a balanced plate with room for dessert


Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Rice |

We eat a lot of chicken in our house. A lot of chicken. So, when we do have some red meat or seafood, Mike is pretty darn excited! I was assigned Jaida’s blog Sweet Beginnings for this recipe swap. I was on her blog for hours. She has no shortage of recipes – whether you’re looking for a dessert, main entree, appetizer or drink, her blog has got it all. It took me a really long time to settle on this shrimp dish. I loved how easily this came together, Mike loved that he got to eat something other than chicken, and I’m sure you will love this dish, too 🙂

Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Rice |

Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Coconut Rice

1 – 13.5 ounce can light coconut milk
1 jalapeno pepper, halved
3 cloves garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger, skin removed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1 cup uncooked white rice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Prepare the marinade: In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, parsley, lime, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Place shrimp in a small bowl and pour the marinade over it, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Rice can be prepared in a rice cooker or medium pot over medium high heat. Combine remaining coconut milk with rice and stir to combine. Cook according to package directions. If using brown rice, add in 1 cup of water.
  4. When rice is almost done cooking (white rice will take about 15 – 20 minutes and brown rice about 40 – 45 minutes, in my experience), start cooking the shrimp.
  5. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Remove shrimp from the marinade and place in the skillet in a single layer. Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes on one side. Flip and cook for an additional minute, or until shrimp are fully cooked.
  6. Pour the marinade into small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Serve shrimp over prepared rice and drizzle with reduced sauce.

recipe slightly adapted from Sweet Beginnings, originally from Bev Cooks

A big thanks to Sarah at Taste of Home Cooking for hosting! Click on the link below to check out the other delicious swap recipes!


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Shrimp and Vegetables in Lemon-Garlic Sauce

Surprise, another recipe with tomatoes!  I really shouldn’t complain about our abundance, because I know in a few short weeks winter will be here and a beautiful, tasty tomato will be pretty much impossible to find. Sigh. Wisconsin winters, I love you and hate you all at the same time.

I love fresh, easy dishes like this one. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body. In my mind it cancels out all the Sour Skittles I eat and all the booze I drink. So, go for it – do your body some good and eat a dish with some super-grain quinoa and fresh summer veggies.

Shrimp and Vegetables in Lemon-Garlic Sauce |

Shrimp and Vegetables in Lemon-Garlic Sauce

3 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 large bell peppers, chopped
2 medium zucchini, seeded and chopped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
chopped parsley to garnish, optional

  1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add in quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked through.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add bell peppers, zucchini, and lemon zest and cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 4 – 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. Heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil in pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth and lemon juice and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve over cooked quinoa. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

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Shrimp with Mango, Lime and Radish Salsa

I’m happy to say that I survived my first week of work. The best part is that I really, really like my job so far and I think it’s only going to get better!

I am also happy to report that we are 90% moved in. Madison is finally starting to feel like home. We have a bed, our laptops, and most importantly – internet. The hardest part of having two homes is not having access to all of my cooking gadgets all the time. I had a difficult time deciding if I wanted to bring my stand mixer or my hand mixer (hand mixer won, due to space), a blender or a food processor (blender… but I think that I might end up getting the food processor anyway), what pots and pans to bring… I’m still not 100% satisfied with my decisions, but that will eventually get figured out, too.

The downside to this move is I haven’t been cooking a lot. We’ve been living off of sandwiches, salads, and pasta mixed with ground turkey and the tomato sauce I canned last summer. Nothing too exciting. I do have a shrimp dish that I made pre-move, though! The whole time I was eating this I was thinking about Scott Conant, a judge on Chopped, who hates raw onion. If you haven’t seen him on the show before, you will just have to trust me when I say that this man hates raw onion with a passion. He tears apart every.single.chef that uses it in their dish. If you are like Scott and hate raw onion, this dish probably isn’t for you. If you do like raw onions, then continue on!

Shrimp with Mango, Lime and Radish Salsa |

Shrimp with Mango, Lime and Radish Salsa
slightly adapted from Food Network

1 1/2 pounds large uncooked shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lemon, juiced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

for the salsa:
3 limes
2 mangoes, diced
4 radishes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Toss with shrimp until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator and let marinate for 45 minutes. Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp until they turn pink, turning once.
  2. Remove segments from the limes by cutting off both ends. Place lime on one cut end and with a small, sharp knife, cut off the pith and peel. When all peel and pith is removed, carefully cut between the membrane to remove the lime segments.
  3. Place lime segments in a large bowl. squeeze juice from the lime membranes into the bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Place cooked shrimp on top and serve immediately.


Salt & Pepper Shrimp

I make a lot of food that I love, but I try not to make repeat dishes. This dish is an exception. I keep shrimp in my freezer for one reason – salt and pepper shrimp that I can whip up in n a half hour. It’s delicious with the cabbage or served with plain steamed rice. I choose the rice-only route when I’m running short on time. I just add some extra bell peppers into the shrimp itself to boost up the veggie count in the dish.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
steamed white or brown rice, optional

  1. Whisk lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add cabbage and bell peppers and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Combine cornstarch, salt, pepper, white pepper, and five spice powder in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until pink and curled, 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Add jalapenos and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 1 more minute.
  5. Serve immediately with the slaw and rice if desired.

recipe adapted from


Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This was a week of “firsts” for me.

