Tag Archives: dinner

Coconut Shrimp Cakes with Mango Pineapple Salsa

Ok guys, these might be the most delicious things I have made in a while! I absolutely love coconut shrimp, but I really hate deep frying things at home because it makes such a mess, so I had never attempted making them. So when I saw this recipe, I went out the next day and bought all the ingredients.

I have to say, my two year old was much more interested in the mango pineapple salsa than she was the shrimp cakes, but my husband could not stop commenting on how good they were! 

Coconut Shrimp Cakes with Mango Pineapple Salsa

For the salsa: 
1 mango, diced
1½ cups diced fresh pineapple
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced small
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
Juice of one lime
Pinch of coarse salt

For the shrimp cakes: 
1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 large egg
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
Few dashes of sriracha (to taste)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Coconut oil for cooking (about 2-3 tbsp.)


1. To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Toss to mix well.  Cover and refrigerate, allowing flavors to blend.

2. To make the shrimp cakes, finely chop the uncooked shrimp. In a medium bowl, mix together shrimp, ¾ cup of the coconut, the garlic, lemon zest, egg, cilantro, sriracha, salt and pepper.  Stir the mixture until evenly mixed.

3. Form the mixture into 7-8 patties.  Add the remaining coconut to a shallow dish or pie plate.  Gently coat the shrimp cakes in the shredded coconut.

4. In a large sauté pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the shrimp cakes to the pan and cook, turning once, until both sides are golden and the cakes are cooked through, about 4 minutes total.  Top with the mango pineapple salsa and serve immediately.


Adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats, which was sourced from Perry’s Plate

Turkey Burgers with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions & Arugula

Turkey burgers get a bad rep for being bland and boring. But it’s really all in the mix and the toppings. When I saw this recipe for mini turkey burgers, I decided to make them big kid-sized and kick it up a notch by adding caramelized onions, mushrooms, and arugula. I also added a dash of Worcestershire to the ground turkey to give it a little more flavor. The result was a delicious, gourmet-tasting turkey burger that was full on flavor and not on fat—score!


Turkey Burgers with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions & Arugula

½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 medium yellow onion
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
2 cups fresh arugula
Hamburger buns
Cooking spray


1. Mix together the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Form the ground turkey into patties and place on a plate. Cover with foil and set aside in the frig while you cook the onions and mushrooms.

2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add mushrooms. Sprinkle in sugar, stir, and continue cooking until the onions and mushrooms are very tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

3. Heat a grill pan or your grill to medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and then cook the turkey burgers for 5 minutes on each side or until done.

4. Spread the Gorgonzola evenly on each of the hamburger buns, top with a burger, onions, mushrooms, and arugula.


Adapted from Cooking Light

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Don’t you just love a dish that is just as good cold the next day as it is the night you make it? This orzo salad from Cooking Light is delicious for dinner and also perfect for your next cookout or potluck. You can really do it with or without the chicken, but the added protein makes it a complete one-dish meal.

The only negative feedback I got on this dish was from my two-year-old who didn’t appreciate that I was giving her “leaves” for dinner (there’s arugula in the salad)! To appease your picky eaters, you can always swap out the tomatoes, red peppers, and arugula for other veggies they like—zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, asparagus, or mushrooms would also be great in this dish!

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

1 ¼ cups uncooked orzo
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips (use the frozen, pre-cooked kind to save time)
1 ½ cups arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped red bell pepper (I roasted mine ahead of time, but raw works too)
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp (1 ½ ounces) crumbled goat cheese (or more if you’re like me!)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

It’s no secret that I love risotto. I’ve posted recipes before for Kale and Bacon Risotto and Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Asparagus Risotto. One of the things I like most about this rice dish is that, by changing out the mix-ins, you can completely change the meal for each season. For this Mushroom Asparagus Risotto, I used spring veggies and chicken to make it a one-dish meal. The best part is, I haven’t found a risotto recipe my daughter won’t eat!

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

1 1/3 cup uncooked arborio rice
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium chicken breasts
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
½ cup Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook to 170°, turning occasionally. Set the chicken aside to rest and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

2. In another sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and cook for a few minutes before adding peas and mushrooms. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Set aside.

3. Heat broth in a small sauce pan over low heat.

4. In a deep sauté pan or dutch oven, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add rice and stir for about 2 minutes.

5. Add in 1 cup of broth and stir continually until the liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in remaining broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continually each time until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ½ cup.

6. Once the rice is cooked and the broth is gone, stir in vegetables, chicken, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to heat everything through and then serve immediately.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

When I saw this recipe in the April 2013 issue of Cooking Light, it immediately went on our menu for the following week. I love making quinoa because it’s such a healthy, nutrient-packed grain and, luckily, my two year old can’t get enough of it! So I was eager to try this spicy grilled shrimp with quinoa salad because it was different than any other dish I had tried thus far. I did cut back just a little bit on the spice because neither I nor Olivia can hang with the heat, and I made a couple of other small adjustments to the original recipe—like more cilantro mixed right into the salad.

While this dish was delicious for dinner, I have to say that the leftovers were even better for lunch the next day after the flavors had really meshed together.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
10 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp smoked paprika
4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 lb)
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup water
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ tsp honey
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup diced peeled avocado
1 oz reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
Cooking spray
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Combine 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, paprika, and 2 garlic cloves in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

3. Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves and quinoa; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool. Combine remaining 2 tbsp lime juice, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, remaining ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and honey in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa mixture, tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado, ¼ cup cilantro and cheese; toss gently.

