This is not your ordinary fish sandwich. While we’re on the subject, let me tell you how much I despise fast food fish sandwiches. I think they should be banned…all fast food fish should be illegal. I don’t know why, but it grosses me out. I know a certain chain restaurant has its legion of fans for that nasty fish sandwich…and they eat it with a slice of cheese! I’ll never understand it. Not to be left out of the fish sandwich love, I offer up this Fish Sandwich with Ginger Apricot Mayonnaise. Believe it or not, it’s incredibly tasty and under 250 calories per serving!
So, how’s it taste?
I was first drawn to making this sandwich because of the flavored mayonnaise. Ginger and apricot? Yes, please! I know plenty of folks that don’t like mayo, but it just goes with fish…like tartar sauce. I happen to love mayo, so jazzing it up with flavor is a bonus for me. Fish cooks so quickly, so this meal is a very easy weeknight meal. There’s ginger and cayenne in the breading for the fish which makes for a pretty flavorful sandwich. You might want to amp up the cayenne if you like a little spice as I couldn’t taste it very much with the measurements below. I used tilapia for the fish as it’s very mild and goes well with just about any flavor combination. The ginger apricot mayo is such a refreshing match for the delicate fish. I like to add an extra dollop of the preserves for more sweetness. You could certainly substitute orange marmalade or peach preserves as well.
4 fresh tilapia fillets
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
4 hamburger buns (I prefer Healthy Life)
4 tbsp. apricot preserves
1. For the mayonnaise, in a small bowl mix mayonnaise, ginger, and preserves.
2. For the sandwiches, lightly coat a shallow baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, ginger, salt, pepper, and cayenne; set aside. Place fish fillets on the baking pan, spray with margarine spray. Coat sides and tops with crumb mixture.
3. Bake, uncovered, in a 450F oven for 4 to 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
4. To serve, toast buns and add lettuce and fish fillets to bottom buns. Top each sandwich with 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of the preserves. Add bun tops.
Sign me up for any kind of enchilada, but especially one that is packed with cheese, sour cream, and spinach and takes hardly anytime to whip together. I made these Creamy Spinach Enchiladas last Saturday for lunch and I was counting on it being a quick meal since I had a certain college football game to watch. I only had to chop a few green onions and do some stirring and that was about it for this dish!
So, how’s it taste?
I really enjoyed them. They aren’t going to fill you up for hours and hours, but they are the perfect light lunch. At only 217 calories per serving, you could easily add a side to round out the meal. They’d be great paired with a salad to give a little bit of crunch as a contrast. The inside lives up to the creaminess with all that cottage cheese, sour cream, and Cheddar Jack. It’s quite the simple dish, but worked great because I was in a hurry, but wanted a home-cooked meal. You could definitely bulk it up with a protein or add more veggies to the filling. Feel free to substitute ricotta for the cottage cheese, too. Next time I make these, I think I’ll add some jalapenos for a bit of a kick and more crunch. This is a great base recipe for a quick enchilada meal.
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sliced green onions, reserve a few for garnish
9 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, well drained
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
4 oz. (1 cup) Cheddar Jack cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
12 6-inch corn tortillas
10 oz. enchilada sauce
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onions; cook and stir 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach is thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in cottage cheese, sour cream, and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Spoon 1/4 cup filling down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam side down, in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with sliced green onions.
I finally caved in and made Cake Pops! They’re pretty popular these days, so I don’t know what took me so long. A friend of mine saw me in the Tennessean not too long ago and asked me if I’d make some cake pops for a baby shower at her office. I’m always up for a baking challenge, so I agreed and me vs. cake pops began!
So, how’s it taste?
I did a practice round with red velvet cake and cream cheese icing, and while they tasted great, they didn’t look so hot. Remember that SNL commercial with Quarry breakfast cereal? I affectionately refer to my first batch of cake pops as “Quarry Pops.” After a call to Shannon over at Family Bites, I quickly learned that cake pop making is somewhat of a science. My first batch was tasty, but way too big and had too much icing. You want the cake/icing mix to be crumbly and you’ll get the urge to add more icing, but don’t. When you roll the cake into balls, you shouldn’t have a lot of the cake mix stuck to your hands. I knew I had too much icing in the red velvet version when my hands looked like they had been in a horror movie.
