Air Fryer Fish Sticks

These homemade Air Fryer Fish Sticks are crispy, golden brown and deliciously seasoned. Use either cod or salmon fillets to create this healthy, super family friendly meal. Alternate oven directions included!

Fish sticks on a cutting board with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

The first time I made these homemade Air Fryer Fish Sticks I used some frozen cod fillets I had picked up from Costco. They were unbelievably good and I thought, done and done… let’s get this recipe published! Well, this week I gave them another go with frozen salmon fillets and oh-me, oh-my, they were crazy DELICOUS! Like, seriously restaurant quality. I will be making these easy fish sticks on the regular.

The moral of this story is, use what you have access to, use what you love but whatever you do, make these Air Fryer Fish Sticks ASAP!

A stack of Air Fryer Fish Sticks and a jar of tartar sauce.

Ingredient Notes

The ingredients for making Air Fryer Fish Sticks with text overlay.
  • Fish fillets – You’ll need boneless, skinless fish fillets. I’ve tested this recipe with both cod and salmon and both were incredible. Cod is a more economical choice but I have to say that the salmon fish sticks blew me away. SO good! I always have a couple of different varieties of frozen fish fillets from Costco in my freezer. They are super high quality and come individually vacuum sealed which is super convenient. If frozen, the fish must be fully thawed before beginning.
  • Flour – I use all-purpose flour.
  • Eggs – You’ll need 3 large eggs.
  • Panko – Unseasoned panko bread crumbs are the best choice for breading and frying. They are made from white bread without the crust and have a larger grain than regular bread crumbs. The texture is light and airy and they will crisp to a perfect golden brown in the air fryer.
  • Salt and pepper – Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Old Bay – This classic seafood seasoning blend has a distinct flavor that enhances seafood in just the right way. Old Bay Seasoning contains celery salt, a variety of other spices and a good amount of paprika which helps enhance the color of the breading.
  • Parsley – You want to go with dried parsley for the best result.
  • Garlic powder – To add even more flavor to the breading.
  • Nonstick spray – Most manufacturers warn that cooking spray with propellants can damage the nonstick coating of an air fryer basket over time. Instead, use a propellant free nonstick cooking spray. I like Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray, which is readily available at most major grocery stores and online. You can also use an oil mister and refill it with your own cooking oil, if preferred. Just be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point like canola or avocado oil.
  • Tartar sauce – I recommend mixing up a batch of my Homemade Tartar Sauce. It really elevates these Air Fryer Fish Sticks to restaurant quality.
  • Lemon – Serve the fish sticks with lemon wedges on the side.
Fish sticks on a cutting board with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

How to Make Air Fryer Fish Sticks

Prepare the Fish and Breading Ingredients

  1. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels. Cut them lengthwise into approximately 1- x 4-inch strips. I cut my cod fillets into 3 strips each for a total of 12 strips.
  2. Season the fish with salt and a little pepper, to taste.
  3. In a shallow dish, I use glass pie dishes, mix together the flour and remaining salt and pepper. In a 2nd dish, beat the eggs. In a 3rd dish, combine the panko, Old Bay Seasoning, parsley, and garlic powder.

The Dry Hand-Wet Hand Breading Method

This classic method of breading is used for all kinds of foods and works perfectly for this recipe. One hand is designated the “dry hand” and the other the “wet hand”. This helps to keep your ingredients free from debris and your hands cleaner.

The wet hand dry hand breading method is demonstrated.
  1. Starting with the dry hand, coat each piece of fish with the seasoned flour.
  2. Using the same hand, set the flour coated fish down in the egg mixture. Switch to the wet hand to coat all sides of the fish in the beaten egg, allowing any excess to drip off and back into the dish.
  3. Use the wet hand to move the piece of fish over to the seasoned bread crumbs. Switch back to the dry hand to coat it well with bread crumbs on all sides. Transfer the breaded fish stick to a sheet of parchment paper or foil and repeat with the remaining fish sticks. You will probably find that you need to stop and wash your hands once or twice during the process. But, it works like a charm as long as you remember which hand is which!

Air Fry the Fish Sticks

Fish sticks are coated with propellant free cooking spray and cooked in an air fryer.

