Five Budget-Conscious Main Courses

Recipe courtesy of Sara Moulton, "Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals"

Cracker Fish

Ingredients:

4-5 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves (about ¼ cup)
1½ tsp. fresh or dried oregano
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 c. saltine crumbs (from 24 saltines), made by pulsing in a food processor or crushing in a zippered plastic bag
4 6-oz. pieces tilapia fillet
lemon wedges

1. Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic, oregano and lemon zest in a rimmed dinner plate. Spread the saltine crumbs on wax paper. Dip each fillet in the oil mixture and then coat with crumbs.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the fish and saute until well browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add more oil to the pan, if necessary, turn the fish, and saute until cooked through and brown on the remaining side, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe courtesy of Sara Moulton, "Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals"

Salmon Casserole

Here is a delicious and inexpensive way to use canned wild salmon. This recipe is easy and an excellent way to expand your comfort food repertoire . Pair this with a mixed green salad and you will have a nutritious meal on the table in little time.

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

1 tbs. unsalted butter
1 1½ cups onion, medium dice
1½ cup celery, medium dice
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 ¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
3 tbs. flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups frozen peas
2 14.75 ounce cans wild Alaska sockeye salmon
1 lb. cooked broad egg noodled, cooked al dente
1 tbs. olive oil
¾ cup dried white breadcrumbs

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Butter a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.

3. . In a 2 quart sauce pot add the butter and melt over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, the thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are softened . Add the flour and stir until flour has coated the vegetables, cook for about one minute, stirring often. Slowly whisk in the milk and raise the heat to high. Stir the mixture constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then stir in the sour cream and the peas and set aside. Cook the egg noodles according to the package instructions. Place the opened cans of salmon in a large bowl. Remove and discard the skin, bones and cartilage and chunk the salmon and reserve. Toss the breadcrumbs with the olive oil to combine thoroughly.

4. Place the noodles in the buttered casserole dish and distribute the salmon evenly throughout the dish. Gently pour the sauce mixture around the ingredients and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the entire casserole.

5. Place in a broiler until golden brown and bubbly.

Recipe courtesy of Karen Pickus, Chef on "Good Morning America," 2008

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