My girlfriends were coming for the weekend so I wanted to make them something super delicious … it was chillier than we expected it to be this weekend, so I decided a nice pot of hot soup would be just the thing.
It did happen just perfectly … two of my friends were staying in a camper and when they showed up at my house on Saturday, it was just about lunchtime plus they were quite chilled and hungry so the soup warmed them right up and filled our bellies before we went out to see the sights. I was so happy because they all raved about the soup and the two who don’t like things too hot & spicy said it was just right. Whew!
Shrimp & Tomato Bisque
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other white wine
- 2 garden fresh tomatoes + 2 roma tomatoes (about 0.7 lb), peeled and chopped
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 1 cup mixed vegetable juice such as V8 (or tomato juice)
- About 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- About 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce … use more or less depending on how spicy you like your soup)
- 2 cups fat free half & half
- 1 lb shrimp, fresh or frozen
- To garnish: freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs
- Peel and chop the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside to let the garlic infuse into the oil while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
- Once you’ve chopped all the vegies, heat a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and pour in the garlic and olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrots and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables get dry before the onions are soft, add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables.
- Add the wine (if you haven’t yet added it!), tomatoes, broth, juice, herbs, seasonings and Sriracha and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes break up and you have a nice thick soupy mixture, about 20 – 30 minutes or so. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you have a blender with a glass carafe, let the soup cool a bit before pureeing it to avoid cracking the glass.)
- Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the half and half and stir to mix, then add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat just until the shrimp is hot and cooked through. Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and fresh herbs if you like, with some flatbread or Naan on the side.
with fresh grape tomatoes, goat cheese & pinons
If I had to choose one favorite pizza topping, this would be it. Shrimp, pesto, and goat cheese with fresh tomato and pinons are such an elegant combination of flavors, and if you have pizza crusts (or english muffins!) and pesto on hand, they are so quick and simple to put together.
I made these little mini-pizza crusts for the party last weekend, but we didn’t actually eat them at the party. I served some to my friends at the “after-the-party” party, though, and they were very well received. And now my daughter is loving having the little mini-crusts on hand. I’ve made her mini-pizzas for dinner a couple times this week already. I think this mini pizza craze might become a regular thing at my house. They are even better than the individual-sized crusts I normally make because they’re minis! Small, bite-sized food is just so fun.
When the basil is rampant, I make pesto & freeze it so I always have some on hand. I pretty much always have some pizza crusts in the freezer too.
Pesto Shrimp Mini Pizzas with Grape Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Pinons
The great thing about these pizzas is you can pre-make everything and keep it in the freezer, so you can have little gourmet pizzas on the table in no time.
- Pre-made mini pizza crusts (recipe below) or English muffins … or a regular-sized pizza crust if you want to make this as a bigger pizza. You could certainly do this as a grilled pizza too …
- Pesto (my pesto recipe is here)
- Crumbled goat cheese
- Frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, thawed
- Fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Pinons (pine nuts)
Spread the pizza crusts with pesto and crumbled goat cheese. Top with lots of shrimp and mini tomato halves. Sprinkle with pinons. Bake at 400 for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and light brown and the pizzas are good and hot.
Beer Pizza Crusts
- 1 cup beer (I used Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat this time)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Put all ingredients into the bread machine and put it on the dough setting. When the dough is done, divide it into 24 balls of roughly equal size. I did this by cutting the dough in half, then cutting each one in half again, then each piece into three and then cutting each of those into half. Use cornmeal on your work surface to keep the balls from sticking. Shape each ball into a disc shape, set on a flat pizza peel or cutting board dusted with cornmeal, cover with a towel and let rest about 5 – 10 minutes. Then gently stretch each one into a slightly larger disc, cover and let rest until they have risen to the desired size. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until a light golden brown in color. You can throw them in a bag and freeze them at this point and pull them out as needed for snacks or dinner.
This recipe was featured at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen Seafood Frenzy Fridays.
Calling this a shrimp dip is a little misleading because it’s got SO much more than shrimp in it … there’s bacon, and asparagus, and grilled corn cut off the cob, sweet onion, Havarti, Gorgonzola and cream cheese, greek yogurt, some seasonings of course… and then, to give it a little summer heat, some Sriracha sauce. It’s like a taste of summer in every bite.
Hotsy Totsy Summer Shrimp Dip
- 1/3 cup roasted asparagus, chopped into small pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1/4 cup light cream cheese
- 2/3 cup fat free greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup cooked corn (I cut the kernels off a cob we had cooked on the grill, but thawed frozen corn would be fine too)
- 1/3 cup cooked, chopped shrimp (tails removed)
- 1/4 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t happen to have any, you can make your own with this recipe)
- 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cooked, chopped lower-fat bacon
- 1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or more (add more or less according to how spicy you want the dip)
- Heat a frying pan up over medium heat till it’s hot, spray with cooking spray, and sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and soft. If the mixture gets dry or starts to “burn”, add a splash of wine, then cook until the liquid from the wine has disappeared.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix the onion/garlic with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all thoroughly mixed. I started with the cream cheese because the heat from the onions will melt the cheese and make it easier to blend with the rest of the ingredients, then added the other things one by one.
