Baked Fish Tacos

gardenfishtacos2I realize I’m breaking some serious rules by using my oven during the summer, but psssht, I do what I want.

This was one of those meals put together by several things on the verge of going bad, so ‘they need to be used tonight’ kind of deals. Originally I was just baking some fish to eat with a side of corn on the cob, but after glancing in the cabinet at some corn tortillas… *lightbulb*

There is just something fun about whipping up a quick dinner, but that has vibrant color, flavor, and made from fresh ingredients (from the garden!!), then eating it on the deck. Just makes everything right in the world. Last year we had a summer that was 100 degrees every day for 5 months, so this year it having a hard time even hitting the upper 80’s has been perfect for deck sittin, wine drinkin. Can’t complain!

Our garden has really started to take off the past couple of weeks, so that’s what makes this dish so much fun for me. The oregano, rosemary, chives, cilantro, and pepper were from our garden, there is just something so organic about walking into your backyard and picking everything for your meal.

I also wanted to point out that our wedding is now in less than 7 weeks…so you only have that long to look at my cow and snowman plates before Brad probably wants to have a Greek plate-breaking-ceremony to celebrate the fact that we never have to look at them again!


Baked Fish Tacos

2 thawed Tilapia Filets

1 tbsp grainy mustard

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

1 sprig of fresh oregano

1 spicy pepper ( I used a red hot pepper from the garden)

1 corn tortilla

Toppings: cooked corn (and cut from the cob), hot sauce, sour cream, diced pepper, small bunch of cilantro, chives


1. Preheat the oven to 375

2. Pat dry your fish filets with a paper towel. Add the pepper , soy sauce, chili powder, cumin to the fish. The squeeze the mustard onto the fish and rub in gently.

3. Lay the fish in a cast iron skillet (or other baking dish) lined with parchment paper. Lay the sprigs of oregano and rosemary between the two and fold the parchment paper up tight making an envelope that doesn’t allow the juices to seep out.

4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked enough to flake. I throw my corn tortilla on the oven grates for about 1.5 minutes on each side at the end of the fish bake time to firm up.

5. Pull the fish out of the oven, and take the parchment pack off the cast iron and set on a plate, you don’t want to cook it anymore. Open the parchment and remove the oregano and rosemary.  Flake the fish a bit with your fork.

6. Take your corn tortilla, and sour cream, then your fish. Top with hot sauce, your cooked corn, cilantro, diced hot red pepper, and chives. bakedfishtacos1


Baked Meatball Sub

turkeymeatball2So…as you all know, I don’t fry.  I bake. Tonight was the kind of night, where I’m on the way home, and Brad text me saying he’s hungry. This is weird. This is super weird. It’s hardly 5:15, at least two hours before he’s even considering dinner normally. Due to this information, I know I know have two options:

1. He wants Mac & Cheese or Spaghetti O’s.

2. If I don’t come up with something a little hearty, we’re eating some parts of #1.

Well ground turkey is sitting in front of me all thawed out (He’s having anti-chicken phase again) and last time I checked, there isn’t ground turkey in Mac & Cheese or Spaghetti O’s. Boom, ground chicken, pork, or turkey…perfect for baked meatballs. One of Brad’s go-to meals if we go to Subway is their Meatball Sub, so….Brad approved, and hearty. Dinner Win!

Growing up we NEVER had meatballs, it was not something ever on our home menu, nor anything that we would order going out. Not sure why. Somewhere along the line I’d sampled some meatballs appetizer style, and absolutely feel in love. I’ve been trying different versions and techniques ever since.

Alright, simple, hearty, and baked. Everyone wins here.

Baked Meatball Subs

yield: apprx 10 large meatballs

1 lb ground turkey

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1/4 cup ground Corn Flakes)

1 tbsp crushed red pepper

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp parsley

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

salt to taste

For the Sandwiches (2)

2 Brat Buns

4 very thin slices of Di Lusso Pepperjack Cheese

1/2 cup red sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs except for the turkey and stir together. Then add the turkey, it’s messy, but you’ll work everything in better if you use your hands from here to combine everything. I do a couple of squishes and then do a kneading technique with my fist and then rotating it in a large bowl until well combined.

