This is a post from Rebel Chef Noel.
It’s confession time. Ready? Here goes…
I have always hated water levels.
I hate them because I totally suck at them. That music still haunts me. (I’m not alone in this, right?)
My very first game system growing up was the NES, and my favorite game was Super Mario Bros. 3, but every time I got to World 3: Ocean Side, it was Game Over. It wasn’t until I teamed up with friends who could show me how to make it through the levels that I was able to make it to World 4. Go team!
Cooking can be the water level of getting healthy for some folks. You’ve completed other levels, you’ve gotten active, set up your batcave, and maybe even figured out how to make healthy choices in restaurants.
But when it comes to cooking, it’s Game Over for you.
Well, I’ve got good news, gang. I’m here today to be your player 2 and show you how to get past this mega challenge.
This fish tastes like fish. I’m not gonna lie to you. It is a mild recipe, but if you don’t like fish, look away (or try one of our other awesome recipes…). But if you do like fish, and have never tried to cook it because it seems difficult, listen up. This one’s for you.
This colorful recipe takes about 20 minutes (15 of those minutes are just waiting for it to cook!), and only uses 7 ingredients.
(Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a printable recipe and shopping list.)
It’s easier than stomping goombas.
Fish and Veggies
Active time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
- Tilapia or any other white fish filet – cod, mahi mahi, or trout all work just fine. Check out Seafoodwatch.org for your best environmentally friendly options.
- 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
- 1/2 zucchini
- 1/2 yellow squash
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- Spices: salt, pepper & red pepper flake (okay, so maybe I cheated a little with this 7 ingredient thing…)
- Baking tray
- Cutting board
- Paper towels – to dry the fish off
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper – if you’re new to this cooking thing, I strongly suggest using aluminum foil.
1. Wash your hands and your veggies.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F (207 C)
3. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into quarter pieces. They’ll be kind of like triangles but the side with the skin on it will be rounded.
4. Cut your lemon in half. Set it aside. We’ll use this later.
5. Cut a piece of parchment or aluminum foil about 2 ft (2/3 meters).
6. Place the cut zucchini, squash, and whole cherry tomatoes down in the center of the parchment. Now you have a pile of geometric shapes!
7. Pour 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil over the veggies. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some red pepper flake.
8. Now take the fish out of whatever package it came in and place the filet on top of the pile of veggies.
9. Pour your remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil on top of the fish, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake.
10. Now find your lemon. Did you lose it already? Awe man! But really, squeeze the juice from half of the lemon onto the fish.
11. Wrap the fish up. Origami was always really hard for me as a kid (and I guess now as an adult too), so I hope these folding instructions are better than the origami instructions I’ve used in the past…Start by folding the right and left sides into the center on top of the food pile. Crease where you fold it over.
If origami + cooking sounds like a nightmare, you can skip this step and just bake the fish and veggies on the parchment or foil for about 5 min longer. (Or you can use foil for easy folding!) The big plus about folding your parchment this way is that it makes cleanup crazy easy. No juices or oils leak onto the pan and you can just toss the parchment in the trash when you’re finished! Choose wisely….
Now fold the bottom into the center. Crease where you fold.
Now fold the top into the center also and crease.We want the packet to form a tiny pouch to concentrate the heat and steam the fish and veggies together, so we’ll need it to stay closed. The way I got the packet to stay closed was to fold the bottom and the top flaps where they come together in the center.
Warning: Do not use tape. Tape will probably melt or burn in your oven and ruin your meal.
Then, take the right and left sides and tuck and fold those under also, creasing as you go. Make sure you crease the sides really well on this step. This will hold it together. The sides being folded this way should keep the packet closed and sealed.
12. If you’re using aluminum foil instead of parchment, this step will be way easier because foil maintains its shape where you bend it. If you have the skill, feel free bend your aluminum foil into a swan or something, as long as the fish and veggies stay sealed inside. (If you do this, please send us a picture and show us your mad skillz.)
13. Throw that packet of food on a baking tray and cook it in the oven for 15 minutes.
14. When the cooking time is up, take it out and let it cool for 2-3 minutes before you chow down. You can scoop the food onto a plate or eat it straight out of the packet.
There ya go. Pretty easy meal, no?
Cue the fireworks!
There ya have it. 7 ingredients. 20 minutes. Level up.
I’m terrible at planning ahead, so quick easy meals like this are ideal when it comes to making good food choices on the fly. Knowing I have ingredients that I can whip into a healthy meal when I get home prevents me from stopping for junk food on my way home from work.
Cooking doesn’t have to be intimidating and it doesn’t have to take forever. It can be quick and easy. With a little patience, persistence, and sometimes help from a player 2, you can level up your health. Maybe you can even be someone else’s player 2 in the future and help them learn to cook an awesome meal!
What are some things you’d like to cook but are shying away from?
What parts of cooking are you struggling with the most?
What are some of your favorite quick and easy go-to meals?
Share with the class! Let us know in the comments!
PS: Note from Steve: Camp Nerd Fitness has begun, and all of Team NF is in attendance. We’ll be sharing photos through our Facebook and Instagram accounts (and mine too!). Follow the hashtag #CampNerdFitness if you want to follow along – we’ll be posting recaps soon.
Just a heads up that our email response time will be slow for the next week as we’re getting caught up, thanks for your patience!
- 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 a yellow squash
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
- Salt, pepper, & red pepper flake (to taste)
- Wash your hands and your veggies
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (207 C)
- Cut your zucchini and yellow squash into bite sized pieces
- Cut your lemon in half
- Cut a 2 ft (2/3 meter) piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil
- Place your zucchini, squash, and cherry tomatoes in the center of the paper or foil
- Pour 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil onto the veggies
- Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake
- Rinse off your fish and pat dry
- Place fish on top of the veggies.
- Pour 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil onto the fish
- Sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake
- Squeeze half of your lemon onto the fish
- Fold up the paper/foil so that it makes a sealed packet
- Place packet on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes
- When it’s done cooking, take it out and let it sit for 2-3 minutes so you don’t burn yourself
- Unwrap your meal and put it on a plate (or eat it straight out of the paper!)
- Enjoy your meal!
Photos: Great Bit Blog, Mario Wiki, Games Radar
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