Delish Fish Dish

An easy fish recipe that you're whole family will enjoy!
This is not the picture of the recipe I made (it was gone before I could think of getting out the camera), however, it is the closest picture I could find that looked like what we ate tonight.

An Easy Fish Recipe That the Whole Family Will Enjoy

After my five year old told me that tonight’s supper was the best thing she had ever eaten – even better than chocolate, I knew I had to blog about her new favourite meal.

It’s actually an old meal that I just haven’t made in a really long time… long enough for her to have forgotten that she’d ever eaten it. But with this much enthusiasm over some frozen fish filets, I know I will be making it again soon.

Warning: This is Nothing Fancy

Simply, this is just a really easy way to cook up a bag of frozen fish. It pairs well with mashed potatoes and a green veggie. It’s also heavier than some fish recipes so it should keep your family full for a while. Serves 6.

As usual, I don’t measure my ingredients, so bear with me. You really don’t need to for this dish anyway. But make sure you have on hand 1-2 cups of panko bread crumbs and at least 1/3 cup of mayonnaise (real mayo, not the salad dressing kind).

Use panko bread crumbs instead of the regular kind to get a better crunchy topping.
Use panko bread crumbs instead of the regular kind to get a better crunchy topping.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (1.15 kg or 2.5 lbs) of frozen fish, thawed, drained well & patted dry (get as much moisture out as you can, but don’t be too picky, this is supposed to be easy)
  • 1/3 cup of real mayonnaise
  • 1.5 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • garlic powder, dried dill weed, salt, pepper
This is the brand of fish we used (purchased at Walmart) in tonight's dinner, but any white fish would be fine to use.
This is the brand of fish we used (purchased at Walmart) in tonight’s dinner, but any white fish would be fine to use.

Directions:

  • In a 9X13 heavy pan, sprinkle half of the panko bread crumbs, generously over the bottom.
  • Sprinkle half of the parmesan cheese over the panko.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper over that.
  • Cover fish well with mayo. I use my hands – it’s messy but it works better. Don’t worry if your fish falls apart a bit… it won’t be very noticeable and it will taste the same anyway.
  • Spread fish in an even layer over the bread crumbs.
  • Sprinkle with remaining parmesan, spices again and top with remaining bread crumbs.
  • melt butter in the microwave and sprinkle evenly over top of everything.
  • Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until the top starts to brown nicely.

Notes:

  • You could probably toss the top half of panko crumbs with the butter.
  • This dish should not be runny or dry. It should have a slightly creamy texture with a crunchy topping.

And there you have it… an easy fish recipe with a mild taste, reminiscent of fish sticks but a whole lot better. Even picky eaters should enjoy this one!

 

The Honey Do List

The responsibilities that come with having a home and a family can be overwhelming, especially, for homeowners. Often the list of odd jobs to do around the house seem never-ending. With jobs and kids in the mix it can be really difficult to find time to spend with your husband or wife.

Today I want to share with you this very cute – yet useful – planner for couples. It’s called the Honey Do List Book for Husbands & Wives, created by the Cute Notebook Factory.  The front and back cover is a picture of a fridge with magnets, notes and pictures. You can find it here on Amazon.

Honey Do List Book for Husbands and Wives
This book is a fabulous couples planner for those who are married or in long term relationships. A terrific wedding gift idea or bridal shower gift idea.

A PLANNER FOR COUPLES

At first glance a term like “honey do list” seems kinda sexist. It brings to mind a list of tasks for the husband to complete, usually at the wife’s request, and worse, sometimes implies that men or husbands don’t fulfill their duties and need to be told what to do. Nevertheless, this book IS NOT LIKE THAT.

