Stuffed Flounder with Scallops

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A few reasons I don’t prepare much seafood dishes at home:

-It’s expensive to buy

-I live in Ohio and don’t have the best access to fresh, local seafood (I lived in South F.L for 2 years and was spoiled by fresh off the boat seafood)

-Much of the seafood in the decent shops are far overpriced for what you’re getting and most of the seafood has been improperly cut up and it just doesn’t look the best to spend the money on.

I’m just vert picky when it comes to seafood. I’m also careful when ordering it while out at a restaurant, for example i’ll never order seafood on a Monday, I’ll also not order it at a place like Applebees (yes offence). There’s nothing worse than overcooked or old seafood!! Trust me, it’s hard to find places that offer the best seafood for an affordable price around here. Maybe I’m just being pretentious but I know good food.

It’s been a while since I’ve last had some good seafood so my friend and I randomly decided to make fish & scallops at home, rather than go out and spend a lot for sub par seafood. All together this meal cost around $30 to feed 2 people. Unfortunately the items pictured above were all purchased from out local grocery store so don’t judge me for using {frozen} Flounder and pre-made crab cakes. If you have access to fresh fish and crab meat, please please use that over what I used. Event though I didn’t use the freshest ingredients, this recipe still came out delicious!

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Pack (4) Flounder Filet’s {Fresh or frozen}, thawed
  • 2 (6oz) Crab Cakes, uncooked {Google recipe if you don’t have one} or buy pre-made from the store
  • 8 Small Scallops
  • EVOO
  • S&P, TT
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 350
  • Cover a sheet tray with foil, apply non-stick spray
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of salt & pepper on foil. Season both sides of the flounder filet’s with s&p, place skin side down on tray {placing 2 filet’s side by side}.
  • Top Flounder with 3 ounces of crab cake mix, press down onto filet to so it makes for easier rolling.ย 
  • Take the top of the 2 filet’s and roll down (so the flounder is folded over mix). Take 2 toothpicks and insert into filet’s to keep them from unwrapping during cooking.ย 
  • Sprinkle top of fish with Old bay and a small amount of EVOO, use your fingers to rub over entire filet.ย 
  • Place in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes or until fish is cooked all the way (Should feel firm to touch)
  • Use a fish spatula to remove from tray. If you don’t have one, substitute a firm spatula and carefully remove avoiding to break up the fish.ย 

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For the Scallops:

  • Using a Cast iron skillet, heat over high heat until hot.ย 
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of Evoo to pan, reduce heat to medium high (if pan begins to smoke, remove from the heat and let cool down for a minute before adding scallops)
  • Season both sides of the scallops with S&P, place into pan over medium high heat and allow to cook for 4.5 minutes or until the bottoms begin to turn golden brown. (about 2 minutes into cooking, using tongs, lift up scallops from pan to prevent them from sticking)
  • Once bottoms of scallops look golden brown, turn over and push them up to the top of the pan. Reduce heat to low.ย 
  • Add in butter and using a large spoon being to baste the scallops with butter for 2 minutes. Remove scallops from pan and place on top of a paper towel to soak up any moisture.ย *Note: Add in Crushed garlic cloves (skin on) and 1 sprig of fresh Rosemary and Thyme for additional basting flavor**
  • Serve fish and scallops with choice of sides. Take the remaining crab cake mix and cook off into mini crab cakes for an appetizer, or serve as a side option!
  • Enjoy!ย 

Homemade Fajita Seasoning

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I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 10 years now. I started in the back of the house ( kitchen) as a line cook and moved my way into the front of the house (dining room) as a banquet captain where I continue to grow in my career as a hospitality professional.

As a Chef, the greatest question I was asked, was what’s your favorite thing to cook? ย I’ve always had a passion for ethnic cuisine particularly Indian and Thai. I’ve become proficient in learning to cook the above regions, however those styles of food require a great deal more prep time, and ingredients into each dish. Leading to the decision of looking for a meal to prepare in 30 minutes or less, i.e Tacos.

I would say at least 70% of my diet revolves around tacos, chips & salsa (Tex-Mex) followed by the other 30% of rice based dishes in Indian, Thai and even Chinese cuisine given the time and cash money needed to prepare the more complicated recipes. I’ve always said the ways to my heart are as follows: 1.) Buy me tacos 2.) Make me tacos 3.) Be tacos. I guess you could say I’m basic! My all time favorite taco would have to be blackened Mahi Mahi but seems that I live in Ohio and can’t get the good fresh Mahi I was spoiled with having access to in South Florida, I’m going to settle with Skirt Steak tacos, which lead me to this recipe of {Steak} fajitas. I’m a firm believer that the best food is made from the ingredients that go into the dish starting with the seasonings. I’ve developed a recipe for a [common] fajita seasoning to first rub onto your steak and let sit for a minimum of 1 hour before grilling and making into a taco. Please feel free to adjust the measurements to your liking, I went a little heavier on cumin & paprika based on my taste liking. I find the best way to test your seasoning before rubbing it onto the final product is to take a very tiny spoonful to taste. From there you should be able to decide what you may need to add more of.

