Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps

A few weeks ago I made these.  Since I had to bring a few appetizers to my Mom’s for Labor Day weekend and because they were so delicious I thought ‘why not turn them into an app?’. So I did. I adjusted the original recipe’s amount to my taste and made less than the orginal recipe as we had other apps as well (like these puff pastry bites and pita chips with peperonata) and wrapped them in Boston Lettuce leaves. Delicious, light and pretty easy to put together.

Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1&1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup cornichons, chopped small, plus 1 Tbsp brine
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2  lb cooked, peeled and deveined large shrimp cut into half inch pieces
  • 1&1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 head Boston Lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried.
  • Toothpicks for securing

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, brine and season with pepper.
  2. Add the shrimp, cornichons and tarragon and toss to combine.
  3. Using the smaller leaves (not the white inner ones), lay the leaf flat and scoop a small amount of shrim mixture into one end of the leaf. Carefully roll up the leaf, trimming any excess, and secure with a toothpick.

Keep chilled, serve cold.

Shrimp Salad adapted from Woman’s Day, via christina.

Chicken Florentine Pasta

The original recipe for this was in my September issue of Cooking Light Magazine. I changed it up a bit as I didn’t want to grill the chicken and then pick the meat off of the bones. It’s an easy to make, pretty fast recipe and the end result was delicious.  It’s a pasta that is very lightly coated with the cream sauce.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb uncooked capellini
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup) plus extra for sprinkling
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves  

Preparation

  1.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat and melt butter.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook until cooked through and browned. Set aside and wipe pan clean.
  2.  Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well; keep warm.
  3.  In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the oil; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spinach; stir until spinach wilts. Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining parmesan.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Green Bean Salad

I seriously love this salad. Crispy veggies and a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It’s super easy to make and it’s delicious!! The original recipe only calls for 1/4 cucumber but since I love them I changed it to include the entire cucumber. The original recipe also only called for 1/2 pint of tomatoes but I throw in the whole pint. Why not?

Green Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 European cucumber, cut into small cubes
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Steam green beans in 1/2 inch boiling water covered for 3 or 4 minutes. Cold shock beans by running under cold water and drain well. Place beans in a bowl and combine with onions, cucumber and tomato. Dress salad with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Season salad with coarse salt and pepper, to taste.

Adapted from Rachael Ray.

Puff Pastry Bites with Asiago, Parmesan, Shallots, Scallions and Pancetta

So a while ago Cooking Light Magazine had a section about appetizers using puff pastry sheets and they were great!! They have onion, potato, bell pepper etc…but I wanted something original and different this time. I came up with this basically by putting many of my favorite flavors onto a bite of puff pastry. The tangy, nutty cheeses, the carmelized shallots and scallions and the crispy pancetta create many flavor and texture levels. I brought these to my Mom’s Labor Day party and they were great!!

Puff Pastry Bites with Asiago, Parmesan, Shallots, Scallions and Pancetta

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/3 lb pancetta, cut the short way across into 1/3 inch strips
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 scallions, white and bright green parts only, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan (do not use pre-shredded)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated asiago
  • flour for dusting

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. On a large board dusted with flour roll out puff pastry sheet to a square. Cut across the sheet 5 times from top to bottom and then 5 times from right to left to make 25 small squares. Place squares on the cookie sheet and put in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a large skillet cook the pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Reduce heat to low-med and remove the pancetta with a spider to keep the fat in the pan (or a slotted spoon but keep as much fat in the pan as possible) and set aside on paper towels. Add the shallot, garlic and scallion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until carmelized. Set aside. Add the 2 cheeses to a plate and mix to combine.
  3. Remove cookie sheet from fridge and prick each square with a fork so that the pastry doesn’t puff too much in the oven.  Cook in the oven for 10 minutes (the pastry should not be completely cooked at this point). On each square spred a small amount of the cheese mix, top with a bit of the scallion/shallot mix and then top with a bit of pancetta. There should be an even amount of all on each square.
  4. Return the squares to the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until corners of pastry are golden.
  5. Remove and serve warm or at room temp.

Sparksfromthekitchen.com original.

Pita Chips with Peperonata

Recently I made Peperonata.  As I wrote in that post it’s super versatile. So I made some more and also made some fresh pita chips. Sure you can buy a bag but these are so much better!!

Pita Chips

Ingredients:

  • 3 pita
  • 3 tbsp olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tbsp dried basil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Lay each pita flat and, using a knife that isn’t too sharp (a regular dinner knife works well), cut into the edge all around splitting the top from the bottom. I find it helpful to hold my palm on the top of the pita and rotate that way.  Then slide your hand in between the top and bottom carefully to separate.  Cut each half into 8 wedges. Repeat with all pitas.
  2. Lay all wedges flat on a large cookie sheet, drizzle evenly with the olive oil and herbs.
  3. Bake for 7 minutes, remove from the oven, turn the wedges over, and return it to the oven for another 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm or room temperature. These can be stored in an airtight container. Serve with anything from the Peperonata above to hummus-they’re great with anything.

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