Grown-up Fish Sticks

This recipe started as me planning to make a rendition of Pinch of Yum’s Almond Crusted Tilapia, and then ended with me being lazy.


Baby is as big as a bell pepper on this day.

I’m in my second trimester (when I wrote this), but still have days where I am just SO exhausted and the last thing I want to do is follow a bunch of steps to complete dinner. I try very hard to plan healthy meals and shop ahead of time though, so I hate wasting ingredients and whining “let’s just do pizza” from my sprawled position on the couch. Very often…

To be fair, this recipe does not have “a bunch of steps”, but it had one more than I was willing to complete. I didn’t feel like dirtying my food processor just to grind up the almonds I had. So I chose to skip it. Almonds are healthy and will still get eaten. Whole.

So my adaptation became to just use breadcrumbs. And in this process, I realized this was not a new or special recipe. I was just making fish sticks. But ADULT version, since the fish was still in fillets and not questionable finger-sized strips, with more questionable ingredients used to hold them in such a shape.

After this epiphane, it was easy for me to say “Okay! Bring on the ketchup” and go with it.


First, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees.

I started by making a pile of Panko on a plate and salt and peppered the Tilapia fillets. Then I used the back of a spoon to spread about ½ T of mustard on one side of the fish before plopping it in the pile of breadcrumbs. While there, I repeated with the other side before flipping it over.


I set each fillet aside to work on the next, refilling the pile of Panko as needed. This process took a little longer than I had anticipated… but I probably could have used a bigger working surface and shaved time off doing multiple fillets at a time.


Finished fillets. We had a couple Tilapia and a few Cod. Both tasted equally great, but the Cod needed more cooking time, so we’ll focus on the Tilapia in this rendition.

Once finished breading, I heated an oven-safe pan over medium-high with a plop of butter and a spray of non-stick spray.

Fish went in the pan for about a minute a side, just to brown the breading. Then the whole pan went into the oven for about 4-5 minutes.


A squeeze of lemon on all and we were ready to serve. The result was super flaky and fell apart into natural fish sticks!

Personally, I really do like it with ketchup, but Court prefers Tartar sauce, and honestly these are really good just on their own with that hint of mustard and lemon.



Grown-Up Fish Sticks

Serves 4-6

Tilapia, 4-6 6oz fillets
Salt and Pepper, to taste
½ C Panko
¼ C Dijon Mustard
1T Butter
Non-Stick Spray
Lemon Juice

Optional Sides:
Parmesan Cheese
Ketchup/Tartar Sauce/Etc
Sides for serving – We went with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour Panko onto a flat surface.

Salt and Pepper one side of Tilapia fillets, then spread ~½ T Dijon mustard on same side. Flip fillet into Panko so that it will stick to the mustard. Salt, Pepper and Mustard other side before flipping. Set aside and repeat with all fillets.

Heat oven-safe pan to medium-high heat. Melt butter and spray pan before flash-browning one side of fish for ~1 minute. Then flip fish and brown other side for ~1 minute.

Place whole pan into oven for ~4-5 minutes, until fish flakes easily.

Squeeze lemon juice over all fillets and serve!


I’d love to hear what you think about this as is or your suggestions for improvement!

This recipe brought me back to those frozen meals I used to eat ALL THE TIME as a kid. Any other favorite childhood recipes that I should try a new, adult-ier rendition of?

Adequate Whole30 Asian Salmon


I am so excited to share my first recipe on the blog! Now this is by no means “Perfect” or “The Best” so I refuse to title it that. What this is is an experiment. A starting point.

I took what I knew as my favorite NON Whole30 Asian Salmon recipe and tried it out with compliant substitutes. It worked for the most part! And it was adequate! So that’s what I’m calling it. For now. Maybe I’ll work on it and hone it and let it become “Better than Adequate Asian Salmon” and maybe I won’t. I like trying different things, not dwelling on one.

So with no further ado, my Adequate Whole30 Asian Salmon:


My husband has been super hungry lately, so I basically plan on doubling the protein I normally would for him. Then I also always double our meals to make it for our lunches the next day (OMG so much easier that way!) In any case, This is probably technically 6 servings, but it happened to only feed the two of us twice. Just for full disclosure.

So I started with 32 oz of Wild Caught Salmon. I always get the same brand. I’ve tried others, but I haven’t found them to beat the color and flavor of my favorite. Sticking with what I know. Now the way they cut this, it comes in 5 fillets. Guh. Well, so I will cut it when we’re finished to make “6” servings… Sure.