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.

  1. Coat the basket of the air fryer with propellant free nonstick spray.
  2. Spray the tops of the breaded fish sticks with nonstick cooking spray and place them in the preheated air fryer, leaving a little space in between.
  3. Cook at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping the fish halfway through the cooking time.

To keep your first batch warm while cooking the rest, place them on a baking sheet and transfer them to a 200 degree F oven.

A jar of tartar sauce in the middle of fish sticks.

Conventional Oven Instructions

The only downside that I’ve found to air frying is the need to cook in batches due to the limited capacity. If you are cooking for more than 4 people (like me every night!), you can cook a large batch of these fish sticks all at once in the oven to save time. The air fryer does a better job of replicating the frying process to create a super crispy, golden brown result, but oven-fried fish sticks are also very good.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place the breaded fish sticks on the prepared baking sheet and spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use tongs to flip the fish sticks (be sure to clos the oven door – you want it to stay HOT in there). Spray the tops with additional nonstick cooking spray. Return the fish sticks to the oven for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, or until crisped, golden, and the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees F when measured with an instant read thermometer.
A hand dipping a fish stick into a jar of tartar sauce.

Serving Suggestions

These yummy, crispy fish sticks are made even better with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and my Homemade Tartar Sauce on the side. I like to serve them with Crispy Oven Baked Fries and coleslaw for a healthy meal everyone in my house loves.

Try them and drop me a line in the comments section below if you do. I love hearing how my recipes work out for you!

Fish sticks on a cutting board with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Print

Air Fryer Fish Sticks

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These homemade Air Fryer Fish Sticks are crispy, golden brown and deliciously seasoned. Use either cod or salmon fillets to create this healthy, super family friendly meal. Alternate oven directions included!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Diet Low Calorie, Low Fat
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 337kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds cod or salmon fillets 4 fillets about 5 to 8 ounces each and 1-inch thick (see Notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional, to taste
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • propellant free nonstick cooking spray like Chosen Avocado Oil Spray

For Serving

Instructions

  • Pat the fillets dry with paper towels Cut them lengthwise into 1- x 4-inch strips (I cut my cod fillets from Costco into 3 strips each to get 12 strips total). Season the fish with ½ teaspoon salt and a little pepper, to taste.
  • In a shallow dish (I use glass pie dishes), mix together the flour, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a 2nd dish, beat the eggs. In a 3rd dish, combine the panko, Old Bay Seasoning, parsley, and garlic powder.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
  • Coat each piece of fish with the seasoned flour, then coat it in the beaten eggs, and then coat it with the seasoned breadcrumbs. See the Notes section below for the dry hand-wet hand breading method.
  • Spritz the basket of the air fryer with propellant free nonstick spray. Coat the tops of the breaded fish with additional spray and place them in the preheated air fryer. Cook at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping the fish halfway through the cooking time. The fish sticks should be crisped, golden brown and the internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F when measured with an instant read thermometer. You can increase the cooking time, if needed.
  • To keep your first batch warm while cooking the rest, place them on a baking sheet and transfer them to a 200 degree F oven.
  • Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Alternate Conventional Oven Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place the breaded fish sticks on the prepared baking sheet and spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use tongs to flip the fish sticks (be sure to close the oven door – you want it to stay HOT in there). Spray the tops with additional nonstick cooking spray and return the fish sticks to the oven for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, or until crisped, golden, and the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees F.

Notes

Nutrition information provided is for Air Fryer Fish Sticks only and does not include condiments.

Cooking time is for two batches. Additional batches will increase the total time.

If you’d like to increase the amount of fish, this recipe makes enough breading to coat up to 2 pounds. If frozen, the fish must be fully thawed before beginning.

Propellant Free Nonstick Cooking Spray

Most manufacturers warn that cooking spray with propellants can damage the nonstick coating of an air fryer basket over time. Instead, use a propellant free nonstick cooking spray. I like Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray, which is readily available at most major grocery stores and online. You can also use an oil mister and refill it with your own cooking oil, if preferred. Just be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point like canola or avocado oil.

Dry Hand-Wet Hand Breading Technique

One hand is designated the “dry hand” and the other the “wet hand” which helps to keep your ingredients free from debris and your hands cleaner.