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Mise en Place:

  • 1 LB Skirt Steak
  • Tortillas of choice
  • Fajita toppings of Choice (Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Diced Tomatoes, Guacamole, etc
  • 1 Lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

For the Seasoning:

  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Hungarian Paprika (Smoked works wells too!)
  • 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin

Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1/2 Bundle Cilantro removed from the stems
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • S&P, TT

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Method of Prep:

  • Mix all spices into a small bowl until well incorporated. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • Place raw skirt steak into a large bowl. Rub well with seasoning mix on both sides. cover and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour up to 1 day.
  • For the Sauce:ย Add all ingredients into a vita mix (blender) and blend until mixed well, approximately 2 minutes on a lower speed, Set aside.
  • Add olive oil into bowl and rub over coated steak.
  • Toss steak onto a hot grill or sear in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side.
  • Allow meat to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Cut across the grain and serve in flour or corn tortilla shells. Add toppings of choice and garnish with chimichurri sauce.
  • Enjoy!

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Pear & Pecan Crumb Bars

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After being gone for a few months of blogging, I’m back! not like i’ll have a new post every week back, but i’ll aim for at least 2 a month and hopefully be able to keep adding more from there.ย 

If you enjoy most of my blog posts, you should follow me on Instagram @Theamanda.lassiter & like my facebook page: facebook.com/driven2eat

Were a few weeks shy of the official start of pear season, but so far many of the pears I’ve eaten have been fantastic! A nice fresh pear on it’s own cut up makes a great snack therefore, I don’t do too much with pears in recipes. I picked up a few pears that were a little unripe for my liking. They had a very starchy mouth feel & very little natural sweetness. To be fair, the pears weren’t pleasant to eat and I didn’t want to just throw them out. It took me two (2) days to think of how I could utilize the pears without wasting them. A few ideas that came to mind: infusing them in vodka, poaching them for a salad, or even blending them up for a smoothie…All basic ideas. I was pondering all this over a cup of coffee when a major sweet tooth & hunger craving hit me. I thought, what pairs well with coffee? Suddenly I thought about coffee shops and some of the menu items they offer. Soon after, the idea of coffee cake (duh) came to mind. Just like that, I played around with a few ideas & took the concept of a (apple) crisp and substituted pears, added more flour and some nuts, resulting in what I am calling a crumb cake (bars).

These are get them out of the house right now bars (They’re that good). This recipe is composed of three (3) parts: Shortbread crust on the bottom, cinnamon poached pears in the center, and a nut crumble on top make the perfect dessert for your coffee, day & night! Don’t be afraid to top with ice cream or drizzle with caramel sauce, I wont judge! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Mise en Place:

For the Crust:

-1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

-1/4 Cup AP Flour

-1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

For the filling:

-3 Pears, Peeled & Diced Small

-2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

-1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

For the Topping:

-1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

-1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1 Cup AP Flour

-1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

-1 Cup Chopped Pecans

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

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Method of Prep:

-Spray a 9×9 pan (I used a bread pan instead for a thicker, pie like crust on my bars). Preheat over to 350.

-Using the paddle attachment in your mixer, begin creaming your butter & sugar. Slowly add in the flour, salt and pecans. Press the crust into your pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

-While crust is baking, start on the filling. Add diced pears into a medium sauce pan. Cover with water. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until pears become translucent. Drain well.

-Next, start the topping. Cream the butter & sugar. Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should become crumbly.

-Take drained pears and add them into a mixing bowl. Add in cinnamon & sugar. Stir well.

-Remove crust from the oven. Carefully add pears (try to avoid getting extra liquid from the pears onto the crust).

-Add crumb topping. Bake for an additional 22-25 minutes or until the topping becomes golden brown.

-Cool completely in pan before slicing. (*Freeze up to 3 months if needed)

Enjoy!

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Honey & Lavender Oatmeal Soap

If you’re following me on Instagram @Amanda_manda12 you may have seen me post a sneak peek 2 weeks ago for homemade soap. It took me a few days just to figure out what scent of soap I wanted to do. I threw down a few ideas from Pumpkin Spice, Coffee & Cardamom to Blueberry Banana and French vanilla until my husband asked me if we were going to be eating the soap? I realized I was getting a little to crazy on “flavors” and decided to keep it simple.ย  I went with 2 very common natural soap scents and that is Honey & Lavender.

