SWASHBUCKLED! (S2E7): FFK Goes Hollywood

This week, Marie and Amanda get the star treatment with the addition of Sound Engineer Jacob! While he introduces us to a higher level of technology, we introduce him to… you guessed it… Simpler Wines! Will our dinner taste better now that we have a bigger microphone? Can a beer-loving Hufflepuff truly appreciate canned wine the way that we do? And what’s all the Happy Dancing for? Be sure to watch to find out!


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:

We decided that the Pub Cheese tastes kind of like an adult handy-snack. On its own, it is kind of like cheese whiz, but is actually pretty good with honey whole wheat pretzels. Amanda decided to use it in place of ricotta cheese and replaced mozzarella cheese with Mexican cheese. The tomato sauce was more of a chili, and thus was born the southwest take on Eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant Chili Stacks

Eggplant Chili Stacks

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

Ingredients

  • 1 Eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup maseca
  • 1 cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb 96/4 Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Package Soy Chorizo
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 15 oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • Pub Cheese
  • Mexican Cheese
  • Toppings: Guacamole and Sour Cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Peel and slice eggplant. Beat eggs in one bowl. In another, combine maseca and bread crumbs. Get vegetable oil in a large skillet and turn on medium-high. Once oil is hot, drudge each slice of eggplant in eggs, then maseca/breadcrumb mixture, and cook in hot oil until brown on each side. Remove eggplant and place on a paper towel to blot extra oil.
  2. Meanwhile, cook chili mixture by dicing up garlic. Sauté in a separate skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Once onion starts to brown, add soyrizo and ground beef and cook until brown. Add can of tomato sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook and develop flavor for another 10 minutes.
  3. When ready to assemble, layer one piece of eggplant, top with about 1 tbsp pub cheese, 1-2 tbsp of the chili mixture and 1 Tbsp Mexican cheese and repeat 1-2 more times. In the episode, we ended here, but we highly recommend assembling these on a baking sheet and placing in the oven for about 10 minutes, so the cheese gets nice and melty and the whole dish warms through. Top with guacamole and sour cream. We served this on a bed of arugula.


 

 

Chocolate Cupcakes wtih Caramelized Bacon

We used THIS RECIPE for the chocolate cupcakes from AllRecipes. We adapted it slightly with cutting the sugar down to 1 cup (instead of 1 1/2). We used the cacao powder in the cupcakes and then topped it with a chocolate ganache (basically melted 1 cup chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp half and half and 2 Tbsp butter mixed in) and caramelized bacon (bacon baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes with brown sugar and cinnamon on top).

SWASHBUCKLED! (S2E6): Italian-ish

This week, we go deep into Marie’s Italian roots to make something, kind-of, Italian-ish? None of the ingredients that were provided were very Italian-y, but they all were delicious to eat on their own, and in the dish!

Watch this week’s episode here:


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:


 

This week, we dive deep into Marie’s “non-white girl” roots, and make some vegetarian stuffed peppers and take a fun twist on a traditional caprese salad.

The stuffed peppers are full of fiber from the veggies, whole wheat cous cous and black beans, while being packed with flavor from the jalapeño artichoke dip and fragrant cheeses. We both loved the stuffed peppers and preferred the green ones over the yellow (which was a surprise to us both!)

The caprese salad was a slam dunk…if you removed the chocolate. Cherries with Mozzarella and Basil was a delicious flavor combination. The dark chocolate pretzels made things a little weird, so when you make this at home (which you should!) we recommend just saving the pretzels on the side to eat on their own (a perfect dessert!)

