Haddock on the Grill

Even on cool slightly rainy nights the grill calls to me. It means less clean up and usually faster cooking. Seafood is great to cook on the grill, especially because then the house does not smell like fish! We are very lucky that we have a friend who loves to fish but doesn’t like seafood, so we get pounds of his fresh catch to freeze and pull out when we need it.

Grilled Haddock

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

6 to 8 basil leaves, torn

About 3 pounds of Haddock fillets

About ½ pound of Campari tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

6 to 8 basil leaves

Juice of ½ a lemon

about 4 ounces of fresh feta cheese, optional

Directions

Preheat the grill. Take 2 large pieces of foil and cross them. Drizzle olive oil, salt and basil leaves on the foil. Place haddock fillets on top. Add tomatoes, remaining olive oil, salt and basil leaves, then squeeze the lemon juice over the fish. Close up the foil and fold into a packet.  Add another piece of foil if needed to make sure the fish is completely enclosed. Place on direct heat on the grill. After 10 minutes, move to indirect heat. Close grill and continue to cook for another 20 to 25 minutes. Take off the grill and serve! Sprinkle fish with feta if you like.

I have about 8 pounds of haddock left, so I’m sure there will be more recipes in the future! Any good ideas? What is your favorite way to cook haddock?

Here are some of my other seafood ideas and recipes:

What to do with leftover cod

Sheet Pan Shrimp

Poached Salmon

Warm weather is finally here!

After this tough winter, I am ready to spend each weekend out at the grill! The same grill that was covered in snow about 3 months ago is now fired up and cooking!

Because I don’t have time during the week, I tend to grill two or 3 proteins and a bunch of veggies on Saturday or Sunday. I use them to make meals through Wednesday like tacos, Asian noodles or just plain leftovers.

As I posted on my Facebook page earlier this weekend, I grilled up some pizza last night! I used a frozen crust, from Against the Grain (which is amazing!) and then topped it with fresh mozzarella and cheddar with marina. One pizza stayed cheese and the other was Hawaiian. I delegated and had my husband cut up a fresh pineapple (he likes to eat around the core after) and then sliced up some ham lunch meat. I use Hormel’s Natural, which is gluten and nitrate free. You can use any pizza you want, even a whole frozen pizza and grill it instead of heating up your house with your oven and less clean up needed too!

Our house has gone completely gluten free because my son’s blood tests showed that he is still getting a trace of gluten and because I switched kids’ lunches a couple of weeks ago and gave the child with celiac a wheat roll. The aftermath made up my mind to go to a completely gluten free house. Tim is still allowed his beer. Paul won’t try drinking that yet 🙂

Think simple this summer. Grilling doesn’t have to be complicated. Grill a frozen pizza. Grill ears of corn (with husks on after soaking in water for at least an hour). Grill hot dogs. Grill peaches. Grill whatever you like. As I usually say, hopefully I will post more about what we are cooking at the Ericson house!

Here are some links of my previous summer fun or grilled food ideas and recipes! Enjoy the warm weather!

I’m still here and still cooking

Hello everyone! I am still here, grilling, spending time with the family and working. I’m hoping to kick the blog up again this fall!

As we head in to the end of summer, I pledge to write again. I have been cooking and taking photos, so watch for fun school lunches, easy dinners, easy entertaining meals, breakfasts and more! I will finish my cooking bucket list, even though I haven’t started it yet! I will enter new worlds (for me) of technology like instagram and ramp up my presence on Facebook and Twitter. So stay with me! If there is anything you would like me to write about or try to cook for you all, send me a an email, mammascooking@gmail.com or like me on Facebook and tell me there!

The picture above is a pork sirloin roast marinated in an Asian-style sauce and basted each time I turned it on the grill. I served it with cooked spaghetti, extra sauce (not used to marinade) and steamed broccoli. The Asian-style sauce is a version of one of my go to sauces, but with a minced garlic clove added and a little extra brown sugar to caramelize on the outside. Make sure you keep some of the marinade aside to use for basting and for tossing with the noodles.

