Category Archives: Quick & Easy

Baked Fish Tacos with Creamy Tomatillo Salsa

Yesterday for Cinco de Mayo I was lucky to have some fresh fish to work with for these tasty, tangy baked fish tacos. Fish tacos are a regular in our repertoire but lately we’ve been baking them instead of frying them. With a substantial panko crust, they taste just as good with a bit less guilt. I used fresh pan fish but tilapia or any readily available white fish would be delicious. Shrimp would also be a great choice.

I served the fish tacos with a homemade creamy tomatillo salsa, with the bright flavors lending themselves well to seafood. I like to add avocado to my version since the richness of the avocado helps balance out the tang of the tomatillos.  Add in some sweet carrots, crunchy cabbage and peppery radishes and you have the perfect spring meal.

Baked Fish Tacos
makes 4 small tacos
12 panfish filets or 1 lb tilapia, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 C panko bread crumbs
1/3 C shredded parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chipotle or chili powder
cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cooking sheet or glass pan and set aside. In a medium bowl or large Ziploc bag, combine panko, parmesan and spices. Stir or shake to combine. Melt butter in a small bowl. Dip fish filets lightly in butter, then toss in breading mixture to coat. Set on cooking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of filets. Fish should be white and flaky when fully cooked.

2 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 C chopped cabbage
1/2 C matchstick carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
pinch of salt
4 small tortillas
chipotle mayo

In a medium bowl, add cabbage, carrots and radishes. Drizzle on olive oil and lime juice, tossing to combine. Season with salt and toss again.

Serve baked fish with warm tortillas, chipotle mayo, tomatillo salsa and hot sauce.


Creamy Tomatillo Salsa
6 medium tomatillos, quartered
1/2 avocado
1/2 small onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
1 handful cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne

Add tomatillos, avocado, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor. Process until blended and just barely chunky. Add salt and cayenne and pulse two more times. Add additional salt or cayenne to taste if desired.

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Filed under Healthy, Main Dish, Quick & Easy

Cinnamon Honey Butter

For Christmas this year, I made and delivered Cinnamon Honey Butter to neighbors, family and friends.  The butter was very easy to make and turned out to be delicious.  I have received so many requests for the recipe that I figured I should post it on HAP!

cinnamon honey butter up close

This is supposedly the recipe for the Texas Road House honey butter.  You can find variations all over the internet, but this combination is my favorite.

Cinnamon Honey Butter

1 cup butter, softened (not melted)

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all of the ingredients together with a mixer until smooth.  Store in jars and refrigerate.

cinnamon honey butter

We have used this on everything from toast to sweet potatoes.  The possibilities are endless and so delicious!




Filed under Christmas, Cook, Quick & Easy, Treats

Smoky White Bean Soup with Rosemary

I have a tendency to experiment with cooking more when the hubs is out of town. He’s not a picky eater by any means but when he sees “bean soup”, “kale salad” or “veggie pesto” on our menu board he tends to think the “healthy” stuff will leave him still hungry and feeling like a rabbit.

As far as veggie-based soups go, this one is pretty hearty and doesn’t even seem veggie-based thanks to the rich beans and smoky bacon. Plus it was easy to make. I’ll be resurrecting this again – whether the hubs is around or not!

white bean soup
Smoky White Bean Soup with Rosemary
5 slices smoked pepper bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 15 oz cans cannellini beans
3 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1 C chopped kale
1 Tbsp sherry
1/3 C parmesan cheese, shredded
1 spring rosemary, chopped
kosher salt, to taste

Place chopped bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until bacon begins to crisp and brown. Add in onion, celery and garlic. Drizzle in olive oil if extra fat is needed to prevent burning. Some browned bits on the bottom of your pan are ideal though! Let vegetables and bacon cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Next, add 1/4 C of chicken broth to the pan and use the moisture to scrape and release browned bits into the liquid. This will add additional flavor to your base. Add in sherry, beans, remaining broth and rosemary. Let simmer over medium low for 10-15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor to puree soup until smooth. Mix in parmesan and chopped kale and stir. Season well with salt until flavors pop and let simmer until kale is cooked.

