Friday, September 30, 2011

Easy Fish for EVERY Family

Do you eat enough fish? You really should. Did you know that eating fish once or twice a week will benefit your health? It will. Fish is low in fat and high in protein and also contains Omega-3 fatty acids which fight heart disease and many other common health issues. 

Fish has not always been in our regular rotation of meals. Like many others, I was operating under the assumption that if I fixed fish, it would make my home stink for days. I also associated fish with dry lifeless, bland diet food.

However, a few years ago, I came upon a recipe for a fish dish that could be prepared and on the table in under 20 minutes start to finish. That was enough to pique my interest and begin my journey toward introducing my growing family to an "alternative" entree.

I never quite understood where to begin with any kind of seafood that lacked a thick dark brown layer of breading. I firmly believed that Mrs. Paul was in charge of that sort of thing and I trusted her completely UNTIL I turned that box over and looked at the fat content of just one tiny serving!

I headed to the grocery store's freezer section. There I found large bags of frozen fish and I began to work my way through the varieties week after week, month after month until I figured out which fish tasted like what, which were boneless, and which were skinless. 

The skinless feature was important to my family as the children turned out to be quite averse to eating fish that still looks very much like a fish and, as it turned out, so was I! I've learned that most bags of fish fillets are well marked as "boneless" and "skinless" and "individually wrapped", but it's always a good thing to read the labels closely...just in case.

I've found that we enjoy tilapia, cod, haddock and many others. Generally the white fish varieties are interchangeable in recipes. Also, I've learned that this kind of fish doesn't stink at all and it beats a chicken breast hands down on moistness and taste--in my humble opinion. Now all you need is to grab a bag o'fillets and get started.

After you get home and open the big bag, you will find individually wrapped fillets. The quickest way to defrost them is to fill a large bowl with cool water and plop those fish into it for about 30 to 45 minutes.

After the fish has thawed, grab some scissors and release them from those little plastic bags. Now, you're ready to create. For ultimate simplicity, place the filets on a foil-lined and sprayed baking sheet, salt and pepper the fish and bake for 15 minutes at 400˚. Remove from oven and enjoy.

Tonight, I tried a new fish dish called Easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia*. My son bestowed upon this meal the much coveted "Double Do-Over" rating. Quite an honor. Really.

Here's what you need:
Recipe adapted from {How Sweet Eats}

6 (I used a few more) whole Tilapia (or other white fish) fillets
salt & pepper
6 TBSP butter, softened
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Here's what to do:
Preheat oven to 400˚
Defrost the fillets in cool water.

 Remove thawed fillets from plastic and pat dry with a paper towel. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Salt and pepper each piece of fish and place in oven for 10-15 minutes.

While fish is cooking, combine Parmesan cheese, thyme, garlic, and butter in a separate bowl.

 Stir into a paste. My butter was not soft enough to mix into a smooth paste so I put the entire mixture in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften a bit. (This paste can be made the day before to speed the process even more...)

 Remove fish from oven and turn oven to BROIL setting and move your oven rack to broil position. 
Gently flip each fillet.

Place about 1/2 of a tablespoon of the butter paste on each fillet.

There! All, put 'em back into the oven...carefully, it's very hot!
  Return baking sheet to oven and broil for 2-3 minutes. 

READ: DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE OVEN! Do not turn your head to explain to a three year old why dogs bark. Do NOT discuss the three phases of science history with your tween in the next room. Do NOT even think about answering a text from your sister. 

These actions and many others WILL absolutely result in burnt fish. Burnt fish, in turn, will cause you to cry. Crying while preparing fish will cause you to never fix fish again. Never fixing fish for your family will result in less than optimal health...this is not good. You can do better. You must...they are counting on YOU! 


When the fish looks like this, lightly golden-brown and yummy, it's done.

We added a little steamed spinach, warm applesauce, and corn-on-the-cob to our plates, and dinner was served! 
(I had a few fillets left over and I'm gonna use those for fish tacos tomorrow!!)

For more information on the health benefits of fish from the Mayo Clinic, click here.
Happy Fishing!


Becky said...

I will have to try this with my fam very soon! Thanks

G'ma suz said...


Sonya Schroeder said...

thanks for linking up over at Becoming a Strong Woman of God and sharing this YUMMY recipe. I totally can not wait to add fish to my meals!! hugs

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