Fall, Football, and Tailgating

Those who know me, know that I am not a big football fan but I have been known to host Super Bowl parties just to make the food 🙂 Fall is the season where many spend their weekends tailgating outdoors or in front of the TV cheering on their favorite teams. I was recently asked for ideas for recipes for “football food.” Here are some finger foods, slow cooker foods and grill recipes for your fun fall weekend with or without football!

Finger Foods and Dips
Cheeseburger Egg Rolls (top left of photo below)

These egg rolls were delicious! They are from Rachel Ray. Easy to make but a little time intensive to roll each one up. I served it with ketchup, mustard and bbq sauce for dipping rather than spending the time to make the sauce. The kids went nuts over these!

Corn Dog Muffins (top right of photo above)
These are from a blog called Iowa Girl Eats. I saw them on Pinterest and ran with her idea. I made them in regular muffin tins and made the Jiffy box of corn bread 🙂 and added about 1 cup of shredded zucchini and 1 cup of shredded cheddar and about 1/4 tsp of chili powder (add more if you want more chili flavor or a little cayenne if you want a kick), salt and pepper. Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin tins. I found for the regular sized muffins I cut the hot dogs into thirds and put one piece in each muffin and bake until ready. I found that these took a little longer than usual until the dough around the hot dog in the center was fully cooked.

Pigs in a Blanket with honey mustard dipping sauce. This is one of my favorites. The link is back to one of my previous blog posts about appetizers that has this recipe and the one for Spinach and Artichoke Dip and more!

Slow Cooker foods

Chili
I can’t wait to have my house smell like chili while it cooks away all day! I’m planning to make some on Monday. Its a full meal if you add those corn dog muffins above. Make it vegetarian by making black bean chili and zucchini corn muffins. I like to make my chili in the crock pot these days, which becomes a great vessel for keeping it warm while serving or bringing to a potluck or tailgate party. Throw a can or two of your favorite beans into the crock pot with a can of diced tomatoes, dice a couple of carrots and or zucchini or use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand (corn, squash, eggplant, parsnips – so many veggies can work), an onion, garlic clove, palmful of chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you want to add meat, cook it first before putting it in the slow cooker, unless you are using stew meet, then you could throw it in and cook it all day. I have found that ground beef or turkey is mushy if you cook it in the slow cooker with the other chili ingredients.

Short ribs

I can cross short ribs off of my Cooking Bucket List now! So if you are making a meal for friends over the weekend or for Monday night football, these are sooo good! I used the ingredients for my favorite meat marinade as the cooking the liquid, equal parts balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce with garlic and shallots.  

I made a quick dry rub for the short ribs with salt, pepper and thyme and then browned them in the pan. before putting them in the slow cooker for about 8 hours (I had about 2.5 – 3 lbs of meat).

Then I took them out when there were practically falling off the bone and poured the liquid into a sauce pan and reduced it by about half. Add a little flour, 1/2 tsp of brown sugar and a little pepper and whisk together. Add more flour if you want it thicker.  Use as gravy or dipping sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes or risotto or polenta.

Butternut Squash soup – My classic fall go to!

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup – My new fall favorite!

Meatballs  – standard go to for any gathering!

Grilled Food
Pizza – Great for an appetizer or a meal!

Your favorite Steak, pork, ribs, BBQ Chicken or sausages always are a crowd pleaser. I recently made some chicken on the indoor grill. I made a dry rub with brown sugar, salt, pepper and African Smoke spice blend from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have that spice blend, go buy it immediately! or just use smoked paprika or chili powder. It was delicious! I served it with a beet barley risotto and some steamed carrots, not exactly tailgating food, so I’ll give my recipe for that later 🙂

Foodie with a toddler…

I have finally been carving out some time to cook! Most of it has been on the grill (no pots and pans!). I also am getting creative with my lunches and food throughout the day. Eating quickly and sometimes with one hand are preferable, but I want to eat fresh and healthy. Today I had a caprese salad, goldfish crackers and some blueberries. Definitely a meal worthy of a foodie with a toddler (hence the title) 🙂

Quick, little clean up, easy meals are important right now. Here’s what I’ve been cooking:


Grilled sirloin (salt, pepper), peas (frozen – made in microwave), grilled polenta cakes (premade polenta rolls, sliced, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with shredded parmesan, all topped with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives. [modified version of recipe I saw on Seattle PI or Seattle Times online]. This is the adult version.