My baby shower batch turned out so much better! I found using a heaping tablespoon of the cake mix makes a good sized cake pop. For this batch, I used white cake mix with cream cheese icing. I’m outspoken about my dislike of white cake, but I’ll be the first to say these cake pops were awesome! I liked them so much better than the red velvet or chocolate versions I’ve had. It’s a perfect bite of sweet, moist cake with candy coating. I also found I’m a fan of using almond bark over the candy melts. The almond bark tastes much better to me and is easier to work with, but it doesn’t come in a variety of colors like the candy melts, so there’s a trade-off. For the decoration, I made a small batch of royal icing and colored it pink. I added the decoration after the almond bark was completely dry on the cake pops.
For presentation, I wrapped each pop with a candy wrapper and tied them with a small piece of pink ribbon. They were too cute!
Wilton has a step-by-step guide for making cake pops, along with a video. Also check out the queen of cake pops, Bakerella, for some fun ideas on other shapes and decorations.
1 box cake mix (plus ingredients according to package directions)
1/2 cup ready-to-use icing
almond bark or candy melts
1. Bake cake in a 9x12 cake pan according to package directions. Let cool completely.
2. In large mixing bowl, use hands to crumble the cake until no large chunks remain.
3. Add 1/2 cup of ready-to-use icing.
4. Blend in icing completely with a spatula (I find using your hands to be easier) until it is completely combined and holds together cake crumbs. You may be tempted to add more icing, but it will come together. When you roll the cake, it shouldn't leave any cake/icing stuck to your hands.
5. For medium-sized cake pops, use a heaping tablespoon per pop. Roll back and forth in hands until you create a smooth round ball.
6. Place cake balls on a cookie sheet or¥baking pan lined with parchment paper. Chill for at least 2 hours.
7. Melt the almond bark or candy melts using a double-boiler, microwave, or this handy chocolate melter.
8. Dip the tip of one end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert no more than halfway through a cake ball. Dip cake pop into the melted chocolate and gently tap off the excess chocolate. Place cake pop into the styrofoam block to dry.
It’s no secret how much I love Tavern. It’s quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville. It’s got a fun atmosphere, plenty of TVs, big bar area, two nice patios, and the food is excellent. Read my first post on Tavern, and you’ll find out why I had to go back for brunch. They serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, plus another bonus is the two for one drinks (also on Wednesdays). It’s tough choosing what to eat for brunch, so like their regular menu, I’ll be back for more!
First up is the Tavern Burger. You can order this burger anytime, but thankfully it’s also on the brunch menu. It is hands down the best burger in Nashville. It’s a generous serving of beef ribeye and filet and cooked to perfection. I like a burger where you can really taste the beef. They describe the bun as meltaway and it’s true. It’s delicate, soft and doesn’t get in the way or bulk up the burger. It truly melts in your mouth. I chose to add blue cheese to mine and it was awesome. You won’t be disappointed if you order this!
If you want something sweet, the Pretzel Pancakes will more than satisfy. Tavern is not stingy when it comes to serving size. These pancakes are easily shared between 3-4 people and will cure any sweet tooth. The pancakes aren’t as light as I expected, but still taste great. There are bits of pretzel in the batter and sprinkled on top. The crunch and salt make for a nice contrast against the thick dulce de leche and sweet white chocolate mousse.
A must order on the brunch menu is anything that comes with White Trash Hash. It’s a take on a hashbrown casserole that will knock your socks off. I could eat this stuff everyday and not complain. It’s chunky, cheesy, gooey, and has a hint of heat with peppers. Seriously good eats. We ordered it with the Local Ham & Cheese Omelet. I used to think I wasn’t a fan of omelets until this one. It’s not too fluffy, cooked perfectly, and has just the right ratio of egg to toppings. In this case ham and brie. I really enjoyed the brie paired with ham instead of the usual cheddar. I’d order this one again for sure.
On my first visit to Tavern for brunch, I kept seeing eggs benedict go by and wish I had ordered it. They’ve got three versions: braised short ribs, pit ham, and smoked salmon. I went with the pit ham (Benedict Three) and it was excellent. The ham wasn’t too salty, the hollandaise deliciously creamy, and as you can see, a generous portion that was very filling for brunch.
