Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Lighten it up with fish

Cathi Litzenberger offers some recipes for those who need a break from turkey and ham and are ready for lighter fare

This is my first opportunity to wish all my readers a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013. May you all enjoy life and make a difference in someone else’s life.

Has everyone had enough of all the delicious high fat, high sugar, high calorie foods and treats yet? I’m almost there, but am having a challenge trying to pass up home made butter tarts, and shortbread, and chocolates, and why, oh why, did I bake so much? Sigh! Even so, it is time, before I have to roll down the street instead of walking!

I’ve been looking at fish recipes this morning as a true change from turkey and ham. Today I’m offering dishes that are tasty and healthy, low in calories and fats.

The first recipe is an easy-to-prepare mahi mahi. It is marinated in a mixture of honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and ginger and is delicious. Unlike most tuna casseroles, which tend to be made with canned soup and whole milk, meaning high fat and sodium, our recipe today makes its own creamy mushroom sauce with nonfat milk thickened with a bit of flour, and by using whole-wheat egg noodles, which are high in fiber, this favourite casserole is made even healthier. It’s a good choice as a comfort food during the winter. We need to start somewhere and one of these recipes might be a good start.

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

1 clove garlic, crushed or to taste

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 (6 ounce) mahi mahi fillets

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil.

Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.

Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistently. Spoon glaze over fish, and serve immediately.

Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole

8 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups nonfat milk

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

12 ounces canned chunk light tuna drained

1 cup frozen peas, thawed, or broccoli and carrots

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package  Drain and rinse.

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in tuna, peas (or broccoli/carrots) and 1/2 cup Parmesan until evenly incorporated. Then, stir in the noodles (the pan will be very full).

Remove from the heat.  Sprinkle the casserole with breadcrumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Broil until bubbly and lightly browned on top, 3 to 4 minutes.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.