Healthy Baked Fish and Chips, Vinegar Braised Greens and Tartar Sauce

Healthy Baked Fish and Chips, Vinegar Braised Greens and Tartar Sauce

My wife told me she was craving “fish and chips”. What she meant was like fish sticks and fries but of course when I think fish and chips, I think the English fried fish and chips. As I’ve stated numerous times on this blog, I don’t have a fryer. It is my excuse to be a little healthier and bake things. So, when I mistakenly thought my wife want good old fried English fish and chips, I set about to make a baked version. In all honest, it didn’t turn out quite as I thought, but never the less it was good.

I came up with baked tilapia with a beer batter and baked fries, local Swiss chard and collards braised in vinegar and homemade tartar sauce (with no mayo in it). Like I said, it turned out to be very good. My wife was disappointed to not have homemade breaded fish sticks, but it all turned out in the end.

The fish was good, the edges where crispy but it was a far cry from good old fried fish. I guess that was the point though. Still, I’ve made baked “fried” items that were darn close. I could have gone with a traditional breading with bread crumbs, but I wanted that light traditional batter. The chips were just my go to baked french fries. The greens were supposed to be a play on the malt vinegar that is used in the traditional fish and chips. The tartar sauce was really good, especially considering that I didn’t use any mayonnaise. I often replace mayo with Greek yogurt and a little olive oil. Is it as luxurious, no, but it was pretty close.


Ingredients for Healthy Tartar Sauce
Measurements are approximate.

  • 5 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 2-3 tbsp dill pickle relish
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp[ dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 tilapia filet, cut in even strips
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 bunch mixed leafy greens (I used rainbow chard and collards)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (malt vinegar would probably be more authentic, but I didn’t have any)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions for Healthy Tartar Sauce
This can be done ahead of time.

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, olive oil, relish, relish juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, vinegar, mustard and mix.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Directions for “Chip”

  1. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Using a mandolin slicer or knife, splice the potatoes in strips. Soak the fries in water for 5-10 minutes
  3. Remove from the water and dry thoroughly.
  4. In a large mixing bowel, add the fries, olive oil to coat and season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss until all the fries are coated and the seasoning is distributed evenly.
  5. Place the fries on a sheet pan with non-stick tin foil and bake approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Next, remove the pan and flip the fries, bake another 15-20 minutes or until desired crispness.


  1. In large bowl suitable for dredging, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, then add it to the flour mixture.
  3. Next, add the pickle juice and a few tablespoons of the beer at a time, mixing. Clumps are OK, just keep adding the beer until the batter consistency is as you like. It should probably be a little thicken since we are baking this.
  4. Season the fish with salt and pepper and dust with flour.
  5. Take one peice of fish at a time and dip them into the batter. Place the fish on a sheet pan.
  6. Having only one oven, I overlapped the making of the chips with the making of the fish. Lower the heat to 425 degrees F.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the fish is golden brown and crispy.
  8. In a large pan or stock pot, add olive oil to coat and heat over medium.
  9. Add the greens and toss to coat. Cook until slightly wilted, approximately 3 minutes.
  10. Add vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, toss, reduce heat and put a lid on the pot. Allow to cook until desired texture (I like then with a little bite).
  11. Enjoy.
Healthy Baked Fish and Chips, Vinegar Braised Greens and Tartar Sauce

Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

Thai chopped chicken salad from Panera

The Thai Chicken Salad from Panera Bread Company is one of my favorite salads. It is fantastic. It has everything I look for in a great meal. Crunchy, a little heat, a little sweet, sour, tangy and lots of savory. The dressing, the peanut drizzle… nom, nom. I would say, I love this salad, so much so that I endeavored to make it at home. Low and behold, it wasn’t that hard and mine might, just might, even be better.

After a quick Google search, I came across a recipe that I based mine on. So hat tip to Cheerios & Lattes for their Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad post.

One thing I had to add was spicy pickled carrots. I know, I just know the carrots in Panera’s salad have a bunch of heat and sour. Another thing I tweaked was using jarred roasted red peppers, it was easier and added a little bit more sour. I also changed the vinaigrette to add more heat and the peanut sauce drizzle I used chocolate almond butter. Yep, you heard that correct, chocolate almond butter instead of peanut butter. I’m telling you, don’t knock it.

For my palette, this was perfect. It had all that I loved from Panera’s version but more of what I like. More heat, more sour. Even my happy mistakes like the chocolate almond butter and sambal oelek turned out fantastic. I can’t recommend this salad enough. Make it your own and let me know how you tweaked it in the comments.


