Quick Healthy Eats

Cheap, fast, (mostly) healthy meals…

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Back in action: Fried Tilapia and pasta with a fresh vegetable medley sauce…

June 10th, 2009 · Dinner

After a brief hiatus, I welcome you all back to my Quick, Healthy Eats blog.  Just to let you all know, in the coming weeks look for new and improved photos of my dishes.  I recently purchased a Canon T1i DSLR, giving me the ability to get some sweet macro shots.  The next few posts will still feature photos from my old point and shoot until I catch up, but get ready!

Total ingredients for today:

  • Pasta (1 bag) from Trader Joes as always ~$2.99
  • 1 bag of butternut squash ~$3.99
  • 1 bundle of cherry tomatoes ~$3.99
  • A few stocks of celery~$1 (I didn’t use a whole bag here)
  • 1 onion~$um… a bag of about 5 is only a few bucks, so probably less than $1
  • 2 filets of Tilapia~$5 or $6

Overall still a cheap meal and depending on how you divide up the filets, this meal could make enough for 3 people.

As you can tell from the title, this dish will feature fried Tilapia with pasta covered in a fresh vegetable medley.

The Tilapia is coated in a blend of spices including:

  • Salt & Pepper (always)
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cumen
  • Nutmeg
  • Garlic powder

The vegetables I used in the medley making a quasi-pasta sauce are as follows:

  • Onions – both sweet and green
  • Garlic
  • Butternut Squash
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes

The making of the sauce…

I wanted to keep it very light and somewhat sweet so I began by lightly frying the onion blend and then adding the celery.  As usual I like to first add the vegetable that will take the longest to cook.  Next I added in the butternut squash, followed by the cherry tomatoes.

Once those had cooked sufficiently, I added in just a little bit of cooking wine to deglaze the pan and then let it simmer to reduce the added wine.  This doesn’t create a typical, thick sauce effect but saves all the flavor that is otherwise left stuck to the pan.  As I mentioned before, this blend of vegetables created a very light, sweet topping for the pasta.

The Tilapia…

I laid the filets out on the cutting board and applied a thick coating of spices to both sides.  I try to get as much spice as possible to stick on the outsides.  I added a drizzle of olive oil to a frying pan and turned the heat up to about 4.5 on a scale up to 6.  I want the oil to be hot enough to crisp the outside but not so hot that the fish burns within a few minutes.  Once its hot, lay the filets in the pan and wait a minute or so until the skin looks crisp, flip and repeat.  This should give you soft, tender fish with a deliciously crispy coating.


Here are a few images (remember, still with the point and shoot…):

Fried Tilapia with pasta covered in a fresh vegetable medley

Fried Tilapia with pasta covered in a fresh vegetable medley

Slightly closer:

Slightly closer - notice the fried onions?

Slightly closer - notice the fried onions?

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A healthy snack (drink)…

May 11th, 2009 · Dinner

While the last post on fried bananas was definitely delicious, I think we can all agree it wasn’t really healthy.  I do say in my title, if you read above ^^^^ “mostly” healthy eats and let’s be honest, everyone likes a not-so-good-for-you snack every now and then.

Today I bring you something truly healthy. It’s one of my first straight up quick, healthy eat.

You can call it whatever you want, a smoothie, fruit juice, blended juice or just a drink.  It’s basically just blended fresh fruit with OJ and ground flax seed.  There are many variations on this and today I’m just using berries, a banana and OJ.  I used to make it with an orange, strawberries, a banana and yogurt back in high school, but just fill in the fruits with whatever are your favorites.  This one is all about your taste preferences.

I took a handful of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  Put them in the blender with a banana.  Added a couple teaspoons of ground up flax seed.  Poured OJ in, enough to cover the fruits, then blended it up.  If you’re big on thick smoothies, add less juice.  If you like them more like fruit juice, then of course, add more juice.

Here’s a shot of the fruit, pre-blend:

Blueberries, rasberries, strawberries and a banana

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and a banana

As I mentioned before, you can make any number of variations on this.  I recommend adding ground flax seed or flax seed oil as a good way to get extra nutrients (and you hardly notice the slightly nutty taste).  Here are a few that I personally suggest as very delicious:

  • Orange + Banana + Strawberry + blueberry yogurt + OJ
  • Banana + Mango + Strawberry + OJ
  • Orange + Raspberry + Blueberry + Blackberry + OJ
  • Banana + Strawberry + Peach + Orange Mango Juice

Basically find any fruits and fruit juice that you like, blend it together and enjoy.  This can work well with grapefruit, orange-mango, grape and other juices all the same.  Again, this one is all about your taste preferences.

Here’s a shot of the final and yes, it was delicious:

Blended juice at its best

Blended juice at its best

Leave a comment with your favorite combo’s!

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