Posts tagged ‘tacos’

Grilled Fish Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce

I don’t remember the first time I had fish tacos. I guess it was probably a few years ago when they first started becoming popular.

I’ve always loved fish though, so I thought they were a great idea from the get go.

Making fish tacos myself, however, is a more recent thing. I think the first time I made them was probably a year or so ago.

As I’ve said before, I don’t like deep frying things, so I usually bake, pan fry, or grill my fish (much like my homemade fish sticks).

My fish tacos are the same. For these I pan fried the fish, but you could also grill it. They’re fast and delicious either way. The avocado cream sauce is also very easy. Just throw everything in a food processor, whiz it, and you’re good to go.
You can use pretty much any kind of white fish you like for these. Heck, you could probably even use a none-white fish, such as salmon, for these. I’ve never tried it, but it’d probably work fine.

Okay, first, mix the spice rub for your fish. It consists of cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.


Rinse and pat dry your fish fillets. Make sure you get boneless skinless fillets. Picking bones out of your fish tacos is not fun. I know, because I’ve done it. One word: messy.
Place the fillets on a baking sheet. Rub the spice rub all over both sides of the fillets. Let them set for a few minutes while you heat up your skillet/grill/oven.


Meanwhile, add a peeled, deseeded avocado, plain yogurt, a little mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, a little honey, and a little onion powder to your food processor. Process until smooth and lovely.


See? Lovely.


Pan fry, grill, or bake your fish fillets until flakey. I pan fried mine in a little olive oil. Delicious.


Chop the fish fillets up however small you want them, and serve it with the avocado cream sauce, cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage), fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice or lime wedges, shredded cheese, and warmed flour or corn tortillas.


We had corn and flour tortillas, because my dad prefers corn tortillas and I prefer flour tortillas. Even with enchiladas I prefer flour tortillas, which some people might think is sacrilege. I say, eat whichever you like. That’s just how I roll. Viva la flour tortillas! 🙂

Grilled Fish Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce

(serves 4)

  • About 16 oz. boneless skinless fillets of white fish
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
for the avocado cream sauce:
  • 1 avocado, peeled and de-seeded
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder

to serve:

  • corn or flour tortillas
  • cole slaw mix
  • fresh cilantro
  • shredded cheese
  • lime wedges or fresh lime juice
  1. Mix the cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Rinse and pat fish fillets dry, and place on a baking sheet or large plate. Rub the spice mixture into both sides of fillets. Set aside and begin heating a skillet with olive oil over medium high heat (if pan frying), or a grill set on medium.
  3. In a food processor, add avocado, yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro, honey, and onion powder. Process until smooth. Pour into a small serving bowl.
  4. Fry or grill fish fillets, turning them over once while cooking, until cooked through and flakey.
  5. Heat up tortillas on the stove or grill.
  6. To serve, place some fish, avocado cream sauce, shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, and shredded cheese (optional), all in a warm tortilla. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over if desired, and eat.

March 27, 2012 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for January 16 – 22

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I didn’t realize today was a holiday until Saturday when my parents told me they wouldn’t have work on Monday.

As today is a holiday and the weather is fairly nice, Hisa and I are going to help my parents get rid of some stuff in their garage. Saturday we got rid of some of my old furniture and several boxes of my parents’ things, and took it all to Goodwill, but there’s still stuff that needs to go.

Doing anything in my parents’ garage is always quite an adventure. Like many Americans with big garages, it’s very much full of stuff (Americans, we love our stuff). It’s not just towering shelves stuffed with everything from Christmas decorations, to gardening equipment, to old baby toys; and stacks of boxes towering to astounding heights. No, no. There’s also an entire colony of Fiddle Back spiders (also known as Brown Recluses) living in every crack, crevice, and cranny.

