Dinner

Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?

Ingredients:

-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!

 

BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot

Instructions:

Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

 

 

 

 

Dirty Rice with Roasted Chicken and Turkey Sausage

Turkey Sausage Creole Rice

“Dirty Rice” is a creole spiced dish that has earned it’s name from the brown-ish color the rice turns when you cook it down with seasoned poultry innards.  Now, as much of a eat-with-your-eyes kind of person that I am, I’m starting to discover that I’m also sensitive to how things are cooked, and what they are cooked with.  Something about changing the color of rice because it becomes “dirty” from livers and such just didn’t seem appealing to me, especially because I love the creole spices. 

Choosing black rice gives this recipe rich color, and replacing the protein with roasted chicken and sausuage adds to the smokey flavor of the dish – nothing dirty about it!

Black Rice Trader Joe's Recipe

Ingredients:

-chicken, cooked – I prepared boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven

-smokey sausage – I used turkey

-1 cup black rice

-1 zucchini

-1 red pepper

-half of one onion

-1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

-1T minced garlic

-2T olive oil

-2t creole seasoning

-¼ – ½ cup white cooking wine

-½ t cayanne pepper

-salt and black pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

Start by cooking your chicken –  I cooked my chicken in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, brushed with some olive oil, salt and pepper – and cooking your rice according to package directions.  One that’s all cooking, chop up your vegetables.  I like a good half moon for the zucchini, a bite-sized dice for the peppers, and a finer dice for the onions.  I also ran my knife through the thawed, chopped spinach just to break it up.  In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil, onions, and garlic over medium heat,  Once the onions become translucent, add the rest of the vegetables.  Remember to stir so that all vegetables are coated and get equal time to brown on the hot surface.

Clean Eating Dirty Rice

 After about 8-10 minutes, add in the seasoning, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Cube the chicken and the sausage, and add the sausage to the dish – cook another 5 minutes.  By now, your rice should be done. 

Zucchini Dirty Rice with Chicken Sausage

Add the rice, chicken, and wine to the pan, turn the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes so that the flavors combine.

Dirty Creole Rice Low Fat

I’m so happy with how this recipe turned out – like most of my savory dishes, it’s simple and healthy, and packed with flavor.  And, it’s pretty flexible!  Use whatever leftover starch you have lying around – quinoa, orzo, riced cauliflower – or add to the flavor pallet with some rotisserie chicknen.  So long as you keep the seasoining the same and be sure to add a protein with some smokiness, you won’t be dissapointed!

Black Creole Rice

Arrabbiata Chicken Chili

Homemade Arrabbiata Chili

Growing up, my family would get together every sunday for dinner with my Grandparents.  As traditional Italians, the meal consisted of macaroni and gravy, with a simple side salad and some butter cookies for dessert.  Though the menu was the same each week, I had dozens of times to practice my macaroni:sauce:cheese ratio.  I quickly found out that I had an extraordinarily disproportioned plate, heavily emphasizing the sauce and cheese, and eventually exchanged my plate for a bowl.  Now, let the records show that I have nothing against pasta.  I eat it, covered in creamy bechamel, garlic wine, and rich vodka sauces.  But for some reason, I’d much rather ditch the pasta and just take a spoon to a full bowl of any/all red sauces.  That’s what inspired this dish – I needed to put together a recipe for a red sauce that was supposed to be eaten on it’s own, sans pasta.

Zucchini Mushroom Arrabbiata Recipe

Ingredients:

-1 lb ground chicken (or beef)

-2 cans san marzano peeled tomatoes

-half a small can of tomato paste

-2 large zucchini

-10oz mushrooms

-half a large onion

-2t minced garlic

-2t red pepper flakes

-2t dried italian spices

-fresh basil, 6-10 leaves

-salt & pepper

-olive oil

-cheese, to top

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  While you’re waiting for the oven to heat, cut your basil, onion, zucchini and mushrooms, but keep the onions separate from the mix – place the basil aside for later.  Drizzle each vegetable with olive oil, and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the crunch you’d like to keep in your chili.  I baked the zucchini/mushroom combo for 10 minutes, and the onions for 30.  While the vegetables are cooking, fully cook the ground chicken in a large skillet, and set aside when done.  Once the onions are done, add them to a food processer with some minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and puree.  This, is an amazing secret.  This onion/garlic puree packs so much flavor into your recipe, and by roasting the onions before hand, you take away that onion bite that you don’t want in a sauce, and diffuses the garlic through the dish without using any powdered spices.  Try it.

