Twist on Tacos: A Basic Fish Taco Recipe

You may think tacos and fish don’t belong in the same sentence, let alone on the same plate. It’s time to get that thought out of your head! This recipe for Basic Fish Tacos is both flavorful and healthy. It is great even if you aren’t a big fish fan. The key is using a milder fish. I chose Tilapia because it was on sale. If you want an equally flavorful side that is inexpensive, I suggest serving the tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice.

Basic Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Hands on Time: 30 minutes   Cook Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 6-7 tacos

Ingredients for the fish:

  • 1 lb Tilapia 
  • 2 limes, one halved and one quartered
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon jarred, minced garlic)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper

Ingredients for the slaw:

  • 1/2 head of small green or red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6-8 soft tacos (corn or flour is fine)

Directions:

  1. Place the fish in a baking dish. Salt and pepper the fish and then set aside. In a small bowl, squeeze half a lime. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of the oil to the lime juice. Mix until combined. Pour the mixture over the fish. Turn the fish in the marinade until it’s evenly coated. Refrigerate and let marinate for 15 minutes. *Note: It’ important not to let the fish marinate too long because the acid in the lime will cook the fish. 
  2. While the fish is marinating prepare the slaw. Combine the cabbage, onion, and cilantro in a medium size bowl (I suggest using the bowl you are planning to serve it in so you don’t dirty two bowls). Squeeze half a lime over it and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Toss mixture together and set aside.
  3. Now, it’s time to cook the fish. You can cook them outside on a grill or inside on a grill pan.
  4. On the grill: Brush the grates of a grill pan or outdoor grill with oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Remove the fish from the marinade and place on the grill. Cook without moving until the underside of the fish has grill marks and is white and opaque on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip and grill the other side until white and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Put cooked fish in a shallow dish or on a plate.
  5. On the grill pan: Heat non-stick grill pan on medium high heat. Place fish on the hot pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip. Cook the other side for about 3 more minutes. The fish should be white and opaque all the way through when it is done. The fish should flake easily when scraped with a fork. Put cooked fish in a shallow dish or plate. 
  6. Heat the tortillas in the microwave just until they are warm. You can also heat them 1-by-1 in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  7. To make a taco: break up some of the cooked fish and place it in the warm tortilla. Top fish with the slaw and squeeze lime juice over it. Enjoy!

This recipe was a big hit with my husband and mother-in-law! Thank you both for your comments and suggestions! 

Here’s to trying new things,

The Southern Bee

*Note: This recipe was created Kate Ramos on Chow.com. It was adapted and made with love by TSB!

Dinner Tonight: Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

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Alright guys, this one is for you. I’ve had a few requests for recipes that require just a few ingredients and that are easy to prepare. This recipe is a perfect match and is just in time for the big game this Sunday.

*Note: The ribs are baked for 30 minutes before putting them in the slow cooker to give them extra flavor. 

Hands on Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6-7 hours (most of it is in the slow cooker!)

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds Pork Baby Back ribs
  • 1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season the ribs well on both sides with garlic salt and pepper. Cut the ribs in half (see picture above). Place both pieces in a baking dish.
  3. Bake the ribs for 15 minutes on one side and then flip them and bake them for another 15 minutes.
  4. Carefully, put the ribs in the slow cooker. Pour the BBQ sauce over them (I used about half the bottle). Use a spoon to rub the sauce into the ribs making sure to cover each piece on both sides.
  5. Cook for 6-7 hours on Low.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

Tip: You may be tempted to take a peek at the ribs while they cook, but don’t! When you take the lid off the slow cooker you will let out precious heat and the food will take longer to cook. Enjoy the smell not the sight!

Eating with my hands,

The Southern Bee

This recipe was made with love by TSB but was created by passionatepennypincher.com.

Tip of the Day: Save on dough!

