Make Ahead Meal: Oven Fried Catfish and Golden Zucchini Casserole

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Cooking | 1 comment

Make Ahead Meal: Oven Fried Catfish and Golden Zucchini Casserole

There’s a farmer’s market near my house where we try to buy as much freshly picked, organically grown, pesticide free produce as possible. I never thought too much about where my food came from until my second baby developed reflux. Medicine didn’t really help her, so since she was exclusively breastfed I tried altering my diet so that she could get some relief and we could get just a little sweet sleep. I managed to figure out that one of many things she was sensitive to was corn. It sounds simple enough, but it felt nearly impossible to cut corn completely out of my diet…it’s in so many foods in one form or another and it’s fed to most animals sourced for meat. I learned that almost all of the corn we eat and feed the animals we use for food is not even real corn, it’s a genetically modified version of corn, man-made to withstand things that usually kill plants. Frankenstein corn. I don’t know, it freaked me out and I started more carefully investigating what’s actually in/on the food I feed my family.

This week at the farmers market they had golden zucchini that they had just picked that morning. We bought a bunch, along with some locally made cheddar pepper cheese, so I decided to make a casserole.

I thought fried catfish would be good with the zucchini casserole, but I decided to make a healthier, oven fried version. It’s adapted from my mama’s recipe.  Mama says in the old days when she was a little girl in Louisiana people soaked their catfish in milk to make it taste better cause it came from the creek out back.  She’s got a lot of tales, that mama.  I’ve never called her mama before, but it seems to go with the story.

I made a quick, simple side of romaine lettuce with a sweet oil and vinegar dressing. The dressing was inspired by Babe’s Chicken Dinner, which I think is probably one of the best eating establishments in the world. Babe’s has two menu items, fried chicken or chicken fried steak. That’s all the selection, and either one comes with all you can eat family style sides – biscuits, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, and this salad. Babe’s salad is just iceberg lettuce with this delicious dressing, but I substituted romaine for just a little hint of nutritional value. I think the dressing I came up with is pretty close to Babe’s dressing.

If you read this post, then you know that the only way I manage to feed my family these days is by preparing meals ahead of time, or preparing them with lighting speed. The only part of this meal that really took any time was the Golden Zucchini Casserole, so I made that early in the day and just reheated it in the oven when I cooked the fish. I also soaked the fish in milk, seasoned the cornmeal, and made the dressing ahead of time, which allowed me to have this meal all finished and on the table in just the 20 minutes it took it to cook in the oven at dinner time.


Oven Fried Catfish:
4-6 catfish fillets
1 cup milk
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Vegetable oil cooking spray

Soak catfish fillets in milk for at least one hour. Combine cornmeal with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Remove fish from milk and dredge in seasoned cornmeal. Spray foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray, place fish on top, then spray fish liberally with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.


Golden Zucchini Casserole:
3 large golden zucchini, chopped into 1/2″ pieces (can substitute squash)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar pepper cheese (or any cheese you like)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp melted butter

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini and garlic cloves and sauté until soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drain zucchini of liquid, then pour into mixing bowl and add sour cream and cheese, stirring to combine. Pour zucchini mixture into a buttered baking dish, top with bread crumbs, and drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Salad with Babe’s dressing:
Head of romaine, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp white sugar

Whisk oil, vinegar, and sugar, and toss with lettuce and freshly ground pepper.






One Comment

  1. Mama says yum!

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