Recipe—Creamy Lemon Pasta with Seared Scallops and Peas

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Seared Scallops and Peas

Quick and super easy recipes are always popular with me and it’s even better when I can actually find one that is delicious and somewhat gourmet. A meal like this makes the average day feel a little extra special. Scallops aren’t something I cook very often due to the price but they sure are awesome to indulge in every now and again. They are incredibly simple to cook and have a really mild flavor sure to please the whole family. This sauce is the perfect pasta sauce for summer. It’s light and super refreshing with all that lemon. Whether you are looking for a quick dinner for a work night or even an elegant one for company, this is a great go to recipe.

Note: Start with the lesser amount of lemon zest and lemon juice and adjust accordingly per your taste.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb fresh scallops
salt and pepper
lemon pepper
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
16 oz fettuccine noodles
1 tbsp butter
1/2–1 tsp lemon zest (depends how much you like lemon)
1/8–1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
15 oz container ricotta cheese
1/2 c peas (if using frozen be sure they are defrosted)

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Rinse scallops and pat dry.
  • Season the scallops with salt and lemon pepper.
  • Put the pasta on to boil and cook per package instructions.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter over medium high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer.
  • Cook turning once until golden on the outside and no longer opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the scallops to a large plate.
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and additional salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the ricotta until you have a nice creamy sauce and then add in the peas.
  • Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and top with the seared scallops.

Recipe adapted from Crumb.

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Recipe—Roasted Fennel Fries

Roasted Fennel Fries

Awhile back I posted a recipe for kale chips. Kale chips are a delicious and healthy snack that my son absolutely loved. I was eager to find more recipes that were just as simple, tasty, and nutritious. I recently used the same seasoning and cooking technique with roasted fennel and had fabulous results. These roasted fennel fries were absolutely addicting. My son and I could not stop eating them! We didn’t even waste time getting out a plate. I kid you not, we were eating the pieces straight off the baking sheet. They were that good! Think french fries, but without the calories and even more flavorful. Roasted fennel fries are not only a great snack but they also make a great side dish for any dinner. Just be sure you make enough because these fries will go fast!

INGREDIENTS

2 large fennel bulbs, fronds removed and sliced into 1/3” thick pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fennel slices in a single layer.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 30–45 minutes flipping once halfway through.
  • Bake until the fennel is fork tender and a golden brown.

Recipe—Mexican Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Mexican Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

The 110º day in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago was a brutal reminder that the summer heat is in full swing! During the hot days I avoid using the oven whenever I can. I’d much rather send the hubby outside to operate the grill allowing me to enjoy a lazy evening. This is a quick and easy, flavor packed, and super refreshing salmon recipe, perfect for these warm summer nights. The salmon is seasoned with some of my favorite Mexican spices giving it a nice little oomph and the avocado salsa is cool and refreshing making this a perfectly balanced dish. It is light in calories and carbs, perfect for anyone looking for a great tasting and healthy meal.

FISH INGREDIENTS
2 lbs salmon filets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

AVOCADO SALSA INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
2 limes
1 tsp salt
1 avocado, peeled, deseeded, and sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1/4 yellow bell pepper, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Pat the salmon dry and rub the meat side of the fish with the olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, onion powder, and pepper.
  • Season the meat side of the filet with seasoning mix and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • While the salmon is chilling make the avocado salsa by whisking together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, juice from 2 limes, and salt in a small bowl
  • Combine the avocado, red onion, peppers, and cilantro in a medium bowl and pour the juice mixture over the salsa and gently stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate avocado salsa until ready to serve.
  • Preheat the grill to 325º.
  • Grill the salmon for about 4–6 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
  • Transfer the salmon to a cutting board and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Place the salmon steaks on plates and top with the avocado salsa.

Recipe adapted from Laylita’s Recipes. 

Recipe—The Most Awesome Pork Tenderloin Ever

The Most Awesome Pork Tenderloin Ever

I know what you are thinking, that is a pretty big name for a pork tenderloin recipe. But this recipe really did result in the best pork tenderloin I have ever had in my life! (And I have eaten pork tenderloins, prepared in many different ways in my lifetime.) The flavors from the marinade are incredible and they seem to seep their way into the meat, it was super moist since you cook the tenderloins right in the sauce, and it was cooked absolutely perfect. My husband and I could not get enough. We each ate over a half pound of pork and chowed down on the cold leftovers for lunch the next day. The flavors are sweet, tangy, and garlicky.  Awesome, awesome, and more awesome. If you are looking to mix things up in the kitchen I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. Your mind will be blown and your palette and belly happy.

