Add well cleaned, chopped escarole to rapidly boiling water (add a chicken bullion cube for extra flavor and to remove any bitterness from the escarole), cook for 7 minutes, strain and refresh with cold water. Then, sauté shrimp with a little EVOO, butter, lemon, garlic, red onion, fresh cherry tomatoes that have been halved, pepper, fresh cilantro (I have this growing on my patio so I’ve been adding that to everything!) When shrimp is cooked add escarole and combine. Viola! Dinner is served.
Pro-tip: This is a good recipe to improvise on – i.e. get rid of any vegetables that you have in the fridge – you can toss anything into this dish and it will come out great!
Now that the weather is getting nice we’ve been eating on the patio. I absolutely love eating outside with the fountain on and the great view that we have, it’s restorative.
We found a place nearby (shout out to https://naturesfoodpatch.com/) where they make their own sausages filled with unusual and tasty fillings (i.e. a chicken sausage with broccoli rabe and cheese and and pork sausage with bacon). We tossed some shrimp, asparagus, little neck clams and a filet mignon that we butterflied right onto a hot grill. We also had a side of our homemade pickles (see my pickle recipe: here )
Pro-tip: For the little neck clams, soak them in fresh water with a tablespoon of flour (this makes them release any sand they may be holding onto). Then put on hot grill until they pop open. Serve with melted butter mixed with garlic, a splash of fresh squeezed lemon and a little cilantro or parsley.
This dish was so delicious and simple. I always say that you just need to start with the freshest, closest ingredients you can find and whatever you make will turn out great. I started with some cherry tomatoes that I halved. I put them in a baking dish with a few cloves of garlic, Kalamata olives, some fresh oregano, basil and mint from the garden, drizzled the mix with olive oil and seasoned with S&P. I would have put a block of feta cheese right in the middle of it…but the husband…I baked the dish for about 40 minutes at 350 (I then removed half for hubby and added feta cheese to the rest and baked for another 10 minutes).
Next, I simply sautéed my shrimp in a little EVOO and a pat of butter along with some Vidalia onion, garlic and seasoning.
To plate this dish: I served it over cauliflower rice, so I plated that first, topped with shrimp, then with the baked tomato concoction. It was delicious, easy, hearty and a dish that I will definitely make again.
Two things about me: 1) I rarely use the microwave. Ours in fact, has been broken for months. The only button that works is the “add 30 seconds button” that I will occasionally use to warm something up (3 x 30 seconds lol). For the most part the microwave is just large clock in my kitchen. The other thing about me is that both my daughter and I are obsessed with Trader Joe’s. There isn’t one close to me in Clearwater, which is rough since I used to live around the corner from one in New York. We always ponder what we call the “Trader Joe’s Parking Lot Phenomena”. People seem to loose their minds in the excitement of being at a Trader Joe’s and forget that they’re actually driving. Every Trader Joe’s parking lot is a shit show. I’ve seen maneuvers and accidents in these parking lots that are pretty incredible. @TraderJoesRants – anyone have any idea what is happening in these parking lots?
Well yesterday I needed some retail therapy so I drove 40 minutes to get to the nearest Trader Joe’s (in St. Pete). I knew what to expect and was not disappointed. There’s a certain calm that comes over me when every location of a store chain that I love is set up the same way and your not standing in a random isle confused and lost. For $50 I got quite a bounty. One of the items that I was excited about was a bag of frozen mushrooms, which I decided to microwave – without reading the instructions. After a small fire erupted in the microwave, my husband was happy to point out the clearly explained “DO NOT MICROWAVE” instruction on the packaging. Oh well.
This is my bounty:
And this is the small fire…
Anyway, in the end I made a great stir-fry of shrimp over cauliflower rice (sans the mushrooms) with mixed veggies. It was healthy and yummy. The Argentinian Red Shrimp from Trader Joe’s were excellent, I highly recommend.
Shout out to Trader Joe’s in St. Pete that had not only the normal great stuff that we love but a wine selection that was very impressive!
As I’ve mentioned, my daughter and her boyfriend recently got their own apartment about 20 minutes away from us, it’s a milestone for us all. They came for dinner last night. The day before, I asked the princess what she wanted me to cook. Her response was, “Can you send me a few options and I’ll pick one. Also mommy, I’d love brie and crackers as an appetizer…” So you see what I’ve created here.My fault, entirely.
We settled on polenta, broccoli rabe and sautéed shrimp. This is a super easy, dish that’s healthy, tasty and filling. I start by preparing the broccoli rabe, which if you read this blog regularly you’ll know the drill. Boil water with chicken bullion, add chopped broccoli rabe, cook for 6 minutes, strain, blanche and set aside. Then, sauté shrimp with chopped garlic, salt and pepper, and a little EVOO (I actually used sesame oil because I was out of EVOO. This added an aromatic flavor that really went well with the shrimp.) Then add the strained broccoli rabe to the shrimp. Add a little crushed red pepper and set pan aside.
