Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frugal Fish Dishes

It's Lent here in our household, so we have been eating quite a bit of fish and seafood.  I wanted to share some pretty cost savvy meals that we have done this month, as well as in the past.  

Salmon Filets:

We eat salmon filets more often than anything else.  In a non-stick skillet we heat them with lemon juice and sea salt.  In the oven we squirt lemon juice and spread dijon mustard on top and back at 350 degrees F until cooked to preferred doneness.  And either one of these we will eat with potatoes (roasted usually with sea salt sprinkled on them) or on top of a salad with tomatoes and sauteed onions.  When using these on salads we find no dressing is required!

Tilapia Filets:

Oh, tilapia, how I love you!  I introduced Garret to this wonderful fish just tonight, and he was mighty impressed.  And at less than 13 for a bag of 12 filets, the price cannot be beat.  We figured it up tonight that if we eat it 3 times a week that still means only buying one bag each pay period, which is damn smart to me.  Six meals worth of protein for less than 13 dollars! 

With tilapia I like to keep it simple.  I squirt some lemon juice on top and then grind some fresh black pepper.  I sprinkle some dried basil and parsley and stick it in a 350 F oven for about 15-20 minutes.  You just want to make sure this fish flakes when you drag a fork across a piece of it.  Do not overcook it though, as I found it gets tough.  If you want to see a photo of how ours turned out, please see my other blog.  


Recently we found a dollar off coupon for some frozen cooked shrimp that was on sale for $3.99.  So for $2.99 we got a decent sized bag of shrimp.  What we chose to do was buy Bertolli's frozen pasta dinners.  Our favorite is the one in a tomato basil sauce with penne, shrimp, red peppers and asparagus.  It's supposed to serve enough for 2 people, but we tend to have leftovers, even when we didn't alter it.  But now what we do is add another 15-16 shrimp, 8-12 asparagus spears (it's not quite in season here yet, so we have been using the frozen bagged kind, which seems to work well for this meal), I saute up a large onion or 2 medium onions, and cut up a red bell pepper.  Then I add a little bit of olive oil (because the directions say to use a non-stick skillet with a lid, but ours doesn't have one so we use our stainless steel-----but the olive oil is a good way to stretch the sauce as well).  I also add dried basil, parsley, minced garlic, and salt and pepper.  Last time we made this it actually ended up making 6 servings instead of 2!  And we basically only added extra veggies and protein so it was healthier.  This meal could easily be made without the frozen pasta meal, and I highly recommend it-----the flavors do very well together.

Smoked Salmon:

I am talking more of the kind called lox than the filets.  British smoked salmon.  It's yummy by itself, on sandwiches with cream cheese, and of course on a bagel.  But my favorite smoked salmon sandwich is smoked salmon and cucumbers with boursin cheese.  It's amazingly delicious!  Yes, smoked salmon is not always the most frugal, but it is a strong taste, so a little goes a long way.  When we pick up a large package of it on sale for around 5 dollars, we can usually make it last for several meals.  

So, hopefully this has inspired you to look at fish as a frugal option.  I know that people usually think fishsticks or frozen battered fish filets or popcorn shrimp when they think of frugal fish dishes, but I have to say we've found that overall those actually seem to cost more than some of our favorite options.  And is a wonderful place to look for simple fish dishes.  

If you have any delicious recipes to share, please do!  


  1. I got some dover sole fillets, fresh from the same state I live in, for $4 for 10 fillets (a pound)...I originally planned to bread and fry them for fish tacos with cabbage and salsa, but they were just so delicate and beautiful I instead, sauteed 1/2 a leek, 1/2 a white onion, 4 cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh parsley in butter and rolled the seasoned fillets (I sprinkled them with white pepper, thyme, dill and sea salt as well as lemon juice) around the leeks vegis and baked them in the oven for 20 minutes on 350degrees....then plated them with some oven rendered sauce over them...super yum and so delicate lemony and buttery!

  2. Fish has so many benefits ranging from depression to inflammation.

  3. I just bought tilipia this week at the grocery store - it is a fish that I rarely buy. Can't wait to make it! Thanks for the kind words on my story at my site!