Toma's Recipe Pick of the Week

John Crowley
By John Crowley Latest Reply 2008-10-18 12:01:29 -0500
Started 2008-10-12 14:18:20 -0500

In our continuing series, Toma has identified another recipe to help teach us how to make improvements.

Here is Toma's write up this week for the Baked Fish Steak recipe.

This week we are going to take two recipes and combine them into a well balanced meal the first one is It is probably already a pretty good recipe but a bit vague. (What is Dressing, spicy tomato?)

The recipe as it was posted by Ms Lizz was:

1 lb halibut fillets (or salmon )
1/3 cup Dressing, spicy tomato
1 Line a small pan with aluminum foil and grease with margarine.
2 Cut steak into 4 equal parts and place on the pan.
3 Brush steak with dressing using a pastry brush.
4 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
5 Serve hot!

I found a spicy tomato dressing that I like. But the sodium content is pretty high because of the Cajun seasoning. The cans of tomato green chili are also very high in sodium so I will show it here but also offer what I would do with my own sauce recipe based on it.

• 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles with lime and cilantro
• 1 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup minced celery
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning


Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

The canned tomatoes and the blends such as Rotel are pretty high in sodium. If you are concerned about the sodium (and you should be) consider making your own sauce.

For my own use I will further optimize it with my own low sodium sauce.

• 3 medium Tomatoes
• Can (113 gram) Hatch Anaheim green chiles. (Hatch is lower in sodium than any other brand I have found.)
• 1 jalapeno pepper
• ¼ cup lime juice
• Fresh cilantro 6 sprigs or to taste.
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup minced celery
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

I eliminated the 1 tbls Cajun seasoning. With it, it was over 945 mg of sodium per serving. Without the Cajun seasoning it is 165 mg per serving. Little things like this can make a difference in the taste but improve the health aspects of a meal tremendously. Most spice mixes are very high in salt.

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Cook at low heat for 30 minutes. Cover and chill overnight. This may seem like a lot more work but if you think about it it is really just giving more time to planning. It takes no longer to toss the ingredients into a blender than it does to open a can. We can be doing something else while simmering the sauce. To make it even more convenient overall make big batches of things you like. If you like this sauce, make a larger pot and freeze it in the portion sizes you will use. Then just grab it when you are in a hurry.

The Caspian in the peppers, the vinegar and the omega 3 EPA/DHA in the halibut combine to make this a good start to a low glycemic and anti inflammatory meal. The tomatoes could be used as is for a shorter prep time but cooked tomatoes release 5 times the lycopene compared to raw. Lycopene is one of the great anti oxidant phytonutrients.

At this point we have a recipe that is 31% protein, 9% Carb and 59% fat by calories.
To get close to my target PCF of 20-50-30 I will add ¾ cup of Basmati Brown and wild rice. I used the Lundeberg Organic mix. Others may vary. I make it without the salt as suggested on the package.

This still needs some carbohydrates so I am adding a recipe that was submitted for basil green beans submitted by Floyd which is also a pretty good recipe but you guessed it I saw some room for improvement.

His recipe is
2 cups Frozen French-style green beans
2 teaspoons Butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon Dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Lemon-pepper seasoning
Salt to taste, optional


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 6-8 minutes or until beans are tender.

Floyd’s Cook's Notes

Nutritional analysis based on 1/2 cup serving using salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning and reduced-fat margarine and without salt.

I have not found salt free lemon pepper in my local store so I made my own with lemon juice and pepper. I also increased the serving to 1 cup and the recipe to 7 servings to match the fish. I prefer fresh spices to dried so I took some fresh basil from my garden and minced it.

This meal is now one I think is well balanced, low sodium and high in anti-inflammatory and anti oxidant foods. It is still not where I would want it with fiber but that is easily fixed with either chia seed or psyllium husks which can be sprinkled on the food.

This meal as presented:

I have reduced the portion of fish to 7 servings from the 4 per pound. Fish is a very high protein food. Most of the carb balancing is done with the Basmati Brown and Wild Rice. I steam it which lowers the GI. Brown and wild rice is near the top of the low glycemic foods. I also increased the serving size of the green beans to one cup for reporting purposes.

The break down on this meal is:
21% calories from protein
48% calories from carbohydrates
31 % Calories from fat.

Even though this is only a 352 calorie meal, I bet it will fill you up and keep you satisfied without showing a big spike on your glucose meter. Bon Apetit!

Meal Nutrient Analysis:

