Honey Shrimp and Walnuts

OMG. I’m obsessed with this dish. It is so decadent and tastes even better than take-out. I’m still so excited that it is gluten free too!

1 lb bag of large deveined, peeled shrimp

6 TB sweetened condensed canned milk

3 TB honey

1 TB lemon juice

cornstarch for coating shrimp, maybe 1/2 – 1 cup

1 1/2 cups walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 egg whites

vegetable oil for some light frying

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Butterfly the shrimp and set in bowl with egg whites that have been whisked. Let shrimp sit for 15-20 minutes while you make the nuts and sauce.

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Bring water to boil and add sugar. Simmer sugar water until it becomes thicker like a syrup like sauce. Add cinnamon and nuts and coat nuts well with sauce.  Take nuts out of saucer and let dry and harden on a cooling rack. Separate nuts if necessary. You don’t want to end up with a clump of nuts.

In a bowl add lemon juice, condensed milk, and honey and whisk. Set aside.

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Take pieces of shrimp and coat in corn starch, letting excess egg white drip off beforehand.  Get that cornstarch into all the cracks and crevices so it will crisp up real nice. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry shrimp on all sides.

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When shrimp is done cooking set individually on cooling rack so it keeps it’s crispiness.

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When all the shrimp is done cooking toss in the sauce with the nuts and serve immediately.

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We had fried rice with ours and it was tasty.

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Simple Healthy Pureed Soups

I love pureed soups.  They are so simple to make, healthy and delicious. I even use them as a snack between lunch and dinner. They are pretty low calorie so it’s a perfect snack or appetizer. I don’t add cream, butter or anything fattening like that.

There are a few pureed soups that we keep in the mix over at my house.  Cauliflower, carrot and celery soup. All of these soups have onion, garlic, broth, water, the veggie of choice, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  You can add a potato to the cauliflower soup if you’d like it to be creamier but I think it’s perfect as is.

Cauliflower Soup

2 cans of chicken broth (or veggie)

water, fill one can from empty broth

1 head of cauliflower

1 sweet onion sliced

1 TB minced garlic

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Sauté onions on low with olive oil until translucent. You only need enough olive oil to sauté, don’t over do it.  Add cauliflower and cook for a few minutes while stirring.  Add broth, water and seasonings and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20-30 minutes.

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Remove the bay leaves and puree with handheld immersion blender until smooth.  That is it!

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You can substitute the cauliflower for 6-8 carrots, peel and chop carrots.

Or you can substitute 6-8 celery stalks, or a bulb of fennel, the possibilities are endless.

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Just had to add this picture of the fennel I picked up from the farmer’s market! It’s so beautiful and some of it will make a great soup.

Seared Salmon with Quinoa, Amaranth & Millet Cakes

I have this delicious Quinoa mix from Costco that has Amaranth and Millet in it. Gluten free and so tasty with the nuttiness and texture. This time I am cooking it in a rice cooker to see how that works.  Either way it is twice the water to the amount of quinoa mix you want to cook. On the stove you bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from burner and fluff with a fork.

For the Salmon I will season it with salt, pepper, garlic and tarragon (my favorite seasoning combo for chicken and salmon). I usually use garlic powder but tonight I am using minced garlic just to give it a little more uummph.

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Season up the salmon and put it onto a hot pan with olive oil (I used lemon olive oil and it gave it a real nice taste) and sear until brown. Flip it over until the other side is brown and it firms up a bit and then remove it from the heat and set it on a plate.

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Cover with tin foil (aluminum, whatever) to keep the heat in and keep it juicy while the patties get going.

I originally wanted to make these quinoa patties with zucchini but I forgot to pick it up at the store and I am not making another trip. So, this round I’ve decided to use match stick carrots that I had in the fridge. Next time zucchini. Hmm, also I will be using Irish dubliner cheese instead of parmesan for the same reason, however, it has a nice salty flavor so I bet it will be delish!

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I have a family of six so most people probably only need 1/2 the recipe. But, for the 6 of us large appetite peeps you will need 2 cups of quinoa mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of match stick carrots, salt & pepper, garlic, 1 cup of grated cheese of your choice. This would probably be pretty good with goat cheese too! Yum. I’m a major fan of ALL cheese.  Saute chopped onion and carrots until tender. Mix with cooked quinoa mix, eggs, cheese and seasonings.

Make patties and place in an oiled hot pan.  Cook until brown on each side and top with a bit of sour cream.

I’ve decided to slice up some asparagus, mushrooms, and onion for a side dish. I cut the sweet onion thinly and the asparagus at a slant; chop up mushrooms too.

I put the asparagus in a bowl and cover with water and cook in microwave for 3 minutes so it is firm but tender. Drain. Saute up the onion and mushrooms and after you get a good carmelization on them throw the asparagus in and saute for a couple more minutes.

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Plate all three items and enjoy!

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The next morning I had leftovers and made a savory dish with a fried egg on top. YUM.

