Take-Out Fake-Out Shrimp and Broccoli

So sorry for the static on the blog for the past week. Things have been kind of crazy around here. I’ll get into more details in coming blog posts, but for now I just want to get right back to the FOOD!

This Shrimp and Broccoli is a great take-out fake-out. It comes together quickly and taste delicious. I do want to note that the evening I photographed this meal I completely spaced and forgot to add the onions. We still gobbled up dinner, but I think I prefer it with the onions. Obviously if you don’t like onions you can leave them out and the meal will still work. Also, you can adjust the heat to suit your tastes. If you like things extra spicy you can add extra chili-garlic sauce or red pepper flakes. If you don’t like spicy things you can cut it way back!

One last thing before I get to the recipe! The craziness in my own home was put in perspective after this weeks tragedies in Oklahoma. My heart goes out to the many families affected by the terrible storms, including the family of one of my good blogging friends, Kelsey. She wrote an incredibly touching post yesterday and has pledged her blogging profits from the month to the Salvation Army for their disaster relief efforts. Every visit to her site helps! Please stop by her blog and send her some love! You can also visit the Salvation Army site directly or text STORM to 80888 to make your donation

Here are some other delicious Asian-inspired flavors!

Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Asian Meatballs
Beef with Eggplant
Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork
Asian Style Braised Short Ribs

Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish

First and foremost, a big huge thank you to everyone who pinned and shared Friday’s post. I figured people would dig the pumpkin and cinnamon (and of course, the rum) but the response well exceeded my expectations. I shared on Facebook that I am blown away by the positive response and that is still true. I blog because I love it and because I believe the way to the heart is through the stomach, so seeing such a positive response to a post I already love gives me the warm fuzzies. Thanks everyone! And hello to new readers!

Today’s post comes from a picture I stumbled on this weekend. It some how fell through the cracks after I uploaded the photos and it’s a real shame because it was one of my favorite grilled meals this summer. If you’re one of those people that thinks cilantro tastes like soap (how?? it’s so yummy!) then it’s probably not for you. If not, then hurry outside and make this before grilling season is over!

This recipe is perfect for people that are new to fish because swordfish is such a sturdy fish that it acts a lot like chicken. Plus the flavorful punch from the stuffing makes the fish taste even more subtle. Some may prefer a simpler preparation, and I can appreciate that, but I also have a hard time saying no to Pepper Jack cheese and cilantro!

Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish
(Adapted from We Are Not Martha)

4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, grated
3 swordfish steaks, each about 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil for preparing the grill grates
Lemon halves, optional

To the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic cloves and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pulse again until herbs are finely chopped. With the motor running, stream the olive oil and process until emulsified. Remove a 1/4 cup of mixture and set aside for later use. To the bowl add the grated Pepper Jack cheese and process for 15 seconds (it will look kind of crumbly, and that’s ok).

Prepare a grill by lightly brushing the grates with oil and turning the flame to medium.

Prepare the swordfish steaks but slicing a horizontal pocket into the side of the fish. Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper, then stuff each pocket with the Pepper Jack-Cilantro mixture. You can secure the pocket with a toothpick if you feel it is necessary.

Grill the swordfish for 4-5 minutes then, using a metal spatula, carefully flip to the other side. Brush each swordfish steak with the reserved cilantro mixture and grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the fish begins to easily flake. If you opt to use lemon halves, you can grill those for the final 4-5 minutes.

Serve immediately with any additional cilantro sauce. Goes well with Spanish rice.

Homemade Fish Sticks

Every once in a while I like what I call a “kid meal”. For lunch, that will mean a peanut butter and jelly with carrot sticks, a juice box, and fruit snacks. (Are people supposed to outgrow PB&J? Because I sure haven’t yet.) For dinner, it’s something like this meal. Fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. But this isn’t your blue box and yellow wearing fisherman kind of “kid meal”. What’s really awesome though, is that it doesn’t take that much more time.

Here’s the break down of how I put this meal together:

  • Prep green beans, set them aside to marinate
  • Get water boiling and pasta going
  • Prep fish sticks
  • Get the fish sticks and green beans in the oven
  • Drain pasta and prepare mac and cheese
  • Fish sticks and green beans out of the oven
  • Meal served

You can’t tell me that takes much longer than the boxed meal. And of course, making it all yourself means knowing exactly what (and how much) is going into your food. I also think that these fish sticks are well worth any extra effort. The panko really adds a nice crunch and there is no freezer burn after taste.

Homemade Fish Sticks
((slightly)Adapted from Elly Says Opa)

2 white fish fillets (such as tilapia or cod) ~1 pound
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko
heaping 1/4 tsp onion powder
heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450. Prepare a baking sheet by placing a wire (cooling) rack over the tray and lightly spraying with non-stick spray.

Cut the fish into strips.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the panko, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and canola oil. Place the egg in separate bowl.

Coat the fish sticks by dipping the strips into the egg first, then the panko mixture. Place the coated strips on the wire rack and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily, rotating pan halfway through.

Have you ever tried Wasabi Mayonnaise? I bought some at Trader Joes and it was AWESOME with the fish sticks!

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

Before I lived in San Diego I lived in Ohio. But, before I lived in Ohio I lived in Maryland (and before that Ohio, Maryland, Ohio, we liked to move). One of the things I remember most vividly about Maryland is the crab parties we would occasionally have. I can remember going to the docks and my parents picking up a bushel of live Maryland blue crabs. When we got them home my sister and I would pick out a crab and race them across the kitchen floor. Then they were boiled, drained, covered in Old Bay seasoning, and tossed onto a big table covered in newspaper.

OK, so racing your dinner across the kitchen floor before eating it off of a newspaper covered table might sound a little barbaric, but I swear we weren’t the only ones that did. There was usually a crowd of friends there to enjoy and partake in the barbaric activities. It’s kind of a tradition in Maryland, at least in the crowd my parents hung with.

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a crab party but one thing I have continued to enjoy is the flavor of Old Bay seasoning. It takes me right back to those parties and makes me feel warm and happy. I think when we first moved back to Ohio it was difficult to find in the grocery stores but now most stores carry it, conveniently near the seafood.

Now I know this is starting to sound like a cheesy commercial, but I promise you it’s not. This meal was just the perfect option when my sister was in town because she has the same memories as I do. I love that this meal is impressive enough to serve to company but easy enough to make after work on a weeknight (which is exactly what I did while my sister was visiting).

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

(Adapted from Oldbay.com)

1 16 oz box of pasta (I used bow ties)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 Tbsp Old Bay, divided (low sodium kind if you can find it)
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 green onions, sliced thinly

Cook pasta according to directions on package. During the last minute of cooking add the peas. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of Old Bay. Cook for 3 minutes or until they start to turn pink. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Stir in the half-and-half, reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan cheese and the rest of the Old Bay. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add the pasta, peas and green onion. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving (this gives the sauce a few more minutes to thicken)

Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.