Thursday Night Menu: Tropical Nights Edition

Had a little trouble deciding what to post tonight. We’ve been pretty busy at work and we are all a bit tired, when I asked the guys what I should post, ordering pizza instead of cooking won out.

I pulled three different menus before I decided on a little taste of Sanibel Island. I like the fresh flavors in this menu and I really enjoy tuna and swordfish.

The Butter Pecan Turtle Bars are as decadent as they sound, and a breeze to make.

On the board tonight:

  1. Fish Tacos
  2. Black Bean Tropical Salad
  3. Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Fish Tacos

  • 1 large mango, peeled & chopped
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • ½ tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

bowl, foil, platter

Combine mango, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno in bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp limejuice and set aside.  Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven or on the grill (keep away from coals) Drizzle remaining limejuice over fish, sprinkle with jerk and grill or broil for 5 to 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Cut fish into chunks, fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the fish, fruit mixture and lettuce. Serves 4

Black Bean Tropical Salad

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, washed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained

serving bowl

Seed & slice peppers & jalapenos. Add everything to serving bowl and toss with dressing.

*easiest way to slice an avocado is to cut in half, remove pit, cut cubes with a knife, then scoop out.

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

In jar or mixing cup, mix all ingredients together well.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

well oiled 9×13 baking dish, bowl, saucepan

Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust.

Topping: In small saucepan, combine brown sugar & butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Also: lemon juice, limejuice, Jamaican jerk seasoning, light olive oil, crushed garlic

Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Summer Edition

Homemade Tortilla Bowls and Southwestern Salad

One of my favorite things to do is have salad in tortilla shell salad bowls. I have 4 heat-resistant (Pyrex) bowls – 1.5 to 2.5 qt bowls work best – that I use to make my tortilla bowls.  I lightly oil tortillas, place one in each bowl, so it takes on a bowl shape. I bake them at 425° until bowls are toasted golden, 7 to 12 minutes.

Alternately, there are tortilla bowl forms you can buy if you’re inclined and at the store recently I also saw pre-cooked tortilla bowls – though I would check the fat content on those, it could be very high, since they may be deep-fried. Also, you can make foil bowls, lightly oiled and use those as your forms, that works pretty well. You don’t need the foil to come up to the top of the tortilla shell, about half-way up will allow the tortilla to keep its shape while it bakes.

Whatever way you choose, this is a nice salad to fill them with:

Southwestern Taco Salad

  • 4 tortilla bowls
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cubed or 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 pkg. fajita seasoning mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 oz sliced black olives
  • 6 oz canned corn, drained
  • 14 oz black beans, drained
  • 8 oz salsa
  • 8 oz ranch dressing
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese

skillet

Heat oil in skillet and sauté onions, add chicken and brown for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add fajita seasoning and water. Stir and let simmer on medium-low heat.

Layer ¼ ea: lettuce, tomato, olives, beans & chicken in tortilla bowls. Mix salsa & ranch dressing together, add some to salad & garnish with cheese. Serve.

Quick and Easy Saturday Night Dinner

Still tired of cooking, so I’m relying on uncomplicated meals.  Tonight will be very simple, but very tasty:

  1. Peppered Sirlion
  2. Baked Potatoes
  3. Tossed Salad

Peppered Sirloin:  About an hour or more before cooking, coat 1 lb of sirloin with 2 tsp crushed garlic and fresh ground pepper.  This will be a thick coating of pepper, giving the steak a light crust when broiled (or grilled if weather permits).  Refrigerate until it’s time to broil.  I’m broiling for 5 minutes each side for a rare steak.  Let it sit for 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving, as you would a roast.

Baked Potatoes: Scrub 4 large potatoes well, dry completely, rub with olive oil and coarse salt.  Place 2 potatoes each on metal skewers and bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  Remove from oven just before broiling steak.

Tossed salad:  Tonight will be butter lettuce, red lettuce, spinach, snow peas and jicama tossed with Thousand Island dressing.