Meal Planning – Week of August 3rd

Unfortunately this post will only include five meals instead of six. We had our usual dine-out/order-in day on Sunday and then the following Saturday one of J’s co-workers ended up inviting us over for dinner so we got out of cooking on that day as well :). All in all it was a good week of recipes despite cheating out of an extra day, I was able to whip up some of our favorites in addition to stretching a dollar by using our left overs as components of other meals!

SUNDAY // Take-Out

MONDAY // Spinach & Feta Chicken Roll-Ups – This was a super cheap and simple meal I made using the left over filling from the Spanikopita Bites I made for Friday’s baby shower (for some reason I always wind up with more filling than phyllo cups!). I sliced my large chicken breasts into thirds and pounded them thin (much cheaper than purchasing thin cut breasts!), spread about 2 Tbsp. of filling onto each breast, rolled them up and secured them with a toothpick. Next, I simply pan seared them to brown on each side then baked them in 375 degree pre-heated oven for an additional 25-30 mins. I highly suggest trying out the Spanikopita Bites as an appetizer for your next party, to make it super easy I buy the pre-made phyllo cups as opposed to making them myself. 

TUESDAY // Greek Sliders – This is a recipe I came up with to satisfy our burger fix and to use up the endless supply of feta cheese I always keep on hand, it’s healthy and super easy. Check out the link to hear more about it! 

WEDNESDAY // Chicken Satay – I am obsessed with satay. Since we cook it on the grill the hardest part of the preparation (which isn’t hard at all) is the peanut dipping sauce, so when I found a peanut sauce recipe that I enjoyed I made a huge batch and froze it in a few small plastic zip locks so that whenever we have satay I’ll always have it on hand. I am yet to come across a satay recipe that I didn’t enjoy, but I give this one bonus points because I already had all of the ingredients on hand. I subbed chicken thighs for breasts to make it extra cheap! 

THURSDAY // Miso-Glazed Salmon – New-favorite-alert! This recipe was awesome! Last time I was in Trader Joe’s I happened to come across some miso paste (which apparently only costs like a dollar, who knew?), and knew that I needed to whip up one of the miso-glazed salmon recipes I always happen across. Since J agrees to eat salmon “if it’s prepared right” (whatever that means, lol), I knew that this asian-inspired recipe would most likely be hubby friendly. This super easy and healthy recipe only requires about three ingredients and is SO good. I garnished with green onions instead of chives since I always keep some scallions on hand.  

FRIDAY // Slow-Cooker Beef Barbacoa Tacos – I really enjoyed this one. I’m a fan of anything with a chipotle flavor as well as anything that’s prepared using the slow cooker so this recipe checked off two boxes on my list. One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that it made a lot so the left overs can be used to make nachos, burritos or quesadillas (see next week’s meal planning menu!). 

SATURDAY // Dinner with Friends 🙂

Check out all of my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

Greek Sliders

slid4

Not so surprisingly I decided to come up with another Greek inspired recipe this week 🙂 We were coming off of an awful eight day rainy spell and were itching to get out and grill and since I usually always have feta and frozen spinach on hand, these Greek style sliders were easy to throw together. While I love a good, juicy burger when we’re out, I almost prefer to prepare them at home to both ensure that they are fresh (not frozen) and to save on our fat intake by using a leaner ground beef. I love these little sliders, once I get around to posting my Dad’s Greek meatball recipe you’ll see that the two recipes are very similar, however, since the meatballs are baked it’s nice to have a grilled variation in the form of a recipe so that we can switch it up! Additionally, I love a “fun” burger (I’d say “gourmet” but my use of cost saving ingredients somewhat prevents me from doing so, lol), so if you like these check out my recipe for Kitty’s Mediterranean Turkey Burgers (I use the same Lemon Dill Sauce on these burgers!) and keep an eye out for more burger recipes to come 🙂

slid

Squishy baby wishing he could try one of the yummy sliders! Actually, I’m not even sure if this picture is from that day but he is just so cute I had to share it anyway 😛

GREEK SLIDERS (makes 12)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Beef (I used 93% lean)
  • 5 oz. chopped frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced (yellow, white or red is fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper 
  • Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Prepare frozen spinach according to package directions. Once spinach has cooked squeeze out any excess water by either wrapping it in a clean dish towel and squeezing out the excess liquid or placing the spinach in a strainer and pressing with a dish towel or large spoon. 