In all my visits, I haven’t been disappointed and I’m looking forward to future visits and trying more of their menu. The food I’ve had so far has been so good, it’ll be hard to not order the same thing!
A little over a week ago, in an effort to encourage my readers to get chatty on my Facebook page, I promised to make a football sweet treat. Tomorrow is the big day when college football starts and I’m more than ready. Life without college football just isn’t right. I wanted to know who YOU root for every Saturday, so I posed the question on Facebook and a few days letter let Random.org take over. Out of all the comments, it chose the one from Jeanie: “RTR!” I was sweatin’ bullets before I pressed the generate button, but luck was on my side!
So I present to you my Roll Tide Sugar Cookies!
Now before you go thinking “yeah right, of course it didn’t land on anything but Alabama,” I was prepared to stick to my word and color icing some ugly shade of orange or that ridiculous purple/yellow combo. I also had intentions of surprising a few folks with some UT cookies, but the orange I used turned out to be more of a flesh color. While I’m not a fan of UT, I’m at least smart enough to know you don’t mess with team colors.
I’ve decorated a lot of sugar cookies, but learn something every time. My football cookie cutter not only cut the dough into cookie shapes, but also left some design impressions. When I outlined the cookies, I also outlined the design and that proved to be a major no-no. The flooding was very difficult around the lacing and spread all over the place since the outlined icing sunk into the impressions. I only iced two cookies fully and then went over the outline again. The writing spread too much, the red icing bled into the white icing, and they just didn’t quite have the look I was hoping for. Next time I’ll only outline the cookie, flood the entire cookie, and once that dries, pipe the rest of the design.
After decorating the two cookies above, I decided to not flood the rest at all since they looked pretty cute without it. I was happy with the detail and writing, but I’ll definitely be doing Football Sugar Cookies part 2 to get them right. Who knows, maybe it’ll be YOUR team for the next batch!
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
1. For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
3. The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
4. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4" thick sheet, and cut into desired shapes. Place shapes on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes (this step is important in helping the cookies keep their shapes nice and clean). Remove and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges are just barely starting to turn golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely prior to decorating.
5. For the royal icing: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
6. Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.
7. Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.
If you’ve never had a Bushwacker, boy you are missing out. It’s an alcoholic drink and it tastes like heaven. Picture a milkshake all boozed up. There’s nothing like sitting on a patio with friends sipping on one (or two) Bushwackers without a care in the world. Trust me, two is all you need and that’s living dangerously. A few months ago I stumbled on a recipe for Bushwacker Jelly Shots and I had to make them. These definitely are not your regular red or green concoctions served in a Dixie Cup.
So, how’s it taste?
Pretty much like heaven in jelly form! Although the Bushwacker drink is full of different liquors, it’s somehow masked and tastes more like a regular milkshake. The jelly shot version, not so much. They pack a punch! You can taste the alcohol, but then there’s a slightly sweet aftertaste that makes you go for more. While the whipped cream is optional, I suggest adding it because it helps cut down on the bite of alcohol. And I think they’re cute with a dollop on top! Make sure to serve these slightly cooler than room temperature and not straight out of the fridge. They’re really thick when chilled and require too much chewing, which any jelly shot enthusiast would tell you is not good. Once they lose a bit of chill, they are perfect. You may never settle for any ol’ jelly shot after eating one of these. Who knew jelly shots could go gourmet?!
If you’re interested in trying the Bushwacker drink, I suggest Rebar or Broadway Brewhouse, both in midtown Nashville. I tend to favor Rebar’s just slightly, but both are delicious. Stop at two, or you may end up creating your own version of The Hangover.
1919 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
1/2 cup water
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
3/8 cup vanilla ice cream, melted
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup crème de cacao
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/8 cup light rum
1/8 cup dark rum
1/8 cup amaretto
1/8 cup Coco Lopez coconut milk
whipped cream, for garnish
1. Pour water in saucepan, sprinkle with gelatin and allow gelatin to soak for a few minutes. Add the melted ice cream. Heat over very low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). Once combined, stir in the remaining ingredients.
