Month: July 2015

Walleye Tacos With a Roasted Corn Peach Salsa!

My neighbors are awesome fishermen and who do you think gets a bag of fresh caught fish after the trip? The neighborhood food blogger of course. Ha! Thank you so much! The fresh walleye I was given this week soaked up the marinade beautifully and made a delicious base for some fresh fish tacos.


I made a totally amazing roasted corn and peach salsa by cutting spicy pan roasted corn on the cob off the cob and adding the sweet flavors of a diced peach, a small onion, and a handful of chopped chives. Fresh squeezed lime juice pulled it all together!


Seriously, Pittsburgh might just have a new “thing”…fish tacos!
Fish tacos are most definitely one of my favorite dishes to order out in Pittsburgh.  Believe it or not,  many of our restaurants have nailed a fabulous fish taco entreé! Some of my favorites…Penn Avenue Fish Company, Kaya, Täkõ, and Round Corner Cantina. All totally exceptional! Of course I make them at home, too!


Walleye Fish Tacos
1-1/2 lb. raw walleye fillets
1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin



Cube raw walleye.


Mix lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, and cumin in a mixing bowl.

Add walleye cubes, coat with marinade and refrigerate.


Heat a pan and cook walleye cubes until just cooked through- pink turns white and flake with a fork.

Roasted Corn and Peach Salsa
2 corn on the cob
1 peach, chopped
2 pats butter
2 tsp. cayenene pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp.cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 lime


Roast buttered corn in a pan or on the grill until desired doneness.
Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Cut corn off the cob after it cools a bit.


Add onion, chives, cilantro or parsley to corn.


Squeeze the juice of one lime into bowl.

Fish Taco Sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. sriracha

Mix together and add more or less sriracha to taste


Build your taco with your favorite flour tortilla.
Add the roasted corn and peach salsa, and top with sriracha sauce.



Sushi 101!


I totally love sushi! Beautiful colorful sushi rolls, the variety of fresh fish, and the artistic presentation most definitely put sushi making into the art category. Having never attempted to making sushi myself, last week I had the opportunity to take a Sushi making class- part of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program.

My first roll ever! Ahhh!



The talented Chef Aaron Hoover led the class by demonstrating and explaining each step. I attended with my food blogger friend Tasha from The Food Tasters Pittsburgh. We started with the sushi, the rice.


So sushi rice, a Japanese rice, is cooked, then mixed with a heated vinegar- sugar -salt mixture. The mixture is added while the rice is being fanned to cool it down to create a shiny rice.


We each had our own stations set-up and prepped with cutting boards, knives, sushi must-haves (pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi), and mixing bowls with bright vegetables and fish to add to our sushi rolls.


We chopped a few of the vegetables with Chef Aaron’s instruction. It’s always really cool to see how a pro chef chops a bell pepper. Bonus! You don’t even need to pick out the seeds his way. Just chop the sides of the pepper on the indents leaving the top, all of the seeds, and fleshy middle in tact as the waste. Voila! Awesome!


We made various types of sushi, maki, futomaki, temaki, nigiri, and gunkan sushi. A bamboo rolling mat was provided and we got to take it home!




Inside Out Rolls look so beautiful! Especially with the addition of some black sesame seeds.
I know super fancy, right?

Cones – Temaki Sushi




We even learned how to prepare miso soup! By including stories of Japanese culture, explaining Japanese cooking ingredients, and making the sushi class fun, Chef Aaron was a great instructor. I loved this class and can’t wait to explore other new genres of cooking! Cajun, Creole, and Chinese to name a few! We ate and took home a ton of sushi, recipes, and instructions!


The best part for me…we didn’t have to clean up! HA! Just cook and take your sushi home, leaving the mess.

Other offerings include photography, art, and fashion!
Check out The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program!

Does your city offer these “creative” classes? I would love to hear about it!


I was invited to attend the Art Institute’s Get Creative Sushi Class free of charge.  All thoughts in this article are my own. You know me- If I don’t have anything nice to say, I don’t say anything at all.

Honey Garlic Jalapeño Chicken!

Fall-off-the-bone, juicy, flavorful chicken thighs are the absolute best! Since most of the time we don’t meal plan one day ahead, a long marination process can seem impossible. By using a robust marinade, you can easily create a depth of flavor without the 8 hour marination process. By robust, of course I mean garlic, a hint of jalapeño, and honey for sweetness. A quick coating is all it takes!


