Mahi Mahi Nuggets (Paleo Approved)

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I love seafood and nothing beats some good ole southern style cookin’. Living in Florida and Texas the past 4 years there is a common trend on the menu… fried everything. At almost every seafood restaurant you will see an appetizer of some kind of fried fish or gator nugget and they are so good! Now that I’ve been home in Cinci for a while, I really miss fresh seafood and southern style food. So in lieu of my local restaurant craving that’s not accessible, I wanted to make my own healthier version. These little fried wonders are coated in almond meal. This is Paleo approved as well if you are on a Paleo diet. Almond meal is basically almonds ground up so fine that it has a flour like consistency and can be used in place of flour for a healthier alternative. I mixed some spices such as cajun, paprika, lemon pepper, and salt to give it some flavor. I promise when you taste these you would never know you’re saving a lot of calories and eating healthier! I also used coconut oil but you can use olive oil as well. I had to use Frisch’s tarter sauce (not Paleo approved, but I am home and I only have so much time to enjoy Cincinnati/NKY favorites!)

To get started take your mahi mahi and cut into 1-2 inch pieces, pat dry with a paper towel. (this helps the egg and almond meal to stick to the fish better) Take a shallow bowl and whisk your eggs. In a tupperware container, mix your almond meal, salt, lemon pepper, and seasonings. Place a skillet on medium heat and coat with coconut or olive oil. Let the skillet get hot before placing your mahi.

Take your mahi and coat in the egg shake off any excess egg, then transfer to the tupperware. Once there are enough pieces to fill the tupperware close the lid and shake the seasonings. When the mahi is coated evenly transfer to the skillet. Repeat if you have more fish pieces. Cook the mahi 3-4 minutes on each side (smaller pieces will cook faster) You want a golden brown color, it may look a little darker since you added the cajun seasoning. Once cooked, place on paper towels to soak up excess grease.

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Serve with your choice of dipping sauce and lemon or lime wedge!

What you’ll need:

1 lb Mahi Mahi

1 large egg

1 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp cajun seasoning

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lemon pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)

4 lemon and lime wedges

tarter sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce

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Seared Ahi Tuna

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I am a sucker for anything seafood. I love ahi tuna, and I’ve always wanted to try it homemade. This is super easy and really not very expensive considering you will have enough to feed at least two people. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first, I’ve been living right by the ocean for the past 4 years and have gotten used to very fresh, right off the boat kind of seafood. So, going to the seafood counter at our local Kroger in Northern Kentucky definitely took some convincing to myself. Of course, I had to ask where they got the tuna steaks from and if they were fresh or previously frozen. (This is always important to me, you will not have the same end result when cooking previously frozen fish, I guarantee you!) After confirming that they were fresh and the color looked really good to me (you can always tell by the color of salmon, tuna, and mahi if they are good quality) I decided to go for it! And I was not disappointed!

The reason why I seem so anal about the quality of the tuna is because ahi tuna is pan seared for just a minute or two on each side, it is not fully cooked. I would say it’s close to medium rare, but more on the rare side. You do not want to eat anything like this unless you know it’s a good fresh piece of fish, or your stomach will have you locked up in the bathroom all night with food poisoning or a nasty stomach bug!

Ok, now that my health inspection- germ freaky rant is done, now we can talk about the good stuff!

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Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, taste test it and add more honey or tamari if you want it a little more sweet or a little more salty. Take two tbsp and set aside. Take your tuna steak and place in a ziploc bag and pour in the sauce, marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once marinated sprinkle the steak with salt, pepper, and a decent amount of toasted (or regular if you cant find them toasted) sesame seeds. Press down on the seeds slightly, to help them stick on the steak.

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Take your pan and place the oil. Swirl to coat, and put it on medium high to high heat. Wait until the pan is hot then pan sear the tuna 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Set on cutting board.

