Quinoa Shrimp Scampi

This recipe started out because I looked in my pantry and saw that I have just way too much quinoa in there. I have plain, red, tri-color and then I just bought a couple more packages at Home Goods! So I decided I needed to start using it more. The quinoa I used in this recipe was an Italian flavored one. I bought this container of Pereg quinoa in Home Goods for $3.99 and I used about half of the container in this recipe, about 1 cup. This brand comes in all kinds of flavors which is pretty cool so you can make whatever you’re in the mood for! I also bought a spinach version and a mushroom version. Just follow the directions on the package and you’re good to go! I also substituted the water with chicken broth, which gives it so much more flavor. A vegetable broth would work great too! But if that’s not something you would want to do then just use water. 

This is a quick meal you can throw together in under 30 minutes for sure. Great for after work when you want something nutritious and delicious! This was a nice filling and satisfying meal for two of us but if you want it can serve 4 as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pereg “All’ Italiana” quinoa (Use 1 cup and cook according to package)
  • 12-16 ounces uncooked extra large-jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (no tails on unless you like that sort of thing- I do not)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 large tomato chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package. When it is done, keep it on low to stay warm.
  2. Add the oil and butter to a medium skillet and saute the garlic till soft, just a few minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook on medium heat. A couple of minutes on each side until shrimp turns pink is good. Do NOT overcook.
  4. Add in the lemon juice and herbs and mix well.
  5. Add the chopped tomato to the quinoa mixture.
  6. Divide up the quinoa into flat bowls and top evenly with the shrimp mixture. Make sure the delicious juices are evenly distributed as well.
  7. Serve with some parmesan cheese on top if you like!

 

 

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Ribs

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Yet another recipe I found on Facebook courtesy of Tasty on Buzzfeed! I changed it up a little bit and they came out amazing! And yes, they browned IN THE SLOW COOKER!  Wow, talk about falling off the bones. I will definitely be making these again! The original recipe called for 1 rack of ribs, I had 2 so I doubled the recipe. Took a little clever maneuvering of the ribs but they came out just beautiful.  The recipe will be for 1 rack but definitely double it up to two.

The smell in my kitchen all day was heavenly. I also used a mix of honey and agave. I didn’t have enough honey in the house so I improvised. I think if I had used all honey they may have been a little sweeter but these came out just fine. Use all honey if you want or all agave or both. Sticky, messy, tender, melt in your mouth pork. They are a little bit like chinese spare ribs but better, way more meat for sure. I used St. Louis style ribs but I am sure you can use any type. I like the St. Louis because they are meatier. Make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand! Leftovers will be divine!

Tip: Use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup! Trust me!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (2 ½-3 lb) rack of pork ribs, halved
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup agave
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine in a small bowl the salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Season the ribs evenly by rubbing all over and on the sides.
  2. Add the honey/agave, soy sauce and garlic to a large slow cooker. (I used a 5 qt)
  3. Carefully place the ribs into the cooker and turn them over into the sauce until they are coated. Then place the ribs standing up (yes I said standing up, this confused me at first too), with the meatier side down so that the meat side is against the walls of the slow cooker. Bones should be facing in. (Since I used two racks I had 4 pieces and I just overlapped them a little making sure most of the meat part was against the wall) You can also now pour sauce all over them making sure all gets covered.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours. (I checked them at 7 hours and turned them over, still keeping the meat to the wall)
  5. Check to make sure also that the meat is cooked through and tender when time is up.
  6. Carefully remove the ribs to a cutting board and cut apart. They will most like fall off the bone. 
  7. Serve with additional sauce from the slow cooker if you desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

I have now made this dip twice. It is beyond incredible! Creamy, garlicky, cheesy, rich and loaded with shrimp. If there is anything left over you can use it as a topping on baked fish as well, which I did! Still incredible. If you don’t like shrimp or garlic stay away. Once you start eating this you can’t stop either so be prepared. The first time I made it we had a friend over for cocktails and snacks, this friend is a chef by the way. He was blown away by it. So it’s officially my new dip. It is best served with tortilla chips or pita chips. Even thin crostini would be great or crackers. I used greek yogurt cream cheese the first time I made it. It’s a mix of greek yogurt with cream cheese and less calories than regular cream cheese. But it’s just as good with regular cream cheese which I used the 2nd time. The recipe also calls for a shallot, which I didn’t have the first time I made it so I used 1/2 of a vidalia sweet onion. I also used light mayonnaise but feel free to use regular.

Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

INGREDIENTS:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese of choice (cut up into cubes)

10-12 oz. medium cooked shrimp, chopped into chunks. (2-3 chunks per shrimp)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped

2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (feel free to use more cheese also)

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic (more if you like a lot of garlic!)

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Basil leaf for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet, melt the butter at medium-high heat. Toss in the shrimp, spinach, shallot and garlic.

Stir gently until the shallot is translucent and the spinach is wilted. This should take about 5 minutes, making sure all the ingredients are heated through.

Remove from the heat and add in the lemon juice.

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and the cream cheese and mix well.

Put mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. 8×8 or larger. Anything is good as long as it’s large enough to hold it all. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Top should be lightly browned and bubbling.

Garnish with a basil leave. Serve hot/warm!

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

As promised, here is a recipe I made for pizza with a cauliflower crust. I was at a Weight Watchers meeting a couple of weeks ago and I heard someone mention making a pizza crust with cauliflower. I was intrigued! My husband is doing his Atkins thing, again,  so he’s avoiding bread like the plague. I however still want my bread! But to be nice I researched the alternatives using cauliflower. Now I will say, it’s not like normal pizza crust. It’s not bread! But, it is still really good! I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome and my husband loved it. So I guess it was a success. I have made it twice now so it’s a keeper for sure.  And for those of you out there crinkling up your noses, it doesn’t taste like cauliflower! Honest! It is a little soft but hardens a bit when it starts to cool out of the oven. 

Made with crumbled chicken sausage

Made with crumbled chicken sausage & cheddar cheese topping

What I really like about this is you can put anything you want on it to make it a pizza. I used chicken sausage, some tomato sauce and some cheese. Incredibly delicious! So be daring, make some cauliflower crust pizza today! It’s worth it! Honestly the hardest part is shredding/chopping the cauliflower. Don’t be scared. It’s a taste sensation!

Crust before baking

Crust before baking

Ingredients:

2-3 Cups shredded or finely chopped cauliflower (I used my shredder attachment on the food processor)

2-3 large eggs, if they are on the small size of large, use 3, beaten

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1½ teaspoon fennel (this really makes a difference, I didn’t use it the 1st time but did the 2nd time, so invest in a jar)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder (more if you desire!)

Directions:

1: Finely chop, shred or rice cauliflower until you have 2-3 cups of cauliflower. Add the eggs and shredded cheese.

2. Add the spices and mix well.

3. Press the mixture into a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t fill up the entire sheet, mine didn’t the first time I made it) First time I used a cookie sheet. Second time I used a stoneware baking sheet. I think the cookie sheet worked better. It’s up to you though.

(Make sure it’s as flat as you can get it with no holes showing through.)

4. Bake at 450º for about 20 minutes. If it is starting to brown and crisp on the edges it’s good. You can cook a little longer if you want.

5. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Be careful with sauce, don’t over-sauce as it will make the crust too soggy. I used about ½ cup sauce and spread it thin over the crust. I topped it with chopped chicken sausage and part-skim mozzarella. Use whatever you want!!

6. Bake until brown and cheese is bubbly! (about another 5-10 minutes, just keep an eye on it)

Makes about 8 servings

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

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.

Saucy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

Well it has been much longer than I had anticipated for posting a new recipe. But as we all know, life can get pretty busy sometimes. But it’s no excuse. I have so many recipes I need to post so I’m starting with the one I made just last night. I posted the photo on Facebook and had a few requests for the recipe so here it is.

