June 23, 2010

:: pantry raid - fish tacos ::

this is one of my current favorite go-to meals. super quick, easy, nutritional and inexpensive. i mean REALLY inexpensive.

i'll start with the "necessities" and then move on to the add-ons.

the fish:
i use tilapia from the bag. 1 fillet is normally enough for 2 tacos. thaw the fish, remove from the pouch. place in a hot pan with a little olive oil (or non-stick spray for no additional calories). i only season with pepper and whatever other spices move me in the moment (garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin). i don't like salt, so i don't add salt, but you can. a little seasoning is plenty for this because you'll have other seasonings in other components. all together, it's a flavorful dish. cook the fish, separating/flaking it as it cooks.

tortilla shell:
i don't use anything special. i have these in my fridge pretty much all the time (great for quesadillas (which i never make) and with hummus and veggies). but you can get low-carb or spinach or some other special sort of tortilla. place a small bowl with water in the microwave, put tortilla on top. once the fish has finished cooking, turn the microwave on for 10-20 seconds to warm. the water just helps steam/soften it - you don't have to do that part.

now you could be done. you could go ahead and spread some sour cream, salsa, lettuce, cabbage, cheese and the fish on the tortilla, roll and eat. but i like one (if not both) of these other things on mine. to me, these MAKE the tacos. and both of these things are great pantry raid "recipes" because i pretty much always have (most of) the ingredients on hand. (and so should you.)

this is a new thing for me to make, but i LOVE it. i've made it twice recently, two different ways. here i will tell you how i made it tonight because it was really easy. (so was the other time, but i don't really remember what i did.) put all of the following into your blender. chop everything choppable (except tomatoes). doesn't need to be finely chopped since you're using the blender. just make sure everything is about the same size so that it all blends somewhat evenly.
+ 1 large can of whole tomatoes. i had accidentally bought whole the other day and i knew i wouldn't use those for anything else, but you can use diced or petite diced. or fresh, even. i did throw my first itty bitty homegrown tomato in there, too!
+ 2 bell peppers. i used 1 red, 1 orange. you can use whatever you like/have
+ half a cucumber. i kept the peel on, but you can remove, if you prefer
+ 1/4 - 1/2 red onion
+ parsley, cilantro, chives, lemon and/or lime zest, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, minced garlic (fresh if you have it), allspice, old bay all to taste. (start small and add to it as needed.)
+ lemon juice, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, tasbasco (or schlotzsky's hot sauce if that happens to be what you have!), sriracha (just a couple of drops! add more if you like heat), and red wine vinegar all to taste, too.

blend. i used the chop setting. then, as i added more seasonings i used the stir setting or stirred by hand to avoid losing the chunkiness.

note that unless you are going to eat this as gazpacho -the soup- you will not want it super liquid-y, so you have to have a lighter hand with the liquids and keep the solids a little chunkier (and then you get both gazpacho-the-taco-condiment and gazpacho-the-soup!).

texas/redneck caviar bean dip:
i make this a lot. so many uses for me. a great go-to thing to have in the fridge. CANNOT make a little bit at a time so i always have plenty to go around. put the following things in a bowl:
+ 1 can garbanzo beans
+ 1 or 2 cans whole kernel corn
+ 1 can black beans (i can't stand black eyed peas, but you can add 1 can of those, too)
+ canned tomatoes or rotel. for the amount of beans/corn i just mentioned, i would probably do 2 cans of diced tomatoes or 3 cans of rotel.
+ 1/2 - 1 white onion
+ spring onions & colored bell peppers are great in this, too
+ the same dry seasonings as above - parsley, cilantro, garlic, chives, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, paprika - and chili powder
+ zesty italian salad dressing. the longer the dip sits, the more everything soaks up the liquid, so do a little more than you might think you need (or just add to it later).

mix together. cover & refrigerate.

add more cayenne or hot sauce for added heat. add some lime juice for added zest.

back to the tacos:
i take the flat tortilla, spread a little light sour cream (teaspoon or so), then spread the gazpacho and/or bean dip on top of that. then i add some shredded cheese, shredded red cabbage (my 2nd favorite part of this!), squeeze some lemon or lime juice on that, then put the fish on top of it all. roll halfway, fold in the ends, roll some more and chow down.

enjoy...and post comments if you have questions or feedback!

this post has not been proofread, so please excuse any typos you might find! i just wanted to hurry and get it up before i slacked off.

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