Category Archives: Seafood

Lemon and thyme quinoa with shrimp

Light and bright quinoa with veggies and shrimp!

Take a look at the picture of our dinner from last night.  Each and every bite was fresh, light, full of flavor and great nutrition–it was so good, I can’t stop thinking about it!  The only disappointment is the fact that there are no leftovers!  Give it a try so you can see (taste) exactly what I am talking about!  ENJOY!

Lemon and thyme quinoa with shrimp

3-4 Servings

  • 1 c quinoa
  • 1/4 t sea or kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 1/2 # shrimp, uncooked–this can be fresh or frozen
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 # asparagus, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c spinach
  • 1 + T EVOO
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • splash of dry white wine
  • 1 t dried chives or 1 T fresh chives
  • 1 t dried parsley or 1 T fresh parsley

In a medium pot, add quinoa, salt, 1/4 t pepper, chipotle pepper flakes, 1/2 t dried or 1/2 T fresh thyme, 1/2 t dried or 1/2 T fresh chives, 1/2 t lemon zest and water, stir well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.  The quinoa is fully cooked when the grains are al dente.

In a medium sauce pan add 1/2 of the oil and 1/4 t chipotle pepper flakes and warm over medium-low heat.  Add the bell pepper, asparagus, and the remainder of the chives and cook until the vegetables are al dente, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for about a minute, do not brown, just soften the garlic.  Add the shrimp, broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 t black pepper, parsley, the rest of the thyme, and splash of wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the cooked veggies and the spinach to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring to wilt the spinach, warm the veggies, and coat them with the sauce.  If your shrimp was frozen when you added it to the pan, make sure that they are fully cooked (opaque and pink), then strain the veggies and shrimp, removing them from the pan, until all that remains is the liquid.  Set the veggies and shrimp aside.  Turn up the heat to medium-high and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes to concentrate the sauce.  Taste the sauce and if needed, adjust the seasonings to best suit your palate–you will want a strong flavor since you add very little to the dish.  Remove from heat.

Put a big scoop quinoa in a bowl for serving.  Add a generous helping of the veg/shrimp mix and pour 2-3 T sauce over the top.  Serve with a pinch of parsley and/or chives on top.  Wash it down with a nice and light white wine, like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bestest pesto pasta

Bestest pesto pasta

About this time every year my garden gets hit by swarms of Japanese beetles.  I guess they love it here in the Ozarks as much as we do!  They are nasty little creatures that gobble up many of my favorite plants during the middle part of the summer.  I refuse to spray harsh chemicals on what will eventually be a part of my body, so every year I lose about 1/3 of my produce to the hungry little buggers.  This year I put my foot down and decided to fight back!  I searched the web and found my weapon of choice–this organic solution (1 1/2 gal warm water, 3 t garlic powder, 2 t cayenne, 1/4 c veg oil, and a couple of squirts of dish soap) for managing their onslaught.  It seems to be working, and so far (knock on wood) my basil has hardly been touched.  My 10 sweet basil and 5 thai basil plants are about knee high now and looking good! Hooray!

I love it when my basil plants get this big and I can safely start lopping off large amounts to make pesto–which is what it takes for really good pesto!  A couple of days ago, in 105 degree heat mind you, I went out to the garden and got busy chopping. I then spent the afternoon, cool in my kitchen with my food processor, listening to some good funk grass music making bestest pesto.

Naturally I had to create something for dinner thick with this awesome green puree!  Again, there was no time (or desire) for a trip to the local grocer, so I used what I had in the pantry (and fridge) and came up with this belly buster of a dish.

A couple of weeks ago, I had my mom pick up a bunch of big jars of sun dried tomatoes at Costco for me (they are good quality and a steal compared to buying them at the grocery store!) so I decided to add a healthy amount to the basil inspired sauce.  Their sharp, tangy flavor and meaty texture was such a great way to balance the heavy garlic and creamy richness of the shrimp and sauce.  We stuffed ourselves silly with this sinfully delicious dish last night!   The cool chardonnay I served with dinner was the perfect accompaniment and put extra big smiles on our faces!  What a great evening spent enjoying the fruits (herbs) of my garden labor!

Bon Appetit!

