While I’ve always had visions of motherhood and wifehood, greeting my husband at the door in an apron and telling him to get the kids all cleaned up while I bustle around the kitchen making dinner, the sad truth is, I was having those visions while waiting for my Lean Cuisine pasta to finish cooking in the microwave. But at the start of this year (and after finding someone who might actually want to stay with me for longer than the 2013-2014 school year), I decided that I would venture to make dinners that my parents would be proud of and any potential mother-in-law might actually be happy for her son to eat.
Tonight, when dinnertime approached, I went through my routine fridge-to-freezer check to rummage for food. When I opened my freezer, I saw a pack of frozen tilapia that I’ve had for a while (not a gross while, like a few months, don’t judge me). I felt a wild hair and decided that today was the day. Today was the day I would make fish that wasn’t just waiting to be plunked on a cookie sheet and tossed in the oven. Today was the day I seasoned and cooked my own fish just like cavemen of yore.
Step one, however: Figure out how to thaw fish.
Naturally, I Googled, and found this thawing fish quickly tip on the food blog Make LIfe Special. As I scrolled through, I found a Baked tilapia recipe at the bottom of the page. Baked tilapia? Sounds easy enough. I decided to give it a try.
Here’s a quick look at the recipe:
- 4 Tilapia fillets
- 3 Tablespoons butter, divided into 4 pieces
- Old Bay Seasoning, to taste ( I sprinkle this liberally on both sides of the fillets)
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 lemon, cut into 4 slices
Here are the things I had:
- 2 Tilapia fillets
- A whole stick of butter
- …Poultry seasoning?
- Garlic salt
- No lemons. I totally have oranges, but that would be gross.
But I did the best I could with what I had, which was still a lot. I’m sure the Old Bay Seasoning adds a particular type of flavor to the tilapia, but I’m not trying to be Emiril Lagasse, here. I’m just trying to feed myself. Here are the instructions:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish.
- Place tilapia fillets in the baking dish. Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with Old Bay Seasoning and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
- Top each fillet with a pat of butter and a lemon slice.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Here’s Vickie’s final product:
Here was mine (sans lemon because, remember, I only had oranges):
I decided to make some linguine to go with the tilapia and used this simmer sauce from Safeway:
The Final Product:
The Verdict: On a Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum scale, I’d give the tilapia I made a Yum Yum Mm. (That’s like 3 stars out of 5).
It was pretty good considering it was my first time making fish that didn’t come pre-cooked in a box. I will admit that I went light-handed on the seasoning for fear that I would smother the fish with way too much, but I think it could have used some more poultry seasoning. Also, I should probably get Old Bay or some other sort of seasoning for different tastes. But the parts of the fillets that had more seasoning on them were tastier so I’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time.
Also, not fish related, but I think I’ll go for a heavier sauce next time I make the tilapia with pasta, just to give a bit more weight to the meal which is pretty airy between the lightness of the fish and the lightness of the simmer sauce.
And on a college kid dinner making laziness scale rating from 1-5 (since I’m too lazy to think of a more clever rating scale), 1 being throw it in the oven easy and 5 being lots of bustling, I give this recipe a 2. Not too much prep, and most of the waiting time is waiting for the fish to come out of the oven.
But not too shabby for my first time.
Looks like I’m Mother-In-Law approved after all…or at least I will be with some more practice and dishes under my belt.