 

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Black Bean, Cous Cous and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

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

Ingredients

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • Cous Cous, cooked according to package directions (1 cup water + 1 Cup Cous Cous + 1 Tbsp butter + Salt)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 zucchini quartered and sliced
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Artichoke and Jalapeño Dip
  • 12 Tbsp Quatro Fromaggio (divided so each bell pepper gets 2 tbsp)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Rinse bell peppers and slice in half. Remove seeds. Rub all sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place bell peppers skin side up on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or foil). Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onion, celery and carrots. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for a few more minutes. Then add mushrooms, butter, salt, pepper and oregano.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cup of the cooked cous-cous mixture (can save the rest to use as a salad topper), can of black beans, and tomato sauce. Let cook down for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through. Mix in artichoke & jalapeño dip thoroughly.
  4. Remove roasted bell peppers from the oven. Turn over. Place 1 tbsp of Quattro Fromaggio cheese at the bottom, fill with 1/6 of the filling mixture, then finish with another tbsp of cheese.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Cherry Caprese Salad

Cherry Caprese Salad

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

Ingredients

  • 18 Reinier Cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 package mozzarella balls (about 12), halved
  • Large handful of basil (about 20 leaves), Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Optional (and not recommended): Chocolate covered Pretzels

Directions

  1. Rinse cherries, pit and halve them, Combine in a bowl with mozzarella balls and basil. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with balsamic glaze on top.
  2. We added the chocolate covered pretzels as the challenge for this dish, but it definitely didn’t do this beautiful and delicious salad any flavors. We made it again without the pretzels and it was so great. But the pretzels were fantastic on their own!


 

 

Head over to our PATREON PAGE to become a patron of Fearless Flying Kitchen and check out outtakes from this week as well as Mr. Critic’s reaction.

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E5): Brupper for Bros (AKA. The Father’s Day Special)

Our biggest critic (Amanda’s husband) recently asked, “why can’t you just make something simple, like meat and potatoes?” Here in the Fearless Flying Kitchen, we like to take our fans (and critics) opinions seriously…which is why we have “meat and potatoes week” for all the Bro’s out there.


Ingredients featured in this week’s episode:

 

This week, we throw Amanda’s husband a solid, by making a meal out of meat, potatoes, “not meat” and “not potatoes.”

We went with a savory brunch for dinner, which we have officially coined as “Brupper” (add that to your urban dictionary!)

The meal’s base is a blend of mashed red and yellow potatoes with frozen mashed cauliflower. The two are blended together with some Parmesan cheese and herbs and spices and formed into a patty (a savory pancake)

The bag of potatoes also came with purple potatoes. We didn’t include these in the mash, because they would have turned it a funky color. Instead, we rinsed and quartered then, added a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper, and put them in the oven to roast at 400 degrees for about a half an hour.

Next up is the soy-chorizo creamed spinach. Full of so much flavor! At this point, if you are a vegetarian (or just don’t like or have steak) you could top with a poached egg for a fun take on an eggs Benedict.

The steak we used in the episode is a little bit tough, and is perfect for braising (cooked with a liquid). We tried to soften it up a bit by pounding and soaking in buttermilk (the acid can help soften the tough meat), but in the end, it still wasn’t the ideal texture. If we had more time in the kitchen, we definitely would have let the meat marinate for a lot longer (or try a different, wet cooking method, like braising).

To finish off the dish, we ended with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Lots of flavor!

Lastly,  before you get to these awesome recipes…We did have a bit of a challenge with our new technology (the challenge was that Amanda accidentally deleted all the footage before uploading it), so apologies for the lack of actual cooking footage on the episode. We’ll work it out and make it work for future episodes. Thanks dad for the technology boost!

Parmesan Potato Pancakes with Soyrizo Creamed Spinach adn Steak Medallions

Parmesan Potato Pancakes

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

Ingredients

  • 7 Small Red or Yellow Potatoes
  • 1/2 Bag Frozen Mashed Cauliflower
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Romano Cheese Blend
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Everything but the Bagel Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Spray canola or olive oil

Directions

  1. Pierce potatoes and place in a microwave safe dish with a tablespoon of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Add half the bag of mashed cauliflower, re-cover, and microwave for another 4-6 minutes, until potatoes are soft and cauliflower is no longer frozen. Mash the potatoes and cauliflower together, add egg, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Let cool a little bit and turn on griddle (electric to about 350 or a stovetop griddle to medium-high).
  2. Spray griddle with oil. Take a dollop of potato/cauliflower mixture and flatten into a patty (It will be really sticky, but that’s ok, you can get it mostly there, then continue to flatten with spatula once it is on the griddle ) and place on the hot griddle. Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes, until it has a nice little brown mark on it.