Ingredients for Spicy Pickled Carrot

  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, cut in quarters
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Ingredients for Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Peanut Drizzle Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chocolate almond butter (or creamy peanut butter)
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large head bibb lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup, edamame, thawed
  • 3 roasted red pepper, drained and sliced in thin strips
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1 cup fried rice noodles (the crunchy kind in the can
  • Canola oil
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
Directions for Spicy Pickled Carrots
This can be done ahead of time.

  1. Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat with rice wine vinegar, water, salt, carrots and jalapeno.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from the heat.
  3. Allow to cool and place the mixture into a sealable jar (Mason Jar). Top off with water if need be and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  1. First make the vinaigrette. Add the rice wine vinegar, sambal oelek, sesame oil, powdered garlic in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Next the peanut drizzle sauce. Add the chocolate almond butter (or regular peanut butter), hoisin, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, soy sauce, water in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and continue whisking. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet or grill pan to just past medium. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper (we’ve already added a lot of sodium). Cook the chicken to desired doneness and allow to rest. Once cooled, slice in strips or chunks.
  4. Start your ovens broiler. Toss the thawed edamame lightly with canola and place on a sheet pan. Broil until slightly charred. Set aside.
  5. To plate, add the chopped bibb lettuce to a large plate. Distribute the carrots, edamame and roasted red peppers evenly. Lightly dress with the viniagrette. Add the fried rice noodles. Top with the chicken, drizzle with the peanut sauce and garnish with the chopped peanuts, cilantro and green onions.
  6. Enjoy.
Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo, cotija, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Those simple ingredients are all you need for some of the best tacos I’ve had. In this country tacos tend to be loaded down with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc. No need here, simple is just fine.

There is a little restaurant here in Greenville, SC called Fonda Rosalinda’s. The food there is outstanding and authentic Mexican cuisine. They also setup booths at several of the street festivals here and at these they generally serve smaller mobile friendly food. They always have some sort of tacos, and I get them every time. Their tacos are general small homemade corn tortillas with pork and very little else. The last time I had them they were chorizo, pineapple, red onion and cilantro. These tacos are an obsession, so simple but so delicious. Well, when a visit to our favorite little farm (Greenbrier Farms) for a plant sale netted fresh chorizo, I knew immediately what I was going to make.

By the way, the tacos turned out great. I couldn’t find good corn tortillas so I resorted to flour, but they worked just fine. I also added cotija cheese, which I’m sure Rosalinda would say is very American of me. I served these with Mexican rice and black beans as sides. Yum, yum, yum!



  • Fresh chorizo
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Small corn tortillas (I used flour)
  • Cotija cheese (or Queso Blanco)
  • Red onion, minced
  • Jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • Cilantro
  • Package of Mexican rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • Cooking spray

  1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the chorizo. Cook for a few minutes using a spatula or fork to break up the meat in to small pieces. I find it works well to smush the larger clumps. Add crushed red pepper to taste (our chorizo was not too spicey). Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until browned. Be patient, it will take longer the ground beef or turkey.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oven to 325 F. Wrap the tortillas in tin foil and place in the oven to warm.
  3. Warm the beans in a small pot and cook the rice per the instructions on the package.
Chorizo Tacos

Vegetables, Tofu, Pasta and Cheese (Healthy Mac’n Cheese)

Vegetable Tofu Pasta and Cheese

Amy’s Country Cheddar Bowl frozen dinner is awesome. This is my take on it. As another blogger called it, this is Mac ‘n Cheese for Grown-Ups (wish I could take photos as beautiful as them). Rarely does a frozen lunch inspire me to emulate it, but this one does. It is very light and health with the vegetables, tofu and whole wheat pasta yet hearty with the cheesy and potatoes. By adding peppers and carrots at the last minute and barely cooking them, the staying super crunchy, as did the broccoli. The crispy potatoes still had tooth to them. Seriously, this dish is so filling, you don’t miss the meat. I served this with charred garlic bread but it is a meal all by itself. I’ll be making this over and over.

For leftovers I added some Fontina cheese on the top and reheated in the oven. I also nuked in the microwave at work for lunch once.