Every piece of furniture, every box, every single thing we moved, had to be checked for spiders. And most of them had at least one spider on them. BIG spiders. It was horrifying. There’s not normally this many spiders in the garage, but because last summer was so incredibly hot for so long, they multiplied like rabbits (albeit tiny, eight-legged, fanged rabbits from hell). And for me, who hates spiders with a passion, and who was bit twice by Fiddle Backs when I was in high school, working in the garage is like a fight for survival that takes every ounce of courage I can muster.

And on that note, I leave you to journey back out into the garage, work gloves on and broom in hand.
Wish me luck.

Menu Plan for January 16 – 22:

  • Mon: Club salads (all the toppings are laid out for everyone to make their own)
  • Tues: Black bean soup and bread
  • Wed: Reuben sandwiches and leftover black bean soup
  • Thurs: Grilled veggie wraps
  • Fri: Eating out
  • Sat: Tacos
  • Sun: I haven’t decided yet, but I’m thinking to make pot roast

January 17, 2012 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

Vegetarian Black Bean Burritos

I went to the pool early this morning to swim.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have masochistic tendencies, because what could be more painful than getting up at dawn to exercise? And this is not just any exercise, this is lap swimming in January.

Not that I hate exercising in the morning. In Japan, I would usually go to swim or do my workout in the morning around 10 or 11am. On the contrary, I prefer to workout in the mornings. But the term “morning” covers a lot of territory. Anything done before coffee and breakfast is a painful experience. Waking up? Pain. Getting out of bed? Pain. Speaking to another human being before I have coffee running through my veins? Excruciating. So you can understand why exercising early in the morning is not very high on my list of things I want to try.

Unfortunately for me, however, the pool here is only open for lap swimming early in the mornings and in the evenings. All the times I’ve gone swimming at this pool before, have been in the evenings, but evenings are always kind of a pain the butt. If I’m in the city, I have to make sure I’m back in time, I have to hurry there and back so I can start making dinner, I’m usually already tired from doing things all day, etc. It just doesn’t work out that well.

So this morning, I decided to try swimming during the morning hours. I have to admit, I’m quite proud of myself for actually getting up and getting there, and it was quite refreshing in a way. Now that I’m home, showered, and I’ve had my breakfast, however, the sleepiness has suddenly hit me like a sack of potatoes (and I’m not talking about new potatoes here, I’m talking about a huge bag of russet potatoes).

I’d love to be able to be one of those people who can do this every morning, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ll be thrilled if I can pull this off twice a week.

We’ll see how it goes…

Last night a tried out a new recipe for vegetarian black bean burritos. Usually when I make Mexican food, there’s meat involved in some form or another, so I was a bit weary of whether this meatless version would be as satisfying or not. They were a hit with everyone though, and just as satisfying and tasty as their meat filled cousins! This is a great vegetarian Mexican food alternative, and it’s quick to throw together for nights when you need something fast.


First, in some olive oil, saute a diced onion, a couple cloves of minced garlic, some chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and coriander for a couple minutes.


Add two cans of drained and rinsed black beans and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the temp and simmer for about 8 – 10 minutes.


Mash everything up, and mix in a little salsa or hot sauce if you want.


I only had small flour tortillas on hand, so mine were more taco-like rather than actual burritos, but warm up some burrito-size tortillas, then serve everything. To eat, fill a warmed tortilla with some of the bean mixture, salsa, cheese, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lettuce, tomato, cilantro, etc. Fold the sides in, and then roll it all up into a burrito.

Vegetarian Black Bean Burritos

(serves 4)


  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried coriander
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • dash salt
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c. salsa -or- 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (optional)

To serve:

  • burrito-size flour tortillas
  • lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • sour cream -or- Greek yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Heat a few lugs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and spices, and saute gently until onion softens, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add beans and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and continue simmering for 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mash up beans until a paste. Mix in salsa or hot sauce if desired, and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Heat flour tortillas individually on a hot (non-oiled) skillet, or in the microwave.
  5. To eat: Spoon some of the bean filling onto a warm tortilla. Add lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro as desired. Fold the sides in, and then roll up intro a burrito.