  • Starting with the dry hand, coat each piece of fish with the seasoned flour.
  • Using the same hand, set the flour coated fish down in the egg mixture. Switch to the wet hand to coat all sides of the fish in the beaten egg, allowing any excess to drip off and back into the dish.
  • Use the wet hand to move the piece of fish over to the seasoned bread crumbs. Switch back to the dry hand to coat it well with bread crumbs on all sides. Transfer the breaded fish stick to a sheet of parchment paper or foil and repeat with the remaining fish sticks. You will probably find that you need to stop and wash your hands once or twice during the process. But, it works like a charm as long as you remember which hand is which!

Nutrition

Serving: 3fishsticks | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 886mg | Potassium: 823mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 3mg

The post Air Fryer Fish Sticks appeared first on Valerie’s Kitchen.

Originally posted at From Valeries Kitchen

Instant Pot Jambalaya (Sausage, Chicken and/or Shrimp)

Instant Pot Jambalaya (Sausage, Chicken and/or Shrimp)

Learn how to make Instant Pot Jambalaya – a one-pot meal made with customizable proteins (andouille sausage, shrimp and/or chicken), vegetables, rice and bold seasonings. Pressure cooker jambalaya is the perfect creole recipe, even if it isn’t Mardi Gras! This easy creole Jambalaya recipe is one the entire family will love.

 

I also have a heart and rich, Jambalaya Soup Recipe to check out!

Instant Pot Jambalaya in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

“Laissez les bons temps rouler” with this Authentic Creole Jambalaya recipe, a New Orleans staple. This southern classic is full of bold cajun flavors, healthy vegetables, rice and protein (sausage, chicken and/or shrimp). This one pot jambalaya recipe will transport you to the easy south with just one bite.

 

Speaking of Southern Recipes, come Mardi Gras, I’ll also be feasting on a few of our favorites round these parts: Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice and Muffaletta Sandwich with all the fixins’ (Muffaletta Bread and Olive Salad). I’ll be throwing back a few Hurricane’s to round out the meals.

What Is Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is a famous New Orleans dish with Spanish, French and African influence. It’s a one pan dinner with a rich history.

 

Jambalaya usually consists of a variety or protein, including: andouille sausage, chicken or pork, and seafood such as shrimp, oysters or crawfish. Also included is the “holy trinity” blend of vegetables (bell pepper, onion, and celery) and white rice. Instant Pot Jambalaya is a bold and flavorful recipe, cooked in just one pot.

Jambalaya in an instant pot after being cooked.

Authentic Jambalaya Recipes

Does Jambalaya Have Tomatoes? The answer is yes and no. There are two different kinds of Authentic Jambalaya: Creole Jambalaya and Cajun Jambalaya.

 

Creole Jambalaya

Includes tomatoes. Our easy jambalaya recipe with Sausage and Shrimp is the tomato-based Creole version.

 

Cajun Jambalaya

 Excludes tomatoes.

What is the Difference Between Gumbo and Jambalaya?

The two dishes are very similar, however gumbo is served over rice while jambalaya has the rice mixed in. Gumbo is also a bit more stew-like, and takes hours to cook, while Jambalaya is a nice dry-blend that cooks in under an hour.

Uncooked instant pot jambalaya in the instant pot.

How to Make Jambalaya In The Instant Pot

 

Brown the sausage and chicken: Heat olive oil and add the sausage and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large paper towel-lined plate. Repeat the process with the chicken.

 

Sauté veggies: Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds.

 

Add seasonings and rice: Stir to combine.

 

Add liquids and bay leaves: Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaves and de-glaze the bottom of the pan while mixing.

 

Add the sausage and chicken: Add the browned meat back to the pot and stir to combine.

 

Pressure Cook: Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes, followed by a quick release.

 

Add shrimp and green onions: Stir in shrimp and green onions and cover to cook the shrimp, approx. 5-8 minutes.

 

Taste and adjust seasonings: Taste and add extra salt or creole/cajun seasonings if desired.

Easy Jambalaya Recipe FAQ

 

What is the Best Rice to Use For Jambalaya?

