Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter


So I know it’s been a while again since my last post, but what can I say….. I just get busy and unfortunately my blog and even making new recipes in general takes a back seat for a while.  But I always come back!  I left off with my first installment of a new project called Kids in the Kitchen, and though I haven’t had time to fit in another between busy school schedules, mini vacations and illnesses it’s still on my to-do list so be watching for that!  In the meantime I am hoping things have settled down enough that I can focus on making new and, in keeping with my current mindset of eating lighter and losing some of this holiday weight, healthier recipes.

First up on the menu is this Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter.  I will share my technique/recipe below, but this is one of those great recipes that has a lot of versatility.  All you’re doing is preparing a piece of salmon and mixing whatever flavors you want into some butter to top it off.  Super simple.  I served this with some grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and some smashed potatoes.  This was my first time trying smashed potatoes and all I can say is now I am a believer!  So good, with a crispy outside, seasoned just right, and soft in the middle….. but let’s get back to the salmon lol.

I will admit, I have struggled to cook salmon in the past.  It’s not particularly hard, but cooking fish in general takes practice to get it done right where you get that nice crust on top and the fish is nicely cooked through.  I have either had it stick in my pan, or ended up with somewhat undercooked fish in the middle of a nice thick piece of fish.  With time, however, I have gotten the hang of it.  Although I switched over to stainless steel cookware some time ago to cut down on my use of non-stick and their chemicals. fish is something I pretty much always use nonstick for.  Specifically, I use a a Rachel Ray Anodized Nonstick skillet and it works beautifully for giving me a nice crust, but avoiding the dreaded stick.  Another very important tip when cooking fish to ensure it doesn’t stick and gets great crust is to leave it alone once you have placed it in the pan.  It may be tempting to lift the edges to check, or slide it around to see if it’s sticking but don’t.  Trust me.  And don’t forget to use oil or butter or something to grease your pan.  Once it’s done on one side according to your recipe’s directions flip it once and again leave it alone til it’s time to come out.  It also helps to take your fish out a few minutes early to bring the temp up just a bit before you start, and make sure it’s dry…. especially if you are cooking with previously frozen fish.  Of course, as with pretty much all food, seasoning is important, so don’t forget to season before you place it in the pan!

Now that we talked a bit about cooking a nice piece of salmon, let’s talk about the butter…. as I mentioned it’s a versatile method.  You could put whatever herbs or seasonings in this you like.  The butter will melt beautifully over the warm fish and give that richness that takes a boring piece of fish to a whole new level, imparting the flavors you incorporated at the same time.  For this recipe I used some fresh chives, dill, garlic, lemon and some salt and pepper.  It’s important to start with room temperature butter for this, so don’t forget to take it out in advance.  You could even make the butter in advance and either use it hard from the fridge, or take it out a little before for a softer butter…. and any leftovers can be used on other meats, bread, or whatever sounds good to you.

As a natural casualty to having to photograph my food before I can eat it my salmon had cooled a bit while I was setting up so my butter wasn’t melting over it right away as I would have liked for the photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

Ingredients :

  • salmon fillets (about a lb) * I used salmon with the skin
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. butter, at room temp * I just eyeballed how much butter so this is estimation
  • drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tsp. perhaps)
  • fresh chives, chopped (about 1 tsp. or so)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tsp or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste (separate from the salt and pepper above)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving with the fish)

Directions :

  1.  Make your butter first.  To your room temp butter add your herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest (by preference but about a tsp or so), and some salt and pepper.  Using a small spatula sort of stir/whip it up until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead put back in the fridge.  You can either use it straight from the fridge later on, or let it warm up just a bit so it’s a little softer.
  2. Prepare you salmon.  If you are using previously frozen salmon be sure to pat dry before you start.  Season your salmon with a bit of salt and pepper (I like to use coarse salt when seasoning meat).  If you are using salmon with skin you don’t need to season that side, but if not I would suggest doing both sides.
  3. Heat the T. of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  If using skin-on salmon place it in your pan skin UP so you get the nice crust from that first bit of heat on the top of your fish first.  Once you have set your fish in your pan DON’T TOUCH IT for about 4-5 minutes.  You see the fish start to turn opaque towards the middle and the edges will start to brown.  Flip it and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Of course the cook-time depends on the thickness of your fish, so take that into consideration, and watch for the fish to become opaque all the way through.
  4. Remove from pan and top with a dollop of your prepared butter.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note : Amounts for the herbs in the butter are estimations and I encourage you to use more or less to your tastes.  I like a nice punch of flavor and likely used more than stated above.