Serve with french bread or pretzel rolls.

white bean soup

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Filed under Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup

With the first crisp breath of fall air I take, comes the first batch of soup. This soup is easy to make with staples that can be found any time of the year. The fresh basil adds the perfect balance to the sweet pepper taste. If you want to kick this up a notch, add some crushed red pepper.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup
1 TBSP olive oil
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 C chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 sherry wine
1 C fresh spinach
1/2 nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
cracked black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add potatoes, stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Add peppers and tomatoes. Pour stock into pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes. Add fresh spinach, boil until softened. Remove from heat. Add yogurt and stir. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or transfer to a blender or food processor). Add basil and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Perfect for a cool fall day!


Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy

Corn and Tomato Side Dish

I love the early weeks of August when you can get fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob everywhere you look.  These are two of my favorite summer treats and I decided to combine them to make this quick and easy summer side dish.  The best part is this can be served hot or cold which makes it great to bring to a BBQ because it can be left outside for a little while without worrying that it will spoil due to mayo or other ingredients.

Corn and Tomato Side Dish

5 ears of corn, cooked and corn removed from the cob
1-2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the cooked corn and tomatoes in a serving dish.  Add the juice of 1 lime and mix to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Could that be any easier?  I just love how it tastes like summer!


Filed under Cook, Healthy, Quick & Easy, Sides

Smoked Salmon & Egg Baguettes

Ok so I promise this will be my last salmon post for a little while but when the gettin’ is good it’s just too hard to not experiment. My brother-in-law spent an afternoon smoking some of his fresh catch and passed a little our way so I put it together with some equally bold flavors and texture for a super fast and hearty weeknight meal. I especially love the way the gooey egg yolk binds it all together.

Smoked Salmon Baguettes
1/3 C cream cheese
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 bunch asparagus
Drizzle olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
2 C smoked salmon
4 eggs, cooked sunny side up
1 large baguette or loaf of french bread, cut into 4 large chunks
cracked black pepper
Kosher salt

In a small bowl, use a spoon to mix together the cream cheese, dill and garlic powder until well blended. Set aside.

Heat a grill pan on medium and place asparagus on the pan. Lightly coat with olive oil just enough to not burn. Cook asparagus for about 4-6 minutes depending on thickness, turning with a tongs until each side is slightly seared and asparagus becomes tender. Season lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium. Once pan is hot, crack eggs and cook sunny side up (or over easy if you prefer) for approximately 4 minutes. Egg whites should be opaque and the yolk should be just beginning to cook.

While eggs and asparagus are cooking, slice the baguettes and spread the inside generously with cream cheese mixture. Top with several piece of salmon. Once asparagus and eggs are cooked, place asparagus,then the egg on top of the salmon. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.


Filed under Breakfast, Main Dish, Quick & Easy, Uncategorized

Grilled Salmon Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

With the Salmon-a-Rama fishing tournament (yep, you read that right) in full swing in Milwaukee my fridge is overflowing with fresh fish. Which is a good thing since the drought situation we’ve got going on has left me with a garden that’s struggling to survive.

I don’t usually make tacos with salmon but I figured, why not? Grilled with a simple, spicy dry rub and paired with a crunchy-creamy cool salsa they made for a light and healthy dinner to beat the summer heat.

Grilled Salmon Tacos
1 lb salmon fillets, skin removed and de-boned if needed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder/chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 small tortillas

In a small bowl, stir together garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt. Form a “cookie sheet” of aluminum foil and place on a plate or cutting board. Place fish on the aluminum foil and gently and evenly apply olive oil, then dry rub to fish. Heat grill to 400. Transfer “cookie sheet” to the grill and grill for about 6 minutes. Salmon should be opaque and slightly flaky.