Long grain white rice is ideal. If using Jasmine rice, reduce the cook time to 5 minutes.  Brown rice takes a considerable amount of time to cook and isn’t a good substitution. Do not use enriched rice, instant/minute rice, or any type of short grain white rice.

 

Is Jambalaya Spicy?

Yep. Between the sausage and creole/cajun seasonings, this is a spicy dish. If you’re a bit apprehensive, start with the minimal amount of spice and go up from there after you cook and taste it.

 

What To Serve With Jambalaya

This southern classic is truly a one pot meal, no sides are required. Of course if you’re feeling up to it, make a pan of Keto Cornbread or a classic side salad.

 

What Is A Good Substitution For andouille sausage? 

Kielbasa and polish smoked sausage both work well. 

 

Can Jambalaya Be Made In Advance?

Negative. You’ll be left with soggy, mushy rice. It’s best enjoyed immediately after making.

 

Celery, onions, bell peppers and sausage cut up on a black cutting board.

The Best Instant Pot Jambalaya

Here are some variations to customize your Jambalaya recipe to your needs:

 

Jambalaya With Okra – If okra is your thing, awesome. Just add it in with the shrimp at the end of cooking. Fresh and frozen will work.

 

Instant Pot Jambalaya Vegetarian – Use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock. Omit all proteins or replace with your favorite meatless protein. 

 

Instant Pot Jambalaya with Brown Rice – this recipe has not been tested with brown rice. If you opt to go this route, you’ll need to add in extra broth and time. Let us know how it goes!

Jambalaya DRINK PAIRINGs:

Wine- Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir

Cocktails- Hurricane

I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a recipe rating, snap a pic and use the hashtag #foodieandwine, after you’ve made the recipe, and post to social media! 

Instant Pot Jambalaya in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

Print

Instant Pot Jambalaya (Sausage, Chicken and/or Shrimp)

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This Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe is an easy one-pot meal made with andouille sausage, shrimp, chicken, vegetables and rice. Pressure cooker jambalaya is the perfect Fat Tuesday recipe! This cajun recipe is ready in under 30 minutes. 
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Creole, Southern
Keyword 30 Minute Meals, Cajun Recipes, Chicken Thighs, Creole Recipes, Instant Pot, Italian Sausage Recipes, Sausage, Shrimp, Southern Recipes, White Rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 478kcal
Cost $20

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
  • 12 oz Andouille Sausage, Cut Into 1/4″ Rounds (*Note 1)
  • 2 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut into 1/2″ Pieces
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Medium Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, Sliced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2-4 tsp Creole or Cajun Seasoning (*Note 2)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (*Note 3)
  • 1 Cup Long-Grain White Rice (*Note 4)
  • 1 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
  • 1.5 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock (*Note 5)
  • 2 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 12 oz Large Raw Shrimp, Peeled and De-veined (*Note 6)
  • 1/4 cup Green Onions, Chopped

Instructions

  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the inner pot and press the sauté button (and the start button if your model requires it). Once heated, add the sausage and cook until browned (approx. 2 minutes each side). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large paper towel–lined bowl and set aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (if needed) to the hot inner pot, followed by the chicken pieces. Cook until browned (approx. 2 minutes per side). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the same bowl the sausage is in. Set aside.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent (approx. 3-4 minutes). 
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Press the cancel button to stop cooking.
  • Add the Creole seasoning, thyme, oregano, salt and rice and stir until fully combined.
  • Add the tomatoes (with the juice), chicken stock and bay leaves and stir until combined. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the insert, to unstick any brown bits and food particles that may be stuck to the bottom of the insert (this helps to prevent the “burn error” from turning on).
  • Stir in the browned sausage and chicken.
  • Close the lid (making sure the vent is in the sealed position) and pressure cook on high for 8 minutes, followed by a quick release. Keep the unit in the “warm” setting.
  • Quickly stir in the shrimp and green onions and put the lid back on the Instant Pot. The residual heat with cook the shrimp (approx. 5-8 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp). The shrimp will be pink and shaped like the letter “C” when cooked.
  • Taste and add extra salt or creole seasoning, to your preferred level. Fish out the dried bay leaves.
  • Transfer to individual bowls and enjoy immediately.