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Pasta with Shrimp, Lime & Saffron


Whenever I make a dish with fish or shellfish in it I just feel like I am eating better.  Obviously that is not always the case, but generally I do feel it holds some truth.  Fish and shellfish are both very low calorie and fat, and generally are prepared in ways that keep things light and fresh.  Despite the large amount of olive oil in this dish (but keeping in mind olive oil IS good for you lol) I do feel like this is a pretty light, yet satisfying dish.  The nice fresh, slightly sweet taste of the shrimp pairs perfectly with the bright tangy and spicy sauce.

Let’s talk about saffron for a minute.  It is the most expensive spice on the market and most people have probably never tried it.  It is actually the stigma of a certain type of crocus.  It lends a sort of sweetness to a dish, and a little goes a LONG way.  When you buy it you often get a tiny amount and you really only need a few threads for a dish.  If you just can’t justify spending so much on a spice, I think this dish would still be a winner without it, but if you’re curious definitely give a shot!  It will probably last you a long time because not many dishes call for it.  A tip I found for dispersing the flavor more evenly in your dish is to soak the threads for about 5 minutes in a teaspoon of warm water or white wine to then be used in your dish.

The recipe I followed actually had a slightly different name (Pasta with Scampi, Lime & Saffron), but I don’t think it’s correct.  When I think of scampi I think of shrimp cooked in a garlic butter sauce, and there is no butter in this dish.  There is however a good deal of garlic.  Don’t shy away from it, it’s not nearly as intense as it seems lol.  I used a shallot as my onion for a more mild onion flavor.  The recipe was also originally written for a full lb box of pasta, but I used a bit less (11oz).  I didn’t end up needing any pasta water to thin my sauce out, but don’t forget to hang on to it just in case.  The recipe I followed called for Nolly Pratt, but I have no idea what that is (however they referenced white wine in the article so that’s what I went with), instead I used a chardonnay.  And, as always, if you can get your hands on some nice fresh shrimp that would definitely be best.  However frozen is fine too.  I wanted to leave the tails on for a prettier picture, but the part of me that can’t stand food that is a hassle to eat won in this case.

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Pasta with Shrimp, Lime, & Saffron

Ingredients :

  • 12 oz. linguine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 18 medium sized shrimp (about a lb)
  • 1 onion finely chopped (or shallot)
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 100 ml white wine
  • few strands of saffron (remember a little goes a long way)
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 sliced green onions
  • black and white sesame seeds for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Clean, devein, and prepare shrimp how you like them.  Salt and pepper them.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat with a bit of your oil and cook shrimp on each side for about a minute and set aside.  They should be mostly cooked through because they won’t cook much longer after this, but remember shrimp are easy to over-cook.
  3. Add the rest of your oil to the skillet and saute onions for a few minutes until softened.  Add garlic, chili flakes and saffron (on medium so your garlic doesn’t burn) and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add white wine, and scrape any bits off the bottom of your pan.  Bump it back up to medium-high and let it simmer for a couple minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and reserve some of the starchy pasta water to thin your sauce as needed.
  6. Add to your pan the chopped parsley, lime zest, lime juice, green onions, and drained pasta.  Add a little of the pasta water at this time (only if necessary) as well.
  7. Add your shrimp, toss to coat, and heat through… make sure your shrimp are now fully cooked through.
  8. Garnish with a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds and a wedge of lime.

Recipe from My Kitchen Treasures

 

 

Mediterranean Pasta


This was another fantastic dish.  Judging by the ingredients I didn’t expect it to be as flavorful as it was.  While I am all for eating healthier, I will admit that at times I find the food to be a bit on the bland side.  There wasn’t much in this recipe that made me think it would be otherwise, and especially in regards to the sauce.  But somehow, when you put these simple things together, magic happens and as I said, there is an abundance of great flavor.  There is a nice not of heat from the chili flakes, plenty of freshness from the lemon and basil, and a great Mediterranean flavor blend from the garlic, artichokes, capers, and sundried tomatoes.  It’s just another added bonus that this dish is so healthy for you!

