Fish Sticks and Sandwiches

How was your weekend? We had family visit which was fun and kept us busy. We also tried out a new restaurant, Frank’s Pizzeria, which has now taken the best pizza I have had in Omaha title. If you’re looking for great places to eat in Omaha check out my Omaha Eats page. I try to keep it updated as I eat at new places but if you have suggestions to add please let me know!

P.S. If you’re thinking of moving to Omaha (you totally should and if you do let me know and we can be BFFs) here is a list of 30 cool Omaha things.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! xo

Fish is a food that I just don’t eat enough of. To be completely honest with you the only time I actually think about eating fish/seafood is when I get a mad sushi craving or during Lent. Growing up I used to eat fish at least a couple times a week. It totally felt like every other day though, mom. My dad would frequently go fishing on the weekend and bring home lots of fresh bluegill, crappie, perch, and walleye. There was always fresh fish in the fridge or in ziplock baggies in the freezer. As a child I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be able to eat some much fresh fish.

Given that it we are currently in the Lenten season, I see advertisements all over for all the Fish Fry’s that all the different Catholic churches in town host. The problem is rumors are that the wait is always so crazy long. Which is not ideal when you have three young children. I decided to skip the long line and make my own fish sticks and sandwiches and home.

Homemade Fish Sticks

Cod is the fish of choice I used here. I like cod because it doesn’t have an overwhelming fishy flavor and because it is a denser piece of meat. Whitefish is ideal for breading and frying because it doesn’t fall apart. You want to choose a fish that will hold together. Haddock or pollock would be great too. Trader Joe’s had cod fillets in their freezer section and that was pretty much the inspiration for this dinner.

I cut two of the fillets into 1 inch thick strips to make fish sticks for the kiddos. The other fillet I cut in half so Alex and I could enjoy a grown up fish sandwich. To bread these bad boys it is an easy three step process first a dip in the flour, then egg, and then breadcrumbs. A combination of Panko, which is a Japanese style breadcrumb, and regular breadcrumbs are what I used. I didn’t have enough of either type so I mixed them together. If you are looking for a really crisp breading go all Panko.

When my mom made fish she always put a little peanut butter in with the oil. It helped keep the fishy oily smell under control. I’m sure you could use peanut oil and have similar results.

Are you a big fish eater? What is your favorite fish?

Fish Sandwich

1-1/2 pounds whitefish fillets, like Cod, cut into 1 inch strips or into sandwich size pieces
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup regular breadcrumbs
1/2 cup* canola oil or peanut oil
small spoonful of peanut butter, optional
kosher salt

1.  Using paper towels dry off fish.
2.  In three shallow dishes place flour in one, beaten egg in another, and breadcrumbs in the final dish.
3.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-medium high heat. You want the temperature to reach about 360 degrees F.
4.  Dredge fish in flour, shaking off excess, coat with egg, then dip in breadcrumbs pressing down so they will stick.
5.  Place breaded fish, in batches, in skillet cooking until breadcrumbs become golden brown. Turn after about 3 minutes. Place on paper towel to absorb extra grease. Season with salt.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice. Eat as fish sticks or place on bun with lettuce, cheese, and your favorite tartar sauce.

*you may need to add a little bit more oil to finish cooking all the fish

Posted in Main Dishes | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Napa Cabbage Asian Salad

Spring is a season of renewal and growth. It is where we dust of the cobwebs of winter. We trade in our heavy jackets for hoodie sweatshirts, our casseroles for sandwiches, our heavy soups and stews for light and fresh salads. I love this season of change. I shared with you last week about my love for salads as the main course. This napa cabbage salad works as a wonderful side dish to compliment your dinner or it will stand up and be the main entree if that is what you ask of it. Versatile. I served it to my family as dinner one night and then mixed up another batch (without the chicken) to bring to a cookout last week. Same salad twice in one week.

Lately I have been loving making my own vinaigrettes. It is so easy and fun mixing up custom flavors to compliment whatever type of salad I am serving. A little oil + a little vinegar + some herbs, spices, or seasonings all tossed into a jelly jar, give it a quick shake and you have yourself a tasty vinaigrette or marinade. Easy peasy!