Soyrizo Creamed Spinach

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

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package of Soy Chorizo
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 Cups Fresh Spinach (whole bag)
  • 2 Heaping Tbsp Grated Parmesan Romano Cheese Blend
  • 2 Tbsp Half and Half
  • 1/4 Cup Lowfat Milk

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add minced onion and garlic then sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Add soy chorizo and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add spinach and let cook down for another 2-3 minutes. Add milk, half and half, and parmesan cheese. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for another couple minutes. Turn off heat and cover until ready to serve.



Buttermilk Steak Medallions

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

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Sirloin Medallions
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 Vegetable Oil

Directions

  1. Pound sirloin steak tips with a mallet to tenderize and flatten. Place in a ziplock bag with buttermilk, garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Squeeze air out of ziplock, seal, and place in refrigerator for at least a half an hour (longer preferred).
  2. When ready to cook, take steak out of ziplock, season each side with additional salt and pepper, and drudge through flour. Place oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot (will sizzle when something is placed in skillet), then add flour coated steak medallions. Cook for a few minutes on each side (you want it to be brown and crispy on the outside.


 

Classic Black Beans

For a long time, Trader Joe’s was really lacking in the dried legume department. But lucky for me…about a year ago, they introduced dried black beans, and life has never been the same.

If you find cooking beans from scratch intimidating, you are not alone! Before I started making them from scratch, I imagined an all day process that was very labor intensive. But if you have gone through the process before, then you’ll know just how easy it can be. Beans are a very forgiving food to cook, they just need a little bit of (mostly) hands-off time. Having this classic recipe in your back pocket, I guarantee you’ll start stocking up on this staple.

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The process really starts the night before. First, empty your 1lb bag of black beans into a large pot and sort through it for any rocks or random beans that might have made their way into the bag (totally common to find stuff like this in raw beans. If you find one, just discard it). Then cover with water, about 2 inches above the bean line, and let sit out overnight. You can cover if you like.

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Next, you’ll dump out the water (in a strainer? using your hands to strain it? You pick) and refill the pot with fresh water, about two inches above the bean line. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. You’ll add the rest of the ingredients (diced onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt), and continue to boil and add additional water until fully cooked, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

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You will want to occasionally try the beans, and add additional salt as needed, just keep in mind that the flavor intensifies as the water evaporates, so over-salting can be a thing. If that happens, you can always add additional water. Make sure to cook until it is soft.

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I love to top my side of beans with the new TEENY TINY AVOCADOS. Great flavor combination! This recipe makes about 6 cups of cooked beans (breaking down to 12, half cup servings).

 

Classic Black Beans

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Bag Black Beans
  • Lots of water
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt (+ more to taste)

Directions

  1. Empty black beans into a large pot, look through beans to make sure there isn’t anything funky in there (sometimes rocks or other beans make their way into your bag) and cover with water (about 2 inches above the bean line). Let sit overnight. 
  2. When ready to cook beans, drain soaking water and refill with fresh water, about 2 inches above bean line. Turn heat to high and add onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. 
  3. Let boil until beans are soft and cooked through (usually close to an hour), stirring occasionally and adding additional water as it evaporates. 

Do you have any secrets to the perfect pot of beans? Concerns? Let us know in the comments!

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E8): Chur-Nugz

Lot’s of ground to cover in our Season One Finale! We start out with a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT from Trader Joe’s about our day-drinking beverage of choice, and end with a sneak peak at season two. Along the way, we spend three hours (yes, THREE HOURS!) making stoner food, setting off smoke alarms, and getting schooled on Macarons/Macaroons/Macron (oh! and put some food on hold for Heather Forte.)

