Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

I love the Peanut dipping sauce served alongside spring rolls in Asian restaurants so much, it needs to make an appearance on other dishes. And in the summa-summa-summertime, I am always looking for ways to make salads interesting. This Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing is light, fresh and flavorful, exactly what I want for dinner during a Texas summer.

 

 

Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. honey simple syrup
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. sriracha
Zest and juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced
4 oz. sliced red and green cabbage blend
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
Asian Peanut Sauce – see recipe

Garnish:
Chopped cilantro
Chopped peanuts

Toss together romaine lettuce, sliced cabbage, shredded carrots and red onion. Pour Asian Peanut Sauce over the top and toss to combine. (Note: this intentionally makes a lightly dressed salad. If you like more dressing on your salad, you might want to make 1.5x or 2x the dressing.)

Peel and devein shrimp, place in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together canola oil, honey simple syrup, chopped cilantro, sriracha, lime zest and juice (or pulse through a food processor) and pour over shrimp, coating evenly. Preheat grill pan (I love my red Le Creuset Double Burner Grill Pan) on medium low. Grill shrimp 3 minutes per side, until cooked.

Top salad with grilled shrimp, chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

Asian Peanut Sauce

Have you ever had spring rolls in Chinese restaurant and thought to yourself “I could eat this peanut sauce with a spoon”? Well I have, and having it over spring rolls is simply not enough for me. This Asian Peanut Sauce is perfect for everything from dressing a salad, drizzled over noodles or for dipping sauce for spring rolls or shrimp kabobs. This recipe is a keeper.

 

 

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. warm water
Zest and juice from ½ lime
1 tsp. sriracha

 

Whisk all ingredients together until fully incorporated. Toss with a green salad or serve as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

I’ve been eating cauliflower long before it was cool to make rice or pizza out of it. The best thing about cauliflower (aside from all those health benefits) is its ability to take on whatever flavors you throw at it. This Italian inspired Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower goes great with roasted chicken, a perfect side for holiday gatherings, and literally takes about 2 minutes of prep time. Perfecto!

 

 

Ingredients:
Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
⅓ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add cauliflower florets, olive oil, grated garlic, Parmesan cheese to a large bowl and stir until well combined. Pour onto cookie sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway. Enjoy!

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Prosciutto and Arugula

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to happy hour at Mattie’s, a new restaurant in my neighborhood.  One of the appetizers we tried was toasted bread, with creamy goat cheese and figs, topped with prosciutto, honey and arugula with a sprinkle of sea salt.  It was delicious, and certainly something that would be easy to make at home.  So here it is, my recipe for Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Prosciutto and Arugula, a sweet and savory appetizer to enjoy with a glass of wine.

 

Ingredients:
4 slices Ciabatta bread
2 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp. fig preserves
4 slices prosciutto
1 cup baby arugula
1 tsp. honey simple syrup
2 tsp. olive oil
Coarse sea salt

In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese and fig preserves.  Put broiler on LOW and spread an equal amount of the goat cheese mixture on each slice of bread.  Place bread on a cookie sheet and broil until just starting to turn brown, 2-3 minutes.

Toss arugula with honey simple syrup and olive oil.  Top each slice of bread with arugula, prosciutto and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Enjoy!

Greek Chicken Pizza

Anytime I can whip up a recipe using nothing but items I already have in the fridge, it’s a good thing. And if I can use up some leftover chicken (rotisserie, grilled, anything!), that’s a great thing! And the best part about this pizza – it’s so good that I make it sometimes even when I don’t have the ingredients already in the fridge.

Trader Joe’s is great for condiments and I regularly have their sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts and balsamic glaze in my pantry. Throw in some chicken, a little mozzarella and feta and you have a tasty flat bread pizza that reminds me of a Greek restaurant.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):
12 oz. pizza dough – see recipe
6 oz. cooked chicken, cut into bite sized cubes
3 tbsp. chopped artichoke hearts (3 small, chopped)
2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. mozzarella
1 oz. feta
½ tsp. Greek oregano
Balsamic glaze

Optional Garnish:
Chopped basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll pizza dough into approx. 12” round and place on stone. Top with shredded mozzarella, chicken, sun dried tomatoes, chopped artichokes, feta cheese and Greek oregano. Bake for 15 minutes, until mozzarella is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil and balsamic glaze (if using). Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Averaen Pinot Noir 2015

Instant Pot Carnitas

This dish made me a believer in the Instant Pot. Sure, I had heard all of the rave reviews, but I was still skeptical. Carnitas was the second dish I tried in my Instant Pot DUO 60, and I was amazed. The pork was fall-apart tender, juicy and flavorful, and they were equally delicious reheated on the second day. Not only are these the best carnitas I’ve ever had, but the entire prep time was 20 minutes. Once the Instant Pot is set on Manual, you can leave it alone for the entire cooking and pressure release.

 

Ingredients: (Serves 6)
3-4 lb. pork shoulder
Carnitas Spice Mixture (see recipe below)
2 tbsp. canola oil
⅓ cup orange juice
⅓ cup water
1 white onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed

Carnitas Spice Mixture
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. chipotle powder

Cut pork shoulder into six equally sized chunks and evenly coat with spice mixture. Press sauté on Instant Pot. Once display reads “hot” add oil and brown pork on all sides, working in batches. Add pork, orange juice, water, onion and garlic to Instant Pot, close the lid and hit manual. Set timer to 45 mins. Release pressure naturally once timer stops. Shred pork in a large bowl and spoon liquids over shredded pork. Service with tortillas, pickled onions, chopped cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy!