I suggest grilling the thighs. If you live in Pittsburgh it’s impossible because it rains everyday! You can brown them in a pan like I did. The great thing is the thighs get completely smothered in gooey deliciousness and finished off in the oven, so either works. The marinade actually reduces to a thick sticky coating in the pan, totally ideal for chicken thighs.


I utilized the left over pan goo to pan sear the corn on the cob…this was genius.


Robust garlic and honey flavors with a hint of jalapeño is perfection on corn!!!


All I added was a coating of butter, a shake of paprika, and some finely chopped parsley for a fancy finish.


Garlic Honey Jalapeño Chicken
(makes 6-8 chicken thighs)

1/3 cup honey
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil- 2 tbsp. marinade/ 1 tbsp. for pan
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Handful of chopped parsley or cilantro
6-8 chicken thighs, skin on or off and rinsed


Mix all ingredient together in a mixing bowl.


Coat chicken thighs in a ziploc bag or 9X13 pan to marinate.


Heat oven 350 degrees.
(Overnight or all day is best …if you have time! This marinade is strong so it is not absolutely necessary.)

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan.

Remove thighs from marinade and add to the pan. Keep excess marinade!


Brown thighs on each side 3-4 minutes per side.

Remove thighs from pan and add to a 9X13 baking dish.


Pour excess marinade over thighs.

Cover with foil and bake 35-45 minutes, make sure juices run clear. Chicken will be “fall off the bone” yum!

Especially if skin-on, crisp the thighs under the broiler for 5-7 minutes until desired crispness.

Let stand 5-10 minutes and serve!



I serve these delicious thighs with Pan Seared Corn on the Cob!(See directions above in intro.)
These two dishes are delicious! Both stars of the meal!


Bun-less Meatball Sliders With A Parmesan Crisp!

Perfect as an appetizer or dinner, these bun-less meatball sliders bring together the flavors of meatballs in sauce topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese without the tradition. Ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a parmesan crisp create a clean and colorful stack of deliciousness.

Seriously, who needs the bun? And, seriously, who can live in this world without parmesan crisps? Parmesan crisps take 5 minutes to make and, like a great pair of earrings, they dress up everything!



Bun-less Meatball Sliders
Makes 6-8- 3 inch sliders


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
2 tbsp. basil, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic,finely chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs


Add all ingredients and mix well by hand.

Form into 3 inch balls and flatten slightly so that the top plateaus.

Place on a foil covered pan 2 inches apart.

Bake 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes until desired doneness, flipping half way.

Whole Basil Leaves
Ripe Tomatoes, sliced

Parmesan Crisps-
Spoon 1-2 tbsp. parmesan cheese in piles approx. 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined pan.



Bake 4-5 mins. until golden- just starting to brown.


Let cool.


Peel crisp from paper.

Build bun-less meatball sliders by topping the meat patty with one slice of tomato, a few basil leaves, and a parmesan crisp on top!


Serve and Enjoy!!


Vegetarian Mexican Manicotti!

Most nights, dinner at our house is an unplanned fridge raid pantry raid mashup. Sometimes I’m missing an ingredient that I want to use and dinner morphs into something a little different. So the day I didn’t have tortillas, but I did have manicotti shells? Yep, Mexican Manicotti… and it is totally delish!


By making a sweet but spicy pineapple jalapeño salsa base, the stuffed manicotti shells can actually be cooked right in a large saucepan. No need to turn on the oven, this light, vegetarian, perfect-for-summer meal is sure to be a family favorite! The dish even looks beautiful. The colors create an amazing presentation!


Shhhhhhhh! Packed with powerful vitamins and protein, Mexican Manicotti is super healthy, too!!

Vegetarian Mexican Manicotti
(makes 12)

1 (12) of your favorite manicotti shells- boiled until al dente
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1 medium jalapeño pepper , chopped
1/2 cup black beans- soaked and boiled or canned beans, drained
1-1/2 cup shredded cheese- monterey jack and cheddar blend (1/2 filling 1/2 topping)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (1/2 filling 1/2 topping)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chopped green onions
salt/pepper to taste


Drain manicotti and let dry on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil to keep them from sticking.


In a large saucepan, combine canned tomatoes, garlic, crushed pineapple, and chopped jalapeños.


In a mixing bowl, combine black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Gently stir to mix well.


Carefully fill manicotti shells with black bean mixture.


Place filled manicotti shells in sauce pan – 1 inch apart.


Cover with pineapple salsa from bottom of pan.

Cook 8-10 mins. until bubbly.

Cover with cheese and cook an additional 5 mins. until melted.


Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro and serve!

This recipe is soooooo great you probably won’t have leftovers…We never do!!