Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A salad that talks back

This is not a quiet salad. Cabbage and pepitas give it plenty of satisfying crunch, and the shrimp possess a nice kick thanks to garlic, cayenne, cumin and lime juice.

Snappy Shrimp and Cabbage Salad 
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon agave syrup
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
¾ pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup pepitas
1 cup black beans
1 avocado, sliced

Create salad dressing by whisking 2 tablespoons lime juice, agave syrup, salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil and cilantro in a bowl; set aside. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan and sauté until fragrant, just a minute or so. Add shrimp to pan with cumin, cayenne pepper and lime juice. Cook shrimp for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until pink. Build salads by equally divide shredded cabbage, beans, shrimp, avocado and pepitas between two large dishes or bowls. Top with salad dressing and enjoy.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Make-Fast Mondays: Speedy Sausage Skewers

Throw a couple additional items in your shopping cart and you’ve got a great, grilled dinner in your future. The sausage is already cooked and doesn’t need to soak in any marinade to pick up flavor. Grilled veggies taste great on their own, and even better with a little dash of seasoning.

It’s worth noting that I use metal skewers because why waste money with one-and-done bamboo skewers? I’m also a big fan of flexible metal skewers, which seem to hold at least double the food as a regular skewer.

Don’t have a gas grill or don’t feel like cooking al fresco? Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and stir-fry the sausages and vegetables for a few minutes over medium-high heat.

No matter how you prepare this meal, it’s going to taste nice and springy with some pasta salad (no shame in buying some at the deli counter) or rice pilaf (which you’ll want to start before skewering the sausage and vegetables).

Speedy Sausage Skewers 
12 ounces cooked chicken sausages, cut into one-inch slices
1 large red bell pepper, cut into one-inch pieces
8 ounces white or brown mushrooms
Creole seasoning (or favorite spice mix)

Prepare your grill (medium-high heat did the trick). Alternate sausage, peppers and mushrooms on skewers. Place skewers on platter and dust skewers with seasoning. Grill until sausage and veggies have some good grill marks but aren’t overly charred, turning skewers occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Remove sausage and vegetables from skewers and serve.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Keep things moving with Make-Fast Mondays

Mondays possess a lot of potential. A productive Monday, both at and after work, can set the tone for a great week ahead. I like to knock out my weekly grocery shopping on Monday evening in order to make room for other things later in the week. By the time all the groceries are unloaded, I’d rather not spend much more time in the kitchen. This is where the idea for Make-Fast Mondays originated. My goal is to create simple, flavorful meals that leave plenty of time for other activities!

Turkey Lavash Wraps 
1 piece whole wheat lavash bread (or other flatbread)
3 ounces oven-roasted turkey deli meat
2-3 tablespoons of your favorite hummus
1-2 loosely packed cups of baby lettuce mix
Hefty pinch of micro sprouts (alfalfa sprouts would also work)
10-12 thin English cucumber slices

Spread hummus evenly on piece of lavash bread. Arrange turkey and cucumber slices in even layers on one half of the lavash. Add lettuce mix to the other half of the lavash. Sprinkle sprouts on top of turkey. Roll up lavash, cut finished roll into two pieces and enjoy.