Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad

When we first moved to Nashville, we lived in a hotel for little over a month.  Sounds like fun right? Well it was a fun adventure for a bit, but it sort of got old fast. My biggest defeat was not having a kitchen (that and having an untrained 4 month year old puppy.)

We would constantly go out to eat and dine at the hotel bar. Dillon would order the Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad and I would make my way around the menu. Whenever he ordered the salad, I would go on about how I could make it better. I guess I was feeling a little cocky.

Once we finally moved into our new place (and once I finally found somewhere to buy good shrimp…) I backed up my cockiness with one of the best Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salads I’ve ever made.

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Ingredients
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
1 Large head of Romaine Lettuce (roughly chopped)
Shaved Parmesan and Asiago Cheese
Croutons (Im a fan of homemade croutons. I used my own recipe, here.)
Caesar Dressing
***I use a store bought Caesar dressing. Whenever I use a store bought Caesar, I mix a little in a bowl with fresh squeezed lemon juice, cayenne pepper and ground black pepper to kick it up a bit.***

Ingredients for Shrimp Marinade
1/3 cup of Olive Oil
1 Large Lemon (1/2 lemon for marinade/other half to use once shrimp are cooked)
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Tablespoon Fresh Garlic
Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Teaspoon Dried Basil

Instructions 

In a large bowl mix Olive Oil, 1/2 squeezed Lemon, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Smoked Paprika and Dried Basil in a bag. Add washed off shrimp to mixture. Set aside in fridge. Let marinate for 20 minutes.

While waiting for shrimp…combine lettuce, croutons and cheeses in a large bowl. Set aside in Fridge.

After 20 minutes…Heat pan to a medium high heat. Cook Shrimp on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Once done, squeeze other half of lemon over shrimp.

Add shrimp to bowl with lettuce, cheeses, and croutons.
Mix in Caesar dressing and Serve!

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Crispy Baked French Fries

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Ok, so like every person in the world( if you are not then your most likely lying to yourself) …I am a french fry addict.  Not wanting to buy a ton of frozen foods and looking for a slightly healthier way to feed my addiction, I began experimenting with baking potatoes. Not to mention it is a lot less expensive than buying frozen fries and doesn’t take much prep time.  I figured since I baked sweet potato fries before, why not make regular crispy fries? Now it is the only way I want my fries. Heavily Seasoned & Baked.

Ingredients: (serves 2 as side dish) 
1 large Potato
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
Nonstick Cooking Spray
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Slice Potato into halves longways. Then cut potato into small wedges.

3. Place wedges in a large bowl and mix in Olive Oil, Italian Seasoning, Smoked Paprika, and Onion Powder. Mix together until potato wedges are covered in seasonings.

4. Spread potato wedges onto baking pan. Sprinkle ground black pepper and salt onto potato wedges.

5. Cook for 25 minutes. (*If you want extra-crunchy fries I would recommend cooking for 30 minutes.)  Sprinkle salt and pepper again before serving.

Recommended dipping sauces: For spicy use Stubbs Spicy BBQ sauce and for Cool try Opa by Lighthouse Feta and Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing & Dip.

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ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH A BALSAMIC GLAZE

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Brussel sprouts…we hated them as children…but we can love them as adults. This recipe is one of my favorite weeknight recipes, whether they are simply acting as a side or they are placed on top an arugula salad. Although they do slightly stink up our little shotgun-style home, this recipe is without a doubt a keeper.

Ingredients
16 oz. Brussel Sprouts
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Balsamic Glaze
Course Salt & Black Pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 450

Remove bottoms from each Brussel sprout and slice.

Toss sprouts in Olive Oil, Dried Oregano, Garlic Powder. Add salt and pepper to preferred taste.
*Personally, I wanted to keep this recipe a bit on the healthier side so I opted out for a ton of salt. I lightly seasoned with salt, but added heaps of ground black pepper.*

Spread Brussel Sprouts on a sheet pan and lightly drizzle Balsamic Glaze over sprouts.

Place in oven for 15 minutes.

When ready, add extra salt and pepper to taste and drizzle Balsamic Glaze over spouts before serving.

