Tag Archives: main dish

recipe: shrimp three different ways

8 Jun

My family LOVES shrimp. I am lukewarm about it but my kids and husband all adore it. As a result, I’ve tried a number of different healthy recipes to find one that I really like.

After reading Mark Bittman’s recipe for the “Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish,” I started tinkering with the ways I cook it, and here are three very easy variations on his cooking method–directions at the bottom of the post.

Shrimp with Lemon and Garlic:
1.5 pounds shrimp (I use raw, peeled, deveined shrimp so that I don’t have to peel them or devein them!)
juice of two lemons
teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you might use less if you’re not a big garlic fan)
capers (optional) for garnish

Spicy Shrimp:
1.5 pounds shrimp
teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you might use less if you’re not a big garlic fan)
1 sliced jalapeno or serrano pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
minced cilantro (optional) for garnish

Citrus Shrimp
1.5 pounds shrimp
juice of two oranges
teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you might use less if you’re not a big garlic fan)

For any of these recipes, just heat the oil in a skillet until it’s hot but not smoking; add the remaining ingredients (except garnish). Stir frequently until shrimp is opaque (it will only take a couple of minutes). Sprinkle with garnish if desired and serve! This is easy and quick. I often serve it with rice and a vegetable or with a salad and a cooked vegetable.


recipe: Caesar Salad

29 Mar

Makes: Enough for about four people as a meal or with a soup–more if you’re serving it as a first course with an entrée.

• 1 head romaine lettuce (or 1 package hearts of romaine)
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
• 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 4-6 anchovies, chopped (I know–you think this is gross. Don’t leave them out!)
• ½ cup olive oil
• juice from one lemon
• dash Worcestershire sauce
• ground pepper to taste
• grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients except lettuce and Parmesan cheese and whisk until completely incorporated. Drizzle dressing over lettuce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Make croutons if you have some French bread laying around: cut it into cubes, sauté in garlic and olive oil, then toast in a 250-degree oven until brown.

You can, of course, turn this into a heartier meal by adding chicken or shrimp. I often make this when I have leftover roasted chicken.

recipe: Crunchy Chicken

4 Nov

Makes: as much as you want

This is a fairly healthful alternative to chicken strips or nuggets–it’s really good with a dipping sauce like honey mustard or blue cheese. My children love these when I make them into fairly small nuggets. They’re nothing like a McDonald’s nugget–more like a Chik-Fil-A nugget, if you are a nugget aficionado. I often use two pounds of chicken and freeze half of them once they’re cooked; they reheat easily in the oven. They are extremely low-carb, if you’re into that.


chicken tenderloins (you could also use breasts)
milk (enough to cover the bottom of a bowl)
ground almonds (you can buy almond meal or grind them in your food processor)
parmesan cheese (from the can is just fine)
any seasoning you like–I usually use salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or sometimes Old Bay

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the almonds, cheese, and seasoning in a plastic bag. Dip each piece of chicken in the milk, then toss it in the seasoned crumbs until it’s coated. Place chicken on a greased cookie sheet and bake until chicken is cooked (it’ll be fairly quick for tenderloins, longer for chicken breasts). If you make nuggets, aim for fairly consistently sized pieces so that they cook at the same rate.

These are delicious with any dipping sauce that you like on nuggets. I particularly like them with homemade honey mustard salad dressing–look for that recipe soon!

recipe: Huevos Rancheros

4 Oct

Huevos Rancheros (Mexican Poached Eggs)

serves: as many as you want

This is a traditionally breakfast food–but it’s great for supper. You can decide how much to make; just choose as many eggs as you want to eat, and choose an amount of tomatoes that will cover that many eggs and a pan that will hold them.

* canned tomatoes or salsa-I use one quart of home-canned tomatoes or two small cans of store-bought tomatoes
* 1 onion
* eggs-your choice how many
* cheese (Cheddar is my favorite but you can use whatever)
* corn tortillas, toasted or warmed in microwave

Spray a frying pan or skillet with Pam. Chop the onion and cook in the skillet. Put the tomatoes in and heat until tomatoes and juice are hot. One at a time, break the eggs into the tomato juice. Try to break them carefully and just slide them in. Let them cook (poach) until you can see that they’re getting solid-ish. Sprinkle the top with cheese. Let the eggs cook until they are as done as you like a poached egg.

