Tag Archives: asparagus

Coconut Garlic Shrimp, Asparagus & Tomato Pasta

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Well it’s been a long week since Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida & the Caribbean and things are slowly, finally settling back to some kind of normalcy. This includes making a new dish for dinner. After replacing 75% of the contents of my freezer and refrigerator because of no power I can say with a smile, I’m back! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for quite some time. The original recipe that I adapted this from (Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro) is from Gina Homolka at Skinnytaste. Please check her recipe out as well.

The original recipe from Gina was more of a stew and could be served over rice. I added more garlic and served it over pasta instead. I also added asparagus since I had some in the fridge that had to be used or I would lose it. I may try it with peas instead next time or possibly broccoli! And for those of you who know me, know I really do NOT like peppers (green, red, yellow….) jalapeno yes, but sweet peppers no. This recipe has red peppers in it and I can barely taste them. I did use the small rainbow peppers (the red ones) and they aren’t as strong-tasting so that’s probably why I liked them.

So how did the recipe turn out? Let’s just say, my husband and I could not stop eating it! It was incredible! I can’t wait to have it as leftovers again! It’s a very easy recipe to make and I will be making it again for sure. The only thing I might do next time is add another can of the coconut milk so it has more sauce for the pasta. Other than that it’s a home run! It’s not a heavy meal, the sauce is light, yet it is a very filling dish. Hope you enjoy it!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 lb uncooked peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp (I used (2) 12oz. bags of frozen shrimp from Aldi)

1 tsp olive oil

1 pound of asparagus sliced into small pieces

1 pound cooked pasta of your choice

1 small red pepper or 4 large red peppers from a bag of mini rainbow peppers, diced

4 scallions, thinly sliced, separating the whites and greens

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I used about 1 tablespoon of dried since I didn’t have fresh)

6-8 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes of choice

1 can (13-14oz) light coconut milk. (I used Trader Joe’s organic reduced fat coconut milk)

1/2 of a lime juiced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil and sauté the red pepper until soft, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the white parts of the scallions, ¼ cup of the fresh cilantro (or the 1 tbsp of dried), the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about a minute or so until well blended.
  3. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and ¼ tsp of salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once it boils, cover the pot and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit.
  4. Meanwhile cook the pasta to just al-dente, drain and put back into the pot.
  5. Add the chopped asparagus to the tomato coconut milk mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes until it begins to soften a little.
  6. Add the shrimp to the same mixture and cook for about 5-6 minutes until the shrimp is opaque. Add the lime juice.
  7. Pour all of the shrimp mixture into the pot with the pasta and mix well. Let it simmer for just a minute or so to get everything mixed.
  8. Serve. Top with the green part of the scallions and rest of fresh cilantro if using fresh. We also like to add a little parmesan cheese on top as well.

Serves 4-6

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Scrumptious Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry

 After many requests here is the recipe! I modified this recipe from a Rocco DiSpirito recipe. The man knows good food! Before making this recipe the only way I had ever cooked asparagus, and only thin asparagus, was to roast it, whole. This recipe I ventured into unknown territory. I used much thicker asparagus and cut into bite size pieces! I also used a vegetable peeler to get off some of the thicker layers on the stalks. And you know that wonderful thing that happens to our body when you eat asparagus? I won’t say what it is but if you’ve ever eaten asparagus you know what I mean. Well apparently when you cut it up and not cook it whole that little phenomenon doesn’t occur!  It’s a win win! Plus this recipe is figure friendly. I would also recommend reading the entire recipe all the way through before cooking. Make the stir-fry sauce first also. You can even make it a few days before if you want.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin

1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut on an angle into 1″ pieces

12-16 ounces medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined. NO TAILS!!!

¾-1 cup cooked brown rice (remember brown is better for you!)

½ cup chopped fresh basil 

sesame seeds for garnish

salt and pepper

2/3 cup of Rocco’s “Rockin’ Asian Stir-Fry Sauce” (see recipe below) or you can use a store-bought sugar-free teriyaki sauce. (Make this BEFORE you start cooking the stir-fry)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the onion and asparagus and stir fry until the veggies are almost tender, about 6 minutes or so.

2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste and add to the pan. Add the rice to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often to get everything heated through.

3. Add the stir fry sauce. When the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is hot, about 2-4 minutes, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sesame seeds for garnish.

Serves 4

Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

¼ cup chopped fresh ginger (this is key!)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ bunch of scallions (white and green part) chopped fine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

¾ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, plain

½ cup reduced-sugar ketchup (Heinz is the best)

salt and pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan/skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. About 2-3 minutes.

2. In the meantime, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl and add the soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and ketchup. Whisk to blend.