Step 2: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand until just combined, do not over mix. slid1

Step 3: Form 12 small patties of equal size (or 6 regular sized burgers if you prefer not to do sliders) and brush with olive oil. Grill to desired degree of doneness (is that a word? lol) and enjoy! I serve mine up on mini buns with Lemon Dill Sauce (this time I didn’t have any fresh dill on hand so I just used dry, no big dill lol).

  slid2 slid3

Meal Planning – Week of July 27th

Okay, as I suspected I would be a little behind in posting my weekly meal plans, but I’ll hurry and get this one up so I can catch up! This particular week was pretty simple as our meals went, we even got to dine out on a weekday since J’s Aunt Maryann and Uncle Ron came by for a visit and treated us to dinner 🙂 Since I was going to be doing some extra cooking for a baby shower I was hosting, I planned this week’s meals accordingly, using some of our favorite no-fuss meals.

menu2

This menu isn’t totally accurate since we ended up not dining out Saturday 🙂 If you like my menu, check out this pic’s link to my DIY Menu Chalkboard!

SUNDAY // Homemade California Rolls – lately we have been making homemade sushi! We have been loving our sushi nights, particularly because it’s a fun meal for us to prepare together. I will update this post with the details of our sushi recipe and method soon, but for now it’s pretty straight forward. For this meal, we prepared a simple California roll using imitation crab meat, cucumber, carrots and avocado, but also added some mango and spicy mayo!

Not bad for our first time!

Not bad for our first time!

MONDAY // Dinner Out

TUESDAY // Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps – we are a big fan of these, as they are super healthy and easy to prepare! A bonus is that they make a great re-heat for lunch the next day and sometimes we even eat it served over rice or noodle instead of in the lettuce wraps. We will usually make a double batch so we get lots of left overs!

WEDNESDAY // Slow Cooker Pepper Steak – I love almost anything prepared in the slow cooker but I especially love this meal as it is easy and super delicious. To save money I will often use a thin sliced top round or chuck in place of sirloin.

THURSDAY // Quinoa Black Bean Veggie Burgers – these are one of my absolute favorites, hands down! A bonus was having my hubby love them as well, as he tends not to be a fan of veggie burgers. I know so many vegetarian recipes claim that “you won’t even miss the meat” but in this case it is 100% true. J’s boss even asked him for the recipe, haha.

FRIDAY // Appetizers – I was so stuffed from eating appetizers at the baby shower (I’ll link that post to this one as soon as I write it) that I had no desire to eat dinner and J had no problem gobbling up the left overs as well, lol.

SATURDAY // Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach – this was just a little something I came up with while trying to think of a way to jazz up a plain package of Trader Joe’s gnocchi. I decided to do a healthy non-soup version of Olive’s Garden’s Zuppa Tuscano (the cream based soup with gnocchi, sausage and spinach). I loved that I was able to incorporate the “cauliflower alfredo” sauce into the recipe since it is one of my favorite things ever!

Check out all of my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach

Alas, yet another recipe that I didn’t document with pictures, lol. Thankfully this one is pretty easy to explain sans pics, so I will do my best. I came up with this one as a result of having picked up some gnocchi on my last Trader Joe’s trip. The best way to describe this recipe is as a healthy, non-soup version of Olive Garden’s “Zuppa Tuscano”, which is one of my absolute favorites (but I bet I wouldn’t like it as much if I got my hands on it’s nutritional info. lol). While this recipe isn’t totally guilt free (turkey sausage is still sausage, haha), it is significantly healthier than it’s inspiration and is a nice hearty meal when you’re craving some Italian comfort food 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Package regular potato gnocchi
  • 4 links hot Italian turkey sausage or about 1 lb. ground turkey sausage
  • 10 oz. cut leaf spinach (fresh or frozen, I used frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups Cauliflower “Alfredo” 
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Begin by preparing your Cauliflower Sauce according to the link above. I make big batches and keep it frozen in my freezer (it freezes well!). When finished set to the side.