Here is the toddler version. Karina wasn’t too impressed. She loved the steak though!

This is what other members of may family had for dinner 🙂 The boys love their milk/formula!

Tonight I made some farfalle pasta with shrimp, balsamic grape tomatoes and feta. Make farfalle. Defrost frozen already cooked shrimp with tails off, squeeze fresh lemon juice over shrimp after you dry them off and salt and pepper. Cut tomatoes in half and cover in bowl with balsamic vinegar (looks prettier with white balsamic – cheap at Trader Joes) and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I used basil and rosemary. Toss all together with some crumbled feta. Yum! In the past I’ve added steamed broccoli and used leftover salmon instead of shrimp.

Very good and very easy. Nice for a summer’s evening with a glass of Riesling.

I keep frozen hamburger patties and hotdogs on hand so that we can grill up a quick summer favorite when we don’t have anything else. Add a salad and its a great summer meal.

I also grilled some pizzas the other night. See link for past grilled pizza recipes. This is not relaxing and was definitely pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of and only worked because the twins decided to sleep from 5pm to 10pm. I made my regular mozzarella with sauce and basil on Trader Joe’s wheat dough. Then I made a bbq chicken pizza. In an effort for effortless cooking, we often buy the already roasted chickens at Fred Meyer and had about 1/3 of the chicken left. I shredded the chicken and mixed it with a smokey bbq sauce, molasses, honey and some brown sugar, saving some of the sauce to spread on the dough. I caramelized a shallot and sliced up the mozzarella (maybe next time I would use goat cheese). Here is the recipe I was inspired by.

Now I really should go to sleep (especially since all three kids are sleeping – which is rare!).

Continuing my cooking on a budget…breakfast, bbqs and evening with friends

Limiting myself trips to the grocery store is really helping our budget and my creativity 🙂 Life still happens when you’re on a budget however and I love to play hostess, so when we had a couple of evenings in one week where I was hosting a group of people for dinner, it was a challenge to stay in budget and still make good food, but I think I pulled it off! I based my menu around what was on sale.



One night I had the girls from my book club over and we wanted to enjoy the backyard, so I made grilled pizzas. I bought a veggie tray from Trader Joe’s as the appetizer so the girls could nibble while I grilled the pizzas. Here is the link to my blog about how to grill a pizza. First pizza was a caesar salad pizza, with chicken (marinated in caesar dressing and cooked in advance). Dough is topped with a thin layer of caesar dressing, light covering of mozzarella + chicken while on the grill. When you take it off of the grill, add the caesar salad and some shredded parmesan. Second pizza was a traditional magherita with fresh mozzarella tomatoes and basil. Third pizza was a caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza. Dough was topped with caramelized onions (made in advance) and goat cheese. This was the favorite!

Dessert was simple. 1 package sugar free white chocolate pudding, 1 package sugar free chocolate fudge pudding, chocolate chips, and sliced strawberries. Just layer ingredients and you have a trifle!

Another night we had a friends from PEPS over. I made a quinoa salad (thanks Jodi for the idea!!) and baked lemon chicken. I also was feeling very domestic and made oatmeal white chocolate chip craisin cookies. Cook the quinoa like you would rice. I used chicken stock in stead of water (you could also use veggie stock or water). Let the quinoa cool and prepare a vinagrette or use a salad dressing you like and have on hand and pour over quinoa (once cool). I used Paul Newman’s olive oil vinagrette and mixed in some pepper and lemon juice. Then add whatever you usually add to pasta salad. I used cubed colby jack, roasted zucchini and diced tomatoes. Chill and serve. [Another twist on pasta salad can be found at Family friendly food, a blog I follow.]

