Monday, February 1, 2010

SMAM Round-Up and Don't Fear the Fish!

Hello to February! And you know what that means, right? Bye-bye to Shrink-My-Ass-Month!!


Since there's a really good reason why I don't step on a scale, and haven't for years, I will tell you that I don't know if I lost any weight this month. And no, I refuse to examine my ass in a mirror. I remember vividly the trauma of the last Booty Scrutiny.

But I will say that my pants are a little looser. I no longer feel like a keilbasa stuffed into its casing when I slide on the jeans. So I'm good.

As for Hubs? He looks awesome! He looked great anyways, but he's worked hard this month with the exercise (something I wasn't nearly as motivated to do) and let me tell you--my man is smoking!

And still not satisfied. Sigh.

So, until we leave for vacation in March, he is still on a modified le regime. Modified in that I will no longer be cooking strictly SMAM-type recipes. But I will try to keep things relatively healthy around here.

So February is Half-Assed Month, I guess?

Anyways, on with the show! And I hope you'll stick around, because I've got some yummy things planned for us. Plus, another upcoming Guest Post from TKW's Daddy-O--something you know you don't want to miss, so tune in on Wednesday!


I'm sure a lot of you have fond memories of favorite foods from childhood. You know, those dishes that, when you heard the answer to "Ma, what's for dinner?" made you do a secret little herky in your heart and think "Yes!"

Personally, my favorites varied from year to year, but there were always certain dishes that I'd start yearning for, dreaming about, and then pester Mama relentlessly for.

To her credit, Mama always laughed and said, "I like requests." I feel like that, too. Requests make things easy on the cook because the "What's for Dinner?" conundrum is already solved.

Ambrosia over at Making The Moments Count emailed me a week or two ago, requesting a recipe for fish. You see, Ambrosia fears the fish.

She thinks she hates it, is pretty sure she might gag if she sees it and she is hesitant to cook it. But she's a brave girl, because she told me that she really wants to make fish. She wants to like it. She knows it's good for her and thinks she might be ready to give fish a second chance.

I think this recipe might be the ticket she's looking for, for several reasons.

First off, this recipe uses halibut. Halibut is an awesome fish to serve to fish-phobes, because it doesn't have any yucky bones or skin on it and it's got a clean, mild, very un-fishy flavor. Consider halibut the Gateway Fish.

Second, the fish is coated in crispy crumbs and then quickly pan fried. Put a crispy coating on any kind of protein and you're ahead of the game. Just ask chicken nuggets.

Third, there's yummy little sauce to finish things off and add a little zip. It makes things a little more interesting and is yet close enough to old Tartar sauce that it shouldn't seem scary. Although if you hate cilantro, feel free to use regular Tartar sauce.

And finally? It's one of the most beloved staff favorites from Cooking Light magazine. This recipe received the magazine's highest rating, and that's got to count for something!

Cornflake-Crusted Halibut with Chile-Cilantro Aioli
from Cooking Light Magazine
serves 4

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons reduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup lowfat or fat-free milk
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups cornflakes, finely crushed (I used Total)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets*
4 lemon wedges

To prepare aioli, combine cilantro, mayonnaise, serrano, and minced garlic. Stir well.

To prepare fish, combine milk and egg white in a shallow dish, stirring well with a whisk. Combine cornflakes, flour, salt and pepper in another shallow dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip fish in milk mixture, and then dredge in cornflake mixture. Add the fish to pan, and cook 4 minutes on one side. Flip fish and cook 4 more minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve with a lemon wedge and aioli on the side.

* If, like me, you can't find decent halibut on market day, substitute any mild white fish, like cod or snapper.

We enjoyed this fish! The girls even ate it, but dipped in ketchup. They wanted NO part of that freaky looking aioli. But they won't eat tartar sauce, either, so that wasn't a shocker.

Ambrosia, I've got a couple more recipes coming up for you, so if this one doesn't float your boat, no worries. There's hope for fish yet.


  1. oohhh YYUUUMMM! I don't fear the fish but I get into a fish rut. I will try this one!

  2. Mmm, Looks good! here is looking forward to "half assed month?

  3. This looks great! I have been searching for more fish recipes too. Can't wait to give this one a try. Do you think panko crumbs would work instead of cornflakes?

  4. I love fish but this is not a recipe I have tried. Thanks! It is going into the file!!!

  5. Favourite foods from childhood? Fish fingers or chicken nuggets, something unhealthy anyway!

  6. I fear fish too and so does my family but this looks and sounds yummy will be trying it next week.

  7. "Half-assed month"- I love it. It's my exact approach to dieting!

  8. I would eat it all. Even the "freaky looking aioli!"

    In all seriousness, I think it is tremendous the effort you are making - and displaying here - to make your family and all of us a bit more healthy. This is so so vitally important. We cannot be good parents and people without a baseline of good health.

    Okay, fave food from childhood? Chickpea soup my mom made and mayo sandwiches (that I made. Gross.)

  9. Yum! I love fish but have been staying away while preggo. Eat some for me! :)

  10. My favorite food from childhood was "Chicken McKristen," which was boneless chicken breasts baked in cream of mushroom soup. Might explain why I am now a vegetarian...

  11. Halibut is probably my all-time favorite fish. But it tends to be upwards of $20/lb, so I cook a lot of tilapia. The texture isn't quite as smooth, but the flavor is mild and the price is right.

    Childhood favorites? Homemade macaroni and cheese. Also shish-ka-bob (I loved all food that was an event), creamed pearl onions, and beef stroganoff.

