Spring Showers & Shrimp Chowder

I can think of nothing more that I enjoy than puttering around the kitchen on a rainy spring day.  We have had several days of spring showers, which has given me plenty of occasions for dicing, chopping, sautéing, and setting the table; taking the time to make my little family feel special instead of rushed through the supper hour.

Last weekend as the weather was not only rainy, but extremely cool, I decided a chowder was the perfect fix for our family supper.  It was also the perfect solution of something fabulous to make with some fresh coastal Carolina shrimp I had acquired at the market.

As you know, chowders are heavy and fattening and absolutely delicious, but would you believe that this Shrimp Chowder of mine was light, healthy, filing, and still oh-so-delicious?!

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I couldn’t wait for the leftovers it was so good.

The recipe is actually one that I slightly altered from “Strong” magazine; a magazine dedicated to living a fit life.  It’s one of my favorite reads as it focuses on strength training and working out from a variety of trainers and role models from Figure models to Olympic Ice Skaters.  It’s not filled with make-up, fashion, or sex articles like a variety of other “health” mags, but articles that will educated you and help you lead a continuous fit lifestyle!

If you are keeping up with your protein, and focusing on a lower sodium & fat diet, this is perfect as it has 28 grams of protein per serving and under 300 mg of sodium.  The entire chowder came together in under 45 minutes which makes it a good option for a week night meal as well!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 Large Vidalia onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

12 smallish red potatoes, diced into small bites

6 cups fat-free evaporated milk

2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (just pay the extra to have the grocer do it for you)

1 Tablespoon black pepper

couple of twists of a pink Himalayan salt shaker

fresh dill for garnish

PUT IT TOGETHER:

1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan

2. Saute the celery, onion, and garlic until softened on medium-high heat, about 5 or 6 minutes.  While the celery mixture is sautéing, dice the red potatoes into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skin on.

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3. Add the potaoes and milk to the celery mixture. Cover and simmer on low, stirring often, until the potatoes are tender; about 20 minutes.

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4. Stir in the shrimp, pepper and twist of salt. Simmer until the shrimp is pink; about five minutes or so.

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And serve up your scrumptious chowder in pretty bowls, garnished with dill.

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It’s easy, perfect, and without a doubt so delicious.  It’s simple enough for a weeknight family supper or perfect for entertaining guests.

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It does make a pretty dish.

Your company will think you’ve spent hours on it as they enjoy it at your table, and your family will feel like they are in a fancy restaurant.

You can’t beat that kind of satisfaction!

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Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad

While the high is only 45 today in South Carolina, spring really is on the way.  For me that means swapping the heavier foods of winter for something light and filling.  After all we don’t want thick thighs come short, swimsuit, & 5K weather!

It is also the season for “fast food” as my Madeline has joined the Lacrosse team this year and we have games at least 3 nights a week!

This Sriracha Lime Shrimp salad totally fits both of my needs.  Easy, fast, healthy and clean, there is no reason to worry about getting a healthy supper on the table in minimum time.

Now this does require just a bit of prep, but take 15 minutes before you walk out the door to get your shrimp marinating, and then 20-25 minutes when you get home to get it on the table and VOILA!

Supper is served.

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Ingredients:

For the Shrimp

2-3 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined {just pay the extra & purchase them this way….so much easier!}

1/4 cup sriracha

2 limes, juiced

Pink Himalayan Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

For the Salad

8 cups lettuce, chopped

10 pineapple rings, sliced

1 cup diced tomato

small red onion, diced

bunch of green onion, sliced

2 avocados, sliced

fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime Dressing

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 limes, juiced

2 tsp honey

ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  In a non-reactive bowl, combine the shrimp with the sriracha, lime juice, salt & pepper.  Set in the refrigerator to marinade 30 minutes.  The longer it marinades, the better (which is why I said you can do this step ahead of time).

Use a glass bowl when marinating your shrimp

Use a glass bowl when marinating your shrimp

2.  Use the marinade time to chop your vegetables for the salad.

3.  Heat a grill or non-stick skillet to medium-high.  Once the shrimp is marinated, either skewer to place on a grill or add to the skillet to cook.

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4.  Take your pineapple rings and add to grill.  Grill for 5 minutes, flipping once as they heat up.

5.  Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing; taste to adjust ingredients (whether or not you need more pepper, lime, etc…)

6.  Once the shrimp is done (shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes until they are cooked through), assemble the salad, & toss with a little of the lime dressing.

Don't you just love colorful food?!

Don’t you just love colorful food?!

There you have it…. clean, easy, healthy, and fast.

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Oh yeah…. It’s delicious as well!

