by Lauren Petr
Registered Dietician

For many, ringing in the New Year means more than dancing and champagne.  It also means one last night of unrestrained eating before starting that New Year’s resolution to get back on track. 

Yet going on a diet or eating better doesn’t have to mean choosing bland, boring food for every meal.  Fresh herbs and spices can naturally kick up the flavor in dishes, allowing you to cook with less salt, fat and sugar.  Below are two light and flavorful recipes that when cooked together, make one satisfying dinner. 
Herbed & Breaded Baked Fish
Serves 4

4 6-oz white fish fillets, such as cod, grouper or halibut
Cooking Spray
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
2. Combine panko, thyme and parsley in a large shallow dish.
3. Place baking sheet in oven to heat for 5 minutes.  In the meantime, season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper. 
4. Dredge the fillets in the breadcrumbs and place onto hot baking sheet.  Lightly coat each filet with cooking spray.
5. Bake fish for 5 minutes. Carefully turn fish over, re-mounding any fallen crumbs, and bake for another 7 minutes, until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.

Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes, Capers, and Lemon
Serves 4

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup orzo pasta
2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp capers, drained and finely chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts, finely chopped
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until tomatoes are tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine orzo and broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, until most of the liquid is gone, about 3  minutes. 

Add thyme, capers, pine nuts, cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Toss gently to mix.  Add tomato mixture and toss until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Serve warm.

Nutrition facts for entire email (per serving): 488 calories; 8 g fat; 48 g protein; 58 g carbohydrates; 8 g fiber; 74 mg cholesterol; 754 mg sodium

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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