Down-Home Fish Fry

Peferct Fish Fry www.theluckywife.lifeFish Fry Ingredients www.theluckywife.lifeFish Frying www.theluckywife.life

My father always used a beer batter to fry fish.  I was not raised on a lot of seafood, really just canned tuna, salmon patties & fresh caught fresh water fish.  I have no idea what kind of fish- as a kid, I just knew we were having “fish”.  When my father was stationed in Panama, he would take us fishing on Gatun Lake and we would catch a ton of fish.  I took my family back to this same lake almost 3 decades later- and we also caught a ton of fish (that story is for another post- memory lane is a beautiful place, but I can get lost there for hours).  On to the fish fry recipe-

It wasn’t until I met my father-in-law that I was introduced to light & crispy fried tilapia.  Tilapia is my favorite for this because it never tastes “fishy”- yes that is a technical term.

We have blazing hot sultry summers here in South Carolina that for some odd reason make you crave fried fish.  I personally think it’s related to heat stroke, but it really hit both me & my husband this week.  I don’t fry fish (or eggrolls- the only 2 things I do fry) in house, so luckily the sun had sunk a little in the sky before I fired up the hot oil on my concrete sun drenched patio.

Typically, this meal is served with sides like cole slaw and baked beans, but we’ve learned over time that everyone just wants their fill of this spicy crunchy flaky white fish and we don’t know what to do with all the leftover beans and slaw so we save ourselves the trouble and skip them.  Enjoy!

Recipe:  Fried Tilapia- Melanie Knight

Ingredients

  • Louisiana New Orleans Fish Fry Breading Mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tilapia filets per person (I always ask how many each person would like up front, so everyone knows how many they’ll get up front)
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Frank’s Hot Sauce on the side

Directions

Heat the oil in an electric frying pan.  I use olive oil, which has a low burning point.  I set my pan on 350 degrees.  While the oil is heating up, set up your assembly line by pouring the milk into a wide bowl and your dry breading mix into a separate pie plate.  Now, dip a fish filet completely into the milk, let the excess drip off, then dredge in the dry breading mix on both sides until well covered.

Once the oil is ready, lay your fish filet into the oil, careful not to get hot oil splashed onto you.  I don’t time the frying, I fry until each side is a golden brown+ since we like our fish crispy.  Once done to your liking, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve with hot sauce and enjoy!  No need for plates or utensils- we eat family style off the main plate.  Something about this intimate dining experience really brings us together.    We ate this last week, and now I’d love to have it again for dinner tonight, but alas, I ration my fried foods to 1x a month so I can truly savor them.

 

Nearly Impossible Meatloaf

Meatloaf 1 www.theluckywife.life

I love a good old fashioned meatloaf!  This one by http://www.thecountrycook.net is a good recipe.  Anything this good is ALWAYS better the next day, which is what makes it nearly impossible to complete.  Why you ask?  Because it smells so good when its cooking in the oven, it takes real will power to NOT eat it the 1st night and wait a day to fry up a couple of thick slices in a frying pan.  The wait is well worth it, but takes an amazing amount of will power.

Momma’s Best Meatloaf http://www.thecountrycook.net- tweaked by Melanie Knight
 Ingredients: (I double this recipe)
  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20 works good)- use grass fed beef
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 slices of bread, torn up into small pieces- I used whole grain
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (or slightly more, to taste)- use Frank’s
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup ketchup- or more

Heat oven to 350F degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (except ketchup.) Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands – they work best.

Spread mixture into an ungreased loaf pan.  Cook for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes (or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees). Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Melanie Day 1- let cool and sit overnight in the fridge.  Day 2- slice thickly and fry over med-high heat until crispy.  Serve with lots of ketchup!  I challenge you to make it to day 2!

Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp and Grits www.theluckywife.life

Shrimp and Grits by Melanie Knight, inspired by Emeril Lagasse

  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tsp creole seasoning
  • Salt
  • 8 ounces country ham-diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, or canned, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbl finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tbl minced parsley
  • Grits- see recipe below

Season the shrimp with 1 teaspoon creole seasoning and salt. Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat and sear the country ham, cooking for about 3 minutes. Remove the ham to a plate, and add the shrimp to the pan, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and heat the oil. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons creole to the pan, stirring well, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook until reduced slightly, 5 minutes.

Stir the cream, green onions and parsley into the sauce and return the ham and shrimp to the pan. Return sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until reduced slightly. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over grits.
Makes 4-6 servings

Tyler Florence
Grits:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the grits, place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and butter, season with salt and pepper.
Makes 6-8 servings

Easy Tuna Casserole

Tuna Casserole www.theluckywife.life

This is my easy tuna casserole recipe.  Don’t let the simple ingredients fool you, this makes a delicious and satisfying meal on a rainy day.   Watch the video for a step by step guide.

Easy Tuna Casserole- Melanie Knight

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tbl butter
  • 2 cans of tuna- drained
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water (follow rice cooker directions)
  • 2-3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the rice in the rice cooker according to rice cooker directions- mine takes @ 30 minutes.  Sautee the diced onions over medium high heat.

Once the rice is done, combine the rice, onions, tuna and 1 cup of the cheese.  Scoop into a casserole dish – I spay mine with olive oil.  Smooth the mixture down.  Top with cheese- we love lots of cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top is melted.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.  I made this the other week and typing this up now has me jonesing for it again!

 

American Flag Cupcakes

Show your true colors with this sweet treat!