Notes

Note 1 – Kielbasa or smoked polish sausage would make a great substitute if that’s what you have on hand.

Note 2 – If you’re unsure of the spice level you prefer, start with the lower end called for and add in more after cooking and tasting.

Note 3 – If using salted broth, consider omitting the salt and adding it after cooking and tasting. You’ll find the salt level may be enough with just the broth and brand of creole/cajun seasoning you’re using. 

Note 4 –  This recipe has only been tested using long grain rice. You may need to increase the cook time and broth quantity if subbing in brown rice.

Note 5 –If using salted broth, consider omitting the salt and adding it after cooking and tasting. You’ll find the salt level may be enough with just the broth and brand of creole/cajun seasoning you’re using. 

Note 6 – Feel free to add more or less shrimp, or omit all together if seafood’s not your thing. If using frozen large raw shrimp (un-cooked) add it in during step #7 along with the chicken and sausage.

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 226mg | Sodium: 1203mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1008IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg

Hi, I’m Darcey!

I’m a fully caffeinated full time food blogger and lover of the outdoors, travel, and wine (not necessarily in that order).

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The post Instant Pot Jambalaya (Sausage, Chicken and/or Shrimp) appeared first on Foodie and Wine.

Originally posted at Foodie And Wine

Oven Baked Cod Sandwich

Oven Baked Cod Sandwich- A delicious fish sandwich piled high with fresh slaw and a lime aioli sauce. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Baked Cod Sandwich- A delicious fish sandwich piled high with fresh slaw and a lime aioli sauce. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

This restaurant-quality blackened fish sandwich is oh-so easy. It may be deceiving at first glance, but rest assured, you can whip up this up in no time!

WHY COD?

I prefer to use cod in this recipe for a slew of reasons:

  • Cod tends to be a meatier fish, making it perfect for sandwiches.
  • It has a flaky, white flesh.
  • A mild flavor.
  • Although lower in omega-3s than fatty fish, cod can still be part of a healthy diet
Baked Cod Sandwich- A delicious fish sandwich piled high with fresh slaw and a lime aioli sauce. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Seriously y’all, this is so simple and so tasty! And did I mention, much healthier than the typical “fried” fish sandwich?

WHAT SEASONINGS DO I NEED?

The blackening seasoning for this recipe is made of 3 simple ingredients.

  • 1 Tbsp Season All
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

It’s gives the perfect amount of kick to your fish sandwich!

Baked Cod Sandwich- A delicious fish sandwich piled high with fresh slaw and a lime aioli sauce. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine Season All with garlic salt and smoked paprika. 

Rub the dry ingredients onto the cod filets.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. 

While the fish is cooking, stir together 1/4 cup of mayo and the juice of 1 lime.

When you are ready to build your sandwiches, spread a small amount of the mayo onto the bottom burger bun (or preferred type of bread).  Top with fish and slaw.

Baked Cod Sandwich- A delicious fish sandwich piled high with fresh slaw and a lime aioli sauce. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

This Oven Baked Cod Sandwich is fresh, juicy and smoky. In other words, it’s your new favorite weeknight dinner!

Oven Baked Cod Sandwich- A delicious fish sandwich piled high with fresh slaw and a lime aioli sauce. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Baked Cod Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 4 cod filets
  • 4 burger buns (or preferred)
  • 1-2 cups slaw mix
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Season All
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Season All with garlic salt and smoked paprika. 
  3. Rub the dry ingredients onto the cod filets.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. 
  4. While the fish is cooking, stir together mayo and juice of 1 lime.
  5. When you are ready to build your sandwiches, spread a small amount of the mayo onto the bottom burger bun.  Top with fish and slaw.

Originally posted at The Healthy Homecook

Jumbo Lump Crab Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata

Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Spaghetti with a Lemon Gremolata and Toasted Breadcrumbs. Restaurant quality dish yet quick and easy #weeknightmeal  Can be #dairyfree


Fresh, sweet jumbo lumb crab meat with spaghetti is such simple classic. Take it to the next level by adding lemon gremolata and toasted bread crumbs. And yes, I did tag this as a quick and easy weeknight meal (it is, I promise!).

