Simple Grilled Shrimp with Vegetables

I am so excited to start grilling this summer and one of my favorite things has to be the simplicity of these perfectly grilled shrimp with vegetables. All you need is some lemon juice, dried or fresh herbs, red pepper flakes and good quality shrimp! Skewering the shrimp helps keep the shrimp in together and also cook evenly. Memorial Day is coming up and here is some inspiration for your backyard BBQ’s!

How to Perfectly Grill Shrimp
How to Perfectly Grill Shrimp

I’m starting the season off slow with grilled shrimp and I have to say I missed the amazing flavor that grilling adds to food!

My family loves to eat shrimp but  I was never sure the best way to grill it. I have a grill basket which works wonderfully for vegetables on the grill – not so much shrimp. You could put the shrimp directly on the grill but they may fall through – or if you have a lot of shrimp it can be difficult to manage. You could use a tinfoil pouch but you may not get those grill marks I crave…

The best way to cook Simple Grilled Shrimp with Vegetables is to skewer your shrimp then rub them with seasoned olive oil and cook them on the grill. The skewer keeps all the shrimp in place, they cook evenly, and makes it so easy to cook for a large crowd. If you are just starting your grilling season try these super easy grilled shrimp with lemon juice, it will be perfect.

Summertime Grillling
Grilling Shrimp

Serve your simple grilled shrimp with a grill basket stir-fry of green beans and mushrooms as well as some quartered bell peppers seasoned with salt and pepper. This meal could not be any easier, and that’s why I love it.

How to Grill Shrimp Perfectly

What you need:

  • 1 pound of cleaned and deveined large shrimp (tails on)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • half a juice of a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of trimmed green beans
  • a couple mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bell peppers cut into fourths

What to do:

  1. Wash and pat dry your shrimp and begin to skewer them by placing 4 shrimp per skewer in the same direction. (I did not soak my skewers because the shrimp only cook for a few minutes on each side – if you cook them longer they will be black and burn).  Makes about 6 skewers.
  2.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper both sides. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, red pepper flake and garlic powder. Use a basting brush and baste both sides of the shrimp liberally with olive oil mixture. If preparing a head of time then you can cover these and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

    Summertime Grilling
    Grilled Shrimp
  3. Preheat grill to 400 degrees and prepare your vegetables. Toss the green beans and mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. (I like to keep it simple)
  4. Quarter your bell peppers and brush with the remaining olive oil mixture that was on the shrimp.
  5. Leave the grill basket on the grill while it’s preheating and once hot place the green beans and mushrooms in the basket. Next place the bell peppers skin side down to get charred.  Put the other half of the lemon on the grill flesh side down.
  6. After about 5 minutes put the shrimp on the hot grill. Grill shrimp about 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  7. Remove the shrimp on to a serving platter and place the bell peppers and green bean mixture on the same plate. Squeeze grilled lemon on top of the shrimp and serve.
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Platter
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Platter

Happy Grilling!

~Hunter

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Sauteed Artichoke Hearts – Finger food

If you and your family are looking for healthy alternatives to Game Day snacks, these could be it! Sauteed Artichoke Hearts are the perfect finger food to serve at any party!

Artichoke Hearts

This trip to Trader Joe’s I picked up Frozen Artichoke Hearts. When I was in California visiting my mom one of the nights we ate home they made these Artichoke Hearts. It was cheap, easy, and really good! I wasn’t even sure I liked artichoke hearts. You probably aren’t sure either. Most people who eat artichokes have them around the holidays for their family members stuffed artichokes. Those are good but you don’t eat the actual shell of the artichoke which I never understood.

Anyways, this is super easy to make which of course is the only way to go when you live a busy schedule. I think that is the beauty of frozen vegetables. I wouldn’t normally go with frozen over fresh but when it comes to Artichoke Hearts, that’s the way to go. After some research online, I have found that many people who try different brands of Artichoke Hearts prefer the Trader Joe’s over other competitors in super markets. This is because they stay fresh tasting and tender.

Trader Joe's Artichoke Hearts

You can serve these Artichoke Hearts as a side dish to your meal, change it up. Or go for an appetizer while you are waiting for everything to cook. I’m sure these would also be delicious roasted with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, lemon and parsley but today I decided to Sauté them in a pan.

