Category Archives: Healthy Cooking

Faux Fried Fish on Fridays: Two Fish Recipes

Written by Jenny -

Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillets with Carnation Tartar Sauce recipe

About a month ago our local newspaper published all the locations in our area for a weekly Friday Night Fish Fry. I could not believe the number of them — literally hundreds — and some have been going on for more than 3 decades! Other publications I found help search them out by providing the type of fish and side dishes served, whether alcohol is available, credit cards taken, etc. Until a few years ago, I had not gone to many despite growing up very close to the Atlantic Ocean and now near one of the Great Lakes. How could this be?! Thank goodness one of my girlfriends straightened me out. She has made the Friday Night Fish Fry a get-together time that we look forward to every year.

Instead of going to a tavern, club, hall or church this week, perhaps we will switch things up by having our dinner at one of our homes. I have two recipe choices: Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillets with Carnation Tartar Sauce and the Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Tartar Sauce. Both recipes  have a crunchy coating made without a fryer and are mighty tasty. Whatever recipe we choose will be served with sides of laughter for sure. Who knows…this may be our favorite location yet!

Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillets with Carnation Tartar Sauce (Pictured Above)

Ingredients for 6 servings:

TARTAR SAUCE

  • 1 package (8 oz.) light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

CRUSTED FISH

  • 2 large egg whites, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh or frozen (thawed) white fish fillets (such as tilapia)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to 3
  • lemon wedges

Directions:

FOR TARTAR SAUCE:

BEAT cream cheese and 2/3 cup evaporated milk in small mixer bowl until creamy. (Save remaining evaporated milk for the fish). Stir in relish, vinegar, salt and pepper. Store refrigerated in covered container for up to 4 days. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

FOR CRUSTED FISH:

COMBINE remaining evaporated milk and egg whites in shallow dish. Combine oats, garlic powder and paprika in medium bowl. Dip fish fillets into evaporated milk mixture, coating both sides and then into oat mixture. Press oats gently onto both sides of fish to form crust. Place coated fillets on baking sheet. Discard evaporated milk and oat mixtures after dipping.

HEAT oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets; cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (Thicker fillets may take longer to cook.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Creamy Carnation Tartar Sauce and lemon wedges.

TIPS:

  • For Tartar Sauce with a kick, add hot pepper sauce to taste.
  • If your quick-cooking oats are large in size, they can be processed to a smaller size in a blender or food processor.

Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Tartar Sauce recipe

Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Tartar Sauce

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs or regular unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 (about 12 ounces total) tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco, Tapatio or Cholula)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 450° F.

FOR TILAPIA:

PLACE flour and 1 tablespoon bouillon in shallow dish; mix well. Beat egg in second shallow dish. Place panko and remaining tablespoon bouillon in third shallow dish; mix well.

DIP fish in flour mixture, coating both sides. Dip in beaten egg, lightly coating both sides. Dip in panko mixture, coating both sides. Place fish on baking sheet.

BAKE for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and breading is slightly golden. Serve with Spicy Tartar Sauce.

FOR SPICY TARTAR SAUCE:

COMBINE mayonnaise, relish and hot sauce in a small bowl. For a spicier sauce, add more hot sauce to taste.

Links:

More recent fish recipes:

Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Salsa recipe Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter Recipe
Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Salsa Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter

Tips for Perfect Fries: Rosemary Oven Fries

Written by Chris -

Rosemary Oven Fries Recipe

Boy, do I have a treat for you! Who likes fries? Who loves fries? I know you can’t see me, but I am waving my hand profusely. I have such a crush on fries! I’m somewhat of a carbohydrate addict. But, I do actually avoid them on occasion – I need to look after my girlish figure, after all. Seriously, I eat fries all the time. But let me clarify, my fries are always baked. No exceptions. They are so much better for you this way!

Here are some tips for the most delicious baked fries – as in creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, pure deliciousness:

  • Cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges or sticks so that all of the fries will cook at the same rate.
  • After cutting the potatoes, soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Soaking them helps the potatoes release their starches.
  • Coat them with oil and season as desired (I have a seasoning tip below).
  • Then bake, covered with foil, for the first 5 minutes. Remove the cover, and continue baking until golden. This produces fries with a soft, creamy interior and a crisp outer crust.

This last technique came from my favorite culinary publication, Cooks Illustrated. I’ve always soaked my potatoes to remove the starch (this helps make them crispy), but covering them for the first 5 minutes of baking is a new technique for me. I never thought to steam them first. But doing so produces the best texture!

I love adding fresh rosemary to my fries. Certainly not necessary, but do me a favor, try it. I think you might just love it. I also like to add chicken bouillon as a seasoning to my fries. It has onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric and other spices. If you are vegetarian, sea salt does the trick, too. But if you aren’t, give bouillon a try. It’s a great all-around seasoning.

