Shrimpy Tacos

This is another easy dish that we tend to reserve for (Taco) Tuesdays.

Frozen, unpeeled shrimp is the way to go. Grab a 1 lb. bag the next time you’re at the market; this will be enough for two with some shrimp leftover. Or for seconds.

Thaw the shrimp in a colander and bowl under cold, running water for about 10 to 15 minutes; I have the fella peel the shrimp because this process makes my fingers itchy.

You or a loved one can use the time during the shrimp defrost to shred cheese, chop onions, dice tomatoes, and chop lettuce.

Warm up a pan over medium and add some oil, then sprinkle in your favorite taco seasoning. When the pan is hot, lay all your shrimps on one side, sprinkle with some more seasoning, and cook until you see them get pink and curl a little; about 4 minutes.

Little shrimps, dancing in the pan.

Flip each and cook on the second side for about 4 minutes.

Once they’re sufficiently pinkened, I usually cover the pan and turn the heat all the way down while I toast the tortillas using the remaining three burners. Stay close by because they have a tendency to catch (at least for me because I sometimes leave the room or even the house after getting impatient with one side or the other).

Happy shrimps!

Plate your tortillas, top with favorites, and chow down.

Half of us like Cholula.
The other half prefers this sans sauce.

Shrimpy Tacos

An easy recipe for any day that ends in “y”.
Prep Time22 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shrimp frozen, unpeeled
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c lettuce chopped into shreds
  • 1/3 c tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 c onion diced
  • 1 c cheddar cheese shredded
  • 6 tortillas

Instructions

  • Defrost shrimp in a colander under running cold water. Peel and remove the tails.
  • Heat pan over medium, spray or drizzle with oil. Sprinkle half the amount of taco seasoning in the pan and distribute shrimp evenly. Cook for 4 minutes on each side.
  • Chop up your toppings and have at the ready.
  • Turn the other three burners on low to medium and heat up the tortillas. 
  • Plate the tortillas and top as you see fit.

Baked Orzo with Mozz

I started this blog with the intention of sharing recipes that I really like from cookbooks that I have but there are rules about sharing methods since they belong to the author of said recipe.

You can find the ingredients and instructions on a bunch of other people’s sites or in Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More.

I’ll share with you my experience and pictures and hope that you want to make this yourself.

THIS DISH IS AMAZING, relatively easy, and pretty.

Firstly, Ottolenghi doesn’t tell you to salt the diced eggplant and I have the secret as to why. Female eggplants have more seeds, so the fruit is more bitter (more seeds means a higher likelihood of creating more fruit babies). Salting it draws out the bitterness but it also makes it squishy. If you learn how to select the right eggplant, you can save yourself time and have a tastier dish. It’s also fun to stand in the produce section looking at the bottom of each eggplant while others gaze on, wondering what the heck you’re doing.

The eggplant takes about eight minutes to cook up, use this time to dice the carrots and celery.

Not bitter, male eggplant.

Take the eggplant out of the pan and swap in the celery and carrots.

Did I mention that my new pan is amazing?

Gold carrots and celery.

In a little bit, you’ll look at the list of ingredients and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll say, “Who uses ONE teaspoon of tomato paste?!”

Here’s a trick I employ when tomato paste is involved since I have never come across a recipe that uses an entire 6 oz. can.

Freeze it!

Get yourself some silicone trays and fill ’em up! Pop them in the freezer and, when you remember, put them in a freezer baggie for the next time you need one more teaspoon.

After the broth and paste are mixed in with the onion, garlic, veggies, and orzo, stir in the cheeses. The recipe calls for cubed mozzarella to be placed throughout the mixture, but we’ve found that this doesn’t distribute well, so we recommend shredding the cheese and mixing it in.

Fill up your favorite casserole dish and top with the sliced tomatoes.

Pre-bake.
Post-bake.

The end result was so delicious that I only remembered to grab a picture of my second helping.

For the full recipe, use The Googles, or buy/borrow/lease Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More.

Turkey Burglers!

We made these for dinner last night and when I woke up this morning, I said to the fella, “I have to post these next because The People need to know.”

We’ve been using the organic ground turkey* from Costco for these and I’ve found that defrosting the meat in the microwave gives it a different consistency that I don’t really care for. So, we have to plan ahead and defrost in the fridge, or make ’em fresh after purchase.

*I’m sad to report that the turkey from Costsco is Butterball brand.

Get out your favorite medium-sized bowl and crack the egg. Using the shell halves to separate the yolk from the white, let the white fall into the bowl and do whatever you want with the yolk (I compost it with the shell, but we’re toying with the idea of using the whole egg next time).

Whip the crap out of the albumen so it gets air bubbles. Sprinkle in your garlic and parsley (I will confess here, that I use McCormick Minced Garlic and Lighthouse Parsley because they are super-convenient). Add to the bowl some chopped-up white onion and diced-up pepperoncinis (these can be mild or hotish, so know your audience).

Throw the hunk of raw, ground turkey into the bowl and start to incorporate everything with your hands. Doing this is kinda squishy, so you and your cookin’ partner will have to Rochambeau over the task. The person whose hands are the cleanest gets to pour in the panko crumbs. I haven’t used regular ol’ bread crumbs, but if that’s all you have at hand, give it a try!

Raw meat never looked so good.

After the panko is mixed in, make a slow-motion karate chop through the center of your bowl and eyeball two halves. Get the panko-pourer (i.e., the person with clean digits) to lay out two pieces of waxed paper. The patties will hang out here until the pan is ready.