Roasted Mushrooms and Zucchini Arrabbiata

Next, sautee the garlic/onion mixture with the tomato paste and the herbs in a large pot, for about 3-5 minutes, just until it’s all combined and the spices become fragrant.  Next, add the 2 cans of tomatoes, and break up the whole pieces with a wooden spoon.  Add in the chicken, vegetables, basil, and red pepper flakes, and stir.  Allow this to come together in a low simmer for about an hour – until fully heated through.  I don’t have a big enough pot to handle this amount of sauce, so I put all of the ingredients together in a crock pot and let the flavors meld on low for 3 hours.

Spicy Arrabbiata Chicken Chili

The result is amazing.  Chunky, hearty, spicy, and light chili-sauce that is good enough to stand on it’s own.  I topped each serving with some fresh basil and a combination of shredded parmesan and asiago cheese.  This recipe is easily adjustable to your preferences – add more spice or add eggplant as a meat replacement.  I can’t wait to share this one with my family!

Healthy Arrabbiata Recipe

Chicken en Papillote


This is by far one of the easiest ways to make a delicious and healthy meal, fast.  It’s also a great option if you’re cooking for more than one, or with kids – you can customize each parchment paper package with whatever protein, vegetables, and spices that you’d like, and because each option is individually sealed,  you won’t have any cross-contamination of tastes or scents.  I personally love cooking en papillote because it looks super fancy, and you can cook fish without having the entire house smell like a boat dock.  Plus, it all cooks up in 15-20 minutes, depending on what type of protein you use.  How amazing is that?

Ingredients:

– 4 oz. chicken or fish

– raw, mixed vegetables

– 1 t olive oil

– cooking spray (optional)

– salt and pepper, and any other seasonings desired

– parchment paper

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350° for chicken, or  375° for fish.  Gather, wash, and cut your vegetables into bite sized chunks, or long strips (julienned, if you will) for presentation purposes.  Having some longer or leafier vegetables helps to create a bed for your protein to bake on – keep in mind, your vegetables won’t cook down much, so the size you cut will be the size you eat.  Tear off a piece of parchment paper that is about 1½ times as big as the meal you want to eat.  When in doubt, remember it’s always better to have a larger piece.  Spray the sheet with cooking spray, or drizzle with 1t of olive oil.  Put your vegetables on top of the spray/oil in the center of the parchment, and place your protein on top.  Add another teaspoon or so of oil, and all of your spices.  The more fat and spice you add, the more flavor – I’ve found 1t of fat to be the minimum amount to use.  Once all of your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to seal the package.  Take two opposite corners of the parchment, and fold them together.  Continue folding and rolling the edges together until you’ve completely sealed the package – it will look sort of like a giant empanada (or calzone) on its side.  Place your finished packages on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 15-18 minutes for fish, or 18-20 minutes for chicken.  The vegetables and protein will steam, and the flavors will circulate in the parchment as it cooks – hungry yet? When the timer goes off, let the packages sit on the stove to rest for 3-5 minutes.  Place the sealed packages on dinner plates, and open them up – the aroma that floods out of that package is going to make you so happy – I’m salivating just thinking about it.

This time around, I used chicken, asparagus, zucchini, grape tomatoes, spinach, and red bell peppers, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried oregano and basil, and finished the cooked chicken off with some balsamic vinegar.  I’ve also used the same vegetables, 4 oz. of swordfish, a few lemon slices, garlic, and red pepper flakes – it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

I’d recommend eating this meal right after it’s cooked – you can’t replicate that experience!