Shrimp and Kale on Pasta (Gluten Free)

Many of you that read this blog know that I like to use up whatever is in the fridge when I can. I had recently bought a big batch of kale as it looked so fresh. It had been a while since I had shrimp and pasta so I thought I would mix it up with the kale – how could it be bad? I also had some mediterranean black olives which I thought would give a nice saltiness to the dish.

Below is the recipe – it lasted me for three meals which in my book is a good use of leftovers. By the way – it tasted good too!

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Ingredients:

1 package of GOGO Quinoa pasta (I like this type of gluten free pasta) – penne style noodle

10 shrimp (frozen tail on)

1 bunch of kale with the stem and core trimmed off and the leaves chopped

10-15 black olives broken in half to take out the pit (easier to buy pitted)

2 tsp chopped garlic

Olive oil to sauté kale and shrimp

Directions:

Add contents of the pasta to a pot of boiling water.  Boil until softened (takes a bit longer than regular pasta).  When it is finished the water is quite starchy so I tend to rinse the pasta under water for a minute.

Add oil to a pan and put chopped kale till you have filled the pan.  Start to sauté the kale in a covered pan so the steam will help to soften it.  I also added about 1/2 cup of water in small amounts to aid in the steaming and sautéing process.  When the kale is wilted slightly add the chopped garlic and the black olives and mix – continue to steam/sauté until the kale is fairly soft.

When the kale is almost ready – throw in the raw shrimp, mix with the kale and garlic and cook until the shrimp curls and turns pink on both sides.

Add in the pasta and mix everything together.  Heat through and serve with crusty bread and grated parmesan cheese.

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Fish Cakes

While I normally use tuna and sweet potato in these cakes, I felt like using a fresh fish this time so went and bought haddock (it was on for a good price). The process is almost the same as the tuna but a bit more involved in that I had to cook the haddock first.  I debated how I would do this but settled on a quick, easy and yummy method which was to poach it. See below for method and recipe for this dish.  It turned out well and I was able to freeze a number of the cakes and they were just as good when defrosted. Great to keep in the freezer for those days when you don’t know what to have or just want a light dinner.

Fish cakes

Ingredients and Directions to serve 4 (2 cakes per person):

I first make a broth for  poaching, this usually includes the following items but you can add anything you like.

2-3 cups vegetable, chicken or fish broth (I use what I have on hand)

1- Lemongrass stalk – smash the white portion of the lemongrass so it is almost chewed looking and put the whole thing in the broth

Handful of cilantro fresh or 1 tsp of dried

A good shake of lemon pepper or just a pinch of regular pepper

2-3 tbsp of lemon juice and if you are using fresh add some zest

Doesn’t matter what the broth looks like just what it tastes like.

Fish cake ingredients:

6-8 small-medium fillets of fish

3 large sweet potatoes

Place as many pieces of fish fillets into the broth as will fit making sure the fish is covered in broth.  It will only take about a minute or two depending on the thickness of the fish. The haddock I used was not a thick cut but about 1/2″ fillets. When the fillet is slightly flakey and looks cooked, take it out and drain it on paper towels so it is not too moist. Add more fish to the broth till it is all poached

Crumble the fish into a large bowl and add softened sweet potato (boil or microwave the potato in small uniform pieces until it is soft enough to mash).

Add the following ingredients:

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp plain yogurt (use more if you need to make it more moist or add a  spoonful of the broth)

1/2 – 3/4 of a cup of panko crumbs (use breadcrumbs if you don’t have panko). Add 1/2 cup to start and add more as you need till the consistency of the mixture will shape and hold in a ball in your hands

I don’t use salt but feel free to add a pinch to the mixture

Optional – chopped cilantro or parsley fresh

Form the cakes in your hands and sauté them till golden on one side then flip over until the other side is golden.  Take out of the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil (I use canola oil as it has a higher burn rate – meaning you can heat it higher than olive oil without it smoking). I cook on a medium heat – if it is too high the cakes can burn.

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, sour cream or a seasoned yogurt or dip – we used a jalapeno greek yogurt dip mixed with some plain yogurt to reduce the heat level a bit. Served with a salad this makes a nice dinner.

Note: You can also make small bite size cakes to use as appetizers

Chicks in Charge Retreat

I just love that name!  We just had our annual Chicks in Charge (women running their own businesses) retreat at Sheryls country home.  I always come back exhausted, stuffed with good food, invigorated and enlightened! This year was no exception.  Food always seems to be the key to getting everyone connecting – we eat like royalty when we are there starting with Sheryls initial lunch which was once again outstanding.

We had poached salmon, roasted green beans, mushrooms, walnuts and baby potatoes, pesto marinated tiny heirloom tomatoes and a kale and mango salad. That was just lunch!

poahed salmon

Kale salad

roast veg

tomatoes

Snack time (as though we needed more food….) Amy made an incredible flourless, sugarless chocolate cake (sugar was in the chocolate only – it was divine).

cake

Dinner was my turkey chilli (click for link to recipe) with toppings that included guacamole, shredded old cheddar cheese and low fat sour cream along side a great mixed green salad and home baked oatmeal cookies made by Victoria.