Baked Lemon chicken is something I have made for years and varies depending on what I have on hand. I cut the boneless chicken breasts into smaller pieces so they would cook faster and marinated them in lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt, pepper, lemon zest and honey. Put the chicken into a baking pan, drizzle with honey, cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Then take the foil off and bake for another 30-45 minutes (depending on size of chicken pieces).

Some weekend mornings I actually have the urge to make a big breakfast. I really wanted eggs benedict but have never made hollandaise sauce and didn’t have the time or energy to look it up at 8:30 in the morning (it was my morning to sleep in. Tim and I switch off each weekend day). I decided to make a cheese sauce (which I just learned from all of my mac n cheese experiments). I made a lighter cheese sauce (2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 ½ – 2 cups of milk, 3-4 sprigs thyme, salt, pepper, yellow mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder and 1 ½ cups skim mozzarella) and put that over the poached egg and tomatoes (diced and mixed with garlic, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar) on wheat toast. It was soooo good. I had enough cheese sauce leftover that I boiled some water while we were eating our breakfast and made pasta, mixed pureed pumpkin in with the cheese sauce, poured the cheese sauce over the pasta and baked it for 20 minutes. We spent the morning at home and then after Karina’s nap were able to go out for the rest of the afternoon and enjoy ourselves. We came home just before dinner. I reheated the mac-n-cheese and dinner was served in 10 minutes!

Luckily these meals provided leftovers again for lunch and dinners on the nights in between when I didn’t cook. Making cooking easier by giving yourself nights off is important. Those nights off don’t have to be about takeout (unless you want them to be). If you are trying to save money, make enough of one dish to have leftovers. If you don’t want to eat the same thing all week, freeze the food and then you can take different items out of the freezer and reheat on nights you don’t want to cook. But, like I have said from the beginning with this blog, everything in moderation. Not everyone is organized to cook every night and have freezer foods on hand, etc all the time. I know I’m not. Don’t beat yourself up about ordering pizza or going through the drivethru every once in a while. Taking the time to read this blog and other cooking sites shows you care about what you and your kids eat, even if you just think about trying the recipes. It’s the thought that counts J On that rogue day that you have some time and are in the mood to cook, you have an arsenal of recipes and methods in this blog, cookbooks (and more cookbooks)I mentioned and just by Googling. (Yes I think that is a verb now).



Happy cooking! Coming up…hopefully some recipes with food from my garden. My zucchini is not looking happy…



Sorry there are no pictures this week. The hard drive of our laptop died and our photos are on it! Luckily the Geeksquad was able to retrieve the info, but the computer I am working on now doesn’t have a dvd drive to read the info. Couple more weeks and the computer will be back and pictures of my garden will be up!

Pickles, grilled pizza and edamame (no, not all together)


I can’t believe it has been over a month since I blogged!! We have had a busy summer, traveling, working on the backyard and handling an almost 2 year toddler and her ever changing moods 🙂 The weather in Seattle has been a little warmer than usual, so I’ve been cooking on the grill rather than using the oven or stove. This week is going to be in the 90s all week, so I’m definitely not turning on the oven if I can help it!

Last week I grilled a pizza for the first time and I’m going to do it again tonight! It was a success. Here’s how I did it:

(1) Take the pizza dough out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to grill it. I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough. Have the grill at about medium heat.

(2) Roll out the dough on a well floured cutting board and then brush one side with olive oil. Place the oil side down on the hot grill.

(3) Brush oil on other side of dough. After about 20 seconds, use 2 spatulas to flip the dough. After about 20-30 seconds flip the dough again. Do this 1 or 2 more times.

(4) With the least cooked side down, place toppings on pizza and close grill. Check every 20-30 seconds and make sure the bottom isn’t burning. After about a minute or two the cheese will melt and use the 2 spatulas to slide the pizza off onto a platter.

