Tag Archives: weeknight

Tangy shrimp-&-scallop pasta

I find it a bit discouraging that as spring is just starting, I get sick.

Deathly sick. 4-days-at-home-in-bed-and-drugged sick. Eat-nothing-but-PB&J-or-macaroni-and-cheese-that-your-husband-made sick.  There was no cooking, no post-writing, no picture-taking. Nothing besides a lot of coughing and a lot of sleeping.

But now, I’m feeling better. I felt good enough last weekend to make a pot of chicken stock, loaf of sourdough, and homemade pasta to go with this creamy seafood sauce.  Really, it sounds more impressive than it is. 90% of sourdough is waiting.  Same with chicken stock.  Making homemade pasta is much easier than it sounds.  Plus, this dish only takes 30 minutes, fridge to table.

But even though this supper is fast enough for a weeknight and not TOO damaging to your diet, it’s worthy of homemade pasta, too.  Maybe it’s just me, but any sort of seafood sauce feels dressy and special and worthy of homemade pasta.  Add a decent bottle of white, some crusty bread, and a salad with olives and onions, and you’ve got instant specialness.

What makes this different than a seafood alfredo or similar heavy-hitting white sauce is making a thinner (read: less fattening) sauce that is tossed directly with hot pasta, allowing the a lot of the sauce and flavor to be soaked right up by the noodles.  Reserve some extra pasta water; you can add more to thin down the sauce and increase the pasta-soakage. Or add white wine– it’ll compliment the lemon and the seafood.  You can also toss your sauce and pasta together in a big skillet with high sides, or in a large pot that you use to boil the pasta water.  (My 10-inch pan with 3-inch sides was just perfect for the full recipe.)

Tangy shrimp & scallop pasta
from this website

Serves 3-4

1/2 pound dry pasta, or homemade pasta with 3 eggs
1/2 pound shrimp, raw or cooked, deveined and de-tailed
1/2 pound bay scallops
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 small onion or scallion
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 to 3/4 c. pasta water
4 oz. cream cheese or low-fat substitute
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes
3 T. freshly chopped parsley or 1 T. dried parsley (optional)
salt and pepper

If using frozen seafood, throw it in a bowl of cold water to start defrosting.  Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for pasta. While waiting for water, melt butter in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat, and dice onion and garlic. Add pasta once water is boiling.

When butter is melted and hot, add onion and saute 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft and nearly translucent; add in garlic and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, and add the lemon juice and pasta water to the onions. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the sour cream, cream cheese, and red pepper, and whisk or stir briskly to make a smooth sauce.  Allow to simmer for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I used ~1/2 t. salt and freshly ground black pepper).

While all this is happening, keep an eye on your pasta.  Once it’s cooked al dente, drain almost all of the water, put it back into the pot, and set it off the heat with the lid on.  Also drain your seafood if you were defrosting.  With the sauce simmering, add in the seafood (and more pasta water if your sauce is getting thick); continue to stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, just enough to cook scallops through and turn shrimp pink (if using raw).  Reduce heat to medium and add the pasta to the sauce pan, tossing carefully to coat pasta with sauce and mix in seafood. Cook for 5-7 minutes, allowing pasta to soak up most of the sauce. Stir in parsley before serving and serve with grated Parmesan, if mixing fish and cheese is your thing (and believe me, it is my thing!).

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Main dishes, Pasta

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken

In keeping with a desire for lighter, non-traditional-Thanksgiving food, I made this wonderful version of General Tso’s chicken.  I’m sure it’s not quite the same as your favorite Amer-Chinese restaurant’s, but it is delicious, and cheaper– both in dollars and calories.

This was way faster than take-out as well- about 15 minutes from start to finish!  Coincidentally, that’s about the same amount of time as cooking a cup or two of rice in a microwave rice cooker, or steaming a small pot of frozen stir-fry veggies.  I used dark brown sugar, which really emphasized the sweetness. If you’re watching your sugar intake, try reducing the sugar to 1-1/2 tablespoons.

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken
from Everyday Food, as seen on Good Things Catered (it seems her blog has been deleted?)

1 T. cornstarch
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 t. fresh grated ginger
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. amino acids (it’s gluten free!) or soy sauce
1 t. red pepper flakes
kosher salt
~1.5 lbs. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 t. sesame oil
2 t. vegetable oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1/2 c. cold water. Add in the garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes; whisk to combine.

Heat sesame and vegetable oils in a wok or heavy skillet until almost smoking, about 5 minutes on medium-high.  Swirl pan to coat bottom with oil, then add the seasoned chicken pieces.  Allow to cook without moving for 3 minutes, then sprinkle with kosher salt and flip chicken pieces to the other side to brown, up to 5 minutes.

Increase heat to high.  Stir sauce and add to the chicken.  Stir almost constantly until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.  Delicious and nutritious served with rice and stir-fry vegetables.

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Chicken, Main dishes