Tag Archives: fish

Peanut Butter Quinoa

Shortly after my husband and I got married, we put together a picnic dinner. I was so excited to make a delicious quinoa salad. We started eating, and I noticed my husband wasn’t eating any of my salad. I asked him, and he said he doesn’t care for salads like that. I had just bought a big package of quinoa, and I needed a new way to fix it. I found lots of recipes for casseroles or soups, but not many regular side dishes.

So, I finally took a salad recipe to make this side dish. And it turned out great. This is great with fish or chicken. Or stir in some chicken and make a meal out of it. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Quinoa (Serves 6-8)

Peanut Butter Quinoa

1 cup uncooked quinoa or 2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 rib celery, sliced thin
2 carrots, sliced thin
½ medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
¼ cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
dash sriracha
½ teaspoon ground ginger

1. If not already cooked, cook quinoa according to package directions.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Add celery, carrots, onion, and bell pepper. Saute 5-7 minutes, until vegetables begin to be tender.

3. Mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. It is not essential that they combine perfectly. You can heat it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds and they will combine better.

4. Add quinoa and peanut butter mixture to vegetables. Stir and cook until well combined and all is heated through. Serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 172
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 8 gm
Saturated Fat: 1 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 21 gm
Fiber: 3 gm
Sodium: 253 mg

Recipe notes: You could substitute any vegetables you like. The “sauce” is pretty thick. You could add in some water or more soy sauce to thin it out more, if you like a saucier side. I liked mine fairly thick, almost like a fried rice.

Source: adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

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Grilled Salmon

I am always looking for new salmon marinades. I have tried and enjoyed several in the last few months. Unfortunately, I often forget to write down what I did. Marinades are tricky like that for me. I just start throwing things into the bag with the fish. I don’t measure carefully or anything.

I finally made myself write one down, and I really enjoyed it. It is Asian inspired, but is different from my previous Asian Glazed Salmon. Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon (Serves 4)

Grilled Salmon

4 salmon fillets
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Dash sriracha
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Combine salmon with the remaining ingredients in a resealable bag or container. Refrigerate. Let marinate for at least an hour, up to overnight.

2. Remove fish from marinade and scared remaining marinade.

3. Preheat grill to medium to medium-high heat. Grill fish about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 472
Protein: 66 g
Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 146 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sodium: 503 mg

Source: adapted from several sources online

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Dealing with Food Allergies and Intolerances

I recently had some people over for dinner.  I was craving nachos, so that is what I served.  As I was about to cuchocolate cake for dessert, one of them tells me that he has celiac and can’t eat gluten.  I had no idea before dinner.  Sadly, I didn’t have any dessert alternatives for him.  But I’m grateful I made nachos instead of my other idea of spaghetti and meatballs!

This is one of many encounters I have had recently with food allergies and intolerances.  I will admit, I am extremely thankful that I don’t have to deal with any of these problems in my little family.  Reading labels, buying specialty products, cooking from scratch, and teaching children, friends, and family can be a full time job in many cases.  Following these diets isn’t optional; for many, it is life or death.

Here are a few tips on following a food allergy diet:

-Try to focus on what you can eat.  If you try to change all of your regular recipes to be free of a particular allergen, you can go crazy.  For example, if you can’t cook with dairy, don’t start with a lasagna recipe, which has multiple dairy ingredients.  Instead, think of something similar without dairy, such as spaghetti.

-Similar to above, build recipes with ingredients you know you can eat.  Make lists of ingredients you have in your pantry or you know you can buy.  Then start picking ingredients from the list that go together.

-Find good resources.  There are many cookbooks and websites out there.  A good place to start online is nutritionblognetwork.com.  All of the blogs in this database are written by registered dietitians.  You can trust that they are providing accurate information.

-Try to be as liberal as possible with the diet.  I’m not saying eat foods you shouldn’t.  For any of us, it is easy to get in a rut with what we eat.  If you are limited by a food allergy, you can easily eat a very limited diet of a few foods over and over.  Try to keep things as lively and interesting as you can.  The less deprived you feel, the better off you will be.

If you or someone close to you has a food allergy or intolerance, I’d love to hear about how you cope in the comments.  Good luck to all of those dealing with food allergies out there!  Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Foil Packet Tilapia

Cooking things in foil packets makes me think of camping. In particular, I remember one camping trip where we made foil packets with chicken, potatoes, and carrots. It would have been great, if the chicken hadn’t been frozen. Those cooked FOREVER, at least in my recollections of being 14.