Step 2: Heat olive oil in pan. Remove sausage from casings and discard casings, add sausage to pan and break into small pieces. Since my sausage didn’t contain any fennel seed I added some to give it a more authentic sausage flavor. 

Step 3: While sausage is browning, prepare spinach and gnocchi (gnocchi will only take a few minutes to cook in boiling water). If you are using frozen spinach prepare it according to package directions (stovetop or microwave). Once the spinach has cooked make sure you squeeze it using either a dish towel or paper towel and strainer to rid it of any excess liquid. If you plan to use fresh spinach simply wait for the sausage to finish browning, then add it to the pan and allow it to wilt, stirring constantly.

Step 4: Add spinach, gnocchi and cauliflower sauce to pan with sausage and stir to combine allowing all ingredients to heat through, then remove from heat. Enjoy!

Documenting Baby P’s First Year – Month 10

p10

I cannot believe I have a ten month old baby! Seriously where does the time go? This last month has been awesome, right after his nine month board he began to walk while holding onto objects and crawl consistently on all fours. He can also high-five and give kisses which are two of the sweetest things we’ve ever experienced 🙂 He finally has two teeth and is on the verge of getting a bunch more based on how this week has been going, lol. I feel like we hardly have a baby anymore since I’m sure by eleven months he’ll be walking on his own. Here he is sitting with his “Parker by Numbers” board, I had to bribe him with his favorite frog because he kept trying to jump off of the chair, haha. Fun fact about his outfit, I bought it at a second hand store before he was born, I can’t believe he is actually wearing it! Speaking of disbelief, I have definitely learned that it is one of the most common themes in parenting, for both good and bad reasons, haha. If you love seeing baby P (who wouldn’t!? lol) check out his birth to six, seven, eight and nine month boards and my pregnancy documentation.

p103

I could not for the life of me think of something for the number 8 so the diaper thing had to do, haha. Also #7 should say “NJ” in place of “NC” because obviously he has visited NC – he lives here! lol

p101 p102

DIY Dry-Erase Paint Chip Calendar

paintchip2

This project has me so excited and I’m not sure why since it’s nothing crazy. Probably because it’s the first step in finally getting my laundry room and family command center in order! I had seen something like this on Pinterest a while back and had decided against making it since we didn’t have the place for it our old home, however, now that we have a laundry room and soon-to-be family command area, I knew this would be the perfect addition. 

So today, teething baby in tow, I headed to Lowes to fetch my free paint chips. Now, I’m sure the staff couldn’t care less about my taking thirty-five (that’s how many I needed) paint chips since they are after all, free, but I couldn’t help feeling that I was abusing my paint-sample privilege. I didn’t feel too bad considering I was purchasing other items, but I was sure I was going to get in trouble anyway, haha. At one point the lady at the paint counter motioned me over and said “I saw you over there and couldn’t help but notice …” and I was sure she was going to say “that you had a few stacks of paint chips in your hands, put those back”, lol but of course she went on to ooh and ahh over my squishy baby who apparently couldn’t stop smiling at her while I was busy abusing the paint chips. So proud of that baby P, already aiding and abetting in my questionably kosher crafting adventures! Anyway, moral of the story is, nobody cares, go nuts and take as many paint chips as you want :).

Once I got home this took me about 45 minutes to put together and since it didn’t require any hazardous materials I was even able to do it in the presence of baby P! The frame was a thrift store find that I had redone (aka hit with some spray paint) when we were planning on putting up a gallery wall in the old house (more on that later, as we’ll be putting up a smaller scale gallery wall in this house soon!), so the frame was essentially free which means that this project cost me ninety-seven cents (the cost of the poster board)!!! I can’t wait to hang it in my command center as part of my new and improved laundry/mudroom. Apparently we really needed this calendar too, when my hubby got home and I showed it to him he all sorts of questions about the events on it, none of which he knew were happening, lol. Here is my tutorial, it’s quick, easy and can be customized to fit any color/decor scheme! 

