Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Helllllloooooooo…..

What’s up guys? It’s been forever, I know. This holiday season was a crazy one! I believe I mentioned it, but my boyfriend and I moved over the holiday… so much hard work, packing, moving boxes and furniture, and then cleaning. I am so thankful all that is over! The last time I moved, it was out of my parent’s house and so this is the first real move I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how much stuff one can accumulate in 6.5 years.  Anyway, that is over now so hopefully, fingers crossed, I can now commence regular blogging. I miss it so much!

I thought I’d come back with one of my favorite recipes to share. I first made this shrimp scampi years ago, and have made it probably a dozen or so times since, which is a lot for me since I am forever wanting to try new recipes, rather than repeat them. I have yet to try an Ina Garten recipe that I haven’t liked, and this is one of my favorites of hers. I really must try some more of her recipes- but first I need to locate my cookbooks!

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 lb linguine

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting pasta water

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon, zest grated

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.

3. Remove from the heat, and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the shrimp mixture. Toss to coat.

Source: barely adapted from Ina Garten via foodnetwork.com

Poached Eggs over Avocado and Smoked Salmon

Happy Thursday friends! I hope that the week is treating everyone well! This week has gone by pretty quickly in my opinion, so that’s always a good thing. Another great thing about this week was seeing the first snow flakes of the season! If you’ve been reading this blog a while, or know me, you know I love snow, and I was so excited to see a pretty snow shower when I woke up for work earlier this week. It didn’t stick, so my boyfriend has nothing to complain about yet, haha.

Another thing he had no complaints about- this meal! He loved it so much that he requested it be regularly added to our meal plan. I have no problems with that as this was simple, healthy, delicious, and super quick to make. Smoked salmon is one of my favorite things, and it made for such a great addition to a salad. Usually I have smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, but this was a new and extremely delicious way to indulge in it! Yum!

Poached Eggs over Avocado and Smoked Salmon

Poached Eggs over Avocado and Smoked Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp white vinegar

4 oz baby spinach

1 lemon (Meyer or regular)

8 oz smoked salmon

1 Hass avocado, thinly sliced

4-8 large eggs

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Fill up a shallow pot with about 3-inches of water. Add vinegar. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer.

2. Put about 1 oz (1 cup)  baby spinach on each plate. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top and season with salt and pepper. Place 2 oz of smoked salmon on top of greens, and top with 1/4 of the sliced avocado on each plate. Squeeze a bit more lemon juice on top.

3. To poach eggs: Break an egg into a small bowl. Slip gently into the simmering water, and use a spoon to try to keep the egg whites close together. Do the same with the remaining eggs. You may need to do this in 2 batches, if using 8 eggs instead of 4. When eggs are in the water, turn off heat, cover and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon, letting water drain off. Add 1 or 2 poached eggs to each plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Source: slightly adapted from Absolutely Avocados via Cookin’ Canuck

Roast Chicken Diavolo

It’s pretty unbelievable to me, but I have less then 2 weeks until I go on vacation! It seems to me that the summer just started, and it’s already the end of July… incredible! Part of me says SLOW DOWN!!!!!  but of course I’m also looking forward to vacation. Just being able to relax for 2 weeks, away from work and all the daily stresses will be awesome. In these two weeks of crunch time one of my major goals is to use the food that I have in the pantry/fridge/freezer before I leave. Ron won’t be going with me, and since he doesn’t know how to cook (other than grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon, eggs, chicken, and microwavable meals), I really want to make him some meals for the 2 weeks I’m away. I did this last year too- made and froze a bunch of meals, and just wrote the instructions on the outside of the containers so that he would have some good home-cooked meals, and not eat fast food for 2 weeks straight. It really worked out so well, and made me feel a little better about leaving. Also, since he didn’t eat every meal, it was wonderful to come back from vacation and have a few pre-made meals I could pop in the oven, and not have to worry about going grocery shopping immediately!

This is the first meal in Operation Clean Out the Fridge. I bought a whole chicken about a month ago when there was a great sale going on at the supermarket and kind of forgot about it. When I was perusing my Everyday Food Special Summer Issue this roast chicken recipe caught my eye. I love roast chicken- it’s economical and can be used for multiple meals. I especially love using the flat-roasted (or spatch-cooked) method as it doesn’t take quite as long for the chicken to cook, and it cooks more evenly. The first time I butterflied a whole chicken I was really intimidated, but it’s super-easy!! Nothing to be scared of at all! This roast chicken was great! I loved the herby, lemony, slightly spicy flavor to it, and I was really excited to use herbs from my garden. Wonderful!