Breakfast the next day was a fabulous frittata with peppers, onion, mushrooms and zucchini (I forgot to take pictures again – forgive me,  we just dove into the meal) made by Nancy. We also had Eloise’s home made granola (click for recipe) and yogurt along with regular and gluten free muffins.

Lunch was leftovers of the day before but the main course was Mariannes fabulous coconut curry chicken – so so good. Below is the recipe. Well worth trying it was devoured by the chicks.

Coconut Curry Chicken

I usually DOUBLE this recipe, and freeze the extra portions.  Can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients                                                                           Substitute

¼ cup coconut oil                                                                Canola oil

¼ cup (or less) Dijon mustard

2 tbsps.  regular mustard (e.g., French’s)

½ cup coconut nectar                                                        Honey

½ tbsp. or more Curry Powder

1 tsp.  lime juice AND grated rind

1 tsp. salt

Garlic

1-1.5 lbs. boneless chicken thighs (~12)                        Boneless chicken breasts,                                                                                                             sliced

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a stainless steel saucepan.  Pour over chicken.  Cook for 45 mins. at 350 degrees.   Enjoy!

Believe it or not, we also managed to have a great guest speaker (Wendy) and business and life discussions from morning till night and then again the next day.  Now you understand why we leave feeling exhausted, stuffed with good food, invigorated and enlightened!

Till next year!

Asparagus Risotto at Suzanne’s

The other night I was looking through the fridge and realized there was nothing to make for dinner. Coming to the realization that I may be eating a peanut butter sandwich that night, I was contemplating what to do when the phone rang. It was my friend Suzanne asking me if I want to come to an impromptu dinner at her place.  She too said she didn’t have anything to make which leads to her fall back meal of risotto.

I haven’t made risotto in ages but Suzannes is out of this world.  She went out and got some scallops and seared them to serve with the asparagus risotto.  It was a meal fit for a queen, so good with freshly grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and a fabulous baby spinach salad made by another friend Ginny.

There are many variations on risotto but the main thing is to use a starchy rice like arborio and slowly add liquid until absorbed – including a cup of white wine 😉

You can add all kinds of ingredients – salmon, vegetables, mushrooms etc.  Good way to use up ingredients in the fridge…..

risotto

I always forget about making risotto but after this meal trust me when I say it is now at the forefront of my mind.  Thank you my friend for a fabulous evening!

Shrimp and Kale

It was another night where I wanted to use up ingredients in the fridge but still make something interesting.  I always keep shrimp in the freezer because they can turn any meal into something a little more special.  Tonight I decided to use up a batch of kale I had in the fridge and a yellow pepper and some feta cheese.  Here goes:

shrimp and kale

This dish took about 20-30 minutes in total.

Ingredients: Serves 2-3

1 leek (white part only) sliced

1 bunch of kale chopped finely

1 pepper (any colour will do)

2 garlic cloves minced

10-15 shrimp (medium sized)

1 – 14 oz can finely diced tomatoes (you can chop about 4 roma tomatoes instead of using canned if you like)

Feta cheese for sprinkling over top

Directions

Sauté leeks and chopped pepper till soft (I add a small amount of brown sugar to help brown them a bit and to make the tomato flavour a bit less acidic.) Add chopped garlic when leeks are soft and sauté together for a minute or two.  Then add tomatoes and chopped kale and mix till the kale begins to soften.  Once the kale is soft add the shrimp and mix thoroughly. Cover and let it finish cooking for about 3-4 minutes.

Put in a plate and sprinkle with some feta cheese and serve.

Summer dinner with Fern and Ian

Fern is my oldest friend – we have known each other since we were 8 years old (just a few years ago really 😉 )

I took a half day off work on a Friday and hung out with Fern in her lovely swimming pool after which we made dinner for her family . It was a lovely day with a perfect ending – good food and good company.

The menu was simple – fresh salad topped with feta, mixed red and white quinoa with grilled onion, red pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese, grilled marinated salmon and fresh corn on the cob just boiled.  While simple, the food was fresh and delicious.  Cooking with friends is a great way to spend time.

summer dinner at Fern and Ians

red & white quinoa and veg

salad with feta

Dinner at Jane’s

Had a wonderful dinner at my friend Jane’s the other night along with another friend Jocelyn.  We sat out in the garden on a perfect evening eating until we started clearing dishes and I freaked out about the bees (yes many of you know I am somewhat bug phobic….).  Inside we went for a pretty spectacularly presented dessert of fresh fruit and a trifle (and some more wine….)

