Monday, March 21, 2011

A Taste for Everyone

Tonight's meal was going to be nice an light. Some roasted fish with dried herbs and garlic and some zucchini "fettucine" with tomato sauce from the freezer. Outside... there was a snow storm and to be honest, I really didn't feel like a light dinner, I felt like having greasy pub food. And I heard that little voice in my head saying "the boys won't eat that roasted fish. They will come home, ask what's for dinner and say yuck". Then I had a flash of inspiration! 

I first met Jennie (@really_life) on Twitter last fall when I was tweeting for advice about what to do with all my apples. She is the one who introduced me to the crockpot apple butter recipe and showed me how to can my butters (see September post: Apple Overload!). Last night I was reading her most recent post about challenges for personal improvement. The one thing that really jumped out at me was this: 

-Try one new recipe that contains ingredients that in theory EVERY member of your household will eat. Aim for it being a healthy recipe.

So mom? What's for dinner? (Beer-battered) Fish sticks and zucchini "fries"!!! Ok, well, I admit, fried food is not healthy but lets start with baby steps. I don't have a deep-fryer (yet!) so I used a large frying pan. The way you know if your oil is ready is to put in a 1 inch piece of bread. If it turns golden within 20 seconds, it's hot enough. For the zucchini "fries" I only used the recipe as a guide, I liked the idea of sprinkling them with with the flour mixture in advance. I had plenty of batter for 2 large fillets cut into 8 servings plus one good size zucchini. I fried everything in small batches (starting with the zucchini) and once the pieces were drained on the paper towels I transferred them to a baking stone in a warm oven (170 F). Everything remained crispy, I was very impressed!

I didn't have any tartar sauce so I made my default "homemade cheater aioli". Here's the recipe:

 1/3  to 1/2 cup store-bought mayonnaise (I prefer the one that is made with free-range Canadian eggs)
Juice of half a lemon (fair-trade or organic if you can)
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic (if you can make a paste with the side of your knife, even better)
1 Tbsp olive oil

 Mix all ingredients to combine and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes so that the ingredients all blend together. If you're making this recipe for a veggie platter dip or a sweet potato fry dip, I suggest you double it ;)

Of course, not everyone appreciates garlicky mayonnaise so out comes... the ketchup! (Side note: just realized that although my ketchup is organic, it is not made from Ontario tomatoes... Going to have to take a good look at my jars...)

So, the verdict: Not only did all the boys eat everything on their plate, JJ & Mac had extra servings of fish, fought over the last piece and tried to sneak leftovers off daddy's plate!! I couldn't believe it. There were absolutely no complaints, the boys were super happy and chatty and told us about their school day.  I need to make this (not so slimming) dish more often!! 

Thanks for the challenge Jennie! We really enjoyed our family dinner :)

Read Jennie's "challenge yourself" post here:


  1. So that's why you want a deep fryer!
    I bet my kids would eat anything I threw at them if it was fried. Hmm...

  2. Zucchini "fries"! I'll have to try that too! Thanks for posting all the recipes! YUM!