Here’s my go to recipe:

Rosemary Oven Fries

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 3 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds total or 10 ounces each), scrubbed, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 evenly sized wedges (or cut into ½-inch-thick sticks)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475° F.

Rosemary Oven Fries Recipe

Place potatoes in a large bowl; cover with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes (this will help remove the starch). Drain the potatoes. Spread the potatoes onto a kitchen towel; pat to dry.

Rosemary Oven Fries Recipe

Place potatoes in a large bowl; toss with oil, rosemary, bouillon and pepper.

Rosemary Oven Fries Recipe

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 5 minutes.

 Rosemary Oven Fries Recipe

Remove foil; bake for an additional 15 to20 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown. Scrape the potatoes loose from the baking sheet with a metal spatula; flip over.

Rosemary Oven Fries Recipe

Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until evenly browned. Taste and add sea salt, if desired. I like the added crunch, so I usually add a little sea salt. Serve immediately.

Do you have any special techniques for making the absolute best oven fries? Any special seasonings? Please share!

By the way, Todd & Diane from White on Rice Couple, photographed the hero shot at the top. They do such beautiful work!

Pesto Kale Chips Recipe Grilled Panzanella Recipe
Pesto Kale Chips Grilled Panzanella

Bachelor in the Kitchen – Keeping Resolutions with Baked Chicken

Written by Nick -

Crispy Baked Dijon Chicken Recipe

Like a lot of people, I have a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. This has been a reoccurring resolution each and every year. This year it’s more important than ever that I actually stick to it. So, I’m constantly looking for recipes that are full of flavor with a healthier side. I’ve saved this Crispy Baked Dijon Chicken on my “to try” list for a while now. It’s both low calorie and low fat (and looks delicious in the photo), so mid January seems like the perfect time to finally get around to trying it.

Now, as the “bachelor in the kitchen,” I make it a point to cook each recipe I try. It’s important to me to write about recipes that a novice chef, such as myself, can make. But when I was getting down to trying this particular recipe, I had also come down with a cold (teaser – I’ll be posting about chicken soup later this month). So, I enlisted my brother, a surprisingly good cook, to help with dinner. Although, I wasn’t directly involved in the prep of this meal, I can assure this is a simple recipe!

I sometimes worry that chicken can become boring or bland but that’s not the case with this recipe, it was delicious! The Dijon is flavorful and the chicken is crisp and juicy. My brother served the chicken with some mixed greens and Roasted Asparagus with Pesto & Lemon. This recipe came at the perfect time… mid January is about as long as my New Year’s resolutions usually last. With recipes like this, I might make it the full year (or mid February?)!

Crispy Baked Dijon Chicken

Ingredients for 4 servings:

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 475° F. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

COMBINE evaporated milk and mustard in shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into milk mixture, coating both sides, then into bread crumb mixture. Place in prepared dish.

BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink in center.

Links:

More Chicken:

Citrus Baked Chicken Recipe Grilled Chicken Breasts with Fresh Herbs Recipe
Citrus Baked
Chicken
Grilled Chicken Breasts
with Fresh Herbs

Nourishing the Soul: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Written by Chris -

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Soup is comforting, especially during the winter months—creamy butternut squash soup warms the body and feeds the soul. Paired with salad and whole grain crackers or freshly baked bread, soup makes a healthy and satisfying meal.

Butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds, but most think of it as a vegetable. It’s shaped like a large pear, has cream-colored skin, deep orange-colored flesh with a slightly sweet flavor. Roasted and pureed, butternut squash adds flavor and texture to soups. In the soup recipe below, it’s the star ingredient!

I’ve made this soup with three different spices, curry being my favorite. Our test kitchen also tested it with cumin and ground ginger; all delicious. If you make it, let me know what you go with. Start with 1 teaspoon of spice and add more as needed.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients for eight 1-cup servings:

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

RINSE squash under cold running water before cutting. Cut squash in half through the stem and remove the seeds (check out the tip at the bottom of this post for roasting the seeds). Drizzle cut edges with oil; season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side-down on a baking sheet.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

ROAST squash for 1 hour or until very soft. Remove from oven; turn the halves over and let stand until cool enough to handle (as shown above). Scoop flesh from shells into a bowl and discard shells.

MELT butter over medium heat in large saucepan. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the squash flesh, water, bouillon and curry powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is broken down.