For the pasta, I suggest using something like Barilla Plus.  It has the health benefits of other whole wheat pastas, but resembles white pasta more closely in texture and appearance which makes it a bit more enjoyable.  I used regular spaghetti because it’s the size I had on hand, although the recipe calls for thin.  I really don’t think it matters.  For the artichokes I used marinated hearts from a jar, and I used sundried tomatoes packed in oil to save time.  I just squeeze as much oil off them as I can before cutting them up.

As you can see from the picture, this is also a beautiful dish with all the colors.  As you know, I am a firm believer in the enjoyment of foods based on not only how they taste, but also how they look!  This one was so good, and so simple I think I will be making it again soon!

 

Mediterranean Pasta

Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 8 oz. multigrain thin spaghetti
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. red chili flakes (I think I used about 1/3 tsp.)
  • 1 (9oz) pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or canned)
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 T. grated parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Place the sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and soak them in warm water to soften them.  If using tomatoes packed in oil, you can skip this step. 
  2. To make the sauce, stir the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest and flour together in a bowl.  Set aside. 
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti.  Cook according to package directions, until al dente.  Drain and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water. 
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook without moving it until it is browned on one side, about 3 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and cook on the other side until browned.  Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining teaspoon oil.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir the sauce mixture and pour it into the pan.  Stir to pick up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Drain the sundried tomatoes and slice them.  Add them to the pan along with the artichokes, capers and chicken.  Simmer for a few minutes to allow the ingredients to heat up and the flavors to meld.  Add the pasta along with the basil and cheese.  Toss to combine all ingredients well.  Add some of the reserved pasta water as needed until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

Recipe from The Foodie Physician

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Cheesy Spinach & Bacon Quesadillas


I started with a recipe tonight for these, but altered the already small ingredients list enough times that I think it is no longer the same recipe, so I will just share mine instead.  I was sort of concerned before making these that not only would there not be enough filling for each quesadilla (compared to past quesadillas we’ve made), but that we’d be hungry still after eating them as our dinner tonight.  It’s a fine line some nights to come up with a dish that is low enough in calories for my dietary needs while still being filling, but also high enough and filling for my husband as well who gets a lot more calories a day than me.  Quesadillas are a pretty light meal in general, but just looking at the ingredient amounts I was concerned these would be even more so.  It turns out that I was wrong, and these were more than satisfying.  I actually started to feel pretty satisfied after one to tell you the truth, but I managed to eat that second one somehow lol.

The flavor on these is awesome.  The little bit of heat from the tortillas, matched with the creamy smoked flavor of the cheese, and the sweet smokey bacon and fresh spinach is just perfect.  I think serving these with a bit of sour cream would be even better, but it’s definitely not necessary if you are hoping to keep the calories down.

I want to take just a moment to talk about the bacon…. if you have never cooked your bacon in the oven you don’t know what you’re missing!  Not only is there no splatter of oil to clean up and ruin your clothes or burn you, but each piece is perfectly done with ease, and stays nice and straight and looks amazing!  Thick cut bacon works best, but you can certainly do it with any bacon you have.  You just have to watch it closely because the time in which is crisps happens so quickly.  I am going to go ahead and say every oven is different, and so is every bacon so there is no cut and dry temperature/time combo that will work best, but I will list what I used tonight as a guideline to get you started and you’ll just have to try it for yourself to find out what works best in your oven.