  12. Okay, even me who doesn't like fish might like the recipe! I actually thought halibut had a huge fishy taste - I've avoided it like the plague! :D

  13. I LOVE fish. It is one of my favorite things to eat. I'm not sure why I don't cook it more. In my mind it always seems to call for more prep, but I don't that is really true.

  14. Hey lady, this looks like a great half assed recipe.

  15. Looks good! I love a bit of fish! Gosh I am starving now...dinner is still a little way off! :( xxx

  16. This looks great! I embrace the fish, but am always on the hunt for new preparations . . . and BTW, I'm still workin' on shrinkin' my ass, so this is a goodie for me. Thanks TKW!

  17. Fish rocks. And I admire your ability not to step on the scale. I limit myself to once a week -- not knowing what's going on puts me in a worse place than just a Monday-morning check. Wish those feelings didn't have to exist for us, whatever our workarounds.

  18. TKW, Like you, I'm married to a guy who loses weight instantly. He cuts back on chocolate, or something, and drops his four pound weight gain. Urg. But I will say, he eats a lot of fish.

  19. Isn't possible that fish really is gross and it's not all in the cooking? I want to want to try this ... but I'm sure I'll hate it. Doesn't someone want to invite me over and change my mind?

  20. Feb is "half-assed"month! LOVE that! :D
    And I'm going to try that fish too!

  21. Thanks, Ambrosia, for your request! And thanks TKW! We love fish - and I could always use some new inspriation.

  22. That sounds delicious!! Where are you guys going on your vaca?

  23. Half-assed, hmmm? Oh you cheeky thing, you.

  24. I like half-assed month...that one I aspire to.

    This dish looks wonderful. It's so hard to think up new ways to do fish. I'm trying this one.

  25. I'm also scared of cooking fish... will have to try.
    And I agree w/ you and your mom - I LOVE getting requests for dinner! I get so tired of trying to find new recipes, keep it new and fresh week after week (even though I'm the only one who gets bored with the staples...).

  26. LMAO! I love that clip! The halibut looks yummy too.

  27. So...are you going to tell us why you don't get on the scale. I haven't been on a scale in...decades!!! I refused, even when I was pregnant! I tell doctors I have an eating disorder (which I don't...but do as much as any other woman) and they look horrified and back off.

  28. "So February is Half-Assed Month, I guess?"

    You're so funny, girlfriend. xoxo

  29. The best halibut I ever ate was back in 1985. I took a month long trip to Alaska with my high school sweetheart and his family. I caught a 40 pound salmon on the river and my bf and his had caught halibut in the ocean. We made nuggets. I was in halibut heaven!

    This recipe looks delish and I love that aioli!!

  30. YAY!! I have been waiting for this post!! I wondered if you had forgotten my request. ) :

    I am going to try this recipe this weekend. I can't wait!!

  31. unconfidential: click on the faint link that is "reason" on that post and you'll find out. I understand.

  32. every month at my house is half-assed month, so mazel tov. ;-)

  33. That looks so good.

    I need to lose weight this month. But it's hard seeing that Valentine's Day is coming up and all sorts of delicious chocolate is for sale.

  34. I too am a fish phobe. I like it, but only order it out at nice restaurants. I never cook it at home. In the Chicagoland area, it's not like we have loads of the fresh stuff readily available either. But the sauce sounds divine.

  35. Half-assed month... ha! I feel like it's easier to eat healthy in January as you detox from holiday indulgences, but then in Feb & March it's cold & I just want satisfying food. Of course, that satisfying food tends to be totally unhealthy!

    I don't really fear cooking fish... but my bank account fears when I buy it! I was at Whole Foods the other day, and spent forever looking at the seafood, then walked away without buying any :( Soooo ready to be done w/ being a broke student!

  36. I am pitiful about dieting. Pitiful.
    But am happy to read about SMA½M.

    Fortunately I like fish because it's one of the few things I like that is actually good for me! Nice lo-cal recipe!

  37. That's one of my favorite Cooking Light recipes... I was just wondering what to make tonight and I guess fish it is! Thanks for the inspiration!

  38. Wow! That looks awesome! I really want to try that.
    Hi, I'm Faemom, and I have fish cooking issues. Not because I hate fish, but because my mom does, so I never learned to cook it. Not that stopped me from learning other dishes. I'm just terrified of making a mistake with fish.

  39. Holy Moly that looks good! I used to LOVE my moms mulligatawny soup. Still do actually - she brought me some last week and I leaped up in the air with joy! I also enjoyed her fudge.

  40. I'm embarrassed to say that my fish tastes are like my mother's. She used to say she liked her fish fried until it curled up at the edges.

    I like the mild ones, too.

    This one looks promising! Hubby would love it if I'd start cooking fish.

  41. I can do this one!!!! I really can!!
    This looks delicious and I can't wait to make it. As for cilantro? I wish cilantro was my middle name. LOVE that herb.

    P.S. fish-phobes...what a great word!

  42. Well done, you finished the month!
    Fish looks delish btw.

  43. That looks so delish!!! My lame-o family is so tough with fish, but I think I might have to try it just for ME. :)

  44. This looks excellent, and I say that as one who also Fears The Fish. But breaded and fried is always a good way to go. I will, of course, eliminate the chile in the aioli. Please don't be too disappointed in me.

  45. My picky kids actually REQUEST this fish. I make it with tilapia, 'cause it's cheap, and they call it cornflake fish. They use ketchup instead of the sauce, though.