Pad Thai

For some reason I have always hesitated to make this dish – Not sure why but I had a craving for it and I had all the ingredients I thought I wanted in it so I tried it. Turned out delicious!  Very tasty. I followed a recipe for a bit then changed it up to be my own. I figured if it didn’t turn out then I wouldn’t blog about it and no one would be the wiser ;-). Here I am blogging about it because I think it tasted very good.

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Ingredients – Serves 4 (at least)

8 ounces of flat rice noodles (pad thai style)

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1.5 tbsp fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp dried minced onion (you can use fresh if you like)

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1/2 cup of ketchup

1/3 cup of sweet chili sauce

2 tbsp canola oil

12 peeled shrimp

2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (large dice)

5 minced garlic cloves

1 red pepper sliced thinly

1 cup matchstick carrots (grated or shredded is fine too)

1 cup tiny pieces of broccoli

Toasted almond slivers for garnish

 

Directions:

Boil water in a pot and when boiling drop noodles in and turn heat off. Stir noodles around to separate them.

While water is boiling, mix soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, ketchup and garlic chili sauce  in a small bowl.

In a large skillet sauté chicken till cooked then add carrots, peppers, broccoli, and 1/3 of the sauce with the shrimp and sauté for about 2 minutes till shrimp is cooked.  By now the noodles should be done so drain them and add them to the skillet.  Add the remaining sauce and stir on medium heat to coat everything. it should only take a minute or two till all ingredients are mixed and coated.  Dish up and enjoy!

 

 

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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.

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 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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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.

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shrimp and white bean

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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.

Grilling in the country

Spent a wonderful Canada Day long weekend in around the Lindsay/Peterborough area at my good friend Victorias place.  It was like a spa for the mind and body.  We had planned on experimenting with cooking up new food ideas so I was very excited.  Some worked really well while others not as much.  I decided to blog even the mediocre in hopes perhaps someone could recommend how to make it better.  Here goes several meals so keep reading after the first:

Brown Rice Paella (not your typical version)

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While this looks really good….it was lacking in intensity of flavour. We didn’t do the typical spicing which is probably why it was lacking in flavour.  Instead we opted to try lime and cilantro to flavour it for a lighter tasting paella.

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice (we should have used instant rice but used regular brown rice as it was what we had)

10 large raw peeled shrimp

1 lb of mussels

1 cup of frozen green peas

Juice of 1 lime

1 lemon cut in quarters (to sprinkle over dish)

Fresh coriander

Directions

We marinated the shrimp in some lime juice and coriander first.

Cook the rice in chicken or vegetable broth until just about ready then add the frozen peas, shrimp and then the mussels on top.  Cover and steam for about 5 minutes.  Very quick and easy but the thing that made it taste okay was we added hot sauce to it on our plates.

Please feel free to comment any ideas you think would have improved on the flavour (other than the traditional style).

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Tomato and Feta Salad and Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Turkey burger

tomato and feta salad

This was amazing – We made these burgers in a way I had never made burgers before and low and behold they were awesome!!!!

We did not have any bread crumbs so we used large flake oatmeal instead.  Who would have thought!  Okay every gluten intolerant person probably knows this but we didn’t so it was amazing to learn.

No real need for instructions here as you just combine all ingredients which included the following:

1 lb. ground turkey

1 sweet onion – I caramelized the onion but you can just sauté it.

About 1 cup of large flake oatmeal

Dijon mustard – 3 tbsp

2 cloves of garlic minced

A splash of hoisin sauce

A splash of BBQ sauce

(use any condiments you have in your fridge that you think you might like)

A pinch of black pepper

1 egg

The mixture seemed very wet so we made the patties and put them in the fridge and like magic by the time we went to cook them (about an hour or two later) they had firmed right up! – apparently the oatmeal absorbs moisture (I know all you people that knew this are thinking “Well of course it does” but we really didn’t know – I am not an oatmeal eater so I never use it).

The fun part for us both was grilling on a tiny charcoal grill – after several attempts we got it going and that little sucker really got hot (we kind of charred a couple of the burgers in the process but they still tasted amazing).

Burgers on BBQ

Add to this a roasting pan full of baby carrots from the farmers market fresh that morning, japanese eggplant and asparagus topped with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese and you have a fabulous meal.

