A Bit Of Light

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With life getting in the way, sometimes a light dinner is called for. This dish took 10 minutes to make and was both light and satisfying. I has also made a pitcher of cucumber infused water with basil and lemon earlier in the week which was quite refreshing. The shrimp in this dish can easily be substituted with a piece of seared fish or canned tuna that can be spruced up with fresh herbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Check out the recipe below.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. shrimp
1 lemon
1 tbsp. chopped green onion
1 small cucumber diced
1 cup diced tomato
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:
1. Peel and devein shrimp if whole. Set aside in ice water until ready to use.
2. Rinse and peel cucumber and cut in half. Cut in half horizontally, then make three long strips to make a small dice. Repeat with remaining half.
3. Rinse and score tomato before dicing it. Add tomato and cucumber to a medium-sized bowl.
4. Rinse and chop green onion and add to the bowl. Rinse lemon and cut in half before squeezing one half over bowl.
5. Place a pan over medium heat and add oil. Place shrimp on a paper towel and pat dry. Season with half of the seasonings and add to hot pan.
6. Season other half and let cook for 2 minutes before flipping he shrimp. Let cook for 2 minutes then squeeze in fresh lemon juice (seeded side up). Let cook for another 2 minutes and remove from heat.
7. Plate in bowls and serve.

 

A Bit of Pesto

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Pesto is an incredibly flavorful addition to pasta. I love a nice bowl of pesto alfredo pasta with shrimp or chicken and colored myself inspired with the lovage pesto that I saw at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Though, I love a good bowl of pasta, I wanted to try my hand at zucchini pasta to see what all the fuss was about. I found a nifty, hand held veggetti spiraler for $9.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond and was sold. Now if you’re thinking, the pesto and pasta alternatives are too much change for one dish, you can always stick to traditional pesto, and mix the zucchini pasta with traditional or whole wheat spaghetti. As I am frequently touting the perks of separating shrimp or other proteins ahead of time, this dish is where that’s super helpful. I pulled out a couple of serving bags for this dish and defrosted the shrimp in the bag in lukewarm water for 10 minutes while I cooked everything else. If you are not a fan of shrimp, I’d recommend cubing chicken breasts or thighs and sautéing it with diced onion until cooked before adding to your pasta. I also picked up some purple long beans from the farmers market which made a great side to my creamy bowl of pesto alfredo zucchini pasta. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini
1 cup whole milk or 2%
1/2 packet (4oz) of low fat cream cheese cubed
1/2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. pesto
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. onion powder
1tbsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 tbsp. parsley (optional)

 

Directions:
1. Add frozen shrimp to a bowl or sink of lukewarm water to defrost.
2. Over low heat, add milk to a medium pot.
3. Cube cream cheese and butter and add to the pot. Let melt for 1 minute, then mix with a fork or whisk until dissolved.
4. Add flour and mix until dissolved. Add seasoning and pesto and mix well.
5. Wash spiraler and zucchini. Spiral zucchini and add to the pot.
6. Add defrosted shrimp. Let cook for 5 minutes until shrimp are cooked and zucchini tender.
7. Chop parsley for garnish. Serve and enjoy.

 

A Bit of Comfort

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Sometimes, a bit of comfort is called for and smothered steak, mashed potatoes and spinach certainly does the trick in my book. This was an easy dish to simmer slowly while I did house work as I ended a travel season. I do enjoy eating out on occasion, but there is something to be said about a home-cooked meal and this dish popped into my head. I picked up some sliced beef shoulder steak and beef round steak since they were both small packages and seared and braised them slowly in a thickened beef stock with onion and bell pepper. You can always use any cut of beef you like, but braising works better for tougher meats to help break the meat down and make the steak tender. Also, both cuts of beef were inexpensive and became perfectly tender. Whether with rice or potatoes as I had them, the smothered steak will be tasty both ways. Also, though I cooked spinach, I also brought a bag of mixed greens for a couple of easy salads during the week. Check out the recipe for the steak below.

Ingredients:
1 pack of shoulder steak (1/2 – 3/4 lb.)
1 pack of beef round steak (1/2 lb.)
1 can beef stock
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup water.

Directions:
1. Set out steaks 10 minutes before ready to cook to let meat rest.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. While heating, season one side of the steak with 1/4 of the seasoning.
4. Add season-side down and season other side with a fourth of salt and pepper. (If all of the steaks don’t fit in one layer, brown in two batches.) Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove meat from pan to s large plate and add water to deglaze pan. Add butter and flour and whisk until light brown. Add stock and remaining seasoning and mix well.
6. Peel and thinly slice onion. Rinse and slice bell pepper before chopping it large and adding both to the pan.
7. Place steak of top of vegetables, top and reduce heat to low or simmer.
8. Let cook for 30-40 minutes. Cook potatoes or rice in the last 20 minutes of cooking so it is ready at the same time.
9. The salad or spinach can be prepared in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
10. Plate and enjoy.