Saturday, June 13, 2009

What's For Dinner? Pan Seared Halibut Pasta with Asparagus

Friends often ask me what I make for dinner, now that I have two kids.

My answer is that it varies. Sometimes, it'll be something I'll warm up in the microwave from the freezer. But, on a good day, if I have the energy, I'll make a nice big batch of something. That way, I'll have leftovers. That means the "making dinner" check box on tomorrow's To Do list will be marked off!

I only have time to make meals that can be done in 30 minutes (worth one tv show that's been Tivo'd for TJ), so I'm usually working very hard in that half hour.

I am not a chef, so you'll have to excuse my lack of correct culinary terminology.

Okay, onto the recipe!

At least once a week, I try to cook fish because it's a a heart healthy protein (God knows we need it for all the stress we go through in a week as parents). Fish is great because it cooks FAST (10 minutes only) and you don't have to touch it while it's cooking. I choose fish that chews on the meaty side, since it sorta tastes like chicken (according to TJ, that is). Plus, it's easy for the toddler to pick up with his fingers or stab with a fork.

Asparagus is also a healthy vegetable (again, great for the heart) that is good to match with pasta, because all alone, it's hard to get TJ to chow down on it. He actually doesn't like it. But, cut up in slices, along with bites of pasta? It's a lot less fibrous and he'll tolerate it. Especially if he's hungry!

Pan Seared Halibut Pasta with Asparagus


Bunch of Asparagus
2-3 Roma Tomatoes ~ or whatever kinda tomatoes are in the fridge
1 Can of Olives
1 lb of Halibut ~ or Salmon. Can be frozen. I buy mine at Trader Joe's. Just thaw it out in the morning or night before.
1/4 jar of creamy Afredo sauce ~ or just enough to do a glaze

Olive Oil

Pasta of choice ~ Linguini or Spaghetti if I feel like being messy eater, Penne or Rigatoni if I want to be neater. Depends on mood.

Optional: onions, garlic. I only add these if I feel I have time to spare. If it's a fast dinner I'm aiming for, I skip it.

Servings: 2 dinner meals for 2 adults, two toddlers


1. Start boiling water for the pasta. As I prepare the veges, I throw in the pasta and start the timer. After 9-10 minutes, drain the pasta & add a little olive oil in the pot to keep it from sticking. Keep it in the pot until I'm ready to combine everything at the end.

2. Prepare the asaparagus. Break off the ends by snapping them off at the bottom. Wash. Cut slanted into little pieces.
3. Prepare the tomatoes. Wash, cut into quarters. I like bigger chucks so they don't disappear into the sauce.

4. Prepare the fish. Rinse with water, pat dry with paper towels.

5. Open your can of olives, ready to throw in later.

6. Pour some olive oil into a prep bowl. Brush the olive oil on the fish, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Turn the fish over and do the same on the other side.

7. Warm up the pan on medium high. Put 2 T of olive oil.

8. Stir fry the asparagus for 5 min. Toss over every other minute. Sprinkle in some salt. Should be crisp, not soggy & flat. Spatula them out onto a separate dish.

9. Warm up pan again on medium high. Put 2-3T of olive oil. Place the fish onto the pan and cook on each side for 5 minutes. Don't move the fish as it's cooking during the 5 minutes, so it'll get a seared effect and the fish will be crispy outside & tender inside.

10. How to tell the fish is done. The fish fillet flakes off if you poke it with a fork. If you look at the fish, it's almost done it's no longer opaque. If you're lucky, just as you see the white appear and the opaque color leaving, it's perfectly done. Not overdone and not underdone.

Transfer the fish onto aluminum foil and wrap, to keep hot.

11. By now, the pasta timer had already gone off and you've drained the pasta.

12. Stir fry the tomatoes & olives with some olive oil. Stir it around a little until tomato looks softened. 13. Then, throw in all the ingredients except the fish. Pour in the creamy white sauce, just enough to glaze over the pasta, and stir fry.

If I put the right amount of sauce, you can't even hardly see the white creamy sauce. It just has a hint of flavor. I don't add anymore salt at this point. But, flavor to your licking.

Then, scoop up onto the plates and put the fish on top of the pasta.

Voila, done! Bon appetit!


Claura said...

nice :-)

Bonnie Gray said...

Thnx, Claura. So, how 'bout you & Hubby? Who cooks more?

Katie said...

Hi, I am a SAHM mom of a August 2002 boy, August 2005 boy and December 2007 girl. I am so excited that summer is here and my sons are finally done with school.

I have such a hard time figuring out what to feed them, what is easy, good, kid-friendly, etc. I have pulled recipes from this group and other recipes sites and will continue to, but I find it hard to easily share them with my sister, mom, etc. who are scattered around the country.

Anyway, I just started a company that allows people to share recipes privately with their friends on-line. We have been having a blast doing it so I thought I would share! Happy cooking :)

Bonnie Gray said...

Thanks for the link & best wishes for your new endeavor. How exciting! May lots of food, fun and community find recipes at!