Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crumb Coated Cod

 My son tends to fixate on things.  From what I understand, this is a common trait for Aspies.  Since this is going to be a dinner topic entry, I will use a food related example.  A typical conversation may go something like this:

Son - Dad, what's for dinner?

Me - Hamburgers.

Son - What's in the hamburger?

Me - Meat. (me being a smart-ass)

Son - What else are you putting in the meat?

Me - Spices.

Son - What spices?

Me - Garlic powder, pepper, and salt.

Son - What type of pepper are you putting in?

Me - Black pepper.

Son - I don't like black pepper.

Me - You liked it just fine the past five meals we had.

Son - But I don't like black pepper today.  Now I'm going to have steps because I won't eat my dinner.  Do you have to fix hamburgers?  (This is where the pouting and frustration begins)

Me - Go play a game or watch TV and don't worry about what is in the meal.

Five minutes later...

Son - Dad, can you use something other than black pepper?

Me - No.

Son - (frustration levels rising again...anger brewing)

Four minutes later...

Son - Dad, what if you put oregano in the meat instead of black pepper?

Me - Wouldn't work the same.

Son - But I don't like black pepper.

Me - (My frustration levels start to churn)  Just watch your TV.

Three minutes later...

Son - Dad...

And so the story goes.  It does not matter what ingredients I use, what meal I prepare, or where we go, he finds something that he does not like and fixates on that one particular item. The obsession is not always negative.  He also does this with Legos, Star Wars, WWII, and any thing he takes an interest in - good or bad.  We try to "bump" him off the topic, but it does not always work.  So, I devised a devious plan...muhahaha...

Each week, I make a menu of dinner plans for the upcoming week and post in on the fridge door in plain sight.  I do not do this so that everyone can see what we are having; no, I do this because I will not remember what I have planned and will never cook the ingredients that I just purchased from the grocery store.  The side affect to this is, everyone can see what we are having...including my son.

This past week, I wanted to prepare a cod recipe.  From a previous experience, I realized I could not write "Cod" on Friday's date, so I nicknamed it; "3C w/Orzo AR 1" was all I wrote.  Fortunately, my ADD brain was able to remember that "AR 1" meant the Allrecipes website print out.  Once my son saw the planner, he zeroed in on Friday's meal.

Son - What's for dinner on Friday, Dad?

Me - You will find out.  Don't worry about it.  I really think you will like it so do not fixate on it.  This is going to be one of those meals that you get a check mark for trying (a new idea from the nutritionist - try a new meal without fussing, get a check mark.  Get 14 check marks, get a far we are up to two check marks and it has only been a week and a half!) 

Just hang out in the living room, no peeking, and no fixating.  It is breaded, so I know you will like it.  I am not going to tell you what is in the dinner, so don't ask.  You need to try it before I tell you what it is. (Yeah, I didn't think it would work either)

Son - Okay.

Me - (Thinking - wow, that was easier than I expected!)

So, on with the recipe...

Crumb Coated Cod - aka 3C w/orzo AR 1

Ingredients -

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
2 cups crushed stuffing mix
4 (6 ounce) fillets cod (I used Kirkland/Costco frozen brand.  I think there are 5 or 6 fillets in a bag)

Directions - (It doesn't get much easier than this)

In a shallow bowl, combine the oil, water and salad dressing mix. Place the stuffing mix in another bowl. Dip fillets in salad dressing mixture, then in stuffing. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
That's it.
I used olive oil instead of veggie oil, and seasoned bread crumbs instead of stuffing, mostly because we already had those ingredients and I didn't want to spend the money on similar ingredients.  I did double the dressing mix, oil and water mixture, but I wish I hadn't.  I ended up having about 3/4 more than I needed, so I poured the remaining mixture in with the fillets before placing them in the oven.  This also took care of the "greased pan" item.

I was not able to find the nutritional information, but the bread crumbs did not make a very heavy coat, and the rest of the ingredients are pretty good for you...except, maybe, the dry salad dressing mix.  Other than that, I would guess that this was a pretty healthy meal.  I added whole wheat orzo, can corn with dill, and baked beans (what?  the can had been sitting in the pantry long enough and I wanted them!).  So, I covered the grains, protein, and veggies.  Well, at least I think I did.  Hey, it was colorful, at least.  

The verdict

It is very important to remember that my wife and I do not really like fish.  We will eat it, but we are not crazy about it.  As a matter of fact, the ONLY reason we are eating it is because of that stupid health kick/marathon thing I am doing. 

My wife:  She gave it a 5 out of 5 stars.  This is actually a very rare occurrence for her.  Most of the meals I fix get a 4 from her, some get a 3 or less, but few get a 5.  No, I am not that bad of a cook...she and I are just very picky.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Me:  I gave it a 4.5 out of 5.  I thought it was very good, but I liked a different recipe for cod that we tried a month or so ago better.  I think the beans may have factored into the final score as well.  Alone, the beans would have received a 5 out of 5, but not so much with cod.  Lesson learned.

My son....drum roll, please...3.5 out of 5.  He really enjoyed it, until he found out it was cod.  Then he changed his score to the 3.5.  Which, if you think about it, is still pretty good.  Granted, he did not eat a lot, but he had what would amount to two or three bites for an adult.  This may not seem like much, but after what we have been through in the past few months, this is a huge step forward. 

Overall - YUM!  It will be fixed again. I think it will still need to be called 3C, least one more time! 

Here's the link, if you are interested...Crumb-Coated-Cod

Disclaimer...(Yes, its a repeat of the last one...but the blog above is new!) First, let me say that I am not a specialist in Asperger's Syndrome, nor do I play one on TV. What I write or say are strictly my own personal observations and beliefs, so please do not sue me because I said something that made you do something that caused a misdiagnosis, or created a problem, or made you do something stupid. Have accountability, go see a professional, and leave my finances alone...besides, you really wouldn't get much anyway, so its probably not worth your time to call the lawyer on the back of the phone book to see if you have a case. Spend that time more wisely, like figuring out how to subscribe to my blog...and don't ask me about that because I'm not even sure how it works! Seriously, though, if some of the things I say seem like they sound very familiar in your family, set up an appointment with a true professional. While you are waiting for their callback, please, continue reading and leave a note!

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