Watermelon Radish Salsa
1/2  C watermelon, diced
6-8 radishes, trimmed and diced
1/2 C cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
pinch kosher salt
pinch cumin

Dice watermelon, radishes and cucumber into evenly sized pieces and transfer to a small bowl. Toss together. Chop cilantro and mix into salsa. Season with salt, cumin and lime juice and toss. Dice avocado and gently toss into salsa, taking care not to smush the avocado.

Place salmon in tortillas and top with salsa and hot sauce if desired.

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Filed under Grill, Healthy, Quick & Easy

Mango Strawberry Smoothie

When it is 104 degrees outside, cooking is the last thing on my mind. Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to beat the heat. They replace the need for ice cream and are filled with great ingredients to help your body stand up to the heat. Recently, I’ve been using mango in my mixtures. It gives the smoothie a wonderful creaminess. When it is too hot to even drive to your nearest frozen yogurt stand, try this recipe out!

Mango Strawberry Smoothie
1 C no-fat vanilla yogurt (I use Stonyfield Organic)
1 mango, sliced
1 C sliced strawberries
1/2 TBSP agave nectar
1 C ice cubes

In a blender, add yogurt, mango, strawberries and agave nectar. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and crush until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

I promise this will be my last recipe involving strawberries for a while. I just can’t help myself!

What food or drink recipes do you make to beat the heat?


Filed under Healthy, Quick & Easy, Treats

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Awhile back when I made these Buffalo Chicken Poppers, I found myself with leftover chicken filling. Leftovers can be a dividing topic, however I happen to be a huge fan – especially of ones that can do double duty and transform into an entirely different dish.

Such is the case here. I converted my popper filling into tasty Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas to give us a break from the traditional Mexican flavors we usually use in quesadillas. They’re best served hot but can make a good portable lunch…if you’re into double leftovers. 🙂

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas
serves 3-4
2 C shredded chicken
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp ranch dressing powder mix
3 Tbsp Franks Redhot Buffalo Wing sauce
3/4 C shredded sharp cheddar
3 large flour tortillas
1 Tbsp soft butter/margarine
2 stalks celery, trimmed and grated
Avocado Blue Cheese dip (optional)

Grate celery stalks using a cheese grater. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, cream cheese, ranch powder and wing sauce until ingredients are well mixed and chicken is coated. Spread softened butter on one side of a large tortilla.  Fill half of the tortilla with chicken mixture and top with sharp cheddar.  Fold the unfilled half of the tortilla over the top of your chicken fillings to form a half moon and transfer to your skillet.

Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown, carefully flipping once the first side is crisped.  I find a large pancake spatula works well for flipping.

Top with grated celery and a drizzle of extra hot sauce. Serve with avocado dip or ranch dressing.

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Filed under Main Dish, Quick & Easy

Pork Chops with Cherry Saison Relish

It’s hard for me to resist the bags of ruby red cherries that abound this time of year. Even though they can be a pain to eat, I’m a sucker for the sweet-tart flavor. To amp up our standard grilled pork chops over the weekend, I put together this easy but complex cherry saison relish using items I had on hand, including a home brewed Belgian saison ale. Sweet, tart, savory and a touch spicy thanks to a sprinkle of chipotle, it has everything you could want in a summer sauce.

Pork Chops with Cherry Saison Relish
serves 2
1/3 C chicken stock
1/3 C Belgian saison ale (or wheat beer)
2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp corn starch
small pinch chipotle powder (optional)
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Remove stems and pits from cherries. Roughly chop cherries and transfer to a saute pan. Begin to heat on medium heat. Add chicken stock and saison ale to cherries, whisking to combine. Whisk in corn starch, brown sugar and mustard so that there are no clumps and let simmer until mixture reduces and begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add chipotle powder. Whisk well and let mixture continue to reduce and stay warm while your chops are being grilled.

Season chops on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill chops on raised rack of grill at 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes per side based on thickness. Top chops with cherry sauce.

Recipe for sauce can be increased to support more chops and could also be paired with chicken.


Filed under Grill, Healthy, Main Dish, Quick & Easy