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Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, Sept 14's dinner -- Parmesan crusted tilapia with zucchini pasta

My husband, S., and I are trying to eat more fish. But fish is expensive. And we are on a pretty tight budget now that he's back in school for his MBA and I am not working. So, when we found tilapia on sale at the local grocer, we had to pick some up and freeze it. I put it in the refrigerator last night to defrost. Tonight, we’re having a healthier version of a parmesan crusted tilapia and some zucchini pasta using yellow squash instead of zucchini—we got a good deal on it at the farmers’ market last weekend!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia -- Serves 2

2 tilapia fillets
2 TBSP breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat)
2 TBSP grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp dried oregano
½ TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP skim milk
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Step 1: Defrost tilapia. Rinse fillets, then pat dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel.

Step 2: In a shallow dish, mix breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and oregano.

Step 3: In another shallow dish, quickly mix milk and lemon juice.

Step 4: Working quickly, so milk doesn’t separate, place fillets in the dish with the liquids. Be sure to get both sides coated in the liquid mixture. Season the fillets with salt and pepper as desired.

Step 5: Dredge the fillets in the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. Coat well.

Step 6: Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan. Add fillets and cook on both sides until they flake easily with a fork. Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Zucchini ribbon pasta – since I’m serving this as a side dish, I quartered the original recipe:

¼ pound fettuccini (see recipe below)
1 medium zucchini (I’m using a yellow squash)
2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 TBSP parmesan cheese, plus ½ TBSP
1 TBSP finely minced parsley leaves (unfortunately, I have to use dried here)
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste


Step 1: In a large pasta pot, cook pasta "al dente", 1 or 2 minutes less than the package instructions call for. Drain.

Step 2: Slice off ends of zucchini and discard. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, or carefully with a sharp knife, slice zucchini into very thin (about 1/8-inch) slices, trying to keep some skin on each piece for color. Stack slices and cut in half lengthwise. Reserve zucchini ribbons in a large bowl.

Step 3: In the pasta pot, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft and translucent but not browned, about 1 minute.

Step 4: Add zucchini ribbons and 1 TBSP chicken broth, raise heat to medium-high and cook until zucchini is still somewhat firm but just cooked, about 3 minutes.

Step 5: Return pasta to pot and add remaining chicken stock; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid has mostly absorbed into the pasta.

Step 6: Add 1 TBSP of the Parmesan, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper and toss to combine. Season with salt, to taste.

Step 7: Serve garnished with basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

Fresh pasta

¾ cups whole-wheat flour
¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt
2 TBSP water
1 TBSP olive oil
1 large egg

Step 1: Combine flours and salt in food processor. Pulse a few times to mix.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk together water, oil, and egg.

Step 3: With food processor on, pour the liquids into the dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream.

Step 4: Stop processing when dough starts to pull away from the sides of the food processor.

Step 5: Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 6: Roll out dough according to pasta roller’s directions.

**Note: This makes quite a bit of pasta, so I usually roll out the extra and let it dry, or roll it out, cook it, and freeze it for soups or casseroles.

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