Cheesy Spinach & Bacon Quesadillas

Serves : 2-4                            Time to make : 10 minutes (not including bacon preparation time)

Ingredients :

  • 4 Jalapeno Cheddar Tortillas (they are large and the brand is Mission)
  • 3 oz. nonfat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded gouda
  • 8 strips of thick cut bacon, crispy
  • 1 cup of fresh baby spinach (or basically a large handful)

Directions :

  1. First make your bacon… either in the skillet if you prefer, or in the oven as mentioned above.  To make it in the oven line a large cookie (with sides) with foil and place a rack on top.  The foil should come up the sides a bit to catch all your grease for easy cleanup.  Spray rack a bit with non-stick cooking spray.  Lay bacon on rack making sure not to overlap them for the best results.  Bake in a 350 degree oven (not preheated) for about 25-30 minutes or until done, paying close attention starting around 15 minutes and flipping them once or twice for even crisping.
  2. Once bacon is done, combine the cream cheese and gouda in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for about a minute until melted stirring about halfway through.  Watch closely so it doesn’t burn or anything, but it should be fine as long as you stirred it.  You’ll end up with a sort of sticky, ball of cheese rather than a truly melted sauce.
  3. Split the cheese among the four tortillas and spread on one half of each.  Next layer on the bacon.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add about a T. of water and throw in the spinach stirring gently.  Cook just until it has wilted down a bit, and then remove it.  Layer that into your quesadillas last before folding them over into half circles.
  5. Wipe out any moisture in your skillet left from the spinach and spray with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high heat and then cook your quesadillas in there either one at a time, or if you are brave and have a large skillet go for two at a time but it will make it harder to flip them.  Again, watch closely because once they start to brown they will burn fast if you aren’t careful.  It will probably only take a minute or so for the first side to brown up and start to get crispy, then flip it and cook the other side.  Note: the other side will brown even faster so pay attention.
  6. Cut in half and serve warm.  Optional to serve with a bit of sour cream as well.

cheesyspinach&baconquesadilla

Day 119 : Spicy Thai Tuna Roll


Instead of going to the store today I decided to use up some of the stuff we already had again.  Like I’ve said before, it really helps me to use things up and waste less if I have to get creative, and that’s just what I did today.  I was pretty surprised at how it turned out, and though I think it is good as-is, I might make minor changes if I were to plan ahead for it.

For example, I would use fresh basil if given the choice, and I might choose a different cheese like monteray jack, or even different lettuce.  The addition of some finely chopped red peppers might be nice too.  For the tuna I buy these things called Tuna Sensations, and they come in various flavors.  I usually get the lemon pepper or sun-dried tomato ones and have used them in various ways in the past.  This was the first time I tried the thai one and by itself I was not impressed and almost didn’t continue to make my lunch, but after I doctored it I really did like it.  One thing I left out though was the spicy thai pepper on top, since I felt it was pretty spicy already without it.  I also took the crackers out and will just use them elsewhere.

I didn’t really measure everything so I will give estimations below.

Spicy Thai Tuna Roll

Serves : 1             Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 can Tuna Sensations Spicy Thai Chili (use crackers elsewhere)
  • 1 1/2- 2 T. mayo (however creamy you like your tuna)
  • basil, I used about 1 tsp dried, but I would use maybe 1/2-1 T. fresh or thai holy basil would be great
  • 1 T. fresh cilantro chopped
  • dry roasted peanuts, chopped (about 1-1 1/2 T.)
  • lettuce (I used spring mix) . enough for a layer on the wrap
  • low fat mozzarella, small handful
  • 1 light Flatout wrap

Directions :

  1. mix together tuna, mayo, basil, and cilantro.
  2. layer lettuce on wrap, then cheese.
  3. place the tuna towards one end about an inch or so in and just make a sort of log shape with it that almost reaches both sides.
  4. Sprinkle peanuts on top of tuna.
  5. Starting at the side with the tuna, roll up tightly and cut in half.

Day 112 : Mustard Lime Chicken & Southwest Salad


Still having computer issues so going to keep this short.  I am hoping to make it through on my actual computer tonight because it takes so long to do this on my phone!

The chicken part of this recipe is something I found on Food.com, and have made before.  It has lots of flavor and is super simple to make.  The first time we made it I served it on a regular salad and thought at the time it would also be good on a southwestern type salad so that’s what I did today.  It was more than good, it was perfect!  Full of flavor, and healthy at the same time with many “good” fats and calories.  I didn’t follow any specific recipe for the salad or measure.  I will list out the ingredients I used, and you can decide how much or little you want to use in your own.  You do need to make the marinade for the chicken ahead of time so plan for that.  Time to make will not take this into consideration.