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It’s still pretty even when tossed

Our Southern Table

Wishing you all a fabulous and healthy weekend!

We’ll be watching this girl play Lacrosse!

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Joining Concord Cottage for Something to Talk About Link Party

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Comfort Food {Garlicky Shrimp & Peas}

Sometimes it just amazes me the number of people that think because I have changed my eating habits, that we never have “good” food on our supper table.
Seriously, you don’t have to eat out of a box, or a can, or a bag, or in a restaurant to eat delicious well prepared meals!
{I don’t even have to smother what I do prepare in condiments to add flavor.}
Now there are moments that I miss cooking with bacon, sautéing in butter, making sauces loaded with cream or even deep frying my fries or chicken, but for the most part I am quite content with my choices.
And they are definitely paying off!

I mean who is going to complain about losing 75 pounds?!

 

I found a recipe in Food and Wine magazine a couple of years back that our family really enjoyed, but was put away when I started changing things around here.
Recently when I was organizing (and rewriting) recipes I came across this wonderful dish and decided to remake it for our supper.
Substituting olive oil for bacon grease and using all fresh ingredients (yes it takes away the convenience, but it is so worth it), I made healthy comfort food just perfect for a rainy winter day or even for celebrating Fat Tuesday on the 12th!

 

Ingredients:

for the peas….
4 scallions
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, strip leaves from stem
1/2 teaspoon of red-pepper flakes
1 pound fresh black-eye peas, cooked ahead of time
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s no-salt Creole seasoning (taste after the peas have been added back to the mixture and add more for a more Creole taste)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or homemade no sodium chicken broth)
 
for the shrimp….
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (you can also use unsweetened white grape juice)
 

Cook scallions, sweet onion, celery, bell pepper, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, red-pepper flakes, & Tony Chachere’s seasoning in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until vegetables are pale golden, about 8-10 minutes.


Add black-eye peas and broth (I use homemade left from stewing chicken) and simmer five minutes.


Transfer the black-eye pea mixture to a bowl and set aside for a few minutes.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the same dutch oven over medium-high heat, until it shimmers. Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp. sea salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Cook shrimp with garlic, stirring occasionally, until just opaque (shrimp will not be fully cooked), about 3 minutes.

 Add wine and bring to a boil, then briskly simmer 2 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Add black-eye pea mixture and simmer until just heated through (mixture will be juicy). Taste to see if you want more of a Creole taste and add another tablespoon of the Tony Chachere’s if you desire.


  Discard bay leaf before serving.

You can serve this over rice, or just enjoy it alone.



 

Looks delicious doesn’t it?

I assure you, it is!

Linking up with Foodie Friday, Food on Friday and On the Menu Monday this week.

Fat Tuesday Flavor

While I have never attended Mardi Gras (and I probably never will), I am quite fascinated with all of the color, celebration, and culture that surrounds this lavish season each year.  It’s a lot of fun to bring some of that to our own dinner table as the kids discuss the celebration in school and catch glimpses of specials on the Travel Channel or Food Network.
Many times I go all out, decorating our entire dining room, but this year I kept it, while festive, rather low-key yet colorful, using masks Audley & I purchased last summer while in New Orleans.

 

 

Our menu for the evening was actually quite simple and consisted of Shrimp Creole and rice, Crab cakes, French green beans, and Dijon deviled eggs.
It was a lot of fun to fix and was devoured by the entire family as a little New Orleans jazz played in the background.
This was the first time I have ever attempted crab cakes, a dish my husband has never been fond, or have my children tried.  I wanted crab cakes though, and despite my reservations made them anyway.
Ingredients:
1 6.5 ounce can crab meat
3/4 cup Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs, unseasoned
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 green onions, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon seafood spice rub* (I used Potlatch seasoning from Williams-Sonoma)
1 egg, slightly whisked
salt to taste
**You can replace the seafood spice rub with creole seasoning for another unique flavor**

 

In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing well.

 

In a skillet heat 1/2 inch of canola oil until it sizzles.  Cooking in batches, shape your crab patties into 3-inch rounds and gently place in the skillet as to not splash yourself with the hot oil.

 

Cook on each side about two minutes and remove from hot oil to drain on a paper towel.

 

Garnish with slivered green onion and lemon.

 

A little extra squeeze of a lemon slice at the table made for a wonderful little crab cake.  Everyone, including dear Audley, devoured them.
{As for me, I loved how they turned out!}
They’ll make a perfect appetizer for any occasion, which adds variety to any menu.
Linking up with Foodie Friday this week.  Be sure to check out all of the other recipes posted this week.