Some of this vinaigrette was used as a marinade for a few chicken breasts that I served on the salad. The ginger and soy flavors came through in the chicken. It was so tasty. I had two heaping bowls of salad for dinner and I may or may not have licked my bowl clean. This might be the best salad ever. Ever! It will be served many times this summer I have no doubt about that.

Napa Cabbage Salad

Serves: 6
1 medium head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite sized pieces
1-2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds

2-3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

for the vinaigrette
3 tablespoons ginger, grated
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce*
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce*
1/4 cup canola oil
pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1/2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1.  Mix together the ginger, sriracha, hoisin, sesame oil, soy sauce, canola oil to make the marinade. Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag add 1/4 cup of marinade. Squeeze out all the air and zip the bag close. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
2.  Add the scallions, sesame seeds, and vinegar to the marinade to transform it to a vinaigrette.
3.  On a grill pan or frying pan heat over medium-high and cook chicken breasts about 4-5 minutes per side or until the juices run clear.
4.  Once chicken is done cooking transfer to cutting board, let set for 10 minutes before cutting into thin strips.
5.  In a large serving bowl toss together all the salad ingredients, top with sliced chicken, and drizzle a little vinaigrette over everything.

If you leave out the hoisin sauce and use a gluten free soy sauce this would be perfect for those that have a gluten intolerance. 

Posted in Gluten Free, Main Dishes, Salads | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Monster Cookies

Giant cookies filled with peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M&M candies are the perfect treat. Don’t you think? This recipe is one that has stood the test of time. I first posted about these cookies in 2009 but figured an update was due. I based my recipe off my Great Grandma Nona’s recipe. She used flour in her recipe which I left out in mine and added in some more oats to help keep the cookies together. The result is a wonderful chewy oatmeal peanut butter cookie.

She was a wonderful baker and cook. She actually worked for many, many years as a lunch lady in the Spencer, IA schools, so she had tons of experience. This was back in the day when lunch ladies actually cooked and prepared real lunches instead of heating up processed food like most school cafeteria workers have to do today.

Oatmeal Monster Cookies

This current batch of monster cookies was baked for the teachers and staff at the girls’ school. Last week was teacher and staff appreciation week at the school and PTA parents brought in baked goodies for the teachers and staff to enjoy in the staff lounge. I took an informal poll on my Facebook page wondering what your favorite cookie flavor was. Monster cookie won hands down. So I delivered monster cookies to the school and you get to benefit from an updated recipe with clearer directions! Win-win.

If you use certified gluten-free oats all your gluten intolerant friends can indulge in the peanut butter and chocolate goodness of these chewy cookies too. Remember sharing is caring. If you are looking for certified gluten-free oats check out Bob’s Red Mill. I really like the easy availability of their products in the grocery store. Plus they do have the option of ordering directly from their website. I haven’t been compensated to say this I just really like their products. :)  

Monster Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
1 teaspoon soda
4 cup quick cooking oatmeal or 4 cups gluten free quick rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1-2 cups M&Ms (depending on how naughty you are feeling)


1.  In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
2.  Mix together peanut butter until smooth and well combined about 2 minutes. Stir in soda and oats.
3.  Using a wooden spoon stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms until completely combined.
4.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but overnight is better.
5.  Preheat oven to 350 degree F. On parchment lined baking sheet scoop out cookie dough using 1/4 cup measuring cup. Leave 2-3 inches between cookies since they do spread. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
6.  Cookies will still be slightly soft in the middle. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack to cool completely.

These cookies freeze great too (just in case, you know, you don’t want to eat a whole batch of cookies right away).

So tell me, what is your favorite cookie flavor?