Read on for the episode breakdown…


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:

 

We start with a big announcement: Our favorite Lonely Alcoholic White Girl Soda, SIMPLER WINES,  is moving on up. Coming soon to a Trader Joe’s near you is the 375 ml can of Simpler Wines for only $2.99. We are especially excited about the addition of a red blend and chardonnay.

The ingredients this week included the seasonally stocked Green Cabbage (with a reminder to stock up on your raw, seasoned corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day before they sell out!), the versatile Matcha Green Tea Powder (which is a pantry mainstay) and Sriracha Potato Chips, which were stellar on their own (#eatin’chips).

Our friend, Heather Forte (remember her from Episode Five?) always raves about the Chick-Less Nuggets that seem to always be out of stock in her local Trader Joe’s store. Not only did we make a delicious vegetarian meal out of this ingredient, we also did her a solid by putting three bags on hold at her local store.

What to do with all these ingredients?

Tacos, of course. I love Tacos, and could eat them all day and all night. The chick-less nuggets have a mandarin sauce, which I took and combined 2/3 of it with mayonnaise, honey, and adobo sauce, and turned it into a creamy sauce to top our tacos. The other 1/3 was reserved to toss the nuggets in.

Another taco topping was a corn and cabbage cole slaw, tossed with lemon zest, cilantro, honey and olive oil. This also makes a great side salad and will last a few days in the refrigerator.

I had a pot of pinto beans soaking overnight when we began the episode. Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell raw pinto beans, but they do sell raw black beans, which can be prepared this same way. If you don’t have the time to make beans from scratch, you can always use canned beans, but they really don’t compare to a delicious pot of freshly cooked beans.

To take these up a notch, we embraced our inner stoner by combining the sriracha potato chips and the cooked beans in a  blender, and then pan frying them, making Potato Chip Infused Refried Pinto Beans. The best was the addition of crunched potato chips on top. It really completed the dish.

Lastly, we used the MUY BUENO COOKBOOK Recipe for the churro dough, since I have made (and loved) recipes from here in the past. Check out her recipe for the churros we made in this episode. Instead of tossing in just cinnamon and sugar, we used 1 cup of sugar, 2 Tbsp Matcha Green Tea Powder, and 1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon.

I didn’t really execute the churros as well as I had hoped. The dough was too hard, it would have been better to use a mixer, or to follow the time guidelines put forward int he recipe. My piping bag was also clogged, so I ended up making nuggets or snakes, which didn’t have the traditional churro shape. I also admittedly am the worst at deep-frying, so my technique was way off. The idea was great in theory, but the execution just wasn’t there.

Chicken-Less 'Fish' Tacos

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • Chicken-Less Nuggets tossed in 1 Tbsp Mandarin Sauce
  • 10 Corn Tortillas
  • Coleslaw:
    • Cabbage – Green
    • Cabbage – purple
    • Corn
    • Cilantro
    • 1 Lime – zest and juice
    • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 Tbsp Honey
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sauce
    • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
    • 2 Tbsp Adobo Sauce
    • 2 Tbsp Mandarin Sauce
    • 2 Tbsp Orange Juice

Directions

  1. Grill or microwave corn then remove kernels with a knife. Thinly slice cabbage, chop cilantro. Combine in a bowl with lime zest and juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Toss well and refrigerate.
  2. Cook Chicken-Less Morsels according to package directions up until mixing with sauce (choice of baking or pan frying). Set aside 1 Tbsp Mandarin sauce to toss chicken-less morsels in after it is finished cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp of the Mandarin sauce with adobo sauce, orange juice and Mayonnaise. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Once everything is ready, heat corn tortillas on a griddle, place 5 Chicken-Less Morsels in the center, top with coleslaw and adobo-mandarin sauce.

