Dinner, Seafood

Seared Basil Scallops with Pesto Orzo

It’s was Friday night and I was looking something to do with the Scallops we had in the freezer.  I started to look in my old binder of recipes from years ago and found a recipe from a Working Mother magazine dated July 1999.  The note posted below it said good, so that was enough for me. 

About a half hour before dinner time, I started to defrost the Scallops under running cold water. Then I started the prep. I have learned to get everything ready and within arms reach when cooking. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find an ingredient while your cooking.

This recipes come together pretty quickly. Served with a vegetable of your choice and a great glass of wine.

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 lb large sea scallops
  • 1/2 cup refrigerated prepared pesto, divided
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • In a small saucepan, cook orzo according to package directions; drain
  • For Scallops: Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit nearly through each scallop, then spread about a 1/4 tsp of pesto in center; close scallop
  • Warm olive oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add scallops; brown 2 minutes on each side, until cooked through, remove to plate.
  • Turn off heat under skillet, add lemon juice and cook about 10 seconds, stirring to incorporate brown bits. Pour juices over scallops.
  • In medium serving bowl, toss drained orzo with remaining 1/3 cup pesto. Serve Scallops over orzo. Serves 4.

Dinner, Seafood

Shrimp and Fettuccine with white wine sauce

    To celebrate national pasta day last Friday we made a variation of a recipe we found on Pinterest.  As you might know, pasta is one of my son’s favorite dishes.  So we decided that he was going to help with the cooking this evening to skills to more than ramen noodles and omelettes.  It would not be that difficult has he has been working over the summer and on breaks as a prep cook at a local restaurant.  He has spent many an hour slicing and dicing various items for the line cooks we knew he could do this at home and actually complete the recipe.  

    The sauce is very light but has a kick with the crushed red pepper.  You can even omit the shrimp and just make the sauce for your next pasta dish.

    1 lb pasta 

    2 tsp minced garlic
    1/4 c olive oil
    5 Tbsp butter
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper {fresh ground}
    1/2 c white wine
    1/2 c parsley for garnishing
    1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan
    1 lb of large size shrimp

    In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic, red pepper and saute until golden, about a minute.  Add salt, pepper, wine and butter.Stir 2 minutes, add shrimp and cook until pink – about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with pasta.Garnish with parsley and generously add fresh Parmesan


      Linguine and Shrimp Scampi

      “Joanne, what do you want for dinner?”  “Do you have any plans?”  “Will go with what your thinking”.  Three basic questions or statements that I hear quite often.  Well, guess what…I had a plan and it came out great!  
      Even recuperating from knee surgery that took place just over a week ago I pulled off a great dinner and a dessert.  (Paid for it the next day….)  We had shrimp in the freezer and all of the ingredients on hand.  We even had the dessert ingredients on hand too.  (Posting at a later date)
      Sauteing the shrimp in butter and olive oil.

      Vegetable oil 
      Kosher salt 
      1 1/2 pounds linguine 
      6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter 
      5 tablespoons good olive oil 
      3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves) 
      2 pounds large shrimp (about 32 shrimp), peeled and deveined 
      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
      3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
      Grated zest of 1 lemon 
      1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons) 
      1/2 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds 
      1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
      Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
      Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
      When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve. 

      Adding in spices, lemon juice and zest

      Combined with linguine 

      Dinner, Seafood

      Bang Bang Shrimp!

      We have a board on Pinterest specifically for seafood but we call it “Lenten Favorites”. Every Friday during Lent we either go out for a good fish fry or stay home and try out a new recipe. This recipe we actually made before Lent started and instantly knew that we had a new go to for our dinner selection.
      I have heard of Bang Bang Shrimp when we have been out to dinner, but never tried it. This interpretation did not disappoint and might be back on the table in the next few weeks. It was a team effort to make it and does have a kick. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Friday’s coming!


      8 ounces spaghetti
      8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
      1 tablespoon olive oil
      3 cloves garlic, minced
      1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or more, to taste
      Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


      1/2 cup mayonnaise
      1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
      2 cloves garlic, pressed
      Juice of 1/2 lime, or more, to taste
      1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional
      Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


      To make the sauce, whisk together mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, garlic, lime juice, Sriracha and red pepper flakes; set aside.

      In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
      Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

      Place shrimp onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

      In a large bowl, combine pasta, shrimp and mayonnaise mixture.

      Serve immediately, garnished with parsley.


      Shrimp and Penne


      Shrimp and Penne

      We found this recipe in a monthly flyer from one of our local grocery stores.  This looked super easy and we had almost all of the ingredients.  We used frozen shrimp and did the fast defrost option of putting the shrimp in a colander and running cold water until they have defrosted.   Whole process takes just a few minutes.
      Our son was working that night so we saved him some which was quickly devoured once he got home.  No Italian takeout that night.  This will be  a go to recipe for the upcoming lenten season.


