Thursday, June 2, 2011

FISHING FOR ONE

One of the key techniques to making meals for one person regularly is the ability to have individual portions of meat available in the freezer at all times for days when you come home hungry and have forgotten to plan dinner ahead of time.  Like most of us, my meals tend to revolve around a basic protein - chicken, pork, seafood - so having individual-sized portions waiting in my freezer is a quick way to begin a full meal.  

Tonight I stopped at my favorite shopping place - the freezer in my garage - and pulled out one of the great things to have on hand for quick meals - an IQF Talapia fillet. IQF is fancy talk for Individually Quick Frozen. Since the seafood industry has figured out how to process and flash freeze fish while still out at sea, this means that the seafood we're getting in the freezer section is fresh and tasty. With a package of Talapia fillet's waiting in the freezer, it is easy to pull out one piece of fish for myself, or several pieces if someone is joining me for dinner.

Individual servings of brown rice ready for the
freezer.  Perfect to have on hand for a quick meal.
It's simple to create your own IQF packets of many items if you make larger batches of food and then store them in small plastic bags in the freezer.  Rice works well this way, especially if you prefer the brown rice that takes a while to cook.  Once it's prepared, pack in individual servings in the snack-sized resealable bags and store in the freezer.  When you want rice for dinner, pop it in the microwave and you have rice in about 2 minutes. 

This meal is usually prompted when I have either purchased a fresh salsa or have ingredients on hand to make my own.  As it's not tomato season yet, I purchased a nice salsa at the grocers this week.  Here's how dinner came together:

1-Pull the frozen fish, rice, and corn from the freezer and thaw
2-Open a can of black beans and make the cheater salsa
3-Prep and cook the fish
4-Heat rice in the microwave - stir in a bit of salsa to give extra flavor
5-Plate up!

SOUTHWEST STYLE TALAPIA

1 talapia fillet
southwest seasoning blend - purchased or see my blog entry on how to make your own
canola or vegetable oil
black bean and corn salsa - cheater recipe follows
precooked rice
lime wedge

If the talapia is frozen, place it in a pan or bowl (still in it's plastic covering) and cover with cold water. Let sit for 15 minutes and it will be thawed and ready to use.

Remove the fish from plastic, pat dry and sprinkle with seasoning blend to your taste.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed, non-stick skillet, add the fish and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through.


Serve along side rice and and some of the salsa on top. Drizzle lime over all and garnish with lime wedge.
CHEATER BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA

1/2 cup store bought fresh (not jarred) salsa
1/4 cup frozen corn - rinsed in warm water to thaw
1/4 cup canned black beans

Mix all ingredients together and let sit at room temperature while preparing the remainder of the meal.

Dinner is served. It all came together - including thaw time for the frozen fish and corn - in about 25 minutes.

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