Long gone are the days when most families had a stay-at-home mom or dad who could spend a couple of hours preparing supper. In most marriages, it takes two incomes to keep a household going, which is why meals that can be made in a jiffy are a necessity rather than a luxury.
Baked fish is simplicity at its finest, an entry with very little fuss. Served with baked potatoes and a steamed vegetable, it’s a meal that a family can enjoy together, even if both parents are working all day.
The following baked fish recipe can have your catch on the table in less that 20 minutes, if you don’t count that oven time for the potatoes.
1 pound mild-flavored fish fillet, about ¾-inch thick
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottom of rectangular pan, 11-by-7½ inches. Cut fish fillets into 4 serving pieces if needed. Place pieces, skin sides down, in the pan, folding thin ends under if necessary for even thickness. Mix remaining ingredients; drizzle over fish. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.
People who fancy themselves as soup aficionados will say any day is a good one to make soup. And if it happens to be a cold winter day, all the better.
I’m one of those who just loves soup, especially homemade. That’s why it’s no surprise to those who know me know that there’s always a pot of soup on the burner or a couple of quarts of it in the refrigerator.
This past week, I made some French onion soup. Not only did I have a hankering for the soup, but a dozen or so of my home-grown onions were beginning to sprout in the three mesh bags that we have in our basement cold room.
I used the wonderful recipe given to me by an old friend, Darrel Koehler. He calls it French-Finn Onion Soup, but other than his heritage (he’s half Finnish), I can’t see any other reason for the moniker. The soup contains basically the same ingredients as most other recipes I’ve seen with the exception of a splash or two of Tabasco sauce.
The result was nothing short of fantastic, especially on a cold February day when the temperature barely climbed about the zero mark.
French Onion Soup
6 or 7 large onions (sweet Spanish or yellow globe), sliced
½ stick butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cans beef broth
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, saute the onions over medium heat until translucent. Don’t brown. Salt and pepper lightly. Sprinkle sugar over the onions in the last stages of sauting. Next, add the beef broth and stir well. Add a few more sprinkles of pepper and several drops of Tabasco sauce, bay leaf, garlic and dried parsley. Simmer for two to three hours on low. Taste before the last hour to adjust seasonings.
To serve, cut French bread into 2-inch chunks and toast in the oven. Place toasted bread in soup, cover with grated cheese such as mozzarella. Place under broiler to melt cheese and then serve.
Baked breads such those with bananas, cranberries or other types of fruits or vegetables can be made any time of the year. Most are easy and delicious and can be frozen without any problems.
One drawback about some of these is that they contain large amounts of butter or oil. Of course, that’s what makes them nice and moist as well as tasty. But there is an alternative: applesauce.
I recently made a couple of loaves of carrot bread in which I substituted applesauce for cooking oil, and the result was nothing short of delicious. Not only was the bread fat-free, it also contained fresh carrots, one of the world’s healthiest foods and a mainstay in my summer garden.
Carrots are perhaps best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene. But this delicious root vegetable is also the source of a wide variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients, which have cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits.
The following recipe for carrot bread is from our “America Cooks” cookbook.
1 cup sugar
¾ cup applesauce
1½ cups presifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup grated carrots
½ cup nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degree. Grease 9½-inch loaf pan. In mixing bowl, blend sugar and applesauce. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in dry ingredients, then add carrots, nuts and vanilla. Turn batter into pan. Bake for 50 minutes.