Dinner was salmon steamed in parchment with vegetables (recipe from the cookbook French Women don’t Get Fat), baby potatoes and perfectly ripe deliciously meaty tomatoes with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. So so good!

raw salmon

salmon in parchment 2

salmon in parchment1

triffle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Salad for Dinner

Last night I was at a loss for what to make for dinner. I opened the fridge and it seemed pretty bare except for salad makings.  I remembered I had some frozen shrimp and decided to BBQ them and put them into a salad.  It turned out delicious and super fast and easy.  I love dinners like this especially in the summer – something light and tasty (and using up things in my fridge).

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summersalad2

Ingredients

Shrimp (as many as you want per person)

Salad – (whatever you like in your salad – I used carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes)

Feta Cheese (optional but it gave a nice slightly salty flavour)

Directions

Grill shrimp in whatever sauce you like – I used a hoisin and sweet chilli style of sauce called General Tao. Make your salad and add shrimp and feta cheese crumbled on top.  I used a creamy cucumber dressing but you can use whatever dressing you have on hand.

Pretty easy don’t you think?  And delicious!

Grilled Lemon Tarragon Shrimp and White Bean Dinner

I found this recipe in the Food and Drink Magazine (put out by the LCBO – Liquor Control Board of Ontario).  I love their magazine as it is beautifully art directed.  While I followed this recipe closely I did alter a couple of things which I will mention in the recipe below.  Was a great summer meal and ready in about 30 minutes.

Food and drink159

shrimp and white bean

shrimp and bean 2

Ingredients: Serves 4

(Please note I am providing the recipe the way I prepared it – the magazine called for 1/4 cup of olive oil – I just used enough to brush over the shrimp and veg and a bit over the beans. I also added the vegetables which were not in the recipe.)

1 lb. uncooked shrimp peeled

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1/3 cup of chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Olive oil to brush over shrimp, vegetables and drizzle over the beans

1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 ripe ataulfo mango diced (magazine called for wedges which we did but then we cut it up as it was better mixed into the whole meal)

2 green onions slices thinly

Pepper to taste 9I used lemon pepper for added lemon flavour)

1 garlic clove crush or minced

Splash of hot sauce (optional)

2 medium sized zucchini (1/4″ slices maximum)

1 pepper (I used yellow as it was on hand – any colour will do)

Directions:

Preheat BBQ to medium high.  While BBQ is heating combine shrimp, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the chopped tarragon in a bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat. (You can do this ahead of time too if you like)

Place beans, diced mango, green onions and remained of the tarragon in a large bowl and toss.

Skewer the shrimp in any order with the vegetables you like – BBQ about 2-3 minute per side – till pink (hint – if you slice the zucchini no more than 1/4″ thick then they will grill along with the peppers and shrimp – if they are too thick they will take too long).  You can grill the vegetables separately from the shrimp if you like too.

Add remaining lemon juice, garlic and hot sauce to bean mixture with a pinch of pepper (I don’t use salt as canned beans have salt already in them). Plate with beans on the bottom and skewers on top or take shrimp and veg off skewers and mix in bowl.

We started with them on the skewers for visual effect then decided to take them off and just mix it all up in the bowl – hence the separate pictures of how it was served.

Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Pan Sauce

This recipe comes from the Fine Cooking website. My cousin Rebecca tried this and thought it was amazing.
Here is an image from her versionRebeccas dinner
For the scallops:
  • 1 lb. dry large sea scallops
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into six  pieces
  • 2 Tbs. finely diced shallot (1 medium shallot)
  • 1/4 cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley and chives
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 lemon wedges for serving
TIP:

Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped for the sauce (shallots diced, herbs chopped) before you begin searing the scallops

Remove the tough abductor muscle from the side of each scallop (some scallops are sold with the muscle already removed). If you feel any grit on the scallops, rinse them under cold water. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels; surface moisture impedes browning.

Heat a 10- or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the oil and butter, if using, and heat until quite hot. Pat the scallops dry once more and put them in the pan in a single, uncrowded layer. Season with salt and pepper and let sear undisturbed until one side is browned and crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the scallops and sear until the second side is well browned and the scallops are almost firm to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, transfer the scallops to a plate, and set them in a warm spot. Let the pan cool for a minute before you make the sauce.

Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Pan Sauce Recipe

Return the pan to medium heat. Add a piece of the butter (1/2 Tbs.) and the shallots and sauté until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth or wine and simmer until reduced by about half, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the herbs and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining butter, and whisk constantly until the butter melts into the sauce. Return the scallops and any accumulated juices to the pan. Gently roll the scallops in the sauce to warm them through. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over the scallops.

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photo by Scott Phillips
Serving Suggestions

Serve with an Arugula & Fennel Salad with Orange & Fennel Seed Dressing & Toasted Hazelnuts and Real Chocolate Mousse for dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on three servings; Calories (kcal): 346; Fat (g): 22; Fat Calories (kcal): 195; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 26; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 5; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 668; Cholesterol (mg): 80; Fiber (g): 0;