Shrimp Cakes

After a very long hiatus, I’m back! The past year has been a whirlwind of major life events – I got engaged and am currently planning the wedding, my fiancé got sworn in as a police officer, I got a major breast reduction and bought a house – PHEW! While my fiancé was training (for about three and a half months), I discovered meal subscription boxes, which are now one of my favorite things. Blue Apron, Plated, PeachDish, HelloFresh, HomeChef – they’re all the great in their own way and I should probably do a comprehensive review of them all. Even though they’re awesome, they have definitely cut down on my creativity in the kitchen since I’m not developing my own recipes nearly as often as I did previously. However, I by no means rely on these for every meal and am still regularly coming up with yummy things to eat.

These delicious little cakes came to be because my fiancé used the ground turkey I needed for one of my Blue Apron meals to make chili and I didn’t feel like making any of the meals I had. While wondering what to make and craving crab cakes, I remembered the shrimp waiting to be used and decided to try making shrimp cakes. With a rough recollection of a past-used crab cake recipe, this is what I came up with. Most crab cake and probably shrimp cake recipes use mayonnaise; I chose to try using Greek yogurt here and had great results with texture and flavor. I served with a whole grain mustard and Greek yogurt sauce over a bed of spinach and alongside lightly roasted red potatoes. Mm mmm.

Shrimp Cakes 1Shrimp Cakes 2

Shrimp Cakes

12 oz shrimp (feel free to use any leftover precooked shrimp as well)
1/3 c Italian breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating
1/4 c all purpose flour, plus extra for coating
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 T plain Greek yogurt
1 t chopped jalepeno, seeds removed, optional
1 1/2 t garlic powder

Begin heating a small saucepan of water to medium-high heat. Before water has heated, add shrimp and cook until just pink. Drain, peel, dry with a paper towel and chop.

While shrimp is cooking, add all other ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir in cooked, chopped shrimp until evenly distributed. Form mixture into four evenly divided cakes.

Combine equal quantities of additional breacrumbs and flour and lightly bread cakes.

In a nonstick pan, heat 3 T of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serve with sauce of your choosing.

Shrimp Cakes 3

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Almond-Crusted Chicken

I have been feeling dreadfully uninspired in the kitchen lately which is probably due to weekend trips that have kept me from my Saturday morning trips to the market. But I am happy to say that after getting some amazing news which is sure to impact the rest of my life, I have perked right back up and am glad to say I’m out of the culinary doldrums.

My most reoccurring food challenge is to give Caleb food that feels hefty enough to satisfy the appetite of man who works fourteen hour days in the hot, humid Charleston sun while also satisfying my desire for food that doesn’t sit like a rock in my stomach and clog both our arteries. I’ve begun making one true ‘man-food meal’ a week – heavy, meat and potatoes stuff. The rest of the week, I focus on what I always do – well-rounded, healthy meals.

This almond-crusted chicken works wonders in my house because it gives Caleb the feel of fried chicken while eliminating the actual fried element. He loves for me to use the leftovers in his sandwich for lunch the next day. Imagine almond-crusted chicken on toasted focaccia bread with a slice of provolone and sundried tomato pesto. I’m salivating already.

Almond-Crusted Chicken

6 chicken cutlets
2/3 cup crushed roasted almonds
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg, beaten
salt to taste, if desired
olive oil

  • Using cutlets cuts out the meat pounding process here. If you’ve had a frustrating day, just use boneless skinless chicken breasts and pound away until breasts are about 1/4″ thick.
  • Set oven to broil.
  • Combine flour and crushed almonds in a shallow dish. Add a dash of salt if you wish. (Feel free to use almond flour or rice flour here. Either would a lovely substitute.)Ground Almonds

Dip chicken in egg and transfer to dish with flour and almond. Even and thoroughly coat.

Place chicken on greased baking baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
Pre-Oven

Cook under broiler for 4-6 minutes on each side, until golden and juices run clear.
Fresh Out The Oven

I served with one of my favorite veggie sides – spinach aglio e olio (aka spinach with garlic and olive oil, add a splash of lemon juice and white wine). I have to confess that I used a cheat in this meal – French brie ravioli that I did not make. I pick up my pasta from the farmers market and freeze any excess. Rio Bertolini’s makes wonderful fresh pastas, ranging from squid ink spaghettini and saffron papardelle to the most amazing raviolis you can imagine. The brie ravioli is no exception and I served it simply with a quick creamy basil sauce.

  • Plated

Zucchini-Shrimp Lasagna

Oh the possibilities when cooking with zucchini… The almost continual supply of zucchini in my refrigerator has meant it is served multiple times a week. I can throw it in anything to add substance and it has such a wonderful meatiness that makes it superbly versatile. Last week’s zucchini star in my kitchen was zucchini lasagna. It seems that everyone and their mother has a zucchini lasagna recipe so here is my version.

Zucchini-Shrimp Lasagna

6-9 lasagna pasta, cooked until almost al dente
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups spinach leaves
2-3 cups pink sauce (I made my own using fresh diced tomatoes, onions, white wine, fresh basil, cream, etc.)
16 oz. ricotta
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
½ lb shrimp, cooked until almost done, I prefer to boil or poach
1/3 c shaved Parmesan

Pink Sauce Ingredients

Heat oven to 375°F.
1. Prep all above-listed ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta with egg. Set aside.
2. Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
3. On top of the sauce, arrange 3-4 lasagna. The number used will depend on the size of the pasta you are using.
4. Next, add an even layer of spinach. Then, arrange the sliced zucchini on top of the spinach. Follow with a layer of shrimp.
photo 3
5. Spread ricotta mixture on top of shrimp and then top with tomato sauce.
6. Repeat layering process.
7. The final layer should be topped with sliced fresh mozzarella and Parmesan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
9. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

And of course, I forgot to take a picture of the final product. Shame on me. It did look quite pretty though. The bonus to this dish is that it fed Caleb and I for about 3 days and it tastes even better the next day.