Scoop out each egg with some tomato and put on a corn tortilla. If you want, serve with any kind of garnish for Mexican food–hot sauce, sour cream, avocado, etc.

The leftover tomato stuff is good in black bean soup the next day, or you can eat it with tortilla chips. This is very satisfying fare, for some reason, and great when the weather turns cold.

recipe: flex frittata

30 Jun

The great thing about frittatas, in my view, is that they are chameleons: they absorb whatever vegetables you’ve got! I like to make them when I have leftover vegetables. It’s very satisfying to get rid of two or three Pyrex dishes of leftovers and end up with a whole new meal! Frittatas are also great to make ahead and reheat for breakfast or snacks. Sometimes I make them on the weekend and stow them in the fridge, and then whenever I need a quick breakfast I can grab one and have a hot meal in 30 seconds.

This is less of a recipe and more of a formula. You can use any size skillet or other pan for this; just scale your ingredients accordingly. Make sure you choose a skillet or pan that can go in the oven–that is, nothing with a plastic handle.

I have to give credit to Mark Bittman here, because his book Food Matters is the source of the idea that you don’t need very many eggs to make a frittata. Traditional recipes might contain 8-10 eggs, but 2 or 3 works just as well and keeps the focus on the veggies!

Flexible Frittata

* cooked vegetables of your choice (you may use leftovers or cook them before making the frittata)–you will need enough to fill the pan you’re using to a depth of about an inch or inch and a half. Or you can fill it deeper, about 2 inches, and add another egg.

* 2-3 eggs, beaten
* herbs or spices–I love this with fresh snipped dill, garlic, and/or parsley, but you can really use whatever flips your switch.
* 1/3 cup or so of grated cheese–Parmesan, Gruyere, and Swiss are all delicious choices

Heat the vegetables in the skillet. When they are hot, pour in the beaten eggs and tilt the pan around to spread them out over the vegetables. (Use a spoon if necessary.) Sprinkle on the herbs, if you’re using them. Top with the cheese.

Bake in a 375-degree oven until the eggs are set. Use a knife to test the frittata in the middle.

This is good hot or cold or somewhere in between! Fresh-ground pepper is requisite for serving.

You may use just one kind of vegetable or a medley of everything you can think of. It’s up to you! Some combinations I like are: onion, broccoli, and pepper; brussels sprouts, onion, and asparagus (very springy); green onions, cauliflower, and broccoli. I don’t stress about the combining of vegetables, though. I just put in whatever I have already cooked.

fish are friends…and food!

7 Mar

Here’s a quick recipe for easy flounder with lemon-caper sauce in the oven–this preparation works for any fish, but I like it best with delicate white fish, not so much with salmon or tuna.

* about four white fish fillets or steaks [I use flounder]
* 1/2 cup cornmeal, salt, and pepper [mix in a bowl; proportions are not important]
* juice of one lemon
* drizzle of olive oil
* two tablespoons capers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Dredge the flounder in the cornmeal mixture and place on baking sheet. Spray tops of fillets with a spritz more of the baking spray. [I like to use plain olive oil spray.] You can add other spices to the cornmeal if you like; dill is nice, or a little chili powder, or replace the salt and pepper with a bit of seasoned salt.

Bake fillets until they’re golden brown at the edges and fish flakes easily with a fork. Mix the juice, a bit of olive oil, and the capers; pour over the fish and bake for 30 seconds more.

recipe: Dal (Indian lentils)

22 Jan

Lentils are a great food: high in protein and fiber. They’re also easier to cook than most dry beans. Unfortunately, in my opinion they don’t taste like much. This recipe gives them the interest they usually lack! Over rice–especially a brown rice or basmati rice–this is a very nutritious meal. I tend to make this in the crockpot, but you could also easily do these on the stove.


Makes: about four servings. I usually make the whole package of lentils but that is a LOT of dal. This is for half that amount.


8 oz (1/2 package, usually) of lentils, any color

4 cups water

1 stalk celery, minced

1 carrot, minced

1 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 chicken bullion cube (can use vegetable if you prefer)

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

optional: 1 can light coconut milk


Pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones or anything weird in them. (All beans say to do this, although I’ve never found anything weird in them.) Rinse lentils. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours–remember, of course, that slow cookers vary!–or until lentils are tender. Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro if you’re feeling fancy. This is not only nutritious but also very, very cheap. Bonus!