Bestest pesto pasta

Servings:  4

4 c Angel hair pasta, cooked al dente

1 c bestest pesto

1-2 T oil from the sun dried tomato jar

1/2 c frozen corn

1 # asparagus, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 c (or more) sun dried tomatoes, diced

1 T garlic, minced

2 T heavy cream

1 t sea salt

1 t black pepper

1 t (or more) chipotle pepper flakes

1/4 c dry white wine

1 # shrimp, uncooked, deveined, shell on.  I like my shrimp frozen when I put them in the sauce–it renders more shrimpy juice to the sauce!

In a large sauce pan, heat the sun-dried tomato oil over medium.  Add the garlic, black pepper, and chipotle pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes–until garlic just starts to brown.  Add the sun dried tomatoes, and asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the pesto, white wine, salt, and cream.  Allow the sauce to cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the corn.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes and add the shrimp.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 7-10 minutes (if shrimp is frozen), 4-5 if not frozen.  Uncover, stir, well.  Serve over angel hair pasta.  Garnish is not necessary!
 

Isn't this a gorgeous sauce??

 

 

Tuna artichoke melt

Tuna melt with fruit salad

I went to a diabetes cooking class (don’t worry, I don’t have diabetes) a few weeks ago and this is what we made!  I am not going to lie…I wasn’t thrilled when I got there and discovered that tuna melt was on the menu!  I like tuna just fine, but really??  At a cooking class??

I got over my menu issue pretty darn quickly–just as soon as the instructor distributed the recipe!  I hope this doesn’t freak you out, but this crazy melt tastes a lot like pizza!  The oregano, artichoke, and EVOO really make this sandwich work, and trust me it works GREAT!  This is a bright and healthful sandwich–a flavor explosion– and it couldn’t be easier to make!  This one surprised me, BIG TIME and I know it will pleasantly surprise you too!  In fact, it is way, way, way too hot here in the Ozarks to cook!  So guess what is on the menu tonight here at the casa–yep, tuna melts!   Served with a nice caprese salad, fresh melon and berries, and a glass of chilled white wine and we will have very pretty plates and happy bellies!

Lots of great color, flavor, and good nutrition! I love this dinner!

Tuna artichoke melt

Servings:  2

  • PAM cooking spray
  • 2 whole wheat sandwich thins, split open or two slices of whole grain bread
  • 3/4 c canned artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed.  Diced into bite size pieces
  • 3 medium green onions, diced (1/4 c)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t EVOO
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/8 t black pepper
  • 1/8 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-6 oz can of chunk light tuna (in water), drained and flaked

Combine tuna, EVOO, lemon juice, oregano, pepper, onion, artichoke, and hot pepper in a medium bowl.Coat a skillet with PAM cooking spay and heat to medium.  Toast one side of the bread and flip over.  Place 1/4 of the tuna mix on each piece and top with the provolone.  Cook until the cheese starts to melt and the bread is toasted.  Serve open-faced.

 

Caprese salad: pineapple tomato, basil, mozzarella, basalmic vinegar, freshly ground pepper.

Miso crusted salmon

Doesn’t a little mold infused, fermented soybean paste sound like the perfect way to top a beautiful piece of salmon??  Ok, it does sound pretty awful, but I swear to you it is not!  I absolutely love miso with its salty, nutty, earthy flavor and all of the super interesting ways it can liven up a dish!  I should also add that it is super rich in vitamins B12 and K, important trace elements AND is thought to be chemoprotective–especially against breast cancer.  So don’t be afraid to layer it on your salmon thick and get ready for an omega three feast!  I love this fish over pea and sweet onion rice–the peas add such a nice texture and the sweetness really works well with the salty miso!  Serve this with my arugula and avocado salad to get your weekend off to an especially SMART start! The miso is pretty salty, so make sure to wash it down with a big glass of water!

Bon Appetit!

Miso salmon

Miso crusted salmon

Servings:  5-6

  • 1 1/2 # Sockeye Salmon (wild)
  • 1/4 c white miso paste
  • 1 1/2 T agave nectar (or more to taste)
  • 1 T freshly ground ginger
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • PAM cooking spray

Preheat oven to low-broil.

In a small bowl combine miso, pepper, chipotle pepper, agave nectar, rice wine vinegar, and ginger.

Spray a lasagna pan with PAM cooking spray and place the fish skin side down in the pan.  Coat the fish with the miso sauce and cook for 12-14 minutes.  Keep an eye on the fish.  Once the top is browned to your liking, turn off the broil and start the oven on bake at 425 degrees F and cook for the remainder of the time or until it is done.  Serve with a generous garnish of chopped green onions.

 

 

Sugar SNAP seafood curry

See those green SNAPPERS in there??