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I love a good pizza. A soft, chewy crust topped with a slightly spicy tomato sauce, covered with melted cheese and a number of delicious toppings is my kind of pie. However, ordering a large pie from a pizza chain can cost $10 or more. Don’t get me wrong, I order delivery pizza every now and then, but most of the time I make my own. A pre-made pizza crust can be a huge time saver during the week. I’ve tried the pizza crust in a can from the refrigerated section, but I think it tastes more like a biscuit than pizza crust. So, I have turned to the deli for my dough. I can buy a dough ball (white or wheat) for about $2.50. When it goes on sale I can usually get it for $1! How’s that for saving some dough?? Corny jokes aside, this is a great way to cut costs and still make something your family will like to eat. You can save more by making your own pizza sauce instead of buying the jarred pasta sauce. Now, all you need are the cheeses and toppings! Oh, and one more plus to making your own pie–you get a great arm workout rolling out the dough! I’m making one tonight!

Working out in the kitchen,

The Southern Bee

P.S. To avoid a sticky situation when rolling out the dough, use a good bit of flour on your work surface and rolling pin. I also sprinkle cornmeal on my pizza stone before baking the pizza.

Cooking with Pinterest: Man Pleasin’ Chicken Thighs

This recipe lives up to it’s name. I was hesitant to make it at first because my husband doesn’t like mustard, but boy am I glad I did. These chicken thighs are the dish he requests the most. This recipe is extra-pleasin’ to me because it’s easy to prepare and easy to clean-up! Plus, I can do other things while it’s in the oven. I think next time I will let him make it!

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes                  Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 3 (or a cook and her hungry hubby)

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless chicken thighs, boneless or bone-in is fine
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard (I use the store brand)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I use Log Cabin)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • fresh rosemary (if you have it), finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

I love a short ingredient list! The directions aren’t much longer!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 glass dish with aluminum foil. This makes for easy clean-up later!
  2. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure and combine the Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and cider vinegar. Mix until combined.
  3. Place chicken thighs in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the mustard  mixture over the thighs, leaving about 1/4 cup for later. Use tongs to turn the thighs in the mixture so they are evenly coated.
  5. Bake the thighs in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Halfway through the baking time, carefully pour the remaining mixture on the thighs and put them back in the oven.
  6. Let them rest 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle chopped rosemary on top and Enjoy!

Notes and serving suggestions: Save money and buy bone-in chicken thighs with skin. Just make sure to remove the skin before Step 3. I usually serve this dish with either mashed red potatoes or roasted broccoli. The earthy flavors compliment the sweet and tangy chicken.

Pleased as Punch (about finding this recipe),

The Southern Bee

Note: Click here for the link to the original recipe. It was adapted from a Trader Joe’s cookbook.

Meal Planning 101: How I learned to plan, shop, and save

I had to learn how to really stick to a budget while I was in college. That meant I couldn’t go out to eat whenever I wanted, so I learned to cook. But learning to cook also meant learning how to shop and plan for what I was going to eat for the week. However, I soon learned shopping on a budget was not as easy  as I thought. The tips below are things I’ve learned over the last few years that help me save money and time. I wish I could go back and give this list to my college self, but since I can’t do that, I am giving it to you!

Find a grocery store…

1. Pick a grocery store based on location, quality of service/food, and how good their sales are.

I loved Publix while I was in college, but there is not a Publix in Charlotte. So, I started shopping at Harris Teeter because it was close to me. Harris Teeter, like Publix, puts items use regularly on sale. Plus, Harris Teeter will double any coupons less than $1. Location is important because you don’t want to have to drive 20 minutes each week to get to the store. It saves time and gas money if it’s close.

2. Once you pick a store, find out when their sales ad begins and ends each week.

I schedule my meal planning and shopping around this.

3. Sign up for their online rewards program if they have one as well as their normal rewards program.
Harris Teeter gives you extra discounts with their online e-Vic program. For example, this week you can get a dozen eggs for $1.37 (regular price: $1.89) if you have a VIC card. But if you are an e-Vic member too you get a dozen eggs for $ 0.97! You also get access to online store coupons that you can use on top of regular coupons. I know Bi-Lo has a similar system.

