companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

How To Dress a Fish

Normally, I am not a huge fan of fish. Probably comes from living land locked. I would never really "dress" one, as in grab the fillet knife and cut away. I can't even buy something that is staring at me. I have learned to eat Tilapia. These fillets don't taste quite as fishy to me, and they are super easy to prepare and reasonably priced. I love that I can keep some individually wrapped fillets in the freezer.  These can be popped into the oven, still frozen. With just a few veggies and some flavorings I have a nice meal that bakes while I make a side dish or dessert.

This week, I took that idea and decided to employ the same strategy at work. With our school housed in an old house, actually an old orphanage, we have a huge kitchen. Why not take advantage of that? So today, I grabbed a bag of tilapia and raided the spice cabinet. I have now packaged five different lunches, all wrapped in foil packets and ready to pop into the toaster oven at school. If I let the fish thaw all morning, it will bake up in about 20 minutes. I can just pop it in, do some more work, then enjoy lunch with everyone else. Easy Peasy hot lunch. And because they are all different flavors, no boredom. Not that I was planning to eat fish everyday at lunch. I will spread these out over the next five weeks. If you can't cook for lunch, these are great weeknight meals too.

Amazingly easy to pack in the morning too. I will just grab some sesame crackers and maybe a flavored yogurt and lunch is packed. No excuses. Here is what I came up with. I just used the veggies I had on hand.  Feel free  to add in what appeals to you. I also drained a can of fire roasted tomatoes to add in. Love that flavor.

Tilapia Foil Packets

1. Chop vegetables and gather spice blends.
Line a small cookie sheet with foil. I press down the foil to catch any spills from the flavorings.
2. Place a fish fillet in the center. Sprinkle with seasonings and add veggies. Drizzle with oil if using.
3. Fold the foil up on the top and bottom along the short edge. Bring the long edges together to meet in the center. Fold these sides together, creating a seal. You will repeat this procedure with each fillet.
4. Use a permanent marker to write the flavoring directly on the foil.
5. Place all foil packets inside a gallon size bag (or the outer bag from the fish)
6. Place foil packet on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes depending on size of fillet and degree of thawing. Fish should flake at the thickest point when done.

Tilapia Creole (pictured at the top of the post)
Sprinkle with Creole Seasoning. Surround with vegetables (I used green bell pepper, onion and fire roasted tomatoes) and drizzle with olive oil. Seal.

Chipotle Lime Tilapia
Sprinkle fish with one packet of True Lime and with chipotle chili powder to taste. Add a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. For a fajita like meal, use onions and peppers for the vegetables.

Smokey Joe's Tilapia
Sprinkle fish with Hickory Salt and onion powder. Add a bit of olive oil. Fire roasted tomatoes and onion complete the outdoorsy taste.

Persian Lime Tilapia
The star of this one is some amazing flavored olive oil. The oil itself is infused with lime flavor. That makes a dish like this incredibly easy to prep. Just a drizzle with a good dose of garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt. To this, I added zucchini, with a tiny bit of onion, bell pepper and some fire roasted tomatoes.

Chinese 5 Spice Tilapia
Change up the usual flavor with some 5 Spice Blend. The anise in this is so unusual! Just sprinkle a little of the spice on--just a bit because the flavor can easily overwhelm. I also added some garlic and some soy sauce. The veggies are celery and zucchini. (I would think there are others that would be good too)

This takes so little time, it is embarassing. But maybe, you had never thought of it. Every little step you can take in early prep means being more successful on your eating plan. Now on to the rest of my prep day. Have a great week!

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