I’m always looking to try something new and have never worked with or used Goats milk soap before (I’ll explain the minor difficulties I came across as I get into the method of prep section). If you’re new to Raw Goat milk, one fact is, it’s very benefiting to your skin. Goat milk soap is excellent for people with dry, sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Some of the benefits goat milk contains is: Alpha hydroxy acids (lactic acid) which helps in removing dead skin cells from your skins surface, keeping your skin looking smoother and younger. Vitamins: particularly high in Vitamin A, which is necessary in repairing dead skin tissue and maintaining healthy skin. Cream: The cream that is present helps boost the moisturizing quality and will not dry your skin out like most other soaps particularly in the winter months.ย  Minerals: Selenium is believed by scientists to have an important role in preventing skin cancer. This can also help prevent damage to the skin from excessive time in the sun. As for the other 3 ingredients, I chose Raw Honey because it is full of antioxidants, moisturizing, and naturally antibacterial, also great for giving your skin a little glow and slowing down aging. Lavender: reduces anxiety and stress, improves sleep, restores skin complexion and reduces acne. Lastly, Oatmeal: Yields clean and clear skin, removes dead skin cells, tackles oily skin, a natural defoliant and is also good for sensitive skin.

So as you can see, this soap is probably one of the best things to use on yourself for healthy, younger looking skin. I found that this soap has its own kind of a natural soapy like scent, but I recommend adding a dash of essential oil to make it extra delicious! I haven’t had the opportunity to use this soap on my face yet, but it’s great for hand washing! You can happily make your own soap from scratch if your feeling spontaneous, but I’ve seen fight club and that’s enough for me to start soap making by using a pre-made base which can be found online or in craft stores for under $10/pound.

 

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 Bars of Soap/1lb

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Pound Block of Goats Milk Soap Base
  • Essential Oil of choice (I used French Vanilla)
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Oats
  • 2 Small Sprigs fresh Lavender, removed from stems
  • Soap Dye, optional (If you want a colored soap)
  • Soap Mold

Method of Prep:

  • Cut up the soap base into small cubes. Toss in a microwavable dish and melt for 30 Seconds. Stir and repeat until melted (I melted half the block first then added the second half and melted together).
  • Once the soap is completely melted (this part is tricky and you need to work fast as the longer the soap sits it begins to quickly solidify and you will have to melt again) Add in all the ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add in Coloring and mix.
  • Using a lightly greased soap mold, pour soap base in (If soap is beginning to lose it’s melted texture, toss back into microwave. I had to do this a few times because of how fast it was hardening).
  • Allow to sit in the molds at room temperature, untouched for a few hours until it is hardened again.
  • Take a shower ya filthy animal & ENJOY!!!

 

 

Framed Chalkboard

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The interwebs has so many fun and creative ideas for signage. I used to think dry erase boards were so fancy. You’d hang it up on the wall with the magnetic marker that would stick to the board and some of them even came with half of a cork board for pinning notes and pictures as well. These days, were way past cork and dry erase boards for writing cute notes to our loved ones, leaving a list of “to do’s” for the next day or even leaving a motivational quote for a quick reminder that you are awesome and life is good.

One style ofย  board that has become very popular is chalkboards. I still don’t quite understand the hype with chalkboards, but I do sort of like the look of them. Now the craft stores even have a chalk marker that makes writing on the boards look neater, in my opinion at least. Only thing I dislike about chalk markers, is when you go to erase the previous writing, it will sometimes leave a shadow of the lettering behind, so be careful when choosing to use the markers vs the chalk.

I personally love the framed chalkboard look. This was such a fast project to make and very inexpensive. Just another cute craft idea using old picture frames for great decor around the house. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Total Time: 30 Minutes-1 Day

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Picture frame (Size of your choice, Pictured above is an 8×10) *Also found frame from the thrift store, if looking to not spend a lot of money ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Flat White Primer (I used the Rustoleom Brand, in the aerosol can found at Home Depot)
  • Black Chalkboard Paint (See above)
  • 1 Large Paint Brush
  • Newspaper

Method of Prep:

  • Remove the glass from the picture frame, set frame aside.
  • Working on top of the newspaper, first clean the glass of any dirt then dry completely. Once dry, spray on primer. Let dry for 20 minutes then spray on a second coat and allow to sit overnight. (If in a rush to finish this in one day, just make sure primer is completely dry based off instructions on primer bottle before turning to the next step).
  • After primer has sat for a bit, paint on the first coat of chalkboard paint. Allow to dry completely and then add on a second coat. (Be sure to paint in the same direction for both coats. You will see paint brush lines left behind once dry, there’s nothing to really change that as far as I’m aware and wont effect the writing on the board at all).
  • After chalkboard paint has dried, you can now reassemble your picture frame and being to write on it as you please.
  • Enjoy!
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**Note: If you’ve never worked with chalkboard paint or primer before, please be sure to read the instructions on the bottles before using them to make sure you are using the right brand that will work on glass, how to use and how long drying time may take.