I started by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. I also set up my instant pot to cook the veggies on the side. Our house has this really awesome quality where I can’t use my microwave while I use my oven or else we lose power to the kitchen. SO fun. I’ve adapted though.


Sometimes it’s easier to buy fresh veggies and bake them in the oven with the main course, and sometimes it’s easier to use what’s on hand (in the freezer) and Instant Pot our troubles away. Tonight was an Instant Pot kind of night.

This was my first time making a date paste. It was sticky. I threw that, along with all of the other sauce ingredients (besides the xanthan) in a saucepan… naturally. And turned the heat up to about medium-high.


Gross. Whisk it please.


Better. Thank you.

When it starts to bubble, I sprinkled the xanthan gum in and whisked continuously so it didn’t clump (too badly). Then I turned down the heat and just let it reduce/thicken for a few minutes.

Preparing the salmon, I just laid them in a coconut-oil-greased dish skin-down and lightly salted and generously peppered them. I then used a brush to brush them (natch) with some of the sauce.


I covered the whole thing with aluminum foil and baked for 15-20 minutes. I also started steaming my veggies in the magical Instant Pot at this point too.

With about 5 minutes to go, I removed the foil. I also prepped my pre-riced cauliflower for the elusive microwave the exact second I turned the oven off. I ended up leaving the fish in to keep warm while I did this. (I knew it could still use a minute or two anyway).

Once it’s all hot and ready (copyright infringement?), we plated! Cauliflower rice, veggies, salmon, then cover it all in the Adequate Whole30 Sauce!


It may have only been adequate, but that didn’t stop me from finishing every last bite. Except the skin for some reason.


Do you like how fancy we are?

Adequate Whole30 Asian Salmon

Serves 4-6

For the Salmon:
Salmon, 4-6 6oz fillets
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the Sauce:
⅓ C Coconut Aminos
⅓ C Orange Juice (or any kind of 100% juice really)
⅓ C Broth
3T Apple Cider Vinegar
1T Garlic, minced
½ t Ginger, ground
2 Dates, Pitted, chopped and smashed into a paste
2t Chili Garlic Sauce* (or adjusted for desired heat) – I made this myself.. Recipe below
1T Coconut Oil (or other oil)
1t Xanthan Gum (OR 1T Arrowroot powder + 1T Water)

Optional Sides:
Cauliflower, 1 head into rice
Broccoli, 1 Head OR Frozen Asian Mixed Veggies X 2

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix Coconut Aminos, Orange Juice, Broth, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Ginger, Date Paste, Chili Sauce and coconut oil together and pour into a saucepan. Heat over med-high until bubbling.

Add in slurry of Arrowroot and water or xanthan gum, stirring constantly. Turn down to med-low and let thicken.

Prepare baking dish with oil, parchment or silicon pad. Place fish skin-down and pepper to taste. (Can prep veggies now too, however your preferred method is)

Brush salmon with sauce, leaving most still in the saucepan for later.

Bake salmon for 15-20 min until flakes easily.

Plate salmon over and with sides, pour sauce over all. Enjoy!


*Feel free to swap this for a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or more depending on how spicy you want it


Chili Garlic Sauce

8 ounces fresno chilies
6 cloves of garlic peeled
2½ tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
¾ teaspoon salt

De-stem and chop fresno chilies and place in a food processor along with the seeds. The more seeds you add the spicier it will be. Add the garlic, vinegar and salt. Blitz until you get a slightly coarse paste.
Pour pureed chile mixture into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently for 7-10 minutes or until it no longer has a raw scent.
If you want your sauce more fine then place it back in the food processor at this point and blitz it a few more times. You may serve it immediately but it’s best after the flavors have had at least 4 hours to meld; overnight preferably.
Note about rice vinegar: Make sure you get unseasoned rice vinegar, there are types of rice vinegar called seasoned rice vinegar that have added sugar.
Note about seeds from the chilies: I used all of the seeds and it was just fine for me, quite spicy, but tolerable. If you’re afraid of it being too spicy then use only half of the seeds.)


I’d love to hear what you think about this as is or your suggestions for improvement!

I hope our high-class table set-up didn’t scare anyone away. Anyone else eat in front of the TV while watching recordings of Maury? No? Just us then.Asian Salmon