Tag Archive | avocado

Springtime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad For One

Hey there! How was everyone’s start of the week? Mine was nice and busy, starting with a 5:30 a.m. boot-camp, followed by a day full of classes until 6 p.m. Needless to say, it was a long day, but still a good day. Sometimes after long days, I want to go straight to bed. However, being in the kitchen is truly one of my favorite parts of every day, and last night was no exception. As tired as I was, I could not wait to make dinner; it was all I could think about! Honestly, I have been craving a good salad for months. It might sound funny, but salads as a “meal” are so popular in the U.S.A. and offered nearly everywhere,  whereas  restaurants around us in Australia don’t seem to offer many salads on their menus, if any at all.  So a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a certain salad recipe at one of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats, I bookmarked it immediately. I knew I had to make it, or at least attempt a similar version.  I’m only cooking for one this week since Brandon is gone for work, so I cut down the quantity of her original recipe, and I adapted the ingredients to fit what I had available.

This salad incorporates cooked shrimp for protein, quinoa tossed with feta cheese as the salad base(another excellent protein source), and additional mix-in’s of corn, avocado, roasted broccoli and roasted chickpeas, and blueberries for a pop of color.  All of this is drizzled in a lemon and olive oil based dressing to top off the salad. I loved every bite of this! It is filling, but very light.  A perfect salad for the start of spring!

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Springtime Shrimp & Quinoa Salad (for one)
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats Superfood Salad
Salad Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used gluten-free, organic)
8-10 cooked shrimp (I got mine at the seafood counter, pre-cooked with tails on)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup roasted broccoli
1/4 cup roasted chickpeas
2-3 Tbsp. of crumbled feta cheese (or the cheese of your choice)

Dressing Ingredients
1 lemon, squeezed
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
salt & pepper

Directions:
1) Cook 1/2 cup quinoa, following the package directions. I cooked mine in 1 cup of boiling water, and simmered it for about 15 minutes, until it was fluffy.
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2) While the quinoa is cooking,  prepare your salad ingredients. First, I set my shrimp on ice in the fridge to make sure they were nice and cold for the salad. Then, I chopped the avocado, cooked the frozen corn for about 1.5 minutes in the microwave, and got my other ingredients out of the fridge, including roasted broccoli, chickpeas, and blueberries.
***Keep in mind, you could add virtually any fruit or vegetable to this. I added what I already had in the fridge, so it was even simpler to make. Set these ingredients aside.
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3) Now make your dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper, and whisking them together in a small bowl until combined.

4) Once your quinoa is cooked, add the feta cheese(or your cheese of choice) and stir. Then prepare your salad. I started with the quinoa as my base, then added in the toppings, and finally the shrimp. Drizzle with the lemon dressing, and you’re all set!
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I enjoyed this so much, I’m seriously debating making this again for dinner tonight. The sweet lemon dressing paired with the textures and flavors of the fruit and vegetables, along with the fluffy quinoa, was a perfect meal to round out a long day.  I have leftover quinoa, so it just may happen again tonight!

What are your favorite salad ingredients?

Appetizer obsession

Appetizers (or entrees as they say in Australia) tend to be my favorite food choices at dinner parties, holiday gatherings, and sometimes even restaurants. I think it’s because most appetizers, at least in my opinion, tend to be unique compared to the main meal options, come in smaller portions so it’s perfectly acceptable to order more than one, and you’re able to pick-and-choose as you please. Is anyone else out there guilty of over-eating appetizers during the holidays?  I know I am, but I’m not dwelling on it simply because I over-ate my favorites. These were the things that were worth the splurge to me, and since I was only home for two weeks, I sort-of had the  “I live in Australia and miss my Mom’s cooking more than anything, so I’m eating whatever I want”  mentality.  A few appetizers I splurged on included my Mom’s mushroom spread, Kenyon dip(a family recipe),  broccoli slaw, kielbasa casserole, oyster crackers and last but not least, cowboy crack dip. It.was.glorious.

While the majority of our appetizers are family recipes made around the holidays and remain the same year after year, the cowboy crack dip listed above is an exception. The recipe was given to my Mom and me last year by one of my dearest friends Julia after we tried it at her house, and now we don’t throw a party without it. It’s that good. Don’t ask me the story behind the name but it fits. This dip is addicting. SO addicting. So take it from me, you’ve been warned. If you’re looking for a quick dip that’s nutritious and delicious, make this now. The best part is, there’s no baking required. Chop chop, lets go!

Julia’s Cowboy Crack Dip
Ingredients
-1 can black beans
-1 can white shoe peg corn
-1 ripe avocado
-½ red onion
-2 plum tomatoes
Ingredients for dressing
-1/4c. olive oil
-1/2c. red wine vinegar
-½ tsp. Cumin
-½ tsp. Black pepper
-½ tsp. Salt
-3 T sugar

Directions:
1. Drain beans & corn and place in large mixing bowl.  Chop onion, tomatoes, & avocado into small pieces. Mix all together in bowl.

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2. Now whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, pepper, salt, and sugar in a separate bowl until well blended. Then, pour dressing over mixture.

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For an appetizer, serve this with chips, crackers, vegetables, or eat it straight from a spoon(that’s how I like it best!). It’s even delicious on top of fresh greens. This can take the place of a salad dressing and is a great topping choice thanks to the protein from the black beans and the healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil. Plus, the longer it sits and soaks in the dressing, the better it tastes. I wish you luck on making it last in your house…it lasts two days at most in this one!

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What’s your favorite appetizer?