Tonight, that all changed.
Tonight I made fresh fish sticks and home cooked four cheese mac n cheese. It was so delicious I just have to share! Let me start out by saying that since both dishes have to spend some time in the oven, timing is pretty important. I would recommend cutting your fish into sticks and preparing the breading while your pasta is cooking. I would also have out and ready to be put in the pot all the cheeses. Once your pasta is cooked, prepare the fish sticks and get them in the oven. Then while they cook, get your cheeses melted and mixed with the pasta, put in the baking dish and ready to go under the broiler. This should allow the pasta and fish to be served hot to the table. OK, ready? Here are the recipes and my notes.
Crispy Fish Sticks
1/2 C. unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 C. cornflake crumbs
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 C. all purpose flour
3 egg whites (lightly beaten)
1 lb tilapia fillets (cut into strips)
NOTES: I forgot the cornflakes so I use panko breadcrumbs instead. I also substituted Cajun seasoning for the seasoned salt. I used 6 tilapia fillets and had to add 2 additional egg whites to cover them all.
1. Cut your fish into strips.
2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Whisk together the bread crumbs, cornflake crumbs, and seasoned salt in shallow bowl.
4. Place flour in second dish and egg whites in a third dish.
5. Heat oven to 450.
6. Coat each fish stick with flour, dip in the egg whites and coat with bread crumb mixture.
7. Place on prepared pan.
8. Coat breaded fish sticks with cooking spray. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Four Cheese Classic Mac
1 box (16 oz) corkscrew or elbow pasta
3 TBS plus 1 tsp unsalted butter
3 TBS all purpose flour
2 1/2 C. milk
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 C. grated Gouda cheese
1 C. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 C. grated Swiss cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 C. plain panko bread crumbs
NOTE: I found Gouda cheese in the cheese section but only in cracker cuts. Instead of grating the slices I just melted them as is. I did the same with sandwich slices of Swiss which were less expensive than grated Swiss and there were no blocks of Swiss I would strongly recommend grating the cheddar as it doesn’t melt very well unless it’s grated.
1. Heat broiler. Coat a 9×13 broiler-safe baking dish or 1 cup ramekins with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt 3 TBS of the butter over medium-high heat. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Gradually add milk; whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add onion powder, salt and pepper (I left out the salt and added 1 tsp of garlic powder instead). Simmer 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in Gouda cheddar, Swiss and 1/4 C. of the Parmesan until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Mix into cooked pasta and pour mixture into prepared dish(es).
4. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 1 tsp butter. Stir in panko and the remaining 1/4 C. Parmesan stir until evenly coated. Sprinkle evenly over pasta. Broil for 3 minutes or until browned. Serve.
Dinner was delish. I may never eat a frozen fish stick again. I hope you enjoy and would love to hear any comments or adjustments to the recipes that you’d like to share.