Mustard Lime Chicken & Southwest Salad

Serves : 4                          Time to make : 25 minutes

Ingredients :

Marinade

  • 2 large chicken breasts (1.5 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Salad

  • packaged salad (about 8-10 oz, I used spring mix)
  • black beans (about half a can), rinsed and drained
  • mexican corn (about 3/4 can), drained
  • avacado, sliced or diced
  • olives (small can)
  • tomato (1-2 romas)
  • low fat mozzarella (or monteray jack)
  • tortilla chips (a generous handful), broken into pieces
  • zest of 1 lime
  • chipotle seasoning
  • smokey paprika
  • low fat honey dijon dressing (I used about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 lime, juice of
  • lime, cut into 4 wedges

Directions :

  1. Place marinade ingredients into a food processor (minus the chicken of course) and process until well blended.  Reserve a little bit in a dish, and pour the rest into a large ziplock bag along with the chicken.  Let marinade for at least an hour, or up to 6.  To cook, grill and brush reserved marinade on both sides while cooking.  Slice and allow to cool slightly.
  2. To prepare dressing for the salad, combine the honey dijon dressing with the lime zest, juice of half a lime, chipotle seasoning and paprika.  Start light on the seasonings, mix, and taste it until it’s right for you. 
  3. Combine the rest of your salad ingredients, add the chicken and dressing and toss lightly to coat. 
  4. Give each person a wedge of lime to squeeze onto their salad.  This really makes the flavors pop.

Day 91 : Shrimp w/ Feta and Orzo


This is another of those great, simple, and versatile dishes that you can have any day of the week, and any time of year.  I have made it many times now and it’s a very nice and light, fresh meal.  The original does not call for shallots or red pepper, or even garlic, but I like them so I put them in.  I also don’t stick to the exact measurements according to the original recipe… I just eyeball it and put however much I want that particular night.

The recipe says orzo, and that is usually what I use, but I decided to have a bit of fun with it tonight and try stars because I happened to find the cutest little star pasta at the store the other day.  My hopes were that Perrin would eat it…. but no such luck.  Archer LOVED it though and the size of the stars were perfect for him.  One out of two isn’t bad in my book!

Shrimp w/ Feta and Orzo

Serves : 3-4                Time to make : 15-20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 lb shrimp, cooked peeled and deveined with tails off
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, like the italian style ones
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Optional additions I have tried and enjoyed

  • 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4-1/3 cup red onion or shallots, chopped
  • more parsley and more lemon zest
  • sun-dried tomato feta

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium high heat put in tomatoes and cook until the liquid is absorbed. (I usually throw in the peppers, onions and garlic about  halfway through)
  3. Add shrimp and other ingredients (minus the feta) and heat through.  Toss in the drained pasta.
  4. Carefully toss in the feta and serve.

 

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm  Comments (1)  
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Day 89 : Crab Melts


Just another light mid-week meal tonight.  We’ve had these before, and really like them.  They are super simple to make, and as I said they are pretty light on the calories/fat if you use reduced fat versions of the ingredients.

The recipe calls for french bread, but I like to use the 100 calorie english muffins.  Not only are the perfect size, but they are only 1 pt per muffin when following weight watchers…. at least according to their old points system.  I seem to always forget to toast the english muffins first so we’ve only had them where the bread is still fairly soft, but I am sure toasted would be even better.  They are only under the broiler for a very short time at the end so if you want it toasted do it before.  The only addition I made to these was to salt and pepper to taste before spooning onto the muffins.

 

Crab Melts

Serves : 2             Time to make : 10 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup crab meat (or imitation)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayo
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 4 slices french bread, or sourdough bread
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (I just use shredded, and probably a little less depending on how much I can pile on)

Directions :

  1. Preheat broiler and toast bread now.
  2. Combine crab, red pepper, artichoke hearts, mayo, sour cream, lemon zest, and all but 2 T. of the green onions in a medium bowl.
  3. Spoon onto bread and top with cheese.
  4. Broil for about 2 minutes until cheese is melted
  5. Top with remaining 2 T. of green onions.

