It's easy to focus on beef, chicken and pork for dinner, but don't forget about fish. Fish can be an excellent source of both lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Smoking it with your favorite wood chips, such as hickory or maple, lends a strong and appealing flavor that pairs well with many easy-to-prepare sides. Introduce a delicious recipe that includes smoked fish to your family tonight and they may ask for it again tomorrow.
Fish with Rice
Rice is a cheap staple that pairs extremely well with fish when properly seasoned. Pair smoked salmon with dirty rice and a strong Creole seasoning for a spicy-smoky taste that will linger pleasantly on the palate. If you have picky kids, go with plain brown rice and sauteed veggies. Add a light, mild dressing to smoked halibut to mask any lingering "fishy" odors, and let kids top their rice with low-sodium soy sauce. If you prefer white rice, go with the long-grain kind and mix a hearty basil pesto sauce into it for extra flavor.
Fish with Vegetables
A fish-and-veggie dinner is one of the most delicious and nutritious you can prepare. Smoke tilapia fillets with fresh vegetable skewers and enjoy the smoky taste in both parts of the meal. If you prefer stronger flavors, smoke swordfish or sea bass while you roast squash, zucchini, carrots and Brussels sprouts in the oven. If you don't want to eat the fish plain, add it to the vegetables. Tear the smoked fish into chunks and pack it into a large lettuce leaf with corn, black beans and chopped squash. The smoky flavor of the fish will lend a Southwest-esque taste to the wrap.
Fish with Potatoes
Smoked fish by itself is packed with filling protein, but if you have growing kids, pair it with an extra-filling side. Try baked potatoes sprinkled with chopped onion, low-fat shredded cheese and all-purpose grill seasoning for a little extra spice. If you need an easy-to-eat option for picky kids, serve smoked cod -- the most common fish served at fast-food restaurants -- with unsalted homemade French fries or roasted sweet potato chips. Ketchup or ranch dressing for the kids and tartar sauce for the grownups make this meal one the whole family can enjoy. Don't forget potato salad. Make your own with fresh potatoes and fat-free mayonnaise for a healthier version of the deli stuff.
Fish with Soup
Serve smoked fish with the right soup for a perfect wintry-night meal. Pair smoked perch or hake with a creamy tomato basil soup and a side of crusty French bread for dipping. If you want a little extra crunch, brush the finished fillets with olive oil and roll them in bread crumbs before cooking. When summer arrives, try a lighter but still flavorful fish, such as mahi mahi, paired with a summery soup like gazpacho or summer squash soup.
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