The Honey Do List Book for Husbands and Wives is a married couples planner. It is one year long, but undated so it can be started at any time. It is mainly weekly in format but also has goal planning for years, seasons and months. And it’s so stinking’ cute. Look at some interior shots of the inside…

 

What I like best about this book are the fun ideas for couples to do this week. The ideas range from sweet, to fun, to sexy. Some examples:

Honey Do List Book for Husbands and Wives....THIS WEEK: weekly suggestion areas filled with cute and fun ideas for couples to keep your relationship going!
THIS WEEK: weekly suggestion areas filled with cute and fun ideas for couples to keep your relationship going!

“Write your partner a love letter. Hide it in an unexpected place where they will find it later.”

“Do something that your spouse hates doing so that they don’t have to.”

“Take a shower together. Was each other’s hair and bodies.”

And my personal favorite:

“Pretend you are private detectives. Investigate the neighbourhood weirdo or pick a random person to follow. Don’t do anything illegal and don’t get caught.”

(That scene in Flaked anyone?)

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The book also has a spot to write your shopping list, places for both couples to write lists of things to do as well as notes to each other, and spots for family and couple time.

The Honey Do List Book for Husbands and Wives retails for only $12.95. It’s a small price for a great planner that you can leave open on your kitchen counter (as the book suggests) as a way to communicate with your spouse about everyday things in your household in a fun, easy and practical way.

A GREAT WEDDING GIFT IDEA

To be honest,  a journal for married couples had never been on my radar before, but this one is worth a second glance. Plus, it would make a cheap and fabulous gift for weddings and bridal showers.

Buy it today!

Quick & Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

The sauce I’m about to share contains very few ingredients. It can be cooked in the same amount of time that you heat water and boil pasta in. Plus it’s made with fresh ingredients, so you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

Quick and Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe - Real authentic Italian tomato sauce made with fresh and delicious ingredients.

Fresh and Healthy

This recipe is not like anything you will get from a can or jar which are often very heavy and acidic. It is much closer to true, homemade Italian tomato sauce, but cooked more quickly. The taste is fresh and light, and contains all the flavour of the tomatoes you are using. So make sure to use fresh, ripe tomatoes for this sauce.

Since it is made from scratch, you can control the levels of salt, sugar and fat the finished product will contain. This recipe is perfect for nights when you want something healthy and satiating that the kids will enjoy.

NOTE: In order to save time I do not usually use precise measurements in my recipes. I do not think there is any one right or wrong way to do things when cooking.

In the spirit of keeping this recipe fast and simple, I do not bother to peel the skins from the tomatoes, but if you would like to, simply score an X in the top of the tomatoes with a sharp knife. Add to boiling water for a minute. Then immediately plunge into ice cold water. The skins should easily peel or slide off.

 


Quick & Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

Base Ingredients:

  • roma tomatoes diced small or pulsed in food processor (2 per person)
  • broth (read my Broth In a Pinch post)
  • olive oil
  • garlic minced (1 clove per person)
  • sugar to taste
  • chopped fresh basil, salt, peperoncino (red chili flakes) to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and peperoncino. Saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices.
  4. Use broth for flavour and to keep from getting to dry/sticking.
  5. Simmer until tomatoes are cooked through and soft.
  6. Add sugar to taste.

Use immersion blender for a smoother sauce.

Pour over cooked pasta. Toss to coat.


 

Homemade tomato sauce made with roma tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, broth, basil, chilis flakes, salt and sugar.
Homemade tomato sauce made with roma tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, broth and basil.

This sauce can be ready in 15 minutes, but you can cook it for much longer. Add a small amount of broth for an extra punch of flavour and to keep the tomatoes from drying out and sticking. If you don’t have broth, you can use water. If you find you have to cook it longer than 15 minutes, you are likely using a large amount of tomatoes. Cook uncovered, at a higher temperature, and in a wider, shallower pan (like a deep frying pan) for faster evaporation.

