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Caramelized Scallops

 

Anyone else feel like they ate their way through Easter? I certainly do. I feel like I went on a bender and had a major pre-party in the weeks leading up to Easter. All of that is to say that I’m definitely craving things a bit lighter and healthier. I’ve made these scallops a few times and always enjoy them. It’s a quick, easy, light dinner that feels extravagant. I served this with roasted asparagus or rice pilaf (recipe for this coming soon!). Not everyone in the house likes seafood, actually I think I’m the only one aside from the cat, so this is a dish that I don’t mind making for myself while preparing something for everyone else, it’s that easy.

One thing I’ve always hated about cooking scallops is the chance to overcook and the texture becomes something similar to shoe leather. It can happen so fast. With this recipe I have never had that happen. The cook time is so short that it’s almost impossible. I’ve also cooked them longer and have never had this happen, so it’s a fairly forgiving recipe. The original recipe calls for clarified butter. I have never used this and I feel like the flavor/recipe is great. I have linked to the original version below, if you would like to check it out.

 

Now that the weather is starting to stay a bit warmer and our says are a bit brighter, I’m excited to share some healthier dishes including more main dishes and sides. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to balance it out with a little bit of indulgence too. This week I’m sharing a kale smoothie that actually tastes good, some blondies that are drool worthy, a homemade ice cream recipe and a special Earth Day post this weekend.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Rinse and dry the scallops. Season both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a pan on medium high, add the butter and swirl around coating the pan. When the butter begins to foam, begin to prepare the scallops. Working quickly, coat one side of the scallops with sugar, twisting the scallop slightly so the sugar sticks. Place the scallops sugar side down in the pan. Saute them for about 2 minutes. If the sugar begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat. Flip the scallops and cook for one minute longer.
  3. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan. Reduce the liquid by half, about another minute or so. Transfer the scallops to a plate and pour the juices from the pan over the top. Garnish with chopped chives and lemon zest.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa

Oh my gosh it’s finally Friday. It’s also a long weekend for me, so I could not be happier at the moment. We’re going to be doing some serious Easter prep over the next couple days so our schedule is going to be packed, but I had to share this meatless meal. I’ve mentioned, maybe too much for such a new blog, that I absolutely love cheese. This cheesy quinoa is amazing. I’m sort of a late quinoa convert as it often tasted like dirt when I prepared it. It’s not until I started to use recipes that incorporated a lot of flavors that I realized how much I actually like it. This dish is substantial enough to have as a main meal or simply reduce the portion size and you have a great side dish. Did I mention the cheese? I used a smoked Gouda for this version and really think it kicked up the flavor. Even my husband, who really dislikes anything healthy, really enjoyed this. He is your standard meat and potatoes kind of guy. Keep it simple and he’s happy. I tend to b more adventurous with my eating preferences so this was a very happy medium. If you’ve never tried quinoa and are looking for a first time recipe that will not disappoint you, definitely try this one out.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the quinoa. Add to a pot with 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable broth and cook until done.
  2. Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Grease a casserole dish and set aside. In a pan, add half of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms has been released and evaporated. Add in the garlic and the thyme. Add in the remaining broth and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa to the mushroom mixture. Stir in the yogurt, remaining olive oil, and 2/3 of the shredded cheese. Add the new mixture to the casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Notes

This recipe is very slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

National Grilled Cheese Day and French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

Break out your celebratory accessories because today is National Grilled Cheese Day! Last week I shared my love for caprese and grilled cheese with this awesome caprese grilled cheese recipe and this week I will share my love for cheese, again, and French onion soup. Probably one of my favorite soups. It’s rich, cheesy, and that toasty baguette that usually sits on top…my GOD! This version is just what I was looking for. Toasty bread that didn’t get soggy, with a rich tasting onion mixture that sits atop some melty swiss cheese. It was love at first bite. The onions were not overpowering and the combination was perfect. For me grilled cheese is one of my go to’s when we just are not into what we planned for dinner. I usually have an embarrassingly large cheese variety in my fridge (Hello, my name is Heather, and I am addicted to cheese), but in those times of needing something to eat, it works out in my favor. I am sill a huge fan of the classic but I also love to dress it up a bit and make it a bit fancier. Now toss some shredded cheese in the air, dance around, whatever feels right, but definitely make this sandwich!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan on your stove top. Slice the red onion thin, and place in the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook until really soft. Add in the garlic and continue to saute for about 30 seconds more. Add in the beef bouillon and mix until all incorporated. Add in a dash of wine and a sprinkle of thyme and heat until reduced. Remove the onion mixture and place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, melt some butter. Place a slice of bread into the pan and place a piece of cheese on top. Add on the onion mixture and another slice of cheese. Place a lit on top of the pan and let heat. Be sure to cook on a lower heat since the pan will already be hot and you don't want to burn the bread. Flip the sandwich and let cook on the other side. until toasty. Remove from the heat and let it sit for a minute before cutting in half.

Notes

This is an original recipe.

Copycat Near East Couscous

 

You know those picky toddlers that become fixated on one particular food (of a few limited). Well mine is completely obsessed with couscous…and chicken nuggets….but we’ll stick to couscous since that’s what this post is about. He absolutely loves the Near East chicken couscous and I thought this has got to be easy enough to replicate. It surprisingly took a while to get it just right, because I was absolutely overthinking it. I would think about the spices I needed to involve when in reality, it was just super simple ingredients with fresh veggies. Bonus! He was really hesitant to try it at first because it wasn’t “his” it was “mine” but he caved and I got the toddler thumbs up seal of approval. Victory! It’s super quick to prepare and we all know how important that is when a little one is demanding dinner.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pan on your stove top. Add in the carrots and celery and saute until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add in garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add in the chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Let come to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add in the couscous. Place a lid over the pan and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve warm.

Notes

This is an original recipe.

Ultimate Caprese Grilled Cheese

 

I’m not sure why anyone would need an excuse to eat cheese, but if you require one, here you go…. 1. National Grilled Cheese Day is April 12th. 2. This caprese grilled cheese sandwich.

I love….like LOVE…. grilled cheese. You can really do any sort of combination of flavors you want. We had a local food truck festival aka heaven, a  while back. We ended up going on the hottest most humid New England summer day, it rained, but then the skies cleared and I saw this truck that served grilled cheese. I can honestly say I ran to the gigantic line and waited for what ended up being the best thing at this festival, their caprese grilled cheese. It was eyes-rolling-back-into-your-head-at-the-first-bite good. So of course I had to recreate this recipe at home. I could never live without it again. So I attempted several times. Now it would seem easy enough, but the cheese never melted just right, the basil would fall out or just overpower one bite. But then I hit the home run and had to its glory.

Ingredients

For the mayo

For the Sandwich

Instructions

  1. To make the mayo mixture, combine the mayo, basil, and Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  2. To assemble the sandwich, slice a good chunk of the ciabatta from the loaf and slice into two pieces. Spread some of the may mixture on the bottom half and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Add the tomato, sliced mozzarella cheese. Spread more mayo mixture on the top half and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Place on top of the bottom half.
  3. Heat a pan and add some butter. Once the butter is melted and starting to bubble place the sandwich in the pan. Reduce the heat as needed to prevent the sandwich from burning. Place a lid on the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is starting to melt. Remove the cover, add more butter as needed and flip the sandwich. Place the lid back on and heat until the cheese is melted. Remove the cover and flip one more time. Turn the heat off and let sit for a few seconds.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

This is an original recipe.