Yes, I know I didn’t write about freezer cleanout week 2. Just take my word for it that we did cook something from the freezer that week, but it just wasn’t worth writing about.
This week’s cleanout night featured frozen Mahi Mahi filets. The prep I used for the Mahi Mahi can be used on a wide variety of fish. So far, I’ve only used it on Mahi Mahi and on Sole. What I do is my own version of blackened fish, first introduced to me on our family’s spring vacation to South Carolina. (Some of the best blackened Mahi Mahi that I’ll probably ever have!!)
In a small bowl, combine paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt and garlic powder. You’ll have to play around with the ratios of these ingredients depending on how spicy you like your fish. Typically, my mixture is largely paprika, salt and pepper, with just a pinch of red pepper. Mix these ingredients thoroughly. Lightly coat thawed fish in olive oil. Sprinkle spice mixture generously over both sides of the fish. Cook fish in pan with olive oil over medium heat. The cook time will vary depending on the type of fish and the size of your pieces. One thing I’ve learned is that its best to only flip the fish once. Most fish gets more delicate when cooked, and multiple flips makes for a big crumbly mess. (I see this much more with the Sole than with the Mahi Mahi.)
So, I am by no means an expert at cooking fish. But, I have certainly eliminated the bland fish blues in our house.
It’s going to be one of those weeks…I can just tell. A few short weeks ago, I was motivated to change the way things flow in our house. In particular, the weeknight menu. I preached to the children about how they would be expected to try the new recipes I would be preparing. (with the trade-off being that I would promise to make at least one kid-friendly meal a week.) We were also going to work on cleaning out the freezer. The first week went really well, with the kids actually enjoying one of the new meals. Since then though, things have been a bit sluggish. And this week, I can just see things grinding to a halt.
I haven’t done a major grocery shopping trip for 2 weeks now. Last week, I threw together a short list and managed to pick up some of the dinner foods and a few staple items. This week, I haven’t even gotten that far. I sent my husband to pick up yogurt and waffles after church on Sunday, but that’s about it. Sure, I have the whole freezer full of this month’s Market Day order that I picked up on Saturday, but that was supposed to be for the whole month.
Truth be told…last night’s dinner was a joke. The kids started eating when we got home. It was a trail of food, with a little 1st grade homework plopped in the middle. I think Tommy ate yogurt and an apple, a stick of cheese, a bagel with cream cheese, and a couple of what he calls “crickets on a log.” (Celery sticks with peanut butter, topped with more peanuts.) Anna had yogurt and her own version of “logs” with what she refers to as “walnarts.” (Known to most as walnuts.) Sure…its all pretty good food and certainly carries plenty of protein, but it just carried on and on. I enjoyed a snack of peanut butter on a spoon to hold me over until hubby brought home Mexican carry-out. Hardly my vision of weeknight family dinner.
We may not be off to a good start, but I’m going to try to fight it. Tonight, there will be a reasonable dinner on the table. Even if the kids still end up eating the crazy mix of food again, I want it to at least all arrive on one plate. There will be real food prepared and consumed by hubby and myself…perhaps that tasty Mahi Mahi from the freezer. And, if I’m lucky, I’ll even get the dishwasher loaded.
I don’t know how it is in your house, but for us, the freezer is pretty much a graveyard. The only thing that seems to escape the freezer readily are waffles and ice cream bars. Used to be that our children would eat a lot of chicken nuggets. They still do, but it seems to happen more often when we eat out, and not at home anymore. Over the weekend, my daughter made a request for chicken nuggets, which had my husband digging to the depths of the freezer to see if we even had any. In the process, he stumbled upon many things still worth rescuing from the freezer graveyard. See…we’ve only had this fridge since last Christmas, so very little has actually perished in this particular freezer.
Along with the new menus that I’ve been trying to get off the ground (the ones that strongly encourage my children to try new foods regularly.), we are now launching Project Freezer Cleanout. At least once a week, I’m going to try to make something that utilizes a minimum of one ingredient pulled from the depths of the freezer. This week’s meal is not too much of a stretch though, I must admit. The ingredient for this week is sea scallops.
Sea scallops are one of my favorite seafoods. I have learned over the last year or so that scallops are not all that difficult to prepare, and they are fabulous when cooked well. Too often, people overcook scallops, rendering them chewy and unappetizing. For my scallops, I like to keep things simple. The scallops we’ve been buying are some of the largest I’ve seen…about 1.5-2″ in diameter and about 1″ thick. The cook best if they are allowed to reach room temperature before cooking. If the centers are still cold, they don’t cook evenly and you’ll likely end up with overcooked outsides by the time the centers are cooked. I heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil and pan are hot, I add the scallops and cook 2-2.5 minutes. Then, I flip the scallops and cook another 2-2.5 minutes on the other side. You’ll know they’re fully cooked when they become opaque inside. Pair the scallops with some steamed or grilled vegetables or with the rice or pasta side of your choice. This week, we enjoyed ours along with some Market Day fried rice…also from the freezer. 😉