Almond Coconut Shrimp

Inspiration: We recently bought a container of coconut oil for the first time and are starting to incorporate it into our diets. If you’ve never had it before, it’s fantastic and has a wonderful coconut flavor and scent that carries over to your food when you use it. It makes for a great tropical spin on fried eggs for breakfast! While we were eating our coconut fried eggs for breakfast one morning, B suggested using the oil to make coconut shrimp, and it was, of course, a great idea :)

What we Loved: B and I both loved these shrimp. Since we avoid carbs, I mixed together some almond meal and unsweetened coconut for the breading, and it turned out fantastic! The coconut flavor was nice and mild, though not so mild as to be undetectable, and there was the definite texture of coconut. The almond meal provided a mild, nutty flavor and acted as a great “breading” along with the coconut. I served these with some lima beans sauteed with almonds and topped with some shaved Parmesan, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure which part of the meal I enjoyed more! It was a great, summery supper for one of the first days in so long that we’ve seen the sun!

Helpful Hints: My only little problem with this recipe is that the shrimp turned out a little bit greasy. Not that we mind too much, as we get a large portion of our calories from healthy fats, but if you’d like these to be a little less greasy, I’d suggest placing them onto paper towels after cooking, like you would with bacon, so that the paper towels can absorb some of the extra oil.

Almond Coconut Shrimp
Source: Original recipe

20-25 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond meal
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
Coconut oil

1. Pat the shrimp dry on paper towels, getting them as dry as you can.

2. Beat the eggs together in a shallow bowl. Mix the almond meal and coconut together in a second shallow bowl.

3. Dip the shrimp into the eggs, and then dip them into the coconut mixture. Completely coat the shrimp in the coconut mixture, and then place them aside onto a plate.

4. Heat a good amount of coconut oil in a saute pan over medium high heat, enough to completely coat the bottom of the pan to about 1/8 inch deep. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp to the pan. Saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then flip the shrimp and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding your pan, and add more oil if necessary between batches.

5. Drain the cooked shrimp on a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm under foil until all of the shrimp are cooked.

About these ads

Salmon with Creamy Pesto Sauce

Inspiration: There are a lot of food combinations that I just love, and salmon and pesto is one of them.

What we Loved: One of the things that I love about salmon is that it can made into a very light and fresh meal, or it can be made into a very rich and indulgent meal, depending on how you prepare it. This recipe definitely falls into the latter category! The sauce is so rich and creamy, with a great basil pesto flavor, and it compliments the simply sauteed salmon so well. With a couple of grape tomatoes on top and a nice side dish of grape tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper, this made for a simple and lovely meal.

Helpful Hints: I really liked the simplicity of the sauce, but you could be pretty adventurous with adjustments if you wanted to be. More pesto wouldn’t hurt, or you could vary the kind of pesto that you use and try something like a sundried tomato pesto. Some chopped onions and garlic wouldn’t be bad additions, either!

Salmon with Creamy Pesto Sauce
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes

2 salmon filets
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons pesto
Grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper, and saute the salmon until it’s cooked through, approximately 5 minutes per side.

2. While the salmon is cooking, make the sauce. Add the cream cheese and the milk to a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, whisking the cream cheese and milk together until combined and smooth. Stir in the pesto.

3. Serve the fish topped with the pesto sauce and sliced grape tomatoes.

Anaheim Shrimp Scampi

Inspiration: I’m so glad that I discovered spaghetti squash recently, because it’s one of those ingredients that is just so versatile. I was hunting around for something unique to make, when I found this recipe. Shrimp scampi with chunks of avocado and cheese? It was a strange combination that had me intrigued.

What we Loved: I adored this meal. Loved it. The shrimp were cooked in an amazingly rich scampi butter, then combined with creamy, cool avocado and nutty pieces of asiago cheese. It’s sounds like an odd combination, but everything went so well together! The cheese added such a sharp bite, which contrasted really well with the mild avocado and squash. But what really made this meal fantastic was the scampi sauce. The shrimp were saturated in the buttery flavor, and the extra sauce poured atop everything was really out of this world. I plan to make this meal again in the summer, with a nice bottle of chardonnay and some sunshine :)

Helpful Hints: I used chives in the scampi butter instead of parsley, but they browned up a bit and I don’t think that they added too much flavor, as far as herbs go. I would recommend adding some fresh cilantro on top of this after it’s plated, instead. Cilantro’s bright, fresh flavor would work really well and give this dish even more of a Southwestern spin.

