Delish Fish Dish

An easy fish recipe that you're whole family will enjoy!
This is not the picture of the recipe I made (it was gone before I could think of getting out the camera), however, it is the closest picture I could find that looked like what we ate tonight.

An Easy Fish Recipe That the Whole Family Will Enjoy

After my five year old told me that tonight’s supper was the best thing she had ever eaten – even better than chocolate, I knew I had to blog about her new favourite meal.

It’s actually an old meal that I just haven’t made in a really long time… long enough for her to have forgotten that she’d ever eaten it. But with this much enthusiasm over some frozen fish filets, I know I will be making it again soon.

Warning: This is Nothing Fancy

Simply, this is just a really easy way to cook up a bag of frozen fish. It pairs well with mashed potatoes and a green veggie. It’s also heavier than some fish recipes so it should keep your family full for a while. Serves 6.

As usual, I don’t measure my ingredients, so bear with me. You really don’t need to for this dish anyway. But make sure you have on hand 1-2 cups of panko bread crumbs and at least 1/3 cup of mayonnaise (real mayo, not the salad dressing kind).

Use panko bread crumbs instead of the regular kind to get a better crunchy topping.
Use panko bread crumbs instead of the regular kind to get a better crunchy topping.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (1.15 kg or 2.5 lbs) of frozen fish, thawed, drained well & patted dry (get as much moisture out as you can, but don’t be too picky, this is supposed to be easy)
  • 1/3 cup of real mayonnaise
  • 1.5 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • garlic powder, dried dill weed, salt, pepper
This is the brand of fish we used (purchased at Walmart) in tonight's dinner, but any white fish would be fine to use.
This is the brand of fish we used (purchased at Walmart) in tonight’s dinner, but any white fish would be fine to use.

Directions:

  • In a 9X13 heavy pan, sprinkle half of the panko bread crumbs, generously over the bottom.
  • Sprinkle half of the parmesan cheese over the panko.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper over that.
  • Cover fish well with mayo. I use my hands – it’s messy but it works better. Don’t worry if your fish falls apart a bit… it won’t be very noticeable and it will taste the same anyway.
  • Spread fish in an even layer over the bread crumbs.
  • Sprinkle with remaining parmesan, spices again and top with remaining bread crumbs.
  • melt butter in the microwave and sprinkle evenly over top of everything.
  • Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until the top starts to brown nicely.

Notes:

  • You could probably toss the top half of panko crumbs with the butter.
  • This dish should not be runny or dry. It should have a slightly creamy texture with a crunchy topping.

And there you have it… an easy fish recipe with a mild taste, reminiscent of fish sticks but a whole lot better. Even picky eaters should enjoy this one!

 

Quick & Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

The sauce I’m about to share contains very few ingredients. It can be cooked in the same amount of time that you heat water and boil pasta in. Plus it’s made with fresh ingredients, so you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

Quick and Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe - Real authentic Italian tomato sauce made with fresh and delicious ingredients.

Fresh and Healthy

This recipe is not like anything you will get from a can or jar which are often very heavy and acidic. It is much closer to true, homemade Italian tomato sauce, but cooked more quickly. The taste is fresh and light, and contains all the flavour of the tomatoes you are using. So make sure to use fresh, ripe tomatoes for this sauce.

Since it is made from scratch, you can control the levels of salt, sugar and fat the finished product will contain. This recipe is perfect for nights when you want something healthy and satiating that the kids will enjoy.

NOTE: In order to save time I do not usually use precise measurements in my recipes. I do not think there is any one right or wrong way to do things when cooking.

In the spirit of keeping this recipe fast and simple, I do not bother to peel the skins from the tomatoes, but if you would like to, simply score an X in the top of the tomatoes with a sharp knife. Add to boiling water for a minute. Then immediately plunge into ice cold water. The skins should easily peel or slide off.

 


Quick & Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

Base Ingredients:

  • roma tomatoes diced small or pulsed in food processor (2 per person)
  • broth (read my Broth In a Pinch post)
  • olive oil
  • garlic minced (1 clove per person)
  • sugar to taste
  • chopped fresh basil, salt, peperoncino (red chili flakes) to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and peperoncino. Saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices.
  4. Use broth for flavour and to keep from getting to dry/sticking.
  5. Simmer until tomatoes are cooked through and soft.
  6. Add sugar to taste.

Use immersion blender for a smoother sauce.

Pour over cooked pasta. Toss to coat.


 

Homemade tomato sauce made with roma tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, broth, basil, chilis flakes, salt and sugar.
Homemade tomato sauce made with roma tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, broth and basil.

This sauce can be ready in 15 minutes, but you can cook it for much longer. Add a small amount of broth for an extra punch of flavour and to keep the tomatoes from drying out and sticking. If you don’t have broth, you can use water. If you find you have to cook it longer than 15 minutes, you are likely using a large amount of tomatoes. Cook uncovered, at a higher temperature, and in a wider, shallower pan (like a deep frying pan) for faster evaporation.