NOTE: If you have a rotary cutter this project will probably take you significantly less time. Personally I didn’t care if my lines weren’t perfect but if you’re a stickler for a perfect job I would definitely consider using one. 

Sorry that my pictures are so awful, I was so excited to post this I didn’t even hang the calendar which is why it’s leaning on a chair lol. I will post better ones soon!

Baby P watching our lawn getting mowed while I worked on the calendar :)

Baby P watching our lawn getting mowed while I worked on the calendar 🙂

YOU WILL NEED:

paintchip

  • 35 paint chips – I used seven different colors, five of each color. You can do it the opposite or use all different colors if you prefer. Try to stick to lighter colors so that your dry-erase marker will show up well against it. I used the Valspar chips from Lowes since the little square at the top is perfect for inserting the date.
  • 1 piece of white poster board – any other light color will do as well.
  •  16X20 frame – based on the size of the paint chips I think this size works best.
  • Glue Stick or other crafting glue
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

INSTRUCTIONS: 

Step 1: Begin by cutting your poster board to size. Then comes the tedious part – cutting all of your paint chips. I simply cut them down to eliminate any wording (for example the name of the paint and it’s code). This is a great project to do while watching a show!

Step 2: Line your chips up on your poster board, seven across and five down. Make sure you leave enough room at the top to write the name of the month and if you’d like, some room on the bottom to write “notes” or “monthly goals”. Once you are happy with their placement, use your glue stick to glue each one down. 

paintchip1

Step 3: Along the top either write the days of the week or as I did, print them out and glue them on. 

paintchip4

I chose colors that complimented our home’s color scheme, in case you’re into paint colors they are all Valspar. From right to left: Terra Cotta Red, Desert Rose, Roasted Squash, Hazy Stratus, Toasted Apricot, Urban Sunrise and Apricot Honey.

Step 4: Place your calendar into the frame and boom, DONE! Use a dry-erase marker to fill out your dates and happenings then display it proudly because you my friend, are a DIY diva (or dude, whatever lol)!  

paintchip5 paintchip6  paintchip3

Easy Scrapbook Distressed Wooden Letter

scrapletter

This is just a quick little project that has done double duty for me in the way of both home decor and DIY gifting. I love it because it’s super quick and easy and can be customized to any gift or decor scheme, making it a perfect addition to a diaper cake to later be used in a nursery or as part of a gift basket to later be displayed in the recipient’s home! Any crafting enthusiast will most likely be familiar with mod podge and it’s seemingly limitless crafting applications. Personally I have used it as a sealer and glue as well as a top coat to many of my projects. This particular project simply involved mod podging a piece of craft or scrapbook paper to a wooden letter and sanding the edges a bit. From start to finish it takes about 10 minutes (not including dry time)! When creating gifts I love adding little extras that don’t cost a lot to produce so this is the perfect addition to any gift (I’ll give some examples below), this particular project cost a little over $2.00. I hope this one makes it onto your next diaper cake or gift basket!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 wooden letter (I purchased mine at Walmart for $1.97)
  • 1 piece of craft or scrapbook paper
  • mod podge (glossy or matte, whatever you prefer)
  • black foam brush
  • Sanding block or sand paper (medium grit)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Begin by laying your scrapbook paper print side up and placing your wooden letter right-side up on the paper. Using a pencil, trace around the letter.

Step 2: Next, cut out the letter that you just traced, it does not need to be perfect, you will be sanding off any rough edges later in the process.

