Lean Clean Mediterranean Shrimp Roasting Machine!

It’s officially been over 2 months since the last blog post. It seems like a lot has changed since then. I’ve finally gotten back into a workout routine by joining a new gym that falls somewhere between crossfit and Orange Theory style classes. I like the small group atmosphere and the focus of weight training through different circuits. It’s a super friendly environment the provides the encouragement and support that I need to get my rear back in gear. That being said, I wanted a light, satisfying meal that was also packed with protein after yesterday’s grueling leg workout (my legs feel like noodles today). About a month ago, while I was visiting my family, my mom made this Mediterranean Shrimp recipe for dinner and I absolutely loved it!!! I really can’t take any credit for this as I copied the recipe exactly from the Food Network. The best part about this recipe is that it only uses one large mixing bowl and one large baking sheet, which makes for easy clean up. You can also prep all of the veggies the night before hand, but not mix them with the seasonings, to cut down on prep time the day of.

Mediterranean Shrimp

Serves: 4-5     Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes     Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 40-45 Minutes

What you’ll need: 

Vegetables:

  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (I buy the kind that is already minced in a jar)
  • 12 ounces jarred artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 red onion, cut into thick chunks
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Shrimp:

  • 1 lb cleaned large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Toppings:

  • 4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

What to do: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. For the vegetables: in a large bowl, whisk the white wine, olive oil, and garlic. Add the drained artichoke hearts, green beans, tomatoes, olives, capers, and onions and toss to coat. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and evenly spread out. Roast until the tomatoes begin to release their juices, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. For the shrimp: while the vegetables are roasting, use the same bowl and mix together the olive oil, oregano, red pepper, and garlic. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
  4. Remove the baking sheet after the vegetables have roasted for 10 to 12 minutes and add the shrimp. Stir and evenly spread out the shrimp and vegetables. Roast until the shrimp is pink and opaque, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese.

** I paired Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc with the Mediterranean Shrimp. It’s a crisp, white refreshing wine that isn’t too sweet.**

pre-roasted vegetables
pre-roasted vegetables
IMG_2113
finished product

Lean Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

Two blog posts and two recipes in two days?! Who would’ve thunk it? After a decent day at the office, I come home to find my poor pup (Sadie bear) has not had a decent day at home. The poor pup was sick (the last time she’ll ever have a rawhide bone… ever). After cleaning up and snugging her until her tail was wagging and her energy was back to that beyond the Energizer Bunny… it was time to get cooking. There is nothing more serene and calming than cooking to me. I threw on the Darius Rucker station in iHeartRadio.com (since I just saw Hootie live in concert about a week ago) and started prepping what turned out to be the perfect meal for this hectic evening.

Lean Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

Servings: 6    Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes   Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

What you’ll need: 

  • 6 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 20 oz. Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 10 oz can of mild red enchilada sauce (I used Market Pantry/Target brand)
  • 15.25 oz can reduced sodium black beans (I used Publix brand), drained and rinsed
  • 15.25 oz can no salt added sweet corn (I used Publix brand), drained and rinsed
  • 1  1/2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tblspn. vegetable oil
  • 1  1/2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the Jasmine rice according to the instructions on the bag or box.
  3. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a medium pan. Add the extra lean ground turkey and chopped onion to the pan and brown until the turkey is cooked through and the onions are soft (about 12-14 minutes). Be sure to break up the ground turkey into small pieces.
  4. While the turkey is browning, cut off the tops of the bell peppers. Be careful to cut off the smallest portion possible as you will be filling the peppers with the enchilada, ground turkey mixture greatness. Also, be sure to get out all of the seeds and “fleshy stuff.” (By fleshy stuff I mean the soft white parts that are on the inside corners.)
  5. In a very large bowl combine the cooked Jasmine rice, cooked ground turkey, black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, and ground cumin. Mix well to ensure that all ingredients are coated in the enchilada sauce.
  6. Place the bell peppers in a greased 11 x 17 baking pan. Once placed in the baking pan, spoon the filling mixture into each of the peppers. Be sure to fill those peppers up to the very top.
  7. Cover the filled peppers with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, remove from oven, remove tin foil and sprinkle the reduced fat cheddar cheese over each filled pepper. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Blonde appetit!!

IMG_0014

Sunday Morning Breakfat Hash

Im not going to lie and pretend that everything is peachy keen all of the time. Social media would have us believe that all of our friends, family, acquaintances and other strangers are living these blissful, stress free lives.

Welp… I’m here to say that’s a crock. Everyone is fighting a battle. That being said… my go to, pick me up is the kitchen and a solid meal. There’s nothing better than a hearty, tasty breakfast treat. The following recipe is unbelievably easy to make and is the perfect Sunday morning blues cure (the mimosa doesn’t hurt either).

