Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back After an "I'm Too Busy for Life" Hiatus: Pork Rind Crusted Fish and a Lemon Chicken and Potato Casserole

Shit, you guys...I've fallen off the blog wagon.


I was really trying hard.

I was trying to bring you some legit recipes and blogs and shit and keep it up.

But much like my escapades at the gym, and getting my bidness right and tight, I've fallen off the wagon harder than Lindsay Lohan.


Except I'm a tiny bit more sober than she is.

And you know... I'm more of a fan of balls in my face than vaginas.

So it's been more than two months since my last blog entry and I can't even believe it is already September.  The fact that it's barely broken the '80s these last few months probably doesn't help the fact that hasn't at all felt like summer, but combined with the fact that literally every fucking weekend I am doing something, time sure has flown.

I'm not complaining at all.  I can't wait for cooler weather, excuses to pair boots with leggings, oversized sweaters and long tunics with pretty scarves.  I'm also more excited than my dog after hearing the word "walk" at the prospect of having a weekend where I don't have to do a God damned thing.


I understand this is coming across as incredibly first world problems here.  "Ohhh I'm so busy going off to lake houses and weddings and brunches and things to be able to sit at home and watch my DVR".

If I were any more of a white girl in the above quote, I'd be sipping from a Pumpkin Spice Latte (helloooooo fall!) and buffing up some Uggs.

There really isn't anything white girls love more than lake houses and brunch than Starbucks and North Face hoodies.



So quick recap?  I've been able to get up to my parents' lake house a few times already this summer, I went to the wedding of some good friends, spent some time on a boat, and relaxed lake-side with  good friends.  I've been still working out and doing the healthy eating thing...mostly.  I've definitely taken advantage of the summer and summer-drinks, so I don't feel as healthy and as energy-filled as I did a few months ago.  I need to get back to that. I need to get back in the groove.

I'm thinking that after the Cajun's birthday this past weekend, I'll do another 10-day cleanse to "reboot" my system so-to-speak.


So in keeping with the spirit of my previous blogs, here are a couple of recipes I'll be leaving you with.

A couple of months ago, Chris and I had a fish fry with some friends.  Since one of the friends is doing the Atkins thing and regular batter for fish fry is pretty much an Atkins no no, I decided on an alternative batter.

The fish I used in the below recipe came from the lake my parents live on.  While we like to do the catch and release thing, the lake has a ridiculous amount of crappie which are excellent pan fish. And there is nothing I like more than catching my dinner and then turning around and filleting it.


This recipe's batter/coating has practically zero carbs, will make you happy to be an American, and that will make your whole kitchen smell like bacon.

Drum roll please?

Pork Rind Crusted Fish ... 'Murica Style
What is more 'Murican than pork and things that are deep fried? Although I have to admit, to save on calories and the mess of a pot of grease in my kitchen, I decided to forego the actual "fry" in the fish fry for baking my fish off in the oven.

Ingredients
1 bag pork rinds
1 lb. fish o' choice (we used a mild white fish that my family and I caught from our lakehouse)
Salt and Pepper or Mrs. Dash (to taste - go easy on the salt if you're using that since you're using pork rinds and there is plenty of salt in those puppies)
2 T. garlic powder
3 eggs
1/3 cup water (or milk)

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
2. Crush the pork rinds in a gallon Ziploc bag or food processor until bread-crumb like consistency.

3. Place crushed pork rinds in a large bowl with salt, pepper (or Mrs. Dash) and garlic powder.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs in with milk or water.

4. To prepare your fish, run your fingers over the fillets and remove any bones.  Pat your fillets dry and begin to dredge yo shit.  No need to season the fish in this step since your pork rind mixture is super seasoned.

5. To dredge, dip your fish in the egg, allow the egg to drain off a bit and then dip in the pork rind mixture. Helpful tip?  Use one hand for dredging in the wet, and your other hand for the dry.

6. Place prepared fish on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in your preheated oven for 12 minutes.

7. When done, your fish should be flaky, tender, and slightly translucent in the center and your breading will be a golden brown color.




One more recipe!  

The other day I was in the mood for a comfort, stick to your bones, easy kind of casserole.  I didn't want to spend a lot of time on prep. It was long day, it was fairly nice out, and I wanted to enjoy some time with Chris and Roux not in my kitchen.  I think the prep for the next recipe maybe took me 15 minutes?

Lemon Chicken and Potato Casserole
It's really good, super easy, and I snagged to from another blogger who got it from her grandmother's chruch cookbook.  I think those kind of cookbooks, or any kind of community cookbook are often times hidden gems.  You have years of real cooks testing out recipes to make them perfect.  They're not always the healthiest recipes, but 9 times out of 10?  They're going to be absolutely amazing.

Ingredients
2 cans, cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. milk
2 pounds, Yukon gold potatoes, sliced no larger than 1/8"
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small (or 1/2 medium) onion, thinly sliced
1.5 pounds, chicken breasts
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 T. chopped, fresh thyme
1 T. chopped, fresh rosemary

Method
1. Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit and spray a deep 9 x 9 baking dish (or regular 9 x 13 casserole dish) with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Add cream of chicken soup and milk to small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering. Stir frequently. When simmering for a few minutes, remove from heat and set aside.


3. Slice your potatoes and onions thinly. 1/8 of an inch should be your maximum width.
 

4. Add potatoes and onions with salt and pepper, garlic, and herbs to a mixing bowl.

5. Cube up your chicken and add to the large bowl.

6. Pour the soup/milk mixture over the mixture in the bowl and toss to coat.

7. Add to the greased mixing dish and tuck the lemon slices into the mixture randomly.

8. Cover the top of the baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for at least 1 hour or until the potatoes are knife-tender.

9. Remove the foil and increase oven temperature to "broil". Place pan back in oven and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the top of the casserole has browned.


That's it for today. Hopefully I'll have some time to add some new recipes next week.  Now that football is back (thank the Lord Baby Jesus for that one), I'll have a little more time to sit on my ass with my computer.  I just need to remember to actually take photos when I'm cooking.

I start a new job tomorrow. I'm really excited to be back in the city and for the new opportunity. My hours will change so where I would get off work before at 3:30 and had time for an hour or two of prep, I'm now out of work at 5:30 and will need to figure out some more freezer meals to toss in a crockpot before heading to work in the morning.  Especially since I joined a new gym and plan on heading there 3-4 times a week after work.

How do people balance work and working out? Seriously - if any of you have an idea, help a sister out.

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