Bring out your greens, avacado, scallions and extra sauce. Place your greens on a plate, then your avacado, then take your ahi tuna and thinly slice lengthwise. Place your tuna over your salad. Drizzle the extra sauce over top of your salad and tuna. Take a lemon wedge and lightly squeeze over top, if you wish. Serve.

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That’s it!! super easy and fast, not to mention healthy! I like to eat mine with a side of white rice. Next time I think I’ll try an Ahi Poke Bowl! If you’ve never had one you’ve gotta try it, Salt Life Food Shack has a pretty mean one!

What you’ll need:
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp finely grated ginger (or powder)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp low sodium tamari (you can also substitute with low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp honey (I may have added a tad bit more after my taste test)
2 teaspoon Siracha sauce (I like it spicy!)
1 tbsp gyoza sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
**You can find all or most of these sauces in the asian aisle at your local grocery store**
For the rest:
One tuna steak, raw and not previously frozen (See rant at top for tips)
Salt and pepper
Sesame seeds, preferably toasted
Field greens
Avacado, diced
White Rice or your favorite kind of rice on the side

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Salmon with Butternut Squash Risotto and Kale Chips

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Finally I am back to blogging! I will say it has been a very hard past few months for me and I’ve been very busy and honestly haven’t felt up to cooking much. In late October my father had gotten admitted to the hospital. After a visit home I decided it was best for me to come home and spend time with him and help my family with medical decisions and guidance. He ended up passing a month later. Shortly thereafter, my husband went on deployment and he will be gone for the next 9 months. Needless to say it has been a very challenging and emotional time for me, and I’m glad to be back in the kitchen and in the blog world. I know my father  would want me to pick up the pieces and live my life like I normally would, so in a sense, this post is in honor of him.

All sadness aside, this is an amazingly rich and healthy dish. It’s filled with vitamins and honestly no preservatives, it has all fresh ingredients. There is so much flavor my mouth is watering just thinking back to when I ate it 4 hours ago! Salmon is something that I could eat everyday,  no questions asked. I think the flavor of the butternut squash risotto and the salmon go so beautifully together, then bringing it all in with crispy kale chips gives it an amazing crunch. The slight bitterness of the kale cuts through the sweetness of the risotto and makes a surprising duo!

To begin, preheat your oven to 425 then get started on your risotto. Take a 2 qt size saucepan and place 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Once the pan gets warm, pour in your risotto and mushrooms and continuously stir making sure it is evenly coated, cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your water, milk, white wine (or white wine vinegar) stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir well and turn on low to simmer for 20 minutes, do not cover. Risotto is a very starchy rice, so you want to stir it frequently to bring out the starch and help it thicken. you want the end result to be thick, but creamy. I ended up cooking mine an extra five minutes.

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While your risotto is cooking, your oven should be preheated by now. Place your salmon on a baking dish or oven safe skillet and pour some olive oil in the pan, turn to coat the pan. Season your salmon with a little salt and pepper. Take your olive wine mixture by brushing the mixture onto the salmon, it’s ok if some gets on the bottom of the skillet/baking pan. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Take your bunch of kale and wash it well, tear off the leafy parts leaving the stems. Any thick stalk you may find you will want to leave out. The key to this is to make “chips” so you want the leafy parts only. Place some olive oil on a baking dish then put your kale on the pan evenly. Place pepper evenly over the kale add some lemon juice and a little bit more olive oil, mix around to evenly coat the kale with the oil. Place in the oven and take it out every 5 or so minutes to mix around, it will be ready when the kale tips are browned and crispy.

Once the salmon has cooked for 15-20 minutes, turn your oven on high broil and place it on the top oven rack. Watch the salmon carefully to make sure you don’t overcook or burn the fish. You want to watch your kale or take it out if it’s ready as well.  The salmon on broil will make the top skin nice and crispy.

To plate, take a nice amount of risotto in the middle of the plate, grab a spatula and when removing your salmon, locate the skin and gently put your spatula in between the skin and meat of the salmon. The skin should peel off easily and stay on the pan while you have your fillet nice and pretty on your spatula. Place your salmon on top of the risotto, then surround with your kale chips and voila!! Yummy and also looks impressive on a plate.