I’m excited to find new ways to use artichoke hearts in recipes perhaps a stew, soup, or even a dip because they are really starting to grow on me. Now be careful if you are looking to make artichokes after reading this! Don’t just get any brand as the results may not be the same. If you are a Trader Joe’s fan add this to your shopping list and keep it in your freezer for simple, easy and delicious meals.

What you need:

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Frozen Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • sprinkle of dried parsley or fresh if you have it on hand

What to do:

  1. Remove the artichoke hearts from the bag and rinse under warm water. Let sit in colander for a few minutes to defrost.
  2. Heat a saute pan with oil and then add minced garlic until lightly browned. Add in the defrosted Artichoke Hearts and sauté until they are hot, squeeze fresh lemon juice. Stop mixing and allow the Artichoke hearts to brown a little bit. Season with salt and pepper. (Don’t let garlic burn)
  3. Remove from pan and sprinkle with parsley. A delicious appetizer or side dish.
    Trader Joe's Artichoke Hearts

Mint-Basil Pesto

Mint-Basil Pesto is a delicious and tasty sauce to use on your favorite foods.

mint-basil pesto

You can serve this Mint-Basil Pesto with a Rack of Lamb for an extra special treat, on your favorite pasta, or even as a fun appetizer (see above).

It is easy to make adorable finger foods with mini tortellini, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and mint-basil pesto! Just cook tortellini al dente and assemble on a stick, then drizzle with pesto.

mint-basil pesto appetizer

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces to make because it is so easy to make. Throw everything into a food processor turn it on and you have a tasty sauce to add to all your favorite foods. Mint-Basil pesto can really go on anything so just make a big batch and keep it around, you never know when you may need it.

Giada on the Food Network makes this pesto with a rack of lamb for a wine tasting party. I made this when I had some family over for a holiday party. We decided to do a bunch of small appetizer sized foods instead of a large meal. This was one of the things we had and it was one of my favorite. Rack of lamb can be expensive to serve to a lot of guests but when you make it as a finger food you don’t have to buy as much lamb.

Here’s what you need for my “Use on Anything Pesto”

  • 1 1/2 cups of lightly packed mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup of lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (plus a little more if needed)

What to do:

Blend the mint, basil, walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running pour in 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

mint-basil pesto

Serve with your favorite protein, pasta, or vegetables.

To see how to cook the rack of lamb visit Giadas’ recipe on Food Network.

 

Easy Turkey Sausage Lasagna

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

A slightly lighter option then pork and still adds major flavor to this Lasagna

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my guilty pleasures. It is such a comfort food. As a kid my Grandma made a big platter of lasagna for almost every holiday, and that was always my favorite part. She hasn’t made lasagna in quite a few years because she is not able to cook like she used to, but making this definitely reminded me of al the flavors that I love.

A quick homemade tomato sauce with the turkey sausage, fried onions, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and herbs is a delicious base for the lasagna. You may think lasagna, why is a healthy kitchen posting this? Well the truth is everything in moderation. You can eat a piece of lasagna if you love it, eat what you love. Just don’t eat the whole platter!

Make this for you friends and family and they will love it, and I doubt there will be a lot of leftovers for you to snack on. You could also make this a veggie lasagna by using zucchini in replace of noodles which would make it very low carb. But for me, my family is Italian and loves the noodles, oh and cheese :0 !

Here's what you will need:

For the sauce: 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 small yellow onion, 4 cloves of garlic chopped, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, 1 pound of turkey sausage casings removed, 2 cans (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes.

For the filling: 1 – 15 ounces container of low fat ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, 1 large egg lightly beaten, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste.

To assemble: 1 box no boil noodles, 12 ounces shredded low fat mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley.

What to do: 
  1. Begin by making the sauce: Heat oil in a large sauce pan and add onion, garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flake, salt and pepper cook for about 8 minutes until soft.
  2. Add sausage breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat until browned and cooked through about 6-8 minutes.
  3.  Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil let simmer for about 30 minutes. Prepare filling and preheat oven to 375 degrees if baking right away.
  4. Make the filling: Combine ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl and put aside until ready to assemble.
    ricotta filling
  5. When sauce is done assemble the lasagna: Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish about 1 ladle full, layer 3 noodles on top, top with more sauce about 1 1/2 cups, dollop ricotta mixture on top spread around evenly, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat steps 2-3 more times depending on your baking dish. Finish with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. (At this point you can either bake the lasagna or refrigerate/freeze until you are ready to eat it) Cover tightly with tin foil.
    turkey sausage lasagna
  6. When ready to bake place lasagna in oven with tin foil at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove tin foil and cook for another 30 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!! Sprinkle with parsley.