Whenever my husband and I go to a nice restaurant that has crab cocktail on the menu, we have to get it. I just love the sweet flavor of the crab with a touch of heat from the cocktail sauce. And it’s pretty much guilt free with low calories and low fat.

Last weekend we decided to cook something restaurant quality at home instead of going out, and I was craving crab. I ran to Costco just to get a container of jumbo lump crab meat – it’s totally worth it. Their container is bigger than what you can get at a regular food market and it’s about $10 less. Plus, it’s fresh.

When I walked in to Costco I put my blinders on and headed straight for the food section as I kept telling myself “don’t go in the middle section, don’t go in the middle section.” Because you know if you even glance that way something is going to suck you in and I’d end up coming home with a new coat, a jumbo pack of socks, a book, Christmas wrapping paper (in August), and I’d forget the crab. I’m happy to say that this time I checked out with just one item – this huge container of jumbo lump crab meat.

When using jumbo lump crab, you never want to break up those big, beautiful chunks of meat. If you want something more broken up, just buy the regular lump crab. The jumbo lump chunks are the perfect bite. And when you get the huge container at Costco, you will definitely have extra. It makes great crab cocktail the next day!

So I mentioned that the gremolata and toasted bread crumbs take this dish pasta to the next level, and they really do. It’s such a simple part of the dish, but turns it from an at home dish to a fancy restaurant quality dish. Don’t skip the breadcrumbs! They seriously give the pasta such a distinctive crunch.

This can be a dairy free dish, which is how I made it. The original recipe calls for butter to start the pan sauce; I used oil. The recipe also calls for butter to toast the breadcrumbs; I used oil again. Finally, I did not put Parmesan cheese on mine, but my husband did.

Jumbo Lump Crap Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Adapted from: Foodie Crush

Ingredients for the Crab Spaghetti

  • 1 pound of spaghetti
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • Kosher salt, black pepper to taste
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese
Ingredients for the Lemon Gremolata and Toasted Breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions

Gremolata and Toasted Bread Crumbs

  • Combine the garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Season with salt if desired. Set aside. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the bread crumbs and stir for 3 minutes, until toasted and golden brown. Transfer to a bowl OR combine with the gremolata (your choice! I kept them separate the second time I made this dish since my husband didn’t want them).
Spaghetti
  • Cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain, reserving 1 c of the water.
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the sliced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes, wine, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss. Add the crab and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve topped a spoonful of the gremolata and toasted bread crumbs. Add Parmesan if desired. 

Originally posted at Maryellens Cooking Creations

Mussels Roasted in Almond Garlic Butter

Think back to your favorite meal or dish that you ever had. The one you dream about. The one you can taste if you just close your eyes and remember. The one that reminds me of the best tagline I have ever seen – “You only live once, but if you dine well once is all you need.”

I’ve asked my husband his favorite meal and he consistently says “the mussels from Fore Street.”
Fore Street is a cozy and rustic restaurant in Portland, Maine that has been on many lists, including landing a spot in the top 100 in the world! And after finally getting there myself several years ago, the restaurant is now in my top 5.

My husband has been lucky enough to get back there a few times when traveling and of course he orders the mussels.

So what’s a girl who loves to cook to do when she wants to really take care of her man? Recreate his favorite dish, of course! My husband has been traveling non-stop over the past 10 months, only coming home for quick 40 hour weekends. He deserved some spoiling.

I knew if I was making mussels it would have to be the Fore Street recipe. Luckily I found it without any trouble.

Having tasted them before I knew they were roasted in a garlicky butter sauce, but was surprised to read that almonds were the main ingredient in the sauce. I guess that explains the richness in the sauce.

Now, I have never prepared mussels at home and wasn’t sure what was meant by debearding the mussels (and honestly I was a bit scared to find out!!). Turns out it is simply removing the tag, or the beard, from the side of the mussel. Click here for a great demo.

This is a very easy dish to pull together – all you need is a food processor, an oven-safe skillet (or cast iron pan), 25 minutes of prep-time and 12 minutes of cook time. 