January 4, 2012 at 2:23 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Nov. 14 – 18

First of all, let me just say, things are gonna be a little crazy around here this week.

In case you haven’t heard, Hisa and I are moving out of our apartment this Friday.

Hisa had his last day of work on Friday, so we’re cleaning, packing, throwing stuff away, and much more this week.

I have a couple dinners and a couple lunches planned this week, but nothing else.

This is why:

This is our fridge. Take note of all the empty space.

The remaining contents (from top to bottom) include: olives, plain yogurt, ground flax seed, cornmeal, the last of the apple butter, some yogurt cups, the last of the bread, some cheese, and abura-age (fried tofu thingies).

We’re trying to finish everything off before Friday rolls around, so we haven’t been buying much food. There’s also some stuff in the refrigerator door and the cupboard, but not a whole lot. Thursday morning we’ll be getting rid of all our pots and pans (not that we have that many), and that evening someone is coming to buy our gas stove (Japanese stoves are small portable things with two burners and no oven like American stoves), so Wednesday will pretty much be my last day of cooking in this apartment.

We also need to turn off our refrigerator sometime on Thursday, so the freezer can thaw out, and we can clean it.

So please pardon this week’s short and rather simple and uninteresting menu plan. I felt I should explain why so you wouldn’t think I was holding out on you. I’m moving. Internationally. Have pity.

I just noticed there’s a large blob of sauce on the side of the bowl. Opps. Bad food picture-taking me.

Menu Plan Monday for Nov. 14 – 18:

November 14, 2011 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for October 24 – 28

Highlights from this weekend:

  • Hisa and I packed up and mailed four more boxes to the U.S.
  • We threw away even more stuff.
  • Our apartment is gradually getting more and more empty (this is good).
  • My parents do not yet know that there are now 6 boxes of our stuff coming to their house.
  • One of which is full of books, and weighs about 14 kilos.
  • Maybe I should let them know…
  • I still don’t know how I should mail back my cowboy hat.
  • Yes, I have a cowboy hat (I am from Oklahoma you know).
  • We bought a fancy new rice cooker to bring with us back to the U.S.
  • Our new rice cooker has A.I.
  • As in Artificial Intelligence.
  • They don’t mess around with cooking rice in Japan.
  • It’s been rainy and cloudy all weekend and still is today. Boo.
  • I have a lot of corn meal I need to use up before we move, so I made corn meal pancakes this weekend (with bananas, walnuts, and cinnamon in them), and they were goooooood.
  • The end.

Menu Plan for October 24 – 28:


October 24, 2011 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Oct. 10 – 14

I’m actually posting this Tuesday afternoon here in Japan, but it’s still Monday in the U.S., so that counts, right? Ahaha…

Monday was a national holiday here in Japan, so Hisa and I went up to his parents’ place for the weekend. Sunday we climbed Mt. Nasu, which is about an hour drive from his parents’ place. It was so much fun! The leaves had all changed, so the mountain looked bright red. It was beautiful.

Hisa and me. We later climbed to the peak of the mountain behind us.

Beautiful, right? I took this when we were almost to the peak of the mountain in the previous picture.

The mountain actually had multiple peaks, and we climbed two of them. The first peak we climbed is actually an active volcano, and smoke was constantly coming out of it.

See the smoke? Every once in awhile we would hear a loud whooshing noise that was steam escaping from the volcano.

It looked just like Mount Doom near the peak, so I decided we should take some Lord of the Rings themed pictures while we were there… Because I’m cool like that…yo.

I was chosen for this task! If I don’t destroy the ring, no one will!

(Actually I was holding my wedding ring, and as I like my husband and wanna keep him around for awhile, I decided I probably shouldn’t throw my ring into the fires of Mount Doom. Sorry Gandalf.)

