Monday, April 26, 2010


I missed blogging last Sunday. There was just too much going on. But I have the whole day to myself so I will have plenty of time to share my recipes and my thoughts today.

Last time I sent out my e-mail reminder for my weekly Blog, I invited readers to let me know if they would like me to address anything in particular. I got a response from a friend who has been enjoying my blog, and asked me if I would particularly address "Healthy" dishes. Today's recipe is about as healthy as you can get, and as easy as it gets too!

Tilapia with Vegetables In Lemon, Olive Oil and Tarragon Sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 or preheat the grill outside on medium with the lid closed

4 pieces of tilapia (or any nice white fish such as cod, halibut, whiting)
1 cupful of cut up carrots (I used the shortcuts cut in half lengthwise)
1 1/2 c. lima beans (use green beans of you prefer)
2 T. olive oil
1 -2 T. butter (optional - it's fine without the butter)
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. dried onion flakes or 1/2 small onion sliced into thin slices
1/4 t. dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

Place a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on a sheet tray. Bend up the edges a little so when you add the liquid ingredients they don't run out.

Place the fish (frozen or thawed) on the center of the foil. Top it with the carrots, then the limas or green beans, add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and tarragon.

Now wrap the foil up around the fish like you see in this picture. Seal it up good so it won't leak, turn the ends up a little to keep liquids from seeping out. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes if you started with frozen ingredients, about 15 - 20 if you started with thawed.

After the time has elapsed, take the package out of the oven and open carefully (HOT STEAM!!) to check for doneness in the fish. It should be nice and white and flaky. If you think it's done, it is!

Serve with a few roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes made with some plain yogurt and a little 2% milk instead of cream and butter. Or if you're trying to watch what you eat, no need for anything else at all.

Don't like fish? You can adapt this recipe for chicken. Use chicken tenders or boneless, skinless breast cut into smaller pieces. Change up the veggies too - use broccoli, green beans edamame (soy beans) . Try the chicken with corn, diced tomatoes and green pepper with a light sprinkle of cumin for a Mexican flair . Whatever you like. Tarragon is very good on chicken, but you could use basil, thyme or oregano and of course, garlic and parsley. Experiment with flavors you like.

I'm not a nutritionist so I won't be able to provide calorie or fat content. And if you're on a special diet, don't take any advice I give you - check with your doc.

Portion control counts for a lot. Using healthy ingredients is important too. I use as little fat, salt and simple carbs as possible! I recently heard that people who leave out the carbs entirely from their diets are depriving themselves of the nutrition they give your brain! Apparently complex carbs train our brain to help us control the cravings we get for the cupcakes and the Wonder Bread. Complex carbs (whole grains, brown rice, root vegetables, beans, fruit) are good for you! Simple carbs (refined sugar, processed white flour, soft drinks) - BAD!

Olive oil, other lite oils such as sunflower or grape seed oil) veggies, fish and fruit can provide the nutrition that we all need that are so vital to health, but won't add those nasty cholesterol building fats or blood pressure raising sodium to your diet. Too much sodium also makes you retain water so you'll always be a couple of pounds heavier than you have to be if you take in too much sodium.

Don't let ingredients like sunflower or grapeseed oil put you off. They are a tad expensive, but not so much that one couldn't afford to keep a bottle at home. For example, I have a bottle of grapeseed oil that I paid about $5.00 for, and a bottle of sunflower oil for about $4.00. You only need a little when you use them, so once you have a bottle in your pantry, you will find that you can make many many dishes before the bottle is gone. I got the grapeseed oil at Peters It's a great site to find all kinds of goodies for very reasonable prices. The sunflower oil came from Marshall's in their gourmet department. They have a great little gourmet section where you can find all kinds of seasonings, sauces and other things also for pretty reasonable prices. I go often looking for things on sale. Anyway, don't let something that is an "unusual" ingredient put you off. You'll reap the benefits of healthier and tastier food.

I've had my share of flops trying to see if I liked different combinations. Part of learning what flavors go together is tasting them. You will never know if tarragon is good with beef until you taste it. It's NOT by the way. But its wonderful with chicken, fish and eggs. Thyme is perfect with chicken and even good in a marinade for beef, but I don't like it as much with pork. Pork loves rosemary and garlic and so does lamb. Garlic is good with everything, right? No! I don't particularly like garlic with eggs, and I'm not really all that wild about it with fish. Fish lends itself better to onions and fennel. But garlic is good on almost everything else. I don't think I have to elaborate on that. Almost everyone loves garlic! Of course, just because I don't like a certain combination, doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. You may love garlic with eggs!!

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