Shrimp Cakes with Papaya and Mango Salsa

 

I love seafood cakes but find many restaurants add too much breadcrumbs in the mix and they end up dry and closer to a fishy hush puppy.  So for this recipe, I chose panko breadcrumbs which is a Japanese-style breadcrumb made from bread without crusts.  Using the interior of the dried bread results in airy, large flakes that give fried foods a light, crunchy coating without absorbing as much oil.   So when you take your first bite of these shrimp cakes, you’ll taste the sweet, tender shrimp first, not the breading.

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Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf

 

This recipe is a super quick, packed with flavor side dish that works great for a weekday dinner, and comes together in about 15 minutes. The vegetables add a vibrant pop of color and the aromatics from the fresh herbs and lemon zest jazz up the mild chewy tenderness of the brown rice.

On days when I know my prep time will be short, I’ll chop the vegetables ahead of time the evening before, and store them in a container in the fridge. That way when you’re ready to cook, they’re ready to go!

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Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup

 

Even though it’s spring, there are still some chilly days in Missouri, so this flavor-packed spicy soup is a great warm up. The prep time may look a little longer than your typical soup. However, I guarantee you’ll notice the difference in the deep rich flavor by roasting the meat and the mushrooms in the oven before adding them to the broth. And when I say warm up, I’m talking about both temperature and spice level. This one’s got a little kick to it!

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Coconut Macaroons

 

Every time I make these coconut macaroons, I get rave reviews. There’s something about that cross between a cookie and a candy bar that makes them so addictive; you have to appreciate them for their simple, sweet, chewy goodness.

And speaking of simple, there are only seven ingredients, so your prep time is short and clean up is easy. The most difficult part is waiting for them to be ready to eat!

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Smoked Trout Fettuccini with Gournay Cream Sauce

 

Culinary smoke is one of those umami flavors difficult to explain until you’ve experienced it. I have several childhood food memories having liked various smoked meats, cheeses, and fish so when I got older and began cooking for myself, I inherently started adding those ingredients to my food.

I buy my smoked trout from one of my favorite restaurants called Annie Gunn’s. They have an amazing smokehouse deli attached to the restaurant and sell many of the ingredients they serve on their menu. For this recipe, I paired their trout with a light creamy cheese sauce, so you’ll taste just a kiss of smoke followed by the delicate flavor of the fish. Then when you swirl it onto a fork blended with chewy fettuccini, briny capers, and fresh dill, it’s a food memory you’ll never forget.

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Blood Orange and Jalapeno Mexican Martini

 

Blood oranges are like fresh figs. They appear suddenly in the produce section of your local grocery store, then the next thing you know, they’re gone. This year, when I saw the blood oranges appear, I eagerly put several of them in my cart so that I could use them in a new recipe. And as fate would have it, I had tequila on my grocery list that week, so one thing led to another, and this sweet and spicy cocktail was the result.

I like to use silver tequila which is usually clear and un-aged, where the true flavors and intensity of the Agave are present. What’s nice about the blood orange juice is not only does it add beautiful color to the drink it’s sweeter than a naval orange, so the natural sugar keeps the heat from the jalapeno under control.

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Farro with Fresh Herbs

 

Eating a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you have to give up on carbs entirely as long as you focus on whole, heart-healthy, unprocessed grains, like farro. Very similar to barley, farro is a dense, chewy grain that has a thick outer husk and deep nutty, rich flavor.

This recipe was the first time I cooked with farro, and I immediately loved it. I was happy with my decision to pair it with the fresh herbs and the fresh lemon juice which brightened up the flavor and made a great side dish.

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Crab and Brie Chowder

 

Every day can’t be a grilled chicken and veggie day. Sometimes you need to allow yourself to indulge a bit, this crab and brie chowder being one of them. It has that great traditional chowder flavor you grew up eating with hearty roasted potatoes and rich, thick broth however in this version the sweet, delicate crab meat and the creamy brie cheese elevate the soup to a luxuriantly decadent level.

A bowl of this chowder will definitely warm you up on a cold day!

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Corned Beef and Swiss Quiche

 

A few months ago I got into this kick of eating Rueben sandwiches, so ever since then, when an opportunity has come up where I’m out to eat, and the restaurant has a Ruben on the menu, I order it. When it came time to plan our Christmas day brunch this year, I knew my husband and daughter would want their traditional sticky cinnamon rolls, so for my treat, I decided to make a stripped down version of a Ruben in a quiche. Realizing both the sauerkraut and the thousand island dressing weren’t very good quiche ingredients, I focused the flavor profile on the meaty corned beef, the creamy, tangy Swiss cheese, and the spicy dry mustard to recreate the flavor. It was a treat!

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