At this point, I told Hisa to crouch down in the shadow of the big rock and act like Gollum, but somehow he just ended up looking like a kid who’s been bullied…

The closer we got to the peak of the volcano, the more smoke there was. When we finally reached the peak it was like being in a cloud. A cloud that reeked of sulfurous gas that is. I hope it wasn’t toxic…

Wheeeeeere’s Rachel? (volcano peak version)

The second peak we climbed was both higher and harder, but beautiful and a lot of fun in my opinion.

A lot of the trail consisted of climbing along a cliff face while holding onto a chain that was drilled into the side of the mountain. In some places you had to brace your feet, grab the chain with both hands, and pull yourself up over huge rocks. It was awesome. Climbing back down afterward was kinda freaky, but it was worth it. 🙂

Hisa and I at the second peak. Let me just add that the wind was really strong there, and it was really cold. Also, I had a lot of stuff in my pockets, so no, that isn’t my gut sticking out. I just wanted you to know that.

It was a really fun day hiking, but we were both exhausted by the time we got home, and still tired the next day. I’m really glad we were able to go though! I hated hiking when I was a kid, but I love it now! Especially hiking in mountains! Fun!

Menu Plan for October 10 – 14:

October 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

Taco Pasta

Every summer here in Japan, a fierce battle ensues between me and the cicadas.

Our apartment building is surrounded by trees, which most of the year I find to be lovely, as I love trees. In the summer, however, it becomes a curse. Cicadas are always hanging out in trees or near trees as I’m sure most of you know, and the trees around our apartment become filled to the brim with cicadas. With our windows closed, the cicadas are loud, but if our windows are open, it’s a roar of noise. When one of them is on our balcony and begins making noise, it’s the most loud and shrill noise imaginable.

That’s not the worst part though. No no. What kills me every summer is that there are so many cicadas, that I cannot walk through the hallway in front of our apartment (an open-air corridor) or take the stairs without being attacked by one or more cicadas. Now, I use the term “attack” losely, because I know they’re not really attacking me. That’s simply how it feels to me. The reality, however, is that cicadas are the worst fliers in the insect kingdom. They simply see something coming towards them, freak out, and fly. They fly in no specific direction or without any aim, they just fly. Usually, this leads to them flying into a wall (multiple times), the ground, or me.

I think this could also qualify cicadas for having the worst survival instinct in the insect kingdom. I mean, if a potential predator is coming towards you, one with proper survival instincts would flee away from the predator. Cicadas, however, are lacking the whole idea of “away”, so they just freak out and have a flying spaz attack, more often than not flying into the potential predator (in this case, me), and scaring/startling the living daylights out of said potential predator and making her shriek like a banshee.

Summer is long in Japan…

*        *        *

If you love tacos or you love pasta, or if you’re like me and love them both, you’ll love this taco pasta dish.

There’s been several versions of it circulating on various food blogs, so I’m not really sure where it originates from, but here’s my version of it. Both Hisa and I really liked this dish. I think kids would also really go for this dish. If they don’t like spicy foods though, you might substitute a can of plain tomatoes for the can of tomatoes and chillies.

Pasta shells works great in this recipe, because it holds the sauce well, and they look like little tacos! 😀

Taco Pasta (serves 2)

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
  • 4 – 5 oz. dried pasta shells (or just make enough pasta for two people)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and green chillies
  • 2 Tbsp tomato pasta
  • 1/2 packet (2 Tbsp) taco seasoning
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown the beef over medium heat. Drain off fat when browned. Add onion and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
  3. Add canned tomatoes and chillies, tomato paste, and taco seasoning. Mix well and let simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Add the cream cheese and  sour cream, and mix well. Add the cooked pasta and toss until pasta is well coated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix in the chopped cilantro right before serving.

Enjoy with a tossed salad, fresh corn, or your favorite green vegetable.


August 4, 2011 at 9:16 am 1 comment

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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