Sunday, April 15, 2012

Creamy Pasta with Shrimp

I've done a dozen different variations of shrimp with pasta but this one was really tasty tonight. I've been really trying to focus on "clean eating" lately. Before Umstead, I focused on "the good carbs"and have continued that as a part of my recovery from the 100. However, Once or twice a week, I gotta have me something cheesy and high in carbs. Maybe your weakness is deep fried food, or ribs, or cake and cookies...Mine is my desire for a lot of "bad"carbs such as pasta or french baguette, number one, and heavy on the cheese, number two.  Well, I have one more weakness-ANYTHING CHOCOLATE.

1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and tails removed
1 lb of spaghetti
1/2 cup of heavy cream
the juice of one lemon (I used a Meyer lemon because I had it on hand)
1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese and more for garnish
3/4 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
3 tbs of olive oil, divided
1 full garlic bulb,peeled and thinly sliced (I like A LOT of garlic, feel free to use a little less)
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
a few tbs of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Get a large pot of water ready on the stove for the pasta. Try and time it where the pasta is finished when the sauce/shrimp is finished.

In a very large saute pan with 1 tbs of olive oil on high heat, saute the shrimp. Do not over cook. In fact, under cook in order to prevent dryness/rubberiness. Should take 2 minutes or less on each side. Remove the shrimp and place it on a plate. Cover the plate.

Turn the skillet down low, add 2 tbs olive oil, a few pepper flakes (to taste, I didn't use very much because of my son) and the garlic. Saute for about 4-5 minutes. Do not brown the garlic! Turn heat up and add the wine. The heat should be on medium or medium high in order to cook the alcohol out of it. After about 5 or so minutes, add the heavy cream, lemon juice, goat cheese, and ricotta cheese, Mix and lower the heat to low. Add back the shrimp.

When the pasta is al dente, add it in the pan and toss. Add the parsley and cover with tin foil for about 5 minutes with the heat on low.

Garnish with more goat cheese.

Feel free to use half and half or whole milk instead of heavy cream. I had heavy cream on hand because I was trying to make homemade ice cream this past week (disaster!). Also, whole wheat pasta would work just fine as well, although it may not look as pretty with a white sauce, LOL.

I used a little of the garlic and sauted some fresh spinach with some olive oil as a vegetable side dish. A salad was be a nice accompaniment as well.

***Message to my blog fans. Ha Ha. No seriously, I wanted to mention that my blog posts will be limited for awhile while I finish up my online real estate course. However,  if I make something absolutely delicious that I must share, I will certainly post it! Happy Cooking!

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes I feel like I deprive my son and husband of beef and pork so I made the suggestion that Marty grill some steaks for dinner last night. He seemed pretty receptive to that idea-I wonder why- and so I went ahead with making a vegetarian cold dish in the afternoon to compliment the steak- 0r should I say, to give me something to eat since I will not eat steak. I've never understood the appeal-sorry meat eaters!

I've made something similar that I really love called Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad (scroll down) and decided to change up the ingredients just a little bit. It was quite tasty with a good bit of protein in the quinoa and the black beans. Lately, I've been keeping sweet potatoes on hand all the time. They are super cheap (I think I got some from Kroger for 37 cents a pound recently) and filled with so much goodness! Not to mention, the sweetness makes them extra special. Oh, and they are paleo friendly, right, Dena and Jason?

1 large sweet potato or 2 small potatoes, diced to about one inch with skin on
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and diced (unless it's an English cucumber, than only dice it)
a handful of chives, chopped
a handful of  fresh citrus mint (or regular mint), chopped
3 tsp of balsamic vinegar
the juice of one lime
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tbs of olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
green leaf lettuce and more lime juice on the lettuce 
1cup dried quinoa (follow directions on box)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Meanwhile, follow directions to cook the quinoa (should be 1 cup to 2 cups of water). 

On a cookie sheet, spread sweet potatoes out and toss in 1 tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Toss and flip them, and continue cooking for 5 or so more minutes. Watch carefully. Because they are diced small and have natural sugar in them, they could burn. Make sure they are cooked all the way through and taste really yummy before removing them from the oven. Let cool.

Once quinoa is finished, spread it out on a platter or some tin foil in order to allow it too cool before adding it to the salad. Don't use parchment paper (I've done that before-big mistake).

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss. Then, add the quinoa and sweet potatoes once they are fairly cool. Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour. Serve on a platter of green leaf lettuce, arugula, or any other lettuce of your choice. I added some lime juice to the lettuce as well.

***One more comment about sweet potatoes. Roasting sweet potatoes this way, with some chopped fresh rosemary, is delicious. They can be eaten cold this way as well and easy to transport to work. A great little treat to snack on any time of the day!