Need a new go-to meal, low in calories and long in flavor? Here’s your quick and easy dinner after a long day’s work. Dolphin in parchment paper with bright and gorgeous vegetables takes about 10-15 minutes to assemble then 30 minutes in the oven. This dish will fill your kitchen with a mouth-watering fragrance and is supremely satisfying. Being low in calories is especially welcome during the holidays. And I find if I have a healthful, filling meal I tend to lean towards grapes or a few apple slices for dessert. This recipe is fabulously forgiving in that pretty much all the vegetables may be substituted to please your guests or family. The potato slices may be left out entirely. Don’t like zucchini? Fat, crunchy asparagus spears work just as well in their place. Don’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand? Chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil work beautifully. Fresh basil can easily be replaced with fresh thyme, tarragon or rosemary. And if you’ve cut up all your lemons for the bar, feel free to zest a lime over the fish. Some folks don’t care for tapenade or olive spread. If you’re one of these people, how about pesto in its place? The broth from the vegetables and fish mixed with the juices of the olive spread is of the gods. And, last, let’s talk about the fish. If you don’t have mahi-mahi, another name for dolphin, use salmon, snapper, cod, tuna or grouper. This is one easy, forgiving meal, people. My parchment paper measures about 12X16″. I lightly cover the paper with non-stick spray and quickly stack the vegetables ending with the fish fillets and lemon zest. After a drizzle of olive oil, a shake of salt and freshly cracked pepper, the parchment paper is creased in half with the fish and vegetables sitting in the middle of the bottom half of paper.
To finish the open sides are folded, doubled-up and pinched closed towards the fish. Placed on a baking sheet and slid into the oven, you’ll now have a fabulous dinner ready to be enjoyed in 30 minutes. Snaps to you.
Dolphin and Vegetables in Parchment Paper
- 2 4-5 ounce dolphin fillets, fresh or thawed
- 4 large potato slices, 1/8″ thick, you only need 1 potato
- 1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 4 equal slices
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 small tomatoes, both sliced into 4 equal slices
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- 8-10 teaspoons olive spread
- the zest of one lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- a little olive oil to drizzle over the fish
- Pre-heat oven to 400°.
- Fold 2 12X16″ pieces of parchment paper in half lengthwise, place on a baking sheet and open both pieces of paper.
- Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray and lay 2 potato slices, alongside the middle crease of the paper.
- On each packet place 2 slices of zucchini lengthwise over the potato slices.
- Over the zucchini continue stacking the onion, tomato and basil in equal amounts between the two bundles.
- Drop 4-5 teaspoons of olive spread lengthwise on the basil then top each stack with the fish fillets.
- Scatter equal amounts of fresh lemon zest along with the salt and pepper over each fillet.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the fillets.
- Fold over the other half of the parchment paper and begin to crimp and fold in the open sides beginning either on the top or bottom.
- Place the baking sheet with the fish packets into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Carefully tear open the top of the packets and slide the entire contents into a shallow soup or pasta bowl including any broth.
- Serve immediately.
Did you indulge or party just a tee-tiny bit too much this past weekend? Or maybe you fell for that lie we all tell ourselves when we’ve eaten half the brownies and, thoroughly disgusted with ourselves, take action to rid the temptation by saying, “I want this out of the house. I’ll finish it and then it won’t be around anymore to tease me.” It’s so awful. And hard, too. But I’ve found if I can stick to a healthful meal plan for two or three days eating well almost becomes a habit. All of us have struggled with our weight at one time or another. College weight, baby weight and old lady weight have all been my personal nightmares. Here’s a special memory that ought to make you feel better. When I was pregnant with our son, James, I gained 52 (yes, 52) pounds. I was enormous; I looked like a walrus…except I had braces and a real tragedy of a haircut. After I gave birth I was still fat but I had the greatest treasure in the world. Anyway, one afternoon my father came over…alone. Normally he and Mom came over together or Mom came alone. We didn’t really have what one would call a “visit”, as he strode with his long legs into our house and made the following announcement. “Your mother and I are terribly worried. So I’m only going to say this once. Lose the weight.” With that, he turned around and walked out. Nice, huh? Thanks, Daddy. I can’t say his little pep talk worked, what with a new baby and nursing and all; it took a while after that to “lose the weight”. But these are the types of meals that make dropping a few pounds somewhat easier. We can do this. We’ve all lost weight before and we’ll do it again. With a little planning we can be healthy about it and keep the weight off. Fingers crossed.
I love this dish! It is incredibly satisfying and as filling as a pasta dish but without the sluggish, weighted down feeling one is left with after sitting down to a huge bowl of penne, fettucine or farfalle…not to mention the guilt, smothering like the black cloud we all know it to be. This casserole doubles extremely well, baked in a 9″ x 13″ dish. I typically double the recipe as my entire household enjoys it for lunch the following day, along with a good bit set aside for my brother and father. More fresh basil may be added if you like, as well as more grape tomatoes. The tomatoes bake-off beautifully, warm and savory, they almost melt in your mouth. The recipe doesn’t call for much parmesan cheese but if you want to stay Paleo or keep the calories out just leave it off. Truly, with all the different flavors, this dish doesn’t need it. Enjoy!
Sausage, Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake
- 4 cups roasted spaghetti squash, that’s about one large squash
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 pounds Italian style turkey sausage
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, grated using the large holes of a box grater
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
- 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 375°. Cover an 8″ x 11″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- With a large spoon scoop the spaghetti squash flesh out of the shell and into a large bowl. Set aside.
- Pour half of the olive oil into a large skillet, heat to medium and swirl the olive oil fully covering the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Add the whole sausage links to the pan and cook over medium until browned all over.
- Leaving the juices in the pan, transfer the sausage to a bowl and let cool.
- Add the remaining olive oil, onion and garlic to the pan, stirring well to get up all the bits of sausage.
- When the onion begins to turn clear, add the zucchini and oregano and stir well.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, stir well and remove from heat.
- Transfer the vegetable mixture to the bowl of spaghetti squash.
- To the bowl add the grape tomatoes, basil and parsley and toss well to thoroughly combine.
- Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Transfer mixture to baking dish and, if using parmesan, scatter the cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until the grape tomatoes become soft to the touch.