  • 10-12 oz tofu, drained and cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, sliced thin (I have a fancy peeler tool, just cut then thin as you can)
  • 8-10 red new potatoes, quartered
  • 1 green garlic, mince head, slice the stem (you can use regular garlic, I just had this from our CSA)
  • Dale’s steak seasoning
  • 1 cup milk (or cream)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon AP flour
  • 10 oz aged English cheddar cheese, grated
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
  2. Heat an oven safe pan over medium high heat. Add enough oil to coat the pan then add the quartered potatoes. Toss and continue cooking until starting to brown. Transfer pan to the oven, tossing occasionally until crispy. Remove and set aside also reduce the oven heat to 350 F.
  3. Reduce the heat on the pan to medium. Make sure the tofu is dry and season with a little salt. Add more oil to the pan if needed. Cook the tofu until slightly browned on both sides. Let the tofu cool on a cutting board, then cut into cubes.
  4. In a large pot (with a steamer attachment) over high heat, bring water to boil. Add the broccoli to the steamer and steam for just a few minutes. When just tender, rinse with cold water and let drain and dry, set aside.
  5. Season the water with salt and add the pasta to still boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  6. In a bowl combine Dale’s, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, Dijon and flour. Whisk out any lumps.
  7. In the same pasta pot over medium heat add the milk mixture and simmer for a few minutes. Next add everything else. Seriously, add every single thing including the cheese. Season to taste. Toss to combine the mixture and add to a baking dish. Top with panko bread crumbs (I just used a cup or so) and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  8. Place in the oven until all the cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened. Switch the oven to the broiler and cook the top of the mixture until golden brown (carefully not to burn).
Vegetables, Tofu, Pasta and Cheese (Healthy Mac’n Cheese)

Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich

Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich

I love Bahn Mi sandwiches. Fresh, spicy, tangy, crunchy, all the good stuff. This may not be a traditional Bahn Mi but it tastes close to them. I used leftovers from several other meals listed below so this is one of the easiest meals you’ll see me post.

I had the pork loin, I had good bread and pickled carrots. I always have jalapeno, so this was a no brainer, its Bahn Mi time!



  • Ingredients and directions for pork. (follow link)
  • Ingredients and directions for pickled carrots. (follow link)
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Jalapeno, sliced
  • Cilantro
  • Crusty bread, warmed
  • Sirachi
  • Greek yogurt/sour cream

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt and sirachi to taste. Whisk and set aside.
  2. The beauty of this is at this point you must simply assembly. Slice bread, I like to hollow it out a bit. Add just a little of the sirachi/yogurt mixture (you could totally leave this out), sliced pork, carrots, cucumber and jalapeno to your liking and enjoy.
Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich

Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich at The Nose Dive

Vietnamese Bahn Mi at The Nose Dive, Greenville SC

Restaurants can come and go pretty quickly. One restaurant that opened with great fan fare in downtown Greenville was The Nose Dive. The next in a long growing line of Table 301 Restaurants that include local favorites like Soby’s, The Lazy Goat and Devereaux’s.

The Nose Dive was a long time coming. Opening in the space that used to be the home of Restaurant “O”, an upscale steak house. The space stayed empty for a very long time by Greenville standards. Never the less, when The Nose Dive did finally open, the “Gastropub” menu was refreshingly unique for the area. Upscale bar food. Gourmet technique and recipes applied to food you might normally not associate with a bar. We’ve eaten there MANY times since they opened and have never had a bad meal. We mostly like the sandwiches and “snacks”. The entree menu or “Mains” is good not great. The restaurant has a nice wine list and better than average beer selection.

The Nose Dive's Bahn MiThe whole reason for the post is to talk about my favorite sandwich in downtown Greenville. The Vietnamese Bahn Mi from The Nose Dive is a PERFECT sandwich in my opinion. PERFECT! Light and Crispy French Bun (with a very little mayo). Char Siu Pork brings some sweet and tangy bar-b-que flavor and is perfectly seasoned, not too little not too much. Spicy Pickled Vegetables add the acidity and crunch that anything “perfect” needs. Fresh Jalapenos slices and a lot of them add enough heat to make me sweat, which I love. Add in some cilantro for that fresh, earthiness and you have the perfect sandwich. YUM! I struggle getting anything else on the menu. I could see how some wouldn’t like this sandwich, it is probably not for everyone. Maybe it is too spicy, maybe some don’t like the pickled veg. For me, it is perfect.

Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich at The Nose Dive

Most Popular Posts of 2010

Attractions in 2010

I had a blast with this blog my first year. 2010 was great and I look forward to having an amazing 2011. I hope some of you got some good reviews or recipes. If so, keep checking back. THANKS!

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