Shrimp with Lime and Cilantro over Thai Peanut Quinoa

A bag of frozen shrimp should be a household staple. You can defrost it in ten minutes, put together some of the quickest, tastiest meals ever, and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now to get dinner ready, stat.  This recipe is soooo simple and so summery and great – shrimp, cilantro, lime & a little cumin – and you can serve it over pasta, rice, in a tortilla, or over quinoa dressed with spicy Thai peanut sauce, like we did. Shrimpy shrimp shrimp, how I love you so.

– 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
– juice & zest of 2 limes
– handful of cilantro, chopped
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1 tsp. cumin

1. If the shrimp is frozen, thaw quickly by immersing shrimp in a bowl of super cold water, and changing the water approximately three times over 10-15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

2. Add shrimp to a bowl, then add the lime zest & cumin.

3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the tbsp. butter.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, approx. 90 seconds. 

4. Add shrimp to the pan and cook, approx. 2-3 minutes on each side. Don’t over cook!

5. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and cilantro, mix well. 

6. Spoon shrimp over whatever you’re serving this with, add lime slices for garnish, enjoy.


Pasta with Artichokes, Shallots & Shiitakes

This is kind of my (Irish) dad’s go-to pasta. It’s made with stuff you probably already have in your fridge or cupboards, it totally filling and delicious, and feels a little indulgent given the fact that you use a full can of artichoke hearts. God, I love artichoke hearts. I would put them in just about everything I make.  Plus: an excuse to eat pasta. <3

– 1 box good pasta De Cecco, if you can find it, otherwise just make it yourself
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 3-4 large shallots, chopped into ribbons
– 1/4 c. red wine
– 1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
– approx. 1.5 C. of shiitake mushrooms, cut into long strips
– 1 & 1/4 – 1/2 C. marinara sauce (your choice of brand)
– 1/4 C. freshly grated parm (plus more for topping)
– approx. 2 tbsp. julienned basil
1. Over medium heat, melt the butter and the EVOO together. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, approx. 60 seconds.
2. Add the sliced shallots, cook until wilted (approx. 5 minutes)
3. Add the artichoke hearts, add salt & pepper, and cook another 5 minutes or until everything seems to soften, not stick, to the bottom of the pan. Add the sliced shiitakes.
4. Add 1/4 C. red wine, stir everything together. Let cook approx 5 minutes – you really want to let the alcohol burn off.

5. Pour in the tomato sauce, mix everything together really well, and lower heat to medium low.

6. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Drain, but don’t rinse!  Set aside.
7. Taste sauce, then add the parm cheese. Taste again, then season as needed. Add the basil, stir to combine. 

8. Dump the pasta into the saucepan with the sauce, mix everything up really well. Top with another little bit of parm and enjoy!

And also. Welcome to the family, Murray!  Colly got the cutest dog this week! As anyone who knows me can tell you, this addition has been in the works since my junior year of high school. But that’s a story for another time. :]

Lightened-up Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake


Last Saturday was such a tease – almost 60 degrees and sunny – perfect for Scranton’s Parade Day (the second largest parade in the country!). The Irish in this area apparently have some serious pull, because right after Parade Day, the cold came again – snow flurries, winds whipping, etc.  Perfect for some end-of-winter comfort food. This cheesy chicken & broccoli bake was an incredibly rich-tasting meal for how little actually went into it.  I know a lot of these recipes can use a ton of butter, heavy cream, or even a block of Velveeta, but here, butter is used sparingly, and making a little “roux” to start really thickens the sauce on its own. 2% milk and some organic chicken broth combine to make the cheese sauce really deep and flavorful. Also, this takes about fifteen minutes tops to throw together, so you can have a fresh, hot meal on the table in less than an hour. We had this over a little orzo, but pasta would also work, or even quinoa.  

– 1 lb. chicken, diced into bite-sized pieces
– 12 oz. broccoli florets, steamed until bright green (or frozen, and totally unthawed)

– 2 cups grated cheddar, or cheese of choice
– 4 tbsp. butter
– 3 tsbp. flour
– 1 cup 2% milk
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 2 pinches nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– couple of grinds black pepper
– 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Rub a little olive oil around the base of a casserole dish.

3. Add broccoli & chopped chicken to the casserole dish, mix to combine.
4. Get your “roux” started.  A roux is a thickener for recipes, and also acts as a base for creating a deeper sort of flavor from whatever you’re adding to it. To start, melt 3 tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Then, whisk in 3 tbsp. flour, and continue to whisk while the mixture changes consistency, color, and smell.  It should start to become a golden color, almost a light brown, and smell kind of nutty.

5. At this point, whisk in the milk and chicken broth – Pacific makes a fantastic organic chicken broth in a convenient 4-pack of 1-cup boxes – and raise heat just to a boil, continuing to mix.  
6. Reduce heat to a low bubble, and whisk constantly – approx. 2 minutes.  The mixture will start to feel (and look) thicker.  When it reaches this point, remove from the heat and whisk in nutmeg, salt, & pepper.  

7. Whisk in the cheese.  For this recipe, I used 2 Laughing Cow Babybel  cheddar cheeses, and 3 of their Bonbel mini cheeses.  It’s up to you whatever cheese you’d like to use, though!
8. Pour cheese mixture over the chicken and broccoli mix in the casserole dish, stir well to combine and coat.

9. In a saucepan, melt the remaining tbsp. of butter.  When melted, add the cup of panko breadcrumbs, and stir to cover the breadcrumbs with the butter.
10. Evenly top the broccoli/chicken/cheddar mix with the breadcrumbs.   

11. Bake at 350 for approx. 30 – 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  (Optional) Ten minutes before this is done, top with a little more grated cheese, and let melt on top of the casserole.
12. Let cool a bit, serve over orzo/pasta/quinoa, and enjoy.