were changing half of the flour to 100% White Wheat Flour, substituting honey for part of the sugar, and adding cinnamon.

The result was surprisingly delicious, probably the best luck I have had with this recipe yet!

White Chocolate, Raisin and Oat Cookies

  • Servings: 26 Cookies
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening*
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Oat Bran
  • 1/2 Cup 100% White Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup (approx) Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup (approx) White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar and honey in a mixer on medium-high speed for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add Oat Bran and Flours until combined. Add Raisins and Chocolate Chips according to taste.
  4. Space cookies at least an inch apart on cookie sheet, as they spread. Bake for 10-14 minutes (smaller cookies 10, larger cookies will need more time). With a spatula, transfer to cooling rack and enjoy!

Cookie-Perfection

 

*I really am not a huge fan of shortening, because most contain partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat) and other chemicals that don’t belong anywhere near our bodies. But I do seldom use it in some baked goods because it does create a superior texture for cookies. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have shortening (that I know of), so you can use 1 cup of butter as opposed to part butter/part shortening. OR if you have some lard on hand, try that.  I use All vegetable crisco baking sticks because they have no trans fat (the oil has been fully hydrogenated to saturated fat as opposed to partially hydrogenated to a trans fat), but they still aren’t the best option. I haven’t really found an alternative, so if you have any tips or tricks to replace shortening in cookies – leave a comment below!

Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins

Honey Oat Bran Muffins FFK

 

I love me a good Bran Muffin.

…and we’re not talking the healthy kind! The more the honey and sugar to disguise the bran, the better. It’s for this reason, my bran muffin consumption usually falls in the “special occasion” category.

BUT WHAT IF I WANT THEM ALL THE TIME?!?!

That’s where this recipe comes in. I found a Mimi’s copy-cat recipe on the internet, and made many tweaks to get the nutritional profile to a range that I would feel comfortable with calling this “breakfast” as opposed to “dessert.”

Some of the changes included swapping the regular flour for my favorite 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, swapping out the oil for a mix of melted butter and mashed banana, and drastically changed the glaze entirely (that one was painful).  I also added some extra flavor in the form of vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice.

Is it nearly as decadent as I am use to? No. But is it a whole lot healthier and tasty enough for me to enjoy? Absolutely.

This would pair really nicely with Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Berries for breakfast…and Coffee…Of course.

Honey Oat Bran Ingredients FFK

Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Oat bran
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk (or milk + 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1/2 Mashed Banana
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Raisins
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • Glaze:
    • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
    • 2 Tbsp Honey
    • 1 Tbsp Hot Water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix first five ingredients (the dry ingredients)
  • In a separate bowl, combine the next seven ingredients (the wet ingredients).
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients, and mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated (don’t overwork this).
  • Grease muffin tin (I use the coconut oil spray), and place ~ 1 Tbsp of batter into each section. Should be 1/2-3/4 full.
  • Bake for ~ 20  minutes. While muffins are baking, whisk together all glaze ingredients in a separate bowl
  • Remove while warm and place on a plate. Cover with glaze (about 1/2 tbsp per muffin). Glaze will fall down the top of the muffin and gather at the bottom of the muffin.
  • Best when consumed immediately and piping hot!

Coffee Crunch Bars

Coffee Crunch Bars

The holiday season has begun, and one of my favorite things to do is get in the kitchen and bake cookies and treats. This one is my all-time-favorite. I have begun to incorporate this recipe into my life throughout the year too. Since it contains coffee, it is perfect for late night events or brunches. For instance, it has become my go-to cookie that I bake during tech week.

It also is a PERFECT cookie to serve Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to give him energy as he pulls the ultimate global-all-nighter.

Coffee Crunch Bars Ingredients

Coffee Crunch Bars

  • Servings: 32 (2 cookies per serving)
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Instant Coffee (regular or decaf)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter (two sticks), softened
  • 6 oz Chocolate Chunks (or chips)
  • optional: Chopped Nuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first five ingredients (dry) in mixer and combine on low. Add vanilla and butter and mix on medium speed until crumbly. Add chocolate chunks and/or nuts and mix until just combined.

Put dough into two 11X7 glass pans (or one large jelly roll pan), and press down. Should be about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (less time if they are thinner, more time if thicker).

Remove from oven, cut into pieces and let cool before removing from pan.

Nutrition Information: – Per 2 Cookies:  130 calories, 1 g protein, 7.5 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 16 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 80 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol, 9 mg caffeine

 

 

Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad

Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad from The Fearless Flying Kitchen This past weekend, I went up to the mountains with my mom (who is a vegetarian) and my daughter (who regularly survives on bread and cheese alone) to attend my dear friend’s 10 year wedding vow renewal ceremony. I volunteered to pack a lunch to make sure we had everything we needed for the all-day-affair. What to make that would keep in a cooler for hours and satisfy both of their needs? Thus, the Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad recipe was born! Good news was that it lasted hours without wilting, was full of vegetables, and provided the little one with enough carbohydrates to keep her going. Bad news is that I didn’t make enough to get a second helping.

Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Spinach Tortellini
  • 1/2 Bag of Organic Spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 Bag of Organic Frozen Broccoli
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Tuscan Italian Dressing

Directions: Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Add frozen broccoli. in 2 minutes, add Spinach Tortellini and cook until done, about 5 minutes (the package says 2-3 minutes, but because you will be adding something frozen just prior, it will decrease the temperature, thus needing more time). Prior to removing from the heat, add red bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, (to rehydrate them) for just a few seconds, then remove from heat and strain well, and rise with cold water.  In a separate bowl, combine spinach, mozzarella and the strained pasta/veggie mixture with 1/2 cup Tuscan Italian dressing. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.