Fit and Fresh: Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing

Shrimp and spinach salad with light sesame dressing

I’ve been working on making my salads more substantial. Step one: find an even bigger plate. Step two: add protein. Step three: make sure the dressing is as yummy as it can possibly get.

While step one involves shopping and is therefore super fun, steps two and three are where you should focus most of your energy. As I think you know by now, my favorite protein is shrimp. They go from frozen to cooked in like 10 minutes! You guys. You KNOW how lazy I am. If I can’t get dinner ready in like a half hour or less, I’m just gonna eat a pile of celery. This is why I consume so much dang shrimp! (Also? Delicious.)

Creating new dressing recipes is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen, so step three of my super-salad plan is no sweat at all. I like this sesame dressing because even though it’s quite light (20 calories for two tablespoons!), it’s so full of flavor that you don’t feel deprived. The sesame oil is nutty and rich, and the rice vinegar brightens everything up.

I loved the sesame dressing with this shrimp and spinach salad. With the celery and mushrooms, it reminds me of a classic stir-fry. Quick and easy? Check. Good for you? Check. Delicious? Double check. Here’s the recipe. Read more…


Quick, Easy, Good: Creamy Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta

Creamy shrimp and asparagus pasta

My name is Kamille, and I am a shrimp addict.

It’s hard for me to remember when my shrimp obsession began. It would have to be well after I was 9 or 10. Around that time, my big brother shared the pleasant news that the veins in shrimp were “doo-doo.”  To be more precise (and less of a fifth-grader), the vein you see on the back of a shrimp is the digestive tract. While it is certainly better to remove it whenever possible, nothing BAD will happen to you if you eat it. Of course, these details escaped me at the time. I refused to eat shrimp for a few years (doo-doo veins or no).

Fortunately, I soon got over this senseless phobia. I am now one of the top five consumers of shrimp in the nation. (Numerous unscientific studies confirm.) One of my best friends is also a member of this elite group. After seeing a recent shrimp-filled post, she expressed clear frustration at my failure to share the shrimpy-wealth. I’ve known this woman for nearly a decade: she meant business. So I made this shrimp and asparagus pasta for our ladies’ lunch on Sunday afternoon.

You all know the drill by now: this dish is simple, easy, and delicious. That’s just the kind of food I believe in. And did I mention it’s under 300 calories per serving?

The pasta’s creaminess is thanks to judicious use of ricotta cheese — just add a dollop to the hot noodles at the end. The flavor of asparagus infuses both the pasta and the shrimp; you’ll be able to really taste it throughout the dish. If you’re not an asparagus fan, broccoli would make a great substitute.

Recipe after the jump! Read more…


Simple and Springy: Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna pasta salad

You guys, I’m so excited. I totally saw the sun today. I haven’t worn my parka in over a week. Spring is finally, finally here. What does that mean? It’s almost potluck season. And what does THAT mean? It’s time to break out the pasta salad.

Even if you’re not potlucking it up, pasta salad is a great thing to make during warmer months, when good produce is fresh and plentiful. It’s a serious workhorse. I love to make a huge batch of pasta salad on Sunday and chip away at it throughout the week. It gets better and better the longer it sits in the fridge: tangier, zestier… pasta-ier? Ok, maybe not that last one. Still, a good pasta salad gets appreciably more delicious as time goes on.

This tuna pasta salad is a slight variation on my usual recipe. I was poking around in my pantry the other day, looking for inspiration, and I saw that I had a stack of canned tuna that was a foot high. BOOM. Protein source found.

The tuna works great in this dish — it plays nicely with the red onion and lemony dressing. To keep the tuna’s flavor from overpowering the rest of the ingredients, I added just one can and made sure to drain it well. The tuna adds just the right amount of salt and makes the pasta feel extra-filling.

Here’s how I put everything together. Read more…


Super-Fast, Super-Easy: Shrimp Couscous with Lemon and Herbs

Shrimp couscous with lemon and herbs

I always seem to forget how easy it is to make couscous. Since most grocery store couscous (actually a kind of pasta, by the way) is pre-steamed, it’s ready in minutes. And I mean that literally: couscous finishes cooking in five minutes. For a food that doesn’t come out of a suspect box, loaded with sodium and mystery ingredients, that’s pretty amazing.

Shrimp is another super-fast (and super-delicious) food. Shrimp + couscous = your weeknight dinner, made easy. After I made this meal, I immediately became annoyed at myself for (1) not thinking of it sooner and (2) not making couscous more often.

I love the flavors in this dish. The shrimp are seasoned liberally with a mix of dried Italian herbs and black pepper — no oil or marinating necessary. Mixed peppers add a little sweetness, while the lemon keeps the couscous bright.

This is an awesome recipe for company. “Shrimp couscous with lemon and herbs” — it sounds so fancy, right? Like the person who made it drinks wine from a stemmed glass and reads Proust! (For the record, I drink $8 moscato from a tumbler and read almost nothing but cookbooks these days. Deal with it.) Really though, it’s something simple enough for all us plebs to make. You can whip up this dish in the time it takes to watch an episode of Community. Love it.

Read the recipe for after the jump!

Read more…


Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Zesty Broccoli Slaw

Garlic Shrimp Tacos!One of my college roommates introduced me to the beauty of shrimp tacos. Before that, the only tacos I’d ever had were made with ground beef or chicken. Usually there were boxed hard shells involved. I know, I know. I was living a sad, sheltered shell of a life.

Now that my eyes have been opened, shrimp tacos are almost always the variety I choose to make. For one thing, they’re the easiest option by a mile. Shrimp have a short, fuss-free cooking process. Even if you have to defrost the shrimp, this recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less. Using fresh shrimp? Then it’s more like 15 or 20.

Of course, no one really needs an excuse to cook shrimp. The natural sweetness and tenderness of a a well-prepared shrimp is a thing of beauty. Paired with garlic and olive oil? Mercy.

I topped these shrimp tacos with a mixture of broccoli slaw (one of my favorite convenience foods) and Greek yogurt. The slaw topping is bright and tangy, with a kick from a little red onion.

Two of these super-stuffed tacos come in under 300 calories, so you can enjoy all this shrimpy delight guilt-free. Read on for the recipe! Read more…

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