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    Fish and Chips was always one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant because I love it, but I felt like was such a hassle to get out the fryer and make it myself. However, now that I have this recipe, I find myself making it much more often because this seasoned batter is so awesome, it tastes better at home than in the restaurant! It's become one of our favorite meals, and I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do!



Ingredients:
2 lbs fish fillets, cod and tillapia are my favorites
1 c flour
1 T paprika
1 T garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 egg
1 beer (I prefer Hefeweizen for this)
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

If you have a fryer, heat the oil to about 365 degrees. If you're frying in a pan, set it to medium-high.

Mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and egg, and slowly add the beer, mixing it together slowly until the batter is smooth.

Dip one fish fillet in the batter, covering it completely, and then CAREFULLY drop it in the hot oil. I can usually fit three fillets in at a time. Make sure they aren't touching, and turn the fillets over once to ensure thye are cooked completely. It usually takes about five minutes to cook each piece to a nice crispy golden brown. Remove fish from the hot oil, and dry them off on paper towels. Serve while hot.

I like to serve them with sweet potato fries. They're baked, so they won't compete with the fish for space in the fryer.


 
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    Shut the front door! I just made these for the first time today, and they tasted so INCREDIBLE that as soon as I was so full that I couldn't eat another bite, I ran to the computer to share the recipe. If these tacos were any easier, they'd do the dishes themselves. I can't even handle how easy and delicious they are. They should be illegal or something.











Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. They can even still be frozen (so freakin easy).
1 8oz jar of salsa. I used Mild Pace Picante
1 packet of taco seasoning

Taco Shells
Guacamole
Cotija Cheese
Anything else you want on your tacos...

Directions:
    First, put the chicken in the slow cooker, and cover it with the taco seasoning and salsa. Let it cook all day on low, for up to 9 hours. When the chicken is ready, shred it with a fork, and mix it up with the sauce.  

    I put mine on taco shells and topped it with guacamole and cotija cheese, and was blown away by how good they were. 

    You could also use the chicken for taco pasta, in chili, enchiladas, burritos, nachos, taco salad... The possibilities are endless!

 
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    It's a spaghetti sandwich. On garlic bread. And it tastes AMAZING. Honestly, I don't even bother cooking the noodles anymore. And neither will you, once you try it.





Ingredients:

For the Sauce
1 T olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped or diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese

For the Bread
1 baguette, any loaf of bread, rolls, or buns (depending on how fancy you want to be)
butter (about 2 T per sandwich)
minced garlic (about 1 clove per sandwich)

Directions:
    Preheat the oven. If you like to live dangerously, turn the broiler on high. If you'd like to leave room for error, just set it to bake at about 375.

    Now, make the sauce. First, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Then, when the olive oil shimmers, add the onion and stir. When the onion starts to become translucent, toss in the garlic, and stir continuously. In about 30 second to a minute, it will become fragrant; add the ground beef or turkey and cook until it has browned completely. I also like to add mushrooms, grated zucchini, or any other vegetable I can find that might go unnoticed. Then, pour in the sauce, and reduce heat to low once it boils. Let it simmer, covered, while you make the bread. 

    Cut the bread into your desired sandwich shape. Sometimes I like to slice it, and other times it's better when you just cut it in half like a hot dog bun (this can also be made with hot dog buns).

    In a small pan, melt 2 T butter and saute one clove of minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Then, take two pieces of bread and sop up all the butter and garlic in the pan. Repeat this process until you have enough bread for all of the sandwiches. Place all pieces of garlic bread butter side up on a baking pan, and put them in the oven until they're toasty. In a broiler, they go from raw to burnt if you take your eyes off of them for a second, so I prefer to let them sit in the oven at 375 for about 5 minutes; but I don't know how vigilant you are. 

    Once the bread is toasted, take it out of the oven, and add the meat sauce to make a delicious sandwich. Don't forget the parmesan cheese to maximize the deliciousness, and serve it while it's hot.


 
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    This is absolutely, without a doubt, the best tasting thing that I make. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite foods, and I spent years trying to find a good store bought "simmer sauce" that came anywhere near the amazing flavor of an authentic Indian restaurant. It never occurred to me that I would be able to make it myself. Then, I stumbled upon a recipe that had that magical flavor that the store bought sauces couldn't touch. I will say that you won't find this recipe on any diet, because there's so much cream, but it is oh so worth it!

