Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tequila-Lime Grilled Shrimp

Close your eyes and picture you are sitting on a white sand beach with your toes in the water. While listening to the waves crash around you, you begin to wonder what’s on the menu for tonight? I know I am always in the mood for seafood when I’m on vacation. It’s just seems right. Ok, you can open your eyes now. Unfortunately we aren’t on vacation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat like we are! This meal is one you can prepare quickly after a day at work or after a day on the lake. Tonight we are cooking  Bobby Flay's  Recipe for Tequila-Lime Grilled Shrimp. I love his cooking stye because almost everything he cooks is  summer-inspired. Now, pour yourself a margarita and let’s step out back and fire up the grill.

What you will need:
*I doubled the marinade because I used 2 bags of 41-50 count frozen shrimp instead of the larger shrimp (*41-50 count means there are 41-50 shrimp in a pound)
1 cup Tequila
½  cup Lime Juice
1 oz. Freshly Chopped Cilantro
½ Fresh Red Onion (which I left out because this is my least fav. food on the planet!)
Salt & Pepper to taste
12 med. raw Shrimp
Notice I didn't splurge on the tequila...

Combine all marinade ingredients.

Add shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes. It's important not to marinate for more than 30 minutes or the shrimp will begin to 'cook' in the lime juice.

Place shrimp on skewers.

You can see the shrimp are beginning to turn pink from the marinade.

Cook on grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcook!!!

We had a slight weather delay and ended up having to cook the shrimp inside on my grill pan. I do feel like this may have affected the true summer flavor that only a charcoal grill can provide, but Mother Nature waits for no one!
I do have to say next time I would be sure to use the fresh, larger shrimp. Small shrimp can become over cooked in a matter of 2 minutes, but otherwise, this was so easy! Prep work was minimal and cooking time was a breeze. The lime and cilantro flavors really stood out. Serve this with some steamed veggies and a side salad and you are ready for one fast and fabulous beach inspired meal.

Try it and let us know what you think!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Sea Scallops

What to cook next?  Lately, I've gotten really bored with my usual supper-time "go-to's" and desperately began searching for something that met several qualifications: A. new and different, B. low-fat but tasty, C. summery (Is that a word??), and D. easy to whip up after a long day at work.
I stumbled upon Bobby Flay's recipe for Grilled Sea Scallops with Avocado-Corn Relish on Crisp Tortillas(say that fast 3 times!) and changed it up a bit to suit me:

Change Number 1:  I have to be honest and say that if I had a gas grill, I would be firing up the grill for this recipe.  I love grilled scallops. LURRVE.  But I only have a charcoal grill, and I'm usually WAY too impatient and hungry by dinner time to wait on the coals to get ready, so I decided to pan-sear them instead.

Change Number 2: Because my little-bitty pocket-size sister is still trying to lose her last few baby weight lbs, I decided to nix the tortilla chips and serve with some veggies instead.

Change Number 3:  Anyone up for some recreational scalloping?  It's supposed to be a banner year!  I would love to go, but unfortunately, I'm not able to break away from my work station long enough to pluck my own fresh scallops out of the Gulf.  Therefore, I plucked my own...right out of the freezer section at the Lanett Kroger.  I'm pretty sure Bobby Flay didn't do this, but what they hey...I bought them frozen and plopped them in the frig over night to thaw...and they were goooooood :)
So, here's my version of Bobby Flay's recipe:

Pan-seared Sea Scallops with Avocado Salsa

Avocado-Corn Salsa:
2 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
1 cup roasted corn kernels
3 T. finely diced red onion
1/4 c. coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 T. sour cream

2 bags frozen sea scallops
olive oil

For the salsa:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  To roast the corn, I tossed about a tablespoon of olive oil with a cup of frozen corn (b/c believe it or not there was no fresh corn on the cob to be found) and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. I baked it for about 10 minutes until soft and then broiled it for a few to crisp the outside.  Watch carefully.  It won't take long--I almost had burnt pop corn!

2. Dice two avocados.  Click here to learn a really easy way to cut avocado. Here's a pic...

3. Finely dice red onion and chop cilantro.

4.  Squeeze the juice of two small limes on the avocado to prevent it from browning.

5.  Toss in your sour cream.

6.  Once the corn is cool throw it into the party, too.

7.  Stir everything together, and salt and pepper to taste!  Store in the frig until ready to serve.  I actually prepared this the night before, so I could quickly get dinner on the table.

For the scallops:
1.  Pat each scallop dry with a paper towel and salt and pepper both sides.

2.  Heat 3tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. 

3.  Place about 5 scallops in the skillet at a time (so as not to overcrowd the pan).  Cook for about three minutes on each side.

That's really all there is to it!  It's so easy, and met and perhaps exceeded all of my expectations.  Try it this summer and you'll feel like you're indulging in a special treat!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Diet Food Scares Me

I have never been one to stick to a strict diet. You tell me I can’t have bread; I’ll have four rolls. You tell me only chicken; I’ll order a steak. That’s just how it is; however, this week our new mom is steadfast and stable in trying to lose those few extra baby pounds hanging around. I’m proud of her, so I’ll see what I can do about sticking to her” wow,-really-only-chicken-and-greens” strict diet.