Step 3: Using your foam brush, apply a generous coat of mod podge to the back of your scrapbook paper letter then carefully place it onto your wooden letter, adjusting it so that it lines up as closely as possible. Use your fingers to gently smooth the letter out, pressing the paper onto the wood. Use a tissue or paper towel to wipe any excess mod podge from the edges. Allow to dry, this will probably take about an hour but may be done in as little as 20 minutes. Be sure to wash out your brush so that you may reuse it later!

Step 4: Once the letter has dried, use your foam brush to apply another coat of mod podge to the letter atop the scrapbook paper, this will seal it. Be sure to brush any clumps of mod podge off of the sides of the letters. Allow another hour or so of dry time.

Step 5: Once the top coat has dried, use your sanding block to sand the edges of the letter (focusing on the top edges not the sides), this will give it a distressed look and really make it look like the paper is painted onto the letter. Once you are happy with your level of distressing on the edges you are finished! If you feel the need you can apply another coat of mod podge or if your paper has lifted at all on the edges you can apply some mod podge to those specific areas.

This quick project helped me add a little something extra to the two gifts below!

Here it is as part of my “Whale-of-a-Time” Diaper Cake. Since I forgot craft paper at the store that day I decided to improvise. Since baby Brian’s room is whale themed I simply printed the lyrics to “Baby Beluga” on some blue card stock that I already had.

diapercake1 diapercake

Here is a “J” I made for baby Jackson as part of my friend’s baby shower decor. She had been a huge fan of my Spring Chevron Wreath so I made her one as a gift and at her shower we displayed it with the “J” on the door as part of the decor (I also made her a welcome burlap mini banner to go with it). Oh, and check out my tutorial for DIY fabric flowers if you like the ones on this wreath!

scrapletter1 scrapletter3

Nautical Mini-Diaper Cake

diapercakenau

Eek, super late with this post, seeing as how this sweet little boy was actually born this week, but I will go ahead and post it anyway since it’s still so darn cute! So before attempting my four tier whale diaper cake I wanted to do a little trial run so that in case my diaper cake making abilities were a complete fail, I would still have time to scramble for a new gift idea. One of my NC friends Ashley is expecting a sweet little boy in August who is going to have the most adorable nautical themed nursery. This gift was very simple, just diapers and a little nautical outfit, so I wanted to present it in a fun way that would give it a little flare. Aside from the ribbon, outfit and diapers I already had all of the other components in my craft stock, so it was extremely easy to put together. I will go ahead and give you a description of what I did and how I assembled the cake as a guide, but be sure to check out my whale diaper cake post above for a more detailed description (and links to my friend Courtney’s amazing diaper cakes) on how to assemble an awesome little cake!

diapercakenau1

WHAT I USED:

  • 1 nautical baby boy outfit  – purchased via Amazon (currently unavailable, but a link to the image is available here).
  • 25-30 Size 2 Diapers
  • Chevron/Burlap 2.5″ Wire Ribbon
  • Red Striped 1″ Ribbon
  • White Basket/Gift Shred
  • 2 wooden skewers – small wooden dowels, popsicle sticks or straws would also work!
  • Twine
  • Stick-on craft letters
  • Glue Gun & Hot Glue
  • 6″ & 8″ cake pans

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: For this particular cake I began by fanning the diapers (fold side out) into the two cake pans. The pans are not necessary but they are a good guide and make it much easier to arrange the diapers. Once I had filled the pans and created the two “tiers” for the cakes, I secured them by tying a piece of string around each to hold them in place (this can also be done with large rubber bands).

Step 2: I then cut a piece of cardboard (part of the diaper box, lol) in a circle that was a little bit larger than the bottom layer of the “cake” and covered it with blue wrapping paper. For a more finished look you can purchase cardboard cake bottoms but for this one I just improvised. After covering the cardboard with wrapping paper I cut a small 2X2″ “X” in the middle of the cardboard round and set it aside.

Step 3: Take your 2.5″ ribbon and cut a piece just large enough to wrap around each tier of the cake. Repeat using the 1″ ribbon. Take your larger ribbon and wrap it around the middle of each cake “layer” and secure it tightly using a dot of hot glue. For the top tier I repeated the same process using the 1″ ribbon, but for the bottom I simply wrapped it around the tier and tied a bow in the front.