Yesterday afternoon I discovered a small bag of sugar snap peas tucked away in the crisper drawer.  They were purchased for a clay pot that I made last week, but I had completely spaced and forgotten to use them.  You know I hate throwing veggies away and I was not about to let these green sweeties meet that fate, so I decided to try something new.

I fished some cod and shrimp out of the freezer, grabbed a few other veggies from the fridge and ended up with this super tasty dinner.  I really wasn’t expecting much out of the dish (you know my history with curries…) but WOW was I pleasantly surprised!

The broth was rich and sweet and the peas added this really great texture.  I served this snappy curry over a cocunut, black pepper and lime rice adding even more layers of flavor.  Give this one a try next time you are in the mood for something a just little different!

 

Sugar SNAP seafood curry

Servings:  5-6

  • 3 large limes
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil or veg oil
  • 1 c chopped shallots
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • About 12 oz sugar snap peas
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 1 T diced ginger
  • 1 1/2-2 T red curry paste
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 1/2 t mustard seed, toasted
  • 14 oz Silk’s plain coconut milk
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 20 oz cod, cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 8 jumbo shrimp, uncooked shell-on
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet heat the oil over med-low.  Add the pepper flakes, onion, shallots and ginger and cook until the onion has softened (about 10 or so minutes, maybe a little more).

Zest one or two limes (about 1 1/2 t) and juice 2 of the limes to get about 2 T juice.  Add the zest and juice to the skillet.  Add the cumin, tumeric, black pepper, mustard seed, red curry paste and stir in well to coat the onion mix.  Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the broth is simmering chop up the fish.  Add the fish to the broth after it has simmered at least 15 minutes and has started to thicken up.  Cook the fish in the broth for about 5 minutes and then add the sugar snap peas.  Add the shrimp after about 5 minutes.  Continue cooking 8-10minutes (until the shrimp is cook through).  Serve a generous scoop of the broth over the rice (see recipe for pepper, coconut, lime rice) and garnish with a big hit of cilantro and a slice from one of your limes.

PeppaDO! pasta

Can you see the sauce starting to caramelize??

This pepper pasta is truly a no-brainer and is one of my favorites from the ‘I am NOT in the mood to cook’ menu here at the casa.   If you aren’t familiar with the peppadew pepper let me take this opportunity to introduce you to this sweet, warm, red beauty and super fruit.  It is similar in nutritional value to the red bell–low calorie, no fat, loads of antioxidants (vitamin c!), and a nice bit of fiber.  They do pack SOME heat (similar to a pepperoncini) but fear not, it scores very low on the Scoville scale.  The story behind the peppadew is pretty interesting!  In short, about 18 years ago a South African farmer came upon an unfamiliar bush with these small, bright red fruits.  Upon tasting this unique sweetie, he realized he had found something very special.  He played around with the seeds to perfect the plant and patented the fruit under the name peppadew.  He has recently sold the rights and now the pepper is readily available here in the states.  You can most likely find them at your local grocer–Whole Foods even has them in bulk at their olive bar–which is the most economical way to purchase them right now.  Five years ago my hubby and I were lucky enough to source seeds (very, very hard to do!) through a seed saver from Austria — yep, our babies have traveled a long way to be with us here in Missouri!  The plants are late, but heavy producers.  This year I hope to have 8-10 plants bearing loads of them for us!  If all goes according to plan, there will be a whole slew of peppaDO! recipes on the blog by years end!

So, back to the recipe…Shrimp pairs very nicely with this pepper and adds a little more ‘weight’ to this sauce, but it is truly delightful without it!   Toss a big salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready to enjoy your simple, heart healthy and satisfying dinner!

Bon Appetit!

PeppaDO! pasta

Servings:  4-5

  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (Bertolli Tomato Basil for me, thank you!)
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1-2 T diced garlic
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c (or more) peppadew (piquant) peppers
  • 1/4 c peppadew (piquant) brine
  • 1/2 -1 # large uncooked shell-on shrimp (optional)
  • Garnish of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large saute pan warm the EVOO over medium-low with the chipotle pepper flakes.  Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and black pepper and heat for a minute or two.  Add the peppadews and juice and stir well.  Cook for 3 or so minutes, until it starts to caramelize just a touch.  Add the jarred sauce, turn the heat down to low and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook another 5 – 7 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through.  Be sure not to over-cook the shrimp or you will have a rubbery disappointment on your hands!