American Flag Cupcakes www.theluckywife.life

This patriotic dessert is easy to make and the kids can help decorate!  Yes- the blueberries qualify this dessert as “good for you”- it’s the healthy halo effect.  Just run around with sparklers a few times and we’ll call it even.

 

American Flag Cupcakes
Decoration inspired by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, http://www.about.com

  • 1 package butter recipe cake mix
  •  3 eggs
  •  2/3 cup water
  •  1 stick butter- room temperature
  • Frosting Option 1-delicious:  homemade buttercream frosting (see below)
  • Frosting Option 2 -easy:  1-2 cans coconut supreme pre-made frosting (any white icing will work)
  • 1 cup small fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1 roll red-colored fruit snack or fruit leather (Fruit Roll-Ups) cut into 1/8 inch strips by 2 inches .

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Combine softened butter, eggs, water and cake mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and beat another 2 minutes.  Divide batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cool to room temperature on wire racks before proceeding or cool quickly 10-15 minutes in the freezer (my favorite).

Option 1 buttercream frosting Food Network recipe by Gale Gand

  •  3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 -2 tbl whipping cream (can substitute milk)

Directions:  In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Spread frosting on tops of cooled cupcakes. Use blueberries to stud cupcakes in rows (for stars) over the upper left quarter of the cupcake. Place red fruit strips across the remainder of the cupcake surface in rows (for stripes) over frosting. Trim fruit strips where they hang over edges. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Grilled lobster- A feast for a king

When you want to impress his royal highness

Grilled lobster grill www.theluckywife.lifeLobster skewered www.theluckywife.lifeCutting lobster shells www.theluckywife.lifeGrilled lobster grill2 www.theluckywife.lifeGrilled lobster www.theluckywife.life

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, lucky for me since I adore older men 😉  We had a low key celebration at home since we’ll really celebrate in Key West.  Grilling for us is a year round sport, and we play it very well.  Last night’s feast was grilled filets (marinated in soy sauce & garlic) and grilled lobster tails with garlic butter sauce.  To top it off, we had a Biltmore Vanilla Bean Cheesecake- 2nd only to a real New York cheesecake – which I do not have access to since I live in LA (and by LA I mean Lancaster, SC- yes its a local thing).

Seafood for me is an acquired taste, I didn’t start eating shrimp, lobster, crab legs or scallops until I was an adult.  Now I crave them every time I think of the beach- which is a lot since I was born on the equator between 2 oceans.  I seriously think I am a mermaid.  Little trip down memory lane, when my kids were little, they used to think when we said “lobster”, we were either saying “monster” or  “mobster”, both of which were hilarious as we’d enter restaurants with lobster tanks on display- “Mama- look at the monsters!”

This is the easiest grilled lobster recipe I’ve found and they turn out perfect every time.  Hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.  I drool every time I scroll through my phone and see grilled lobster pics from celebrations gone by.

  • Grilled Lobster- Snap Guide Grilled Lobster Tails by Tommy Pavlika
  • 4 lobster tails (6-8oz)
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 tsp lemon
  • pinch Himalayan sea salt
  • pinch cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat your grill to medium heat.
  2. Use kitchen scissors to cut through each lobster shell.  Slightly open each cut.
  3. Skewer each tail and set aside.  This prevents the tails from curling up
  4. Melt butter, garlic, salt & pepper, lemon on stove or in the microwave- set aside.
  5. Grill on medium heat upside down for 7-8 minutes . DO NOT put tails over direct heat. Cook with lid closed.
  6. After flipping, baste the tails with lemon butter sauce. Be sure to get a lot of butter and garlic inside the open portion!
  7. Cook for 3-5 minutes with lid closed and be cautious of flame flare-ups. When the meat is opaque it is done.
  8. Remove tails from grill, baste one more time and cover with foil for 5-10 minutes before eating. ENJOY!

Monogrammed Chicken Pot Pie

Welcome to the south

Monogrammed Chicken Pot Pie www.theluckywife.life

Welcome to the south-  we monogram everything down here!  This is a tried and true family recipe my Grandma Glaze taught me once upon a time in Alabama.  I added the monogram a few years ago when I was playing around with the left over dough and the family tradition began!

This mouth watering home cooked meal has only 4 ingredients and is a go-to recipe for our hectic family.  It is perfect for any night of the week and the leftovers- if there are any- are delicious the next day too.  If you ever need to cook a meal for a new neighbor, a sick friend, a grieving family or help out new parents- this meal will knock it out of the park.

Chicken Pot Pie ingredients www.theluckywife.life

Ingredients:  Don’t skimp!  Get the name brand, you can tell a difference in this recipe!(TIP- I usually grill 10-12 chicken breasts every Sunday for quick meals like this)

  • cooked chicken diced (2 chicken breast will do, but my boys like lots of chicken)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 pie crusts
  • 3 cups frozen veggies
  • optional- pats of butter

Directions:

Bottom pie crust- line the bottom of your pie pan with 1 pie crust.  I use a Pampered Chef stoneware pie pan.  Cut slits in the crust and bake according to package directions.  While this bakes, mix together the rest of the ingredients (chicken, soup, veggies) in a large bowl.  Once the bottom pie crust is cooked, add the chicken veggie mixture and smooth it flat.  Optional:  You can add the pats of butter before you add the top crust.  Top with the remaining pie crust.  Trim off the excess pie crust and cut slits in the crust for the steam/ heat to escape.  Use the excess pie crust to make your initial or make other decorations like leaves, hearts or stars.  My pies usually bake another 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Let sit for 10 minutes.  Slice and get ready to enjoy some down home cookin’.

 

 

Chicken Pot Pie uncooked www.theluckywife.life