Earlier this week, I overheard a conversation in the cubby room at my local barre studio. My heart broke as I listened in…
“Ugh, I really want a hamburger right now.” A woman declared as she wiped the sweat from her forehead.
A few of the ladies in the room smiled and chuckled.
The woman continued, “But I know, I should have a salad. Or…something healthy.”
I had to chime in, “You could make a burger at home with real, nourishing ingredients–some grass-fed beef, lettuce, and other fresh toppings. That’s my favorite meal. And that kind of burger is very different than a drive-thru chain burger.”
The woman smiled at me as she picked up her purse and shoes, “Yes, maybe so. I’m just trying to be healthy.”
This mentality is all too common in our current society. It’s not surprising that so many people are confused by food, and even scared to eat certain foods. I was there just a few years ago.
I personally think this confusion comes from years of misguided food marketing, government food pyramid campaigns, fad diets, living off processed food, and the absence of people cooking and passing down food culture/knowledge to the next generation.
I truly believe that getting back to the basics–sourcing real ingredients and cooking in our kitchens– is the answer to ending this confusion and fear. I know, that sounds so simple. And it is!
When you make food, in your kitchen, using real ingredients–rice, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, real cheese–every meal is a source of nourishment and joy. Whether that meal is a good ol’ burger that’s made with fresh, real ingredients, or a big salad with loads of raw veggies.
I love sharing real food-based recipes here on Live Simply, especially real-ingredient recipes that are not usually deemed “healthy” by modern day society.
In the past, we’ve talked about making homemade chicken tenders and salisbury steak–both of which are usually associated with processed food. We’ve also talked about macaroni and cheese several times: Instant Pot mac and cheese, stove-top mac and cheese, and butternut mac and cheese.
Today’s recipe, Easy Baked Fish Sticks, is another real food take on a food that’s generally considered unhealthy and overly-processed. These fish sticks are made with just four very simple ingredients: breadcrumbs, salt, eggs, and fish. That’s it! I usually make these fish sticks with cod, but you could also use salmon or halibut.
Where I Buy My Fish
I have a deep appreciation for our farm connections. Connections that allow us to source food outside of the grocery store. It’s time to recognize just how important it is to have these connections. Literally, shake the hand that feeds you and you won’t have to depend on the mass food system to feed you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Most of our meat and produce and eggs come from local farms, but when it comes to seafood I have difficulty finding fresh fish in our area (yes, the irony of this is not lost on me since we live in Florida). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A few months ago, I joined a sea to door program through @sitkasalmonshares to receive monthly boxes of Alaskan fish, which is caught and then packed by the fishermen in Sitka, Alaska. The fish is incredible, everything is caught using sustainable practices, transparency is visible in everything they do, and the fish is very competitively priced. Each month, a new box of the freshest fish direct from Alaska arrives at my door.
If you want to try a Sitka fish share, use coupon code “LiveSimply” for $25 off any share.
Easy Baked Fish Sticks
- 1 lb cod cut into 1-inch strips, or salmon or halibut (I get my fish delivered from Sitka Salmon Shares, read more about this program above)
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs *fine breadcrumbs work best
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs
- avocado oil spray (optional for toasting)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs.
- Dip the fish strips, a few at a time, into the egg, and then transfer the strips into the breadcrumb mixture, flipping the strips a few times so the mixture evenly coats the strips. Place the coated strips on a baking sheet or baking stone.
- Lightly spray the strips with the oil spray. (optional)
- Bake for 11-14 minutes, depending on thickness until cooked through. Serve with a dipping sauce (see notes for an aioli or try homemade ranch), if desired.
Side Dish Serving Ideas
Serve this recipe with one of my favorite side dishes…
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese
- Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing
- Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Frozen Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Carrots and Green Beans
- Greek Yogurt Coleslaw
- Best & Easiest Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Quick Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
Take the Guess Work OUt of meal planning
Free 64 Rotational Meals Ideas Cheat Sheet
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes to rotate week after week. Put healthy meals on auto-pilot.
Do you think I could use the air fryer?
I bet you could, Barb. I don’t have any experience with an air fryer, so not sure adjustments that need to be made. If you try, let me know! Would love to hear how it goes.
Another great recipe! Thank you! You refer to the notes for the aioli, but I don’t see it.
Hey Jen, I apologize for that. I don’t know how it didn’t make it to the notes section. I looked back in my recipe notes to find the recipe and it isn’t there either. This is what the aioli was based on: https://livesimply.me/2017/08/21/chicken-and-herb-burgers-with-garlic-aioli/
would you be able to freeze these fish sticks?
Hey Cassidy, I think you could as long as the fish is fresh (not previously frozen). You could try it out with a small batch. Maybe follow all the steps and then freeze before baking.
It’s definitely the diet culture. I just started weight watchers again and while it is MUCH better than previous versions, there is still stigma. I feel I “can’t” really eat beef due to how many points it costs me. Also healthy fats and whole grains are really limited. It can definitely add to the “I can’t eat that” mentality, which isn’t good. I’m just hoping it helps me reset portion sizes.
Definitely, Helen. Totally agree.
When I first got married (we celebrated 17 years last weekend!), frozen fish sticks, frozen veggies & box macaroni and cheese was acceptable meal, and on regular rotation. Then I graduated to Kraft magazine recipes, with most “ingredients” being a package of this, and a can or box of that…
Now, I refer to your site almost daily, and meals like homemade macaroni and cheese, roast chicken, and einkorn pancakes are in our regular rotation. Thank you so much for the quality, real recipes that are not only delicious, but do-able!
That is so awesome, Sarah! That makes me so happy to hear!!! Love it. Sorry your comment was marked as spam btw…we’ve been having issues with our spam filter.