Ingredients:

Marinade:
1 c plain yogurt (sour cream will do in a pinch)
2 T lemon juice
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground red pepper (use 2 t if you want it to be spicy)
1 t black pepper
1 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1 piece of ginger, about 1 inch long, minced (1 t ground ginger will also work, but it's more mild)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Sauce:
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (optional, if you like it hot)
2 t ground corriander
1 t ground cumin
1 t paprika
1 t garam masala (I found it at a Target Marketplace, you can also get it in some Asian markets, or online)
1/2 t salt
1  14oz can of tomato sauce
2 c heavy whipping cream (I've been told it still tastes great with milk or fat-free cream, but that's not how I roll)
1/4 c chopped cilantro

Directions:

    Combine all marinade ingredients in a zip-lock bag, and add the chicken. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I like to let it sit all day, but an hour will pack in enough flavor. If you're pressed for time, cut the chicken up before marinating it, and it will absorb the flavor more quickly. You'll just have to grill it on skewers if you cut it up first. 

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, or set your grill to medium-high heat. 

    If you are going to bake the chicken, bake it for half an hour. If you're using a grill, don't start it yet.

    To make the sauce, I like to combine all of the spices and salt in a small bowl before I start, so that they can all be added quickly. 

    Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeno, and cook for about a minute. 

    Add spices, and stir together. 

    Stir in the tomato sauce, turn the heat down low, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 

    Turn the heat back up and add the cream. Stir until it's really mixed together, and then let it simmer on low heat for about 5 more minutes while it thickens.  

    If you're grilling the chicken, put it on the grill for about 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until it's cooked through. On my Foreman grill, it takes 7 minutes on Medium. 

    Once the chicken is done, cut it up and add it to the sauce. Let everything simmer for about 5 minutes more, and then it's done. 

    Sprinkle the cilanatro on top and serve. I like to serve it over rice, with garlic naan. Actually, I like to serve it with an extra bowl of sauce for dipping the naan, and eat until I can't move. 
    
    A similar recipe can be found here.

 
    The first time I ever had manicotti, I made it myself, so I really had no idea what it was supposed to look or taste like. I didn't have much experience cooking, so I was hoping it was going to be easy. All of the recipes I could find wanted me to cook the noodles, and then spoon- fill the floppy tubes with cheese, which sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. So, over the years, I have combined a bunch of different recipes, taking the easy technique from one, and adjusting the flavors to make a dish that everybody loves!

Ingredients:
1 package uncooked manicotti
15 oz ricotta
2 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, separated
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 t garlic powder
1 egg
2 t dried Italian seasonings, or 1 t oregano and 1 t basil
1 c water
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Mix the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, parmesan, garlic powder, egg, and herbs in a large bowl. When it's well mixed, put it in a zip-lock bag, and seal it. Then, cut one of the corners off the bag, and pipe the cheese mixture into the uncooked manicotti noodles, and place them in a 9x13 baking dish.

     Mix the water and spaghetti sauce together,  pour over the filled manacotti, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c of mozzarella on the top. 

     Cover, and bake the manicotti for 35-40 minutes. Remove the cover, and bake for
10 more minutes. Watch out, it's hot!
 
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    Fried rice is so fantastic because it's a delicious way to use up a bunch of leftovers. It tastes too good to be this convenient. It's a pretty complete meal, all by itself, and you can make it all in one pan. It can also be a great side dish to go along with broccoli beef, chicken chow mein, and some spring rolls, if you want a feast!

Ingredients:
2 T oil (peanut, vegetable, olive... anything except motor oil)
3 c cooked rice (it's better if you use rice cooked the day before)
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces (raw or cooked)
4 green onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced
8 oz peas and carrots (fresh, frozen, or canned- whatever you've got)
2 eggs
1 t ginger powder
1 T sesame oil
3 T soy sauce

Directions:
    In a wok or large pan, heat oil over medium heat. If you're using raw chicken, add that first, and cook it thoroughly. Then, add the green onions and garlic, and let them cook for a minute or so, throw the rice in, and mix it all up. Add the ginger powder and let it cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. When it's nice and fried, push everything to one side of the pan, and scramble and cook both eggs on the other side.
     When the eggs are cooked, stir everything to combine, and add the peas and carrots, sesame oil, and soy sauce. If you're using previously cooked chicken, add that, too. Mix everything together, and let it cook for about 2 more minutes and serve.
    Now taste it


 
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    Chicken Pot Pie is one of those great comfort foods that you never really out grow. I had never even thought about making it at home, but I found a recipe on a box of pre-made pie crusts one time, and thought, eh, why not? I first made this one night when my mom and grandfather came over for dinner. Everyone was blown away, and we finished the whole thing. My Grandpa Tony said he liked it better than Marie Callender's. I couldn't believe how good it was, especially since it was so easy to make. The next week, my mom was still raving about it, so I made it again, and this time my husband had some, too. He loved it, and he had always said he didn't even like pot pies!  In the amount of time it takes to bake a frozen pot pie, you can make your own with twice the flavor, for about half the cost. Why not?

