Weekly Eats

Prior to the menu I posted last week we had been on vacation in Key West, Florida for 2 weeks so I was going out for almost every meal. We stayed in a house with a full fridge and grill but… it WAS vaca after all!

My Vitamix went on vacation with us and I made smoothies every morning. I used a ton of different fruits: blueberries, cherries, strawberries, bananas and oranges. Then I add my standard unsweetened almond milk/ vanilla protein powder/ some-sort-of-nut-butter that makes the best breakfast smoothie ever. A few times I made brunch or lunch at home by combining leftovers from restaurants the night before with a fried egg and some sauteed spinach. I think we made dinner a total of 3 nights: hamburgers one night, fresh snapper and asparagus on the grill another night and finally grilled key west pink shrimp with a veg.

Now I’m back home and it’s winter…I’ll get over it when spring gets here…

Sunday

Lunch: Salad bar at Whole Foods. That curry cauliflower with peas is amazing and you must try it!

Dinner: Wasabi Shrimp and a soba noodle stir fry with cauliflower, snap peas, green onions, cilantro and tossed with an Asian vinaigrette. I ate cauliflower twice today!

shrimp and soba noodles

Monday

Lunch: Leftover soba noodles and shrimp from Sunday night

Dinner: Beet salad  with arugula, cucumber, goat cheese, carrots (the beets were leftover from the batch I cooked last Friday for dinner) and seared yellow-fin tuna steaks marinated in a little soy sauce and ginger. Rare to medium-rare is best. Don’t overcook! Also, if you like to spice things up, make a little dry wasabi powder (you can buy it on the Thai/Asian ingredient isle of the grocery store) into a paste with water or sour cream and dip some of your bites of tuna in it!

Tuesday

Lunch: The last of the soba noodles with a fried egg on top!

Dinner: Caramelized chicken with lemons and olives and cheesy cauliflower soup.  I had a very large head of cauliflower that I used on Sunday for the soba noodles and I used less than half of it for that. I chopped it up in advance and saved the rest to make this soup.

2014-01-14 18.31.48

Wednesday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Beef…as suggested in the recipe I used coconut oil to sear the meat. I used my Dutch oven to sear and cook the meat until it was tender and falling apart (which took about 3 hours). I made cilantro lime quinoa to go with the beef and also made some iceberg lettuce “cups” to eat some of the meat with.

Thursday

Lunch: Salad bar at Whole Foods

Dinner: Out to eat at Selba for dinner and jazz with friends!

Friday

Lunch: Arugula topped with leftover quinoa and grouper from my dinner the night before and a dallop of avocado mashed with lemon juice on the side. No pic because I was on hold with Anthem at the time…for well over an hour!!

Dinner: Filets on the grill. Served with sauteed patty-pan squash with onions and steamed spinach.

Saturday

Lunch: Baked sweet potato fries and a half ham sandwich

Dinner: Going out to dinner at Julep’s for our friends birthday!

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Thai Veggie and Shrimp with Rice Pasta

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients in this dish. Many of these ingredients keep in the pantry for a long time and can be used in lots recipes and marinades. Then once you invest you only need to replenish one bottle at a time when it empties.

 

I always know it’s good when the guys in my house say thank you and help clean up after dinner 🙂

Thai Veggie and Shrimp with Rice Pasta

  • I package mini zucchini, sliced into 4 pieces in thin strips
  • 1 large handful baby carrots, sliced into 4 pieces in thin strips
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, sliced in half on the diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound cleaned, peeled, deveined large shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (Japanese Sake)
  • 2-3 tablespoons, low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 – 8 ounce box DeBoles rice angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • siracha

Method

  • Chop and prepare all veggies. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add grapeseed and sesame oils into the pan. Add the zucchini, peppers, carrots and onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook the rice noodles according to package directions.
  • Back to the skillet where the veggies are cooking add garlic, snow peas and raw shrimp and cook until shrimp are about halfway done and then add the Mirin, soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, sesame seeds and chili garlic sauce. Cook for a couple more minutes until shrimp are done.
  • Toss in cooked, drained and rinsed rice noodles. Add juice of 1/2 lime. Serve immediately. Garnish with siracha for extra heat, if desired.

Black Forbidden Rice with Shrimp, Peaches and Snap Peas

“Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” – Alice Hoffman

This quote made me feel so good when I read it this morning that I just had to re-post it! I ran across it on one of the blogs I recently subscribed to named A Pastry Affair.

I am a lucky girl. I met my wonderful, adventurous boyfriend Travis in 2007. In the summer of 2008 we moved in together and the next spring we bought the townhouse that we currently live in. In February 2010 I left my job, my career, from a company that I had worked at for just over 10 years with a primary purpose of returning to school to get my bachelors degree. The past 2 years I have been doing just that. I’m a full-time student at Virginia Commonwealth University, my major is Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. People ask me all the time what will I be doing when I’m done with school. Where are you going to work? Can you get your job back at Dominion? I love to respond truthfully…I don’t know yet and I’m not pressured to know. Travis just wants me to focus on school and be happy and enjoy the process. The spring semester ended about a month ago. So far my summer has involved starting this blog, planting, spring cleaning, reading, going to the pool, having friends over and helping my son Devin wrap up his first year in high school (his last day is tomorrow).  Like I said, I’m a lucky girl!

