Tilapia with Mustard Cream Sauce

Oh my gosh, there is SO MUCH I need to be doing right now. Let’s make a list, so I’ll feel like I have some control over my life (isn’t that why I’m obsessed with list making?)

Random aside: after my last visit home, my mom sent me back with a trunk full of my old belongings. I found an old Hello Kitty notebook that I’d designated my “List of Books,” and in alphabetical order, I had written all the books I’d read up to that point in my life, or at least the ones I could remember. I’m sure it was a well-thought-out summer project that took a considerable amount of time. I can’t really explain it, but seeing it made my life today make much more sense. Back to my current list:

Things I Should Be Doing At This Very Moment But Am Not:

*paying attention to the cat (she’s sitting on the couch watching me very closely)

*packing for the beach

*responding to email from Important People I Work With

*calling Casey back

*writing anniversary and birthday cards

*finishing laundry

*paying more attention to the cat

*watching “I Love You, Philip Morris” (just got it from Netflix!)

*doing work for a search committee I’m part of this summer

*reading my latest issue of BUST magazine

*preparing lesson plans for this fall’s Mass Media course (cannot wait)

*hydrating (didn’t drink my entire 3 liters of water today, which is my normal summer day consumption quotient)

*formulating my next research project

*working on publications

*going to bed

Instead, I’m blogging. It’s a much better option right now, because I just have to tell you about what I made for dinner tonight, adding it to the list of things you can make in a hurry and relatively inexpensively and in a somewhat healthy fashion. I knew I wanted tilapia – we haven’t had it this month, and it’s one of those things that serves as a good protein base for a number of “what’s in the pantry” style side dishes, which is what I was facing tonight. I knew I had leftover rice, a zucchini, 2 yellow squash, and my usual pantry/fridge staples (which are, admittedly, varied). I debated frying up the zucchini and squash – let me tell you, it’s hard to say no to fried squash – but went for a quick and healthy sautee, which was a little too much fun to prepare since I decided to go all Mario Batali on it and not stir the veggies but rather toss them up in the air to ensure even cooking. It’s the most bad-ass thing I’ve done in some time.

The rice was nuked in the microwave, and the fish and sauce were done at the same time as my veggies. The fish was the most complicated, and it took about 10 minutes. Hooray for tilapia – a broke grad student staple and also one of my favorite lean proteins!

Tilapia w/Mustard Cream Sauce (for 2 people)

Take 3 tilapia filets, rinse and pat dry. (If you’re using them from a frozen pack, allow to thaw in cold water or in the fridge during the day, then rinse & dry). Season both sides with salt, pepper and an Italian seasoning blend (mine is a simple Kroger brand Italian spice variety). Preheat a nonstick skillet with some olive oil & butter over medium-high heat. Cook filets 3-4 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Remove from pan, set aside and cover with tin foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.

In the same pan in which you cooked the fish, make the sauce. With the heat on medium low, add about 1/3 cup heavy cream and 1/2 – 1 tablespoon grainy mustard. Stir to combine, bringing cream to a low simmer – shouldn’t take more than about 2 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of about half a lemon; stir and combine. Pour over filets and enjoy!

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