Category Archives: Seafood

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like The Middle of February

Seriously, 11 degrees below zero in the middle of December?  Two major snowstorms? Is the universe trying to stop Plaid Christmas?!  Because nothing stops Plaid Christmas. Nothing!

All right, well, the weather did move the first Plaid Christmas back by a week. But I’ll give you the recipes now because now next week I’m doing two Plaid Christmases (Christmasi??) in two days. So not likely going to feel like recipe writing. And thanks to The Block

we did an impromptu practice Plaid Christmas last night when the original got pushed back.

However, moving Plaid Christmas One closer to Plaid Christmas Two allowed me to go to a cookie exchange yesterday.

Twas a bittersweet cookie exchange though to honor our dear friends, the Harrisons, who are moving back to Australia. The Block will be all the less kind, funny and joyful without them. *stupid computer got something in my eyes again*

For the exchange I made these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

We tried multiple toppings and all agreed sanding sugar was a better topping than sprinkles. But everyone loved them, even Drummer Boy, who is not a big cookie eater.

However, those cookies were incorrectly attributed by me on Instagram to What’s Gaby Cooking. So to make up for it, I made her Molasses Cookies. Couldn’t be easier.  Used a scant two tablespoon cookie scoop and cooked 2 minutes longer than the recipe called for.

As a gift for the hostess and a snack for Plaid Christmas (one cannot exist on Chex Mix alone. JK – yes you can) I made these Union Square Cafe Nuts via Smitten Kitchen.  Only thing I did different is reduced the cayenne pepper a little. Glad I did, they still have heat at the end, but not overwhelming.

On to the meal. Totally pulled a Rachel from Friends – a layer of jelly, a layer of ground beef – when making GF meatballs and marinara sauce simultaneously.  I started the meatballs, paused probably to tell the cat to get off the table, then looked up a the meatball recipe and continued. That is, until I got to the “add a whole can of tomatoes”. That seemed wrong. Yep, was following the marinara recipe in the middle of the meatball recipe.

I soldiered on though, and what a happy accident indeed. So I present to you:

Accidental Gluten Free Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1/3 heaping cup of gluten free panko crumbs
scant 1/4 cup of milk (I actually used a little less)
1/2 TBSP dried parsley
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBSP finely minced onion
1 egg
2 TBSP olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl with your hands until fully incorporated. Shape in to balls with about 2-3 tablespoons of meat per meatball. Heat oil in a skillet and add meatballs. Brown, turning very gently, until browned all over.  Place meatballs on a greased baking pan and cook until done, about 15-20 minutes. These can be chilled and reheated in the sauce.

Plaid Christmas will include Skinnytaste’s Crockpot Bolognese Sauce and Two Peas and Their Pod’s Slow Cooker Marinara.  That way we take care of the meat eaters, the vegetarians, the gluten free crowd and the butter noodles crowd. Trying a new GF pasta, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Will also be making the world’s easiest Rosemary Roast Salmon that I’ve talked about before. The only thing I do differently is mix olive oil with dijon mustard and pinch of chopped rosemary and rub it over the salmon before putting the lemons on. It’s a hit every time and can be prepped ahead and kept in the fridge.  Thanks to The Block for taking care of yesterday’s salmon with gusto

all the while not being allowed in the front room or dining room because I had already set the tables before Plaid Christmas was moved. So it was a cozy practice Plaid Christmas.

In between all these festivities, we had one of the best School of Rock shows to date. Drummer Boy, Guitar Boy and friend and neighbor Singer Girl were all in the Motown band together and they killed it.

See Kevin’s Facebook account for some video footage if you are interested. Or I can send you some, I only have like 40GB of video though #proud parent.

I would be remiss in all my talk about Plaid Christmas – which, by the way, I’ve been planning for 4 years because that’s the McNamara Christmas rotation – if I did not link to one of the funniest annual features on the internet.  The 2016 Hater’s Guide to The Williams-Sonoma Catalog.  Even though it is a little close to home this year (ok I know he’s making fun of me), it still is one of my favorite reads. Not safe for delicate eyes though.

May Santa bring you all a Murder Vacuum.   Have a great holiday everyone.


Trying to be Organized

Inspired by, but nowhere near as cool as Shutterbean’s Meal Prep, the last two Sundays I have tried to pre-prep a number of items so that I would be all “Weeknight dinner ready in 10 minutes boys!” during the week. Erp. Didn’t exactly go down that way. But, I did shave some time off my game.