Roast Chicken Diavolo

Roast Chicken Diavolo

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped

2 whole dried chiles de arbol, crumbled, or 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish

1 whole chicken (3.5-4 lbs), rinsed, patted dry, and butterflied (cut out backbone, turn chicken over and open, and press down firmly!)

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 large yellow onion, root end intact, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges

1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one rack in middle of oven, and the other in the upper third. Mix together the rosemary, oregano, chiles de arbol or red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (use more if you’re brave- the recipe actually called for 1 Tbsp).  Coat a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil, and place the chicken in the pan, skin side up. Spread the herb mixture under the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt, and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Place chicken in the oven, on the upper rack and roast for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the bell peppers, onion, and 2 Tbsp of olive oil together on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer, and season with salt and pepper. After the chicken has roasted for 10 minutes, add the wine to the baking pan with the chicken. Also, put the baking sheet with the peppers and onions in the oven on the center rack. Roast for 20 minutes.

3. Remove both of the pans from the oven, and using tongs, transfer the peppers and onions to the baking dish with the chicken, arranging them around the edges of the chicken. Place back in oven (on middle rack), and roast for 20 minutes more, or until chicken is done (the thickest part of the thigh should be 165 degrees). Let rest for 10 minutes, and then carve. You can serve this warm, or at room temperature.

Source: Everyday Food (Special Summer Issue, 2011)

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Happy happy Friday everyone! I am so glad it’s the weekend, and this weekend is super-special because it if my boyfriend Ron’s birthday! He is turning the big 3-1.  Now he can officially say he’s in his 30’s. He doesn’t care at all- it seems to me that guys just don’t care as much about their age as women do. We are going to have a low-key birthday, as he’s not a big party person. I told him that I would cook him whatever he wanted, and so far the menu that he has chosen includes wings, quesadillas and pizza! I fully expect to gain about 50 pounds this weekend 🙂 This dinner was the opposite of pizza and wings! Although it is somewhat rich due to the butter and olive oil, the fish and mushrooms are so good for you that I think it evens out. I loved the combination of the buttery-lemony sauce with the mild flaky cod and earthy mushrooms! Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, so that combined with the seafood made this dish a winner in my book… and even though I didn’t have the proper spatula to flip my fish and it ended up breaking up a but, I still think this dish was really pretty and impressive looking… and it only used one skillet, and you all know how I feel about that!

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb mushrooms (I used a combination of shiitake, oyster and cremini)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of dried red chile flakes

2 skinless fillets of cod, about 1 lb (You can substitute other firm white fish such as snapper or hake)

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 Tbsp cold butter

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

Fresh cilantro, parsley or chives (for garnish)

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Place a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the mushrooms, salt, peppers, and a pinch of red chili flakes, and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mushrooms to a warmed serving dish.

2. Season fish with salt and pepper. Wipe down the skillet, and add remaining oil. Place again over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering add the fish. Cook about 3 minutes on first side without moving. Flip carefully, and cook until fish is done, about 2 more minutes. Remove to the serving dish with the mushrooms.

3. Place the skillet back on the heat, increasing the heat to high. Add the vegetable broth and cook about 2 minutes, until it is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and mushrooms. Garnish with cilantro, parsley or chives if desired, and serve with lemon wedges if you’d like.

Source: Serious Eats

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, and a smooth start to the week! I went to Washington, D.D. over the weekend to visit my brother and his fiancee, and it was such a wonderful trip. I’ll be posting about it sometime this week! I was not ready to come back to Connecticut at all… if only I didn’t have to work…sigh… How amazing would it be to perpetually be on vacation (whether travelling or just hanging out at home)- I don’t think I’d ever tire of it (as long as I had money to do fun things and eat delicious food that is). I guess that’ll have to wait until retirement, or I suddenly become a millionaire.

So I wanted to give you a quick and delicious recipe to start the week off right. This is a super tasty and healthy smoothie that is such a satisfying snack! It would also make a wonderful breakfast, or even dessert… I think it’s delicious enough to drink anytime of day. This smoothie is thick, creamy, and seems much more decadent than it actually is, and it’s something you can feel good about indulging in.