Anaheim Shrimp Scampi
Source: George Stella, Food Network

I modified the recipe a touch. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

For the scampi butter
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Vidalia onion, minced
1 handful chives, minced
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of Kosher salt
Sprinkle of black pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced

For the rest of the meal
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tail removed
3 oz Asiago cheese, cut into small chunks
1 avocado, cut into chunks
1 spaghetti squash

1. Poke the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place the squash in a baking dish, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for one hour. Remove the squash from the oven, let cool, and then cut in half. Discard the seeds, and then scrape the spaghetti squash strands into a sauce pan or pot. Place the pan on the stove over very low heat to keep warm.

2. While the squash is cooking, make the scampi butter. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix to combine.

3. Place 2/3 of the scampi butter in a saute pan over high heat, and melt. Add the shrimp, and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the remaining scampi butter.

5. Plate the spaghetti squash. Top with shrimp, avocado, and cheese. Pour the remaining scampi butter in the pan atop everything, and serve.

Lime Butter Salmon with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Inspiration: I’ve mentioned before that I like to plan at least two seafood meals per week. I recently decided to make sure that one of those meals each week was a salmon meal,  so that means that I’m on the lookout for great salmon recipes! I have a few old favorites, like this seasoned salmon with dill, but I’ve found that I have many more whitefish recipes up my sleeve than I do salmon. So I’ve been hunting around and have a few new recipes in the queue.

What we Loved: Well, I can say right away that this salmon recipe was a huge success and will be added to our short list of favorites. It was just what I was looking for! The fish had a nice, crispy brown crust, and we absolutely adored the light and tart flavor of the lime combined with the richer flavor of the butter. The cauliflower rice was probably the best cauliflower rice I’ve made, and it was the absolute perfect compliment to the fish. It was incredibly light with the cilantro and lime flavors, and it soaked up the browned butter sauce from the fish so nicely. This entire meal tasted just like summer to me, and I mentioned to B that it would be perfect cooked on the grill and served up outside at our patio table alongside a caipirinha. Goodness. I’m counting down the days already.

Helpful Hints: This is a fantastically straightforward and simple weeknight dinner, so I really don’t have any advice other than to try out the cauliflower rice, if you haven’t! It’s incredibly light, healthy, and easy to make if you have a food processor, and I really prefer its delicate vegetable flavor to that of heavy white rice. Even if we were still eating carbohydrates, I think I’d use cauliflower rice instead, anyway!

Lime Butter Salmon with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
Source: Salmon recipe adapted from The Deen Brothers

For the Fish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small limes, + 1 small lime for serving
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 salmon filets

For the Rice
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1/2 small lime
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Add the butter and the juice of two small limes to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until melted.

2. Add the cauliflower to a pot, and steam until just cooked, approximately 5 minutes. Drain and keep warm in the covered pan.

3. Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Season both sides of each salmon filet with salt and pepper. Gently pour some of the lime butter over each side of the salmon, patting with your fingers, and then place the salmon in the pan. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes per side, until the fish is cooked through and crispy on the edges.

3. While the salmon is cooking, use your ricing attachment on your food processor to grate the cauliflower. Add the cilantro, the juice of 1/2 lime, and some salt and pepper to the rice. Stir to combine.

4. Serve the cauliflower rice topped with the salmon. Drizzle a bit of any remaining lime butter over the salmon. Serve each plate with 1/2 lime to squeeze over the entire meal, if desired. The extra lime juice is highly recommended, because it really takes the lime flavor in this meal over the top!

Mahi-Mahi alla Fiorentina

Inspiration: B and I are always looking for new fish recipes. We love seafood of any type, and it’s one of the healthiest things that you can eat. I always plan at least one fish recipe per week, though I try to make it two.

What we Loved: I was really pleasantly surprised by this meal. Marinara sauce doesn’t exactly seem like a very good compliment to fish, does it? But the recipe looked and sounded really good to me on a particular day, so I threw it on the menu. And I’m so glad that I did, because I’m sure that it will become one of my staple fish recipes. I loved it! Mahi-mahi is a fairly heavy fish, almost like chicken or a steak, so the rich marinara sauce wasn’t too overpowering but really complimented the fish well. Since the fish was cooked so simply, the sauce really added some necessary and great flavor. I mentioned to B that this meal tasted like something that you would get in an Italian restaurant. And it’s so incredibly simple to make! I served this with some broccolini that I steamed and then sauteed in butter, and it was really the perfect side dish. What a great Italian meal!

Helpful Hints: I used my own marinara sauce in this recipe, but if you don’t have any on hand, Giada provides a really simple sauce in the original recipe that I’m sure would work beautifully.

Mahi-mahi alla Fiorentina
Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

2 mahi-mahi filets
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup marinara sauce (I used leftover sauce that I had in the freezer from this recipe)
5-6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

1. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, and then add the fish. Cook for 5-7 minutes per side, until the fish is browned and cooked through.

