Sweet Pepper Salmon w/ Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Sweetpeppersalmonplate



This recipe will definitely be one of my new summer go-tos. Why? – Because no oven is required!
Who wants to deal with a hot oven in the summer? Not me.

The flavors of this dish are strong and impressive because of the fresh herbs and it’s a breeze once you have all of the ingredients already made and waiting. It has wonderful lightly sweet taste up front and a fun pepper flavor in the background. I made my herb paste on the fly with herbs from my window garden but will make sure I have a batch already in the freezer next time (recipe here). You can play around with this and add different cheeses to the salad to your liking. I will also make sure and have pre-cut zucchini waiting in the fridge. Try this one out. You’ll be impressed!

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Ingredients

4 Salmon Filets – skin removed
½ cup pre-diced fresh tomatoes
½ cup matchstick carrots (I skipped the carrots)
½ cup pre-sliced green onions
1 tbs basil herb paste
2 medium zucchinis
¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese ( I used feta cheese)
1 tsp light soy sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp garlic pepper seasoning (I made my own)
¼ cup whole smoked almonds (got the almonds on sale..yaaa!)
cooking spray
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
Large zip-lock bag



Method

Gather all ingredients and check fish for bones/remove skin.

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Place almonds in a zip-lock bag and crush with a rolling pin or meat mallet until the size of course breadcrumbs. Add chili powder, paprika and garlic pepper. Shake to mix.

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Preheat large saute pan on medium 2-3 minutes. Coat salmon with cooking spray; place in zip-lock bag. Seal bag and shake or press with fingertips to to coat salmon evenly.

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Remove pan from heat and coat with cooking spray. Add salmon and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or 145 degrees Fahrenheit until the fish flakes easily.

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Remove salmon from pan. Add syrup and soy sauce to pan and cook 1-2 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. Serve sauce over salmon.

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For the Salad

Cut zucchini into 3-4 inch long sections. Then cut cross-wise into thin strips using a vegetable peeler or knife and add to a bowl.

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Combine all ingredients (tomatoes, herb paste, carrots, greens onions, balsamic vinaigrette, cheese).

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Toss to coat and chill until ready to serve.

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That’s it! – No oven required – enjoy!



Prep Time: 15 mins (pre-prepping the herb paste will cut off 5 mins at least)

Cook time: 6 mins

Serves 4


Wax-Bean Salad with Chorizo

sausage plate


As I told you in my last post, I am on a wonderful new cooking journey this year and I have the perfect recipe to keep the momentum going. This dish has a wonderful burst of flavor and too my surprise was very easy to make. Of course I had to do a little research first:

Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat, seasoned with smoked pimentón (paprika) and salt. It is generally classed as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of smoked paprika used. Hundreds of regional varieties of Spanish chorizo, both smoked and unsmoked, may contain garlic, herbs and other ingredients. For example, Pamplona-style chorizo is a thicker sausage with the meat more finely ground. Among the varieties is chorizo Riojano from the La Rioja region; and has PGI protection within the EU.

I used the spicy smoked version.

The only obstacle I found was finding fresh wax beans in season. Once you do – grab them up because this dish is a total winner. Don’t add salt or pepper because the sausage takes care of that. If you like sausage then you will LOVE this dish. I found a great breakfast recipe too. Definitely make enough for leftovers – Enjoy!



Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces dried chorizo, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced – (put the rest in the freezer)

  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced

  • 3/4 pound wax beans, trimmed – (I used the ones in the microwaveable bag)

  • 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar (I used sherry wine)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper



Method

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to a plate.

cut sausage

sausage pan 1

Add shallot to skillet and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, 2 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup water. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until water evaporates and beans are crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Return chorizo to skillet and stir in vinegar and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

sausage pan 2

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Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins


Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

beans plate

Happy New Year!

I’m feeling refreshed and ready to try out some great new foods this year. First up, a new recipe with two of my favorite foods, bacon and green beans. These are the “French” green beans so they are slimmer and look pretty on the plate.