Sriracha Potato Chip Infused Pinto Beans

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • Dry pinto beans
  • water
  • salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Garlic Cubes
  • 1 Chicken or Vegetable Boullion Cube
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • Sriracha Potato Chips
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Soak beans in water overnight. When ready to make beans, drain water and replace with fresh, and cover with water (about 1 inch above where the beans are). Add salt, bay leaves, garlic, bouillon and diced onion. Bring to a boil and cook for at least an hour, until beans become tender. Add more water and salt as needed.
  2. Normally, I would call it a day and just enjoy my pinto beans, but to take it to he next level, add 2 cups of beans and 1 cup of sriracha potato chips to a blender. Mix on medium for about 45 seconds, until smooth.
  3. Add olive oil to a pan and heat over medium heat. Add blended pinto beans and sauté for about 2 minutes. Turn on low and cover until ready to serve. Top with crunched up potato chips.

FishTacos with Sriracha Chips Refried Beans

Queso Fish Tacos

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

Spinach, Mushroom & Beef Lasagna

Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna

Growing up, lasagna was this elusive meal only consumed by cats that sounded like Bill Murray. For some reason, we never ate it at my house. Perhaps it is the lack of Italian ancestors in my family tree? I am not sure.

Any who, fast forward about 20 years, my best friend invites me to her dad’s lasagna party. Every year, her very Italian (and awesome) father cooks multiple pans of delicious lasagna and opens his home to about a hundred of their closest family and friends. This was one of the best parties ever, not only because the wine flowed as fast as the videos of Father Guido Sarducci, but the lasagna was incredible. Now, long story short, at this point in my life, I had eaten my fair share of lasagna, but I still hadn’t ever made it. So, when the time came, I asked my friend to give me some pointers, and what does she do? She straight up gives me a link to re-create her fathers lasagna. Score! So, for the past few years, this has been a stand-by recipe. Only recently have I started to alter it to make it more of “my own.”

I did a couple of tweaks to make it a healthier choice, such as swapping regular ricotta for non-fat, decreasing the amount of meat, and using more veggies. And I am willing to bet that as soon as TJ’s starts to carry whole wheat lasagna noodles, that will be another swap!

Spinach and Mushroom Beef Lasagna

 

lasagna ready for oven Fearless Flying Kitchen

Ready for the oven!

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna Sauce (see recipe below)
  • Ricotta Cheese Mixture (see recipe below)
  • 1 bag mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package (12) lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (Fresh if possible)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Make sauce (see below)
  2. Make ricotta mixture (see below)
  3. Butter 13×9 dish
  4. Assemble: noodle, 1/2 ricotta, 1/3 sauce, mozzarella, noodle, 1/2 ricotta, 1/3 sauce, mozzarella, noodle, 1/3 sauce, Parmesan and a little more mozzarella (but not too much)
  5. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Let sit a few minutes prior to serving.

Lasagna Sauce

Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna from The Fearless Flying KitchenIngredients

  • 1 lb 96/4 ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bag mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • 1 jar Tomato Basil pasta sauce

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, start to brown ground beef. Once it starts to release its juices, add diced onions and cook until meat is starting to brown and onions are starting to soften. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms begin to soften. Add pasta sauce and put to simmer on a low heat for about a half an hour. Towards the end, add spinach until just wilted and remove from heat.

Ricotta Cheese Mixture

Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna from The Fearless Flying KitchenIngredients:

  • 1 container non- fat ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined.

Suggested pairings: 

A nice Chianti

sautéed zucchini sprinkled with parmesan cheese

A light salad with balsamic glaze, meyer lemon olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Tacoladas: Beef and Veggie Pie

Beef-and-Veggie-Taco-Pie

Do you remember math class in school? I do, and I remember two things in particular: One, was that I hated it. Two, was that I would get such a rush every time I found out I had the right answer when I checked the back of the book.

I sometimes get that same feeling when I COMPLETELY create and improvise a recipe from scratch. I am talking, no pinterest-ing, no internet searching. Nothing. And then it actually turns out, and it is delicious. Even better when there are lots of vegetables too! Such a rush.