4. Remove shrimp from bowl; discard marinade. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining ¼ tsp salt. Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 8 (6-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until done.

5. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 skewers. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Quick & Healthy Meal: Hummus Veggie Flatbreads

These hummus veggie flatbreads are one of our favorite quick and easy weeknight dinners. My family loves these because they are so delicious. The fact that they are full of healthy veggies and protein-packed hummus is just the icing on the cake. I usually serve these with couscous, which cooks in under 10 minutes. The entire meal, start to finish, can be done in around 15 minutes. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Hummus Veggie Flatbreads

What you need:
Naan (or other type of flatbread)
Fresh sliced portabella mushrooms
Green pepper, thin sliced
Tomato, diced
Avocado, diced
Store-bought hummus
Sliced cheese (I’ve used cheddar, pepperjack, and muenster- all good in this recipe)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Place one flatbread per person on a cookie sheet and spread with a generous spoonful (or two!) of hummus.

2. Top each with 4-6 slices of green pepper, around 5 or 6 mushrooms, and a sprinkling of tomato—you don’t want to go too heavy on the veggies because you’ll be adding arugula and avocado as well and you want to be able to fold them in half.

3. Place one to two slices of cheese, depending on the size of your flatbread, on each one (I usually break up the cheese to spread it over all of the veggies). Pop the flatbreads in the oven for around 6 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

4. Place one flatbread on each plate and top with some of the avocado and arugula. Fold in half and dig in!

Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken

This lemon herb rub from Cooking Light is always a classic. I have used this rub recipe before to make brick chicken, where you butterfly a whole chicken and use bricks wrapped in foil to press it down to the grill for a crisp skin. This time, I tried to make things a little easier on myself by using leg quarters instead. The herb rub works well in both scenarios.

Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken

1 (5 lb) roasting chicken or leg quarters
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper


1. Prepare your chicken:

If using a whole chicken, remove and discard giblets and neck. Rinse chicken with cold water, and pat dry. Trim excess fat. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting surface. Cut chicken in half lengthwise along backbone (do not cut through breastbone). Turn chicken over. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

If using leg quarters, rinse chicken with cold water, and pat dry. Trim excess fat. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the meat.

2. Combine parsley, thyme, juice, salt, and pepper; rub mixture under loosened skin and over chicken. Gently press skin to secure. Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

3. Preheat grill to medium heat.

4. Place chicken, skin side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 30 minutes (for leg quarters) to 55 minutes (for a whole chicken) or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 180°. Remove chicken from grill; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Remove and discard the skin.

Spring Vegetable Pasta with a Lemon Cream Sauce

Since this little human I am growing has left me utterly exhausted recently, I haven’t been doing much adventurous cooking or trying many new recipes. Now that I’m in my second trimester, both my energy and my cooking are making a comeback.

I recently tried this Spring Vegetable Penne from the most recent issue of Cooking Light and LOVED it. The lemon cream sauce is both comforting and bright at the same time, and the veggies are perfect in it.  The only thing I might do differently next time is grill the asparagus for some extra flavor (and just because I can, since it’s finally nice out).

Spring Vegetable Pasta with a Lemon Cream Sauce

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 (4 oz) package presliced mushrooms
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
½ cup half-and-half
¾ cup frozen green peas
3 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese, divided
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz uncooked penne (I used vegetable pasta, hence the reddish color)
1 pound (1 in) diagonally cut asparagus


1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add thyme and garlic; sauté 1 minute.

2. Sprinkle mushroom mixture evenly with flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in broth and half-and-half; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add peas, 2 tablespoons cheese, rind, and next 3 ingredients (through pepper); cook 1 minute or until peas are thoroughly heated.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add asparagus to pot; drain.

5. Add pasta mixture to mushroom mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cheese.


Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Quiche

I really love quiche, but I had never made one until now. I’ll pretty much eat anything with caramelized onion in it, so this Cooking Light recipe seemed like a good place to start. I thought it turned out great and, after initially turning her nose up at it, Olivia eventually gave in and ate her whole piece. We had this dish for dinner, but it would also be a fantastic brunch option.

Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tsp sugar
4 cups sliced zucchini
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ tsp kosher salt, divided
1 cup low-fat milk
1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp pepper
3 large eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Sprinkle in sugar, stir, and continue cooking until the onions are very tender, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then finely chop.

2. Preheat oven to 425°. Unroll pie crust and fit into a 10-inch pie plate. Bake the pie crust for 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

3. Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add remaining olive oil the pan. Add zucchini and garlic, and sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Sauté 5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Cool slightly.

4. Arrange caramelized onions over the bottom of the pie crust; top with zucchini mixture. Combine ½ tsp salt, milk, flour, pepper, eggs, and cheese in a mixing bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Pour the egg mixture over the zucchini and onions.

5. Bake the quiche at 375° for 35 minutes or until set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting. 

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

We usually eat vegetarian a few nights a week, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are outside of the usual salad/pasta/quinoa rotation. I saw this recipe for vegetarian stuffed peppers and decided to try my own spin on it. 

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

2 green peppers
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 small onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, diced
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup goat cheese crumbles
1 clove minced garlic
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°, and lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place the halved and seeded peppers cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

3. While the peppers roast, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute.

4. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and spinach and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

5. In a large bowl, mix together the rice, vegetables, goat cheese, salt, and pepper.

6. After the peppers are done roasting, flip them over and fill each half with the rice and vegetable mixture.

7. Return the peppers to the oven and roast for another 5 minutes.