We kid you not: the microwave is your answer to perfectly cooked fish in a flash. When you’re facing a dinnertime crunch at the end of a long day, this 15-minute meal ventures into the lifesaver category. The same recipe can be made with other fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, haddock, or catfish.
Bundling up tilapia and vegetables in parchment packets and heating it all in the microwave traps steam to add moisture and guarantees you’ll be serving restaurant-worthy tender fish.
Most modern microwaves pump out at least 1,000 watts—cook times for most recipes are based on this power output. Look on the back of your microwave or inside the oven door to determine the power of the machine. If you have a lower-wattage microwave, you may need to increase cooking times.
Fold 4 - 14 x 18 in (36 x 46 cm) sheets of parchment paper in half. Open up sheets and place equal amounts of shallots, bell peppers, tomatoes, and lemon slices on one side of each sheet. Place tilapia fillets on top of vegetables.
In small bowl, whisk together oil, mustard, thyme, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper. Spread mustard mixture on fish. Fold empty half of each parchment sheet over tilapia and vegetables and crimp them shut.
Microwave each parchment packet on high power for 4 minutes. Open a corner of a packet to check that tilapia flesh is cooked through. If not, microwave in 30-second intervals until cooked. Let parchment packets rest, sealed, for 5 minutes.
Carefully open packets and sprinkle with parsley.
This recipe is part of the Easy Does It collection.
The apple in these turkey meatballs might not be immediately visible, but it’s working behind the scenes to help bind them together and adds sweet flavour and juiciness. Chinese five-spice powder—a blend of star anise, ground fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon—lends lively flavour, alongside ginger and garlic. Packed full of protein, these meaty bites are a good source of vitamin D and iron and make for a tasty party appetizer. Meatball magic Handle with care A light touch is the key to a well-formed, juicy meatball. Using a tablespoon measure or cookie scoop, spoon heaping tablespoons into individual meatballs and toss them back and forth between your hands a few times, very gently, to round them off. Avoid squeezing or compressing the meat. Make ahead You can form meatballs 4 hours in advance and refrigerate before cooking. Lay meatballs in a single layer on parchment in glass dish; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Remove meatballs from refrigerator about 30 minutes before you begin to cook to allow them to come to room temperature. This will ensure they cook evenly. Blot any excess moisture before adding to the hot pan. Turning with this trick When browning meatballs, use a cookie scoop to nudge and turn the meatball. If it loses its round shape, use the scoop to gently re-form.
Fall root vegetables such as parsnips or celeriac make a delicious combination with the autumn season’s arguably biggest star—the apple. Choose a tart apple like Granny Smith or a sweet-tart apple like Pink Lady for this silky soup thickened up with a cashew cream to deliver not only a winning texture but a healthy dose of dietary fibre and some added protein. Tarragon is a supporting actor in this play, working nicely with the apples in a bright, tasty oil as garnish. Terrific with tarragon Bring this dish to the next level by making an elegant tarragon oil to drizzle over the soup. Place 1/3 cup (80 mL) tarragon leaves in fine sieve. Fill a bowl large enough to accommodate sieve with ice water and set aside. Plunge sieve into pot of boiling water, drenching tarragon for about 30 seconds. Remove sieve and plunge it into the ice water and leave for a minute or so. Drain and transfer tarragon to clean kitchen towel. Squeeze out all the water and place tarragon in food processor with 1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil. Blend for about a minute and then strain oil through clean fine sieve into jar. Use at room temperature and refrigerate when not using.
This somewhat nontraditional curry emphasizes protein and ease of preparation. Taking the liberty of blending winter squash and peanut butter into the curry sauce lends it a nice sweetness and extra-creamy mouthfeel. It’s the perfect dish to reheat, as leftovers only get more flavourful. Serve with a pile of rice. Protein power : Though often overlooked, textured vegetable protein (TVP), which is simply defatted soy flour, is an excellent source of plant-based protein—about 25 g in each 1/2 cup (125 mL) serving. And TVP is certainly less costly than the new breed of engineered meatless meats on the market. Lentils remain one of the best nutritional bargains at the supermarket, full of protein, fibre, and a range of must-have nutrients. Easy does it For the curry sauce, you can also use frozen butternut squash, which requires no peeling and chopping, or canned pure pumpkin purée.