4. Buy a Sunday paper.
This is where the most of my savings come from. There are usually coupon ads from SmartSource, RedPlum, or P&G in the paper each week. I am planning on subscribing to the Sunday paper to make it less expensive.

5. Use a coupon website to help you match sale items with available coupons.
I love SouthernSavers.com! She does coupon match-ups to almost every grocery store! This is really helpful and saves a lot of time. If you aren’t familiar with the site she has a tutorial that teaches you how to coupon and save!

Now for the actually meal planning….

1. Cook on sale

I look through the store sales ad and Southern Savers ad to see what is on sale each week. Then I plan my menu around sale items.  I look for sales on items that are the most expensive or items that I use a lot. Also, know what you (& your significant other or family) like to eat! This will keep you from wasting food and will narrow down recipe ideas.

Dinner:

  • Meat is expensive so I plan meals based on what meat is on sale.
  • Once I have my proteins/meats picked out I find recipes that include that meat and have minimal or staple ingredients.
  • Then I look at the produce and grocery items that are on sale. For example, if chicken breasts and brown rice are both on sale I will try to find a recipe that includes both of them and has minimal ingredients. I usually try to make sure 3-4 ingredients in a recipe are on sale to cut costs.
  • Once you have a main dish planned, look for simple side dishes. This can be a vegetable, pasta, rice or whatever you think would go well with a main dish. I usually go for the produce that is on sale ( I bought broccoli this week and plan to roast it). Frozen vegetables are good choices too and they usually go on sale pretty often. Rice is pretty inexpensive so I try to incorporate that into weekly meal plans.

Lunch:

  • Once you plan your dinner meals think about lunches . We normally take sandwiches (can’t go wrong with PB&J) or leftovers for lunch. Look for items like bread, deli meat, and condiments on sale because this will help you keep down costs. If you are cooking for yourself or one other person dinner leftovers are a great idea for lunch. Sometimes I cook extra so we will already have lunch made!

Breakfast:

  • For breakfast: oatmeal, cereal, or english muffins are our main choices. I stock up when these items go on sale because we eat them so much. All of these items keep very well in the pantry or freezer so you don’t have to worry about them going bad. My  husband really likes bacon and sausage (who doesn’t?), so I grab these items when they are on sale because they are more expensive. Also, bisquick is very versatile. You can make pancakes with it or use in a dinner dish.


Snacks/Desserts:

  • These are the last things that make it onto my lists because they aren’t the most important.
  • We eat apples a lot so I normally buy apples that are on sale. Bananas are also inexpensive and make a great snack.
  • Yogurt is another top snack item. I can usually find a brand on sale or find a coupon for it (sometimes both).
  • Popcorn, pretzels, cheese, nuts, etc also make good snacks and they usually go on sale.
  • I usually buy ingredients to make desserts because it is less expensive than buying pre-made ones and you can use the ingredients in other dishes.

Food Staples:

  • These items include: milk, eggs, bread, flour, sugar, oil, grits, oats, canned tomatoes, canned beans, rice, pasta etc. I stock up when staples go on sale because you normally have to pay full price for them.
  • Milk is hard to stock up on but brands like Horizon and Smart Balance last longer. Smart Balance usually puts out coupons so I can get a half gallon for $1-$1.50. A normal half gallon of store brand milk costs 2.60+ and will expire much sooner.
  • At Harris Teeter they usually have one brand of bread for buy 1 get 1 free each week. I use bread every day so if I can get a good price on bread and find a coupon for it, I am one happy girl!


2. Look for items on sale that can be used in multiple dishes.

  • This really helps to cut costs because you reduce the number/variety of ingredients you have to buy. This really helps when you are planning on using fresh produce. Produce expires fairly quickly and is more expensive than shelf stable ingredients.
  • For example: I see that green bell peppers are on sale for $0.69 each and a 3lb bag of onions is on sale for $1.99. I will try to plan out more than one meal that uses both ingredients. Two recipes that come to mind are chili and fajitas. These are both great low cost meals that use green bell peppers and onions. This helps me cut waste and spend less!


Now for the shopping….

