Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Basa Tacos

My family and I are continuing to enjoy Basa fish. This week we decided to take it south of the border. At first I was planning on making Basa with a little salsa and beans on the side. Phil came up with the great idea of turning this in to tacos--with lettuce for the taco shells. It was perfect. Thanks for another great one, babe.

Basa Fresh Tacos
4 pieces of Basa Fish
1 lime
salt and pepper
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 can black beans
1 pkg frozen corn
Sour Cream
1. First lets prep the lime. Zest about 2 TBSP and set aside. Cut the lime in half. Leave one side cut in half and cut the other into wedges.
2. Prep the fish for the broiler or grill. Lay it flat, salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the 1/2 of the lime zest. Squeeze the juice of the half lime over the fish. Cook through.
3. Use the Romaine leaves as the taco shells. Cut the cooked fish and layer into the lettuce leaf. Top your taco with your choice. We used salsa, a small amount of sour cream and hot sauce for the hubs.
4. Mix the corn and black beans together and cook in microwave until cooked through. Mix in salt and pepper to taste and the remaining lime zest. This would be great on the tacos too.
Such a fresh way to eat tacos. No heavy mexican food regret after this meal. Today for lunch, I took the left over beans and corn, chopped a few leaves of romaine and tossed both with salsa and a little sour cream. Healthy and full of protein and veggies with a hint of lime from the beans/corn mix. It was delicious.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fresh Herbs from the Garden

Let me take a minute to say...this girl has never had fresh anything grow at her house. The previous owners of our home grew chives, mint, citronella (which I thought was more mint) and pineapple mint (I really need to investigate what the heck that is). Odd combo, but hey...who am I to judge.

I have to say that there is nothing like eating fresh herbs from your garden. I have been going outside in the morning and cutting chives to mix in with our morning scrambled egg whites--back on a healthy eating kick. Some chives chopped, a little salt and pepper, a pinch of sharp cheddar. Best breakfast or lunch. It is so simple, low cal and really good. Plus, its the idea that these grew at home and I just had to grab them. I love it! The picture below is with sun-dried tomatoes added--gotta love the iphone...pictures anywhere!

The mint is another story...I am not known to use mint when I cook. I often find it very overwhelming. The only thing I know to do with it is Mojitos. While my husband does love when I make pitchers of Mojitos...I have enough mint to sell at a farmers market and make Mojitos every day of the week. It keeps multiplying and spreading and is now thigh high (I am only 5'1"). Have a great mint recipe? Feel free to share in the comments section or stop by and pick some for yourself! :-)

The herbs did get me thinking of all the herbs I use and how much I pay for them. So, Phil and I went to the Farmers Market in our little town and bought cilantro, rosemary and basil. We found some heirloom tomatoes that I was totally psyched about and then Phil added in some jalapeno plants. I guess we now officially have a garden! Maybe we will even put compost on it since the previous owners left a big compost maker too. (kinda scared of "stranger" compost to be honest)

I need to get all the plants in the ground and then watch them grow. I am excited by the idea of going outside and getting more organic herbs and veggies for the meals I make my family. This is shaping up to be a great summer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Basa Fish--YUM!

I have been intrigued the last few weeks at my fish counter by a fish called Basa. It is super cheap! Which intrigues and yet concerns me. A woman actually came up to me at the counter and started telling me how much she loves it (yep, small town livin') I asked her how she typically prepares it and she says "I dip it in mayonnaise and then breadcrumbs. I fry it in just a tiny bit of oil." SIGH...not quite what I was looking for. I love that she is worried about how much oil she is using when she dips the fish in straight up mayo. To each their own. She was a sweet older lady and I wouldn't have likely bought the Basa without her recommendation.

I brought the fish home and then did a little research. It is a member of the catfish family raised in Vietnam. There looks like this fish went through some controversy during 2000-2001.

I figured I would put this fish to the ultimate test. I was not going to panko it and hide the taste, I was going to grill it and see what happens. A big gamble for fish.