Sunday Morning Breakfast Hash

servings: 1     prep: 5 minutes     total time: 15 minutes

 What you’ll need:

– 1 medium Yukon Gold Potato

– 1/4 medium white onion

– 1 chicken and apple sausage link

– 1/4 cup of mixed tomatoes, peppers and onions (I used the pre-cut medley from Publix)

– 2 large eggs, cooked any way (I did over easy)

– 1/4 cup reduced fat mild cheddar cheese

– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

– salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste

What to do:

1.  Cut potato into small cubes (about 1/2 inch cubes). Chop 1/4 of white onion. Add cubed potato, copped onion, sliced chicken and apple sausage, 1/4 cup tomato, pepper and onion mixture to heated vegetable oil in medium pan. Sprinkle salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste over potato and onion mixture. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until ingredients are softened.

2. While potato mixture is cooking, cook eggs as desired.

3. When potato mixture is cooked, put potato mixture in the bottom or a bowl. Place shredded cheddar cheese on top of potato and sausage mixture. Place cooked eggs on top of cheese.

4. Fix yourself a ding dang mimosa (or move this step to #1).

Blonde appetit!

bubbles make us bubbly

flowers because men are dumb

what you'll need

potato, onion, chicken and apple sausage, and tomato/paper mixture

Tada!!!

finished product... Sunday Morning Breakfast Hash

That Old Bay Doh!!!!

made "two" servings but ate the whole thing... who am I kidding
made “two” servings but ate the whole thing… who am I kidding

Call me crazy, but the start of Summer (in Fort Lauderdale where it’s already 90 degrees) has me hankerin’ for some peel and eat shrimp. There is nothing better than getting down and dirty with some scrumptious shrimp (that alliteration kills me). Be mindful though, the KEY ingredient OLD BAY is not available in all grocery stores. Color me surprised when I couldn’t find it in Winn Dixie, so I turned to my trusty Pinterest app to find an Old Bay alternative. I found one that looked reasonable but modified it slightly. And now… for your stomach’s pleasure, I present to you… That Old Bay Doh (peel and eat shrimp)!!

That Old Bay Doh 

Serves: 2     Prep Time: 5-8 minutes     Total Time: 15-20 minutes

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 lb. 21-25 count shrimp with shells and tails on
  • 6 oz of Sweetwater 420 beer (don’t you dare even think about tossing the remaining 6 oz!)
  • 4 oz water
  • 3 tablespoons Old Bay or alternative (see below)
  • Cocktail sauce and lemon on the side (if desired)

Old Bay Alternative:

Makes about 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground bay leaves (yes this exists)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 2 dashes ground cinnamon
  • 2 dashes ground cloves
  • Combine all of these ingredients in a small bowl. Anything left over can be saved in an air tight container (I used a small mason jar).

What is a “dash” you say? If the spice container has a lid with holes, just hold the container horizontally and then “fist pump” twice with the holes of the container facing towards where you want it to go.

What to do:

  1. Rinse shrimp in cold water. Set aside.
  2. Combine Sweetwater 420, water and Old Bay or alternative in a pot. Give it a quick stir to mix everything. Bring the combination to a boil over HI heat.
  3. Add rinsed shrimp to boiling mixture. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. After 3 minutes (set a timer especially since you’re drinking the last 6 oz of beer), gently stir the shrimp. Recover and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. After 2 minutes (remember to set the timer) stir and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  6. Drain the shrimp, only once it’s completely cooked. The shrimp are cooked when they’re opaque (i.e. cloudy, pink, you can’t see through them).
  7. Serve hot with a side of lemon, cocktail sauce and a sprinkle of the remaining Old Bay or alternative. **Honestly who am I kidding, they would be delicious served cold as well.**

IMG_0009 Old Bay Alternative

scrubbin' it tonite ladies and gents! repping my UF shirt and drinking the remaining 6 oz of beer. can't waste it!!
scrubbin’ it tonite ladies and gents! repping my UF shirt and drinking the remaining 6 oz of beer. can’t waste it!!