 

Wine Pairings:
Carlos Serres Rioja Reserva 2010
Solanera Vinas Viejas 2013

Grilled Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce

Once upon a time, eating lamb was something reserved for an evening out; rack of lamb in a swanky restaurant or lamb chops passed around for an appetizer by a white gloved waiter. With that kind of swagger, it can be pretty intimidating to try making them at home, but this recipe is a breeze. If you love lamb chops, give these a try. The garlic and lemon on the lamb are a perfect match for the creamy dill yogurt sauce, and sure to have you wondering why you aren’t eating more lamb at home.

Options for purchasing pre-cut lamb chops near my house are limited; they command a steep price tag at the local butcher or Whole Foods ($25-$30 per pound!), but Costco carries rack of lamb already frenched for around $10 per pound. Most come in a 7-8 bone rack, with the bones already trimmed, so it’s just a quick slice between each bone, and we are ready to go. I will certainly cut my own for that kind of savings. They are easy to cut; stand it on its end (with the bones pointing upwards) and cut between ribs using a single stroke. That’s all there is to it!

Ingredients (serves 4):

Yogurt sauce:
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Honey Simple Syrup
1 tsp. dried dill
½ tsp. dried Greek oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Lamb chops:
2 lbs. lamb chops
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges

At least one hour before starting to prep lamb chops, whisk together yogurt sauce and set aside in fridge for to let flavors marinate together.
Allow lamb chops to come to room temperature before grilling. In a small bowl, grate garlic into olive oil. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides, and rub garlic mixture all over chops. Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Cook until desired temperature, 4-5 minutes per side for medium. Remove from heat and squeeze with a lemon wedge. Serve lamb chops with a big dollop of yogurt sauce spread on each plate. Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Il Tarocco Chianti Classico 2015
Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2010

Greek Pasta Salad

Summertime is for BBQs, and this Greek Pasta Salad should be on every picnic table. It’s a great make-ahead option, tastes great cold or at room temperature, and since it’s not loaded up with mayo, it’s even a bit on the lighter side. Cool fresh vegetables, tangy artichokes and a salty pop from the feta is sure to be a crowd pleasing side for your favorite grilled entrees.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta (ditalini, orzo or rotini)
16 artichoke hearts (approx. 200g), stems removed and chopped
3 tbsp. (approx. 50g) sundried tomatoes, chopped
½ cup red onion, minced
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
Chopped basil (optional garnish)

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
¾ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. Greek yogurt (plain or non-fat)
1 tsp. dill weed
2 tsp. Greek oregano
Salt and pepper*

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions, drain and place in a bowl. Set in refrigerator to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together Red Wine Vinaigrette ingredients and pour over cooled pasta. Add chopped artichokes, sundried tomatoes, minced red onion, chopped cucumber and feta cheese. Gently toss to combine. Top with chopped basil and set in fridge for at least one hour. Toss again before serving and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Enjoy!

Note: taste pasta salad before adding additional salt. After cooking the pasta in salted water and adding the feta, it may be salty enough. Also, the sundried tomatoes and artichokes I use (both Trader Joe’s brand) are pre-marinated and add a little extra salt and olive oil to the pasta salad. If using a different brand, you might need to add a little salt and pepper or a drizzle of olive oil.

The Best Damn Turkey Burgers

It wasn’t too long ago, that if you asked me what the purpose of a turkey burger was, it would be either a) for a person on a diet or b) the token non-beef burger for someone who didn’t eat red meat. Not something I would ordinarily order until I tried The Continental Club burger at Hopdoddy, a popular burger restaurant in Austin. It was incredible and I was floored. This is my take on the Continental Club; a flavorful turkey burger with the flavors of sun dried tomato and basil…these are the Best Damn Turkey Burgers…Period!

 

Ingredients (Makes 4 Burgers):
20 oz. ground turkey
10 fresh basil leaves
¼ red onion
2 heaping tbsp. sun dried tomatoes
½ cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
Pepper
4 whole wheat buns

Toppings
Bacon
Provolone cheese
Arugula
Red onion
Balsamic glaze

Add basil leaves, red onion and sun dried tomatoes to food processor. Blend until smooth and add to ground turkey. Mix in bread crumbs, salt and pepper until fully incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties and cook in cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Top with your favorite topping and enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Averaen Pinot Noir 2015

Honey Sriracha Pork Chops

Sweet. Spicy. Savory. Are there better flavor combinations than that?

And when something so flavorful comes together so easily, that’s even better. The sweet and spicy sauce comes together in the few minutes that the chops are searing, let it simmer all together for a bit, and dinner is practically done!

The pork loin is juicy and tender from simmering in the honey Sriracha sauce and is perfect served over rice, broccoli or brussel sprouts.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 pork loin chops
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
2 tbsp. Sriracha
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional, for extra heat!)
1 ½ tbsp. corn starch

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear pork chops for 3-4 minutes per side and remove from pan. Sauté garlic in pan drippings for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, water, Sriracha and crushed red pepper (if using). Return pork chops to pan and pour sauce mixture over pork chops. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, turning pork chops halfway. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch with 1-2 tbsp. water to make a slurry. Remove pork chops from pan and slowly stir slurry into sauce to thicken. Return to a simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce is thick. Spoon glaze over pork chops. Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Montgo Monastrell 2012