A lot of the recipes I post here are more on the creative side or for those days where you want to try something new with ingredients that you either use all the time or maybe want to experiment with. Today though, I’m sharing a recipe that isn’t really either of those. Instead, this recipe (or something very similar to it) is something that I whip up every couple of weeks or so in our house when I want to keep it simple and relatively cheap – fried rice!
It’s February now, guys, so you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is coming! I’m admittedly not one of those people who is anti-commercial holiday, because although I do absolutely agree with the argument that you don’t need to designate one day of the year to be romantic and show your love to your loved one(s), no one’s telling you that you can’t be romantic all year AND celebrate Valentine’s Day. It might not have as deep a historical significance as Christmas and Thanksgiving, but hey, why not have a little fun with it, right? :) The main thing for me though, is to do it your own way. Flowers, hallmark cards, chocolates and grand gestures are nice, but the best Valentines are the ones where you convey your love in a sincere way that’s true to your relationship.
For Dave and I, we’ve almost always celebrated Valentine’s Day with an intimate meal at home to avoid the madness and to keep it laid back. In general, I’m the main (ahem, only) cook in the house, so in previous years Dave has transformed our living room into a little “bistro” and treated me to a fancy dinner that he makes from scratch, which have been so amazing especially considering he rarely ever cooks (he’s just not a huge fan of it!). Since this coming Valentine’s Day is the first time in a long time that me and Dave are actually going to celebrate with a dinner out at a nice restaurant, I wanted to re-make one of my favorite Valentine’s Day dishes he’s made for me for in the past – Shrimp Scampi Linguine.
The actual meal he made that inspired this dish was a traditional Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Baked Zucchini Chips as an appetizer, which were both SO GOOD. In remaking the linguine dish, I decided to mix it up by combining those two dishes to make this Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Zucchini and Parmesan. The big bonus about this dish is that it’s decadent and sophisticated enough for a special dinner, but yet comes together so fast – 15 minutes to be exact! Scampi typically has white wine in it, but since I don’t usually have white wine on hand (that I’m willing to spare for cooking… ;) ), this recipe does not need it. This would be a perfect dish to serve for Valentine’s Day, or any at-home dinner date with friends or your sweetie!
-1 zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
-1 pound fresh shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
-3/4 pound of linguine pasta
-3 tablespoons of olive oil
-4 tablespoons of butter
-2 tablespoons minced garlic
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup shredded parmesan
-salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot of salted water, cook linguine according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, melt butter and olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned and zucchini starts to become translucent.
Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes or just until the shrimp starts to turn pink. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice, chopped parsley, shredded parmesan and red pepper flakes, mixing it all together.
Once the pasta is done, drain and toss it into the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Are you going out or celebrating at home?
I mentioned earlier this month that I was making a few small health resolutions for this year – which include drinking less coffee and more tea and eating more fruits and veggies – and I’m happy to say they haven’t been hard to keep at all! I knew from the start that these simple, straightforward resolutions would be way easier to keep than making one big, ambitious resolution but since they’re things that I’m truly committed to and that make me feel good, it’s just a nice feeling to have kept the promises I’ve made to myself. How have you been doing with your new year’s resolutions?
Anyways, today I wanted to share this hearty winter vegetable salad with a sweet dijon shallot dressing that I made recently that really hit the spot. There was a stretch of time last year that I ate homemade salads (and dressings) everyday for lunch using whatever combination of things I had in the kitchen and this salad looks a lot like something I would throw together. This time though, I made it a point to use ingredients that are very winter appropriate like sweet potato, brussels sprouts, shallots, and cranberries. It’s rounded out with some nutty parmesan cheese, savory bacon, and an addictive shallot and dijon dressing that I seriously think would go well with any salad (it’s that good!). The end result is super delicious and satisfying, which is exactly what you strive for in a salad but don’t always get!
Ingredients: For the salad:
1-1.5 cups of baby spinach
1/2 cup brussel sprouts, shaved or finely sliced
1/2 cup sweet potato, finely sliced and sautéed in oil for 3-5 minutes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup bacon, chopped and cooked
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese For the dressing:
1 shallot, minced and sautéed in oil for 2-3 minutes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 1. As with any salad the first step is cutting and prepping your ingredients and, for this one, separately cooking first, your shallots, then bacon, and then sweet potato.
2. As you wait for your bacon and sweet potato to cool, make your dressing by combining your cooked shallots with the remaining dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mixing together.
3. Put all of your salad ingredients in a bowl, top with dressing and enjoy!
Do you try to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your cooking these days?
For my new years resolutions this year, I purposely didn’t choose the typical health goals of losing weight and going to the gym, etc. Not because I’m not prioritizing my health (I totally am!), but because for one, I’ve long concluded that I will always ALWAYS prefer a varied and flexible at-home workout over a gym workout, and second, I feel that setting those particular goals at the beginning of the year is just SO expected and unless it comes from a genuine place of determination and desire, they never get done. I also realized that the more I hyper-focus on my weight, the more I would stress out and the more my body would mess with me. No thank you!
So what I did instead this year is I made smaller, more specific health-related resolutions that I started aiming for even before the new year arrived, which are: 1) Drink more tea instead of coffee, 2) Don’t hit the snooze button more than 2 times, and 3) Eat more fruits and veggies everyday – I’ve always been an enthusiastic vegetable and salad-eater, but obviously the holidays have thrown me off a bit! I fully believe that if you make very specific resolutions for yourself, you’re way more likely to stick to them and achieve that feeling of accomplishment that is so great when you’ve hit your goals.
We’re less than a week into the new year and I’m already in the habit of drinking 2-3 cups of tea a day, so I’d say I’m off to a great start! I’m going to need a bit more practice for my 2nd resolution, but to help kick off my 3rd resolution I decided to put together a super easy, but super flavorful salad. Avocados make everything more delicious, in my opinion, so that’s what started this Tomato and Avocado salad with a Sweet Chile Lime Dressing. Learn how to make it down below!
Ingredients: – 2 tomatoes, diced
– 1 ripe avocado, diced
– 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
– 1 tablespoon of feta cheese crumbles For the dressing:
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– a pinch of chile powder
– 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
– 2 teaspoons of honey
– 2 teaspoons of lime juice (about half a lime)
Directions: Really the only steps to make this salad are cutting up your ingredients and making the dressing. To make the dressing, simply mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and adjust until it’s to your liking.
Toss all together, top with additional chile powder if you’d like, and enjoy!
This is a great low-carb, gluten-free, and vegetarian dish that is really refreshing, while still being satisfying from all the bold flavors. It would also go really well with some lean protein like chicken or fish (just omit the cheese) to make a nice healthy entree. If you like these flavors, you’d probably also love my avocado toast with lemon ricotta!
What are your health resolutions for the new year? Are you making one or two big ones, or a few smaller ones like I did?