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen strawberries, slightly thawed

1 banana

2 Tbsp light coconut milk

1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Artichokes and Spinach

When I’m doing my weekly meal planning, I always try to plan a lunch that I can make on Sunday and bring to work for the whole week. It makes getting ready for work throughout the week so much easier, and I feel better because rather than grabbing at odds and ends, I have something healthy already made. Because I’m just making lunch for myself, and not Ron too, I get the opportunity to cook something without the constraints his tastes put onto our dinners- i.e. I get to use all those vegetables he doesn’t like, and I don’t have to worry about having meat in the meal. I usually try to make something vegetarian, and something that is fairly healthy, as I feel like breakfast and lunch are my best opportunities to sneak a lot of nutrition in.

This couscous salad fit the bill perfectly. It does have pasta in it (the couscous of course), but it is loaded with veggies, and has a very light dressing of just lemon juice and salt and pepper, which make this a very light and health-filled lunch. Artichokes are my favorite vegetable (I used to request them at my birthday dinner every year), and the artichoke hearts combined with the awesome roasted asparagus and baby spinach really satisfied my craving for vegetables. This salad is also extremely easy to put together… you just cook the couscous, roast the asparagus, chop up some artichoke hearts, and toss everything together. Very easy to put together on a Sunday night!

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Artichokes and Spinach

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups dry Israeli Couscous

1 lb asparagus spears

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons, divided

1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained and chopped

1-2 cups baby spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

1. Bring the water up to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add a big pinch of salt, and the couscous. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 10-13 minutes, until the couscous is tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place the asparagus on the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for a bit, and then cut into 1-inch pieces.

3. Add the couscous, asparagus, artichokes, and baby spinach to a large bowl. Squeeze the remaining 1 1/2 lemons over the salad, and season with salt a pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Buffalo chicken has to be one of my favorite foods ever…. and of course it’s one of my boyfriend’s favorites! I love it in pretty much any incarnation, whether it be the classic buffalo chicken wings, or a twist on the classic, such as a topping on a pizza, inside egg rolls, in potato skins, etc. If it has buffalo chicken in the title, it can pretty much be guaranteed that I’ll try it.  When this recipe popped up on Smells Like Home a month ago, I immediately put it at the top of my “make after this detox” list. Ron was all for it because even though it’s a healthy salad, buffalo chicken makes everything exciting!

The buffalo chicken in this recipe is baked, which cuts the guilt down even further. It’s breaded in a toasted panko breadcrumb coating, and baked on a wire rack, which ensures that the chicken will stay crispy, rather than soggy.  The creamy avocado ranch dressing is a perfect accompaniment to the salad, although if you wanted, you could certainly serve it with a regular ranch or blue cheese dressing. I will most definitely be making this regularly. Ron has already requested a repeat of this meal, and I will be fulfilling that request soon.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Serves 2-4 (Depending on how hungry you are!)

Ingredients:
1 recipe buffalo chicken (recipe follows)
Avocado ranch dressing (recipe follows)
Lettuce
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Blue, feta or cheddar cheese
Crumbled bacon(optional)
Scallions or red onions (optional)
Celery (optional)

Directions:
1. Assemble individual salads. Place buffalo chicken on top. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Buffalo Chicken
Ingredients:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
Cooking spray
1 lb chicken tenderloins ( or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips
1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
3 Tbsp salted butter

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on the sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add canola oil and breadcrumbs. Toss together and stir until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a shallow dish or pie plate when toasted.
3. In a second dish or pie plate, stir together the flour, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.
4. To prepare chicken, dredge each piece in the flour mixture, then the egg whites, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet. When all the chicken is coated, spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. (I highly recommend getting an oil mister- that way you can use your own oil, without all the other ingredients that the cooking spray usually contains.)
5. Place the chicken in the oven and make for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the coating is golden brown.
6. While the chicken cooks, place the butter and the wing sauce in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted. Whisk together to combine.
7. When chicken is cooked, dredge each piece carefully in the buffalo sauce to coat.

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado, removed from skin and diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Up to 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch of chives, or 1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place avocado, mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup buttermilk, chives (or scallions), parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, in a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds. Scrape down side, add more buttermilk if desired to change consistency, and blend until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Smells Like Home

Buffalo Chicken Previously: Buffalo Chicken Melts

Here are some other buffalo chicken recipes from around the web that I’d love to try!
Buffalo Chicken Monkey Bread (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Buffalo Chicken Bites (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls (Smells Like Home)
Buffalo Chicken Sliders (Country Cleaver)
30-Minute Buffalo Chicken French Breads (How Sweet It Is)