Look At Seafood To Lighten Lenten Meals



Does lightening up dishes for Lent mean you have to sacrifice big flavor?

Not at all, according to culinary expert Lena Cutler, who says that with today's new shelf-stable seafood options, Americans have more flavorful and convenient seafood to use in Lenten dishes than ever before.

"For a variety of options, people looking to replace red meat need not look further than the canned and pouched seafood aisle," said Cutler. "Shelf-stable seafood has expanded from traditional canned tuna to include an array of seafood from shrimp to smoked salmon."

"And new seafood pouches provide additional convenience," she added.

These new seafood options are a great opportunity for people to experiment with their Lenten menu repertoire, said Cutler.

"Be creative. Don't get in a menu rut by making the same dishes throughout the season. Instead, think of ways you can incorporate seafood into dishes that traditionally include meat," she added. "Albacore tuna is perfect for this because of its firm texture and large, filet-like pieces."

From albacore tuna burgers to tuna enchiladas, pastas and more, the possibilities are endless. In addition, salmon or shellfish can easily be added to everyday salads, pizzas and more for a new twist on family favorites.

Sharon McNerney, a registered dietitian, couldn't agree more with Cutler that seafood is a great substitute for red meat -- but for another reason.

"Seafood is much lower in fat and calories," says McNerney. "It's also a great way to maintain proper protein intake when not consuming meat. Some seafood, such as albacore tuna and salmon, are also a good source of omega-3."

Research has shown omega-3 to prevent or alleviate everything from arthritis and asthma to acne and depression. Among all the research, one thing remains undisputed -- omega-3 is great for the heart.

"Maintain the health benefits of seafood by eating it straight out of the can or pouch," said McNerney, who recommends trying smoked Pacific salmon. "Its full, rich flavor makes it ideal to eat right out of the pouch," said McNerney.

Chicken of the Sea recently introduced a complete line of pouched shellfish, including shrimp, clams, oysters, crab and imitation crab, adding to the seafood company's growing list of pouched offerings that also include tuna and salmon in a foil pouch. In addition, the seafood company is the first national brand to offer smoked Pacific salmon.

Tuna Vegetable Creole

Preparation Time: 20 to 25

minutes. Cooking Time: 30 minutes

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

1, 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1, 15-ounce can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 cups diced zucchini (2 to 3 small)

1, 15.5-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 cup coarsely chopped green pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

2, 12-ounce cans Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Spring Water, drained

3 cups hot cooked rice

In large saucepan, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic until onion is tender (about 5 minutes). Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, curry powder, thyme, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes; stir occasionally. Blend in zucchini, corn and green pepper. Simmer, covered, 5 to 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water. Stir into vegetable mixture until well blended. Bring to boil and cook 1 minute. Gently fold in tuna; cook until heated through. Remove bay leaf. Serve over hot rice. Makes eight servings.

Sesame Shrimp Stir-Fry Bowl

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

3 cups fresh or frozen chopped vegetables, such as colorful bell peppers, bok choy, celery, broccoli, red onions, etc.

1, 3.53-ounce pouch Chicken of the Sea Premium Shrimp, drained

3 cups hot cooked brown or white rice

Teriyaki sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro

Sesame seeds

In large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Sauté garlic until golden brown; add chopped vegetables and cook until crisp-tender. Gently fold in shrimp; stir-fry 1 minute longer. Divide hot rice into bowls. Top with shrimp stir-fry and drizzle with teriyaki sauce to taste. Garnish stir-fry bowls with cilantro and sesame seeds. Makes two servings.

Lemon Fettuccine With Smoked Salmon

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

1/3 cup rehydrated, drained and julienned sun-dried tomatoes

Juice and zest of 2 small lemons, divided

1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1, 3-ounce pouch Chicken of the Sea Smoked Pacific Salmon, flaked into bite-size pieces

1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked according to package directions

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh basil

In large skillet, in hot oil, sauté garlic. Add tomatoes and lemon juice; sauté 1 minute longer. Add cold butter, lemon zest, parsley and oregano. Stir until butter has melted and mixture has thickened slightly; remove from heat. Gently fold in salmon. Pour salmon-lemon mixture over fettuccine; gently toss until coated. Sprinkle with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Makes 2 to 4 servings

For additional recipes, ideas and information visit www.chickenofthesea.com.

From Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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