Summer is Here!

Summer is here! 80s all week. For me, that is a signal to eat less and eat fresh. I am thankful I cleaned out the fridge and checked my pantry. Not too much restocking, though. Lance is off at his Forest Service job in Arkansas, so it’s just my mouth to feed. I’m excited to cook meals at home for just ME. 

That means less meat, but no loss of protein. And can we talk about food prices? Yikes. I’ve had to get creative for clients. I’ve been buying rotisserie chickens for them instead of breasts or thighs. Available, faster, cheaper. And lots of ground meat if whole pieces aren’t available or affordable. So, back to meat-free… 

My favorite of the following recipes features tuna steak. They are a revelation! I found them at Cash Saver in Carthage, and they are super affordable. I would use canned for a tuna salad, but eaten straight up these steaks are a dream. It’s fish that doesn’t taste like fish, know what I mean? If I want the brine of the ocean, I’ll have some oysters. The tuna takes on the flavor of any marinade quickly and easily. And best part, you can use that marinade to create a sauce if you boil it (unlike red meat or chicken marinades). 

Tacos are classic, quick, and toppings are key. My sweet potato and black bean tacos eliminate the meat but not the spices. Serve on flour tortillas or go carb-free in a bowl with lots of greens and some chopped celery or gluten free tortilla chips for crunch. Don’t forget the cilantro, squeeze of lime, and your favorite salsa.

Chia seeds are new to me, too. High in protein and fiber, they plump up in liquids and add a great little crunch sprinkled on salads. A little goes a long way. The chia pudding recipe below is perfect for hot weather breakfast or a mid-day snack. Be sure to use local blueberries when they are ripe for the picking! Bon Appetit! Now go eat affordably fresh.

Seared tuna steaks and celery


Serves 4-6

4-6 frozen tuna steaks, 3-4 ounces each, thawed


1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder


Marinade plus one 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt or mayo

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 stalks chopped celery

2 heads broccoli, chopped and steamed

Sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and lime wedges to top


Whisk marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into a gallon Ziplock bag. Pat dry the tuna steaks and add to bag. Make sure it’s sealed with air squeezed out. Move back around so tuna is covered. Let marinate in fridge two hours.

Heat a medium skillet (preferably non-stick or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) on medium-high to high until very hot (or medium medium-high for nonstick). I recommend giving cast iron 3-5 minutes to get hot and nonstick about 1 minute, depending on how thick it is.

Add the canola oil to the hot pan. Sear the tuna for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare (1.5 minutes on each side for rare; 3 on each side for medium). (Note: different burners get hotter depending on your stove. Use your best judgement whether you use medium, medium-high, or high heat, as the marinade may burn if too high heat is used)

Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes. While tuna is resting, put marinade in a small saucepan and heat until boiling. Turn off heat and let cool. Whisk in a tablespoon or more of Greek yogurt or mayo to desired creaminess.

Slice tuna into ½-inch slices drizzle the sauce over them. Serve garnished with green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired. Serve alongside chopped celery and steamed broccoli.

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

Serves 4


1 bag frozen chopped sweet potatoes, thawed and drained 
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 heaped teaspoon kosher salt
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 to 3 teaspoons chili powder, to taste 
Chipotle powder, cayenne, or shakes of hot sauce, to taste 
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
12 small (6-inch) or 6 medium (8 to 9-inch) flour tortillas
Sliced avocado, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, chopped fresh cilantro, hot sauce, cilantro, lime wedges for serving


In a deep skillet, toss thawed sweet potatoes and drained rinsed black beans with 2 tablespoons of canola oil, then add salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, chipotle powder, and paprika and toss to evenly coat. Let warm up for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally on medium heat.
To assemble, if you have a gas stove, I love running flour tortillas over an open flame to give them a little char and complexity. Or stack and heat in microwave for 20 seconds.
Spoon the mixture onto each tortilla. Squeeze a little lime juice over the potatoes and black beans (don’t skip this, please), and finish with toppings of your choice.

3 ingredient chia pudding
Serves 1
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup almond milk or milk of choice
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
Berries and toasted nuts to top
Pour ingredients into a jar and mix well. Let settle for 2-3 minutes then mix again until you see no clumping. Cover the jar and store in fridge overnight. When ready to eat, add toppings and enjoy cold.
-adapted from Feel Good Foodie