crunchy baked fish sticks

Um… so is anyone else trying to eat better in the new year? We really try to eat healthy food most of the time, but sometimes it feels like our diet gets away from us a little bit. I love treats (who doesn’t?) but sometimes it’s a little more difficult to practice moderation… especially around the holidays! I’m not a big fan of dieting, or placing a lot of restrictions on what I eat, but I know that I feel better when I eat more whole foods and less processed junk. So we’re trying to make some changes in the way we eat, and cut out some of those bad habits that have come from being busy and tired and not making great food choices.

Fish and chips are one of Geoff’s very favorite foods, but they’re not super high on my list of healthy foods. I try to avoid deep-frying things (except my favorite apple cider donuts once each year), so I was excited to find a healthier baked version to try. They were really easy to throw together after work one night, and everyone loved them! Even Abby, my totally picky eater, cleaned her plate (amazing, right?). I used frozen tilapia because it was all I had, but I’m sure they would be even more delicious with fresh fish. I’m planning to make a bigger batch next time, and keep some in the freezer for quick lunches for the girls. These are definitely worth making again!

Oh, and as far as the tartar sauce… well, I know it’s not the healthiest food in the world. But Geoff absolutely loves it. We were going through bottles of tartar sauce like crazy, and one day we had run out. Geoff googled it and found out that tartar sauce is basically just mayonnaise and relish, so we’ve been making our own ever since. If used moderately, it’s probably not too bad for you. And it’s quite tasty too!

Crunchy Baked Fish Sticks
Lauren’s Latest

1 1/5 lbs. fresh tilapia filets {or other white fish such as cod}
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
splash of milk
1 3/4 teaspoons creole seasoning, divided
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside. Create a dredging station by placing flour in one shallow bowl, eggs, milk and 1/4 teaspoon creole seasoning in a second shallow bowl and panko and remaining creole seasoning in third bowl. Whisk eggs and milk to combine. Stir panko with seasonings. Cut tilapia filets into strips and dredge in flour, then egg mixture, then panko. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of fish. Bake 12-15 minutes depending on how thick your fish is. Fish is completely cooked when opaque and flakes easily. Remove and set aside.

Easy Tartar Sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I like to use the light mayo with olive oil)
1 tablespoon relish
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
fresh herbs (dill, parsley, etc.) – optional

Combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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