Grilled veg

What could be better to add to this meal than a salad of fresh tomatoes with feta cheese and basil from the garden fresh picked and you have the perfect summer meal. (oh yeah I also sautéed some mushrooms to put on top of the burgers…)

Lastly – for lunch Victoria made this yummy Niçoise salad with some fresh tomatoes, baby white potatoes, 2 hard boiled eggs, fresh quick cooked asparagus with a dijon dressing that was absolutely delightful!  So fresh and tasty.

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You now know pretty much everything we ate that  weekend 😉

Pretty darn awesome I have to say!

Lemony Shrimp and Quinoa

Given my affinity towards lemon I decided to do a quick and easy lemony dish using two of my favourite things…..Shrimp and Quinoa! These two items are on my list of quick and easy go to meals. You can do just about anything with them in a very short time.

I had some leftover asparagus in the fridge and some frozen vegetables in the freezer so added them to get a vegetable component and add some colour.  Check it out.

lemony shrimp and quinoa

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Ingredients – feeds 2-3

4-5 shrimp per person depending on size

2-3 stalks of asparagus per person cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup quinoa uncooked

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

Juice of 2 lemons (plus grated rind of 1 or both lemons for some extra flavour )

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves minced or chopped

Pepper to taste (I have some lemon pepper that I used for even more of a lemon hit)

Salt – if you wish use a pinch – I don’t add any

Directions

Cook quinoa according to package directions – usually about 1 cup quinoa to two cups liquid. I added 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the liquid to give it a lemon hit. While cooking add the frozen vegetables (since the veg has moisture because it is frozen I tend to add a touch less liquid to the quinoa)

In a separate pan, heat oil and garlic and then throw in the chopped asparagus.  Let it sauté for a couple of  minutes  to get the asparagus slightly cooked. Add the shrimp, 1/4 cup (or whatever is left from the lemon juice) and some pepper.  Stir and cook until shrimp is light pink and turn off heat.

Put the quinoa in a bowl (or plate) and then top it off with the shrimp and asparagus. Total cooking time less than 1/2 an hour including cooking the quinoa.

Shrimp Saganaki (revised)

A number of you read the post from my cousin in Greece on the Shrimp Saganaki

https://foodthoughtstoshare.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=481&action=edit

Well I made it for myself and a friend this evening and we did a few revisions to the recipe.  Here is what we changed and I have to say – in the words of my friend Cynthia “it was wonderful”.

 

Basically I did the same recipe but added red and orange peppers, I also sautéed some garlic in with the onions to start and then because both Cynthia and I love legumes – I added a small can of chick peas and a tsp of dried oregano as well.  I also sprinkled some feta over top when I served it (I didn’t have any parsley on hand…) and we both practically licked the bowls clean.  This dish was so easy but so delicious I would serve it to guests in an instant (they would think you slaved over a hot stove for ages it is so good).

While my photos may not do it justice – believe me when I say this was a delicious meal – ready in about 20 minutes to half an hour start to finish.

Shrimp Saganaki & Dessert

Yup this is from my cousin in Greece….. She insists on making me jealous regularly.  This dish really did the trick.  It looks quite simple and very delicious.  Going to try it next week I think.

Saganaki is a type of two handled pan, but this tastes just as good cooked in a regular one handled one!

Clean 2 1/2 pounds of shrimp-leave tails on

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and saute:

1 large chopped onion and
1 chopped green or red pepper
until wilted, about five minutes.

Add two cups of grated fresh tomatoes or
two cups chopped canned tomatoes.
Season with salt and pepper and simmer for five minutes until it thickens slightly.

Add the shrimp and half a pound of cubed feta cheese, simmer over medium heat until the shrimp turn bright pink and the feta begins to melt, about five minutes.
About two minutes before removing from heat, add a generous splash of ouzo if desired.
Toss in 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with crusty bread.

For dessert here is what they made: Frozen Yogurt (the real thing)

For the frozen yogurt, we just added some honey to yogurt, put it into a shallow plastic container and put it into the freezer. Every hour or two we stirred it up. Froze for about six hours before eating.

Note: I would think any kind of topping would work including fresh fruit or if you are so inclined (as my cousin was) hot caramel sauce! (Since this blog tries to focus on healthy eating I suggest the fresh fruit….. 😉

Check out my cousins place in Greece – it is for sale!

greekislandfarmhouseonkythira.weebly.com