Cooking fish in packets is especially helpful. It can help prevent the dreaded scenario of dry fish. And dealing with foil packets on the grill is sometimes easier than flaky fish fillets. Packets are also a great way to mingle a lot of flavors. Throw your veggies in to cook as well and save yourself a pot. I put a little extra sauce on these, so they easily dumped on to some cooked pasta for a complete dinner. Enjoy!

Foil Packet Tilapia (Serves 4)

Foil Packet Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets
2 cups green beans, trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt

1. Spread 4 large squares of foil on a counter. Preheat grill.

2. Place 1 piece of fish on each piece of foil. Add ¼ cup beans, ¼ of the onion, ½ of a tomato, and ¼ of the garlic to each packet.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour evenly over each piece of fish. Seal packets well.

4. Grill 5-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and has a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Serve over rice or pasta.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories:  279
Protein:  25 g
Fat:  16 g
Saturated Fat:  3 g
Cholesterol:  58 mg
Carbohydrates:  11 g
Fiber:  3 g
Sodium:   364 mg

Recipe Notes: You could also cook these in the oven. I’ve seen oven temps on recipes online everywhere from 350-425, with cooking times from 10-30 minutes. As a general rule, the higher the temp, the less it will need to cook. You can always mix up the veggies to your taste preference or what you have on hand.  Zucchini or summer squash would be especially good, I think.  Tomatoes are good to include if you have them, since they provide a little more liquid for the sauce.

Source: Adapted from many sources online.

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Grilled Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw

On a recent trip to California, a couple family members and I branched out from the crowd going to the traditional chain restaurant. We found this little taco shack a few doors down that was phenomenal. They only served tacos and shakes, but they did both of those things incredibly well. We tried several different varieties, but my favorite was the fish taco.

I was so inspired that I came home and made some. While maybe not on the same level as the restaurant, these tacos were killer. I ate the leftovers for days as tacos, salads, quesadillas, etc. The slaw could really be served as a side on its own. The salsa you may recognize from my polenta poblanos; it is my favorite. Go fire up your grill and make these tacos. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy!

Grilled Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw (Serves 4-6)

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1 pound white fish (I used tilapia)
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (cayenne if you don’t have chipotle)
8-16 corn tortillas

1. Dry fish with a paper towel.

2. Combine paprika through chipotle chili powder in a small bowl. Rub evenly over fish. Let marinate for 15 minutes (optional.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish onto hot grill. Grill for 4 minutes on the first side. Flip. Cook on second side until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Remove from grill and let rest.

4. Grill tortillas until warmed on each side.

5. Flake fish into large chunks. Serve in warmed tortillas with slaw and salsa.

Spicy Slaw
¼ cup fat free sour cream
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
½ tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water, if needed
½ head of green cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
1 cup grated carrots
½ cup sliced red onion

1. Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and sugar in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, adding water in small amounts as needed to thin to desired consistency.

2. Combine cabbage, carrots, onion, and remaining cilantro in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until well coated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Fresh Salsa
8 roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed (to your heat preference)
1 large red onion, cut into wedges (sixths or eighths should work)
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1. Toss tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion in olive oil. Grill on hot grill for 5-10 minutes per side, until nicely charred.

2. Puree tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, salt, and garlic powder until desired salsa consistency. Chill before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 288
Protein: 28 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 56 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 334 mg

Recipe Notes: The cook times for the fish anticipate a thinner fish fillet. If your fillets are thick or frozen, you will want to increase the time on the first side. Just check your temperature. The amount of tortillas you need depends on your preference and the durability of your tortillas. I find corn tortillas, even when warmed, to be a bit brittle. I served mine doubled up to help prevent taco breakdown. Be warned that this slaw really can get spicy, especially the longer that it sits. Also, it will seem like it doesn’t have enough dressing, compared to traditional slaw. You want a crunchy slaw on top of you taco, so slightly underdressing is good. Also, it will soften more the longer it sits. The slaw recipe will also make way more than 4-6 servings for tacos. If only used for tacos, it would probably serve 8-10. Enjoy it as a side dish on another day. Same with the salsa.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light, Bobby Flay, Real Simple, and LoveOneToday.com

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Greek Rice

You know those packaged rice and pasta side dishes, like Rice-a-Roni or the RiceSides? My family ate a fair amount of those growing up, and I remember loving them.  My favorite was a rice pilaf that my mom would always serve with fish. It was very simple, but still seasoned and flavorful. I’ve always wanted to recreate it on my own, but never found a recipe that I loved.

