Seafood Pasta

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As it is growing colder in my new neck of the woods, my desire for comfort food increases. This seafood pasta is an easy win and is good for four servings. Since pasta can often  be heavy, I lightened the load with some fresh herbs and bright citrus. I also am a fan of heat and added some red pepper flake to spice things up. I went with a frozen bag of seafood from Trader Joe’s for my dish but of course fresh is always preferred. Check out the recipe below.

Seafood Pasta

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked pasta

1 lb mixed seafood (shrimp, scallops, calamari)

1/2 of a lemon

1/4 cup of white wine

2 tbsp butter

1/2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (a whole if spicy preferred)

1 cup diced onion

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/8 cup chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Defrost seafood and boil pasta ahead of time.
  2. Add oil to a medium-sized pan over medium heat.
  3. Slice onion in half and cut off one end. Peel off skin leaving on one end for stability then slice into strips before dicing.
  4. Peel and mince garlic and add both onion and garlic to the pan.
  5. Add seafood to pan and sir well for 2 minutes. Add wine and juice lemon seeded side up to deglaze pan and reduce heat.
  6. Add pasta and butter and seasoning and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Mix well then turn off heat.
  7. Rinse and chop parsley.
  8. Plate and top with parsley.
  9. Enjoy!

Hello Sheppard’s Pie

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I know it’s been a while since my last post. I made a life change and decided to go back to school full time. Who would have thought I’d be more busy in school than working full time?! But school or not, a girl has got to eat. While I have been cooking, I haven’t been posting so my goal is to get to a new normal schedule.

I’m starting with my take on Sheppard’s pie. Spoiler alert, this is not your mom’s Sheppard’s pie. It has elements of healthy with an infusion of vegetables and loads of flavor. My philosophy is the vegetables balance the butter that is absolutely required for the potatoes. This pan makes enough for 8 to 10 servings depending on if your into generous portions. Check out the recipe below. 🙂

Sheppards Pie

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground turkey

2 cups diced carrot

2 cups diced zucchini

1 cup of diced bell pepper

1 cup peas

3 cups diced onion

1/4 cup minced garlic

6 oz tomato sauce

2 tbsp tomato paste with Italian seasoning

1 tbsp red pepper flake

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

2 tbsp of garlic and onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups of mashed potatoes

1/2 tbsp. avocado oil

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup of parsley (optional garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and dice 2-3 large potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until potatoes can be pierced smoothly with a fork.
  3. Peel and dice onion. Add one cup to potatoes. Peel and mince garlic and add both to a medium pot over medium heat with oil.
  4. Peel and chop carrots and add to the pot with a splash of water to soften.
  5. Add ground turkey and brown with garlic and onion and carrots.
  6. While browning turkey, rinse zucchini, slice in half, then cut into strips before dicing. Rinse and dice bell pepper.
  7. Add diced zucchini and bell pepper to the pot. Open cans and stir in tomato paste, then add sauce and seasoning.
  8. Add peas then remove the pan from heat.
  9. Drain potatoes and onion and mash with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Add meat mixture to a oven-safe baking dish then add potatoes on top in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered to firm up the mixture.

Shrimp and Okra

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Shrimp and okra is a Southern Classic and a childhood favorite! With the random cold front, I was in the mood for something comforting. Though it’s early yet for farm fresh okra, I grabbed a pound of frozen okra from the produce stand to complement the Anna Marie Seafood shrimp I had from my local farmers market. My rule of thumb is pretty much a pound of each main ingredient: okra, shrimp and sausage. You can play with fresh stewed tomatoes from the market or use these quick tips for a quicker dish. This takes 30-45 minutes to make depending on the cook time or your okra, as some can be more slimy than others. Check out these tips below and enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

1 lb sausage

1 lb chopped okra (16oz)

1 14oz can stewed or diced tomato

1 14oz can tomato sauce

3 tbsp. fresh or dried Italian seasoning (thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano blends)

1 tsp. cayenne 

2 cups chopped onion

6 cloves garlic

4 cups water 

Directions:

  1. Add chopped onion to a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped okra and 2 cups of water. Cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Slice sausage. Peel and mince or press garlic cloves and add garlic and sausage to the pot.
  3. Add seasoning, remaining water, tomatoes and sauce. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp and additional water if needed. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes. 
  5. Serve over rice or stand alone.
  6. Enjoy.