Step 4: Next I used the pants and top of the outfit to create a “bow” for the top by folding the shirt into a rectangle, then folding the pants in half and then laying them across the shirt rectangle to create a bow (this will make more sense when I explain the next part).

Step 5: Take your cardboard round and set your bottom layer of “cake” atop it, then your top layer on top of that. Now you will use your little outfit “bow” to do double duty: both hold the cake together and be the cake topper. I fed the legs of the pants through both cake layers and secured the tips of the toes at the bottom using the cardboard “X”. The top of the cake where the pants were folded over the shirt to create the bow will be held tight (the waist of the pants should just reach over to be tucked into the top of the diaper cake where as the legs will extend all the way down through the cake). NOTE: This just so happened to work out this way with the outfit I had chosen, you can always just top the cake with a pair of baby shoes or a stuffed animal to make it easy, simply secure it with pins!

Step 6: Lastly, I created the name banner by cutting triangles out of the wire ribbon and hot gluing them to a piece of twine before adding the stick-on craft letters and gluing each end of the twine to the wooden skewers so as to suspend the banner in between. I made sure the sharp ends of the skewers would be pointing down so that they could simply be stuck into the top of the cake layers without needing any sort of adhesive.

That’s it! This was my first attempt at a diaper cake so I kept it small and just worked with what I had. Sorry if the description of my process is a bit confusing, I was kind of just making it up as I went along! Don’t forget to check out my Whale Diaper Cake as well as Wildly Domestic’s tutorials on diaper cakes, she has a whole section of her blog dedicated to them! 

Meal Planning – Week of July 20th

So I know I had previously mentioned that I would try and post my weekly meal plans, both for the benefit of anyone that cares and for me to refer back to when trying to plan future weekly meals. Anyone that has tried to stick to a strict budget while maintaining a healthy diet knows the challenges that this combo can pose. In our house we don’t follow any particular diet plan, we just try to eat mostly healthy meals prepared by healthful methods of cooking. I plan on creating a separate post regarding our budget, but we try to stick to a strict $50.00/week grocery budget (this doesn’t include household goods like cleaners, toilet paper and other non-food items available at the grocery store, only food). We also don’t buy lunch food, I just prepare large enough dinner meals that reheat and pack well so that they can be eaten for lunch by both myself and J the following day. Personally, I am always looking for new dinner ideas (a big reason I waste so much time on Pinterest, haha), so the purpose of these “meal planning” posts will mainly be to share some new meal/recipe ideas with my friends, followers and fam! If I can be as diligent as I hope to be with these weekly posts, I plan to eventually make a whole “meal planning” category. 

menu1

The menu, as displayed in our home 🙂 I ended up replacing “summer quiche” with another recipe, however, I will be posting that soon! Check out this pic’s link to my “DIY menu chalkboard”!

SUNDAY // Chicken Cordon Bleu – I stretched a buck by purchasing a large package of chicken breasts and using them in both this meal and my Panini recipe below. Instead of spending the extra money on thin sliced breasts, I slice the large breasts and pound them thin myself.

MONDAY // Fried Rice – I love this recipe! It really is very close to “restaurant quality” as the creator claims it to be and it’s super cheap to prepare! I added some roast pork that I had left over from one of our weekend meals but usually I’ll just add extra scrambled eggs as the protein element. 

TUESDAY // Almond Crusted Shrimp – Prepared in the same fashion as my Almond Crusted Flounder, so simple and delicious and I only use a little bit of oil to fry them up but if you’re trying to be super healthy you could always bake them. 

WEDNESDAY // Baked Felafel – This is one of my favorite recipes! I serve it with my Skinny Tzatziki and yellow rice. I always double this recipe so that we will have enough for lunch the following day. I also tend to add a little extra flour, my mixture is always a little looser than hers looks in her prep pics. 