Creamy Avocado Zucchini Pasta with Chicken

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted something yummy. This meal is the perfect balance of protein, veggies, and taste. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or  bland. The following recipe was modified from a few different things I read on Pinterest.

creamy avocado zucchini pasta

Creamy Avocado Zucchini Pasta with Chicken

Servings: 2     Prep Time: 30 minutes     Cook Time: 20 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Vegetti
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 12 ounces chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup Mojo sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Wash the zucchinis, basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Be sure to dry all produce thoroughly.
  2. Cut the chicken into 2 inch strips and place in a plastic bag with Mojo sauce to marinate. You can marinate the chicken overnight as well for more flavor.
  3. While chicken is marinating, halve the avocados, remove the pits and scoop the avocados into a food processor. Add the olive oil, basil leaves, minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Chop the mixture until all ingredients are blended well and creamy.
  4. Using the Vegetti, make zucchini pasta. I used the “thin pasta” side of the Vegetti and used scissors to cut the pasta pieces into 6-inch pieces). Place zucchini pieces on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt to get rid of extra moisture.
  5. Cook marinated chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through (about 10-12 minutes).
  6. While chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil for the zucchini pasta. When water is boiling, add the zucchini to water and let cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until pieces are bright green. Strain the water from the pot.
  7. Heat a small pan on stove over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the whole cherry tomatoes to the pan. Allow the tomatoes to brown on sides evenly (about 2-4 minute).
  8. Add the mixed avocado mixture to the large pot with zucchini to warm all ingredients together.
  9. To serve, place zucchini and avocado mixture in a bowl, top with cherry tomatoes and  chicken.

Blonde appetit!!

the most un-PHO-gettable recipe of all time

I’m at the tail end of a cold and wanted nothing to eat with the exception of soup, but not just any soup… the most PHO-cking, PHO-nomenal, life changing soup known to mankind. In case you haven’t guessed what I’m referring to yet (it’s ok to have a blonde moment…), I’m referring to Pho (pronounced “fa”). This soup has all of the great nutrients needed to overcome the nastiest of germiness and the spiciness to clear the sinuses. Oh, and did I mention… it’s quite possibly the EASIEST meal to make, like ever (insert Taylor Swift song). The following recipe greatness has been modified from a pho recipe found through Pinterest. Enjoy my fellow (hopefully healthy) blondeshells.

Un-PHO-gettable Pho

Servings: 3-4    Prep time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. lean Thin-Sliced Top Round Steak (about 1/8 inch thick cuts)
  • 1/2 lb. Vietnamese rice noodles (banh pho)
  • 3 cups fat free, 50% reduced sodium Swanson beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 small onion, as thinly sliced as possible
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup basil, sliced lengthwise
  • Asian hot-chile sauce (Sriracha will work)
  • 1 lime, quartered

What to do:

  1. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and add rice noodles. Allow rice noodles to soak in cold water for 30 minutes or until soft.
  2. While rice noodles are soaking in cold water, prep the onions, scallions, basil and lime.
  3. Cut the Thin-Sliced Top Round Steak into 1 to 2 inch strips. (If needed, freeze the steak for 30 minutes to an hour to make it easier to slice into thinner strips)
  4. When noodles are almost soft, add the beef broth and Asian fish sauce to a medium pot. Bring to a boil.
  5. Divide rice noodles evenly amongst 3-4 serving bowls. Place raw, thinly sliced beef strips over noodles. Pour boiling beef broth and Asian fish sauce (keyword it needs to be BOILING) over beef and rice noodles, pushing the beef into the hot broth until it cooks. (Trust me, I know it sounds weird and scary, but all will be fine and the beef will cook. Scout’s honor.)
  6. Add the desired amount of thinly sliced onions, scallions, basil, and Asian chile sauce to top of liquid. Top with freshly squeezed lime juice and serve immediately.

Blonde appetit!

** Other optional toppings: bean sprouts, halved hard boiled egg, jalapeno, Thai chile pepper, cilantro. **

easiest, tastiest, most PHOnomenal meal of all time
easiest, tastiest, most PHOnomenal meal of all time

This cauliflower ain’t no wallflower!

I’m kind of, sort of, maybe on this slight health kick after eating pizza for 8 meals in the past 5 days (not sorry) and I needed a side to go with my leftover Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken from yesterday that would be filling, but not weigh me down like whale (it is swimsuit season after all). My best blondeshell and twin recommended I try a cauliflower mash instead of baked potatoes. I’ve modified a Paula Deen recipe to make it just a smidgen more calorie conscious.  Without any more jib jab… here comes bikini season… I mean the recipe.

Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Servings:  3-4     Prep Time:  5 minutes     Cook Time:  15 minutes     Total Time:  20 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb bag frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1 oz. fat free cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Thinly chopped scallions (optional topping)

What to do:

  1. Cook the frozen cauliflower as directed on the packaging. Make sure it is thoroughly cooked and soft.
  2. When cauliflower is cooked, drain and pat dry very well with paper towels.
  3. Add garlic, cream cheese, and cauliflower to food processor and blend until very fine. Mix with spoon, then add salt and pepper to processor and blend again.
  4. Spoon out cauliflower mash and top with scallions (if desired).

Blonde appetit!

Garlic Cauliflower Mash