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What you need:
For the risotto:
1 box of butternut squash risotto (I used Lundberg traditional brand, found in organic or rice section)
handful of mixed mushrooms (crimini, shiitaki, button, and porcini, mixed together in one box at grocery store)
The following ingredients were on the box for directions, I added the vinegar and used less water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup water
1/3 cup of white wine vinegar
1 cup of milk (I actually ran out, so I ended up using soy milk and it turned out just as good!)
For the Salmon:
2 salmon fillets, I prefer fresh and not previously frozen, also wild caught not farm raised
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon (i ended up using a little less than half and saved the rest to sprinkle on top)
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
For the kale:
A bunch of kale, washed and stems and stalks removed
olive oil (I don’t measure, just enough to lightly coat the kale)
pepper
sprinkle of lemon juice

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Crispy Salmon & Quinoa

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Crispy Salmon: super easy to make and tastes amazing!! I’ve been posting a lot of easy, fast recipes lately, mostly because I’ve been super busy working and being too tired to make anything that takes longer than 30 minutes. This meal literally took me 13 minutes from the time I dropped the salmon on the pan to the time I took it out of the oven!

I’ve only had quinoa in this Campbell’s soup that I like, so I came across a frozen package of quinoa and vegetables at Whole Foods, and anything with a steam in bag is going to taste just as fresh as if you bought it straight from the garden! I figured I’d give it a try and I was not disappointed. The quinoa has a soft texture, so the crispy salmon paired perfectly with it! This package had sweet potatoes and zucchini mixed, and they tasted great with the salmon.

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To start, preheat your oven to 400°. Take an oven safe skillet and place on high heat, while both are heating, brush your salmon with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, I used lemon pepper seasoning. Once the pan is heated up, place your salmon, skin side up, on the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes. I would suggest at 4 minutes to try and flip, if it isn’t coming off the pan easily leave it on for another minute or two. Once flipped to skin side up, place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. If you like your salmon well done, you will want it to bake for 10-12 minutes.

While your salmon is baking, take your quinoa and microwave according to package directions (mine was 4 minutes, sitting for 1 minute after cooking).

While all of that is cooking, take a small bowl and mix up your special soy sauce concoction! I honestly didn’t measure out anything (I tend to just add more of what’s needed and taste as I go, the best way to cook!!) I will try to guesstimate how much I think I added to make this mixture, but please taste as you go and add more honey or nectar if you want it to taste sweeter, and more soy sauce if you think it’s too sweet. This is a staple for a lot of my asian recipes and I always put it on my salmon, it tastes amazing together! And it has no fat and very few calories.

When everything is ready, spoon some quinoa on your plate, then place your salmon on top. Before I add the salmon to my plate I take a fork or use my spatula and peel off the skin. Then spoon some sauce over top of your salmon and quinoa. I tend to think less is better to start and if you think you need more you can always add more! But since the sauce has soy in it, it’s a strong taste and is very salty, so add a little bit first and see how you like it!

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What you’ll need:
1-2 salmon fillets

1 package of quinoa with vegetables (found in the freezer section by the vegetables)
salt and lemon pepper seasoning (or plain pepper)
For the soy mixture:
about 1/4-1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
about 2 tbsp honey
about 1 tbsp agave nectar
about 1-2 tsp fish sauce
a dash or two of ground ginger (or minced)
Whisk 

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Shrimp & Pork Spring Rolls

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I decided to have a Christmas party with a White Elephant gift exchange, so I wanted to make a lot of yummy and different appetizers! You get tired of the same old dips and crock pot foods at these gatherings so I decided to branch out a little and serve some tasty foods you don’t tend to see very often. I ended up finding myself looking at the Martha Stewart recipes (she’s one of those people I wish I didn’t like, but I can’t help but love everything she makes!). These spring rolls were seriously gone as soon as they were set on the table! I was lucky enough to have a piece before it was all gone and it was so good! Next time I make these, I’ll be sure to leave a few pieces for myself 🙂

To get started, heat a small amount of oil on the pan and cook the sausage and break up into crumbles, cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion, cook until soft, then add the celery, carrot, garlic, and fish sauce. Cook until soft about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, snap peas, and shrimp until it’s pink and cooked through (about another 2 minutes.) Add the pork and salt and pepper. Set aside off heat and let cool for a bit for easier rolling.