 

Day 83 : Springtime Pasta with Bacon


I watch a lot of food network in my house, and that means so do the kids… they really don’t have much choice lol.  Perrin is actually really into Iron Chef America, and always acts like we are “in kitchen stadium” when I am making dinner.  He loves that when he helps me I call him Iron Chef Perrin.  So anyway, in order to get him to try some new foods I mentioned that chef’s and especially Iron Chefs have to try the foods they make and somehow it worked!

In the last couple of days he has done almost a 180 and tried many new foods, and enjoyed them I might add.  Tonight he tried everything but the goat cheese since Jeff claims to be allergic and Perrin has so many food allergies of his own.  He loved the bacon and the only thing he didn’t care for was the onion which I expected lol.  I am so relieved that he is doing better w/ this issue and I only hope he keeps this new attitude!

Tonight’s dinner was very light and fresh tasting, just like the name implies.  I liked the different textures of the various veggies and the smokey/salty aspect of the bacon.  The lemony sauce really punched up the flavors and IMO the goat cheese was just the right ingredient to tie everything together with it’s tangy creaminess.  It’s too bad for Jeff that he opted out….. I don’t believe that he’s allergic.  He used feta in his which I am sure would be fine but not the same.

For the bacon I baked it which resulted in PERFECT pieces w/ just the right done-ness.  Everything else I prepped ahead of time so that I could just toss it all together and not be scrambling while the pasta cooked.  That worked well, minus the SPIDER that was hanging out on the radishes when I went to add them!  I’m sure my neighbors got an earful from that little surprise lol.  With an extra good rinse of the radishes everything turned out just fine though.  Since I had to leave the cheese off the main bowl of it, I put a bit in a separate dish for the pic.

It may not quite feel like spring all the time in my area, but this pasta was just the thing to put me in the mood.  It was so pretty and fresh and helped me to forget that  the weather is forecasting chances of snow again!

 

Springtime Pasta with Bacon

Serves : 4-6                  Time to make : 25 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 16 oz. orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh snow peas
  • 8 radishes, cut into wedges (I sliced mine)
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 thick cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add sweet peas, and snow peas during the last minute of cooking.  Drain.
  2. Toss pasta mixture with radishes and next 5 ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sprinkle with bacon and goat cheese and serve.

 

Day 67 : Orangey Orzo with Shrimp and Peas


Well it’s midweek and already I am feeling worn out and ready for the weekend!  With that in mind I figured it was a good night for a lighter meal… one that would not leave me feeling heavy or blech afterward.  This was just the ticket!  Without all the butter and oils of a typical pasta this was definitely light, and the flavors were nice and fresh, and not overpowering at all.

This was my first time using saffron, and while I think I could taste a hint of it in the final dish I don’t think it was a necessary ingredient.  Since it’s a rather expensive spice for such a small amount I would say you could leave it out if you prefer and probably never even notice.  I must say that I am really starting to like orzo.  It’s so small and has a great texture and it’s so easy to manipulate into your mouth without having to twirl it or stab it a bunch of times lol.

To get the listed amount of orange juice I used 2 oranges, and the zest of just one.  It seemed like a lot going into the dish, but it was a nice mellow flavor I felt.  And I liked that you could still taste the shrimp and the pasta flavors behind the orange.  I did heat everything up a couple more minutes after adding the orange just to let the flavors blend better.  I also really liked the peas in this, and might even use a bit more next time.  The finished dish is a lovely mix of both colors and flavors and one that is sure you leave you feeling great afterward.

 

Orangey Orzo with Shrimp and Peas

Serves : 3               Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 10 1/2 oz orzo pasta
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron thread
  • 10 1/2 oz. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 7 T. fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 2/3 C. frozen baby peas

Directions :

  1. Add bay leaf and 1 tsp. salt to a large pot of water and bring to a rapid boil.  Add pasta and boil until just cooked, about 7-9 minutes.
  2. Drain pasta in colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking water.  Remove and discard bay leaf.
  3. Add olive oil, garlic, remaining tsp of salt, pepper, and saffron to a large skillet and heat over low heat for a  minute or so until warm and fragrant.  Remove from heat and add shrimp, tossing to coat.
  4. Pour pasta into the skillet and mix.  Add orange juice and zest.  If mixture is dry add some of your reserved pasta water (I didn’t have any need of this).
  5. Toss in the frozen peas, stir and transfer to a serving dish.

 

 

Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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