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Monday, May 11, 2015

St. Augustine Shrimp

St. Augustine Shrimp

So, as you may already know I take holidays and celebrations pretty seriously regarding food - I am not about deprivation particularly on special days!  So needless to say I indulged all weekend on delicious well deserved treats (if I say so myself!)   I somehow managed to eat pizza multiple times, in widely differing forms, and enjoy cake and ice cream in the midst of all that!   Here is a pic of my yummy Mother's Day pizza lunch, in downtown Philly - YUM!

Mediterranean Pizza Lunch in Philly!

So by last night, I was ready to create something that was low calorie and low carb, yet still a delicious Mother's Day worthy dinner (Hubbie had already made me my favorite breakfast that morning, his forte!)  My first thought, as it usually is for special  meals at home was: Shrimp!  Delicious, low cal, and easy to cook into any type of cuisine or dish.  I saw my leftover Artichokes in the fridge and the Tomatoes on the counter and remembered back to a yummy dish from a restaurant where I worked in high school:  Pasta St. Augustine.   Tons of Garlic, Olive Oil, Artichoke Hearts, and Tomatoes - all perfect to go with Shrimp!  So I got busy making my version of it - subbing in White Cannellini Beans and Zucchini for the Pasta, and serving it all over a bed of Arugula.  YUM!

Amy's Shrimp St. Augustine Recipe

1.  Cook the Augustine Sauce:  in Dutch Oven over medium to high heat, add: 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil and 1 Sweet Onion, chopped.  Sautee for a few minutes then add:  2 large Zucchinis, chopped.  Once that all begins to brown add: 6 diced Roma Tomatoes and 6 large cloves of Garlic, chopped.  Add Salt to taste.  When you can smell the Garlic cooking up, add: 1 cup White Cannellini Beans  and 1.5 cups chopped Artichoke Hearts (canned, rinsed, drained).  Cover and turn off heat.

2.  Cook Shrimp:  Clean Shrimp if necessary, rinse and then pat dry on a kitchen towel.   Season with Salt, Garlic Powder and Turmeric.  Turn another pan on medium high, when it is hot add 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and start gently placing the Shrimp into the oil; you should hear the sizzle as you put them in.  Be careful not to crowd the Shrimp - you want them to cook up fast and almost crispy on the outside.   Turn after a couple minutes and finish on the other side.

3.  Serve it up and EAT!   I started with a handful of Arugula on my plate, then topped with the Augustine Veggies and placed the Shrimp up on top.   Also, I added a touch of water to the Shrimp cooking pan to make a little sauce which I drizzled on top of the whole plate.  DELICOUS!

Happy Mother's Day to me!  And the hubbie loved it too!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Artichoke Avocado Arugula Salad

Artichoke Avocado Arugula Salad

Today I was actually inspired by my son's lunch.  He wanted Turkey and Avocado with Chips, I threw on some sliced Artichoke Hearts and it all looked so good to me that I had to make myself a salad version of the combo! (Pic of his inspirational lunch below - his Strawberries were on the side.)  So I put together a salad for myself using the same combination of flavors, subbing in Arugula for the chips, and adding a couple other yummy things and ended up having a fantastic salad.  Dare I say, it seemed like an excellent salad for a Mother's Day Brunch this weekend if you are looking for something light and delicious!

My Son's Lunch which inspired my Salad!

Artichoke Avocado Arugula Salad Recipe:
(this is just 1 serving, so obviously increase the amounts based on the amount of people you are feeding!)

2 handfuls of fresh Arugula
1 Tbsp Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette
3-4 slices of Low Sodium Turkey Cold Cuts, chopped
2 Artichoke Hearts, chopped
1/4 Avocado
1 Tbsp Toasted Sliced Almonds*
2 large Strawberries, diced

It actually provides a wonderful balance of flavors and textures:  creaminess from the Avocado, sweetness from the Strawberries, a zippy pepperiness from the Arugula, nuttiness and crunchiness from the Almonds obviously, and the savory taste from the Turkey and Artichokes;  YUM YUM YUM.

It would be very easy to make a Vegetarian version of this by removing the Turkey and subbing in some White Cannellini Beans, to add some protein, fiber and more creaminess. 

It would also be easy to kick up the decadence with some crumbled Goat Cheese or Feta on top.  (If you are going to make this for Mother's Day, cheese is a well deserved must!!)

*Toasting nuts is easy and makes a tasty nut that much tastier!  I toast mine on the Broil setting in my toaster oven for just a couple minutes - watch out they burn quickly so it's best not to walk away from them!   I also make twice the amount I need so I have some extra to throw in the fridge for next time!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Warm Veggie Salad with Carrots and Cauliflower Rice

Warm Veggie Salad with Carrots & Cauliflower Rice over Arugula

Sometimes I find myself at a buffet staring at way too many delicious decadent desserts and I may have more than one, or two, get the picture.  Yesterday was that day....dark chocolate cake, cheesecake, mini pecan pies, chocolate dipped macaroons, mini chocolate ├ęclairs (I didn't really eat all of them...ok, yes, I did.)   I'm all about good healthy eating most of the time, so once in a while on special occasions or when I'm out I can really just enjoy myself without feeling guilty.  Yesterday was one of those days. 

So today, I was all about creating a low calorie, yet filling, lunch to help balance out the extra calories from all those dessert bites.  (I'm calling them 'bites' to make myself feel better!) 

This Warm Veggie Salad with Carrots & Cauliflower Rice over Arugula fit the bill:

Directions:  Into a medium sized bowl add 1 cup of grated carrots + 1 cup of Cauliflower "rice"* + 1/3 cup of Trader Joe's jarred Indian Curry Simmer Sauce + 3 tbsp. water.  Heat in microwave for 90 seconds (covered is best), mix, and then serve over 2 cups fresh Arugula. 

Here is the Calorie break down:

1 cup Carrots: 52 Calories
1 cup Cauliflower: 25 Calories
1/3 cup Indian Sauce: 70 Calories
2 cups fresh Arugula: 10 Calories
GRAND TOTAL:  157 Calories!!!  

Calorie info obtained at: Fat Secret

This came together quickly based on what I had prepped and ready to go in the fridge, but lots of other Veggies would have worked out well here too:  Onions, Peppers, Broccoli, Zucchini, Mushrooms, is all about what you like!  Basically Veggies are very low in calories so it's super easy to eat a ton of them and keep your meal Low Cal.  And it was filling!  Kept me going until snack time 3.5 hours later (3 cups plain popped popcorn: 93 calories!)

*Cauliflower Rice easy to make!  Just chop up a head of Cauliflower into bite sized pieces, clean it and then pulse it all in a food processor until it appears the consistency and size of rice!  Throw it in a bowl with other stuff and eat :)