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Shrimp Scampi

Finally, the weather is catching up to the changing seasons. April is upon us and while it started out rather dreary, it’s starting to grow warmer, days later, and sun shining stronger. A perfect example of this is getting sunburnt just sitting out in the sun for one hour. Literally, ONE hour. I digress. Part of my journey this week for fish week is to try out new recipes that I have been yearning to try, which obviously includes shrimp. We had a slight mishap with flounder (which went rancid way too quickly…) and so I resorted to shrimp a day early.

Shrimp is one of those proteins that I feared cooking with. I always get nervous about over-cooking it, or under-cooking so that it’s practically raw. This was my moment, to try and make shrimp that tastes really delicious in a sauce I know I can make with my eyes closed: Shrimp Scampi. The amount of butter, garlic, and lemon juice used for this recipe may sound like a lot, but in fact, with the shrimp on a low simmer in the scampi sauce, the results were perfect. Tender pieces of shrimp, cooked to perfection, with a side of broccoli rabe and on a bed of Banza rice (we all know my obsession with Banza. If you haven’t tried Banza yet, you can find it here!)

I started making this dish by defrosting shrimp in the sink as I went to work. I was actually very surprised to see that when I came back, the house didn’t smell like shrimp, which already meant I was winning. I rinsed the shrimp and decided to cut it into smaller pieces, I tossed the shrimp with salt and set it aside. In a large pan, I added two tablespoons of butter and layered the shrimp into the pan, heat medium. I let the shrimp sit for two minutes then flipped over, adding in chopped garlic.

I continued to cook the shrimp and toss with the garlic, butter, and added in two tablespoons of lemon juice. I lowered the flame to low heat and simmered the shrimp for another three to four minutes. Simultaneously, I made my Banza rice (cooked similarly to orzo). Once the shrimp were done, I took a scoop of the rice and plated the shrimp on top, and sprinkled fresh grated Parmesan cheese for finish. I must say, this was a home run. Round two, I will be sure to add some more green, like fresh basil or parsley. NOMaste 🙂

Shrimp Scampi

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian, Seafood
Keyword butter, easy, garlic, italian, scampi, seafood, shrimp
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 15-20 medium Shrimp wild, cleaned, deveined and peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped, but not finely.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup banza rice (or regular rice)

Instructions

  1. Start by cleaning shrimp and pat dry.  Cut shrimp into smaller bite size pieces and toss with salt.  Set aside

  2. Heat a large pan on medium heat, and add the butter to melt.  Place shrimp into the pan and sear for two minutes. Turn shrimp over and continue to cook for another two minutes.

  3. Add in the chopped garlic and lemon juice.  Turn heat to low and continue to cook the shrimp, tossing and flipping regularly.  Let simmer for five minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, prep Banza rice or regular rice as package indicates.  Take some of the scampi sauce and mix with the rice.  Layer shrimp on top of the rice and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Pan Seared Salmon with a Lemon Yogurt Dill sauce.

It’s fish week! No, for those inquiring, this does not mean I dress as a shark and go swim in the ocean. “Fish week” is a week where I test recipes all focused on various fish. I happen to love (most) fish, but didn’t always. I loathed, like LOATHED fish when I was growing up. When my grandmother made salmon I would get violently mad, cry, and stomp my feet. No joke. I’m not really sure when the transition happened, but I started to grow fond of fish; coincidentally liking probably the most fishiest one of all: salmon. Up until a few years ago, I had no clue how to make it. What happens if it sticks to the pan? Do I start by cooking it on the flesh side? Skin side? How long does it cook? The beauty of cooking is all about trying things out, and if you fail, try again. Tonight was a perfect example of trial and error, and being patient with heat.

Whenever I can, I buy wild fish. The reason? Wild fish are never caught and farmed with antibiotics or feed that is contaminated or in pellet form. Wild fish are packed with nutrients and have a very distinct dark coral color. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself here. Doing research on what you put in your body does wonders for how you spend your money, and where you shop. I am not saying go spend $300 at Whole foods every week just for 5-6 items, but be conscious of your choices, and when available, buy wild fish. Anyway, the cut I chose is the Chinook, or King salmon. I like the flavor better than Sockeye, as it is more subtle and takes on flavor easier. I started by lathering the salmon with avocado oil and bulletproof brain octane (more high quality fats, aids in brain function, cognitive development, and weight loss). I sprinkled salt and pepper and let sit. *I should have added more salt and pepper but that’s for trial #2 next week*

In the meantime, I created my dill sauce. I LOVE dill. The color, the smell, the texture, and flavor bring back many memories for me. I know lots fo people do not like this herb, but trust me, paired with salmon it tastes really great. The sauce is easy:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sprigs of dill (chopped)

Mix together and set aside. Now comes the even easier, but patient part: cooking the salmon. Start with a hot pan on medium heat, add a drop of oil. Add the salmon skin-side down to crisp the skin. Let sit for around 10 minutes, then check under the skin to see if it comes up easily. If not let sit for two more minutes. When it can come off the pan, flip onto the flesh side for approximately five minutes. Turn heat off and plate the salmon and spoon some of the yogurt sauce on the salmon, to taste. Paired with your favorite veggies (mine: brussel sprouts – recipe here!) and you’re ready for a super healthy, and delicious meal! NOMaste. Fish week, night one, SUCCESS!

