What’s for dinner? Whole 30 Approved Fish Tacos


Whole 30 (Tacoless*) Fish Tacos

So this week I started a Whole 30ish Pretty Much Paleo kinda’ thing. I’m following the Whole 30 plan, without being super super strict. Mainly because its really hard to find Whole 3o compliant bacon and deli meat and I refuse to make my own mayonnaise. I’ve nixed dairy, grains, legumes and almost all sugar from my diet. I’m making everything that I eat from scratch, with the exception of some Larabars and an RX Bar I had after my workout this morning. I licked the spoon to the Cookie Butter that I bought the kids at Trader Joe’s and I had a beer last night while cooking dinner. I’m not going to stress and completely deprive myself. (That never works for me unless I’m doing a prayer and fasting thing.) I’ll end up caving and quit all together. So I’m just following the basic structure and bending a little when I need to. I’m really just hoping to change my eating habits and needed a good starting point. Oh, and I’m making Patrick eat whatever I fix for dinner. He’s been a real trooper.

Here is my prized recipe… Fish Tacos. If you haven’t had fish tacos, you may be thinking that this sounds disgusting. But let me assure you that its probably one of the best recipes in my arsenal and it takes the least amount of effort possible. To make my regular recipe Whole 30 Compliant, all I had to do was remove flour tortillas and use compliant mayo. So technically, this is fish tacos minus the tacos. Tacoless. *Yes, that’s a word, regardless of what spellcheck says.

Fish Tacos
serves 3 (or 2 adults and 2 kiddos)

  • 6 tilapia fillets
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 bag of cole slaw mix (I like the angel hair mix with red and green cabbage and carrots or you can always make your own)
  • mayonnaise (whole 30 or homemade)
  • lime juice
  • fresh cilantro
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan (just enough oil to coat the bottom) over medium to medium high heat.

Sprinkle tilapia filets lightly with onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Both sides. Let sit while you mix up coleslaw.

Add six handfuls of coleslaw mix – or one handful per tilapia filet – to a large mixing bowl. Add about two large spoonfuls of mayo and one tablespoon of lime juice to start. (The amount of mayo depends on how you prefer your coleslaw. I like it just lightly coated, so I start with a little and add more if needed as I stir.) Add chopped cilantro to taste. Sprinkle in some onion powder and garlic powder. Then salt lightly. Taste it. Is it too bland? Add a little more lime juice. You want to be able to taste the lime. Once you’re happy, set your coleslaw aside.

Put your seasoned tilapia filets in the pan and cook until white throughout. Be care flipping them because they may flake apart. I like mine to have some color, so I cook on medium-high heat to get that crispy edge and nice color. Transfer to a dinner plate and top with a heaping spoonful of coleslaw. Serve immediately.

Normally, I would serve two filets per person, but we only had three filets left in the freezer, so Patrick had two and I had broccoli and watermelon. The side of watermelon worked really nicely with the fish and coleslaw. The broccoli was slightly out of place, but you do what you gotta do.






Pineapple Jalapeno Popsicles

Homemade Pineapple Jalapeno popsicle

The new summer craze around Birmingham is Steel City Pops. They have a couple of sidewalk carts as well as tiny storefront in Homewood. We take mental breaks from the office to go get popsicles. I’ve only tried a few of their fabulous flavors, but after tasting the Pineapple Jalapeno, I knew I needed to make a batch at home.

I bought my popsicle molds at Walmart, for less than $2 each. I love them because they don’t drip down your hand. Perfect for littles. However, this recipe is not kid friendly, so I suggest making two batches. Alston was not happy that mommy wouldn’t share her popsicle.

I bought a pineapple and two jalapenos at Publix weekend before last. I realized Saturday that I needed to cut up my pineapple before it ruined. My jalapenos had started to shrivel and turn red in my window sill, but I think it actually helped my recipe. I ended up throwing one of the jalalpenos away and plucking a small one from our garden. I only used a small sliver of the store-bought one, but it packed much more heat than the fresh green one. I don’t know if letting it ripen intensified the heat or if mine wasn’t quite ripe enough. Either way, they balanced each other out. I strongly suggest you taste your jalapenos beforehand so you can better judge how much or how little you need.

Pineapple Jalapeno Popsicles

1 pineapple, cut into chunks
1 fresh green jalapeno*, minus seeds and stems
1/4 jalapeno* that has started turning red (I only used the red part) minus seeds and stems
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

*remember to wear gloves or wash your hands very well after handing hot peppers… don’t touch your nose, eyes or other sensitive areas, and be sure not to touch your precious littles either! Milk is a good way to to ease the burning if its too hot for your palate, and should also help if it burns your skin. I recommend wearing gloves.

I combined the sugar, pineapple and peppers in my Ninja food processor and pulsed until the big chunks were pretty small, then I blended until the jalapenos were just tiny specs. I added the water last, mixed a little more and poured into my popsicle molds. (Don’t over-blend, because your mixture will turn foamy.) I only had mold for 8 popsicles, and more than enough of the mixture. I watered down the rest and poured it in a plastic cup to eat like Italian ice.

I tasted the mixture before I froze it and was afraid that I might have added too much jalapeno. However, after I tasted the frozen version, I think I could have added more and still been safe. Depending on how spicy you like things, you may want to add more. I figured if mine turned out too spicy, I would just melt them back down, add more pineapple and start over.

