Quick & Easy Shrimp Dinner!

Things have been pretty quiet around here (again). Whoops. Let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about fast, easy dinners instead.

Thanks to Zaycon, I have a stockpile of shrimp in the freezer. And since shrimp thaws and cooks quickly, it’s perfect for nights when I really don’t have much of a game plan for dinner. (Which, if I’m being honest, are happening more often than I’d like to admit lately. I need to get back on the meal-planning wagon.)  Anyway…

I found this recipe in an old issue of Everyday Food, and it met all of my criteria for the evening:

  1. Cooks in less than 30 minutes.
  2. Dirties minimal dishes.
  3. Uses everyday pantry items.

Win-win-win. Oh, and it tasted good! That should go without saying though. I’m not going to share something that doesn’t taste good. 😉

Potatoes are one of my favorite things, but I would have never thought to pair them with shrimp (or curry powder) before. The potatoes get extra crispy, which is my favorite part, and the curry adds the right amount of spice and flavor. Since I don’t own a nonstick skillet, I used my cast iron skillet with no problems, which shouldn’t surprise anyone by now.


Shrimp with Scallions and Crispy Potatoes

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 baking potatoes, approximately 1 pound, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons curry powder
coarse salt and pepper

In a large skillet (nonstick or cast iron), heat two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and crispy, which should take about 12-15 minutes. Add the scallion whites to the pan and cook for one minute more. Scoop the scallion-potato mixture out of the pan and onto a plate. Set aside.

Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan, and then add the shrimp and curry powder to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about two or three minutes. Slide the potato-scallion mixture back into the skillet and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and then top with the scallion greens. Serve immediately.

From Everyday Food, November 2008

Click here for a printable version.

A Pleasant Surprise

I’m always on the lookout for a new way to prepare salmon. It’s Andy’s favorite fish. It’s quick and healthy, and I have quite the stockpile* in the freezer. I have a couple favorites, but like I’ve said before, I’d rather not eat the same thing all of the time. One of my on-going goals is to try more recipes from my cookbooks and magazines (because there’s no point in keeping them if I’m never going to use them), so when I saw this recipe in an old Taste of Home issue, I added it to the menu.

I have to admit, I didn’t have high expectations for dinner tonight. It would be quick (a must for Monday nights around here), easy and healthy. I figured we’d eat dinner and then move on to the dessert in the fridge (leftover peanut butter pie). I mean, this is just salmon with some garlic and herbs, right? Where’s the wow factor in that?

OK, so I was wrong. It happens occasionally. 😉

This was really good. I think we were both a little surprised at how much we liked it. The herb/garlic flavor was delicious, and I’m sure it would be even better with fresh herbs. Plus, it was done in almost no time. I think the only thing I’d do differently is to grease the baking sheet. I skipped that step (even though the recipe said to do it) since I lined the pan with aluminum foil. The skin ended up sticking to the foil, so learn from my mistakes. And don’t discount a recipe just because it doesn’t look like anything special. 🙂


Herb Roasted Salmon

4 6-ounce salmon fillets, with the skin on
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the baking pan
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease the foil with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Place the fillets, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the garlic/herb mixture over the salmon fillets.

Bake until the fish tests “done,” about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

From Taste of Home, December 2013

Click here for a printable version.

*My sister-in-law, Kim, introduced me to Zaycon Fresh more than a year ago. They’re a great place to buy meat in bulk, and we’ve been really happy with both the salmon and chicken breasts. I’m trying the bacon next. (We buy our beef from a local butcher/farmer, but since we’re just a *few* miles away from the ocean, buying local salmon isn’t an option.) In the spirit of full disclosure, Zaycon has no idea that I’m writing about them. I haven’t been compensated for this at all – it’s just my own two cents on the matter.

Zaycon does reward people for referring others to them, so if you were interested in signing up through my referral link, I would get a credit on my account for the next time I need fish. 🙂 Of course, then you can refer your own friends and family and benefit every time they order. Or, you can disregard the referral link and do things on your own. Totally your call. 🙂 

Back in the Swing of Things

I’ll be the first to admit that I couldn’t wait to get back into my kitchen after vacation. Having all of my knives, my oven AND running water was like a dream come true after two weeks of boiling water over a camp stove before washing the dishes.

This chowder was the first new dish I made after we got back. I’d had it on my “to try” list for quite a while, but somehow, I never got around to actually making it. (Probably because we devour our sweet corn before it has a chance to become an ingredient.) And since we came home to some very fall-like weather, soup seemed like the perfect way to get back into the kitchen. Let’s do a quick recap of what this recipe has going for it:

  1. It uses up stray CSA ingredients. (We only had three ears of sweet corn… this kept us from fighting over who would get the third ear.) 
  2. It’s quick and easy.
  3. It’s filling, without being too heavy of a soup. I only made half a batch (which is what I’m sharing below), and we got two days’ worth of lunches out of the deal!
  4. It knocks one more recipe off my ever-growing “things to try” list.
  5. BACON. Enough said. 😀


Corn & Shrimp Chowder with Bacon

3 ears of sweet corn, husked
4 slices of bacon (OK, so I used the full amount of bacon. That just ensures that there will be 2 slices to actually go in the soup, since it’s inevitable that some will mysteriously disappear before the soup is done.) 
4 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2″ chunks
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound large uncooked shrimped, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper, to taste

Stand an ear of corn up in a large, wide bowl. Using a paring knife, cut the kernels off the cob. When the kernels have all been sliced off, take a spoon and scrape the pulp into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining ears of corn.