Reading this quote helped me to stop for a minute this morning and appreciate my “luck”. I even asked myself if my luck has anything to do with the fact that I grow lavender and roses? I grow rosemary…though it’s not by my front gate it’s on my roof. I certainly add pepper to mashed potatoes but I would never throw salt over my left shoulder because it only means that I would have to sweep it up later!! The thoughts caused me to giggle to myself as I sat with my cup of coffee and my laptop after returning home from driving my son to school.

I feel like I took a risk trying this recipe last night. Why? 1) Because I have never tried black forbidden rice (I’m a white rice or risotto kinda girl) and 2) even though I like fruit mixed with savory dishes, I thought the peaches would be a little too sweet AND I figured Devin and Travis would be like, “What? You ruined our shrimp by putting weird looking rice and fruit on it?”. But I got lucky. This recipe was divine! It was a hit! I literally can’t wait to share it with guests when I make it again. It has sweet notes from the honey and peaches but the vinegar and oil in the dressing balance it all out. The snap peas add a nice crunch (if you make this be sure to not overcook them! When they get bright green they are done.) Here are the snap peas trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces.

The shrimp I used were large, fresh shrimp that were on sale at Fresh Market this week. I  peeled and deveined them before cooking. The rice, peaches and snow peas paired perfectly with the seafood!

The only teeny-tiny change I made to Giada’s recipe was to replace the fresh grated ginger with a heaping teaspoonful of jarred grated ginger from The Ginger People. It keeps in the fridge for months and it’s so super easy to use in recipes! This recipe is not available online and is taken directly from Giada’s new cookbook, Weeknight’s With Giada.

Black Forbidden Rice with Shrimp, Peaches and Snap Peas

From Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black forbidden rice
  • 1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 1/2 cups (8 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 peaches, stones removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method

  • In a medium saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups water, the rice, ginger and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  • Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are cooked through and opaque, 4-5 minutes. Remove the shrimp and set aside to cool. Using paper towels, wipe the pan dry.
  • In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the snow peas and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the peaches and cook for another 2 minutes (reduce the to 1 minute if your peaches are very ripe). Transfer the peas and peaches to the serving bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining 1/4 cup oil, honey and soy sauce until smooth. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture. Add shrimp and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here’s an article from CNN on the health benefits of black rice.

Spring Green Pasta with Saffron Cream Sauce

I know it’s mid-May and I should have had it done by now but I’ve been spring cleaning today. Rearranging things, changing a/c filters, dusting, dusting, dusting! I have a labradoodle, a goldendoodle and a maine coon mix cat so there is always something to dust off or a floating tumbleweed of hair to pick up around my house. I also have a bad habit of redecorating or moving pictures around and then leaving the items I don’t know where to put in the corner of the room! I have some new crafty projects that I want to get into while I’m out of school for the summer so I’m making myself clean up some unused items and get rid of what I no longer want! If I haven’t used it since I moved in 3 years ago it’s going to Goodwill!

With a newly spring cleaned house I wanted a spring pasta! Last weekend when I shopped at Nadolski’s I found a beautiful little glass jar of saffron…and grabbed it up! While browsing for recipe ideas I ran across a new post from Aida Mollenkamp. I have adored her and her recipes for a few years. One of my favorite recipes of hers, that I have seriously made over and over again, is her Sweet Sausage and Three Cheese Lasagna. I’m pretty sure that recipe is the reason I first started a recipe box on foodnetwork.com. Really!! The last few times I made lasagna I have made an eggplant roasted vegetable version but her version is the BEST as far as meat lasagnas go.

Here are some of the ingredients ready to be turned into yummy pasta! Look at that beautiful looking, locally grown asparagus!

Spring Green Pasta with Saffron Cream Sauce

(adapted from Aida Mollenkamp)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 8 ounces fettuccine (I used linguine)
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 6 ounces mushrooms (I used shiitake)
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1 large shallot, minced (the recipe called for leeks and I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves

Preparation

  • Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to simmer add saffron and set aside until ready to use, at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and prep vegetables. Cut the asparagus and peas on the bias into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut the stems off of the shiitake mushrooms and slice them into strips. Mince the shallot.
  • Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add shallot, salt pepper, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add mushrooms (and a small 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter…I think mushrooms should always be cooked with a little butter!!). Once the mushrooms are tender add the asparagus and peas, stirring occasionally until bright green. Add cream, turn heat to medium-low.
  • When the pasta water boils, salt well and cook according to package directions. Before draining pasta reserve 1 cup of pasta water (I only used about 1/2 cup of the water). Add noodles to cream and vegetable mixture. Using tongs stir it together adding enough pasta water to make it the desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  • When pasta is well coated stir in most of the tarragon. Garnish with additional tarragon when serving.

Here is the cream and veggies cooking together:

And the pasta and veggies plated:

This is so delicious! My son refused to eat it because he saw too many green vegetables…and he hates mushrooms… but my boyfriend Travis loved it. We served it along with a small grilled flank steak. I only had like 3 bites of steak because I wanted to save room for more pasta! Make it and let me know when you do 🙂