Take your wrappers and if they are a bigger size you can pre-cut them, or you can do what I did and cut the spring rolls after they’re cooked.

Whisk the yolk and water in a small bowl. Place one wrapper on a cutting board or flat surface and take one wrapper with a corner facing you. Keep the rest of the wrappers covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Place a tbsp or so of the filling in the middle of a wrapper and fold the bottom corner over the filling and fold the sides in halfway. Roll the wrapper to form a tight cylinder, leaving the top corner exposed. Brush the top corner with the egg wash and press to seal. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat until done.

Martha’s recipe calls for frying, but I chose the healthier route by baking.

To fry: heat 1/2 inch of oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 350°. Fry in batches until golden brown about 2-3 minutes rolling each side. Add more oil if needed, drain on paper towels.

To bake: Turn oven on 425°. Bake on baking sheets turning once halfway through baking. Bake until golden brown on all sides, about 30 minutes.

Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce, you can buy this in the international section at local grocery stores.

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed and for frying (or not needed if baking)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated cabbage (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas (2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 spring-roll wrappers (8-inch square)
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Seafood Mac-N-Cheese

On a trip home, I happened to meet some friends at a restaurant called Keystone Bar & Grill, famous for their unique mac and cheese and quesadillas. Amazing dishes, so creative and my favorite is their mac and cheese names, such as Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Nirvana. I am a huge Classic Rock and Alternative fan, so obviously I loved their food before even tasting it!

I came home and decided I was going to make my own version, not really experienced in the mac and cheese world, I thought I would be safe and look up a mac and cheese recipe to base my dish off of. I decided to use Muenster Cheese because it felt soft and I knew it would melt well. I actually have never had it before so I kind of just winged it at the store! I also bought some Gruyere Cheese because I wanted a little bit of a nutty cheese into the mixture.

From my previous recipe Seafood Quesadillas I had extra shrimp and Mahi Mahi. I thought, this would be super tasty in a mac and cheese dish! I had some bacon I needed to use up, so I added that to give the perfect salty crunch! This dish takes some time to make, but it’s definitely worth it in the end (and even better the next day leftover!)

I start out by whisking my goat cheese (If you don’t like goat cheese, you can substitute with feta or cheddar, or really any cheese you like!) bread crumbs, and bacon. I originally wanted to use panko crumbs, but I forgot to buy some at the store and the bread crumbs worked out great! Preheat your oven to 450º.

Start boiling a large pot of salted water. Cook your noodles according to package directions, you want them to be al dente, as in a little bit undercooked because they will also cook in the oven. Once drained, rinse your pasta with cold water and drain again, this prevents the pasta from sticking. Pour into a large bowl then place your shrimp and mahi and mix well. Set aside.

Start your cheese mixture. My favorite part of mac and cheese is obviously the cheese sauce! And it’s important that you get the right texture! Start by melting the butter on medium, then adding the flour slowly and making sure to whisk constantly to make a clumpy, flour base. Then add your milk, slowly and whisk constantly until you reach a thick consistency. It should stick to the back of a wooden spoon. Next, add your cheeses and mix until melted through. It may take a couple of mixes to break up the cheese and melt. Make sure you give it a taste before deciding it’s good. If it doesn’t taste cheesy enough, add more! If it’s not thick enough, add more flour. Also be sure to not let your mixture boil! This will clump up the flour.

Add all of your sauce into the bowl of pasta. Next add your lemon juice and zest, parsley, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well. (I omitted the salt because of the butter, cheese and bacon.. that’s enough sodium for me!)

