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July 14, 2012: Apple Lemon Tilapia, Rice Pilaf, and Spinach Topped with Mixed Nuts

So the inspiration for today’s cooking came out of a couple of places – I have a lot of Rice a Roni and Hamburger Helper-like boxes which I would like to use up before the end of the summer, I bought a jar of mixed nuts recently, and I’ve been eating a lot of beef lately.

Wanted to use up this box

An inspiration!

When I went shopping for groceries today, I picked up some tilapia fillets, some spinach, a lemon, and a couple fuji apples. Originally I was thinking about doing an apple flavored pork, but I decided it might be more interesting to use fish instead, plus fish could be done in the oven (and not in the pot, saving me time and space!).

The fish was frozen, so while it was defrosting, I sliced up some thin slices of apple, and cut out a couple of slices from the lemon. When the fish had finished defrosting, I salted them and wrapped them in foil with the apple slices and a slice of lemon.

A fillet with fuji apple slices underneath and a lemon slice on top

Putting the spinach in

I then started on the spinach while I pre-heated the oven. I washed the spinach, so that the leaves were slightly wet. In the pot, I heated up some oil with salt and garlic powder. I put the spinach in and let it steam until cooked (and gee did it cook down in volume!). Around this time, I put the fish into the oven. After the spinach was done, I put it into a dish and put a little oil in the pot and browned my selection of mixed nuts for a few seconds (lest they burn) – a handful of peanuts, almonds, and cashews.

The spinach cooked down!

Nuts, pre-browning

Rice a roni cooking

After the nuts were finished, I started on the rice pilaf, following the directions on the box. The fish finished baking in the oven, and I took it out – the juices in the foil packet were amazing! The sweetness of the apple mixed with the citrus flavor of the lemon worked quite well together! I just wish there was more of that flavor when I plated it (the water from the spinach sort of overran the plate), but I left the second fillet and its juices wrapped so that I can save it for next time! The crunchiness and saltiness of the nuts worked well with the soft spinach, and the bit of extra flavor from their short browning only added to the dish! Though I wish I had cooked all the spinach – I’ll have to cook more vegetables next time, or use the frozen corn I have. But still, I can’t wait to eat these leftovers!

Dinner! Tilapia with a lemon, on a bed of fuji apple slices

Mmm, crunchy nuts!

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