THURSDAY // Grilled Chicken & Summer Veggie Paninis – This was simple as grilling up some thin sliced chicken breasts, zucchini and summer squash. I like to use veggies in our cooking that I can also steam up and serve to baby P. I finished it off with some sliced gouda (I bought the cheap Sargento slices, well, because they’re cheap, lol, but also because they melt quickly) and some of my simple Red Pepper Aioli that I always keep on hand. Instead of using artisan breads for my paninis I instead buy a loaf of Italian bread, cut it into thirds and slice it (digging a little out of the middles before forming the sandwiches), they crisp up nice and cost as little as $1 for a loaf! 

FRIDAY // Grilled Steak Rolls – This was the first time we tried this recipe and we loved it! We used a cheap cut of thin sliced top round beef and a combo of peppers, onions, zucchini and summer squash. Instead of balsamic glaze we substituted teriyaki sauce to give it an Asian flare, it reminded me a lot of beef negimaki (little beef and asparagus rolls served in a lot of Japanese restaurants).   

SATURDAY // Since we had a birthday party to attend this was our night “out” but typically we will choose one night of the week to either order in or go out to a restaurant, just to give me a break from cooking 🙂

Check out all my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

Almond Crusted Flounder

I should really entitle this post “Almond Crusted Anything” but since my favorite preparation of this recipe is with flounder I will name it as such. I love this recipe because it is so simple and with the exception of pan frying (although you could always bake it!), is extremely healthy! It is so hard to get my hubby to eat any seafood besides shrimp and since I love seafood so much I feel like doing cartwheels anytime I get a thumbs up on a fish recipe, lol. I have had almond crusted or pecan crusted flounder at restaurants before and absolutely loved it, so when I decided I wanted to attempt to make it at home my original plan was to just find a recipe online and go for it. The problem was that so many of the recipes I came across included some pretty weird ingredients or wanted you to combine breadcrumbs with the crushed nuts and I wanted it to be simply almond crusted in order to achieve that really wholesome nutty flavor. So after deeming Pinterest useless on this one (gasp! lol) I decided to just use pulverized almonds as the breading on my flounder, figuring that it would work seeing as how I recently buzzed up some oats and used those in place of oat flour, same idea right? The finished product was amazing! I’m sure everyone is sitting there like “umm, duh! You know a million people have probably done that before, right?” lol, but hey it’s new to me so I’m thrilled to have figured it out and to be able to try it out on all different seafood and meats from this point forward! I don’t really pay as much attention as I should to eating “whole” so when it happens by accident and is this delicious I like to give myself a big ol’ pat on the back 🙂

p.s. sorry for the lack of pictures this time! Since I was expecting this to be a complete fail I didn’t document the cooking process at all but I will update this post with pictures just as soon as I make it again which I promise will be very soon!

ALMOND CRUSTED FLOUNDER (makes 4 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pieces of flounder, skin and bones removed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • canola or vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Start by blending your almonds to a fine consistency (mine was a little more coarse than flour but any consistency will likely do, if you prefer your breading to be a little more coarse go for it), I did so by using a coffee grinder as I think it is the easiest way. You can always use your food processor if you don’t have a coffee grinder, I just hate having to lug that giant thing out 🙂

Step 2:  In a medium sized dish beat the two eggs with about a tablespoon of water. In a separate bowl of similar size, season the flour with salt and pepper (about a 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp. of salt will probably do but it all depends on your preference).

Step 3: Now you are ready to bread your fillets. Working one at a time, coat each piece of flounder with flour then dip into the egg mixture and finally into the crushed almonds.

Step 4: Once all of your fillets have been breaded, heat the butter and oil (about 2 tbsp. or enough to coat the bottom of the pan) in a large pan over medium-low heat. Once your butter/oil mixture is heated place the fillets into the pan (if you do not have a large enough pan just work in batches, switching out the oil and butter if it becomes too brown) and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until almond crusting is crispy and browned. Enjoy!

If you are looking for a lighter preparation of this meal try spraying with a bit of cooking spray and baking at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. If you don’t like flounder try on another firm white fish or on shrimp, scallops or chicken!