Main Courses: Seafood, Poultry, Pasta and Casseroles


It seems to me that lately, tilapia seems to be a new inexpensive fish. Where did this come from? It seems tilapia, originally a fresh water fish from Africa which has made its way to American fish farms. So how does tilapia work on the dinner table? First this is a whitefish that takes on the flavor of what it is cooked in. Tilapia is very tender so it is best cooked steamed, baked or broiled. It is high in protein and low in cost. It will be around a long time.

Poultry on the other hand can be cooked use most methods. I choose the thighs, tenders and legs over the more expensive breasts, even when the recipe calls out chicken breast as most do. The thighs and legs have bone in them which enhances the chicken flavor. Just use what your mother said and wash your hands after handling raw chicken. If you do not, you may spread salmonella, a bacteria responsible for food poisoning.

Pasta is best if made from scratch. But if you don’t have the equipment or the desire to spend the time making your own, the store bought variety will do. Pasta, in most cases is simply semolina flour, eggs and salt. If you don’t have a pasta roller, a rolling pin may do. The cost is cheaper than the store bought kind and you control the quality. Fresh pasta will absorb any sauce that you pair it with better. And lastly, a must to know if making your own pasta is to let it dry for 15 minutes after cutting so it will not clump together is the boiling water.

Casseroles are their own worst enemies, boil overs in the oven, soggy, under and at the same time over cooked ingredients, mushy pasta, or leftover casseroles being overcooked. What a mess, why would anyone even want to try a casserole? Because they meld flavors well, they are a one pot dish, they allow you to use up leftovers and they freeze well. To prevent boil overs in the oven, butter the lip of your casserole dish before you start. To eliminate a soggy casserole, squeeze out extra moisture from greens and defrost frozen vegetables in a colander to allow for drip drying. To prevent pasta from becoming mushy, under cook it by 6 minutes and allow the sauce of the casserole to finish cooking it. And to equal out cooking times of different vegetables, parboil, or partially cook the heavier ones like potatoes, yams and turnips.

Leave a Reply