COOL squash mixture for about 5 minutes before adding it to a blender. Working in batches, puree until smooth, transferring the mixture to a saucepan as you work (if you have an immersion blender, it works great with this recipe). Stir in evaporated milk and sugar. Season with pepper; cook a few minutes over medium heat to combine the flavors. Ladle soup into serving bowls; swirl in a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Storage tip: If you have any leftover soup, and don’t plan to eat it within a couple days, freeze it. I like to freeze soup in individual portions. Ladle in to small containers, cover tightly and freeze. When ready to enjoy again, simply defrost and reheat before serving.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Ok, now for those remaining seeds… seeds from butternut squash can make a great snack food, and can be prepared in the same way as pumpkin seeds. Once scooped out from inside the squash and separated from the pulp, you can place the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry. Once dry, toss them with a little oil and season with a little salt or seasoning of choice. Lightly roast them in a preheated 275°F oven for 15 minutes or until seeds are golden brown and begin to pop.

I hope you like this soup as much we do! 100 calories never tasted so good! Nutrition information can be found online.

Enjoy!

Chris

Links:

Related Recipes:

Cream of Chicken and Vegetable Soup Recipe Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Cream of Chicken and
Vegetable Soup
Butternut
Squash Soup

Election Day: A Comforting Pumpkin Sage Pasta Recipe

Written by Chris -

Pumpkin Sage Pasta Recipe

Happy Tuesday!

Election Day calls for comfort food, don’t you think? I’m not sure about you, but I know I will be following all of the election coverage. I find this Pumpkin Sage Pasta to be incredibly comforting. Perhaps it’s the clingy sauce… Or how the pumpkin and sage meld together… Or maybe it’s the Gruyère cheese… This is what I know for certain; one party will be in need of comforting this evening.

Do you add pumpkin to your savory recipes? A little pumpkin goes a long way to making your favorite dishes tastier and more nutritious. It adds extra flavor, fiber and Vitamin A, while cutting down on fat and sodium.

On those busy school nights, I often add pumpkin to my tomato sauce (works great in homemade and store-bought). The pumpkin adds a little extra body to the sauce, which I love! All you need to do is stir in 3/4 to 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin into 3 cups (about 26 oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce.

Or…

If you are ready for a change of pace, might I suggest you give this Pumpkin Sage Pasta a try? It’s a bit more elegant and the flavors are a little more distinctive. I think you might just love it! This recipe works best with short cut pasta such as trottole, spirals, penne or bow tie; the sauce really clings to it! And it’s ready in 30 minutes! Garnish with fresh sage leaves for an extra flavor dimension and eye-catching appeal.

You can check out the recipe video here and see just how easy it is to put together.

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

Ingredients for 6 servings:

Directions:

MELT butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and sage leaves; cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook for 2 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in water and bouillon; cook for 2 to 3 minutes to infuse flavors. With tongs, remove and discard sage leaves.

STIR evaporated milk and pumpkin into skillet; heat through. Stir in Parmesan cheese and Gruyère cheese until melted. Add cooked pasta to skillet; stir to coat and heat through. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh sage leaves, if desired.

Links:

Related recipes:

Ravioli Pumpkin Casserole Recipe Baked Ziti with Pumpkin & Sausage Recipe
Ravioli Pumpkin
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Baked Ziti with
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Healthier Doughnuts: Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes Recipe

Written by Chris -

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

Let’s face it; doughnuts taste great! But I really haven’t met a healthy or healthier doughnut I’ve liked — until these Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes. My kids’ love for pumpkin bread helped inspire this recipe.

Last Halloween, I brought Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes to their classrooms for their Fall Harvest party. To my surprise (well, not really — it was sweet season after all), there were bakery doughnuts there, too. My immediate thought was that my doughnuts had no chance. I fully expected the container to come home full, or at least half full.

Guess what? Every single doughnut got eaten! Every. Single. One. I was so happy! I’m not one to squash indulgence; it has its place every now and again. But when there is an equally good tasting, healthier alternative, I say go for it.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

Ingredients for 36 doughnut holes:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup Baker’s sugar (ultrafine pure cane sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter (melted (optional)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 425° F. Lightly spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

WHISK flour, baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and salt in large mixer bowl until combined.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

WHISK eggs, oil, brown sugar and pumpkin in medium mixing bowl until well combined. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; stir until just combined. Fill each mini muffin cup with about 1 rounded tablespoon batter. A small cookie scoop works perfectly for scooping, as shown above!

BAKE for 9 to 10 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (tops should be golden brown). Cool in pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

COMBINE Baker’s sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a pie plate or shallow bowl (or even a zip-top bag works well!). Brush or dip tops (or all sides) of doughnut holes in melted butter to lightly coat; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture as shown above. There will be about ½ cup cinnamon-sugar mixture left which can be discarded. (For less fat and calories, skip the butter and just roll in cinnamon-sugar.)

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

ENJOY warm or at room temperature.

Happy Halloween!

Links:

Related recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Frankensteins recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Frankensteins
Halloween Dipped Marshmallow Pops recipe
Halloween Dipped Marshmallow Pops
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