Enter this Greek rice. It is the perfect cross between that packaged rice pilaf and the rice side they serve at my favorite Greek restaurant. It is the perfect side dish for fish (like tilapia with tomatoes), gyros, or even just some grilled chicken or veggies. Enjoy!

Greek Rice (Serves 4)

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1 teaspoon olive oil (omit if using rice cooker)
½ cup thinly sliced or chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water (you may need more)
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, or dill
half of a lemon

Stovetop directions:
1. Heat olive oil in medium to large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Add rice, water, herbs, juice of the lemon. Toss the lemon rind into the pot as well.

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, until rice is done and water is evaporated. Stir occasionally to make sure rice isn’t burning. You may need to add more water to prevent burning. Add it ¼ cup at a time. Remove lemon rind before serving.

Rice cooker directions:

1. Add all ingredients to rice cooker (omit olive oil). Set to cook. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until rice is done and water is evaporated. Stir occasionally to make sure rice isn’t burning. You may need to add more water to prevent burning. Add it ¼ cup at a time. Remove lemon rind before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 193
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 4 mg

Recipe Notes: I have used both sliced and chopped onions. I preferred the chopped since they blended into the rice better. Sliced are more visually apparent, if you have people who want to know there are onions in the rice. My favorite combo was thyme and rosemary. But you can adapt this with any herbs you like or have on hand. If you are using dried herbs – which is fine – decrease it to 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons total herbs.

Source: adapted from online

Low iodine adjustment: No adjustment needed. Enjoy!

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Tilapia with Tomatoes and Green Beans

I was pretty oblivious to Lent and eating fish on Fridays until I got to high school. Even then, most of my exposure was making sure we chose somewhere to eat on Fridays that had fish for the one Catholic member of a traveling team I was on. Even during graduate school, I would forget. I once took pork egg rolls to a Friday gathering during Lent. Needless to say, my friends weren’t super thrilled with me.

While I still don’t observe Lent, I am making a conscious effort for my family to eat more fish these days. We all know fish is good for us – low in fat, low in cholesterol, high in omega-3s, good source of protein. But I find most people, like myself, are hesitant to cook fish. Maybe it is fears of “fishy” smells or tastes or overcooking it. I know I seem to hold fish dishes to a higher standard of needing to be “amazing” to be worth the effort.

This fish dish actually exceeded my expectations, which is pretty rare. The flavors were light, refreshing, and still filling. Even my toddler ate a few bites, although I did tell her it was chicken. Enjoy!

Tilapia with Tomatoes and Green Beans (Serves 4)

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Cooking spray
4 roma tomatoes, sliced between ¼ and ½ inch thick
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces green beans, trimmed
¼ cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
4 teaspoons horseradish mustard
4 tilapia fillets
2 lemons, sliced to get 12 slices total

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Arrange tomato slices on baking sheet. Spray tomatoes lightly with cooking spray, then sprinkle half of the salt and pepper over the top.

3. Combine remaining salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and green beans on a separate piece of foil; toss to coat green beans evenly. Fold foil to make a sealed packet around green beans. Place on baking sheet next to tomatoes. Bake tomatoes and green beans for 20 minutes.

4. Combine mayonnaise, herbs, and mustard in a small bowl.

5. Remove pan from oven. Scoot tomatoes and green beans to make room for fish. Place fish in a single layer on tray. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over top of fillets. Place 3 slices of lemon on top of each fillet.

6. Return pan to oven and bake for 6 minutes. Leave pan in oven, but turn broiler on to high. Broil 3 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork or reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees. Serve fish with tomatoes and green beans.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 207
Protein: 26 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 61 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 3.5 g
Sodium: 395 mg

Recipe Notes: I admit to scanning this recipe when menu planning, and then being totally shocked when I went to make it. I missed that the original recipe included breadcrumbs on the fish, which I wasn’t in the mood for. If I want breaded fish, I’ll buy fish sticks, thanks very much. I also thought sliced tomatoes were much nicer for serving. The “sauce” needed a lot more herbs and mustard for my taste than originally called for. I had rosemary and thyme on hand, which was very tasty. The original recipe called for tarragon, which would also likely be delicious. I used horseradish mustard, but Dijon would also work nicely. Don’t be disheartened by the muted green color of the green beans when you unwrap the packet. I felt like they looked like they had come out of a can. But the taste was completely different and delicious.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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