While your sauce is doing its thing, start your pasta by bringing a stock pot full of water (I like add 1-2 T kosher salt and 1/2 t hot pepper to flavor the pasta, but this is totally optional) to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook until al dente-usually 11-12 minutes.  Drain and do NOT rinse.

Serve the pasta with a heaping scoop of sauce.  Garnish as desired!

PeppaDO! Pasta

Shrimp and mango curry

This bright and sunny dish will make you want to head for the islands.  It combines the rich flavors of sweet potato and fresh coconut with sweetness of mango and the complexity of traditional Indian curry powder.   It is simple, healthful, so full of great vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber!  I hope you fall for this dish like we did!  I forgot to take a picture of this one, but I can promise you it will add a nice cheery splash to your table as well!

Indian Curry

4 Servings

  • 2 T butter or sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1 T ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 T madras curry powder
  • 1 1/2 T garam masala curry powder
  • 1 t cayenne pepper (or more)
  • 2 c water
  • 2 c Silk coconut milk
  • 2 sweet and ripe mangos, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 shallots, sliced very thin
  • 1 1/2 # raw shrimp, in shell
  • sea salt, to taste
  • cilantro (optional additional garnish)
  • toasted coconut (optional additional garnish)

Melt the butter or warm the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium-low.  Saute the onions for about 5 minutes, until soft.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk, water, cayenne, curry powder and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the shrimp and set aside.  Stir in the sweet potatoes and mango and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered.  Cover about 75% of the pot with lid (leave enough open to release small amounts of steam) and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the lid again and cook until you achieve a nice thick consistency to the curry broth.  Taste the curry broth and adjust for flavor.  Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes.

While the curry is thickening, add a dash of sesame oil to a small saute pan and heat over medium.  Add the sliced shallots and cook until they brown nicely. Remove from heat and set aside for garnishing.

Serve the curry over a toasted cumin/coconut rice and garnish with the shallots, toasted coconut, and/or cilantro.  Enjoy this with a Fume Blanc or Meritage.

Bright and LIGHT shrimp and couscous or quinoa salad

You can see the lime zest resting top! YUM!

Well, I am happy to report that I am slowly recovering from surgery.  Yes, I had major surgery 12 days ago!  The week before surgery I spent most of my time preparing meals for the freezer and prepping the house for an extended ‘down’ time.  I believe that I have finally made it through the worst of it and will start to reap the ‘rebound’ rewards from my well-planned recovery diet.  Yes, that is right, I have been very careful to maximize every morsel entering my body to provide me with all that I need to heal quickly.  I can fill you in on the details in another post if you are so interested, but that is not what this post is about.  Today I am excited to tell you about my first home cooked meal in almost two weeks!

So my ‘first meal’ criteria was pretty simple and probably fairly obvious considering my introduction with this post.  Here were the requirements:

1.  lots of color

2.  super simple

3.  flavor explosion

4.  dense with micronutrients

So, I armed Andy with a short grocery list and got ready for a fun evening in the kitchen!  I whipped up a beautiful Shrimp Couscous Salad in no time flat and without stressing my body with labor intensive prep work.  I must say, it was fantastic!  About half way through the meal Andy suggested we put this dish on HEAVY rotation at 488.  Man, was I happy to be back in the kitchen and back on my game!  I promise this simple and healthful dish will be a crowd pleaser at your house too!  As you enjoy this dish think about how good it feels to treat your body with the love and respect it deserves!

Bon Appetit!

Colorful and flavorful shrimp and couscous salad

Servings: 4-5

2 c plain couscous or 1 c quinoa

3 c water (reserve about 2 cups of the shrimp stock from your shrimp boil for the couscous or quinoa)

1-1 1/2# uncooked colossal shrimp (16-20 shrimp)–frozen is just fine and you do not need to thaw them

1/4 c red wine vinegar

1/4-1/2 c EVOO (depending upon your taste)

1 T minced garlic

2 t ground cumin

2 t chipotle pepper flakes (or more, to taste)

1 t dijon or brown mustard

2 t + kosher salt

3/4 c diced cucumber

1 c diced red bell pepper

1 c chopped cilantro

3/4 c diced tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)

1 avocado, chopped

zest from 1 lemon or lime

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a medium size pot add the 3 c water, kosher salt and a t of chipotle pepper flakes and cook over high heat until it boils.  Add the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes, until done.  Remove the shrimp set to the side to cool–peel the shrimp once it is cool and set aside.   Bring the water back to a boil and add the couscous.  If you prefer, leave the crustaceans OUT and heat 2 cups of seasoned water for the couscous!  To avoid sticky pasta, add a dash of EVOO to the pot!  Turn off the heat and put a lid on the pot and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the red wine vinegar, EVOO, hot pepper, garlic, cumin, sea salt, ground black pepper, and dijon mustard together and set aside.