Yes, it will be messy.

Heat up a drizzle of oil over medium and start the oven (to warm up the buns—skip this part if you’d rather). When the pan is heated, carry your patties over and plop ’em upside down. These are big burgers, and they take about 10 minutes per side, so this is a good time to get your condiments out of the fridge and prepare your toppings.

That is an 11.25″ pan.

After 10 minutes, peek at the bottom. When they’re sufficiently browned, give ’em a flip.

B-side down.

We recently found the best buns for these burgers; they can handle the heft and don’t get soggy while you’re eating. Throw them in the oven to toast for about 5 minutes.

Into the oven for a warm-up.

A secondary attribute of these that I like is that the list of ingredients is as short as it should be.

These are the absolute best.

This is when having a digital meat thermometer is really handy. Find the thickest part and slide the business end of the thermometer in half way. If it doesn’t read at least 165°, don’t touch ’em. If it’s close (160°-close), top with cheese and cover for 3 to 5 minutes.

Cheesy melty goodness yum.

We load ’em up with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and raw onion; but since it’s your face, you can put whatever you like on them. Sometimes we have a side, like pasta salad or putt-putts (the posts for both of which are on my list), but sometimes the nearly 1/2 lb. burger is just enough.

With Italian pasta salad (post coming soon).
Turkey burgers flying solo. Get it?

Turkey Burglers

Ground turkey with deliciousness mixed in.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white beaten
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tsp parsley chopped
  • 1 Tbsp onion chopped
  • 1 c panko
  • 2 pepperoncinis diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 burger buns toasted
  • 1 piece cheese, your favorite optional

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, beat egg white until fluffy. Stir in parsley, garlic, onion, peppers until fully mixed.
  • Place turkey in the bowl and mix up with hands until everything is fully incorporated.
  • Add panko and mix gradually until well distributed.
  • Place a large pan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Divide turkey mixture in half and place each half on its own piece of wax paper and shape into a large, flat patty.
  • When the pan is hot, place each patty and cook 10 minutes on each side or until the center of the largest part reaches at least 165°.
  • When patties are cooked, place cheese on top and cover for 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted to your liking.
  • Transfer patties to your toasted buns; garnish with mayo, mustard, tomato, and sliced onion. Go to town!

Roasty Chick and Veggies

I’ve had the Pampered Chef Shallow Baker for almost two years now and, while I haven’t baked anything in it, I use it exclusively for roasting.

When only feeding one person was the goal, I would roast everything in the pan together, letting the chicken hang out in the oven for ten minutes before adding the rest.

Fast-forward (do kids even know what that means these days?) a couple of years, and find that I like making chicken and veggies a whole lot more and my partner likes eating it, so it’s a win-win!

One fateful night, I ripped open the entire Family Size package of Just Bare Chicken and we quickly realized the thighs wouldn’t fit in the shallow baker. WHAT TO DO?!

I grabbed the (then) infrequently-used carbon-steel pan and sprayed an adequate amount of Avocado Oil and got to work, picking through my seasonings. I usually settle on Stubb’s Chicken Rub and a couple shakes of Penzey’s Third Ward Italian Spice Mix (this spice deserves its own post).

I placed the chicken thighs skin side down on the heated pan and asked Alexa to set a chicken timer for three minutes. This gives the skin time to get seasoned and gives us time to start chopping up the veggies*.

Flip the chicken, set another three- minute timer, and keep chopping veggies.

I Flipped the Bird

Once all the veggies are chopped, I sprayed some oil on the roasting pan, arranged the veggies in a pleasing manner and pop both vessels in the preheated oven.

A Harmony of Hues

A third timer is set for 40 minutes and then we wait (we call this time our half-hour hour-of-music where we sit on the couch and jibber -jabber).

Alexa beeps and boops when dinner is ready and we serve!

Delicious and Crispy
Crunchy and Sweet
*drool*

*Use any kind of veggie you can stand and have too much of. Roasting makes everything taste like the first time you see a magic card trick and can’t explain it; Brussels, cauli, pots, carrots, parsnips, radhishes, asparagus (though, this should be roasted for only about 15 minutes).

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Roasty Chick and Veggies

Pan-seared and roasted chicken thighs and roasted vegetables.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 trips around the pan avocado oil spray divided
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp Stubb’s chicken rub per thigh
  • 1 tsp third ward spice per thigh
  • 1 cup little potatoes quartered
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts halved
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets chopped
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Heat a skillet over medium, and take one trip around the pan with the avo spray. Sprinkle your (or my) favorite spices on the oil and when you can see the ground up herbs start to dance, put the chicken thighs in the pan, skin-side down for three minutes.
    Flip chicken and pan-fry for another three minutes.
  • Slice, cut, and chop the vegetables into similar sizes (this helps them all cook at the same speed). Take a trip around the roasting pan with the avo spray. Spread the veggies out and season.
  • When the oven is ready, put the roasting pan on the bottom rack and the carbon steel pan on the top one. Roast for 40 minutes or until chicken reads at *least* 165° on a meat thermometer.
  • Plate and serve.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I learned a lot from Car to Table (a Mini Cooper-sponsored Isthmus feature that takes Madison chefs and does a sort of Iron Chef cooking bit in some rando’s house); especially Laila as she stresses the safety precaution of washing one’s hands after handling raw chicken.

Skip straight to 8m 10s if you want to miss the part where the randos do not have garlic in their condo (wtf?!).