As much as I like to cook, I have a confession. I can’t stand leftovers. There, it’s out there. Once it is cooked and eaten, I really don’t want that dish again for a long while. Thankfully Kevin likes leftovers, so there is no waste. But it also means I don’t tend to repeat the same meal within a month.  So I have also tried to use Sundays to make a big meal where I can freeze half for another time at least a month later. That should save some time during the winter blahs in terms of getting a decent dinner on the table.

Enough yakkity-yakking.

The first Sunday, I made Short Rib Pasta Sauce from How Sweet It Is.  Divine!


Added bonus: Pizza Mike made The Pioneer Woman’s Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes. He did the batter and home and brought it here to cook and it worked just fine. An awesome treat with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (which I would have a picture of, but every time we topped one – swipe! it was gone).


Froze half of the short rib pasta sauce for another day. While that cooked, I made garlic confit (garlic cloves roasted in 2/3 cup grape seed covered in a dish in a 250 oven for 1.5 hours – cool completely and store in airtight jar in fridge for a week), chopped parsley and cut up vegetables for salads.


Next day, used oil and half the parsley in Garlic Walnut Pasta.


Garlic Walnut Pasta

4 TBSP garlic olive oil or just regular olive oil
1 cups walnut pieces
2 cloves minced garlic (one if you used garlic olive oil)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan
kosher salt to taste
3/4 lb linguine

Prepare pasta to al dente, reseve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain. Heat oil in a frying or sauté pan.  Add walnuts and toast, stirring, for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and basil and stir until softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Add pasta to the pan and toss with tongs to coat.  Add cheese and stir and finish with the parsley.

Then two days later, I used the parsley and some chopped basil to make a salmon dish


Parmesan Herb Crusted Salmon
adapted from Add a Pinch

1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp garlic oil (or olive oil plus a dash of garlic powder)
salt and pepper to taste
2 6 oz salmon filets

Heat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with foil.  Place salmon skin side down on the foil and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover loosely with either foil or parchment (preferred) and bake for 10 minutes. Combine first four ingredients in a bowl until they hold together. If too loose, add a dash more oil.

Remove salmon from oven and take cover off. Press the cheese mixture onto the top until it adheres. Put back in oven for about 10 minutes more or until fish is cooked through and top is all melted. If you would like the top to brown a little more, feel free to put it under the broiler for a few minutes. Me, I’m afraid of the broiler. I feel like if I take my eyes off of it for three seconds BAM!, burnt. But you do what you need to do.

Then the next Sunday I became all things tomato. I made Pioneer Woman’s Stuffed Shells and froze half. I cooked chicken breasts.


Then I took the chicken off the bone and shredded it. Helpful hint from How Sweet It Is. If you ever need to shred a bunch of chicken, put it in a bowl and use your hand mixer. Yep, pinky-swear it works.

final1453638603261Used the shredded chicken to make tacos (mix with cumin and chili powder or just package of taco seasoning and a dash of chicken stock if your chicken is too dry).  Add some cotija cheese or queso fresco, lettuce or slaw of your choice and a squeeze of lime and wrap in a toasted corn or flour tortilla). final1453638824493Using many of the same ingredients, made a slow cooker batch of The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tortilla Soup and froze half (without the tortillas or cheese in it).


And since the slow cooker was out anyway, and by now I had bronchitis and a sinus infection – I’m so pretty!!! – I only wanted more soup so I made Two Peas and Their Pod’s Creamy Tomato Soup with Orzo  with grilled gruyere cheese sandwiches. Freezer’s getting full!

final1453642002480Used the various precut vegetables in salads or as sides. Used orzo as a side to the salmon, froze the extra and then used in the soup. Froze a lot of rice too. So in February I’ll have some freezer meals ready to go.

Speaking of February, if your potted Christmas tree from the grocery store is still going strong, rewrap that baby, add some cookie cutters and make that poor shrub feel seasonal again!

final1453638727816Yep, those are cat paws to the right. Skunk the Cat – always helping.


Have a great week everyone.

Fish and Hawks

I can’t remember if I’ve shared this before, but my go-to salmon recipe is Ken and Cally’s Salmon. Yes, that’s an interesting name for a recipe, but back in our late 20s/early 30s, if anyone cooked for anyone else, they got a recipe named after them. That’s just the way it was in the olden days. So Ken and Cally made us this salmon, and history was made. Cally continues to make history by being an amazing fashion designer who makes all her clothes right here in the good ol’ U S of A.

