Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi

 

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By this stage of the holiday season you’ve probably already indulged in a few too many cookies, bacon-wrapped appetizers and festive cocktails.  Tis the season for holiday parties and high calorie treats galore which of course, do nothing good for our waistlines.

Well no fear; here’s a light and healthy guilt-free meal that’s on the table in no time at all, giving you more time to do your last minute shopping, bake, write out the Christmas cards, wrap gifts…….

This one uses the Veggetti spiral cutter I wrote about in the prior post.  You can also use a mandolin to cut the zucchini noodles.  I just love this little gadget; it creates beautiful veggie spiraled noodles that are perfectly shaped every time and nearly calorie free in your favorite pasta dishes.

Enjoy this dish, it’s a real holiday gift to yourself.

Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi
 
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Author:
Recipe type: main course, what's for dinner?
Cuisine: Shrimp and Vegetable, Light and Healthy
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1-2 cloves garlic - minced, approximately 1 generous Tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup white wine or chicken broth
  • zest of ½ of a lemon
  • juice of ½ of a lemon2 medium or 3 small zucchinis - cut into spiral noodles
  • chopped basil or parsley for garnish (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat until the pan is hot.
  2. Add the olive oil and heat it through.
  3. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sautee for 1 minute stirring constantly so the garlic does scorch.
  4. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper on both sides and add them to the skillet. Cook until pink on all sides, about 3 minutes total, turning over once.
  5. Remove the shrimp with tongs, leaving any liquid in the pan.
  6. Increase the heat to medium and loosen any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add the white wine (or broth), lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Return the shrimp back to the pan and toss to combine them with the zucchini and sauce.
  10. Garnish with basil or parsley and serve immediately.

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Salmon wrapped in grape leaves

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Stuffed grape leaves, or Dolmades, are delicious little bundles filled with rice and ground meat.  The name comes from the Turkish word “dolma” which means stuffed.  I prefer the vegetarian variety filled with rice, shredded vegetables and sometimes pine nuts.  I’ve never thought of eating a leaf before I tried the stuffed grape leaves but this particular leaf is really tasty.  And let’s face it, anything that I can tie to wine is ok in my book.

In fact, I prepared the dish I’m sharing here for a wine tasting dinner party I hosted.  I decorated  with grapes and grape leaves so I thought it quite appropriate to serve grape leaves as a part of the meal.  Even the appetizers were in theme as I made my roasted grape bruschetta.  Ok, I’ll admit it, I was proud of myself about this meal.  And like I always say, it’s not bragging if it’s true!

It sounds a bit intimidating but the method is really easy and the meal comes together quickly as fish is a quick cooking meal.  Serve it with a simple rice or grain and a vegetable and it’s a beautiful dinner.  Plus, it looks fancy; your guests will think you’re very gourmet!

Salmon wrapped in grape leaves
 
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A unique presentation and the best part is it's very easy to prepare.
Author:
Recipe type: What's for dinner, fish
Cuisine: seafood
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Four 6-8 ounce salmon filets
  • 8-12 large grape leaves in brine - I buy mine in a jar at my local supermarket
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the salmon filets in a shallow dish or pie plate.
  3. Rub the fish with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the dill, lemon pepper and salt to taste.
  4. Let the fish stand for 15 minutes.
  5. Rinse and drain the grape leaves to remove the brine.
  6. Pat the grape leaves dry with a towel.
  7. Place 2-3 overlapping grape leaves on your work surface.
  8. Place one salmon filet in the middle of the grape leaves.
  9. Wrap it by first bringing up the bottom end, then wrap the sides in toward the center and roll the salmon up like a burrito.
  10. Place the wrapped fish onto a nonstick baking sheet that's been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Lightly brush the tops of the grape leaves with olive oil (just a bit).
  12. Bake for 10 minutes.
  13. Serve hot on top of the rice or grain of your choice.

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Salmon Salad, a 20 minute meal

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Yes I’m a food blogger.  Yes I love to cook.  And, yes there are nights that like everybody else I just don’t want to even think about cooking.  Nights when I have no motivation or energy to do so and no idea what to make.

Sometimes I turn to take-out but the question of “what do you want to pick up?” is often worse than “what are you making for dinner?”  I swear sometimes by the time we finally decide on what to order for takeout I could have cooked a four course gourmet meal.

This is where your pantry, freezer and refrigerator really come in handy.  One of my favorite items to keep on hand are salmon burgers.  They are delicious, packed with protein and very versatile.  I serve them with some instant brown rice and a vegetable (frequently a frozen veggie also from the freezer) and a complete meal is on the table in 20 minutes.  They’re great put on a bun with a couple condiments of your choice with a side salad.

This particular salad was thrown together by looking in the refrigerator for miscellaneous produce and items in jars in the refrigerator door.  I started with a bed of arugula (any green would do) and added a handful of broccoli slaw mix from a bag, mild banana pepper rings, some chopped fresh basil from the garden and  some chopped cucumber.  The salmon burger cooks from frozen in the oven in 20 minutes.  Top the salad with the dressing of your choice and the salmon burger and you’ve got a great meal; delicious, nutritious and best of all super quick!