3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauté pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

5. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for up to a week.

This sauce is incredible. I used it on ribs also. Tasted just like chinese spare ribs! 

This makes about 1¾ cups.

Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 2)

As promised here is the list of when it is the best time to buy fresh vegetables, when they are in season.  What are the best vegetable to buy now? Or in 3 months from now?  Right now in Florida where I live the corn is just starting to come out where in the north it won’t be at its best until August or September. I remember when we spent the summers in Maine as kids and we couldn’t wait for August because we’d go to the farm stands and get all of that delicious sweet yellow and white corn, fresh from the farms. It was so crunchy and sweet and you could eat 2 or 3 ears at a sitting without any problem.  Some vegetables are great all year-long which is a good thing! I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! Happy shopping and eat your veggies!

  • Artichokes: March-May: Look for heavy, compact, plump globes. Large tightly closed, fleshy leaf scales. Good green color. Heavy for size.
  • Asparagus: March-June: Look for tightly closed buds. Straight, tender, rich green stalks. Open tips and angular or ridged spears are signs of over maturity.
  • Green/Wax Beans: April-October: Look for crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
  • Lima Beans: April-August: Look for bright color for the variety. Crisp, dark-green, well-filled pods.
  • Beets: June-October: Look for firm, round, smooth, deep red-colored roots. Fresh-looking tops. Avoid those with long roots and rough, scaly areas on surface, because they are tough, fibrous and strong flavored.
  • Belgian Endive: October-May: Look for firm without bruises. Color should be white with greenish cast.
  • Broccoli: October-May: Look for firm, closed, dark-green florets. Firm, tender stalks. Yellowing green-colored heads of broccoli are over mature.
  • Brussel Sprouts: October-November: Look for miniature, compact, bright-green heads.
  • Cabbage: All Year: Look for well-trimmed, solid heads. Heavy for size.
  • Carrots: All Year: Look for firm, bright-colored, smooth, clean, well-shaped. Avoid rough, cracked or green-tinged roots.
  • Cauliflower: September-November: Look for bright-green leaves enclosing firm, closely packed creamy-white curd or florets. Avoid bruised or open florets.
  • Celery: All Year: Look for fresh, crisp branches. Light green to green color. Should not have wilted, rough look or puffy feel to the stalk.
  • Corn: May-September: Look for fresh-leaved, green husks. Plump, milky kernels. Avoid cobs with small or large, dented or shrunken kernels.
  • Cucumbers: May-August: Look for bright, shiny green; firm; well-shaped.
  • Eggplant: August-September: Look for firm, heavy, smooth, even dark purple. Free of bruises or cuts.
  • Lettuce: All Year: Look for fresh green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Heading varieties of lettuce should be medium weight for size.
  • Mushrooms: November-April: Look for dry, firm caps and stems. Small brown spots or open caps are still good in flavor.
  • Okra: May-September: Should have tender, bright-green, bruise-free pods, less than 4½ inches long. Pale, faded, hard pods are tough and fibrous.
  • Onions: All Year: Look for well-shaped; hard; small necks. Dry paper skins. Free of green spots or green-depressed leathery areas. Crisp green tops. Two to three-inch bleached-white roots.
  • Parsnips: October-April: Should be small to medium size; smooth-skinned; firm. Decay and bruise free.
  • Peas: April-July: Look for well-filled, bright green. Swollen, light-colored or gray-flecked pods contain tough, starchy peas.
  • Peppers: All Year: Look for good shape; firm exterior; thick flesh and bright, glossy skin.
  • Potatoes (White): All Year: Should be fairly smooth; well-shaped; firm. Free of most blemishes. Avoid bruised, sprouting, shriveled or green-tinged.
  • Potatoes (Sweet): September-December: Look for thick, chunky, medium-sized with no bruises or decay. Should taper at the end.
  • Radishes: May-July: Look for medium-sized (¾-1 inch diameter); good red color; plump; round; firm; crisp. Bright-green tops.
  • Spinach: March-May: Look for large, bright, blemish-free leaves with good green color. Yellowing indicates the start of decay. Avoid leaves with coarse stems.
  • Squash (Summer): June-August: Look for bright color; smooth; glassy skin. Heavy for the size; firm; well-shaped.
  • Squash (Winter): September-November: Should be heavy for the size. Hard, good-colored, unblemished rind.
  • Tomatoes: May-August: Should be well-formed; blemish-free; plump. Over all rich red color and slight softness.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas: September-March: Should be small to medium size; smooth; firm; heavy. Few leaf scars at top and few fibrous roots at base. Purple-tinged white ones are turnips. Yellow-skinned, larger roots are rutabagas.

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