Now add your bread crumb mixture evenly over the top of the pasta and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. I put mine on broil for the last 5 minutes and moved my dish to the top wrack to give it a good crunch on top.

Let sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors and sauce really come together.

I am not lying this is the best homemade mac and cheese I’ve ever had! One of the best surprises in this dish is the slight lemon zest you taste in every bite, it works so well with the seafood and cheese! Unless you absolutely hate seafood or have an allergy, you have to try this dish! And if you don’t like seafood, subtitute with some chicken or sausage. It’s so fun to use your imagination when in the kitchen, and the results are always something to be proud of!

What you’ll need:
13.25 ounces rotini (I used Barilla)
1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled with tails removed and cut in half
1/2 fillet of Mahi Mahi, cut into pieces
1 package bacon, cooked crispy and crushed into small peices
A spoonful of herbed goat cheese, crumbled
Zest of 1 large lemon, divided
Juice of the lemon
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (or panko)
4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour (plus more if needed)
4 cups milk (whole or reduced fat)
2 ounces Gruyère Cheese, grated
8 oz Meunster Cheese, wax cut off (I used Boars Head)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Seafood Quesadillas

I love seafood.

If I had a choice, I would eat it everyday and it would never get old!! So you can imagine my excitement when I moved to FL for the first time. Growing up in Cincinnati/Northern KY, you don’t necessarily have access to good seafood. Just your run of the mill imported fish. Now that I have lived in Corpus Christi TX, Pensacola, FL and now Jacksonville I can tell you that I’ve been in seafood heaven! According to my husband, I haven’t had good seafood until I get to the New England states, but for now I think I’ll live it up to my own opinions until I’m proven wrong.

I wanted fresh seafood, not from the grocery store but straight off the boat!! So I headed to Safe Harbor Seafood Market in Mayport, right by RJ’s Navy base. It is a restaurant and market, and all of their seafood is caught fresh off the boats they have on the docks. Everything from whole fish, to fillets, to shrimp and squid. They have a ton of selections and it’s very moderately priced!

So you’re asking… What made me think of this amazing idea to combine seafood and Mexican food? I had something similar to this at a small restaurant by the beach a few weeks ago, it was an alright meal, a little too much cheese and not enough seafood if you ask me, but I love to find ways to make dishes more, well me! So I decided to ex-nay the regular salsa and make a pineapple-mango salsa. I also decided to add more than one type of seafood, so I got the works! I knew I wanted a white fish, and the Mahi was on sale, so I went with Mahi Mahi, shrimp, and crab. I used my favorite cheese from the deli Boar’s Head Chipotle Smoked Ghouda (has a good kick to it and it melts beautifully!)

I started by making the salsa. Super easy! Cut up your pineapple, mango, red pepper, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add your lime juice and mix well. Easy Peasy and did I mention, amazing?!

Next, wash off your fish and shrimp. I cut my fish into three pieces to help it cook faster. Rub Cajun seasoning on the fish and add salt and pepper. Place some olive oil on the skillet and cook for 10 minutes and an additional 5 on the skin side. It should be white and flaky and shouldn’t see any pink.

Once it’s cooked, place on a plate to cool. While your fish is cooling, place your shrimp on the skillet and add cajun salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes being sure to move around every minute or so to cook evenly. Once done, your shrimp should have a pink look to them.

RJ didn’t want crab on his, so I had to cook it separately, but you can definitely add the crab to the shrimp on the skillet and cook them together. The fish should now be cooled, take a fork and peel off the skin of the fish. Then with your fork flake into pieces. Take your bottom tortilla and place the cheese evenly. Take your shrimp, crab, and mahi and place evenly on top of the cheese. Take some cilantro and sprinkle.

Take your top tortilla and place over the fish. Take a grill pan and coat with some olive oil on medium-high. Once it’s hot, place your quesadilla on the pan and press down with another heavy skillet or something flat that is heavy. Wait 1-2 minutes and gently take the quesadilla and flip over to grill the other side. Wait another 1-2 minutes and place on a plate to serve!