Here is what I did

Lemon Basa Fish
4 pieces of Basa (skinned and deboned into filets by the fish counter)
1 lemon and the zest
handful of chopped fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped
A sprinkle of McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning

Wash the fish and pat dry. Lie out in your grill fish basket (only seasoning one side so not to overpower white fish). I grated the zest of the lemon over the fish filets and sprinkled each one with the seasoning and the chopped herbs. Pat down to stick to fish. Add a slice of lemon to each piece and close the fish basket tight. USE A FISH BASKET. This fish is very light and flakey and would totally fall apart on its own on the grill. I cooked the fish for 4 minutes on each side until it felt firm in the middle.

I am so mad I didn't take pictures of this recipe!! It looked beautiful and delicious and it was! Bailey was the first one to say he loved it. Phil took the leftover piece for lunch today. It was a success. Very mild tasting and it took on the herbs and seasoning very well. The lemon just brightened the flavors.

I served it with my Caprese style salad that I have made in a previous post. This time I used roma tomato and mozzarella chopped to similar sizes. I added ribbons of fresh basil and a slight drizzle of White Balsamic Vinagrette (found with the cold salad dressings at the market).

Such a healthy dinner. Yet the fish had such great taste the meal was filling and perfect for a spring night. I will definitely make this fish again!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yoplait Greek Yogurt--healthy snack ideas

I am currently in love with Yoplait Greek Yogurt. (NO, I have not been contacted by Yoplait for this. I was curious about this yogurt, paid for the yogurt with my own money)

Back to the yogurt....Let's run through some impressive stats on the plain variety: 100 calories, 0 grams fat, 9 grams sugar, 14 grams of protein!!! That is not a typo. This yogurt contains more than 2x the amount of protein in regular yogurt and has 35% of your daily calcium.

This yogurt comes in two flavors: plain and honey/vanilla. The honey vanilla had a tinge of that artificial vanilla flavor. My favorite was the plain. After experimenting with add ins I came up with a delicious, healthy and all natural way to eat it. This yogurt has a thick and very creamy texture. It is more of an adult yogurt than some of them with tons of sugary fruit mixed in. REMEMBER: plain yogurt makes a great substitue for sour cream in any dish. You will never know the difference and you will add a lot of protein to your favorite mexican dish or even baked potatoes.

Honey Date Yogurt
1 60z cup Yoplait Greek Plain Yogurt
1 handful of my fruit/nut mix (see below)
1 TBPS of clover honey

First mix up the yogurt to mix. Then stir in the fruit/nut mix. Stir in half of the honey to mix the sweetness throughout and then drizzle the remaining honey on the top.

About the Fruit and nut mix. My husband an I were grocery shopping. We are always lured in by the scent of new marketing (hence the reason I tried the yogurt) and we saw all the new nutrition packs of nuts and fruits manufactured by a predominate nut company. You've seen them. In Northwest Indiana these little containers cost $6.59 each! We really wanted to try them so my hubs had the great idea to make our own.

Fruit/Nut Mix
16 oz bag of walnuts ($6.99)
18 0z container of Dole 100% natural raisins ($3.19)
8 oz container of Dole 100% natural dates ($2.29)

Mix together and store in an airtight container. Makes a great quick snack to curb hunger as well as yummy yogurt topping. Make sure you spring for the 100% natural fruits. The other kinds I looked at all had added sugar and tons of chemical preservatives.
Fruit/Nut Mix

We are big fans of Hummus. Even Bailey loves it. I use a recipe that I found years ago in a Weight Watchers cook book as the starting point for mine. Today I substituted the normal plain yogurt I use with the Yoplait Greek Plain and the result was a very smooth and creamy hummus.

Greek Yogurt Hummus
1 15 oz can of Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1TBSP olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1TBSP water
Salt and pepper
Cumin (not essential)

Mix all ingredients together in food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with steamed artichoke leaves, celery, carrots, tomato slices, or pita.

Steamed artichoke leaves??? I was skepical. I have only eaten the hearts until this point. Hubs bought a few at the produce market because he remembered eating the leaves as a kid. Here is the recipe that I followed. They are awesome. Dip the end into the hummus and scrape away the flesh. YUM!

Hope you enjoy all these great recipes. They each took less than 5 minutes to do and are healthy snacks to enjoy all summer long!
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