      8 oz Penne Pasta
      1 lb Large Shrimp peeled and deveined
      2 cup Small Broccoli Florets fresh or frozen
      1 cup Half-and-half
      4 oz Cream Cheese cubed
      2 tsp McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Mediterranean Herb Seasoning
      1/4 tsp Salt
      Grated Parmesan Cheese or Asiago Cheese (optional)

      Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding shrimp and broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well.

      Meanwhile, bring half-and-half to simmer in small saucepan on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low.

      Add cream cheese, Seasoning and salt; whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is well blended.

      Place pasta, shrimp and broccoli in serving bowl. Add sauce; toss gently to coat well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.


      New Recipes for dinner!

      One new recipe and one from the old recipe file.  This is a little late because it was one of our Lenten favorites from years past along with a new side dish picked up from a Pinterest pin.  These two combined for a great meal.  Even  though there was only 3 of us at dinner, we made the full recipe of scallopsthat is shown as 6 dishes.  I might try to make this is one large dish next time and let everyone select how much they would like.  The scallops are low in calories, so a family sized portion would work out fine.   
      The potato recipe has been shared already with my mother in law to take for a pot luck. It is a great side dish casserole for family dinners and gatherings.  Is there a graduation party or shower in your future that you need a side dish?  This one is worth a try.

      Cheesy Potato Casserole

      2 lbs hash brown cubes (country style)
      3 tsp. salt
      pepper to taste
      2 cups grated cheddar cheese
      1 cube butter (1/2 cup or stick)
      1 can cr. chicken soup
      1 pint sour cream
      ½ c. milk
      2 cups crushed corn flakes


      Mix hash browns, cheese, salt, and pepper and pour into a 9×13 pan. Mix butter, soup, sour cream, and milk – pour over hash brown mixture. Top with corn flakes and a little melted butter. Bake 1 hour at 350.
      Scallops Au Vin
      1 1/2 lbs fresh scallops
      1/4 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp pepper
      1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
      1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
      1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dry white wine
       2 tbsp butter
      If scallops are large, cut in half; divide evenly into 6 (10 oz.) custard cups.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Divide mushrooms over scallops. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp parsley and 1 tbsp wine over mushrooms in each dish.  Dot each with 1 tsp butter.
      Bake uncovered at 450 degrees fo 12 to 15 minutes until done.


      During the season of Lent it is a great time to pull out all of our Lenten favorites for Friday night dinners.  These include a number of mac and cheese dinners, scallops, swordfish and the household favorite, shrimp.  We have a number of recipes that we turn to but recently we had the time to find some new favorites.  We even created a Pinterest Board  entitled “Lenten Favorites”.  Lenten Favorites from Pinterest
      More and more shrimp recipes do pop up and get pinned.  I guess it is because my son and I are a bit picky on the seafood front and I know that they will be ok.   I love shrimp, scallops, fried or steamed clams, New England Clam Chowder, and swordfish grilled with a pesto sauce.   There are some white fish dishes that hubby will prepare that I will eat, but they have to be very mellow and not fishy tasty!
      Hubby found this recipe and was going to make it with a bottled barbecue sauce until he realized that we had all of the ingredients on hand to make this.  So he whipped this up a couple of weeks ago on a Friday night and served it over rice.  What great flavor from the Worcestershire sauce!  But warning, the house smelled like Worcestershire sauce all night!

      Barbecue Shrimp

      3 tablespoons canola oil
      1 shallot, finely chopped
      1 garlic clove, finely chopped
      1/4 cup dry white wine
      1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
      3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
      1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
      24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
      Kosher salt
      2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
      Sliced scallions, for garnish
      In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and thyme and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and broth and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 15 minutes.

      In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once, for 2 minutes total. Stir in the sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter until incorporated and season with salt. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and garnish with scallions.

      Adapted from Food And Wine, March 2015


      Home is where….

      Love my girl!
      Home is where Mom is… As my daughter posted this weekend on social media.  She came home for fall break and we had a packed weekend from tailgating with our peeps to a birthday dinner for my husband’s mother.  And while she was home we dropped her off to see her best friend from high school best for the night at our old Alma Mater, that came with a return trip to pick her up18 hours later.  Felt a bit nostalgic driving around the campus.  
      And while we all know home is where mom is, in our house home is also where Dad asks “what do you want special for dinner?  The reply was “that shrimp dish with the arugula and pasta”.  No problem!  This dish has been a Lenten favorite as the kids call it, so we haven’t made it in awhile.  It has all of the kids favorites in one dish – pasta and shrimp, and from our favorite Italian chef Giada.
      Dad and his little Girl
      Our local college team versus the Nations #1 Team
      We served this with Roasted Brussels Sprouts that were tossed with some diced red onion and diced pancetta.  The roasting in pretty easy with this dish and makes a great aside dish.   Trim the sprouts and place them on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Toss with some olive oil,  1/4 cup chopped red onion and 2 oz. of diced pancetta.  Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

      Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil


      For the lemon oil:
      1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
      1 lemon, zested
      For the pasta:
      1 pound linguine pasta
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      2 shallots, diced
      2 garlic cloves, minced
      16 ounces frozen shrimp
      1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
      1 lemon, zested
      1 teaspoon salt
      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
      1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