The Most Awesome Pork Tenderloin Ever

INGREDIENTS
1 package of pork tenderloins (2–2.5 lbs), there should be two small tenderloins in the package
6 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

STEPS

  • Preheat your oven to 350º.
  • Spray an 11” x 17” baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Use a sharp knife to poke 6 holes along the topside of each of the tenderloins going about an inch deep.
  • Push a sliver of garlic into each hole and place the tenderloins in the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, mustard, honey, juice, rosemary, pepper, and olive oil.
  • Pour the marinade over the tenderloins.
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes basting every 7–10 minutes. This gives the tenderloins a delicious glaze over the top.
  • Transfer the tenderloins to a large cutting board and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Thinly slice the tenderloins and transfer to a serving dish or plates.
  • Drizzle the marinade from the pan over the sliced pork medallions and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Lick the Bowl Good.

Recipe—Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

Out of all of the seasons, I love the summer most. Not just because of my lazy poolside days, baseball games, refreshing beverages, or little summer dresses, but because of the abundance and variety of incredible produce. It is something that people in California take for granted. Every year we grow a couple of cherry tomatoes plants in out backyard. My son can hardly wait for them to ripen and as soon as they do he eats them right off of the plant. Sweet, warm, vine ripened tomatoes. Yummmmmm…there is nothing like them. We seem to have a bowl full on our counter all summer long. The other veggie we seem to never get enough of during the summer is zucchini. Zucchini and tomatoes are a wonderful pair, and when you add in some quality parmesan cheese and fresh basil, delish! When I first tried this recipe for zucchini and tomato gratin I knew it was a recipe I would be making all summer long. Serve it up on it’s own with some pasta or as a side with your favorite protein, either way it is a perfect summertime dish.

INGREDIENTS
sweet Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
3 medium zucchini, sliced
1 leek, sliced and thoroughly washed
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 c parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c Italian bread crumbs
1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of large cast iron skillet.
  • Separate the onions rings, place them in the bottom of the skillet, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  • Add half of the sliced zucchini, half of the leeks, and all of the garlic to the pan.
  • Sprinkle with a 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and a 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs.
  • Drizzle with additional olive oil.
  • Add the remaining zucchini, remaining leeks, and all of the cherry tomatoes to the pan and drizzle with more olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and a 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs.
  • Drizzle with a tad more olive oil.
  • Bake entire pan in the oven for 25–30 minutes.
  • Turn on the broiler and finish the dish off under the broiler for 2–3 minutes or until it is golden brown on top.
  • Garnish with fresh basil.

Recipe adapted from Proud Italian Cook.

Recipe—Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip

Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip

Are you on the hunt for an elegant and absolutely delicious hours devours? If so the hunt can come to an end. This dish takes less than 10 minutes to make and is the perfect snack to serve at the next function you have coming up. Salmon is an incredibly popular fish here on the West Coast and I really enjoy the flavor combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers. This has all those wonderful flavors plus a nice refreshing zest of lemon and a little bite from the shallot. One of the things that is great about this recipe is that it can be whipped up minutes before your social function or even made ahead a day or two ahead of time. This appetizer truly is perfect for an afternoon or evening social, or even spread on your bagel for breakfast.

Note: You can serve this dip with crackers, toasted bread, sliced cucumber, pretty much anything, but what I love is this dip served with everything crackers or bagel chips. Just something about all those wonderful flavors really takes this already awesome dip to the next level.

INGREDIENTS
4–6 oz smoked salmon
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c cream cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp capers
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp shallot, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp chives, minced

STEPS

  • Place all ingredients except for the salmon in a blender or food processer and blend until well incorporated.
  • Add the smoked salmon to the blender and pulse until desired consistency.
  • Transfer the dip to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serve with some toasted crostini or your favorite crackers.

Recipe—Summertime Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Veggies

Summertime Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Veggies

This is one of those fabulous recipes you will want to make all summer long. Here are the reasons why I think you will love this recipe:

  1. It’s an entire dinner done in one skillet (easy cleanup)
  2. It takes under 25 minutes to make
  3. It’s incredibly healthy (low cal and low carb)
  4. It utilizes fresh summer veggies
  5. It tastes and looks fabulous!

Do you really need more reasons than that to give this recipe a try?

INGREDIENTS
2 large or 4 small, boneless skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and black pepper
3 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped and divided
1 tbsp olive oil
2 yellow squash or zucchini, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 c green beans, cut in half
2 lemons
1/4 c white wine

STEPS

  • Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • In a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the rosemary.
  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the seasoning mix.
  • Drizzle the olive oil in the skillet and add the prepared chicken breasts.
  • Cook chicken on both sides until cooked through.
  • Add the squash, carrots, and green beans to the skillet.
  • Squeeze the juice of the two lemons into the skillet and add in the white wine.
  • Season the veggies with the remaining tablespoon of rosemary and some additional salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken breast on top of the vegetables and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to desired doneness.

Recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.