2. Pour mixture into a glass or non-reactive metal loaf pan (approximately 8” x 4”). Refrigerate until fully set (several hours or overnight).
3. To serve, cut into small, bite-sized squares. Top with small dollop of whipped cream. Jelly shots taste best when they are slightly cooler than room temperature, so let sit for a few minutes instead of serving right from the fridge. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
I think it’s safe to say I’ve been eating a lot of ugly food lately. These Ground Beef Reuben Melts are no exception. Yeah, I probably could’ve strategically placed a few pickles on the plate and maybe a scoop of potato salad or got creative with a fork and napkin, but I’m more about the food and some days I have zero patience with the camera. It’s rye bread, beef, and sauerkraut. It’s not pretty, but it sure is tasty. I love a good Reuben, so I was excited to try out this ground beef version and find out how it compares.
So, how’s it taste?
Loved it. It had all the required flavors of a Reuben. Tangy Thousand Island dressing, crunchy sauerkraut, and creamy Swiss cheese. I couldn’t find dark rye bread, so I used regular rye bread with the seeds. It still tasted just like my beloved Reuben, but without the corned beef. I’ve always said it’s easy to screw up a Reuben so I was happy when the ground beef version was up to par. I invited my friend Carol over for dinner and served these because I know she’s a fan of sauerkraut and I knew I could easily whip up this recipe on a weeknight, even after a full day at work and hitting the gym. It takes no time to brown the beef with onion, add the dressing, assemble the sandwich, and place under the broiler. We both agree it was quite the tasty meal and very filling. I served this without any sides (we saved room for dessert – Cinnamon Coffee Snack Cakes!), but this melt would go great with a deli salad like potato or a side of veggies. I’ve already purchased more ingredients to make these melts again this week!
Ground Beef Reuben Melts
makes 6 servings
per serving: 330 calories, 20g fat, 17g carbs, 2g fiber, 20g protein
1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion (1/2 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup undrained sauerkraut
6 slices dark rye bread, toasted
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing
6 slices Swiss cheese
1. In 8-inch skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked and onion is tender; drain.
2. Meanwhile, set oven control to broil. In small saucepan, heat sauerkraut; drain. Arrange toasted slices of bread on broiler pan.
3. Stir salad dressing into beef mixture. Spoon beef mixture evenly onto bread slices. Top each with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.
4. Broil sandwiches 4 to 6 inches from heat 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
I promise I’m not giving up on cooking and resorting to serving slop. This has to be the most unflattering food for photographing. My feeble attempt at jazzing it up with a sprig of parsley didn’t add much, but a small pop of color. Even though this Portuguese-Style Chicken Curry may not win any beauty awards, don’t turn your nose at it just yet. It’s actually quite tasty, easy to make, and leaves your house smelling like something fantastic just happened in your kitchen.
So, how’s it taste?
I was really excited to make this dish. Thanks to my friend Sumita (and her mom who cooks like nobody’s business), I’ve found that I like, make that love, Indian food. My first experience with it was years ago and it was horrible. I think I ended up having bread and water for lunch that day after coworkers took me to an Indian restaurant. Fast forward a few years when Sumita invited me over to her house because her mom was cooking up a storm of Indian cuisine. I. Pigged. Out. She made a ton of food and I tried everything. I couldn’t believe I let one restaurant turn me off of an entire cuisine for so long. I kept going on and on about Indian food, so last Christmas, my cousin Jeanie bought me an Indian cookbook. Yes, it’s Betty Crocker and probably not as authentic as it could be, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. I’m finding it’s a great introduction into Indian cuisine.
Now about that curry…I loved it. I really did lift up my empty plate and lick the sauce off. The sauce is tangy and slightly spicy, yet has this warmth and almost cooling effect. My kitchen was so fragrant while I was cooking that I had the cheesiest grin on my face. That’s some good food if the smell alone makes you smile that big. Onions, ginger, garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, coriander, turmeric, vinegar, coconut…it’s crazy that all that goes into one dish, but now you understand why it smells so intoxicating. The vinegar makes the dish really tangy and I enjoyed it, but might reduce it a bit the next time I make it. Add more cayenne if you like it really spicy. The amount in the recipe is just enough to give you a subtle heat at the end. The coconut and yogurt counteract all that spice with a touch of creamy coolness.
