My cooking has been sidelined lately after a gestational diabetes diagnosis, which requires a strict low carbohydrate, no sugar diet. I’ve never been one to read labels or think too much about portion sizes, so getting used to this new way of eating has been difficult to say the least. I can’t imagine subjecting my family to the same dietary restrictions as I have, so I am still trying to figure out how to cook for myself and the fam without going absolutely stir crazy. One thing I will say is this new diet has been a huge eye opener in terms of portion sizes and how much sugar is in everything. Apparently a serving of ice cream is just half a cup, basically what you get on one scoop! In the first weekend on this diet, I actually managed to lose a little over 2 pounds, mainly because I was so freaked out about the carbs that I wasn’t paying attention to getting enough calories. That is not the best thing for a pregnant lady! This meal of baked tilapia represents my first attempt at cooking for all of us and actually making real food for myself, as opposed to cottage cheese and vegetable sticks! As with many of my other meals, I relied on the contents of my pantry and freezer for this one. I’ve tried making baked breaded fish before and the breading has always tended to slip off the fish in a mushy mess. On a whim a while back I decided to try ground up Gold Fish Crackers instead of bread crumbs, and voila! The breading stayed on and actually tasted good too!
Frozen tilapia loins
Extra virgin olive oil, approx 1 tbs
Ground up Gold Fish Crackers, cheddar flavor. Approx 1-2 tbs per tilapia loin.
Pepper to taste
1-2 tbs butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place frozen tilapia loins in baking or lasagna pan
Brush lightly with EVOO
Sprinkle ground up Gold Fish crackers on each tilapia loin
Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper on each loin (there is no need for salt as the crackers are salted)
Place little nubs of butter on each tilapia loin (you can leave this out if you wish. I have made the dish with and without the butter)
For extra flavor, you can sprinkle other spices or herbs of your choice on the fish
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the fish is tender and flaky
Since I’m not allowed to eat the breading, I covered my tilapia with lemon slices. This is a very nice alternative to the breading. The lemon kept the fish moist and delivered a nice fresh flavor to the fish.
I served the tilapia with baked butternut squash lightly sprinkled with brown sugar and pepper, quinoa cooked in chicken broth with peas, and roasted broccoli sprinkled with grated parmesan. The fish was well received by my daughter, and why not? She LOVES Gold Fish (she calls them Nemo). She wasn’t so keen on the quinoa and butternut squash though. I was not so surprised about the quinoa but she’s devoured the butternut squash before. Maybe I didn’t put enough brown sugar on it this time…I didn’t even try to give her the broccoli, which I made mainly for myself since the butternut squash would have been a no no with the sugar. I had never actually tried to roast broccoli before and I was pleasantly surprised by its nutty flavor compared to the typical steamed broccoli flavor. I prepared it by lightly brushing frozen broccoli florets with EVOO and sprinkling some black pepper on them. I added the grated parmesan when the broccoli came out of the oven.