Variations

You can customize this recipe any way you want by adding your favourite foods and flavours. This may affect the cooking and preparation time. Here are some ideas:

  • onions, shallots, add before garlic
  • raw meat – add at the beginning with the garlic
  • your favourite vegetables – peppers, zucchini, etc. – add before tomatoes
  • omit tomatoes and use bell peppers, or roasted peppers for a pepper sauce
  • wine – add to tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar – add to tomatoes
  • your favourite herbs and spices – add to tomatoes
  • cooked meat – add after tomatoes
  • spinach – add to sauce near end
  • grated cheeses – add to sauce near end
  • more sugar – use more sugar and chili flakes for a sweet & spicy sauce (good bell peppers)
  • parmesan cheese, romano cheese – sprinkle on top of pasta or add to sauce near the end
Grate fresh parmesan or romano cheese over your finished plate of pasta.
Grate fresh parmesan or romano cheese over your finished plate of pasta.

 

What’s in your favourite tomato sauce?

Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Pet Hair Everywhere!

If you have pets that shed you need to read this…

There’s nothing worse than being out in public and realizing that you have little white hairs all over your black pants. Or having someone over and being embarrassed as you watch them pick your cat’s fur off their clothes, even though they haven’t touched your pet.

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While there’s no solution to getting your pet to stop shedding, there is something that you can do about the hair that collects on the floor, and gets into the air and tracked around by our feet when you walk around. I discovered this little gem about two years ago after we replaced our carpet with laminate flooring throughout.

The first thing I noticed about having laminate flooring was that it was much easier to see every hair that fell off our pets. The carpet we had lived with for so many years had done a good job hiding it. But being able to see the fur was a good thing, because we were able to know whether our vacuum was doing a good job getting rid of it.

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It turns out, it wasn’t. The vacuum we had blew more fur around and into hard to reach areas than it sucked it up. Sweeping wasn’t a good solution either. The broom collected the dirt easily enough but never got all of the fur. So the very first item we bought for our new laminate flooring was a Swiffer Sweeper Dry & Wet Cleaner.

The Good:

  • lightweight and easy to use
  • the wet mop pads that you can get for it work really well and they smell great
  • dirty pads are disposable
  • you can buy or make your own reusable cloth pads

The Bad

  • it uses more dry pads than what we wanted to buy or wash
  • the dry pads didn’t pick up as much pet fur as we we hoped they would

So while we liked the Swiffer, and we still own one, because we like it for mopping, we wanted something better for picking up all the animal fur that our pets left behind.

After a lot of research and Amazon reviews we found a product that we thought might work. It is a vacuum made by Bissell, specifically made for animal fur, and it is the strangest looking vacuum I have ever seen. Let me present to you, the Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Bagless Stick Vacuum Cleaner:

Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hair Vacuum.png

Don’t let the long name or strange V-shape scare you. This lightweight little vacuum is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! For starters, it is only 7 pounds. This thing is very lightweight and so easy to push. It has a canister and filter piece that are very easy to remove and clean. But the best thing about this little sucker (pardon the pun) is the vacuum head. It is shaped like a V and has wipers. Bigger dirt and debris is forced to the centre, and lighter dirt, like pet hair is sucked up along the whole length.

Shedding Pet Solutions
The Culprits

We have a dog and bunny. They both shed – A LOT. Inevitably, the fur always collects in hard to reach places, in corners and around the base of chair and table legs. The unique design of this vacuum lets you get right up close around those things without losing suction. It allows me to clean the floor in less time and without any stray hairs left behind.

We have been using this Bissel product, every day or two (sometimes multiple times a day) for over two years now and it still works like it did when it was new. The rubbery flaps along the edge are starting to show a bit of wear but we have not noticed any drop in performance. I have been so happy with this vacuum I have recommended it to everyone I know that has pets.

The Good:

  • lightweight
  • easy to clean & maintain
  • gets in hard to reach places
  • doesn’t leave stray hairs behind

The Bad

  • not meant for carpet

I have to give the Bissell PowerEdge two big thumbs up. This is by far one of the best products I have ever used. It will save you time and effort and get your floor cleaner. In the long run it will save money if your otherwise buying disposable sweeping pads. If you have hardwood floors, laminate floors or tile floors, you need this vacuum.

