Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An easy & healthy way to do fish!

In my house, I'm always looking for ways to make my kids healthy food that they love. The healthier the better. The more fruits & veggies I can sneak in the better. And as I've said before, I'm lucky that my kids aren't really picky. I hope that comes from me changing up the menu as much as I do. I take flavors they like and mix it up to where they are happy, but I don't get bored.

And you're always hearing about how we're supposed to eat more fish. But a lot of people think of fish as fried or covered in sauce. Now, while I love me some good ole fashioned English fish 'n chips, I do like to get lots of healthy fish into our diet. And let's face it, the healthiest way to eat fish is to simply grill or bake it......no added oils or sauces. But a lot of people consider that boring.

So I've discovered a way to make a really healthy, really tasty fish dinner that my kids love. One that I can feel really good about serving. And the best thing is this works with any fish you like. However you like to cook it. I prefer salmon or mahi-mahi (I'm not a huge fish eater, but both of those go so good with this meal). And I cook it as simple and healthy as I can......baked at 400 with just a little sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper until the fish is done. And well honestly, I probably cook mine a hair beyond "done" cause to me that kills off any fishy flavor.

And then comes the magic: My two weapons that can kick up just salt & peppered-no oil added-no sauce-having fish. These two secret weapons can turn any fish into an awesome meal that is fresh tasting, easy on the waist, and kid friendly. What more could you ask for?

What are they?

Cilantro-lime rice. Yes, cilantro-lime rice is the stuff at the bottom of your Chipotle burrito. The first time I tasted it I thought it was pure brilliance.......and SO easy. Easy enough that the recipe is in the name. And it takes rice, which a lot of people think of as fill-you-up, stick-to-your-ribs, "heavy" food and transforms it to something light and fresh tasting.

And mango salsa. We're all mango freaks in my family. I actually created this stuff YEARS ago. Long before it was popular. Long before you started seeing it on store shelves everywhere. Long before (at least I ever noticed) it became a popular item on restaurant menus.

Trust me, these two secret weapons can make a fish dish awesome. And easy. It can be a 20 minute meal from start to finish if you're having a really busy day. Or you can make the salsa ahead and give it a chance to get even better (and make it even easier to fix come dinner time!) And if you don't think you like fish......try these two out with grilled chicken breasts. Or shrimp. Then work yourself up to a fish you kinda sorta like. Or trust me on the salmon or mahi-mahi. Just make sure they don't smell fishy at the store!

Cilantro-Lime Rice
4 servings
(I usually double the recipe so I have plenty!)

1 cup basmati rice
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp butter or oil
4 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Melt butter in large skillet (that has a lid) or a dutch oven. Add rice. Coat rice in melted butter and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the rice starts to smell nutty and turn light brown. Add 2 cups of water and about 1 tsp of salt. Stir well and cover. Let simmer on low, 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed by the rice. Remove from heat. Add the lime juice and the cilantro. Lightly stir & fluff rice.

Mango Salsa

2 ripe mangos, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
4 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Note: if you have someone who doesn't like spicy, leave the jalapeño out. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the salsa into two bowls and just add the jalapeño to the other bowl. Then you have mild & medium (you can always add more peppers or hotter peppers if you like a lot of heat!). And to make the salsa even healthier, use unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar!

There you have it! The perfect (in my opinion!) fish dinner. Especially when you want a light meal in the summer. Serve with a salad or any veggie of your choice and you have a complete meal!

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