I’m also thinking these would make great margaritas.
Next weekend.

Cucumber Lime popsicle from Steel City Pops

Stay cool friends!

What’s for dinner? Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with. Everyone in the family likes it and I’m always looking for new ways to cook with it. I adapted this recipe from one I found on Pinterest. I was lacking a few ingredients and was in too much of a hurry for those extra little steps anyway. 
Simple Stuffed Zucchinis 

2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder1 lb. ground turkey
2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 cups italian blend shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Brown ground turkey on the stovetop and drain. Return to pan. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.

While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp knife and a spoon (or melon baller) to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the bottom or the cups will leak liquid when they cook. (I got too close and mine leaked.)

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up. Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture into zucchini cups, pressing down with the spoon and mounding it up a little over the top of the zucchini.

Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese. Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

What’s For Lunch? Kinda’ Fruity Chicken Salad

3 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
oven-roasted pecans (or other nut of your choice)
approximately 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (more or less, to your liking)
8 oz can of crushed pineapple
3 tablespoons applesauce 
Cook chicken and shred or cut up finely (I used a mini food processor)

Add crushed pineapple

Roast pecans in oven. When you can smell them, they are probably finished. Be careful not to scorch them. (Although I do enjoy the smokey quality of the ones which are slightly over-cooked.)

Chop nuts, coarsely or finely, depending on your taste.

First, add 3 tablespoons applesauce. Then add mayo until you reach your desired consistency. (Some people are funny about a little or a lot of mayo in their chicken salad, so add however much makes you happy.)
Mix thoroughly…

And enjoy!

What’s for dinner? Chicken-Zucchini Alfredo

As a part of our new get-healthy pledge, I’ve been searching the web for easy, healthy recipes for our family. Last night, I whipped up this really simple and healthy pasta dish for dinner. It took me about 30 minutes to make (including cleaning the kitchen as I went) and cost about $30 for all the ingredients. The recipe makes 4 very hearty servings, so that’s about $7.50 per plate. And the most important part…it was delish! Our resident picky eater, Alston, even approved!

I found this recipe here.
I also substituted whole grain pasta for Ronzoni Garden Delight, which is so yummy and has a full serving of vegetables per every 4 ounces! You can get a coupon here.

Chicken-Zucchini Alfredo

Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons
4 4-ounce thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fettuccine (preferably whole wheat)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup cold low-fat milk (1%)
1/2 cup evaporated nonfat milk
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 clove garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, cover and cook until tender, stirring, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat another tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water as the label directs. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water; return the pasta to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour and low-fat milk in a bowl. Place the remaining 1 clove garlic and 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, 30 seconds. Add the flour-milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese; stir to melt, 1 minute.

Cut the chicken into strips. Toss with the pasta, sauce, zucchini and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water to loosen.

Nutrition Facts:
Per serving: Calories 680; Fat 18 g (Saturated 5 g); Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 820 mg; Carbohydrate 79 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 49 g


There is just something about the smell of real butter simmering in the pan that makes me go all weak in the knees. It reminds me of the way the streets in France smelled. We must have passed a thousand boulangeries and patisseries while we were there, and I’m pretty sure we went into most of them as well. I love to cook and I especially love to cook with real butter. Because I try to be health conscious, I usually save it for nights when I’m really cooking. (I have heard that real butter is better for you than margarine though…)

Tonight, I decided to roast a chicken for dinner. I got this very simple and very tasty recipe here. I usually truss the chicken, but decided it was too much work this time around. I’m pleased to say that the chicken still turned out as tender and juicy as it always does, event without trussing it first. However, it does look much prettier if you do decide to truss it.


1 3-4 pound chicken


Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Rinse the chicken and dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. (The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.) *Note: Sometimes they leave “stuff” inside the chicken. I take these unwanted parts out. and throw them away.
Truss the bird, if you prefer.
Put the chicken on a roasting pan or dish and sprinkle salt all over the chicken. This will create a nice crispy skin while roasting and I’m sure it helps hold the moisture in as well.
Wait for the over to reach 450° before you put the chicken in.
Once you put it in the oven, leave it alone for 50 – 60 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 180°. (Don’t baste it, don’t put butter on it, don’t do anything… just let the oven work its magic.)
After its finished cooking, let it rest 15 minutes before cutting into servings.

This recipe is so easy and such a crowd pleaser! The chicken cost between $3 – $4 and is so much tastier than a rotisserie chicken you purchase at the deli.

As a side dish, I cut up some yellow squash and threw it in the pan with a couple of pats of real butter. This is the easiest a tastiest vegetable dish that I like to make. I covered the pan and let it cook until the squash started to turn a golden brown around the edges, then I flipped it over. Season with salt and pepper.

Patrick’s plate with a cheesy ranch-covered iceberg lettuce wedge.

My whole house smells like a gourmet restaurant and the look on Patrick’s face after he finished his meal was more than gratifying. I can go to bed feeling like I actually did something.

*Side note: I have the very best mother-in-law who cleaned my disaster of a kitchen and Alston’s room today. Had she not done this, I probably wouldn’t have had the energy to cook after cleaning the kitchen and we probably would have eaten fishsticks. Again.