Bissel PowerEdge Pet Hair Vacuum

 

 

 

Homemade Broth in a Pinch

Homemade Broth in a Pinch

Using broth or stock instead of water can make an enormous difference in the flavour of your cooking. If you do not regularly cook with broth then you don’t know what you’re missing. It can give an otherwise bland food a richness and depth of both flavour and colour that it would not have otherwise. Today I’m going to show you how to always have broth ready, without spending hours simmering ingredients on the stove, or buying those bland cartons of ready-made broth at the grocery store.

Broth or Stock?

Broth and stock are usually used interchangeably, but there are some subtly differences. And occasionally, you may want to use one or the other. Both are made by cooking meat products, and often vegetables in water. Generally, stock is always made with bones, is usually unseasoned and cooked for hours, while broth is made with meat, often seasoned and cooked in much less time. But for the average person, like myself, making meals for my family, it doesn’t usually matter to me whether I am using broth or stock.

Broth – It’s not just for soup!

Bowl of Broth

What do I use broth for? Typically I use broth in place of water for a bigger punch of flavour. Most often I use it in soups, rice & grains, pastas, beans & lentils, stir fries, for braising and for making gravies. I am not a chef, and I do not like to spend enormous amounts of time in the kitchen if I can help it, and I don’t always do things the official, proper way. Nevertheless, these methods will give your recipes with a punch of flavour. Plus they’re easy and time saving recipes. The following two methods are for those of us who do not want to go to the trouble of making broth:

NOTE: In order to save time I do not usually use precise measurements in my recipes. I do not think there is any one right or wrong way to do things when cooking.

Instant Broth

Natural Cooking Liquids – Don’t throw that juice away! Save the juices that come out of meats when you cook them. Often when you bake or roast meat, there is a certain amount of liquid that collects in the pain. Instead of throwing it away, pour into a container, skim fat if necessary, and refrigerate or freeze. Adding a bit of water to your meat to begin with will yield larger quantities. This way you will have a supply of broth, ready to use in your next recipe. Bear in mind, the flavour of spices will come through with this method. This is by far, my favourite method for broth as it does not require any extra effort for me to make. Note: Sometimes these liquids gel as they cool. There’s nothing wrong with this. Reheating will again, turn them into liquid form.

The flavour of using liquids from meat you have cooked yourself, with the kinds of spices you use all the time, tastes so much better than any broth you buy from the supermarket.

Use Soup Bones to Make Broth

Instant Vegetable Stock

Like my instant broth method, the instant vegetable stock method involves saving the liquid of vegetables that you’re already making anyway, and storing it in the fridge or freezer for another recipe. The key to this method is to use a minimal amount of water when cooking the vegetables to begin with to maximize flavour.

Vegetables for Making Broth

But what if you want to make broth from scratch?

If you’re a little more ambitious, and specifically want to make broth, or have a larger amount on hand, simply simmer any combination of bones, meat and vegetables for at least an hour, strain, and refrigerate or freeze. I like to use whole chicken carcasses. If you brown the bones first, you will get a darker, richer broth. You can always incorporate meat back in. This is especially good for soups and stews.

If I sound vague about exact amounts that’s because there is no right or wrong way to do this. It usually comes down to what you have on hand. Use your favourite vegetables, for example: carrots, celery, onion, leeks, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers and turnips.

Make Broth With the Instant Pot

Use your Instant Pot to make Broth. Shown here is 6 Quart Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot is another fast way to make broth from scratch. The beauty of using the Instant Pot is that you can simply set the timer and walk away. Don’t have an Instant Pot? I’ve written a blog post about this amazing little appliance!

Instant Pot Broth: Fill pot half full with bones. Add vegetables. Add enough water to cover, keeping the contents at least an inch below the max line. Add salt and seasonings if you prefer. Seal and set to manual for 120 minutes. Let depressurize naturally.

How do you make your broth? What vegetables and spices do you use? Let me know in the comments.