Posted in Desserts, Family, Gluten Free | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Prosciutto Potato Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Prosciutto Potato Pizza

I have died and gone to carbohydrate heaven. This pizza was superb. There are times when we are sitting around the dinner table and I look over at my husband and tell him that I really don’t want to toot my own horn, but…..”toot, toot”. Delicious dinners should be celebrated I think.  This pizza I would serve to guests without a doubt. In fact as soon as my kitchen remodel is done I might have to have a pizza party with this pie on the menu.

This pizza combines some of my favorites. Baked potatoes, prosciutto, and caramelized onions. Don’t you just love those ingredients too? Caramelized onions are divine. They are so sweet and wonderful. I actually have been known to eat them by the fork full straight out of the pan. The only downside to caramelized onions is that they take time to make. If you see a recipe that says you can have caramelized onions in 20 minutes they are a bunch of lying liars. I have seen so many people claim you can have them that quickly but I have never (ever) had any luck. I usually end up with slightly burnt onions, which I actually like, but I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Caramelized Onions

Perfection cannot and should not be rushed. Plan to spend about an hour cooking them and gently coaxing out the sweet oniony sugars. Patience pays off here folks. Since they cook down so much you will need lots of onions to start off. I zip my through my food processor to slice them uniformly thin. A little olive oil, a little butter, a whole lot of sliced onions, and a light sprinkling of sugar are all added to my favorite cast iron skillet. Cook and stir, cook and stir, for the next hour and you will have yourself the most delicious version of onions known to man.

Eat them plain, put them on eggs, stir in to a dip, serve with a steak, or on a pizza like I did. The options are scrumptious and endless. How do you like to use caramelized onions?

This pizza is topped with a thinly sliced leftover baked potato. No baked potatoes on hand? No worries! Wash up a potato then give it a few therapeutic stabs with a knife. Pop it in the microwave for 5-7 minutes (depending on the size of your spud) until it slightly gives when squeezed. The pizza crust is from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. It was really good. I usually like to make my own but it requires by oven to be heated as high as it will go and right now my flakey oven does not like to be heated to 550 degrees F so I will take some help from the grocery store until I have a new oven. The crust is brushed lightly with olive oil, topped with a light sprinkle of mozzarella*, then thinly sliced baked potato, some prosciutto, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and is finished with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes when it comes out of the oven. Mmmmmmm!

Welcome to carbohydrate heaven folks! I think this pizza would pair so well with a glass of red wine which you can be sure I will be trying as soon as this babe is born. Make sure you don’t go over board on the cheese with this pizza. Usually I would say pile it on high but in this case it is all about the potatoes, prosciutto, and onions. Let them have their moment in the spotlight.

Prosciutto Potato Caramelized Onion Pizza

1 pre-made pizza crust**
1 teaspoon olive oil
mozzarella* cheese, shredded
1 baked potato, cooled and thinly sliced
2-3 pieces of prosciutto, cut into strips
caramelized onions
cheddar cheese, shredded
pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F or whatever temperature your crust calls for
2. Lightly brush olive oil over the crust. Top with a small amount of mozzarella cheese. Add potatoes, prosciutto, and caramelized onions. Sprinkle lightly with shredded cheddar cheese.
3.  Bake for about 7-8 minutes or as directed by your crust package. You make all the cheese to be melted. Sprinkle with salt. Serve

*I usually like to use fresh mozzarella when I make pizza however it would be too wet in this case

**For a gluten free option use a gluten free crust. Udi’s makes a good one you can find in the freezer section at most grocery stores.

3 large yellow onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar

1.  Using a food processor, mandolin, or a knife and cutting board thinly slice the onions.
2.  In a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed saute pan heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the oil begins to shimmer.
3.  Add the onions, stirring to coat, then making sure the onions are spread out evenly.
4.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and stir to coat.
5.  You may need to turn down the heat slightly so the onions won’t burn. If the onions look like they are drying out add a little water.
6.  Allow the onions to cook and stir only occasionally for the next 30 minutes. You may need to turn down the heat a little more at this point making sure the onions are not burning but cooking and caramelizing slowing.
7.  Continue cooking for the next 15-20 minutes until the onions reach a deep brown color and are soft and fragrant.

Posted in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Main Dishes | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments
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