Put the couscous in a large serving bowl.  Add the chopped veggies and shrimp and either stir or put the lid on your bowl and shake well!  Taste the dish and adjust seasonings as needed.  Garnish each bowl with a generous bit of lemon zest or just mix it in with the veggies.  Serve the beautiful salad on its own or with a big chunk of gluten free bread!

Look at all of that great color!

Ginger Lime Shrimp Soup

Rich, creamy, and delicious!

One of the very few things that I really miss about living in Kansas City (besides our wonderful friends) is easy access to Eastern cuisine.  We do have a really good Sushi place right here in Ozark and Indian in Springfield, but Thai and Vietnamese are sadly under represented.  So when I head up to KC for my work trips, I find myself heading straight to some of my old favorites to get my fix for the month.  On my last trip to KC I had this exotically flavored soup called Shrimp Galangal Soup.  I happily stuffed myself and left the restaurant fully committed to recreating the dish at home for my hubby.  When I got home, I did just that and was THRILLED with the result!  I found a recipe with good reviews and an ingredient list that wasn’t too intimidating and went for it!  I had to sub in many of my stock items for some of the true Asian components, but it really was a good imitation of what I had loved so much at the Thai House in OP.  This soup was even better the next day when we heated it on the stove top and added more shrimp and green onion!  I think the next time I make it I am going to do it without the shrimp.  I have a feeling the gorgeous onion, lime, and ginger are strong enough to stand up on their own!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Andy is in favor of this soup!

Ginger Lime Shrimp Soup

Servings:  6

2 cans light coconut milk–use 1 can of light and 1 regular for a fuller bodied soup

2 cups water

1 t + sriracha hot sauce — or more to taste

1 1/2-2 T + red curry paste — or more to taste

1 # shitake mushrooms cut in bite size pieces.  You can also use baby portabello mushrooms if you have them on hand.

1 onion, sliced

1/4 c lime juice

4 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and cut into small pieces.  Or 3-4 T of chopped.

zest from one lime OR 10 kaffir lime leaves torn in half

1+ 2″ piece of peeled ginger OR Galangal, cut into fine strips

4 T fish sauce

1/4 c brown sugar

1 t chipotle pepper flakes

1/2 c + green onion, chopped.  Cut up a little extra for garnishing.

1 # uncooked shrimp–use peeled if you don’t want the mess, use unpeeled to add a bit more flavor to the broth

Cilantro for garnish

In a stew pot slowly warm the water, coconut milk, onion, ginger, lime zest, pepper flakes, lemon grass, red curry paste, sugar, lime juice, sriracha, and fish sauce.  Cook for about an hour minutes on low heat.  Add the green onions and cook for another 20-30 minutes.  Test the broth and adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the shrimp and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the pieces of lemongrass.  Finely chopped lemongrass can be left in the soup.  Serve with a crusty french bread for dipping and a big green salad.

I recommend a buttery chardonnay to wash it down.  ENJOY!


<blockquote>recipe here</blockquote>

Ill tempered Shrimp Soup

Our fridge was pretty bare late last week and I was NOT in the mood to drive to town to hit the grocery to make dinner.  I had a bag of shrimp in the freezer, a loaf of bread, and a very well-stocked pantry and spice cabinet, so I decided to try a shrimp soup.  I found a Killer Shrimp Soup recipe on line and decided to use that as my guide.  I think it turned out pretty darn good!  Let me know what you think!!

Bon Appetit!

Ill-Tempered Shrimp Soup

6 Servings

  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 T fresh chopped rosemary
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t celery seed
  • 1/2 t fennel seed
  • 1 t thyme
  • 2 c clam juice
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 c Budweiser
  • 2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 2 # uncooked shrimp with tails
  • cilantro garnish
  • avocado, chopped for garnish

Add all ingredients sans the shrimp to a stew pot and cook, covered for 2 hours.  Add the shrimp 10 minutes before you are ready to eat!  Serve with a crusty french bread and a nice pinot noir or Tank 7 Boulevard!

Bon Appetit!