After tossing around a few ideas with her all being rejected, we finally found one that we all could enjoy.  Don’t blame it on me if a roll or two finds its way to my table.  It’s very sneaky like that.
I found this recipe years ago in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  I was new to recipes, and I would try a different one every night mainly because my parents were still footing the bill. Thankfully, for my wallet, I have gotten out of that stage. I pretty much try to stick to family favorites, wallet friendly meals.  Luckily for me, this one fit this category perfectly.
Chicken in a Pocket is on the menu!  I made the name up, because I can’t find the original recipe. Therefore, I am also “winging it”.
Chicken in a Pocket
Chicken breast {I used frozen }
Barbeque sauce
Salt and Pepper
Bell pepper
I also threw in some jalapeno because I have some fresh from my garden
Aluminum foil

You are supposed to slice up some red potatoes to add in it. I left them out only because of diet/price restrictions. Trust me- they are worth adding!
First, take out your aluminum foil and tear off as many pieces of chicken that you are cooking. Make sure they’re large enough to wrap around your chicken and veggies.
Then, chop your veggies.
Spray the bottom with a little PAM
Add the chicken
Cover with BBQ sauce
Add your opinion, bell pepper, jalapeno, S&P and a few pats of margarine
Wrap it up nicely
Continue until all are wrapped and ready to go, and
place on a cookie sheet because some of them may leak.
Bake around 425 for about 40 minutes.
I served this with rice and zucchini and squash straight from the garden, and it was delicious; a perfect summer meal. This creates a delicious sauce that goes great on top of the rice.
Can you believe no rolls were harmed during this meal? I can't, but we didn't even miss them...almost! :)
Happy cooking! Kirby

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan AKA Chicken Parmesan CopyCat

Following suit of my other two bloggers, one of my biggest tasks for the past month has been to drop a few "LB"s before **yikes! hide! suck it in!** bathing suit season.  My family has been on the "17 Day Diet" kick for--well--quite a few more days than 17.  As a result, we have all decreased our waist lines and increased our confidence, which should bode well for us during **shriek! gasp! panic!**  bathing suit season.

One recipe that we discovered in the diet book was one for eggplant parmigiana.  I've never really been comfortable cooking eggplant, though i do think the color is exquisite :)  However, after eating all I could stand of steamed veggies and baked/grilled chicken breast, we decided to give this recipe a whirl.  We all agreed that it definitely hits its mark in leaving you pushing away from the table both full AND satisfied, and we've since used this recipe about five times. 

**Side Note:  Anna's blog for chicken parmesan is a play on this recipe.  I thought I'd go ahead and post this one (even though it's very similar to hers), because it's a really good recipe!

The recipe is quite simple, with few ingredients.  The only drawback is that the eggplant in this dish is a little like me in that it requires a bit of attention.  But I guarantee it's TOTALLY worth it in the end for a healthy, yet delicious dish.

1 large eggplant, sliced
4 egg whites
1-2 cups low-fat parmesan cheese
garlic poweder, to taste
1 cup low-carb marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with Pam. 

1. Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch (or thinner if you like crispier) slices. 

2. In a shallow dish, beat egg whites and 4T. of water until foamy. 

3. Place parmesan cheese in bowl.  Dip eggplant slices into eggwhites, then into parmesan cheese, pressing cheese into eggplant. 

4. Place eggplant on baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder. 

5. Spray tops of eggplant with Pam. 
Try not to be jealous of my sweet baking sheet, ok?

Bake for 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.  Turn eggplant over and cook for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes,  cover eggplant slices with marinara sauce.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly. 

Now, the recipe is for two servings.  However, this makes A LOT of food.  If you plan to share this with only one other person, a side salad to go along with it will do for a filling meal.  I think you'll love it if you give it a shot!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

About 10 weeks after my sweet angel was born, I realized that all that extra baby weight was not just going to melt off. Once I opened my eyes to this, I decided it was time for me to find a way to drop the last 15lbs. I started using the 17 Day Diet for my battle of the bulge. I am now starting on day 4, and have already lost 3 ½ lbs! This is just the encouragement I need to make it through this first phase. The old age questions stands, ‘What can you eat on this diet?’. I won’t go into all the details about the diet, but here is one delicious recipe you can make at home. It’s a classic Italian recipe that can be adapted to any meat or veggie you would like to use.

I wanted to be able to make something for my husband and have him actually look forward to dinner and not feel like this is another ‘diet’ meal. This recipe was originally for Eggplant Parmesan, which I have had and it is delicious. However, the hubs isn’t too keen on Eggplant. Ding Ding!!! Chicken Parmesan is one of his favorites. I just knew I could make this good for him and good for my diet for me.

Let’s get cooking!

Here’s what you will need:
Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast
Egg Whites
Low Fat/Fat Free Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (**This diet allows you to have up to 2 Tbsp Olive Oil each day. I figure I may need to add a little to the skillet throughout the cooking, but each breast will not be coated in that much oil.)

This is all you will need for this recipe (plus 2 egg whites)

Start off by heating your oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Pound out your chicken to about ½in thick. This will help them to cook fast and even.
Pat the chicken dry.
In a bowl for dredging, mix the parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
Dip into Egg White and then into the parmesan cheese mixture.
Place in the skillet and cook for about 5 min on each side or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

Once it's cooked through, add a little warm Light Marinara Sauce over the top. You will never know this isn't deep fried and covered in bread crumbs like you are used to.

For a few more calories, cook a little pasta and place in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with chicken, marinara, and a little mozzarella. Place under the broiler until cheese is browned. Here's what you'll get:

To be honest with you, I wasn’t super excited about starting this diet. However, I have found some really great recipes and have really enjoyed expanding my horizons in the kitchen. This method of cooking by coating the food in Fat Free Parmesan cheese has really made it easy to have something for dinner that isn’t the same old thing. This is a delicious way to cook fish, too. Just leave out the Italian Seasoning and add a little Paprika. There are so many options out there, so get out there and cook!