1. Stick to your list!

  • Once you plan out a list gather all the coupons to go with it. Take your list and coupons to the store. Now, stick to your list! You will save by not reaching for that extra item that you didn’t plan to buy.
  • I find it helpful to write down the price of an item next to it so I can add up my total before I shop. This helps me stay on budget!

2. Don’t tune-out while you check-out!

  • Sometimes, items don’t ring up at the sale price. By keeping a watchful eye at the register you avoid paying full price.
  • Don’t forget your coupons. I always hand mine to the cashier so I don’t forget them and he/she doesn’t forget to scan them.

3. Make one trip

  • I pick one day out of the week to do my grocery shopping. I know if I go to the store mulitple times a week I will spend more money because I am more likely to buy things I don’t need.
  • Shopping once saves you time.
  • Sometimes I go to two grocery stores if they are both having great sales…but only if the sales are too good to miss!

Now for the cooking…

1. Know your schedule

  • Don’t plan a more complicated meal on a really busy day. On Wednesdays, we have about 1 hour to prep, cook, eat, and clean-up. I plan to make the quickest meal on this day. I usually have extra time on the weekends so this is when I try new recipes or cook ones that require more time.

2. Find recipes that are easy, but equally tasty.

  • This will save you time during the week and ensure food doesn’t go to waste!
  • Have go-to recipes. I keep a little file of recipes that I use multiple times each month. This helps me plan quickly. I also already know the steps and how long each take.

3. Write down comments about the meal after you cook it.

  • This helps me to avoid cooking something again, that we didn’t care for the first time.
  • If you develop a tip or trick while cooking the meal write it down so you can use it next time.
  • Write down if it was good for leftover or froze well.
  • Write down any changes/substitutions you made to the recipe and if it worked well.


I hope you find this helpful. I know meal planning and cooking can seem daunting, but it gets easier the more you do it!

Finding joy in feeding those I love,

The Southern Bee

Easy Shrimp Corn Chowder

It's creamy and delicious! I added a little extra freshly ground black pepper to mine.

It’s creamy and delicious! I added a little extra freshly ground black pepper to mine.

Make This: Easy Shrimp Corn Chowder

Tonight, the temperature is supposed to drop to 19 degrees. Freezing temperatures make me want to cook a big pot of something warm and comforting. This Shrimp Corn Chowder recipe comes together in no time and is pretty budget friendly. Plus, it’s rich and creamy. It’s a perfect weeknight meal!

Ingredients:                                       Serves: 4 (or 2 with leftovers)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ( I use about 1 teaspoon of pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans potato soup, undiluted (I use Campbell’s Cream of Potato)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3 oz cream cheese (I use 1/3 fat)
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and drained

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large dutch oven or saute pan. Add garlic, onion, and pepper. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Stir in potato soup, milk, cream cheese, and corn. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. Add shrimp; cover, reduce heat and cook 5-7 minutes. Serve hot.

How easy was that?? I am serving up a big bowl of chowder with warm Honey Cornbread Muffins . Thanks Nana for giving this recipe to me. 

Keeping warm in the kitchen,

The Southern Bee

*This recipe was handed down to me, so I’m not sure where it originated.

 

Cooking with Pinterest: Slow Cooker Balsamic Roast Beef

Who want’s to spend the afternoon inside preparing dinner when it’s so pretty outside? Not this girl! So, I am making Slow Cooker Balsamic Roast Beef that I found on Pinterest from addapinch.com. It takes just minutes to prep and the slow cooker does the rest!

Ingredients:                         Serves: 6-8

  • 1 (3-4 lb) chuck or round roast
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped

Directions:

Place roast in the slow cooker. Mix all remaining ingredients in a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour over the roast and put the lid on. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. When roast is done, use tongs to put it in a serving dish. Ladle about 1/4-1/2 cup of the gravy over the meat. Store the rest of the gravy in an airtight container to use later.

I love the simplicity of this dish! I am serving mine up with a side of garlic mashed potatoes from Paula Deen. The author of this recipe suggested using the leftover meat and gravy for French Dip subs. I love a 2-for-1 dish!

