Looking for a fast meal that is low cost and still low in calories? Look to perch for a main dish that fits all those qualifications.

Perch is an inexpensive fish that is avoided by many because it is often "fishy" to the taste. The frozen varieties are especially guilty of this. But if stored and cooked properly, it can have a delicate, pleasing flavor. Start the meal with a spicey chicken broth and serve Perch au Poivre with a baked potato (about 92 calories) drizzled with fresh lemon juice and dried dill weed.

The complete meal contains only about 270 calories. And it can be made in less than 45 minutes.


(3 servings)

Time: about 10 minutes

Cost: less than 50 cents 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed chicken broth 1/2 soup can tomato juice 1/2 soup can water 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Dash thyme

Combine soup with remaining ingredients. Heat, stirring occasionally. (About 44 calories per serving.)


(3 servings)

Time: about 30 minutes

Cost: about $2 1 pound perch fillets 1 1/2 cups water 3 chicken bouillon cubes 1 medium onion, sliced 2 teaspoons tarragon 2 teaspoons parsley 3/4 cup dry white wine

Lots of freshly ground pepper

Pat perch dry with paper towels. In a non-stick skillet combine water, bouillon cubes, onion, tarragon and parsley. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add wine, perch and pepper. Poach until fish is done, just before it becomes flaky (length of time depends upon size of filets). (About 133 calories per serving.)