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At lunch I made some more quinoa patties but with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes and had it with a salad. Make sure to use 2 eggs, I tried to use 1 at lunch and it just wasn’t enough to hold the patty together.

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For sure one my favorites now.

 

Using all of the Beet

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It started out with me just wanting a beet salad with goat cheese. Which is delicious! Then I was looking over at all of the stems and leaves that I cut off and was going to throw out and I thought what a waste. There must be recipes for the leaves and stems and they probably taste pretty good. So, starting with the beet salad and then moving onto the 2 other recipes I ended up making with the stems and leaves.

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Beet Salad with Goat Cheese:

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Cut the roots and stalks off the beets and boil in water for about 30 minutes or until tender. Don’t over-cook, but you should be able to poke a knife through easily.

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Drain the hot water and refill pot with cold water. After the beets have cooled a bit, peel off the skin. I prefer to do this after they cook since then it leaves a pretty, shiny finish on the beets and the skin comes off easy. If you peel them before you boil them a film is created on the beet and they’re not shiny.

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Thinly slice the beets and chill in the fridge. After they are nice and cool, arrange on a plate and drizzle lemon olive oil over the top, sprinkle the feta cheese and lemon thyme over that and serve. This is a great appetizer, light lunch, anytime snack. It’s also so beautiful with the bright pink color and perfect for the holidays.

Sauteed Beet Greens & Leeks:

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Wash beet greens individually since they are pretty sandy. Roll them up like you do to basil and chop up.

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Cut up one leek and saute it in the lemon olive oil.

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Throw in the greens and add salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup of water to simmer the greens in. This is unexpectedly delicious and I’m so glad I made it. We’ll be having this as a side with our steaks tonight.

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Pickled Beet Stems:

So, I was pretty proud of myself for using the beet and the leaves but then I saw these brightly colored stalks just sitting in a bowl and I thought, I bet I can find a recipe specifically for the stems and I did!

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Bring 4 TB rice wine vinegar to boil. Stir in 2tsp honey or sugar and throw in some thyme, salt and pepper (just eye it, I hate measuring…Trust yourself).

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Chop up the stems into 1/4″ pieces and place in the pot. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 20 minutes, stir ocassionally.

Three pretty tasty dishes and zero waste of the lovely beets!

Creamy Risotto and Scallops

The measurements for the risotto are to feed my family of six, that are total pigs with a little left over. I’m sure for a normal family 1/2 the recipe would be enough.  Please don’t be afraid to be brave and forget about measuring things. Just whatever feels right.  The hardest part about posting recipes is thinking of the measurements I use.  I NEVER measure, I cook by taste, sight, and touch.

You’ll need:

2 1/2 cups arborio rice

3 cans of chicken broth

3 cans of water (filled from the empty chicken broth cans)

1 cup parmesan or romano cheese

2 TB butter

Handful of fresh herbs (I used lemon thyme & parsley)

1/4 cup lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

1 large onion

1 bulb of fennel

2 pounds of scallops

1 bunch of asparagus

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Risotto can be made so many different ways and for some reason many people think it’s hard to make.  I find it pretty easy except for that it takes at least 45 minutes and you can’t go far from the pot.  Any herbs or veggies can be switched out, I really like my risotto with lots of mushrooms.  But, tonight I wanted the kids to eat it, so I left out the mushrooms. Caramelize finely sliced onion and fennel; set aside.

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Melt butter in pot and saute the arborio until slightly golden.  When the rice is golden start to add some of the broth, maybe 1/3 of the can.

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The key is to add a little bit of liquid at a time stirring regularly and as it cooks down add some more liquid.  This does take quite a bit of time, but it is so worth the wait.  Alternate between water and broth and you can put the lemon juice in the pot as one of the refills of liquid in the pot.

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Chop up fresh herbs of your choice and put 1/2 in the pot to cook down with the rice and save the other 1/2 for topping off the dish. Grate cheese if needed and set aside.  Wash and slice asparagus. I just cut it in half and stick it in a shallow dish with water and microwave it for 4-5 minutes.

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Then I remove it from the water and saute it in a pan with olive oil and salt & pepper for a couple of minutes, I like to cook it like this sinceit has a slight crunch and keeps the pretty bright green color. AND, it just tastes really good.

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When the risotto is almost all the way cooked, which you can tell by tasting it and making sure there is no hard middle, add the cheese and lemon zest.

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For the scallops it is important to dry them as much as you can by blotting with paper towels.  They suck up water so don’t rinse them and then they will let out a lot of water when you’re trying to get a golden crust on them.  See mine, I didn’t dry them as much as I should have, but I was hurrying off the Open House at one of the kid’s school.  Heat olive oil in pan until hot and cook the scallops with garlic, salt & pepper.

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Plate risotto, scallops, asparagus and top with fresh herbs.  You can throw some more cheese on top if you’d like.  My picture has the fennel on the side since my kids don’t like it.  Delish.

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