Variations

You can customize this recipe any way you want by adding your favourite foods and flavours. This may affect the cooking and preparation time. Here are some ideas:

  • onions, shallots, add before garlic
  • raw meat – add at the beginning with the garlic
  • your favourite vegetables – peppers, zucchini, etc. – add before tomatoes
  • omit tomatoes and use bell peppers, or roasted peppers for a pepper sauce
  • wine – add to tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar – add to tomatoes
  • your favourite herbs and spices – add to tomatoes
  • cooked meat – add after tomatoes
  • spinach – add to sauce near end
  • grated cheeses – add to sauce near end
  • more sugar – use more sugar and chili flakes for a sweet & spicy sauce (good bell peppers)
  • parmesan cheese, romano cheese – sprinkle on top of pasta or add to sauce near the end
Grate fresh parmesan or romano cheese over your finished plate of pasta.
Grate fresh parmesan or romano cheese over your finished plate of pasta.

 

What’s in your favourite tomato sauce?

Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Homemade Broth in a Pinch

Homemade Broth in a Pinch

Using broth or stock instead of water can make an enormous difference in the flavour of your cooking. If you do not regularly cook with broth then you don’t know what you’re missing. It can give an otherwise bland food a richness and depth of both flavour and colour that it would not have otherwise. Today I’m going to show you how to always have broth ready, without spending hours simmering ingredients on the stove, or buying those bland cartons of ready-made broth at the grocery store.

Broth or Stock?

Broth and stock are usually used interchangeably, but there are some subtly differences. And occasionally, you may want to use one or the other. Both are made by cooking meat products, and often vegetables in water. Generally, stock is always made with bones, is usually unseasoned and cooked for hours, while broth is made with meat, often seasoned and cooked in much less time. But for the average person, like myself, making meals for my family, it doesn’t usually matter to me whether I am using broth or stock.

Broth – It’s not just for soup!

Bowl of Broth

What do I use broth for? Typically I use broth in place of water for a bigger punch of flavour. Most often I use it in soups, rice & grains, pastas, beans & lentils, stir fries, for braising and for making gravies. I am not a chef, and I do not like to spend enormous amounts of time in the kitchen if I can help it, and I don’t always do things the official, proper way. Nevertheless, these methods will give your recipes with a punch of flavour. Plus they’re easy and time saving recipes. The following two methods are for those of us who do not want to go to the trouble of making broth:

NOTE: In order to save time I do not usually use precise measurements in my recipes. I do not think there is any one right or wrong way to do things when cooking.

Instant Broth

Natural Cooking Liquids – Don’t throw that juice away! Save the juices that come out of meats when you cook them. Often when you bake or roast meat, there is a certain amount of liquid that collects in the pain. Instead of throwing it away, pour into a container, skim fat if necessary, and refrigerate or freeze. Adding a bit of water to your meat to begin with will yield larger quantities. This way you will have a supply of broth, ready to use in your next recipe. Bear in mind, the flavour of spices will come through with this method. This is by far, my favourite method for broth as it does not require any extra effort for me to make. Note: Sometimes these liquids gel as they cool. There’s nothing wrong with this. Reheating will again, turn them into liquid form.

The flavour of using liquids from meat you have cooked yourself, with the kinds of spices you use all the time, tastes so much better than any broth you buy from the supermarket.

Use Soup Bones to Make Broth

Instant Vegetable Stock

Like my instant broth method, the instant vegetable stock method involves saving the liquid of vegetables that you’re already making anyway, and storing it in the fridge or freezer for another recipe. The key to this method is to use a minimal amount of water when cooking the vegetables to begin with to maximize flavour.

Vegetables for Making Broth

But what if you want to make broth from scratch?

If you’re a little more ambitious, and specifically want to make broth, or have a larger amount on hand, simply simmer any combination of bones, meat and vegetables for at least an hour, strain, and refrigerate or freeze. I like to use whole chicken carcasses. If you brown the bones first, you will get a darker, richer broth. You can always incorporate meat back in. This is especially good for soups and stews.

If I sound vague about exact amounts that’s because there is no right or wrong way to do this. It usually comes down to what you have on hand. Use your favourite vegetables, for example: carrots, celery, onion, leeks, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers and turnips.

Make Broth With the Instant Pot

Use your Instant Pot to make Broth. Shown here is 6 Quart Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot is another fast way to make broth from scratch. The beauty of using the Instant Pot is that you can simply set the timer and walk away. Don’t have an Instant Pot? I’ve written a blog post about this amazing little appliance!

Instant Pot Broth: Fill pot half full with bones. Add vegetables. Add enough water to cover, keeping the contents at least an inch below the max line. Add salt and seasonings if you prefer. Seal and set to manual for 120 minutes. Let depressurize naturally.

How do you make your broth? What vegetables and spices do you use? Let me know in the comments.