In college, my roommate and I used to make a sauce of vegetable oil, fresh ginger, crushed garlic, and soy sauce. Wed lay the tilapia on top of any veggies we could find in our fridge (onions, carrots, spinach, and green beans worked well usually) and bake it in a pan covered with aluminum foil. Serve it over white or brown rice.
This is simple, but haven't made it in awhile so I'll try to remember:
Fish in Balsamic Reduction:
In Cast iron pan, get lots of butter really hot, almost burnt.
Coat fish with flour and/or spices(just a thin coating, or none at all), then sear on both sides.
Take fish out and put some good balsamic vinegar in pan, also some wine if you have some available.
Keep cooking on med-high until it reduces a little.Won't take too long on high heat.
Put fish back in and turn a few times.
I think that was it, maybe add some lemon juice too. Don't know how sophisticated the kids want to get.
This is one of our favs for baked fish--tilapia being mild and working well with this topping. Use equal amounts of softened butter and mayo, mix well then add 2 chopped green onions, 3-4 T. grated parm. cheese, rind of one lemon and a dash of red pepper flakes( you can leave this out if the kids don't like hot). Squeeze the fresh lemon on the tilapia, s. and p. them, spread the topping on fish and bake at 350 for about 10 min.,then put under broiler to brown topping(this takes about another 5 min. or so). Lots of flavor, but be sure not to bake too long and then squeeze more fresh lemon over all. Hope you'll enjoy this!
I was going to recommend the chile lime tilapia (Leah already did) AND this one from the Seattle Times ...
it's good, tasty but the chile lime is better.
Tilapia with Sesame-Scallion Sauce
1/3 cup finely sliced green onion (scallions)
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly grated gingerroot
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil (you could also use some cayenne pepper if you don't have cayenne)
3 teaspoons sesame oil
3 teaspoons sesame seeds (we like ours toasted, either way is fine)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 pounds tilapia fillets
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, chili oil, sesame seeds, sugar and lemon juice.
Spray a baking pan with Pam or oil lightly; put the fish in the pan and spoon the sauce over the fillets. Bake for about 12 minutes per inch of thickness or til done.
Do the breadcrumbs/broiler, but then put a mango and tomatoe salsa on it. If they like that, then try grilling it and serving with the salsa.
There are many recipes, but I like the sort of Mexican bent on it with cilantro or avocado. Dice up some fresh mango (never bottled), tomatoes (cherry or pearl are often more flavorful), green onion (not as strong as red or white), cilantro or avocado, and add a little bit of cayenne pepper and some salt. Mango is exotic, but I find adults and children both enjoy this unique salsa.
Or other sauces; cheese, alfredo, hollandaise.
You can also coat it with cheese powder and bake (you know, the stuff that some in the packets in Krafts Macaroni and Cheese? It's in the spice isle now in many grocery stores.) Or, coat with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing/dip mix.
And, consider pan baking it with some scallops with just butter and salt, maybe some garlic if you/they like it. The kids I know really like scallops. And, the combo seems gourmet to them. Add some sliced black olives for more color and texture.
And, what about tempura batter and fry? Serve with mild asian sweet and sour sauce.
I always make tilapia "en papillote".
I lay it atop a bed of sliced onions, zucchini, red bell peppers, fennel... really, whatever I have on hand. Season liberally and add some fresh herbs, drizzle on a bit of olive oil and a tablespoon of wine (or you could use a flavorful vinegar or a squeeze of lemon).
Wrap it up in a piece of parchment, toss in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350* or so.
The chile lime tilapia is an excellent recipe, I agree! Excellent fresh flavors for little effort...the only hot fresh red peppers down here in our area of Florida are the habaneros so I use about 1/2 of one with the seeds...I know the original poster said she has children so that may not work but it's a great dish.
Tilapia, like other fish, tend to disintegrate into sauces and stews really easily and become undetectable for the most part. Perhaps adding tilapia to spaghetti sauce or your next stew or soup would be a good way to hide the fish into the food so the kids don't know what they're eating.