Two words that you don’t often hear together in the same sentence: kids and fish.
Two words that you DO hear often together in the same sentence: kids and spaghetti.
There’s no point in “sneaking” food past my kids anymore. We’re officially in the elementary years and they can both read. They can both see over the counter and watch me cook.
In fact, my youngest (who will be 6 this summer) can guess what’s for dinner on smell alone – from her bedroom upstairs!
So when I want my kids to eat something that’s just a smidgen outside their comfort zone, I pair it with something that they love.
And that’s how this delicious Fettuccine and Creamy Vodka Sauce with Cod was born. Ready in less than 15 minutes, this easy weeknight meal covers all the bases: frugal, kid-friendly, healthy and easy to prepare!
Quick Facts About Alaska Seafood
We don’t eat much fish in our house, partially because of the price but also because it’s hard to find a good source for both wild and sustainably caught fish. Fish farming is something I don’t know too much about, but what I do know scares me. In the past, we’ve chosen to eat other sources of protein instead and buy quality fish when the budget allowed.
Surprisingly though, cod is an incredibly affordable fish! One pound of sustainably caught cod costs less than a pound of grass-fed beef!
Happy fish. Happy pocketbook. Delicious meal. Full bellies.
Let’s Talk About the Food!
This recipe starts with one of the most frugal pantry staples in our kitchen: whole wheat pasta. Feel free to substitute other types of pasta too depending on your preferences and allergy needs, and you can even use a short pasta like rotini or penne if you’re in a pinch and don’t have fettuccine.
The red sauce you see ladled on top is the simplest vodka sauce you’ll ever create. Ever.
By the way, “vodka sauce” is a fancy term for half tomato, half cheese sauce. Most recipes would call for Alfredo to be the cheese sauce, but my goal is to keep this recipe so simple that you can make it without an actual recipe. And I didn’t have the ingredients for Alfredo on hand anyway.
Why We Like Cod
We’re using cod in this recipe for a few different reasons:
- it’s affordable: just $3.99/lb at my local grocery store!
- it’s sustainable
- it’s in season
- it’s hearty: meaning it won’t flake into tiny pieces and disappear into your creamy vodka sauce
- it’s easy to cook: butter + salt + pepper = deliciousness
Cod is like the chicken of seafood. It’s versatile, tasty to even picky eaters and frugal enough to fit into your monthly meal plan rotation. And kinda like chicken, you can wrap your fettuccine noodles around each piece and mop up every last bit of the delicious sauce.
- 1 lb fettuccine
- 28 oz tomato sauce**
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature and cubed
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 lbs cod, cut into 2" portions
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- ½ Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper
- Cook fettuccine al dente as directed on the package.
- Meanwhile, combine tomato sauce, cream cheese, basil and Italian seasoning in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally, allowing cheese to melt. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.
- In a skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat. When butter starts to brown, add fish and season with salt and pepper. Allow fish to cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip each portion of fish over individually and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook until caramel-colored on the outside and cooked through, 2-3 additional minutes.
- Serve pasta with sauce and cod. Best enjoyed hot off the stove.
Additional Recipe Notes
The vodka sauce can be prepared in bulk and frozen for a super-quick weeknight meal.
If you buy several pounds of cod at one time, be sure to portion out before you freeze.One large filet (half-fish) will feed two people, so I froze them two filets per package.
I haven’t tried this with other types of fish, but I’m willing to bet that halibut and flounder would be just as tasty too!
Cook Once, Eat Twice Idea: Make Tomato Basil Soup on night one. For night two, add cream cheese to soup and use in place of sauce for Fettuccine and Creamy Vodka Sauce with Cod recipe.
Does your family eat fish? Do you struggle with getting the kids to like it? Share your secret tricks!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.