I love this recipe because you feel like a rock star chef and its so easy to prepare. The dish practically makes itself and the sauce doesn’t overpower the veggies. Yes, there is a bit of food play going on with this one but as we all know anything with bacon will be totally worth it. I paired mine with lamb chops but couscous would be a great paring as well. Prep time is about 20 mins and cook time is about 10 mins so I made enough to last few days. Enjoy!


Ingredients

  • Pam Original Canola Spray

  • 1 (8-oz) package fresh Microwave-In-Bag French Green Beans

  • 1–2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 8 slices fully cooked bacon

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with spray. Microwave green beans following package instructions.

  2. Chop shallots (2 tablespoons) and combine with soy sauce, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in medium saucepan on medium-low; simmer and stir 2–3 minutes or until the consistency of syrup. Remove from heat; whisk in butter until blended.

chopper

pot butter

  1. Gather 10–12 beans into a bundle; wrap 1 bacon slice around center and place seam side down on baking sheet. (mine was seam side up – no worries). Repeat with remaining beans. Coat top of beans with spray; season with salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Glaze beans with one-half of the soy mixture; Bake 7–8 minutes or until bacon is lightly crisped.

sauce

  1. Flip over and glaze beans on the other side with soy mixture; bake 2 more minutes. Remove beans from oven; brush with remaining glaze if desired and serve.

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lamb chops and string beans



Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Serves 2 – 4


Let’s Go Southern! – Salmon Croquettes

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Happy Fall!

Now that its starting to cool off a little, its time to revisit one of my favorite recipes. If your looking for a delicious, easy recipe when you you don’t “really” feel like cooking, this is IT. This dish is totally versatile..think breakfast, lunch AND dinner and ready in about 15 minutes. I paired mine with rice and fried green tomatoes but breakfast is divine with grits and biscuits as well. Try this wonderful southern delicacy for brunch one Sunday – You wont be sorry.


Ingredients

1 large can of Salmon

2 eggs

½ of a medium onion chopped

½ of a bell pepper chopped

4 tablespoons flour (you can add more if you want the mix a little thicker)

¼ teaspoon season salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Sprinkle of Hot Sauce (Optional)

2 tablespoons Olive, Vegetable or Canola Oil


Method

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Heat frying pan on medium/high to heat oil

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well (You can add more flour if its too moist)

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It should pretty much look like this when your done.

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Use a big spoon or your hands to make a small ball and place into pan

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Brown on both sides (about 5 mins per side)

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Place on a plate or covered bowl

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That’s it! – Enjoy!


Prep Time – 5-7 mins

Cook Time – 10 mins

Serves 2 -4


Sauteed Balsamic Fish with Lemon Basil Orzo

talipia and orzo plate


As I’m sure you all well know when it comes to eating right time is your worst enemy. I cant tell you how many times even though I work at home I’ve just gone out to get lunch or dinner simply because I didn’t have enough time in the day to prepare a meal. This would seem to be counter productive since I do have pockets of free time in my day to do this successfully. So, my new goal is to make sure that I am using my kitchen time more successfully – both in prep and in preparation.

My first test was this recipe. I walked into my local Publix one day and saw the Aprons prep chef making this wonderful dish and I said to myself – Okay how can I make this work so that I have most or all of these ingredients on hand before I even start. I will give you the recipe and mark in bold what I came up with. Once I realized how easy this was I was overjoyed!

BTW: This dish is absolutely delicious! It can even work with a chicken breast.


Ingredients

4 white fish filets, tilapia, haddock, or flounder – 1.25lbs – I used Tilapia

8 oz tomato Trinity (onions, tomatoes. Bell peppers) – I already had the tomatoes and the onions so I brought 1 small green pepper that I can make more trinity and use later for another dish.

Zest/Juice of 1 lemon – already had that too

1 cup of Orzo pasta – already had that

5 tablespoons of Basil Pesto – had to buy that but I have since looked up a recipe and I will make this and freeze for other dishes which make sense because I have basil growing in my window and normally have cheese and garlic in the fridge anyway – recipe for basil pesto

½ cup of vegetable broth – already had that

¼ cup balsamic vinegar – already had that

2 teaspoons salt free garlic/herb seasoning – made this on the fly while I was prepping but will definitely make more and save – recipe for seasoning

1 tablespoon of Canola Oil – already had that

Salt/Pepper to taste (Optional)

Okay, so as you can see even out of the gate I was doing quite well – just need to fine tune a few things and cut at least 30 mins off of my shopping and prep time. Cool!


