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!

Season of Soup

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Seasonal soup is an easy win for the week and can be stocked in the freezer for easy access at a later date. I like to make a big pot and then break it down into smaller containers immediately. It’s important to break down large pots of anything: soups, stews, gumbo, etc. for food safety to ensure the food properly cools before being refrigerated or frozen. I’d recommend a couple of individual servings for easy lunch and 2-4 servings per frozen container.

I picked up some seasonal cabbage and kale from the farmer’s market and rounded out the veggie mix with mushrooms, carrots, onions and stewed tomatoes. To add smokiness, I browned a few strips of bacon to start the soup and layered on flavor with dried herbs. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. Cabbage, raw

2 cups Kale, raw

1 lb. Organic Carrots

14 fluid ounce, Stewed Tomatoes No Salt Added

8.00 oz, Baby Bella Mushrooms

6 fluid ounce, Tomato sauce, canned, no salt added

6 cup (8 fl oz), Water – Municipal

6 Slices, Premium Bacon

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. coarse Ground Black Pepper

2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend

2 tsp. red pepper flakes  or cayenne

2 cups of onion

4 cups organic Free Range Chicken Broth

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse and chop cabbage and kale. Peel and chop onion and carrots and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, brown 6 slices of bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and add in carrots and onion and a splash of water. Turn down to medium heat and cook until softened.
  3. Add cabbage, kale, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and stock to the pot.
  4. Dice mushrooms and bacon and add to the pot. Add all seasonings, mix well and bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Champion Your Day

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s easy to skip if it’s not part of your routine; if you are trying to maintain or lose weight, make it part of your routine. Of course the quality of the meal is important. Breakfast jumpstarts the metabolism and sets the stage for your energy stores for the day. I’m a big fan of big breakfast often including a fruit or vegetable with protein and a whole grain. If you are not a morning person, plan ahead to make sure you make a great start to your day. 

Below are a few ideas to keep in your back pocket:

Avocado Toast:

  • Multi-grain bread
  • Avocado
  • Protein of choice (bacon, smoked salmon, egg or multiples)

Overnight Oats

  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Frozen berries
  • Spices like cinnamon or sweeteners like honey

Morning Muffins (can bake a dozen!)

  • Egg
  • Cheese
  • Yellow or green onion
  • Protein of choice (bacon, sausage, ground beef, seafood

Sandwiches 

  • Egg McMuffin at home with protein of choice
  • Nut Butter and Banana
  • Nut butter and jelly

Fuel Up!

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