Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quinoa Salad

If you've never heard of quinoa it's probably because it doesn't sound like it's spelled. It is pronounced Keen Wa. A whole grain packed full of nutrients and tons of protein, quinoa is perfect for anyone trying to eat a little healthier. It can be substituted in place of pasta or rice in many salad recipes with ease. Quinoa is actually a seed not a pasta, and when it is cooked the outer ring separates from the rest of the grain. It is very bland on it's own, so if eating it plain, you could cook it in low-sodium chicken/vegetable broth for more flavor. One thing to note is that uncooked quinoa has a bitter coating and should be rinsed thoroughly under cold water before cooking.

Quinoa & Vegetable Salad

by Mixed Salad Annie

1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup lightly steamed broccoli florets
½ cup lightly steamed green beans
½ jar pickled red beets, quartered
1 medium shallot, minced
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Fresh black pepper and salt, or to taste
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil to taste
Note: You could also use a bottled salad dressing in place of the oil and vinegar, such as Olde Cape Fat-Free Sesame Soy Ginger


Rinse quinoa under cold water for about 2 minutes. Place in 2 quart saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Allow to cool.

Mix together all the ingredients and your salad is ready!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

It's About Time...
Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved baked stuffed shrimp. I can remember going out with my family to eat and always ordering it, no matter what else was on the menu. Most kids would be all about the mac and cheese or the hamburgers and fries, but not I. Those juicy, rich, melt in your mouth stuffed shrimp always won! My love has not changed over the years. Yes I do order many other things on the menu now, but whenever I'm unsure of what to get, I always go right back to my favorite.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I have ever cooked them at home myself. My dad actually had a killer recipe but unfortunately never wrote it down or shared it with anyone before he passed. So I looked on-line and found a few recipes that sounded good; then I combined and tweaked them to my liking. I think the end result turned out great. I did lower the fat in the recipe a bit by halving the butter and subbing part with olive oil, but if you want the full fat effect of that buttery richness, by all means go for it!

Baked Stuffed Shrimp
serves 4-5
  • 40 Ritz crackers (one sleeve, plus 5 more), crushed
  • 1 sleeve Pepperidge Farm Golden Butter crackers, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 5 T butter, melted, divided use
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 3 T fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 T dry white wine
  • Approximately 2 T water
  • 20 jumbo shrimp, with tails
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Make a cut along the length of the back of each shrimp and remove peel and vein. Cut just deep enough to open the shrimp to lay flat.
  3. Sauté celery and shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and opaque. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix crushed crackers, garlic powder, parsley and pepper. In a small bowl, blend 4 tablespoons butter, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest and Worcestershire sauce. Add lemon juice and white wine to a 1/2 cup measuring cup; add up to 2 tablespoons of water until full. Mix into the blended butter; add to the the cracker mixture. Add the celery and shallots. Stir until mixture holds together.
  5. Set shrimp backs down in the prepared baking dish. Place heaping tablespoons of the cracker mixture on top of each, pressing with fingers to secure. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of butter over the top of the shrimp.
  6. Bake shrimp 15 to 17 minutes or until they are opaque. Remove from oven and set broiler to low. Place shrimp under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until stuffing is golden brown.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter. Squeeze some lemon on top if desired. Enjoy!