Hearty Comfort

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With the hot and cold temperature fluctuations, I’ve found myself in need of a few comforting hearty meals to ward off the cold and to boost my immune system to prevent illness. One of my go-to dishes is smothered potatoes with sausage and peppers. It’s quick, easy and tasty. It also goes easily with pretty much any leafy green. Since I have plenty of greens to harvest, I sautéed some collards and mustards with fresh pressed garlic and apple cider vinegar to help break down the greens and make them tender. You can always add some sautéed chicken or fish for some added protein. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Smothered Potatoes Ingredients:

2 cups sliced red potatoes

2 cups sliced onion

2 cups chopped bell pepper

3 tbsp. grated, pressed or chopped garlic

8oz sausage (I used Tennessee pride)

1/2 cup water

1/2 tbsp dried herbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Greens ingredients:

3-4 cups of chopped greens

1/2 cup water

4 tbsp. grated, pressed or chopped garlic

1/2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place large pan over medium heat and brown sausage.
  2. While cooking sausage, rinse peppers. Peel and slice onion and chop peppers. Add to the pan.
  3. Rinse and slice potatoes. Press garlic. Add both to pan with water then add seasoning. Top and reduce heat to low for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Rinse and chop greens (or use frozen).
  5. In a medium pot, add oil and garlic over medium heat.
  6. Add greens, water and seasoning then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Plate both and enjoy!

Mirliton Dressing

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Ever ignore the strange pear-shaped green vegetable at the produce stand? Mirliton or coyote squash is easy to transform into a dish everyone will love. Mirliton dressing with seafood and ham is one of my favorites and is an easy dish to cook in larger quantities for the week. In addition to dressing, it can also be pickled, sliced thin for stir fry and curried among many other uses. I used the whole vegetable, skin and all for added nutrients. They are out in abundance and an easy win to add to your shopping list. For the protein, I like ham and shrimp; however it is easy to substitute ground meat or ground chicken for the ham if you do not eat those meats. I did make my own bread crumbs for this dish and will include that recipe below. Certainly your favorite brand will work in this dish as well.  Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts. 

Mirliton Dressing

Serves 4

2 mirliton

1/2 lb shrimp

8oz diced ham

1 cup diced onion

1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

2 cups of kale *optional (I added it because I had it)

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

Bread Crumbs

4-6 slices of wheat bread (depends on size)

1/2 cup dry oats

2 tbsp of flax seed

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350. 
  2. Rinse mirliton and boil in a pot over high heat for 30 minutes.
  3. In the last 10 minutes of boiling, toast bread, then grind it, the oats and the flaxseed in a food processor, blender or other device. Place in a baking dish and add seasoning and 2 tsp of olive oil. Mix well and brown in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain mirliton, rinse in cool water and let cool for 15-20 minutes. While the mirliton cools, rinse and chop kale small. Dice onion and sauté both in 1 tsp. oil.
  5. Peel shrimp and chop before adding to skillet and cooking. 
  6. Dice ham and add to skillet. Reduce heat. Remove breadcrumbs from oven 
  7. Chop mirliton small and add to the skillet. Add seasoning and mix well. Add in breadcrumbs and mix well. 
  8. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes until top is lightly browned.
  9. Enjoy!

Pasta Pot

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I find that cooking is all an exploration of what works and what doesn’t. I am all about finding efficiencies to prepare good meals that are cost effective and saves me time on cleanup. Since I spent time making granola and bread this weekend, I turned to my crockpot for an easy meal. I’ve always wondered if you could cook meat fully in the crockpot without browning it first and whether it would cook pasta for an easy all in one dish; yes you can. I was thrilled with how well it came out and I grated a little Parmesan on top for that final touch of flavor. Check out the easy recipe below and put your crockpot to good use.

1 lb lean ground beef

1 cup sliced mushrooms

8oz frozen spinach

1 25 oz jar of vodka sauce

8oz of dry corkscrew pasta 

1 1/2 cup of diced onion

2 cups water 

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

2 tbsp fresh basil 

Directions:

  1. Defrost lean ground meat at least two hours before starting.
  2. Add meat to a crockpot and breakup thoroughly.
  3. Dice and slice veggies and mince herbs; add them to the crockpot including spinach.
  4. Add pasta then sauce and water.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  6. Enjoy 

Satisfaction and Comfort

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I’ve gotten on a kick making bread at home, really just to see if I could. I’ve been surprised that it something that can be done in an hour and even better, that I can  add things like flaxseeds, oats and chia seeds mostly to my hearts content. While baking it was a fun experience, making an open-faced turkey, avocado and tomato sandwich sealed the deal. This was a quick and easy meal that was both filling and satisfying. And there is just something to be said about fresh baked bread. 🙂

Using a teeny tiny avocado, I reserved half for an easy guacamole later in the week and cut slices out of the other half. I mashed a slice for more of an avocado butter to spread on the bread, added the tomato and turkey and the remaining slices on top. This takes all of 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

3oz of Turkey

1/2 small avocado

1/2 medium tomato

 1 slice of bread

Salt and pepper to taste 

  1. Warm a slice of bread. 
  2. Cut an avocado in half while it warms and remove the pit. Store one half and cut the other half into slices.
  3. Mash one to two slices on the bread and smear like butter. Add a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Slice 2 to 3 slices of a tomato and add to bread. Add a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Add smoked turkey and top with remaining avocado and red pepper flakes.