Sunday, September 23, 2012

Barefoot Contessa's Shrimp Salad in Lettuce Cups

Good Morning!  It's a gorgeous day here in Virginia and it makes me want to take a long run and then do yoga in the backyard. 

Actually, it makes me want to go shopping and find a way to install television on the deck.

Anyway!  I'd say that's neither here nor there.  The point is that the first Sunday of fall doesn't disappoint and I'd settle for weather like this every single day of the year, thanks very much.

This shrimp salad recipe was super easy to throw together, and tasty as heck.  I used low fat mayonnaise because I really can't tell the difference in dishes like this, but it would be fine if you use regular mayo, because you know, fat is not the enemy.  I whipped up a batch on a Sunday afternoon and had it in lettuce cups for lunch every day during the week.  I'm sure it would also be tasty on a toasted sub roll, but we're not going to talk about bread on this blog right now because it might make me cry.


Ina Garten's Shrimp Salad
Source: Adapted from Ina Garten

2 lbs frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and halved
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1/2 cup red onions, minced
1 1/2 cups celery, minced

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and dill. Combine with the shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings.   Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seared Shrimp with Arugula Walnut Pesto

I was all ready to make this blog post about pesto and how it doesn't HAVE to be served with pasta (although pasta is so, so tasty and please don't rub it in).  But then I was editing the photos of said pesto (served with shrimp, sans pasta), and all I could think about was how cute my new Anthropologie plates are.  They are the big ones underneath the usual black and white plates I normally use (Kate Spade - thanks to my wedding guests for those!!).  And then I started thinking about how much I love Anthropologie and how much I wish I could buy all my clothes and accessories and home goods from there.  And that all of their clothes, accessories, and home goods were free.

Anthro has the best sales.  As soon as something goes on sale, it's like half off and you wonder if you're an idiot for every paying full price (you are).  Granted, you have to be careful at Anthropologie, because amongst the cute tanks and cardigans and funky shoes and necklaces are some HEINOUS articles of clothing.  I get that they are supposed to be a little "out there", which is why I love them, but honestly, who wants to wear a sweater made of burlap with an imprint of a squirrel with fangs on it?  Or MC Hammer pants made out of purple velvet?  I mean, really. 

But for the most part, Anthropologie has some super cute stuff, including dishes.  It turns out that you can shop their sales on your iPhone, which is DANGER if you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep.  I'm just saying.  That's how I got these new plates, and I love them! 

Anyway, the real point of this whole post was to talk to you about arugula and walnut pesto served over seared shrimp.  And man, was it tasty.  And I didn't even miss the pasta enough to throw myself into a carb-craving hissy fit.  Arugula is one of my favorite greens in the whole world.  I love that peppery taste and the fresh smell.  And combine that with walnuts and garlic and cheese and oil?  Perfection.  This was super easy to put together, and the pesto keeps in the fridge for a few days.  Of course, feel free to serve this with pasta, but just don't tell me about it.  Enjoy!

Seared Shrimp with Arugula Walnut Pesto
Source: pesto adapted from Eat Live Run

4 cups baby arugula, packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to taste
In a food processor, combine the arugula, garlic, walnuts and cheese. Process until well blended.

With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue processing until you have a smooth, bright green pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.  Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the shrimp and saute until done (shrimp will turn pink and opaque), about 2-3 minutes each side.

Serve shrimp with pesto on top.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chopped Salad with Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette

Oh heeey!  I'm back.  Guess who has lost 7 pounds?  This girl!  Yep, that's right!
The other possible correct answer to the above question would be "Ann's husband, the poor dear".  One of the first things he asked when I told him about the new eating plan was a very sullen question: "does this mean I'm on a diet too?".  Ummmm, yes.  Yes you are.  "My diet is your diet" is how we roll at this house.  Homeboy needs to carbo load on a Big Country Bacon Breakfast Platter with a side of Monster Biscuit at Hardee's on his way to work.  And to swim in a sea of lard on his way to Jimmy John's for lunch.  This is pretty much the only way he won't waste away to nothing while living with Ann on a diet.  Tough life the man leads, huh?
Anyway, we're a week and a half in, and he hasn't starved to death yet, although there have been some close calls.  But for the record, I feel amazing and haven't starved to death either.  Turns out that salad is pretty tasty, and they make your belly much flatter.  They aren't as yummy as french fries, but really, what is?  Mmmmm.....french fries......
Gah!  I digress!  Anyway, I whipped up this salad to take to a Labor Day get-together.  Speaking of said get-together, it was totally reminiscent of a middle school dance.  During cocktail time before we ate, the men stayed outside staring at the grill preparing the grill, and the ladies sat inside watching The Hills marathon the news.  When it was time to eat, we realized there wasn't room at the table for everyone, so we split up....girl's table and boy's table.  In case you've never considered this idea for a dinner party, it's time to do so.  It's actually not such a bad idea.  Especially if the man table is outside.
So!  Salad.  I love a chopped salad because I hate big pieces of lettuce that impede my ability to get the perfect forkful of mixed salad goodness.  You know what a perfect salad bite is....just the right amount of greens, cheese, meat, random veggies AND dressing all on your fork at the same time.  Amazing.  Well, anyway, chopped salad ensures that with every bite.  It also takes a boatload of time to prepare since you want all ingredients to be approximately the same size, but it's worth it.  Just add a simple vinaigrette and you are good to go.  Healthy, protein-rich deliciousness!  Enjoy.

Chopped Salad with Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette
Source: my own, inspired by my new diet
2 Romaine hearts, chopped finely
4 handfuls arugula, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if they are big)
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 6-inch log Italian salami, chopped
1 fist-sized block cheese, chopped (I used 1/2 white cheddar and 1/2 Havarti, both reduced fat)
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
7-8 white mushrooms, chopped
1 English (seedless) cucumber, chopped
Handful turkey pepperoni, chopped
For the dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 tablespoons good olive oil (or more of less to your liking)
First, mix the salad:
Add all chopped vegetables, meat, and cheese into a large bowl.  Stir to combine. 
Next, make the dressing:
Add lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, S&P, and Italian seasoning to a small bowl.  Stir to combine.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until well combined. 

Serve salad and top with dressing.