We may be late to the game but we just started doing Taco Tuesdays. It’s so much fun. I remember making tacos for the kids when they were little so I’m glad to be back at it again.
My husband makes a great fresh guacamole. All you need to do is mix fresh mushed up avocados (we do this using the back of a fork), chopped tomatoes, minced onion and jalapeños, fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon), salt & pepper in a bowl. I like the guac to be a little chunky, but it’s totally your preference. If you don’t know how to cut open an avocado, I found this good video here that you might want to check out. Also, a note of caution – we now use gloves when chopping the jalapeños, it’s a story I won’t share here…
Then we make the fillers…we eat shrimp, a lot of shrimp…so we sautéed some shrimp in a little EVOO with a bit of garlic and seasoning – and that’s it!
For toppings, I chopped up some lettuce, tomatoes, and some more jalapeño. Then of course there’s the obligatory shredded cheese, sour cream and hot sauce. We like the soft shell flour tacos, which I warm up for 30 seconds in the microwave before plating.
One of the dishes I used to like to order when I was on the road was shrimp & grits. This was not a dish that I grew up with or one that I made, until recently (of course with my own spin on it).
To make my version of this dish I prepared some polenta (follow the instructions on the bag). I use chicken broth (or you can use vegetable broth) instead of water – this gives the polenta a richer flavor. When the polenta is nearly done cooking (remember to stir, stir, stir) I add about a tablespoon of mascarpone, which makes the polenta creamy and yummy. Remove from heat and prepare the shrimp.
In my wok (or sauté pan) I steam some fresh broccoli rabe for about 7 minutes (again I steam this in chicken broth, which removes some of the bitterness). Strain and refresh with cold water. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, drizzle with a little EVOO and set aside.
Now, back to your wok or sauté pan. Add a little EVOO, when warm add some fresh minced garlic and either fresh chopped onion or scallion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add fresh, cleaned shrimp and sauté until just pink. I usually have mint & basil growing on the patio, so I would mince some up and toss in towards the end of cooking.
Now to plate this baby. Spoon polenta on the plate, top with shrimp and a helping of the broccoli rabe. I garnished with fresh avocado. You can drizzle with EVOO and viola!
Pro-tip: you can use any type of protein and/or veggie for this dish. Chicken would be great or LOBSTER…broccoli or zucchini noodles would work too.
An easy midweek dinner for us is seafood pasta. I’m all about fresh ingredients, prepared simply and this is definitely one of those dishes. I’m always tweaking recipes so, particularly for this dish, there are no rules. For the seafood, I’m lucky to have a good seafood monger near me in both NY and Clearwater. So far as what seafood to buy? I get maybe 3 or 4 small portions of whatever seafood looks freshest when shopping.
Let’s get this dish going. For today, let’s say I just bought 1/2 dozen clams, 1 pound of shrimp and a small piece of cod (my favorite). This is how you pull it together:
Bring large pot of decently salted water to boil.
In large saucepan sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 cup of diced sweet onion. Add 2 cups of water with 2 bullion cubes to saucepan and bring to a boil. Drop in clams and lower flame. When all clams are open (discard any that do not, or you’ll get bad clam belly LOL), drop in shrimp (I clean, devein and remove tails, but I know folks also like to keep the tail on). When shrimp turn pink, drop in cubed pieces of cod and continue to cook on low flame until cod is cooked through (about 4 minutes). Cod will fall apart, this is perfectly fine as it will thicken up the sauce. Pro-tip: I sometimes use lobster tail, flounder, grouper – buy what looks freshest and prepare in the same way.
Put your pasta in rapidly boiling water (we like a Barilla Bucatini – it’s a thick spaghetti with a hole in the center – but fettuccini, spaghetti or whatever you like will work). Cook until al dente (about 9 minutes – do a taste test – you can always cook it more, you can’t cook it less…) Using a spaghetti scoop put pasta in saucepan with seafood mixture adding water from the pasta pot as necessary to create the thickness of sauce that you want (we like about 2-3 scoops of pasta water).
You can add cooked broccoli rabe or sautéed spinach for a fancy touch. Garnish with chopped parsley, grated cheese, salt & pepper and that’s it!
The prep time for this meal is under 30 minutes so it’s a great weeknight go-to. Enjoy!