Take your pineapple-mango salsa and place on each quesadilla triangle. I whipped up a Mexican staple of mine, sour cream, taco sauce and cajun seasoning. I use it with anything Mexican!

Now I think that regular salsa would be good with this meal, but the mango-pineapple salsa just gives it that sweet and spicy collision of flavors that every mouth craves! The sweetness from the salsa pairs perfectly with the spicy kick of cajun. This is absolutely one of my favorite dinners so far! And it is super easy and quick to make! I will definitely be using this salsa again!

What you’ll need:
pineapple-mango salsa:
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
A bunch of cilantro, minced
the juice of one lime
seafood quesadillas:
Mahi Mahi Fillet
1/2 pound of shrimp
1 cup of crab (real, not imitation)
Cajun seasoning
Chipotle Ghouda Cheese (or any cheese you would like to add!)
tortillas
cilantro
sour cream/taco sauce/cajun mixture (for dipping)

Creole Shrimp Sauté

I love Publix.

Growing up in Cincinnati area we had grocery stores called Kroger and your occasional Winn Dixie. When I moved to Florida and went to Publix for the first time I felt like a kid at Christmas! Their slogan is “Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.” Oh it is definitely a pleasure, the staff is always friendly and helpful and the food always is in good quality!

Every day Publix has someone cooking up a yummy recipe. They also have lots of recipe cards available throughout the store and the best part is that they are free!!  So I found this particular recipe card and couldn’t wait to make it for dinner! If you like shrimp with a little kick and a light olive oil based pasta, you will love this meal!

I did my usual and changed some things up from the original recipe, added asparagus for more of a color pop and also substituted pancetta in place of bacon. But if you aren’t a fan of asparagus, I would also suggest some sweat peas or peppers! You could also try some chorizo instead of bacon or pancetta.

To get started, boil a medium sized pot of water. While your waiting for it to boil, prep some of your ingredients: cut up the pancetta (or bacon or chorizo, etc) into bite-sized pieces. Chop your parsley and tomatoes.

If you are cooking with bacon, cook the bacon on medium high for 5-7 minutes or until it is almost done. If you are using chorizo or pancetta (especially pancetta) you only want to cook it ahead for a few minutes because it cooks faster. Your water should be boiling by now so go ahead and add your pasta and cook according to package directions.

Once the meat is cooked almost all of the way through, sprinkle blackening seasoning (I used my favorite seasoning Cajun!) to the shrimp and add to the skillet stirring and cooking for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, asparagus, wine, garlic, red pepper flakes. Cook for another few minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and the sauce thickens a bit.

Stir in scampi sauce (make sure you shake the bottle well before pouring!) and lemon juice. Cover the pan for a few minutes to let the asparagus steam. I only cooked them enough to be soft in the middle and a little crunchy on the outside. This gave the dish a different consistency that I love: crunchy and soft!

Take your drained pasta and place on a plate or bowl and pour your shrimp creole mixture on top, sprinkle with parsley. Voila!!

Please don’t skimp out on the lemon juice, it was my favorite part of the sauce, it gave it that tangy bite that really helped bring out the natural flavors of the veggies and shrimp! Please enjoy this with a glass of white wine such as Riesling or Pinot Grigio.

What you’ll need:
8oz. Angel Hair Pasta
4 slices of thickly cut pancetta (Get this at your deli)
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 tsp minced garlic, or 2 cloves
3/4 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
12 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp
Creole or Cajun/Blackening seasoning
1 cup of asparagus cut into pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of scampi sauce
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

 

Lightened-Up Paella

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that combines a mouthwatering combination of sausage, chicken, and seafood accompanied with rice. This dish is similar except I substituted turkey sausage, skinless chicken thighs, and shrimp!! If you are cooking for two, you may want to cut this recipe in half (unless you like leftovers! It tastes great heated up the next day!)