Nutrient Total Meal
Calories 352.24
Food Energy (kj) 1475.59
Protein (g) 19.59
Calories from Protein 75.26
% Calories from Protein 21.36
Carbohydrates (g) 43.88
Sugars (g)* 5.32
Glucose (g)* 0.66
Fructose (g)* 0.73
Galactose (g)* 0.05
Sucrose (g)* 0.01
Dietary Fiber (g)* 5.37
Est. Net Carbs (g) 38.51
Calories from Carbohydrates 168.59
% Calories from Carbohydrates 47.86
Fat (g) 12.54
Saturated Fat (g) 1.53
Trans Fat (g)* 0.06
Monounsaturated Fat (g)* 5.66
Polyunsaturated Fat (g)* 3.11
Omega-3 (g)* 0.31
Omega-6 (g)* 0.53
Calories from Fat 108.39
% Calories from Fat 30.77
Cholesterol (mg) 20.74
Ash (g)* 1.87
Water (g)* 145.45
Phytosterols (mg)* 13.70
Stigmasterol (mg)* 0.06
Vit-A (mcg_RAE)* 293.12
Retinol (mcg)* 172.22
Carotene, beta (mcg)* 1374.13
Carotene, alpha (mcg)* 72.98
Cryptoxanthin, beta (mcg)* 85.01
Lycopene (mcg)* 1603.04
Lutein+zeaxanthin (mcg)* 238.58
Vit-A IU* 525.23
Vit-B1 Thiamine (mg)* 0.07
Vit-B2 Riboflavin (mg)* 0.08
Vit-B3 Niacin (mg)* 4.29
Vit-B5 Pantothenic Acid (mg)* 0.33
Vit-B6 Pyridoxine (mg)* 0.31
Total Folate (mcg)* 22.56
Folate, Food (mcg)* 22.56
Folate, DFE (mcg_DFE)* 22.56
Vit-B12 Cyanocobalami (mcg)* 0.77
Vit-C (mg)* 17.74
Vit-D (IU)* 75.82
Tocopherol, Alpha (mg)* 1.60
Tocopherol, Beta (mg)* 0.01
Tocopherol, Gamma (mg)* 0.14
Tocopherol, Delta (mg)* 0.01
Vit-K (mcg)* 18.71
Calcium (mg)* 73.98
Magnesium (mg)* 64.31
Phosphorus (mg)* 168.33
Potassium (mg)* 485.70
Sodium (mg) 245.43
Copper (mg)* 0.09
Iron (mg)* 1.85
Manganese (mg)* 0.13
Selenium (mcg)* 24.03
Zinc (mg)* 0.41
Histidine (g)* 0.41
Isoleucine (g)* 0.65
Leucine (g)* 1.14
Lysine (g)* 1.28
Methionine (g)* 0.41
Phenylalanine (g)* 0.55
Threonine (g)* 0.62
Tryptophan (g)* 0.16
Valine (g)* 0.73
Alanine (g)* 0.84
Arginine (g)* 0.83
Aspartic acid (g)* 1.50
Cystine (g)* 0.16
Glutamic acid (g)* 2.27
Glycine (g)* 0.67
Proline (g)* 0.50
Serine (g)* 0.58
Tyrosine (g)* 0.47
FA 12:0 (g)* 0.07
FA 14:0 (g)* 0.08
FA 16:0 (g)* 1.06
FA 18:0 (g)* 0.25
FA 20:0 (g)* 0.02
FA 16:1 undifferentiated (g)* 0.16
FA 18:1 undifferentiated (g)* 5.20
FA 20:1 (g)* 0.09
FA 22:1 undifferentiated (g)* 0.07
FA 18:2 undifferentiated (g)* 2.24
FA 18:3 undifferentiated (g)* 0.42
FA 18:4 (g)* 0.03
FA 20:4 undifferentiated (g)* 0.09
FA 20:5 n-3 (g)* 0.05
FA 22:5 n-3 (g)* 0.06
FA 22:6 n-3 (g)* 0.19

7 replies

nescolady 2008-10-13 04:36:43 -0500 Report

can I sub. hadock for the fish or can you give me a receipe for hadock ,I love it deep fried but that is no longer an option.

Toma 2008-10-13 09:53:19 -0500 Report

Hi nescolady,

Any fish will be high in protein but I try to optimize for other things as well.

When I was trained as a chef many years ago it was all about taste, eye appeal and presentation. Now it is how do I get the most of the good nutrients per calorie.

When John asked me to do this we decided to take recipes that are submitted by site members and see what we can do to get the most out of them for controlling type 2 diabetes. These particular recipes were selected for this week.

The omega 3 content could have been increased by using Atlantic farmed salmon or one of the other fish high in omega 3. I selected halibut because it was submitted and is more moderately priced than some other options. (Maybe I should have mentioned the salmon option, Ms Lzz did so I didn’t.)

The omega 3 of the three fish mentioned are: (cooked, 3 oz. portion)(source USDA SR 19)

Atlantic farmed Salmon total fat 10.498 grams … omega 3 - 1.92 grams

Halibut (Atlantic and Pacific) total fat 2.499grams … omega 3 - 0.466 grams

Haddock total fat 0.206 grams … omega 3 - 0.206 grams

Fish that are found in deep cold ocean accumulate and concentrate more of the healthy fats. Fish in the Northern Oceans also are a source of contaminants such as PCBs and mercury. Check for contaminants in fish at

If it is available in your area (It may be more expensive) Hoki may be a better overall choice since it is from the relatively pristine southern waters off New Zealand. The data bases available to me do not list the omega 3 content Hoki in any of it’s names. There are several references on the internet about Hoke being high in omega 3 and low in contamination.

Hoki is a fish that is also known as the blue grenadier, blue hake, whiptail, whiptail hake, and New Zealand whiting. Hoki belong to the hake family and can be found off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia. Stocks of Hoki are considered to be healthy meaning that consumers who are looking for a relatively environmentally sustainable fish can be assured at present that these are a good and ethical choice. The fish has a dense white flesh and is rich in omega-3 acids making it a beneficial dietary choice.

While I do eat fish, the bulk of the Omega three I consume is from concentrated fish oil capsules which are cheaper, more convenient and are a better choice for anyone with a sea food allergy. When we asked Health Canada about this issue three years ago their response was people are usually allergic to the seafood proteins and it is very rare for anyone to be allergic to the fish fats.

GabbyPA 2008-10-12 14:23:50 -0500 Report

This is a great idea to combine the recipes for a meal. Is there a way that you can post it where I don't have to print out the huge post?

Toma 2008-10-13 08:03:41 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby,

I know I get log winded. There are two options

1. Just cut and paste the portions you want.

2. An other option is to enter the recipe into the nutrition software you downloaded with my book. Then you have it and can change it as you please but will still be able to see what is happening. With the software you can make and save recipes and combine the recipes to see how they look together. That way you always have them to fall back on when you do not want to take the time really plan and optimize a meal.

For anyone wanting to try the software you can download a 14 day evaluation copy at