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MARSALA MUSHROOM QUINOA

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Settling in our new home, cooking has become my ultimate go-to stress reliever. I’ve always loved cooking, but having our own place and cooking for the person I love makes it feel much more special and rewarding. But coming home and looking a gourmet meal every night is not realistic. Sometimes quick and easy is the way to go…but that does not mean that it can not be delicious. This Marsala Mushroom Quinoa dish is perfect for a healthy side for Thanksgiving or just a quick light dinner.

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What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cup of Quinoa
3 Cups Chicken Broth (Light)
1 8 oz package of Mushrooms
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1/4 Cup of Marsala cooking Wine
Black Ground Pepper (to taste)

Directions: 

  1. Follow the Quinoa directions. Depending on the Quinoa you purchased you may have to rinse the quinoa before cooking. Once ready, in a medium sized pot cook your quinoa in the chicken broth. (**Cooking your Quinoa in chicken broth gives the quinoa tons more flavoring.) Make sure to cook Quinoa until all liquid has dissolved in pot.
  2. While your Quinoa is cooking, slice your mushrooms and dice your red onion, green pepper and garlic cloves.
  3. In a medium hot pan, place vegetables into pan and drizzle with olive oil.
  4.  Saute vegetables for 3-4 minutes then add Marsala Cooking Wine and Italian Seasonings. Cook until wine is completely dissolved.
  5. Finish by adding all ingredients in the pot with your Quinoa. Mix thoroughly and top off with Fresh Ground Pepper. Enjoy.

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SPICY SWEET POTATOE FRIES

1Knowing how much I love cooking and trying out healthy recipes, Dillon found this recipe for Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges. Immediately I knew I wanted to make them. Sweet potato fries sound good, but spicy sweet potato fries…hell yes. A perfect alternative than your average fries, these spicy sweet potato are baked to perfection. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, it’s almost impossible to only have one. And did I mention they are ridiculously easy to make?

Click here for recipe and nutritional information. 

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FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

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While cruising the Farmers Market last weekend, I came across some green tomatoes. Not only a southern favorite, but also a personal favorite, I immediately knew what I was cooking for dinner that night. Fried Green Tomatoes.
Ingredients:
3 Green Tomatoes
1 Egg
1/2 Cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of cornmeal
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
Vegetable Oil
Salt
Pepper

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Here’s How: 

1. Wash tomatoes then cut tomatoes into one inch slices (like above photo.)

2. Whisk together egg and buttermilk in one bowl. In another bowl combine all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt and pepper and cornmeal together.

3. Take one of your tomatoes slices and dredge the tomato in buttermilk mixture, then in cornmeal mixture. Make sure the entire tomatoes is covered in cornmeal mixture.
(Also, Be sure to use one wet hand/one dry hand method or you’ll end up with a mess!)

4. In a large pan, heat your vegetable oil until it is about 375°.

5. Carefully place tomatoes into oil. Cook tomatoes until golden brown on one side then flip to cook on other side until golden brown.

6. One finished cooking, place on paper towels to drain. Immediately out of the oil sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

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One of my favorite part of eating a fried green tomatoes is the “extras.” There are tons of sauces and toppings that would taste delicious with your fried green tomatoes, but my favorite topping is crab meat and remoulade sauce. Thankfully, we had some extra crab meat left from a crab boil the night before so I lucked out. But for those of you who are looking for a delicious remoulade sauce, check out this one.

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Most remoulade sauces consists of a ton of mayo and ketchup, but this recipe in particular is a more vinegary sauce.

Ingredients: 

1 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 olive oil
1/2 red wine vinegar
3 Celery Stalks
1 yellow pepper
1 small red onion

Simply chop vegetables in chunks and blend together in a food processor until finely chopped. In a food processor add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Blend together well and refrigerate until ready to use!

VEGTABLES KABOBS

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Grilled or roasted, veggie kabobs are always the perfect side to any dish, especially at a barbecue. I’ve always been a huge veggie lover and this is one of my favorite ways to cook them. Eat these veggie kabobs for a light lunch, put them on top of a bead of lettuce for a salad, pull off the kabob and make veggie tacos, or just eat them as a side. The ways to eat these vegetable kabobs are endless.