This recipe started out with me making my Buttery Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings. Then I thought maybe I should try something slightly different. I had a bit of marinara sauce in the fridge, really it was only about 2 ounces, but I figured it would come in handy and it did. I added it to my recipe and tweaked it a bit and came up with a new flavor. They were delicious. No leftovers here!

Quick note about the chicken wings I use. In the past I have bought Tyson uncooked wings or Perdue. But they can be very pricey. Then I switched to Great Value (Walmart). Not bad. But now I am using only the wings I have purchased at a store we just discovered, Save-a-lot. A 4 lb bag costs about $6.00! And the wings are huge! Most of the other brands were have the size for more money! And they are delicious! 

Ingredients

20-24 chicken wings, frozen or thawed (flats/drumsticks)

4 tablespoons butter or butter substitute (I use I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter)

8-10 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 ounces marinara sauce or whatever red sauce you may have around. Plain tomato sauce is good too.

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (we use Locatelli Romano)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF. (I have a convection option on my oven and I use convection roast)
  2. On a large cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan lay out the wings. They can touch and crowd each other because they do shrink a little.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes for frozen. Flip every 10-15 minutes or so. If using thawed, reduce cook time. Bake to desired crispness.
  4. Meanwhile in a food processor place garlic, olive oil, basil and oregano. Pulse until garlic is finely minced.
  5. Add butter to small saucepan and melt on low heat (careful not to burn). When melted add the garlic mixture and red pepper flakes and cook till heated.
  6. When wings are done remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl. (You can blot up some of the chicken grease with paper towels if you like also)
  7. Add the cheese to the garlic mixture and add to the wings in bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Return wings to pan, sauce and all and bake another 5-10 minutes but keep an eye on it. You don’t want all the sauce to dry up.
  9. Return to bowl you mixed them in and serve. Or if you want a pretty presentation put on a platter.

Serve with bleu cheese and celery/carrot sticks!

Zucchini Quiche

Now before you think this is just another boring Quiche, think again! This recipe is one of the most incredibly moist, creamy and delicious Quiche recipes I’ve ever made. It was originally a Weight Watchers recipe that I changed a bit. My version came out incredible. My husband loved it and I can’t wait to make it again. The wonderful thing about it is that there is no cream, no milk, no half-and-half at all in this recipe! It is pretty low-calorie and yet tastes so decadent that you’d never believe it good for you! Well it is. A great recipe to make ahead and freeze too! The original recipe was for ‘mini Quiche’. It was supposed to make 48 little tiny Quiche type bites. Great for a brunch or breakfast. I chose not to do that and we had it for dinner. And breakfast, and lunch. You will not miss the crust. Who needs all those extra useless calories! Crust just covers up the taste and creaminess of the Quiche! The Quiche was so fluffy I was amazed. Usually when I make something like this it falls and flattens when it cools a bit. Not this recipe! 

A side note, I have also gone back to Weight Watchers for what seems like the 20th time. I had to make a change. Couldn’t go on just eating everything in sight and expecting the weight to stay off. So I am back on track. In three weeks I have already shed 5.2 lbs and I’m not stopping till I get where I want to be. It’s a good thing all around. But don’t worry, my recipes won’t all be Weight Watcher recipes or “diet” recipes. But they will be leaning toward the healthier and leaner type stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up my cocktails either, so when I find another great one, I will share! Now if I could just figure out a way to exercise while blogging…hmmm…

Ok here is the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

cooking spray

2 medium uncooked zucchini, peeled and shredded

3 shallots finely chopped (or one small onion chopped)

3-4 cloves garlic chopped

1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese

6 large eggs

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup basil, fresh, finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

OMG So incredibly creamy and delicious!

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a glass or non-stick Quiche pan or round casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour into prepared dish.
  • Bake until bottom is golden brown and Quiche is cooked through. (I cooked it 30-45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes. Make sure it’s not too loose and watery.)
  • Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. The Quiche will continue to set up.

Makes 6-8 servings.