Cookies / Dining Out / Protein/Entrees / Sides & Salads / Weeknight Dinner

It was a healthy dinner if you don’t count the snickerdoodles…

That great moment when WordPress deleted the finished version of this post so here I am, re-typing everything and hoping it works this time…

When I’m at home, I tend to slip up on my healthy habits. It’s a lot easier to snack when I’m sitting in the house and there’s plenty of tempting cookies and crackers (and everything in between). Because of busy schedules, my family eats out for dinner a lot, and it can be kind of hard to always order a balanced meal that isn’t plagued by portion distortion or a bunch of unnecessary add-ins like extra butter, cheese, and everything else that tastes good but isn’t that great for you. But I guess part of vacation is being able to indulge every once in a while, so I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to stuff my face with some awesome food.

2…Like the empanada I had today from The Mmoon when I was in Lost Gatos. Ever since this place opened, I’ve wanted to give their empanadas a try, so today I finally did. The menu has plenty of savory options (I was a bit disappointed that there was only one sweet option) and even a bunch of breakfast flavors. I opted for one filled with corn and cheese. I was expecting more of a mashed corn filling, but it what was actually inside was whole kernels…still, it was pretty yummy and made a great mid-afternoon snack. The crust was flaky and the complimentary sauce paired nicely with the filling. And since the empanada was relatively small, I still had room for the dinner I made a few hours later.

That’s right, my mom entrusted me with the task of cooking dinner tonight. Sure, making food for three people sounds ridiculously simple, and yeah, for the most part it is, but coming up with what to make took some effort on my part. My brother avoids most fruits and vegetables like the plague, and my mom doesn’t like any level of spicy in her food (she also doesn’t like rice). Oh, and my brother won’t eat ethnic foods. So basically, that cancels out pretty much everything I normally make for myself. I wanted to make something at least moderately healthy, but full of flavor. I ended up deciding on shrimp as the protein, since I know my brother likes it, and I never buy it for myself when I’m cooking in my apartment. I didn’t want to pair it with pasta though (I’m kinda pasta-d out) and my mom doesn’t like rice, so for the starch I just did garlic bread on the side (the frozen Texas Toast kind…I know, lame) and paired the shrimp with some simple roasted vegetables.

1Because I had nothing better to do this afternoon, I was able to prep my shrimp and vegetables beforehand. This made pre-dinner prep go a lot smoother; all I had to do was toss the shrimp and veggies in seasoning and olive oil before sticking them in the oven to roast. If you haven’t ever had the privilege of de-veining shrimp before, good for you. Seriously, it’s disgusting. Especially when you buy two pounds of shrimp like I did (I know, I bought way too much). At least prepping the vegetables was a lot easier/less gross.

To make things easier, I cooked the shrimp and vegetables at the same temperature in the oven. The veggies roasted for 20 minutes total, and the shrimp for about 10, so when I stirred and rotated the vegetables at 10 minutes, I stuck in the shrimp as well. I also was sure to line my baking sheets with foil for fast cleanup.

Overall, I was pleased with how the meal came out. There was plenty of leftover shrimp, so I’ll probably use it in a pasta dish tomorrow night. Both my mom and brother approved, so I guess that means this meal got six thumbs up. Maybe only 5, my brother didn’t finish all of his vegetables…

4

Please excuse the terrible picture, it was so good I forgot to photograph it before digging in…so yeah, here’s my half-eaten dinner plate. Mmmm…

For dessert, because I clearly have too much time on my hands, I decided to make something quick & easy. Because my brother won’t eat fruit and my mom doesn’t like chocolate, I was (very) limited, so I opted for some good old fashioned snickerdoodle cookies. I followed this recipe from Lindsay Ann’s Dollhouse Bake Shoppe. The only thing I did differently was add an extra egg in addition to the one egg yolk the recipe calls for (I found that the batter was too dry without), and I added a dash of cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg (like I do with everything). I also baked my cookies for ten minutes, not eight. Although the recipe claimed it made 8 cookies, I made 8 rather large cookies after eating at least enough dough for 4 more big cookies…so if you really only want 8 cookies, cut the recipe in half.

PicMonkey Collage

Anyways, here are my recipes for the shrimp & roasted vegetables. If you plan on making this for dinner, I’d suggest serving it on top of brown rice, or mixed in with whole wheat pasta for a filling and healthy complete meal. Or, just stick to the shrimp & veggies like I did.

I really just eyeballed the amounts for oil & seasonings, but I tried to be as accurate as possible in these anyways.

Roasted Lemon Shrimp – (serves 4-6)
52 lbs uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
about 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
about 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
about 1/4 tsp kosher salt
dash of Italian seasoning
about 1/4 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
about 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
optional: dash of red chili flakes and 1/2 tsp minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large ziploc, add all ingredients. Gently toss until shrimp is well coated. Remove from bag and spread evenly on the baking sheet.
3. Place in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.
Note: I kept the tails on my shrimp because it helps them be more flavorful, but if you want to mix your shrimp into a pasta dish, etc., feel free to remove the tails before roasting.

Roasted Broccoli, Bell Pepper, and Onion (serves 4)
31 1/2 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets (short stem)
2 red bell peppers, sliced length-wise into about 1/2 inch thick strips
1 medium red onion, sliced length-wise into about 1/4 inch thick strips
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
about 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
about 1/4 tsp Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt (or plain salt and pepper)
dash of Italian seasoning
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large ziploc, add all ingredients except the lemon juice. Toss until well coated. Remove vegetables and spread onto baking sheet.
3. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes. At 10 minutes, stir around vegetables.
4. Remove from oven; broccoli should have small patches of brown, onions should be slightly soft. Squeeze lemon juice over the sheet and serve vegetables immediately.
Note: You could also add sliced mushrooms and yellow bell pepper for some added color/flavor. These taste great served with tofu and rice as well.

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