If this is Indian food, why’s it Portuguese-style? According to my cookbook, this curry hails from Goa, a small state south of Mumbai. Goa is culturally influenced by Portuguese settlers. So there you go! A little knowledge with your dish of curry!
The simplicity of this Citrus Shrimp & Rice is what drew me into giving it a try. Shrimp is incredibly easy and fast to cook and pairs so well with a variety of flavors. You can make it sweet, hot, savory, you name it. This recipe takes a boxed rice mix and jazzes it up with lemon, apricot, shrimp, and edamame. Full of flavor, packed with protein, and quick enough for a weeknight meal.
So, how’s it taste?
I really enjoyed this dish. It’s full of tangy lemon, sweet apricot, and the savory spices from the rice mix. I couldn’t find the type of rice mix the recipe called for so I used the Fried Rice flavor from Rice-a-Roni. I plan on hunting down the Oriental flavor as I think the almonds would be a great addition, although I fear it may be a flavor they don’t make anymore. I added the juice of one lemon to crank up the citrus and loved it. If you don’t like tangy lemon, you may want to stick with just the peel. You could also use peach preserves or orange marmalade instead of the apricot preserves. I like how the preserves add a touch of sweetness to counter the lemon, yet it’s a very subtle flavor in the finished dish. I’m not a huge fan of sugar snap peas, so I substituted edamame. The pop of pink from the shrimp and dots of green from the edamame against the pale rice made for a pretty serving. It also tastes delicious the next day for leftovers.
2 tbsp. butter
1 package (6.2 oz.) rice & vermicelli mix with almonds & Oriental seasonings (or Fried Rice flavor)
2 cups water
2 tbsp. apricot preserves or orange marmalade
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
juice of one lemon
1 lb. uncooked peeled, deveined, medium shrimp with tails removed
1 cup frozen or fresh edamame (or 1 1/2 cups frozen sugar snap pea pods)
1. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook butter and rice and vermicelli mix over medium heat about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice and vermicelli are light golden brown.
2. Stir in water and contents of seasoning packet. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed.
3. Stir in preserves, lemon peel, lemon juice, and shrimp. Cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and firm. Stir in edamame. Cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until edamame is warmed through.
I have an insatiable sweet tooth and I’m one of those people that feels a meal isn’t quite complete unless a little dessert follows…whether there’s room in my belly or not. There’s a great line in the move Simply Irresistible by Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character where she says, “dessert is the whole point of the meal.” It’s 100% true. Being the coffee lover that I am, I had to make these Cinnamon Coffee Snack Cakes. One recipe makes 32 cakes and each is only 75 calories.
So, how’s it taste?
Wow, these little cinnamon coffee bites exceeded my expectations! The cake ingredients are so simple that I thought they would be really bland and I tasted the glaze before topping the cakes and it didn’t exactly float my boat. Overly sweet and way too much coffee flavor, but the trick is the two together. I renamed these from “bars” to “snack cakes” because to me bars are much more dense and these cakes are light as can be. The cakes by themselves aren’t that sweet, so they’re the perfect vehicle for the super sweet glaze. The older these cakes get, the better they taste. They’re pretty darn tasty warm from the oven, but a day later and they become fantastic! The glaze slowly seeps into the top of the cakes and the cinnamon coffee flavors really blend beautifully. Feel free to use espresso powder for a stronger coffee flavor over the coffee granules, too. The original recipe makes 48 bars, but come on, that’s barely a bite. If you wanted to cut them that small, the calories drop to 50 each. Cut them to the size you prefer and adjust the calories accordingly. I’ve been eating two at a time after dinner and it’s the perfect sweet ending without negating all that work at the gym!
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray; coat with flour. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until blended, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining bar ingredients. Spread in pan.
2. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when touched in center.
3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix all glaze ingredients with spoon until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars while warm. Cool completely, about 1 hour. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.
I am a food lover, living in Nashville, Tennessee. I enjoy cooking, baking, and definitely dining out. My passion for food and cooking started pretty late. I once had to beg my college roommate to make a grilled cheese for me because my cooking skills were that pitiful! ...more