- When I started cooking, I really meant this as a hot dip, but I ended up eating it cold because it’s SO hot outside … but really more because I was soo hungry by the time I finished it that I didn’t want to wait for it to bake. So hey, if you want, you could put this in an oven-safe baking dish and bake it up till it’s all hot and bubbly … or serve it cold with toasted pita chips, crackers, baked bagel chips or tortilla chips. Or vegies. Vegies always make good dippers.
- Garnish with a shrimp and some snipped green onion or chives.
It was also featured at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen’s Seafood Frenzy Friday.
I came home from yoga last night wanting noodles. Badly. It was a power yoga class and she worked us hard … I could tell because my legs were sore already. So it was clearly time to make the Pad Thai I’ve been wanting to make. A while ago I had found these beautiful brown rice noodles with a Pad Thai recipe on the back. I THOUGHT I had also picked up some bean sprouts, but discovered rather quickly that I hadn’t. I had already shredded a bunch of carrots and chopped up the greens, though, so I thought to just add in some onion.
I do not claim this to be truly authentic Pad Thai (the Pad Thai police would surely come and get me!), but oh it was delicious. This Pad Thai soothed my craving for noodles and Thai food all in one fell swoop.
Shrimp Pad Thai
This recipe serves 2 – 3 people. If you have bean sprouts, just cut down the amount of other veggies to add in some sprouts. Pad Thai does usually have bean sprouts in it … I was just out of them!
For the sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Hoison sauce
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 4 oz. brown rice noodles (1/2 the package)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup medium shrimp
- a splash of white wine
For the top:
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped green onions
- Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl, adjusting the amount of sugar and Sriracha to your liking. The spicy heat will get soaked up by the noodles, so I would recommend making it a tad hotter than you think it should be. Set the sauce aside.
- Put some water on to boil for cooking up the noodles.
- While the water is cooking for the noodles, whisk the egg in a bowl and add a teaspoon of water. Scramble it in a frying pan or wok sprayed with cooking spray very briefly … take it out of the pan while it’s still wet. It will finish cooking when you add it back into the hot noodles. Speaking of noodles: are they done? Drain and set them aside.
- Clean out the egg from the frying pan (unless you are a neat scrambler … I always have some egg residue when I scramble), heat the pan to medium heat, and add the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and spinach and sautee for a minute or two, then add the shrimp and sautee until the onion is limp and the shrimp turns pink. If the pan gets a little dry, add a splash of white wine and cook till the wine evaporates. Add the noodles and the sauce and stir to mix everything up. The noodles might not want to mix in too well, but that’s okay. You can put the “extras” on top of the noodles when you serve it.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, and chopped green onion.
So of course I had to make some pasta with my new love: Asparagus White Bean Pesto! I tossed in some fresh shelf mushrooms my dad gave me, but you can use any mushrooms of your choosing. I chose Rotini because the ridges in the little swirly pasta will “catch” the pesto nicely, so it won’t all slide off of the noodles. It is a tasty, healthy meal that is fancy enough to serve to company, but quick enough to have any weeknight.
Asparagus Pesto Rotini with Shrimp & ‘Shrooms
If you have the pesto pre-made, this meal takes about 15-20 minutes to put together. If you don’t, it might take another 15 minutes to make the pesto. This makes two servings.
- 2 servings (about 7 oz.) rotini pasta (I recommend using whole grain or high fiber pasta of some kind … it will keep you energized longer.)
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped asparagus
- 1/2 – 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 heaping cup of shrimp (I used frozen pre-cooked shrimp, but fresh is even better)
- 1/2 cup Asparagus White Bean Pesto (recipe here)
- For the top: Freshly shredded parmesan, toasted Pine nuts, and fresh basil
- Boil the water and cook the pasta. While the water is heating, chop the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic.
- When the water begins to boil, add the pasta and heat a frying pan up for sauteeing the shrimp & vegies. Spray the pan with cooking spray, and when it’s hot, put in the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic and sautee just a couple minutes, then add 1/4 cup of the wine. Cook a few minutes or until the asparagus is starting to look a little cooked (but still bright green), then add the shrimp and the rest of the wine and cook a few minutes longer or until the shrimp is cooked and the asparagus is crisp-tender. (It only takes a few minutes.)
- By now the pasta should be about done. Test it to see if it is. If it’s not, remove the shrimp/asparagus mixture from heat, and wait a minute or two. When the pasta is done, strain out the water, then return the pasta to the pan. Add the pesto and asparagus/shrimp mixture and stir until everything is mixed up well.
- Serve topped with a few toasted pine nuts, a bit of freshly shredded parmesan, and basil leaves for garnish.