Fried Cauliflower (and dipping sauce)

One of my very first jobs out of college was a hostess at Applebee’s, and eventually becoming a server. It was one of the jobs that I hated and loved at the same time. I loved getting to talk to guests and making decent tips by up-selling a beer or an appetizer (or “For 2.99 more you can get shrimp on your steak”). It was pain in the you-know-what when we were packed and every table was sat, but if you were “cut,” you still had to wait for the tables to ask for the check, pay, and leave. Nevertheless, it taught me a lot about customer service, kindness, and was my first dabble in the culinary world.

You might ask, “Well Morgan, how does this connect to cauliflower.” I mean, it really doesn’t, but whenever I left Applebee’s I would smell like a mozzarella stick or a boneless wing, which are fried goodness. The new craze now is fried eggplant, zucchini, and yes, cauliflower. I wonder if Applebee’s is following the cauliflower bandwagon nowadays. Anyway, cauliflower is one of the most nutrient-dense and low-carb vegetables you could eat. It’s versatile and easy to cook, which is also a plus. Cauliflower, like broccoli, are members of the cruciferous vegetables family, meaning it helps with digestion and inflammation. I bet you didn’t know you were getting a nutrition lesson here huh? #boom.

Frying cauliflower is new to me, and so I wanted to make this recipe simple and easy to do. This recipe only calls for four ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour (of choice – I prefer cassava, but wanted to finish up my AP Flour)
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying (I used EVOO – I prefer not to cook with canola or vegetable, other than olive.)

Start by cutting the cauliflower into florets, whether small or large is your prerogative. Crack three eggs into a bowl and whisk. Pour the flour into a separate bowl and begin the assembly line. Pour the oil into a pot (I used an entire bottle) and heat it up, using a thermometer to gauge the temp: the oil should reach around 350* to start frying.

Dip the cauliflower into the egg-wash, then into the flour, and set on a plate. Repeat until all of the cauliflower has been coated with both the egg and then the flour. Fry in batches of 10-12 florets at a time, placing them on a plate with lined paper towel to absorb excess oil. Season with salt as you go.

I also made a dip, but won’t take credit for it as it was from a recipe book by Yotam Ottolenghi:

  • 3 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

The cauliflower comes out beautifully browned, crisp, and tender on the inside. Go ahead and dredge the cauliflower into the dip and you’ve got a delectable appetizer, and you absolutely do not have to share! NOMaste 🙂

Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Chili

Happy April! It’s literally feeling more and more like spring, even if it was relatively cold outside today. The flowers are budding, the birds are chirping, and I cannot wait for the warmer weather to fill my apartment with spring air. March came and went in a snap, and I feel like it had its ups and downs with weather, which always causes colds, sniffles, and questions of “what is appropriate for dinner?” I will always be the first one to opt for something quick and easy, and making a chili in the crockpot is no exception.

This was my first time ever making a chicken chili. It definitely has a different feel to it than a traditional beef or turkey chili, and I have to say I really loved it. It was a good balance of spicy and savory, from the chipotle powder to the sweet corn kernels, this is something everyone can enjoy, and did well as a lunch leftover.

I started by rinsing two large chicken breasts and laying them flat in the slow cooker. I measured out about 2-3 tbsp each of dried basil, dried thyme, chipotle powder. cumin, onion powder, garlic, powder. Then I took some red pepper flakes and added them to the mix. Sprinkled in some salt and pepper, then added crushed tomatoes (my personal favorite) and The New Primal Classic marinade (you can find this here!).

I mixed everything together then poured in a can of cannellini (white) beans and a can of sweet corn. Stirred again, placed the top on the slow cooker and set the setting to low cook for 6 hours.

Feel free to top with cheddar cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt, or eat over some sweet potato (maybe fries?) NOMaste:)

Herbed Baked Sweet Potato Fries (with garlic aioli)

When I was younger, I was always told that sweet potatoes were unhealthy. The reason? Because they are sweet. I’m sorry, what? I could have doughnuts, and all sorts of things, but sweet potatoes were made on occasion. It was the craziest notion. Sweet potatoes happen to be on incredible tuber and phenomenal for weight loss and overall health. They are packed with vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, and magnesium. Sure, they are on the starchy side, but sweet potato, especially sweet potato fries, are certainly a great addition to your eating lifestyle.

This recipe is incredibly simple and doesn’t require much prep. Sweet potato fries became more popular most recently in the last 15 years or so, around the same time that studies came out saying “sweet potatoes are good to eat!” because why would anyone not do research on their own…. *shoulder shrug*

Making homemade sweet potato fries may not taste like a restaurant, especially because most restaurants fry their potatoes or bake them coated in flour. This batch only calls for a toss of avocado oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and fresh ground rosemary. What are fries without a sauce to dip in? Whipping up a garlic aioli is super simple too, using mayo, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.

The result are beautifully baked, tasty fries paired with a delicious dipping sauce. I can’t wait to try different seasonings and combinations. NOMaste 🙂

Herbed Baked Sweet Potato Fries (with garlic aioli)

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword aioli, baked, fries, garlic, herbed, sweet potato
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

For the fries

  • 2 medium Sweet potatoes rinsed, sliced, then sliced into fries
  • 3 tbsp Avocado oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • dried rosemary to taste

For the aioli

  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste

Instructions

For the sweet potato fries

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Begin by rinsing and slicing the sweet potatoes into fry shape.

  2. Toss the fries in avocado oil and season with dried rosemary.  Bake for 20 minutes.  For the last few minutes turn the oven to “Broil”

  3. Let sit for a few minutes, then season with sea salt.

For the aioli

  1. Take two tbsp of mayonnaise, one tbsp of garlic and mix together in a bowl.  Add in salt and lemon juice.  Continue to mix until all ingredients are combined.