This recipe was inspired by Chow.com

 

 

Herb Crusted Pork Loin

Juicy Herb Crusted Pork Loin loaded with herbs!

porkloin

Pork loin is so easy to put together quickly and if made correctly can be really satisfying. The main complaint people have with pork loin is that it is dried out and not juicy. This is probably because you are over cooking it. Yes, it is pork but that does not mean you have to cook it until there is no juice left!

I still have my thyme and rosemary from my garden so this recipe is loaded with fresh herbs and some dried ones. You could use either however dried herbs I feel can be more potent so I tend to use both.

With Thanksgiving around the corner this could be an excellent option as an additional meat to serve if you have some guests that do not like turkey or you want to give your guests options. It is tasty and goes perfectly with all the flavors of Thanksgiving. (Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce)

Here’s what you need:

  • about 1.3 pound pork loin
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary or 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 10 cranks of fresh cracked black pepper
  •  1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use a food processor to combine the garlic, basil, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, salt and olive oil into a rub to go on the pork.
  2. Place pork on a baking sheet lined with foil and rub the herb mixture all over the pork like a crust and make sure to get underneath.
    porkloin
  3. Roast for about 35-45 minutes. This pork loin only took 35 minutes and then was tented for 10 minutes before serving and slicing.Enjoy!

Herb and Lemon Grilled Chicken Wings

herblemonchickenwings

Chicken Wings with Fresh Herbs, Lemon, and Olive Oil.

This is a lighter take on a traditional fried chicken wing that is smothered with sauce. In my house we usually make an asian chicken wing when grilling but today I decided to go for more of an italian marinated chicken wing.

This herb chicken wing is a great change to a traditional chicken wing and are great as an appetizer, a for dinner, or an outside BBQ. Herbed chicken wings are great when you have a lot of herbs laying around that don’t get used frequently enough. These were crispy, herby, and delicious!

Here’s What You Need: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken wings and legs about 24
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 rosemary sprigs chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 of olive oil enough to marinade
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Then prepare marinade by combining chicken, leaves on thyme sprigs, parsley, rosemary, zest of lemon, juice, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix until coated and let marinade for at least 1 hour or over night.
  2. When ready to make chicken wings prepare grill to medium high heat. Remove wings from marinade and cook on one side crispy and brown flip occasionally until both sides are cooked about 15-25 minutes. If cooking other sides keep wings warm in a tin foil tray while other food is cooking.
    herbchickenwingsServe as an appetizer with carrots and celery or for dinner with grilled vegetables.

Caprese Salad

caprese salad

Caprese Salad with fresh sliced mozzarella, yellow, red, and green heirloom tomatoes. It’s tomato season so I need to find some way to use all these gorgeous tomatoes. You may have seen an earlier post that is similar to this but a different preparation – my Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad.

In this recipe the tomatoes are different (heirloom as opposed to little orange tomatoes)and the tomatoes are presented as a traditional Caprese Salad.

If you haven’t taken advantage of all the amazing tomatoes that you can find at the farmers market, super market, and in your own garden then now is the time before it’s too late!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 heirloom tomatoes – i used red, yellow, and green
  • basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and coarse black pepper
  • fresh mozzarella ball

What to do:

  1. Prepare tomatoes by slicing heirloom tomatoes to preferred thickness. Also slice mozzarella cheese.
  2. Lay tomatoes on a serving tray and sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes.
  3. Next lay mozzarella slices over the tomatoes followed by torn basil. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and drizzle more olive oil over the top.

That’s it! This is a perfect appetizer for a party or serve as a side to your dinner and enjoy the freshness of summer!

Summer Minestrone Soup

summer minestroneMinestrone Soup

I know what you’re thinking… It’s summer… how could you be eating soup? Once you try one bite of this Summer Minestrone Soup you will change your mind. The squash, zucchini, basil, and red bell pepper are from my garden. This recipe would be good with any fresh summer vegetable- you could also add corn or green beans as well.