2. While the fish is cooking, heat the marinara sauce in a small sauce pan.

3. Serve the fish over the marinara sauce and topped with the sliced basil leaves.

Seasoned Tilapia with Yellow Pepper Cilantro Pesto

Seasoned Tilapia with Yellow Pepper Cilantro Pesto

Inspiration: I really love tilapia. I know that a lot of people don’t really love this kind of fish, but I like it because it has a mild flavor and a flaky texture, and I like it because it’s cheap. I’d love to eat halibut and crab and lobster several times a week, but I really just can’t afford that. So I do love tilapia. And I’m always looking for new ways to cook it that I can add to my rotation.

What we Loved: I was drawn to this recipe because it has layers of flavor. The fish is coated in a rub that gives it a sweet and smoky flavor, and then it’s topped with a yellow pepper cilantro pesto that layers in a fresh, garlicy vegetable flavor. I really enjoyed the contrast between the two sets of flavor on the fish, and I always think that a healthy portion of cilantro adds a great freshness to a dish, too. This is a really good, healthy recipe for fish when you’re looking for something that’s a bit more than just a seasoned and baked filet. I served this with hearts of palm and some homemade refried beans for a super healthy supper.

Helpful Hints: While I did enjoy this a lot, I thought that the rub for the fish was a touch on the sweet side. Even though I’m always tempted by main course recipes that combine sweet and savory, especially in the fall time when I want to combine apples with pork or make cinnamon pan sauces, I know that I just really dislike any sweet and savory combinations when it comes to my main dish. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t handle a fruit sauce on my chicken, pineapple on my ham, or a maple glaze on my fish. So next time, I would leave the brown sugar completely out of the rub. That being said, if you enjoy sweet and savory main courses, then you would probably like to keep the brown sugar included. Also, when making pesto, I never use the large amount of oil that a recipe calls for. I only drizzle in just enough so that it’s creamy, which saves on a lot of calories.

Seasoned Tilapia with Yellow Pepper Cilantro Pesto
Source: Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Bobby Flay

I cut the original rub recipe in half to serve two. I made the entire batch of pesto, and I froze the leftovers in an ice cube tray for later. I also adapted this recipe to be cooked inside, rather than to be grilled. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

For the Rub:
1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chile de arbol powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Yellow Pepper Cilantro Pesto:
2 yellow bell peppers, roasated, peeled, and seeded
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the fish:
2 tilapia filets
Extra virgin olive oil
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Combine all of the rub ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.

2. Place the peppers, garlic, pine nuts, cilantro, and cheese in a food processor, and process until combined. Drizzle in as much olive oil as necessary to make the pesto as creamy as you’d like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Rub each filet with the seasoning mixture. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan, enough to lightly coat the bottom. Saute until the fish flakes easily with a fork, approximately 5 minutes per side.

4. Top each filet with some of the pesto, and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Inspiration: Whenever I’m out eating somewhere, I always take note of things that I love. At a restaurant here in town a few months back, I ordered scallops that were coated in cumin and blackened, and I really enjoyed them. While in Austria, one of my dishes came with a side of tiny cubes of roasted zucchini and peppers, and B and I both thought that the vegetables tasted amazing. One of my favorite new ways to cook is to store up little odds and ends that I enjoy from other places, and then throw them into my own meals at home.

What we Loved: I thought that the flavors and textures of this dish all combined really well. I loved the mixture of the creamy, pepperjack polenta with the crispy roasted flavor of the vegetables and the soft cumin scallops. The vegetables added a surprising amount of flavor to the meal, which I was really happy about. All together, this meal was really great for a healthy summer evening.

Helpful Hints: I always think that the most important thing about cooking scallops is to make sure that you don’t overcook them. If they’re overcooked, they end up getting really stiff and rubbery, and to me, it ruins the meal. When searing the scallops for this dish, they only need about 2 minutes per side. My biggest piece of advice is to take the scallops off of the heat just when you’re starting to question if they’re done yet. They will be!

Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables
Source: Original Recipe

For the scallops
8 sea scallops
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the polenta
1 cup polenta
3 cups water
2-3 oz cubed pepperjack cheese

For the Vegetables
1 small zucchini, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the zucchini and red pepper on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, spreading the vegetables in an even layer. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until browned, flipping the vegetables a few times for even cooking.

2. Meanwhile, add the water to a medium saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan often. When the polenta is done, add the pepperjack cheese, stir to combine, and reduce the heat to the lowest setting to keep warm until serving.

3. Mix together the flour, cumin, chili powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Dip each side of the scallops into the mixture. Heat a stainless steel saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Wait until the oil starts to smoke, then add the scallops. To allow the crust to form, do not move the scallops once you’ve placed them in the pan. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, flip the scallops after approximately 2 minutes. The scallops should release from the pan when they are ready to be flipped. Cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side.

4. Serve the vegetables and the scallops atop the polenta.