Kabob Ingredients: Makes 7 Kabobs
2 Zucchinis
1 8oz package of Portobello Mushrooms
1 Medium Yellow Pepper
1 Medium Red Onion

Sauce Ingredients: 
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
3 Tablespoon Lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 diced clove of Garlic
1 one inch piece of Red Onion (use a piece that you cut up for your kabob)
A pinch of Salt and Pepper to taste

**You will also need skewers for the kabobs, I personally prefer metal.  If you prefer wooden sticks, make sure to soak them in water before using so that they do not burn.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven on top broil.
2. Cut Zucchinis, Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, and Onion in about one inch slices.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Let sauce rest.
4.  Thread Zucchinis, Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, and Onion onto metal kabob skewers.
5. Rest kabobs on top of a small shallow pan (allowing the metal kabob sticks to be the only thing actually touching the pan.)
6. Brush sauce mixture onto kabobs.
7. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until slightly charred. ( leave oven cracked open since it is on broil setting.)
Serve & enjoy. 

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Sausage, Potato and Spinach Soup

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Recently, I’ve been playing around more on Pinterest and finding a little cooking inspo. Even though it is beyond hot outside, I found myself craving a hearty soup.  I stumbled upon this recipe from DamDelcious.net and it was certainly dam delicious. Normally I stray away from following a recipe step-by-step but this one I stayed pretty close to. Only changing adding 6 cups of chicken broth opposed to 5, using turkey Italian sausage for a bit more healthy take, and adding cayenne pepper at the end. If you follow the original recipe step by step or  add a few adjustments like I did, I’m sure you’ll be craving this recipe again once winter approaches.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed **(Used Italian Turkey Sausage)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups chicken broth  **(The recipe calls for 5, but I ended up using 6 cups.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound red potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

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Fish Tacos: Slaw, Pico De Gallo & Avocado Cilantro Sauce.

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What’s for dinner…? Fish Tacos!  If someone told me that I could only eat three things for the rest of my life, without any doubt in my mind I would immediately say pizza, salad and …. of course…tacos. The thought of someone not liking tacos, simply blows my mind, it’s just impossible…right?

Making fish tacos is pretty simple. You either grill, fry or blacken your fish (best with a white flaky type of fish) then grab your tortillas (flour or corn) and you’re pretty much done. BUT what makes the fish tacos are the delicious toppings and salsas.

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1/2 Cup of Sour Cream
2 ripe Avocados
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 finely chopped & de-seeded jalapeños
2 Tsp Lime Juice
3/4 finely chopped Red Onion

In a bowl, mix sour cream, garlic powder, jalapeños, lime juice and red onion. Cut avocado in half, take out the seed, and scoop out avocado into large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. While mixing together ingredients together, mash avocado into sour cream until it becomes a smooth texture. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve cold.
[Favorite on Fried Fish Tacos.]

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1/2 Cup of chopped Cilantro
2 1/2 Cups of Cabbage
1 1/2 diced & de-seeded jalapeños
4 Tsp Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
3/4 Diced Red Onion
Pepper & Salt to Taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
[Spicy Slaw is my favorite on Grilled Fish Tacos.]

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4 Large Chopped Tomatoes
1 Small Red Onion
1 Diced Jalapeño
1 Small Green Pepper
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Cilantro
Fresh Lime Juice to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Super Bowl Snacks Prt Deux

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Another delicious (and surprisingly easy) Super Bowl snack.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 cup of Bacon
  • 5 oz of Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 5 oz of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Egg, 2 Tbls milk or water  (for egg wash)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Finely chop Broccoli, Bacon, and Cheese. (Neaux La Gal tip: Use a food processor. You want the broccoli, bacon and cheese small they they stick together easily.)
  2. Mix broccoli, bacon and cheese together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Grab a handful of mixture and roll back and forth in hands until you create a smooth round ball.
  4. Place balls into freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, take out broccoli balls and roll into flour, dip in egg wash, and roll into bread crumbs.
  6. Fry in shortening at 375 degrees until golden brown.