Let’s get cooking!! Place chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat. Rub saffron threads with your fingers crushing them as you sprinkle in the broth. If you don’t have saffron threads, you can use some turmeric powder (Just a dash). Whisk the broth. Bring to a low simmer, reducing the heat to low and keep warm.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a paella pan (or a large wide skillet) on medium heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook stirring occasionally about 2 minutes. Next add the chicken and saute until lightly browned for about 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add another tbsp of olive oil in the same skillet, add onions and bell peppers stirring occasionally until they soften. Add garlic and paprika. Cook for another minute. Add the rice, stir to coat with oil and lightly toast.

Gently add the chicken broth, stirring well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes being sure to stir occasionally.

Raise the heat to medium and add your sausage and chicken. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. If you are running short on liquid, add more broth or water. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas, shrimp, and parsley. Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been mostly absorbed, the bottom of the pan should be lightly crusted (not burned).

What you’ll need:

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
Pinch of saffron threads (you can also substitute a dash of turmeric powder)
3 tbsp olive oil-divided
8 ounces of mild or hot Italian turkey sausage, halved length-wise, sliced crosswise.
6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat cut off and cubed
Salt and black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 large red and yellow bell pepper, seeded quartered and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika (regular also works well!)
2 cups of paella or arborio rice
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups of fresh or frozen peas
8 ounces of medium sized shrimp

Mahi Mahi Stuffed with Shrimp

I went to the store with not much on my list and I thought, seafood sounds good! I thought of what I usually like to order at seafood restaurants and the first thing that came to mind was seafood stuffed fish. I went to the seafood counter and tried to decide between the tilapia and mahi mahi. The mahi looked much more appetizing to me so I picked up the last two and I also ordered a handful of small shrimp (not previously cooked) peeled and de-veined. I wasn’t really sure how I would make the stuffing, so I looked up a few recipes and pulled together a combination of things.

I chose cauliflower and carrots for my side dish, my favorite thing to do with veggies is to roast them! The olive oil, salt & pepper just bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables and the best part about the carrots is that they have a sweet taste to them and it goes lovely with the seafood!

Start out by pre heating your oven to 425º. Drizzle olive oil over your biggest oven pan. Rinse and cut your cauliflower to make little “trees” and then rinse, peel and julienne your carrots. Place on your pan and top with more olive oil then sprinkle salt & pepper. Roll around with a spatula until it’s all covered well. Place into the oven.

You will want to keep an eye on the veggies while you prepare and cook the fish. I take them out every 10 minutes and toss around until they are browned on the outside, I like them almost burnt so you get that crispy and soft taste. You want it to look like this:

Ok so if time works well for you like it did for me, your veggies and fish should be ready at the same time. Now, while your veggies are in the oven, start working on your shrimp stuffing. Rinse off your shrimp and place in a food processor, add garlic, shallot, green onions, Worcestershire, olive oil, salt & pepper. Grind until evenly processed.

Place the ground shrimp etc. into a bowl and add about 1/2-3/4 cup of bread crumbs. (You can use real bread or store bought bread crumbs). Mix all together evenly. Take your fish and rinse, cut in the middle not all the way through (this is called butterflying) Spoon in the stuffing mix. Don’t be afraid to stuff a lot in the fish, the more the better 🙂

Take small pieces of butter and place on top, this browns the stuffing. I added a dash of ground cayenne pepper and regular ground pepper on top. You will put it on the top rack above the veggies and cook for 20-25 minutes (until the fish is white and the stuffing is browned).

Now it’s time to eat!!! I must say this was just as good as any restaurant stuffed fish, next time I want to add some type of sauce on top 🙂  I hope this turns out well for you like it did for me!!

What you’ll need:

2 pieces of your favorite Fish (I used Mahi Mahi)
a handful of mini Shrimp (de-veined, peeled, and not previously cooked)
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Shallot
1/4 cup of Green Onion
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Drizzle of Olive Oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup of Plain Bread Crumbs
Butter
Sprinkle of ground Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper

1 head of Cauliflower
2 long whole Carrots
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper