Shrimp, Bacon, Avocado Pasta Salad
1/2 pound dry fusilli pasta
1/2 pound of peeled, deveined raw shrimp
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more salt for the pasta water)
3-4 thick-cut slices of bacon (about 3 ounces), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the green onion greens
1/4 cup (packed) roughly chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Toss shrimp with chipotle chile powder and salt and put in the refrigerator to marinate while you make the pasta and the rest of the salad.
2 Put a large pot of salted water on to a boil (2 quarts of water, 1 Tbsp salt).
3 While the water is heating, cook the bacon. Put the bacon in a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon pieces are lightly browned. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard or save for future use all but one tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat (do not pour bacon fat down the drain or you will be calling your plumber).
Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Sauté until done, a few minutes.
5 When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, cooked through but still a little firm to the bite (usually 1 or 2 minutes less than what the package calls for).
6 Put all of the dressing ingredients into a jar, cover and shake until well blended.
7 When the pasta is ready, strain it and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss with the shrimp, bacon, bell peppers, and onions. Add the cilantro and avocado just before serving.
Tonight, This pasta salad is the main dish, I’m serving with oven baked hot bread and fresh fruit compote.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Red Wine Reduction Sauce
1 unseasoned pork tenderloin, or 4 boneless chops
1 shallot, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups red wine (I used a Cabernet-Sauvingnon)
2 cups fresh blackberries (about 2 pints)
1 tsp. lemon zest
Juice from one lemon
2 heaping Tbsp. seedless blackberry preserves, no sugar added
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp. sugar (see note in directions)
•salt & pepper to taste
Preparation: The night before you plan to make the meal (or even the morning-of if it’s for dinner), rub the thawed pork on all sides with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and rosemary (fresh would be great but I had dried in stock). Since there’s already a decent amount of sodium in the pork, it doesn’t need a lot of salt. Wrap the tendrloin in clear plastic wrap and store in a container in the refrigerator.
When ready to prepare the meal, take out the pork and it let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the grill (we use a charcoal grill, so I’m not sure of the temperature if you’re using a gas grill).
Once hot, grill the pork 15 min. on each side, about 30 min. total. Some recipes suggest searing the pork for a couple of minutes on either side and then cooking it through on a medium heat. It is recommended to cook pork to 160 degrees, but be careful not to overcook it.
When cooked, remove from grill, let rest for 5-10 min. and slice.
To make pork in oven, cover a shallow baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place pork on foil and bake at 350 degrees about 45 min. or until pork reaches 160 degrees.
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil (plus a little olive oil spray) in a skillet over medium heat. Mince shallot and sauté until mostly translucent. Increase to med-high, add wine and bring to a boil. Let liquid reduce a bit, stirring some to make sure the shallot isn’t sticking to the pan.
While waiting for wine/shallot mixture to boil, wash blackberries, put in a bowl and mash easily with a potato masher (otherwise blackberry juice will spray everywhere!). I did it in the sink to avoid any blackberry juice stains. Another option is to purée them in the food processor and then strain them with a fine strainer to remove the seeds. For a thicker sauce, use the potato masher. I would equate the mashing with “coarsely chopping” (i.e. still lumpy).
Once the wine mixture has reduced some (let boil about 5-8 min.), add freshly squeezed lemon, lemon zest, fresh blackberries, blackberry jam, fresh thyme, sugar (note: omit sugar if not using sugar-free jam), a dash or two of salt and some black pepper. Stir everything together, allow the jam to mix in well, and reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Simmer uncovered for about 30 min. or until sauce thickens to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
Top sliced pork with blackberry sauce.
Sauce Makes about 8 servings. Because of my desire to eat this dish immediately, I didn’t figure out exactly how much it makes, but I estimate it has about that many servings, based on our leftovers. The pork probably serves 4.
Tonight, I am serving with overn roasted potatoes with fresh rosemary, garden salad and fresh fruit compote with a little Port Wine poured over the fruit.
Grilled Ribeye with Pancetta Butter
2 10 oz. ribeye’s
2-3 slices pancetta (or bacon)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp.
1 tbsp. chopped shallot
1/4 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. chopped parsley
juice and zest of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper
Tarragon for garnish
Directions: Cook pancetta in a pan, saving rendered fat. After it’s cooled, chop pancetta and mix with reserved fat and butter in a bowl. Add shallot, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and zest. Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on parchment paper or plastic wrap, rolling to create a tube. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
Grill steaks to desired doneness. Let steaks rest for 5 minutes. Remove butter tube from refrigerator and slice, placing a palette of butter on each steak.
Tonight, I’m serving with Oven Baked Onion Rings, Fresh grilled Zucchini, garden salad and fresh fruit compote
Mango Chicken Marinade Recipe
1 each mango, peeled and mashed pulp
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon key lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup rum (your favorite)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
4 each boneless, skinless chicken breast
Combine first 9 ingredients for marinade. Marinate the chicken breasts for 2-24 hours in refrigerator. Grill over medium hot coals for 10-20 minutes per side, depending on thickness and size of chicken breasts, basting occasionally with any reserved marinade.
Today I’m using this marinade for Chicken Kabobs… I’m plating with Yellow rice, Italian flat beans, garden salad and fresh fruit.
Shrimp and Lobster Key Lime
9 shrimp (21 to 25 count or medium-size), peeled, de-veined, and cleaned
1/2 Florida lobster tail (about 6 ounces), chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons Chablis wine
4 ounces Key Lime Mix, recipe follows
2 cups cooked long-grain rice
Key Lime Mix:
8 ounces garlic spread (2 sticks of butter mixed with 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add shrimp and lobster and sauté until the shrimp turns pink, about 2 to 3 minutes (be careful not to overcook).
Add the mushrooms and scallions, and sauté until just tender, about 2 minutes.
Add the Chablis and Key Lime Mix and continue cooking until Key Lime Mix melts and is thoroughly mixed throughout the seafood. Serve over rice.
Tonight, I’m serving this over a bed of rice, garden salad and fresh fruit compote.