Ingredients:
1 whole pie crust, top and bottom (uncooked)- I use pre-made ones from the grocery store because I'm a fraud
2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c milk
2 c frozen peas and carrots
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t pepper

Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

    Place bottom pie crust in a pie pan. In a large bowl, stir all the other ingredients together, and pour them into the pie crust. Cover with the other pie crust, and cut an X (or another letter, or pretty design if you're feeling creative) to vent the steam, and pinch down the edges. Bake for about an hour, until the pie is a golden brown. 
    Let it cool for 10-20 minutes, and serve.

 
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    This is one of my newer recipes that I tried out a couple of months ago. Everybody really liked it, but it was missing something. Recently, I added the sesame oil, and that did it. Now we eat it every week. It's so inexpensive, very easy to make, and it's much less greasy than I find in most restaurants. This has become one of my favorite dinners. I like to serve it with spring rolls.






Ingredients:
1 package chow mein noodles
5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 c teriyaki sauce (I like Soy Vey)
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 T minced garlic (I bought it in a jar at Costco. This changed my life.)
2 c cabbage or broccoli coleslaw mix (with no sauce)
1 c shredded carrots
1 T sesame oil
3 T soy sauce

Directions:

    Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. All I can ever find are the really skinny ones, and they only need to boil for about three minutes.

    In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the chicken, onion, and garlic in the teriyaki sauce. When the chicken is cooked through, add the sesame oil, cabbage or broccoli coleslaw mix and carrots, and stir fry for another minute or two. Stir in the soy sauce and noodles, and serve.
 

 
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    One of my greatest friends used to make these spring rolls when we shared an apartment, and I couldn't get enough of them. She gave me the recipe, and now my kids and husband can't get enough of them, either.  I like to make the spring rolls early in the day, so that I have a great appetizer or side dish that I don't have to worry about at dinner time. I like to serve them cold, but you can fry them in peanut oil if you like the crunchy skin. 


Ingredients:
rice wonton/ spring roll wrappers
1 T vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T grated ginger
1 block of tofu, cubed (I use extra firm, because I like the texture)
1 c shredded carrots
1 c bean sprouts
1/2 c shredded cabbage, or coleslaw mix without dressing
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 T sesame oil
4 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
Peanut oil for frying (optional)

Directions:

    Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large wok or pan. Add green onions, garlic, ginger and tofu, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, carrots, bean sprouts and cabbage, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots and sprouts are tender. Stir in the cilantro, and then remove from heat. 

    To wrap spring rolls, soak one wrapper in warm water for about 20 seconds to soften it a little. Then lay it flat on the counter, and spoon the filling into the wrapper. Fold the sides in, and roll it up. Continue until you run out of filling or wrappers. 

    You can either refrigerate them, and serve as-is, or you can fry them in peanut oil just before you serve them. Either way, they're delicious. I like to dip spring rolls in Soy Vey teriyaki sauce, and serve with broccoli beef or chicken chow mein.











    Image courtesy of John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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    Chili is one of those great things that you can make on the stove when you're hungry, or in a crock pot way ahead of time, if you know you're going to be busy. It's inexpensive, easy, and delicious. There are so many variations, that everybody makes it a little bit differently. This is how I make basic chili.






Ingredients:
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey or beef
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
3 T chili seasoning
1/2 c chicken stock (optional)

Chili Seasoning:
2 t chili powder (more if you're trying to clear out your sinuses)
1 t red pepper (more if you're spicy. My kids eat it this way.)
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
2 t sugar
2 t cumin
2 t parsley
2 t season salt
1 t basil
1/2 t pepper

Directions:
    Saute onions in olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, until they are translucent. Add garlic and meat, and cook until all the meat has browned. Add chili seasoning, and mix well. Then, add beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. If you want to drain the beans before adding them to remove some of the sodium, or if you're using cooked dry beans, add the chicken stock. If you use the liquid from the beans, do not add chicken stock. Turn heat down to low and cover.
    
    Let the chili simmer for half an hour. The longer you let the flavors mingle, the better it will be. 
    
    This chili is a little bit spicy for the kids, so I top it with shredded cheddar cheese and avocado, and mix in sour cream to tone it down. 

    Serve with corn bread. Always.