So, behold my Taco Pie, aka. the source of this rush:

Taco Pie

Taco Pie. Er, Casserole. Er, …nevermind

Ok, that seems a little silly after I look at this picture. I mean, it looks like just any regular casserole, right? (Side note – If anyone can come up with a better name for this, please let me know in the comments below. It does not resemble a pie in any way shape or form, that is just what I keep calling it. And I think the term “casserole” can scare some people off with nightmares of cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise. )

From the bottom to the top, this casserole starts out with a hint of my favorite TJ’s salsa (I use the Trader Joe’s Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, but there are many you can choose from, just pick your favorite), then a layer of corn tortillas, cut into triangles.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Now, many of my friends have gone back and forth over “what is the best corn tortilla found on the shelves of Trader Joe’s.” My personal favorite is the “De Mi Abuela: Wheat and Corn Tortillas” because they are a little bit thicker, and have lots of flavor. Not every one in my house is a fan of that one, so I usually end up getting the “Corn Tortillas” that are gluten-free and have minimal ingredients. They are just your regular, run-of-the-mill tortillas. And that is perfectly acceptable in a dish like this, that has so much flavor and other textures going on.

Trader Joe's Corn Tortillas

Left: De Mi Abuela
Right: Corn Tortillas

The next layer is a mix of 6 different veggies that have been sautéed in a little bit of olive oil. You could probably swap out some of the veggies if you have other favorites. It is kind of a cool way to clean out your fridge if you have just a few randoms laying around. While I had my cutting board out, I actually ended up dicing a lot more veggies than this, and then saving them for the following morning to add to an egg scramble.

Nothing more beautiful than a rainbow of veggies in a skillet

Nothing more beautiful than a rainbow of veggies in a skillet

After that layer, add some more corn tortilla triangles, then the layer of ground beef. I like lean ground beef (96% lean) because it is pretty inexpensive, and is easy to freeze and de-thaw. I also ALWAYS have some hanging out in my kitchen. But if you prefer a different type of protein, you could easily swap the ground beef with turkey, or even shredded chicken (YUM!) Simply brown the ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken) in a skillet. It can be the same one you just cooked the veggies in. Then add a can of diced tomatoes and a half packet of taco seasoning. If you like your food on the spicy side, add a little more. If you like it less spicy, add a little less. However, there was enough heat for me and my family with just half a packet.

Put that mixture on top of the corn tortilla triangles, then load the top up with some shredded Mexican cheese and bake in the oven until it is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

IMG_1672

I topped mine with some guacamole, salsa, sour cream and Jalapeño Greek yogurt dip. No, I am not a glutton, just indecisive. I think the Jalapeño Greek Yogurt dip won. It is my current favorite.

And the icing on the cake, is the leftovers are even better. I just love when meals get better with age.

Tacoladas: Beef and Veggie Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 package of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde (Roasted Tomatillo Salsa)
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into triangle wedges
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 package Mexican cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once warm, add onions and cook for a few minutes, then add bell pepper and cook for another couple minutes. Next, add zucchini and yellow squash, continue to cook for a few minutes. Then add mushrooms and cook for a few motte minutes. Lastly, add the kale.
  3. In a 9×13 glass dish, spread salsa along the bottom of the pan, then spread corn tortillas on top. Put cooked veggies on top. Do another layer of corn tortillas.
  4. In the same large skillet, brown lean grown beef. Once brown, add taco seasoning and tomatoes and cook on low for 8-10 minutes. Once cooked, add to casserole dish. Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes, until cheese is starting to bubble and brown. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.

Suggested Side items – Black beans and a salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Cilantro Dressing

Suggested Drinks – Trader Joe’s Organic Mango Lemonade (with or without tequila)

Bell Pepper and Steak Stir-Fry

 BELL-PEPPER-AND-STEAK

As much as I love to cook, some nights, I just want to pop something in the microwave or order take out. Call it laziness if you want. I call it just, being human. But, what I consider the ultimate, is when I can cook dinner from scratch that involves minimal effort on my part. My biggest TJ’s  “splurge” is usually on pre-cut meats and vegetables. I call it a splurge because it usually costs a few bucks more to get a food item processed. But those few minutes I am spared are well worth it! I mean, come on, the thought of making soup from scratch was a little daunting before I the wonderful Mirepoix Mix, am I right?? Another pre-sliced and diced item I regularly purchase is the Beef Steak Tips, which I decided to bust out for dinner tonight. You can, of course, always use regular tenderloin or sirloin, and just slice into chunks or strips.

