Low Carb Cooking 101: Low-Carb Lesson #26: Low Carb Fiesta Fish Fillets
Let me tell you about my Saturday. By the end of the story, you will be down on your knees thanking God that you lived your Saturday and not mine.
I knew that my son was going to the homecoming dance with his date and 2 other couples Saturday night. I knew that everyone was spending the night because they were all going to work at the Cincinnati Museum Center the next morning. I did not know until three in the afternoon that he was cooking dinner for all six of them and that he really hadn’t planned what he was going to serve them. Panic in the Bauer household, which involved a quick search of the freezer and a trip to the grocery for supplies.
My son’s girlfriend arrived – looking lovely, I might add – along with her brother (whose date was still en route), only to discover that she had a small tear in the seam of her gorgeous gown and also a small rip in the seam of her long, black gloves. She changed into a pair of my son’s jeans (she really needed suspenders, but he doesn’t own any) while I repaired the gloves and skirt. During all this my son was busy chopping up tortoise food and/or salad ingredients; I’m not sure which. (The tortoise food and salad ingredients may have been one and the same.)
All the while my husband is upstairs alternately watching football and whining because he has to go chaperone the homecoming dance. A high school principal’s life is a hard row to hoe, as he keeps telling me. (This is the man who refused to have music at our wedding reception just in case he might be expected to dance to it.)
Back to the kitchen…….. The rest of the guests arrived, and I got booted out of the kitchen so that my son could work his culinary magic without adult interference. Everything seemed to go well – at least there were no retching noises while they were all eating – although a 2-liter bottle of black cherry soda did “explode.” Thinking quickly, my son used my favorite guest towels (the white ones with the little ladybugs on them) to wipe up the mess. The guest towels are no longer white, and the floor is still sticky.
So what’s a good low carber to do when confronted with an evening like this? Whip up something easy from Low Carb Cooking 101 after shoveling the kids and the husband out the front door to the dance at 9:30 PM? HECK NO! A good, now-starving low carber grabs some frozen turkey out of the freezer and nukes it to thaw it, puts some mayonnaise in a little bowl, pours a frosty glass of caffeine-free Diet Coke, grabs the bottle of aspirin, and goes up and dines in blissful solitude in bed. Which I did. If you can call that dining.
Of course, I had to get up later to clean up the kitchen (what a disaster!), make the breakfast casserole (Lesson 17), bake the muffins, and cut up the fruit so the thundering hoards would have something to eat before they went to work in the morning. Sigh.
Ah, life in the Bauer household. Aren’t you glad you’re you and not me?
Ah, but there are some “normal” evenings around here, and everyone in the family likes Fiesta Fish Fillets. It’s a nice change of pace main dish, and has enough flavor that you can enjoy Plain Ol’ Broccoli Flowerets and a Simple Romaine Salad with it.
The Simple Romaine Salad calls for toasted pumpkin seeds. You can usually find either raw or toasted pumpkin seeds at your local grocery. If you can only find raw pumpkin seeds, you can easily toast them in your oven by tossing them with a small amount of vegetable oil and baking them for a few minutes at 250 degrees. Of course, I’m the original lazy and hassled cook, so I use Flavored Pumpkin Seeds. I like the Mesquite Pumpkorn with Fiesta Fish Fillets. I have at times substituted nacho-flavored Just The Cheese in place of the Pumpkorn, too. It doesn’t take much to give the salad a nice, spicy crunch.
Here’s this evening’s menu:
- Fiesta Fish Fillets
- Plain Ol’ Broccoli Flowerets
- Simple Romaine Salad
Here’s the shopping list for the meal: (You may very well already have some of these things on hand.)
- 2 pounds fish fillets
- 4 strips bacon
- 2 10-ounce boxes frozen broccoli flowerets
- 1 16-ounce package prewashed Romaine lettuce
- shredded Mexican blend cheese (or shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese)
- salad dressing of your choice
- chunky salsa
- flavored pumpkin seeds
Here’s the game plan:
The night before you are planning on serving the meal, take the fish fillets out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator to thaw.
About half an hour before you want to serve the meal, set the table and preheat the oven.
Cut the slits in the boxes of frozen broccoli, add the water, and set them aside.
Put together the Fiesta Fish Fillets according to the to package directions and slide the baking dish into the oven. Immediately put one of the prepared boxes of broccoli into the microwave. When the first box of broccoli is done (6 to 7 minutes), drain it, but do take the broccoli out of the box. It will stay hot longer if you leave it in. Put the second box of broccoli into the microwave to cook. When it’s done, drain it as you did the first box.
While the broccoli is cooking, put the Simple Romaine Salad together and put the salad plates on the table.
By this time, the fish will be done, so take it out of the oven and put it on a hot pad or on one of the stove burners. Take the cooked broccoli out of the boxes and toss the flowerets with butter, salt, and pepper.
Place the Fiesta Fish Fillets and the broccoli on the dinner plates. Take the plates to the table and sit down to a well-deserved, relaxing meal.
And, finally, here’s the recipes:
Fiesta Fish Fillets Recipe
- 2 pounds fresh or frozen fish fillets
- 1 cup bottled chunky salsa
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (or Monterey Jack or cheddar)
- butter, softened (to grease the baking dish)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Lightly grease the bottom of a 9″ by 13″ glass baking dish with butter. Set aside.
Rinse the thawed fish fillets and gently pat them dry. Place the fillets in the buttered baking dish. Tuck under any very thin fillet ends. You will probably need to place some fillets on top of others, but alternate thick and thin portions of the fillets so that the thickness is approximately even.
Spoon the salsa over the fish fillets. Use a spatula to distribute it evenly over the fillets. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the salsa.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Serve 4 low carbers very generously. If you’re the only low carber, this will easily serve 5 or even 6, especially if some of them are munchkins.
Plain Ol’ Broccoli Recipe
- 2 10-ounces boxes frozen broccoli flowerets
- 2 tablespoons water
- butter (to taste)
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
Cut a slit in one of the top edges of each box of frozen broccoli. Put a tablespoon of water in each box.
Microwave the boxes separately on high for 6 to 7 minutes each, or until the broccoli is crisp-tender.
Drain the water off through the slits in the boxes. (Use a potholder; the boxes will be hot. No burned fingers allowed!)
Toss the cooked broccoli with some butter, salt, and pepper.
Serves 4 to 6.
Simple Romaine Salad Recipe
- 1 16-ounce bag prewashed Romaine lettuce
- 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (or Monterey Jack or cheddar)
- bottled salad dressing of your choice
Divide the Romaine lettuce between 4 salad plates. Sprinkle each salad with 1/4 the cooked and crumbled bacon, 1/2 tablespoon of the toasted pumpkin seeds, and 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Top with your favorite salad dressing.
Serves 4, or more if some of the people are small children. Most small children like small salads!
More free low-carb & keto recipes from CarbSmart.com.