Making the sauce is simply combining the almonds, butter, garlic and other ingredients in your food processor until creamy. Dollop that over the mussels, roast the mussels (while you cut the bread and pour the wine), and that’s it. Sometimes the most amazing and sophisticated things you eat really are the most simple. Back to basics, true, good food. 

Mussels Roasted in Almond Garlic ButterAdapted from: Food and Wine (via Fore Street Restaurant)Notes: the original recipe called for 4 pounds of mussels for this amount of sauce. I used 2 pounds of mussels and the same amount of sauce – we definitely wanted extra for sopping it up with bread. Also, I used a lot more garlic at my husband’s request. Glad I did! 
Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 c salted roasted almonds
  • 1 stick unsalted butter quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno 
  • 1 tsp finely ground pepper
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1/2 c dry white wine 
Directions
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees farenheit
  • In a food processor, grind the almonds until they are mostly fine with some larger pieces. Add in the butter, minced garlic, parsley, shallot, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until blended. Season with salt. 
  • Place the mussels in a large, oven-proof skillet. 
  • Pour in the wine and then dollop the butter all over the mussels, making sure each area of the pan has some of the butter. 
  • Roast the mussels for 12 minutes, stirring once and shaking the pan a few times. Discard any mussels that did not open after 12 minutes.
  • Serve with crusty bread.

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Originally posted at Maryellens Cooking Creations

Crispy Fish Sticks with Pineapple Salsa

Crispy and crunchy homemade fish sticks with a fresh pineapple salsa. 
A kids’ style dinner good enough for adults!

I love to cook, but there are a few things I always have in for super quick dinners for my daughter, like on nights when my husband is traveling and we have 45 minutes between school and dance class. Frozen chicken nuggets, frozen fish sticks, baby carrots (to make “soft carrots,” as she calls them), frozen broccoli, and a container of cooked spaghetti can almost always be found in my house.

However, homemade versions are always better. It’s not like making homemade chicken nuggets or fish sticks is hard or takes a long time – it’s probably faster to bread your own and fry them up. Actually, in the time it takes to preheat your oven and cook the frozen version, you could already have homemade ones on the table.

But I get it – convenience foods are a must! Some nights you just don’t want the extra dishes, or you need to be focused on helping with homework instead of prepping and cooking dinner. When you have the time, it’s always fun to cook from scratch!

Over the holiday weekend I made some homemade crispy fish sticks that were so incredibly easy and super yummy.

All you need is a fish that will hold up well and that doesn’t have much fat. Cod, haddock and pollock are the most popular, but I prefer to use something a little better, like halibut, mahi, or even swordfish or catfish.

Cut your fish into “sticks” and then bread them – flour, egg, seasoned breadcrumbs/Panko. I fry them in just a small amount of oil – no need to deep fry – and in just 5-6 minutes they are done. Perfectly crispy and crunchy, yet light and flaky on the inside.

I love a light and fresh topping for fish, so I chopped up some pineapple to add to pico de gallo I had made for the weekend, and it was the perfect accompaniment. Bright, citrus flavors with some heat – so refreshing!

Crispy Fish Sticks 
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

Ingredients

  • 6 oz fish cut into 6 sticks (double or triple to your liking!)
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 eggs beaten and mixed with 1 Tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs and 1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs
  • Seasoning: approximately 1 tsp each salt, black pepper, onion powder and chili powder 
  • 3 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil (enough to generously coat the bottom of your pan)
Directions
  • Set up breading station: flour in 1st bowl, eggs in second, bread crumbs mixed with seasoning in third (tip – I love using a throw away paper plate for the flour and bread crumbs – makes cleanup so easy!)
  • Heat your oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat
  • Roll each piece of fish in flour. Shake off the excess and roll in the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on wire rack.
  • Add the breaded fish to the pan being careful to space them out (you may need to do this in 2 batches). Cook until one side is golden brown; repeat on all sides until crispy. Transfer to the wire rack on top of paper towels.
  • Serve immediately! 

Pineapple Salsa
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

You can make this in a small amount as noted below (serves 4), or you can make a large bowl of the pico (all of the ingredients below x 4, minus the pineapple) and remove some to mix with the pineapple for this recipe.

  • 4 Ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and diced 
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, minced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp pineapple, diced