When I think of “easy dinner,” my mind jumps right to clean up, which means my easy dinner usually involves no more than 1 pot or utensil. I have seen a bunch of one pot pasta dishes on Pinterest, and I’ll admit, I am a little nervous to try them. I just can’t wrap my head around how it would taste good to throw raw onions and uncooked pasta and tomatoes in a pot with water and have it com out tasting delicious. I hope to prove myself wrong in the future, but, For now, I’ll just stick to crock pots and woks.

Some of my favorite veggies to cook with beef  are bell peppers and onions. I often pair my carne asada with fajita style peppers and  onions. Same with sausages. I wonder why I even thought I would choose a different veggie for my easy mid-week stir fry? I am sure there are great combinations out there. What do you put in your stir-fry? Leave me a comment!

 

Bell Pepper and Steak Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive or peanut oil, divided
  • 1 lb package of beef tips
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bag of microwave brown rice

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar

Directions:

  • Put 1 Tbsp of oil in wok or large pan, and heat on hight. Once oil is hot, add onion and bell peppers and cook until they just start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
  • Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for sauce in a separate bowl.
  • Add other tbsp to pan, and add beef tips (salt and pepper to taste prior to cooking). Cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add cooked bell peppers and onions, diced tomatoes and sauce mixture cook for another 5 min. Sauce will thicken a little bit. Remove from heat and serve with your favorite whole grain rice. I prefer the frozen brown rice that can be microwaved for 3 minutes and serves two.


Estimated Nutrition Information Per Serving (does not include rice):
Calories: 316   Carbs: 18g   Fat: 17g   Protein: 24g   Sodium: 720 mg   Sugar: 7g

Black And White Chili with Cornbread Waffles

black-and-white-chili

Original Blog Entry Dated July 10, 2013:

If you have ever trolled my Pinterest boards, you might be wondering what the deal is with the waffles. Obsession, right? I have been looking up all the different things that could be waffled, and have been a little bit amazed with everything I have found. Cookies, cakes, apple pies, grilled cheese, grilled peanut butter and jelly, hash browns, tater tots, brownies and cornbread (just to name a few). And I wanna try them all! This past weekend, the hubs gotme a waffle iron for my birthday. The next day, we broke in the iron with a meal I have always wanted to try: chicken n’ waffles. It was delicious, and just made me want to waffle everything in my kitchen even more.

chicken and waffles

So, on to dinner.

I am a big fan of making chili and cornbread. Not only is it a super easy meal to make, it is actually pretty good for you! I double the amount of beans, which is an excellent source of fiber. It also is the perfect dish to make if you are trying to get more iron in your diet. The ground beef and beans are high in iron, and the tomato sauce is high in vitamin c, which will help you absorb the iron. Even better, is this recipe translates really well into a crock pot meal, which is how I prepared it below.

 

Black and White Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

ground beef

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 cup frozen bell peppers, chopped or half of a red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

chili doneBrown one pound of lean ground beef in a pan with chopped garlic. Add onion. Cook until onions are tender. Transfer to a crock pot (using a slotted spoon, trying to not bring any drippings).  Add the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot and stir well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Tastes delicious as left overs. Freezes really well too!

Note- I have also made this where I don’t cook the onion and garlic with the beef, and there was more of a crunch, which was delicious. Both ways work.

Now, on to the fun part!

cornbreadTo make things easy, I use the cornbread mix from trader joes. It is sweet and has whole corn kernels, which make a delicious combination.

Mix according to directions (you will also need 1 egg, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2 cup vegetable oil in addition to the box). Preheat waffle iron, and cook a half cup of batter at a time.

They turned out beautiful! Simply delicious. Would go well with some honey butter too! Mmmm… Honey butter…

If you are a fan of “end pieces” then you’ll die over these cornbread waffles!