Cooking with popchips!

I am a big proponent of getting kids into the kitchen whenever possible. Because if they make it, they will be more likely to eat it!  One of my favorite recipes for kids to help with is homemade fish sticks.  My daughter and I first made these together when she was 6 years old – and she did most of the work!  I just cut the fish and got an assembly line all set up, and she got to work making all the fish sticks – which freed me up to make the dipping sauce (which she could have probably done too).  She tends to be a bit of a picky eater – but these are one of her favorites, I think partly because she thinks about them as “her fish sticks,” and they are!

Our family recently went gluten-free, and so I decided to try to re-create this family favorite with popchips in place of the breadcrumbs – and they were even better than the original recipe!  The fish sticks turned out so great, that I decided to try to make a few different recipes with popchips!  I like popchips because they are popped not fried, gluten free, all natural, and they come in lots of yummy flavors – great for these 3 delicious, fast & easy recipes!

popchips Fish Sticks

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 T. of your choice of milk – we like rice milk
  • coarse salt & ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed popchips  (one 3 oz. bag of Parmesan & Garlic, Original, I bet Sea Salt & Vinegar would be yummy, or try your favorite!)
  • 2 Tablespoons ground chia seed* or ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (use sweet paprika if your kids don’t like any heat/spice)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Tilapia filets (or other mild firm white fish), cut into strips

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup Vegenaise® grapeseed mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • optional: 1 teaspoon horseradish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees, make sure racks are in top 1/3 of oven, and bottom 1/3 of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or foil that has been lightly coated with oil.
  2. Stir to combine all dipping sauce ingredients into a bowl, and put in refrigerator while preparing & baking the fish sticks to allow the flavors to combine and the dip to chill.
  3. In a food processor, pulse popchips until they are a fine crumb.  If you do not have a food processor, you can crush the popchips right in its own bag!  Just break the seal with a tiny opening on top, and let the air out,  and finely crush them with a mallet or a rolling pin.  This is a fun way to get your aggressions out!
  4. Cut tilapia into strips (lengthwise down center, then crosswise).
  5. You will need 2 shallow bowls.
  6. Lightly beat the eggs with the rice milk, salt, and pepper in one bowl.
  7. Combine the popchips, paprika, chia/flax, in the other bowl – stir to combine well.  Optional – if not using Parmesan & Garlic popchips, you could add 2 Tablespoons of grated parmesan.
  8. Dip tilapia strips into the egg, then put  into the popchips mixture to coat. Then place on prepared baking sheets.
  9. Put baking sheet on rack in top 1/3 of oven – bake the fish for 7 minutes. Then move baking sheet to lower 1/3 rack and bake another 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned (no need to flip the fish using this system).
  10. Serve fish sticks with dipping sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Note: These fish sticks are good brain & mood food because they contain chia seed, which is a SUPERFOOD.  Chia seeds are high in minerals, protein, fiber and ALA omega 3s – which help boost:

  • Focus and brain functioning
  • Mood
  • Heart health
  • Blood sugar management
  • Endurance/recovery/energy
  • Digestion
  • Hydration

*If you can not find ground chia seeds, you may replace it with flax meal, or just omit it from the recipe.

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popchips Coconut Shrimp
Serves 4
  • 1 lb. of medium peeled and de-veined shrimp (uncooked, 41/50 count)
  • One 3 oz. bag of Sweet Potato popchips (new flavor!)
  • 1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs – lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons of unsweetened coconut milk (or your choice of milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place racks in top 1/3 of oven, and bottom 1/3 of oven. Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.
  2. Make the dipping sauce (see below).
  3. In a food processor, pulse popchips until they are a fine crumb.  If you do not have a food processor, you can crush the popchips right in it’s own bag!  Just break the seal with a tiny opening on top, and let the air out,  and finely crush them with a mallet or a rolling pin.
  4. Put into a shallow bowl: the popchips crumbs, coconut, sea salt, pepper, and ginger (if using), mix to combine thoroughly.
  5. Put the egg and milk into another shallow bowl.
  6. Dip each shrimp into the egg wash, then the popchips crumb mixture, and place on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Put into top rack of oven for 5 minutes, then move to bottom rack for 4 more minutes (if using larger shrimp – cook longer).

Serve plain or with a Sweet Thai Chili dipping sauce; also great over a bed of baby greens with thinly sliced red onion, mango chunks, and a fresh lime dressing.

Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Sambal Oelek (use more or less depending on desired spiciness)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Natures Agave clear nectar
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or one clove fresh garlic very finely chopped)
  • A squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions: Put all ingredients into a small saucepan, heat on medium high until just boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally for a couple of minutes.  Pour into a bowl and allow to cool slightly while preparing/cooking shrimp.

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My daughter is not a big fan of coconut, so I decided to try one more flavor…
popchips Parmesan Garlic Popcorn Shrimp
Serves 4
  • 1 lb. of medium peeled & de-veined shrimp (uncooked, 41/50 count)
  • One 3 oz. bag of Parmesan Garlic popchips (or substitute your favorite flavor)
  • 2 eggs – lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons of rice milk or your choice of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place racks in top 1/3 of oven, and bottom 1/3 of oven. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive or coconut oil.
  2. In a food processor, pulse popchips until they are a fine crumb.  If you do not have a food processor, you can crush the popchips right in it’s own bag!  Just break the seal with a tiny opening on top, and let the air out,  and finely crush them with a mallet or a rolling pin.
  3. Put into a shallow bowl: the popchips crumbs, sea salt, paprika and fresh pepper.
  4. Put the egg and milk into another shallow bowl.
  5. Dip each shrimp into the egg wash, then the popchips crumbs, and place on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Put into top rack of oven for 5 minutes, then move to bottom rack for 4 more minutes (if using larger shrimp – cook longer).

Serve plain or with the dipping sauce recipe for the fish sticks (above).

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All recipes developed by Sara Vance with Rebalance Life.

Sara Vance is a Clinical Nutritionist in the Encinitas, CA area.

Sara offers nutritional counseling, School Assemblies, group classes, kids healthy cooking, and more. Visit ReBalanceLife.com for more information.  Friend Sara Vance at ReBalance Life on Facebook.

©2012, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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