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My Favorite Seafood Recipes When Cooking Just Feels Like Too Much

Living Well

November 06, 2023

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Photography by SolStock/Getty Images

Photography by SolStock/Getty Images

by Maya Capasso

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Medically Reviewed by:

Imashi Fernando, MS, RDN, CDCES

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by Maya Capasso

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Imashi Fernando, MS, RDN, CDCES

•••••

•••••

Here are my go-to meals when I want something quick, easy, and beneficial for my depression.

We all have to eat — at least two or three times a day! And maybe more if you like to snack like I do.

But when I’m depressed, I’m easily overwhelmed, so cooking feels like a massive hurdle. I usually love cooking, but when I’m super depressed, I barely have the motivation to brush my teeth, let alone cook three meals every day and clean up afterward.

That means I’ve had to get creative about the meals I prepare during a depressive episode.

I love seafood, so I like to cook fish as much as possible. Plus, it doesn’t hurt knowing fish is one of the best things to eat to improve my mental health.

Many fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits. Research has shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids may help manage depression. 

Here are three quick and easy fish recipes I love to make when struggling with my depression. They don’t have many ingredients, they don’t take long to make, the cleanup is minimal, and they’re all delicious.

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1. Olive oil and honey-baked salmon

I make this simple and delectable salmon dish at least once a week, and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. Plus, you only need to chop up one thing for this recipe. Otherwise, it’s mostly mixing, applying a glaze, and waiting for the salmon to cook.

I typically pair this meal with an easy-baked veggie like broccolini or Brussels sprouts and rice.

Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon filets
  • 1/4 cup garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Mince the garlic.
  3. Place the salmon filets on an aluminum foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Mix the olive oil, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Use a brush to coat the salmon with the mixture.
  5. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the salmon.
  6. Place salmon in the oven for 20 minutes or until the center is no longer semi-translucent. Now serve and enjoy!
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2. Scallion and pepper fish

This Asian-inspired fish dish works well with any white fish like cod, flounder, tilapia, sole, grouper, or haddock.

It’s another recipe that, when paired with rice and a simple veggie, makes a scrumptious meal that doesn’t take too much time or energy to prepare.

You can sear the fish like in this recipe, but I prefer to make it in the oven. It tastes almost identical and makes the cooking process less stressful.

Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs white fish filets
  • 10 scallions or green onions
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and finely grated (you can often buy it already grated at select grocery stores)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Remove white fish filets from the fridge, pat dry with a paper towel, and set them on an aluminum foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Slice the scallions/green onions into thin rounds.
  4. Mix the oil, ginger, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
  5. Use a brush to coat the white fish in the mixture. Sprinkle the filets with the small slices of scallion/green onion.
  6. Place the fish in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until the fish becomes flaky and bright white. Serve and enjoy!

3. Toaster oven tuna melts

One of the best meals my dad made for me as a kid was toaster oven tuna melts paired with whole artichokes and butter.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve taken over the family recipe and realized how easy it is to make this mouth-watering meal.

I love making tuna melts in my toaster oven because it’s simpler than watching them on the stove. Plus, this means fewer dishes to clean after you cook.

Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 (6-oz) cans of tuna
  • 4 sets of burger buns (or replace with 8 slices of your bread of choice)
  • 8 slices of your favorite cheese — I love cheddar on mine
  • 1/4–1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • butter to spread
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 large dill pickle, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 slices of tomato (optional)
  • 4 pieces of romaine lettuce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the toaster oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Combine the canned tuna, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl and mix. It’s perfectly delicious to keep it super simple, but if you like to add some crunch and extra flavor to your tuna melt, feel free to add chopped red onion, celery, and pickle into the mix, along with crushed red pepper flakes for some added spice.
  3. Take your burger buns or bread and spread butter on the face of each slice. Then, add a scoop of tuna mixture on top of four of the bread slices. Now, add a slice of cheese on top of each piece. Feel free to add cheese to the non-tuna slices as well for some extra cheesy goodness.
  4. Toast all eight slices of bread or buns in the toaster oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbling slightly.
  5. Remove from the toaster oven and add your optional lettuce and tomato. I prefer my tuna melts without these extras, but my dad loves the extra crunch and tomato flavor. Place the buttered bread on top of the bread with tuna to complete the sandwiches.
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The takeaway

Cooking while depressed can feel overwhelming, so finding simple recipes can be a game changer.

Research even suggests eating fish may help with depression, and it’s also scrumptious!

These three easy fish recipes help me feed myself on days when cooking feels like too much.

Medically reviewed on November 06, 2023

2 Sources


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Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

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About the author

Maya Capasso

Maya (she/they) is a professional freelance writer and cold pitch coach. Her writing is featured in TransLash News & Narrative, HorrorPress, the Episodes Newsletter, and more. They’re passionate about mental health advocacy and social justice. She manages the Accessible Cold Pitch blog and email newsletter to help freelancers connect with their ideal clients. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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