Now to prepare polenta – I use chicken broth to make the polenta, this gives it a rich taste. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Basically – don’t stop stirring! I use a whisk. You’ll need to add more polenta very slowly to get the desired consistency. Some folks like polenta very thin and soupy, others like it thicker and more like a pasta – we’re in the middle. When it’s nearly done I add a tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of mascarpone to thicken it up and flavor it. I also top with a few chopped scallions to add a crunch and a pop of color.
Pro-tip: When we were in Mexico last year we found this great seasoning that I like to add to seafood. It’s called Tajin – it’s actually a combination of dried chili peppers, dehydrated lime, and sea salt. I seasoned my shrimp in this before sautéing. I also think this would be great to use to rim a glass for a Bloody Mary. I may need to try that this weekend – I’ll let you know!
That’s it! This entire dish took about 20 minutes to prepare so it’s a good work week go-to recipe. Enjoy!
Spaghetti squash is our new go to lately. It’s super versatile, easy to prepare and low carb/calorie. The hardest part of this squash is cutting it open!
To prepare this dish I halved a spaghetti squash and removed the seeds. I then seasoned with a little EVOO, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (you can add whatever seasonings you’d like). Place cut side down in a baking pan and toss in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about an hour (depending on size). You can tell it’s done by poking a fork in the squash – if it goes in easily it’s done.
The fun part is the toppings – we’re trying to empty out our freezer so I’m using everything in there. I sautéed some sausage and shrimp (adding garlic, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper). I also had some left over escarole and frozen peas which I added.
To plate this dish I first scooped out the spaghetti squash, topped with escarole, then topped that with the shrimp & sausage, pea sauté. Of course a healthy sprinkling of parmesan makes everything better. It was super flavorful and filled us up!
I have been jonesing for a BBQ. I don’t ever BBQ for myself because I never seem to figure out temperatures, so I leave that to my hubby. I’ll throw anything on the grill and just know it will taste better. So for this BBQ, we started with some fresh clams with butter. Literally just soak the clams for 30 minutes before cooking to get them to release any sand and toss them on the BBQ until they open. A little melted butter for dunking just makes it even better. And of course we had to throw some shrimp on the barbie too…
After that yummy appetizer, we prepared some steaks (don’t forget to leave them out before cooking – never cook a steak straight from the fridge). Simply salt & pepper and ready to grill. I love a ribeye and hubby goes for a filet mignon so we need to adjust our cooking times. We also wrapped up some potatoes in aluminum foil – get these on the grill way before the steaks as they’ll need more time to cook.
As a side dish, I made an old school recipe that I haven’t made in million years – escarole with white beans. I actually had to call a friend to remind me how to make this. You really have to clean the escarole well as it tends to be sandy. After that, roughly chop and blanch for 7 minutes (I add a bullion cube to the boiling water, which takes some of the bitterness out of the escarole), strain the cooked escarole and immediately rinse with cold water to bring back that pretty green color. Sauté minced garlic in a little EVOO, add escarole, warm through, add a can of rinsed white beans, warm through, season with salt & pepper and serve. I could have this as a main dish, it was really flavorful and filling.
I seem to be on a protein bowl kick. I think they’re super fun to make and have endless variations. Low carb, full of flavor and fresh veggies and protein.
This yummy bowl started with blackened shrimp (my new obsession – I use Old Bay Blackening mix, it’s great and not super salty). I simply sprinkle the shrimp with the seasoning and saute them quickly in my wok. When cooked, I removed the shrimp from the wok and quickly stir fried the black beans, diced tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, and jalapeno.
For the layers I started with spaghetti squash (which I had leftover and just warmed up) followed by the stir fried veggies, shrimp, avocado and a little cheddar to top it off.
What to cook on a cold night with only a few ingredients? Shrimp! Super versatile, quick and yummy. Tonight I simply sauteed these jumbo babies in a little EVOO and butter with whatever fresh herbs I had on hand (today it was fresh sage) a little diced onion and of course minced garlic (to taste).
I also prepared a creamy polenta garnished with fresh chopped basil and mint. Pro-tip: use a chicken stock base to make the polenta, it adds a deeper flavor. You can also add either a drop of heavy cream or mascarpone to enhance the flavor.
As a starter I prepared a creamed cauliflower soup. In boiling water add a cut up head of cauliflower (core removed), cook until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain. Warm up about four cups of chicken stock, add cooked cauliflower, salt, pepper. Using an emulsifying blender, blend until soup is creamy smooth. Now add either 2 tablespoons of mascarpone or 1/4 cup of heavy cream. You can add more broth to thin or more mascarpone or cream to thicken. I topped with a handful of cooked, diced bacon. This was a winner! Pro-tip: you can make a soup like this with almost any vegetable. We often make zucchini soup, mushroom soup, butternut squash…etc.