Recipe—Spicy Shrimp

Spicy Shrimp

I have been making this shrimp recipe for years! It is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy the tasty crustacean. Shrimp are a great low calorie protein, perfect for any diet. This recipe certainly has a little kick to it, but nothing over the top. It’s the perfect balance of spices. This recipe takes less than 10 minutes total, making it a great recipe to enjoy after a long workday. I most recently served these with my mango and bok choy salad and some cilantro lime rice. They went great together! (My husband even went back for thirds!) I also frequently pair this with my mango salsa and grilled avocadoes for a fabulous healthy meal. Something about sweet tropical flavors and these spicy shrimp go so perfectly together. Give these a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Note: Colossal shrimp are exactly that, just extremely large shrimp. I like using them for this recipe but you can certainly use any size shrimp.

INGREDIENTS
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs colossal shrimp, deveined and peeled

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, ginger, pepper, and salt.
  • Cook for 1–2 minutes stirring until it becomes a thick sauce.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for 4–6 minutes or until no longer transparent.

Recipe—Herb Roasted Chicken

Herb Roasted Chicken

I would say 95% of the time when I am cooking chicken I am working solely with the breast. Boneless skinless breasts seem to be the quickest and easiest to work with, but you pay a little bit more for the convenience factor. However, there isn’t really anything special or fancy about a plain chicken breast. On occasion I really do enjoy cooking a whole chicken. It just seems much more impressive to roast the whole thing. While the ingredients are incredibly simple in this recipe, it is the most fabulous and flavorful chicken you will ever have. I’m not one to typically sit there and eat the skin off a chicken but when I am carving up this chicken I can’t stop eating it once I start. The skin has just the perfect amount of crispiness and more flavor than you can imagine. You are lucky if there is any skin left on your piece of chicken by the time it makes it to the table. It is that good! Once you make this recipe you will understand. I guarantee this will be the best roasted chicken you will ever have.

Herb Roasted Chicken

Note: The most complicated part of this recipe is brining the chicken, which really isn’t complicated at all, people just think it is. If you aren’t familiar with brining I will bring you up to speed. Brining a chicken is when you soak it in salt water for a good amount of time. Giving it this “salt bath” ensures your chicken will be moist and juicy and it also allows the salt to soak into the meat, which really enhances the chicken’s natural flavors. I personally feel it makes a huge difference in the taste. In my opinion, brining is the difference between a good chicken, and a great chicken.

INGREDIENTS
3–4 lb chicken
1/2 c kosher salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

STEPS

  • Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken and place it in a large pot.
  • Pour the kosher salt over the chicken and fill the pot with water until it is submerged.
  • Cover the pot with the lid and place in the fridge for 4–8 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot, rinse with cold water, and pat dry.
  • Place the chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan breast side down. (If you do not have a rack just place it in a large baking dish.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375º.
  • Combine the melted butter and garlic in a small bowl.
  • Combine the basil, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper in a second small bowl.
  • Use a basting brush or your hands to lather the chicken in half of the garlic butter.
  • Sprinkle half of the herb mixture over the chicken.
  • Flip the chicken over so that it is now breast side up.
  • Repeat with remaining butter and herb mixture.
  • Roast the chicken uncovered for 1.5–1.75 hours or until cooked through. (I like to baste mine every 20–30 minutes.)
  • Allow the chicken to sit for 5–10 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board to be carved.

Recipe—Cauliflower and White Cheddar Gratin

Cauliflower and White Cheddar Gratin

I was never much of a cauliflower fan growing up and now as an adult I just can’t get enough of the stuff. Sorry mom, but I think you were making it all wrong! The trick is to smoother it in cheese and all sorts of other wonderful flavors. I made this dish the other night and I’m embarrassed to admit that my husband, son, and I finished off the entire dish. All of it! Okay, so my son probably only ate it because I told him it was mac n’ cheese. Is that bad? Apparently we just couldn’t get enough of the creamy cheese sauce and crispy panko topping. We enjoyed this with some cooked greens and a juicy steak. It was delish! If you are having a hard time getting your kids (or even your spouses) to eat their cauliflower, give this recipe a try.  Maybe you’ve just been making it wrong. 😉

INGREDIENTS
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter, divided
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 c white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c panko

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Place the cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss cauliflower to coat.
  • Roast the cauliflower until lightly browned, about 20–25 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350º.
  • In a large saucepan melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and let it cook until it starts to turn a light golden color.
  • Whisk in the milk, nutmeg, cheese, and some salt and pepper.
  • Cook until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce thickens.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower to the cheese sauce and transfer to a square-baking dish (9” x 9” or 8” x 8” works great).
  • In a small microwave safe bowl melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  • Add the panko crumbs to the melted butter and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle the buttered panko over the cheesy cauliflower.
  • Bake the gratin in the oven until it is bubbling and the panko is golden brown, about 15–20 minutes.