In a large saucepan or stock pot, cook the bacon slices until crisp. Remove from the pan and allow to drain on a paper towel. Crumble slices into bite-sized pieces.

Drain off some of the bacon grease, leaving about two tablespoons in the bottom of the pan. Add the white parts of the scallions and the chopped potatoes to the pan with the bacon grease and cook over medium high heat. Cook until potatoes begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, or until it begins to brown (but not burn).

Pour the milk into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Stir in 1 cup of water, the Old Bay and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 10 minutes.

Add the corn, shrimp and scallion greens to the pot. Cook until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat. Ladle soup into bowls and serve garnished with bacon pieces.

From Everyday Food, July 2009

Click here for a printable version.

Shrimp & Squash

We interrupt your regularly scheduled stream of bread, cookies, cakes and other desserts to bring you my go-to recipe for spaghetti squash. Yes, here in the middle of a sugar-and-carb fest here on the blog, we have proof that we actually eat something healthy once in a while. (I promise, Mom, we are eating our veggies. I’m just not taking pictures of our veggies right now. Wait till our CSA starts again.) 

I found this recipe more out of necessity than anything else. We received a spaghetti squash (either in our CSA or from our neighbors; I can’t remember which), and I was at a loss for what to do with it. In spite of its name, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to use it as a substitute for pasta. I mean, that’s just setting us up for failure. Expecting a squash to taste like white pasta? Please. Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we, and just embrace spaghetti squash for what it is.

Thankfully, Everyday Food came through for me, and this recipe has become my favorite way to prepare spaghetti squash. In spite of the long roasting time, this is one of my “busy night” dinners. I slice the squash (OK, I get Andy to do that. Last time I tried, I got the knife stuck in the squash.) and leave it in the oven with the “time bake” feature set to begin about an hour before I get home from work. And since shrimp both defrost and cook quickly, all I have left to do is roast the shrimp and shred the squash. Bam! Dinner’s ready in under 20 minutes. How’s that for time management?


Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp

1 large spaghetti squash, halved
2-3 cloves of garlic
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (The original recipe calls for an entire pound of shrimp, which always seems like a lot to me, so I use half the amount of shrimp. I simply cut the cooked shrimp into chunks, which then makes it go twice as far!)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
fresh parsley, chopped (I’ll be the first to admit that I sub dried parsley if I don’t have the fresh stuff on hand.)
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop the seeds from the squash. Season the squash halves with salt and pepper, then place cut side down in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Tuck a garlic clove underneath each squash half. Pour 3/4 cup water in the pan. Place squash in the oven and roast until fork tender, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the shrimp. Leave the oven on.

Toss the shrimp with one tablespoon olive oil, one crushed garlic clove and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until firm and opaque, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven.

While shrimp is baking, use two forks to shred the squash into thin “spaghetti-like” strands. Shred the squash in a large mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice and remaining olive oil.

Chop the cooked shrimp into halves, then toss cooked shrimp and any pan juices with the squash. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

From Everyday Food Magazine, December 2009

Click here for a printable version!

Say Cheese!

When Andy’s out of town, one of two things happen. Either I’m busy with friends and not home to make dinner, or I seize an opportunity to try something that I’m not 100% sure he’ll be on board with. This lunch started out as one of those “not so sure” meals, but after making it, I know that he’ll like it. It’s got shrimp (yum), two cheeses (double yum) and one of my favorite flavor combinations – cumin/garlic/lime.

The recipe itself was pretty basic, so I added some veggies to the filling and marinated the shrimp for some extra kick. And using both cheddar and pepper jack cheese toned the heat down to a level that I think Andy could tolerate.

Another bonus? I now have half an avocado just waiting to be devoured. Yum.

Mmmm... cheesy. I meant to put cilantro in them, but I completely forgot about until about 3 hours later.

Shrimp & Cheese Quesadillas

4 oz. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
lime juice from half a lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
dash worchestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch salt and pepper
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pepper
1/8 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup salsa
4 flour tortillas

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cumin, cayenne, oil, worchestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and stir to coat. Set aside.

While the shrimp is marinating, shred the cheese and chop the veggies. After 15 minutes (or whenever you’re done with the chopping), preheat a grill pan* over medium heat. Place the shrimp on the pan and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, flipping them with a pair of tongs after 3-4 minutes. When the shrimp are fully cooked, remove them from the heat (keep the grill pan warm and ready!). Coarsely chop the shrimp and prepare for assembly!

Lay one tortilla face down and layer with a handful of cheese. Add the shrimp, onions and peppers, and then top with a few avocado slices. Spread a spoonful of salsa over the filling, and then place a tortilla on top. Place the completed quesadilla on the hot grill pan and let cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Carefully (I use my biggest spatula and the smallest tortilla for this to work) flip the quesadilla over to cook the other side. After about 2 more minutes (time may vary, watch so it doesn’t burn), your quesadilla should be done! Fill the remaining tortilla and cook on the grill pan.

*Alternatively, you could cook the shrimp in a small skillet and then the quesadilla on a panini press. This would eliminate the unpredictable, messy step of trying to flip a quesadilla. Since I don’t own one, I keep trying to master the art of flipping the tortillas without losing my filing. 

Adapted from Kraft Food & Family Magazine