See her awesome stuff here –  Kal Reiman

Ken and Cally’s Salmon

1/3 cup mirin (sweetened sake – make sure its the darker one)
1/3 cup low sodium tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground ginger
3 dashes toasted sesame oil
3/4 lb – 1 lb salmon fillet

Combine all ingredients. If you want more sauce, just up the proportions, the main liquids are all equal proportion. You then can either pour some of the sauce into a tray made from foil, put salmon in flesh side down and then wrap it up as a package and grill for about 20 minutes. Or, you can pour it into a glass dish, put the salmon in skin side down, cover in foil and cook in a 375 oven for 15 minutes with foil on, 10 minutes foil off.  Serve over rice,  If you have extra sauce (usually from the foil – it can’t hold it all) you should boil it down for about 5 minutes to concentrate the flavor. We love this dish, it has lots of healthy ingredients.

Sadly, it does not photograph well as a finished product. So I will spare you the orange/beige details.

And instead, present you with this:

Congratulations Chicago Blackhawks. And thanks to the neighbors who, at least this time, didn’t call the police on children banging pots and pans at 10:30 at night to celebrate! We salute you.

Everybody Cut, Everybody Cut

Everybody cut Footloose! The movie Footloose** seems to have made a comeback with the tween crowd, so much so that Drummer Boy took it upon himself to learn the drums to the song on his own and play it for a friend.


So with slightly better weather, and since someone is upstairs playing my 1985 jam, I thought I’d be a little loose by going with no actual recipe for a big tuna steak. Not from a recipe? Jump back!

My favorite easy-peasy literal lemon-squeezy recipe when I don’t know what to do:  Board Dressing. You can do this with whatever you can find on hand that goes well together and with whatever kind of meat or fish you have.***  I had a large lemon, 3 frozen crushed garlic cloves (yay Trader Joes!), 1/2 cup fresh parsley,  a few stray basil leaves, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Chop it all up in a pile on a cutting board:


Juice the lemon into the pile and pour about a 1/4 cup of olive oil into the mix, Push about a quarter of the pile onto a plate where you will ultimately put the finished, grilled tuna. Take uncooked tuna steak and roll it around in the board dressing.


Then grill until desired level of doneness.  For a thick one like this, it took about 18 minutes. While it is still hot, put it on the plate or new board with the remaining dressing and turn to coat.   Try it and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Or if you are my sister, just salt it without even trying it.  You’re just that sure.


Served with mixed rice blend and carrots.   Now go cut a rug or thrash about in a warehouse.  Your choice.

**  The real Footloose, not the remake.  I love me some Blake Shelton on The Voice, but Blake, that song did not need to be re-sung.   Let Kenny Loggins shine forever.

***  My husband believes that by my owning this book:


it makes me the equivalent level of nerd as he is, just a food nerd. I ask you, even if there were the food equivalent of the comic book store to hang out in on Saturdays with the boys playing Hero-Clix, and I created DIY my own food Hero-Clix figure, wouldn’t we just call that “a restaurant”?  I know you guys are with me on this one, right?

New Feature – This Week in Alliteration – What Worked Well

New feature – this will be where I post which recipes of the prior week worked out the best.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get dinner on the table 4 out of the 7 days of week.  Really more like 4 out of 6 because Pizza Night lives on. And really 4 out of 5 because the boys have band practice on Thursdays until after 9:00. So really, I’m killin’ it.

Hopefully this leads to healthier choices (less take out) and can also remind me as to what recipes we liked rather than searching all my various Field Notes planners.

Last week in the sub-zero wind chill, this Cream of Tomato Soup from SmittenKitchen hit the spot.  Accompanying it were grilled cheese and prosciutto sandwiches. Trader Joe’s makes a gruyere/white cheddar combo cheese that makes a really good grilled cheese.  Also, grate your cheese instead of slicing when making grilled cheese because then it melts faster and the bread won’t get overly toasted.  Hmmm, grate your cheese sounds like a saying about being mad at someone (“That Helen in Accounting, she really grates my cheese”).

I don’t have a picture, but I also made this Roasted Almond Crusted Salmon from HowSweetEats. Now to act like a recipe commenter by telling you about a recipe I like and then making changes**, I didn’t have regular breadcrumbs so I used all Panko and added ¼ teaspoon dried oregano and a dash of onion salt. Nor did I make the glaze but instead served with lemon risotto. I cooked it on a rack on a baking sheet as directed and it was deliciously crispy.

**  Still the funniest recipe-commenters-out-of-control moment is chronicled in the article, “Rainbow Cake Inspires Comment Apocalypse” at Deadspin.  If you haven’t read it, please do.  I’m laughing just typing the article’s name.

If that’s too much reading, you can always head over to and read the reviews for the Ice Cube recipe.