      For the lemon oil: Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.
      For the pasta:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
      Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add some of the cooking water to desired consistency. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
      Brussels Sprouts with red onion and pancetta

      Seared scallops with roasted potatoes


      It was a Friday afternoon and the same old question came up…..What do you have planned for dinner?  Well honestly, I didn’t have a plan, but hubby did.  There are a couple of easy roasted potato recipes out there that have just a few ingredients and flavors that pack a punch.  One is using the Lipton Onion Soup mix and this recipe using Hidden Valley Ranch dried dressing mix.  Hubby thought that these roasted potatoes would taste good with a scallop dish we have been making for a few years now.  
      Roasted Potatoes
      2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
      1/4 cup vegetable oil
      1 (1 oz.) packet Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressing mix

      • Place potatoes in a gallon-size Food Storage Bag and add oil; seal bag. Toss to coat. Add Dressing & Seasoning Mix and toss again until coated. Bake in ungreased baking pan at 450°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are brown and crisp.
      Now for the grilled scallops with roasted red peppers.  These scallops were created by hubby too.  When we can find some good sea scallops on sale, we the season them with a little salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.  The scallops are them threaded on a scewer with roasted red pepper slices.  The grill is prepped by brushing it with olive oil to avoid sticking on the grates.  Carefully put the skewers on the grill and after 2 minutes turn using a set on barbeque tongs.  Grill for at least 2 more minutes or until done.

      So working together we pulled off a pretty good dinner!  That is what team work in the kitchen is al about!  What is your plan for dinner?


      Dinner club time!

      It has been quite a while since I posted. Spring has sprung in our house with the start of the softball and baseball seasons.  Cooking up new dishes has been put on hold with the late night practices and games.  Finally, we had our dinner club dinner a couple of weeks ago.  With a very busy spring we found one weekend that worked for everyone.  Our foodie friends were the host and when they plan the menu they pull out all of the stops.

      Mr. Food has some special kit that he can make some peculiar concoctions.  Our palate cleaners was a lemongrass foam.  Dinner started with a pork pate, seared scallops over a corn salsa, braised short ribs plated with mock mashed potatoes and carrots and an arugula salad dressed with crushed pistachios. The dessert was our assigned dish and was profiteroles.  A little complex recipe that we probably didn’t get the attention it needed because of kiddo commitments, but in the end we pulled it off. 
      Here is a sampling of our dish and a few of the others.

      Dessert -Profiteroles

      Arugula Salad

      Scallops with Corn Salsa

      Let’s start with our recipe –


      1 cup milk
      1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
      Pinch kosher salt
      1 cup all-purpose flour
      4 extra-large eggs
      1/2 cup heavy cream
      12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
      2 tablespoons honey
      2 tablespoons prepared coffee
      Good vanilla ice cream (recommended: Haagen-Dazs), for serving

      Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

      Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

      Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1-inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 18 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Set aside to cool.

      For the chocolate sauce, place the cream and chocolate chips in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts. Add the honey and coffee and stir until smooth. Set aside.

      For serving, cut each profiterole in half crosswise, fill with a small scoop of ice cream, replace the top, and drizzle with slightly warm chocolate sauce.

      Now here are a couple of others

      Scallops with Corn Salsa


      1 to 1 1/4 pounds of dry sea scallops, approximately 16
      3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
      1 tablespoon olive oil
      2 slices of bacon, diced
      3/4 cups chopped onion
      1 tablespoon minced garlic
      2 cups corn
      1 roasted red pepper, diced
      1 shallot
      1 pinch saffron threads
      1/2 cup vermouth
      1 cup chicken stock
      1 cup cream
      1 tablespoon lemon juice
      Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


      Begin with corn salsa by sauteing the diced bacon in a pan.  When done, remove from pan and reserve for later.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the corn, red pepper and bacon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

      For the garlic saffron sauce, melt 2 T butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the shallot is soft and translucent.  Add the saffron, vermouth, stock and cream then bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about a third. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

      For the scallops, start by removing the small side muscle and rinse in cold water thoroughly, pat dry.  Add the 1 T butter and oil to a clean saute pan on high heat.  Salt and pepper the scallops.  Once the fat begins to smoke, add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other.  Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side.  The scallops should have a 1/4 inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

      Plate the corn salsa, top with the scallops and drizzle with garlic saffron sauce.   Serve 8 as appetizer

      Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Shave Pecorino

      2 cups baby arugula
      2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
      2 to 3 tablespoons high quality extra-virgin olive oil
      1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
      1/4 cup shaved pecorino, aged pecorino Toscano or pecorino Romano


      Place the arugula in a bowl and drizzle in about half of the vinegar and olive oil and season generously with salt. Toss the salad gently to incorporate all of the ingredients. TASTE IT! It should taste very flavorful but not soggy. Arrange the arugula on 4 individual salad plates. Toss all of the beets together in the salad bowl and add the remaining oil, vinegar and salt, and toss. Arrange the dressed beets on the arugula and top with the pistachios and shaved pecorino.

      Makes 4 servings