This same no brainer meal can be duplicated with a veggie burger, chicken burger or sirloin burger.  I just really love these salmon burgers though.  They seem a bit more gourmet and they feel like a real treat as they’re so meaty and tasty.

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Chile Lime Salmon with Grilled Peach Salsa

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Summer on a plate and so easy to prepare!  Our local market had wild caught salmon on sale for $3.99 a pound so this was a very economical dinner.  I dare say this plate along with a couple of extras I served would have probably been a $30.00 dinner in a nice restaurant.  So, we ate al fresco on the patio while watching the baseball game on television, it doesn’t get much better than that on a summer night!  Well, my team lost so I guess a win would have made it a little better.

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This grilled peach salsa was so fresh and delicious.  I think grilling the peaches really made a difference as it softens them and gives the salsa a melt in your mouth flavor.  The fresh cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno give it the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.  It could also be put on chicken breasts, pork, fish tacos served in corn tortillas or eaten right out of the bowl with tortilla chips……so versatile.

I used a spice called Tajin for the chile lime marinade on the salmon.  Tajin is a Mexican company that makes spice blends that comes in many different varieties and contain primarily chile peppers and lime.  It is readily available at most stores and inexpensive.

Chile Lime Salmon with Grilled Peach Salsa
 
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Author:
Recipe type: What's For Dinner?, Main Course
Cuisine: Fish, Salsa
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Salsa:
  • 2 peaches – cut in half with the pits removed
  • ½ cup small red onion - diced
  • 1 jalapeno – seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • ½ of a large cucumber – seeded and diced
  • ½ cup (or to taste) chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of ½ of a lime
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 Tablespoon lime pepper seasoning
  • salt
  • For the salmon and chile lime marinade:
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin spice
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 large piece of salmon, skin on
Instructions
  1. For the salmon:
  2. Place the salmon into a plastic zip top bag.
  3. Mix all ingredients for the marinade together and pour over the salmon. Mix it around in the bag so that its evenly distributed over the fish. Tightly close the bag and refrigerate for at least an hour before cooking.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (approximately 400 degrees).
  5. Place the salmon skin side down onto a piece of aluminum foil and place on the grill. Grill for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the flesh becomes opaque and flaky.
  6. Remove the fish and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so. When you are ready to cut the salmon the skin sticks to the foil allowing the flesh to pull nicely away from it.
  7. For the grilled peach salsa:
  8. Rub the flesh sides of the peach halves with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of Kosher salt.
  9. Place the peaches, flesh side down, onto the grill.
  10. Grill until softened and grill marks are present, approximately 5 minutes.
  11. Allow the peaches to cool. I chose to remove most of the peach skin as I do not enjoy the texture of it in the salsa.
  12. Mix the rest of the ingredients into a bowl. Once cooled, add in the peaches and toss to combine.
  13. Serve the salmon garnished with the salsa.

 

 

Pineapple Salsa

 

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This fruit salsa is delicious and so fresh.  It’s great served over fish and chicken.  It can also be used as an appetizer served with tortilla chips or crackers.  I’ve also served this over some fresh greens as a light lunch.  But, it’s so darn yummy you can eat it by the spoonful; which I usually do after I make it so making extra is recommended to allow for snacking!

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Pineapple Salsa
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Pineapple Salsa, appetizer
Cuisine: Fresh and Healthy
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of fresh diced pineapple
  • 1 cup of English (seedless) cucumber - diced  (I peel the cucumber in a striped pattern, alternating a peeled strip with a non-peeled strip.  You can see this in the picture below.)
  • ¼ cup red onion - diced
  • 1 small jalapeno - seeded, ribs removed and diced very small
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • handful of fresh cilantro - chopped (Note - the stems of cilantro are just as tasty as the leaves so do not hesitate chopping them up and adding them to your dish as well.)
Instructions
  1. Put the pineapple, cucumber, red onion and jalapeno into a bowl and mix to combine.  Add the olive oil, then the lemon juice, then the agave and stir until it is mixed into the salsa evenly.  Add the Kosher salt and pepper and stir again.

A Rockstar Fish Dish

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Okay, this fish is the easiest meal I’ve ever made.  It is truly my go-to dish as it’s absolutely delicious and completely foolproof!  It turns out moist and perfect every time and I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t rave about it.  Well, if that doesn’t sound like I’m bragging I don’t know what does!  But, as you know, it’s not bragging if it’s true.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 2 pounds of Cod (1 large or 2 smaller pieces)
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Lemon pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Dill weed (dried)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle some olive oil in a large baking dish (I use a 9×13 inch glass dish).  Place the fish in the dish and drizzle some olive oil over the top, rubbing it into the fish with your fingers.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the fish.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt, lemon pepper and dill.  Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.

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I don’t have exact measurements for the spices as I just liberally sprinkle them over the fish.

Another method I have used is to cover the bottom of the baking dish with sliced lemon wheels and to bake the fish on top of them.

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I save the broth that’s left in the bottom of the baking dish after cooking as it’s wonderful and flavorful, not fishy at all.  I add it into the liquid when making cous cous, rice or quinoa to infuse flavor.

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