This soup is inspired by the small italian restaurant close to my house that serves the best minestrone soup. Every time I went to the restaurant I would order this soup so I decided to make it. I love their soup because all the vegetables are fresh, they are not mushy and are cooked perfect al dente, and finally it comes out piping hot.

As summer begins to wind down and September rapidly approaches the nights are getting cooler. This is a perfect soup to have on a cool August/September night, fall, winter, or spring! I served my Summer Minestrone Soup that is filled with vegetables with crispy garlic bread and shaved parmesan reggiano.

DSCN0733Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 carrots cut into half circles
  • 2 celery stalk sliced
  • 2 cans of diced tomato in juices 14.5 ounce
  • 44 ounces of organic vegetable stock
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 red potatoes diced into small cubes
  • 6 fresh basil leaves torn up
  • 2 zucchini cut into quarters
  • 1 squash (yellow) cut into quarters
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 can of green peas drained and rinsed

What to do: 

  1. Cut all vegetables up to add to soup when needed. While chopping preheat oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Sauté onion, garlic, red bell pepper, carrot, and celery for about 5-6 minutes until onion begins to cook and soften. Add a little salt, pepper, italian seasoning, bay leaf, and thyme.
    summer minestrone
  2. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes in juice and vegetable stock. Mix and bring to a boil. Once boiling add potatoes for about 20-25 or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Once tender lower heat and add the squash and zucchini. Simmer for another 12 minutes until vegetables are tender. Mix in the basil.
  4. Lastly stir in the handfuls of spinach and green peas. Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
    summer minestrone soup
  5. Remove from heat and serve with shaved parmesan reggiano and garlic bread.

    This soup serves at least 8 people and is flavorful and delicious, enjoy!

 

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

tomato basil mozzarella saladTomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad – From the Garden!

We have so many tomatoes in the garden right now. Everyday this one tomato plant produces so many delicious orange grape tomatoes. I decided to make a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad that is super easy to make and tastes so fresh.

I am not a huge fan of tomatoes. But I am trying to change that. Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as beta-carotene and few other vitamins. Tomatoes are also a sweet yet low in calories snack. Perfect for someone who is watching what they eat.

It’s super easy, here’s what you will need:

  • A pint of tomatoes or from your own garden like I did – as many as you have! Cut them all in half.
  • A small piece of a fresh mozzarella ball cut up into small cubes
  • 6 basil leaves (from my garden) – chopped
  • About 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

What to do:

  1. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a bowl.
  2. Pour about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar over the top. Season well with salt and pepper.  Mix.
  3. Enjoy! This was so delicious. I ate this as a side with dinner. It would go great as an appetizer, or served with fish, chicken, or slice of french bread.

 

 

Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary

Smashed Potatoes with a crispy skin and fresh rosemary. This recipe was something I first saw on the Food Network. I never thought of making smashed potatoes before but boy were they delicious.

smashed potatoes

Potatoes are definitely a comfort food and one of the most important food staples around the world. However, potatoes these days have been turned very greasy. French fries or potato chips loaded with butter, sour cream, fats, and melted cheeses. If you are going to eat potatoes and you are watching what you eat make sure it is in the purest form possible. Try to stay away from processed french fries and potato chips.

I found this recipe for smashed potatoes from the Pioneer Women. In her blog she smashed the potatoes a little bit more then I did. This is because I was originally going to grill them. If you do choose to grill them then make sure not to smash them too much so they don’t fall apart on the grill.

Here’s what you need

  • A pound and a half of red white and purple potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

What to do

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with salt
  2. Put potatoes in a pot and cook until slightly tender about 20-25 minutes. To check if tender use a fork.
  3. Once potatoes are cooked remove from pot and let cool before working with them. About 20 minutes.
  4. The steps above can be made ahead if you do want to make things easier before dinner. Once ready preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  5. To smash potatoes you can use the palm of your clean hands or a potato smasher. Smash potatoes then line on a baking sheet sprinkle with salt pepper, a little olive oil and top potatoes with fresh rosemary.
  6. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until skin is crispy.
  7. Serve right away.

smashed potatoes

If you wish to grill your potatoes instead of bake you can!