For toppings I used: fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato (sliced) and roasted red pepper (which I roasted on the burner of the grill while the dough was coming up to temperature). I added some fresh basil, a little olive oil, salt and pepper once off the grill. Delicious!

Tonight I am going to use what I have in the house: cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and maybe some salami and fresh basil from my herb garden. Hopefully our umbrella will provide enough shade to sit outside.


A couple of months ago a lot of blogs were talking about “eating down the fridge” or the pantry. Specifically, two blogs I follow: (1) A Mighty Appetite, Kim O’Donnell and (2) family. friendly. food, Nurit. In line with how things seem to be going in my life right now, always a few months behind :), I am now going through and trying to use up all the food in our freezer, fridge and pantry. For example, last night we had some curry puffs made from leftover ground beef and pork curry that I rolled inside of Pilsbury crescent rolls and some bbq pork on the grill with vegetarian succotash (a frozen mixture of edamame, corn and red pepper). Karina had a great time dipping the curry puffs in some mango chutney.

Karina has been getting more picky and only wanting to eat what she can ask for. Luckily, this includes edamame (“mameh”), but mostly she wants craisins (“ay”), cheerios (“yeerios”), apple (“bopple”) and bananas (“namna”). At least she is still eating at each meal and asking for snacks though, so I cannot complain.

Its been way too long…

So, its been way too long since I posted, but I’m a mom and things don’t always happen when you want them to, right? 🙂 Anyway, now that summer seems to be here in Seattle (and we have a new backyard!), I have been trying to find ways to grill instead of cook. So recently my go to meals have included:

Grilled flank steak (good deal right now at Costco!) that I marinated in soy sauce (1/4 cup), bbq sauce (1/2 cup), garlic (1.4 Tbsp) and honey (to taste) with a corn, black bean and avocado salad. Soooo good! For the salad I just used canned corn (hadn’t gone to the store to buy the good ears of corn out now), canned black beans and some avocado and lightly dressed with lime juice, salt and pepper. Karina loved it!!!! She usually doesn’t want to eat meat on its own, but also loved this steak! Then S’mores for dessert 🙂

Grilled salmon (copper river season!) (cover with pesto and enclose in foil), mussels (cook with chicken broth or veggie broth, white balsamic vinegar, shallots, butter and garlic, then toss in fresh basil before serving), good bakery bread and caprese pasta salad (make some whole wheat pasta, after toss with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella).

This past weekend we drove out to Harstene Island, WA off of the Olympic Peninsula and drove the through Grapeview, WA and by the Stretch Island Fruit Co. They are the ones who make these great fruit leathers that are 100% fruit (no sugar added) that Karina absolutely loves! I thought it was funny as she was eating one as we drove by it and didn’t even know they were there 🙂 That has been a great portable snack. She also has her snack cup, usually filled with whole grain goldfish and craisins or shredded wheat and craisins. I also have started buying some oatmeal raisin granola bars that she really likes. So easy when we are on the run. Why does it feel like you are always on the run when you have a 19 month old! ?


When we are at home, she loooooooooves her apple sauce and smoothies. I also have found a great timesaver for lunches! I went to Whole Foods the other day, which I don’t often do because it is across town (although soon I hear the new one will open on Interbay) and bought some organic frozen brown rice, to check it out. Karina loves brown rice, so this helps make lunch so easy. We come back from our morning activity and I put the rice with some frozen peas or edamame in the microwave for a minute and a half and poof = lunch! If she is starving because we were out way past her breaking point, I give her some ham or turkey lunch meat to snack on while I put the rice and veggies in the microwave. Sooooo easy! I tried the rice too. Its pretty good.

Happy grilling and happy eating!

Eating Meals Together

We all finally shared a meal together!!! Very exciting! We grilled some steak. I cut some sweet potatoes up into pieces like steak fries and baked them with a little olive oil. When they were done, I separated Karina’s and then doused ours with salt, pepper and fresh rosemary. Then I cut up a cantaloupe. We sat down and put the food on her tray and let her at it! It was great!