Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fish Tacos

You know, a little bit of meal planning goes a long way. Nothing is worse than when it is nearing dinner time and nobody has any clue what's for dinner. This typically leads to impulse take-out or drive-thru dinner, or going to the grocery store to pick out something quick and easy.

On Sunday nights I try to sit down and generate a meal plan for the week and a grocery list to accompany it. I plan about 4 meals based on our current lifestyle. There are just 2 of us, we try to eat healthy, but we also want foods that make us
happy. We love food too much to restrict ourselves to only "lean protein and fresh veggies" all the time. Tried that once and it barely lasted 2 weeks. Food is so much more than just fuel to keep us alive, it is part of life's experience. Food is tied to emotions and feelings, hence the terms "soul food" and "comfort food" and "cooking with love". And there is something just wonderful about cooking really good food and sharing it with really good people.

Because there are just two mouths to feed in our house, we almost always have leftovers. So once I decided to make my
Peach Avocado Salsa, I knew that I had to come up with something else to go with it for the next day. After jumping on the sushi wagon several years ago, I realized that fish tacos was probably something I needed to try. Not that it uses raw fish, but eating sushi opened my eyes to a whole new world of flavors and food. Plus I figured if I enjoyed sushi, why on earth would I not enjoy a fish taco? I've had fish tacos at a few different restaurants now, and my favorite would probably have to be the fish tacos from Houlihan's. It was the first place I had ever had them, and I fell in love with them. So simple, so good. Make some fish tacos, throw on some leftover salsa, and boom. Dinner numero dos.

I tried to find blackening seasoning at the Commissary. Didn't happen. Whatever. I just threw some spices together at home. I asked for the hubby's input on this part, and we agreed on these spices: Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, white pepper, chili powder, and paprika. There is a variety of fish you can use to make fish tacos - just be sure to pick a mild fish. Our household fish is tilapia. Super affordable and so easy to pop a few out of the freezer. They thaw
so fast. My fillets were surprisingly small, so I threw the spices in a sandwich bag and turned the fillets around in the bag to coat. Then I put them in the pan with a little extra virgin olive oil to cook. I decided to put the lid on and cook them on medium-low because these little fishies cook up really quick and I needed a little bit of time to prep the toppings. So I guess I was technically steaming them.

Fish tacos, for those of you who do not know, typically come topped with a cabbage, some sort of yummy sauce, and sometimes even a white cheese. I think what makes them amazing is the flavorful sauce and the watery crunch of the cabbage. I opted to top our fish tacos with carrot, cucumber, and crunchy romaine lettuce (the hubby is anti-cabbage). I peeled the carrot into shoestring-like shreds. I peeled and then chopped the cucumber into skinny sticks, removing the seeded ones. They just didn't have enough structural intergrity. I ate those. :) And then I used the part of the romaine closest to the root to imitate the crunchy cabbage.

It's kinda fun to find new ways to serve "boring" food - it makes it more enjoyable to eat! Pretty presentation. I made a sauce too, using ranch dressing, Taco Bell Chipotle sauce, and a little bit of lime juice.

 I found these healthy sounding tortillas at the Commissary. Oh wait, now that I'm looking at the package, it says it is flatbread...well, fooled me, they function just the same as a tortilla. Usually ultra healthy = ultra gross, but these little gems are yummy! Whole grain and soy = lots of fiber and protein. As my mother would have said, "You can't beat that with a stick!".
 Oh, my fish is done. It fell apart while I was taking it out of the pan, mainly because I was using tongs. Not the best kitchen gadget for handling fish, but I don't have a good fish spatula. Plus I wanted the fish in pieces for taco assembly anyway. I put them on a paper towel to absorb leftover oil.

 I topped my fish taco with the Peach Avocado Salsa, the fresh veggies, and my "fancy sauce". This photo discolored the carrots a bit. Looks kinda like mango...
And enjoy! A light, healthful dinner. Great paired with rice and black beans.

Ugh, formatting a post with photos is hard work. I don't like it.

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