Loving Slow Cooker Saturdays,

The Southern Bee

This recipe was posted with love by the TSB, but was created by addapinch.com.

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Pot Pie

The first time I made this chicken pot pie recipe we were having new friends over to our home. I’m pretty sure when they walked in every surface in my kitchen was covered with pans, measuring cups, and flour. I am happy to say the end product looked much better. Since then, I have made this recipe quite a few times and it has never let me down. I have also managed not to destroy the entire kitchen trying to make it.

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Tip: I used leftover chicken from my Roast Chicken from last night to make prep simple. I also added a little of the chicken drippings in with the butter to add more flavor.

Ingredients:

  •  1 box of refrigerated pie crusts (Yes, I use the pre-made kind)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine ( I use a little less than this)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (green beans, peas, and corn)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Follow directions on the box to make a Two Crust Pie. Use a 9-inch glass pie pan.
  2. In a 2-quart sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and let cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in the flour until it combines with the butter and the mixture becomes thick. Then, gradually stir in the milk and the chicken broth. Add in the salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens and it begins to bubble.
  4. Stir in the mixed vegetables and the chicken until combined. Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with the second pie crust, pinching the edges to seal the crusts together. Cut four slits in the top.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Make sure you check on the pie after about 20 minutes. I take mine out and put foil around the crust edges to keep them from burning. Then, I put it back in the oven to finish cooking. When it’s done take it out and let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy this chicken pot pie as much as we do!

Making messes in the kitchen,

The Southern Bee

This recipe was cooked with love by TSB, but was created by Pillsbury. Click here for the original recipe.

Dinner Tonight: Roast Chicken with Lemon & Garlic

Roll-up your sleeves! Roasting a chicken requires getting your hands a little dirty, but the end result is worth it. I remember the first time I roasted a chicken. I bought a 3 lb fryer chicken and brought it back to my teeny first apartment to prepare it for dinner. As soon as I took the plastic wrap off I realized the bird I bought still had all of it’s organs inside (usually they put them in a neat little bag you just pull out)! The next few minutes were a combination of working up the courage to stick my hand in, trying not to freak out once I started pulling the slippery little organs out, and doing my best not to look at them. Let me tell you, I felt so accomplished and grown-up afterwards! So, here’s to getting messy in the kitchen!

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Roast Chicken with Lemon & Garlic               Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lb fryer chicken
  • 2 lemons
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground if you have it)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the chicken
  • 1 cup of chicken stock (I buy the kind in the carton)
  • 2 tablespoons of flour

Tip: Use a plastic grocery bag to keep the chicken juices from going everywhere. I set the chicken in the bag and take the plastic wrap off of it. Then, I transfer it onto a cutting board to season and stuff. All the juices and giblets stay in the bag. Easy clean-up!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the lemons into quarters. Then, peel and slice the onions and put them into a medium bowl. Put 6 lemon slices in the bowl with the onions. Toss the lemons and onions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
  3. Now, for the chicken. Remove and throw away the giblets. Place the two remaining slices of lemon and all the garlic cloves inside the chicken cavity. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with a paper towel. Then, rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck the wings tips under the chicken. Put the chicken in a small ( I used 11 x 14) roasting pan. Pour the onion mixture closely around the chicken (the lemons and onions will burn if they are too spread out). Roast for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The juices should run clear and the temperature inside the thickest part of the leg should register 165 degrees. Carefully, move the chicken from the pan to a platter. Cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Almost done! Spoon the juices and onions from the pan into a nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock (from the carton) along with 2 tablespoons of flour to the pan. Whisk until the flour is blended in. Add more chicken stock if you want to the gravy thinner.
  5. Carve the chicken. Serve slices topped with the gravy. Enjoy!

There are two more reasons why I love a good roast chicken. One, it doesn’t cost a lot. This chicken was only $0.69 a pound! Two, I have enough chicken left over to make a chicken pot pie tomorrow night. How’s that for two meals in one?

Showing no fear in the kitchen, 

The Southern Bee

 

*This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten’s cookbook, How Easy is That?