  • I tried boxing for the first time. Loved it! What a great stress reliever. I thought I was in shape since I work out 6 days a week between running, biking, strength, and Pilates, but I was not prepared for the oh-man-kill-me-now feeling I got during the boxing workout with Mike. Bring on the pain!
  • I did my first speedwork run. I ditched the half marathon training schedule I painstakingly wrote for myself and decided to try the FIRST program instead. I re-wrote my runs and incorporated my data from the McMillan Running Calculator to give me a training plan that spells out my training paces.
  • I drove in snow for the first time this winter. Ok, maybe it wasn’t the first time, but the other snowfalls didn’t count because they didn’t even stick for longer than a day. What’s up with that, WI?
  • I watched my first episode of Dance Moms: Season 2. I love bad TV.
  • My last “first”? I participated in my first recipe swap! Read on for more info about it…

Usually the participants just gets another blogger’s recipe, but they shook it up a little this week: we each got a blog and had the freedom to make whatever we wanted from that blog! I got Fried Ice and Donut Holes and she has so many great recipes to choose from!! I spent over an hour looking at her blog before finally deciding on the dish I wanted to try. The luck recipe? Shrimp fra diavolo! It’s been on my “must cook” list for a while and I figured this was the perfect time to try it.

The dish turned out pretty darn good. Mike loved it; I think it could have been a little (ok, a lot) spicier. But hey, I’m weird and I love major heat in my food. Next time I’ll be crankin’ up the spiciness by adding a few more sprinkles of red pepper flakes to my portion!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
recipe slightly modified from Fried Ice and Donut Holes

1 pound whole wheat pasta
1 pound large, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Fresh basil, for garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive on in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Season shrimp with  salt and pepper. Add to skillet and saute for 1 minute. Turn shrimp and saute the other side until shrimp are cooked through and no longer translucent. Transfer shrimp to a separate plate.
  4. Add onions to pan and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add wine to pan to deglaze and allow to simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes, red pepper, and oregano. Reduce heat to medium-low and let sauce simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, until reduced to your desired consistency.
  6. Return shrimp to sauce and stir to coat.
  7. Toss cooked pasta with sauce and shrimp. Garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Pad Thai

It’s just like take-out. But better. I seriously can’t get enough of this stuff. I never bothered making it at home because I thought Mike hated it. Boy, was I wrong. I’m not sure why I ever thought that, but I tentatively brought up making Pad Thai for dinner and he enthusiastically agreed to it. I was thrilled. And disappointed that I hadn’t brought this up sooner. Like, 4 years sooner.

I purchased a large portion of these ingredients at the local Asian grocery store. I was able to find the tamarind concentrate, palm sugar, fish sauce, rice stick noodles, cilantro and mung bean sprouts there. I love the Asian grocery store because everything is so dang cheap. I can buy bean sprouts at the normal store for $2 or pay $1 at the Asian store for 3 times as much.

I opted to use shrimp for this, but I think I’m going to try chicken or tofu next time. Feel free to use whatever protein you want!!

The best part (other than the leftovers, that is)… I was able to cross of the first dish on my 11 for ’11 list!!

Pad Thai
serves 4

For the sauce:
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup tamarind juice concentrate
4 cloves garlic, minced

For the noodles:
14 ounces dried rice stick noodles
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shrimp
2 eggs
2 cups carrots, match stick
1 cup green onion cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
1 cup cilantro, optional
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges, optional

  1. Combine sauce ingredients in small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until sugar has dissolved. Taste, and add more sugar if you would like. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Boil noodles 5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and immediately run around cold water. Cut noodles in half with scissors.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoons oil in wok or large pan and cook shrimp. Remove to small bowl.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil to pan and scramble eggs. Remove to small bowl.
  5. Heat remaining  oil and add garlic and onion to pan. Stir fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add noodles and cook for an additional minute. Add 5 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce, stirring mixture until noodles are well coated.
  6. Add shrimp to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add egg and 3/4 of the following: carrots, green onion, and sprouts to pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Taste noodles and add more sauce, if desired. Cook until all additional sauce has been absorbed.
  8. Remove from heat and plate. Garnish with remaining carrots, green onion, and sprouts. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and garnish with lime wedge and cilantro, if desired.
Recipe adapted from savory sweet life.

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Lemon Pepper Shrimp Linguine

I stumbled across this recipe on and just had to make it. I made a few adjustments and was pretty pleased with the results. I think next time I may kick it up a notch and make it a 3 Pepper Lemon Shrimp Linguine. Ohhh yeah: that’s this recipe with a dash of cayenne and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes added to it to give it an even bigger kick than plain black pepper. Some white pepper might even be good.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp  Linguine
adapted from

8 ounces linguine pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Saute garlic in oil 1 minute.
  3. Add in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 7 minutes.
  4. Mix in shrimp, butter, parsley and basil and cook until shrimp is opaque, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta and toss, coating evenly. Cook for 2 more minutes and then serve immediately.

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Shrimp Scampi

The first time I made this recipe from it was just a little too buttery for me. This time, I scaled back on the butter and made a few other adjustments. I was pretty pleased with the results.


Shrimp Scampi
serves 6

1 stick butter, melted
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound spaghetti, cooked
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Whisk butter, mustard, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl.
  3. Arrange shrimp in a baking dish and pour butter mixture over the shrimp.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until shrimp are pink and opaque.
  5. Serve over spaghetti and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Szechaun Shrimp

I make a large variety of food here at school, but I don’t really make a lot of seafood. I decided to give shrimp a spin and I love love love this dish. It’s so incredibly easy and it’s surprisingly good with a really full flavor profile. Try it out! If you really like spicy foods (like me), toss in a little more red pepper flakes! I think I ended up accidentally dumping in 2 – 3 tablespoons and it was SO good.

Szechuan Shrimp
serves 4

4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounces large shrimp, cooked and tails removed

  1. Combine water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, red pepper flakes and ginger in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in green onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add shrimp and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often.
  4. Pour sauce on top and mix thoroughly with the shrimp. Cook until the sauce is thick and bubbly.
  5. Serve over white rice and enjoy!