3.  About 2 heaping tbsp will give you a decent medium size ball. I usually get about 10 medium ones out, but if you want smaller ones, just  half and cut your baking time in half as well.

4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake for about 21 minutes.

5. Take your brat buns and hollow out the top half of the bun, this will leave more room for the meatballs and keep your meatballs from sliding off your sandwich. Place your bun in a  shallow baking dish. Align three meatballs on the bread, top with sauce, then two slices of your cheese.

6. Place the pan with your assembled sandwiches in the oven for about 3-5 minutes.

Tortellini Bake

tortellinibakeThe real reason this dinner came about is because I’ve been dying to use my herbs I planted this year. Rosemary, Chives, Hot and Spicy Oregano, Sweet Basil and cilantro. They’re so pretty:) There is just something about walking out onto the deck and trimming exactly what I need from my own plants for dinner that makes me happy, I just thought you should know.

A recent that has made its way into our house is Ronzoni’s mini cheese tortellinis. We usually use these with our imitation of Gristanti’s (local to Nebraska) Tomato Basil with Tortellinis, but it doesn’t take the whole bag. A serving size is one cup, but that is way more than enough for one person, really a half a cup is perfect coming in at 70 calories per portion (15 carbs), so these little devils aren’t even bad for ya. Indulge….with proper portions of course.

As you know I’m not a big casserole person, so this is the perfect way for me to get close to making one… without totally making one. Not to mention, a quick fridge to dinner meal in about 30 minutes. With so much going on lately, we have been progressively eating later and later. It seems like we don’t even think about dinner anymore until about 8pm, and when we do, hunger hits us like a freight train. As much as I love cooking and baking, the last thing I want after working all day, a cardio workout, a weight lifting session, then working on wedding stuff is to make a formal dinner.

Although I still strive for homemade and fresh meals, they have been much simpler recently, which has been a mental adjustment on my part! I hate too many repeat meals within a couple of weeks time span, but shredded chicken tacos on corn tortillas in some flavor seem to hit our plates a lot anymore! My creative juices will reappear I’m sure after the wedding bells have rung, and we have nothing to plan or schedule 🙂

So with that, here is this meal, simple, hearty, but still good for you without tipping your calorie and carb limit for the day!

Tortellini Bake

2 cups of Ronzoni’s 3 cheese mini tortellinis (half the package)

1 can of Hunt’s Zesty and Spicy Pasta Sauce **

1/2 lb hamburger browned

1/2 onion diced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 tomato chopped

1 tbsp crushed red pepper

1/4 cup white wine

s/p to taste

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Fresh Mozzarella: enough to add some dollops on the top ( if you don’t have this, just add another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese)

Fresh Oregano and Basil and Rosemary: I just pull some from my garden, use to your taste! I used one sprig of Rosemary, about a 3 inches sprig of oregano, and 3 large basil leave.                         *If you don’t have access to fresh, dried amounts: 1/4 tsp of Oregano with the onions, and 1/4 tsp of basil just to garnish

1. Over medium low heat, add olive oil, a few shakes of s/p, diced onions, tomatoes, and 1 clove of smashed garlic. Let this cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add wine, and let cook down, about 5 minutes.

3. Place the onion/wine mixture in a bowl to the side, in the same pan brown your hamburger, then drain of fat.

4. Once you’ve drained the fat, add the hamburger back to pan as well as the onion mixture. Add your crushed red pepper, herbs, half the can of sauce, and 4 tbsp of water, let this simmer on low until the tortellinis are finished.

5. In another pan, bring your water to a boil, cook the tortellinis for 9 minutes on a low boil. Preheat oven to 450.

6. Pour the remaining pasta sauce in the bottom of an oven safe dish. Then add your cooked and drained tortellinis. Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese, then pour the hamburger sauce mixture over the top, then dollop your fresh mozzarella.