This is a #pastalove post!
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Yes, you DO have time to cook! This is faster than fast food and WAY healthier. You can have it on the table in under 15 minutes.
The “magic” in this recipe is the Super Simple Thai Peanut Sauce. If you make some of this up and keep it in your fridge, you can have delicious meals in minutes … if you haven’t made it yet, go do it! Click the sauce picture for the recipe … the sauce itself will take you maybe five minutes to make. It’s super simple.
I don’t claim that it is truly “authentic” Thai food, but it tastes amazing … and if you are a busy working mom who’s starved for Thai food like I am, with no Thai restaurants anywhere within hundreds of miles, well, then I think it’s okay to take some shortcuts.
Okay, now that you’ve got the sauce done, all you have to do is …
1. Cook up some noodles. I used Angel hair pasta. Angel hair is beautiful and fast, and I love the delicate-ness of the noodles! You can use whatever noodles you like, though. (For SUPER expedient gourmet meals, have some noodles pre-cooked in your fridge, then just warm them up when you need a quick delicious meal.)
2. While the noodles are cooking, steam some veggies. You can use whatever vegies you think would go well with Thai peanut noodles. I used broccoli and carrots. Here’s my quickie tricky method for doing that in the microwave. Put your fresh or frozen veggies in a bowl. Add a bit of water to the bowl. Just a splash; you don’t need a lot. Sprinkle the vegies with a little salt and pepper if you want. Cover it with a plate. Stick it in the microwave. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Take the veggies out and check them. Are they crisp tender? If not, stir, cover, and microwave a bit longer until they are crisp tender. Strain the vegies, or use a fork to remove them from the bowl.
3. Optional! Heat up (or cook up) some shrimp or leftover meat. I’ve tried this with leftover grilled chicken and also with tiny frozen (thawed) shrimp, but I also think it is just wonderful without meat at all.
4. Toss the noodles and vegies (and meat or shrimp, if you’re using them) with the noodles and about 2 tablespoons of the sauce per serving. Top with chopped roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
Post #5 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …
I made my daughter a plain cheese one and she ate the WHOLE thing. Holey moley girl! I think she’s going through a growth spurt again because I could only eat about half of mine. She eats like crazy when she’s growing.
First I got the dough started in the bread machine. I used my beer pizza dough, the same one I used in the thai chicken pizza. Recipe for the crust is here.
Then I got to work on the sauce.
Homemade Pizza / Pasta Sauce, Two Ways
- 2 small onions
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
- 1 quart of canned tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped roasted eggplant (I know what you’re thinking: Eggplant? Trust me … it thickens the sauce and gives it a nice buttery taste. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 for about 5 – 10 minutes or until it’s soft. Use the tender little ones if you can find them. If you have a big one, peel it first before you roast it. I had some that I froze last summer so I used that.)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper & fresh herbs to taste (I didn’t use anything but the Italian seasoning and my daughter said it was delicious just like that!)
- 2 – 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (to your taste)
- Fresh basil & oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
Peel the onion and garlic, chop the onion into large hunks and put in a food processor or handi chopper with the garlic to chop it finely. (Or chop it the old fashioned way, with a knife.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sautee for about 5 – 10 minutes until the onion is very soft and starting to sweeten/caramelize. Add the wine and cook until the liquid from the wine has mostly evaporated.
Add the tomatoes and eggplant and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked down and the sauce is getting to be about the consistency of a tomato sauce. You don’t have to stand over it stirring the whole time, but you do want to make sure you stir it fairly often.
Put the sauce into a blender and blend till smooth. It will turn out this lovely orangey red color.
Now you have a choice. You can make one or both of the sauces. I divided mine up in half so I could make my daughter her Italian cheese pizza and me my spicy Cajun one.
So for the Italian sauce, I added Italian seasoning and asked my girl to taste it. She said it was perfect just like that (and I agreed).
For the cajun version, I added cajun seasoning, some fresh basil and oregano, some smoked paprika, and then just to kick it up a little more, some cayenne and a bit of salt.
Now it’s time to assemble the ‘za!
Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Pizza
- Pizza crust, pre-made or fresh (I used my beer pizza crust and made this on the grill … see this grilled thai pizza post for the crust recipe and grilling instructions)
- Tiny shrimps … I thawed some frozen ones
- Andouille sausage, sliced thin
- Bell pepper, chopped (or sliced)
- Red onion, sliced or chopped
- Jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional … if you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a pepper-head … I like things VERY spicy)
- Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- Italian blend of shredded cheese
- Oregano leaves, for garnish … I think some chopped green onions would go well on top too.
Slather the crust with the cajun sauce, then sprinkle with the toppings and top with cheese. Cook the pizza in the oven or the grill till the cheese is melted and bubbly, then top with fresh oregano leaves and … it’s time to EAT!
I’m thinking some of this Cajun Lemonade from La Belle Cuisine would be fabulous with this spicy pizza …