Preparation

Zest/Grate lemon peel (no white, 1 teaspoon)
Squeeze lemon for juice (2 tablespoons)


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trinity basil


Method

1. Bring exactly 2 cups water to boil. Stir Orzo into boiling water; cook and stir 4 mins.


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2. Reduce heat to low, simmer and stir often for 3-4 more minutes or until Orzo is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (Important: stir Orzo prevent sticking, no draining needed). This is going to cook pretty fast so don’t wander away.


3. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto, ½ cup tomato trinity, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from pan and cover, set aside.


orzo mix


4. Preheat large non-stick saute pan on medium/high 2-3 minutes. Season fish on both sides with garlic/herb seasoning. Place oil in pan, then add fish, cook 1-2 minutes or until the fish is lightly browned. Turn fish over.


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5. Combine broth, vinegar, remaining ¾ cup tomato trinity, and remaining 2 tablespoons pesto. Add to fish, cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture reduces by one half and fish flakes easily. (Note: I put all of the sauce and mine didn’t reduce that quickly so I will probably start with less sauce next time- eyeball it. Serve with the Orzo.


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Prep time: 10 mins (when you have everything ready to go)

Cook time: 10 mins


Come to me Quinoa – My new Love

quinao plate


I’m very much one to try something new but I have to admit I was a little opposed to Quinoa at first because I of all the weird things I had read about it (bitter taste, bland, etc). I left this one for last even after looking at a few mouth-watering recipes. Well, let me just say – shame on me. This seed/plant creation has been around for ages and with good reason. Plenty of protein without all the fat and bloat of rice. Light enough to have for lunch and amazingly versatile for dinner. Once I realized how good this was for me I decided to dig a little deeper. What IS it actually? Quinoa defined:

Quinoa is 100% whole grain and is close to being a perfect food source in the balance of nutrition it provides. Technically it’s not a grain but the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein – 12% to 18%. According to The National Academy of Sciences, quinoa is “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom”. Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine which helps the body produce protein. It also helps the body process the protein in the quinoa and in other foods. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products. Quinoa is a great food for people who must follow wheat-free/gluten-free diets because Quinoa doesn’t contain gluten. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any other grain.

Ok….So now I was really ready to go for it. I started with sauteed  Quinoa and I swear this couldn’t have been easier to make! It’s ready in about 10 mins and you easily pair it with chicken or seafood. Cant wait to make my own Quinoa and shrimp!
Quinoa – my New love…come to me..



Ingredients

1/2 cup of Quinoa

1 cup of Water (you can replace with vegetable or chicken broth)

1/4 cup of Green pepper

1/4 cup of Red pepper (you can also add carrots and celery)

1/4 cup Green onions diced

2 cloves of Garlic crushed

1 tablespoon of Butter

1/4 cup of Almonds (optional)

1/2 teaspoon of Oregano

Salt to taste



Method

Gather all your ingredients and cut up the peppers, onions and the other veggies you want to use.



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chopped veggies



Put the Quinoa and water in a saucepan and stir for a bit. Bring to a boil and cook until all the water is evaporated.



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While that is cooking heat your saute pan and add the butter (medium heat – don’t let it burn). Once the butter is soft put in the peppers, onions, and the other veggies you want to use, the oregano and the salt. Stir gently and saute for about 5 -7  mins until soft but still a little crunchy. At this point your Quinoa should be just about done. Take off the stove, cover the pot and let it dry down but stay warm.



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Add the saute to the Quinoa and mix well. That’s it!



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I paired mine with some salmon and grilled broccoli and cauliflower. Absolutely delicious.



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Prep Time: 7 mins

Cook Time: 10 – 15 mins

Serves: 2 – (double ingredients for 4-6 servings)


Cabbage Stir Fry

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My local health food store Savananda has one of the best hot bars in my town. On one of my many visits I noticed they had a great Stir Fry Cabbage on the menu. Of course the colorful mixture of the green and red cabbage caught my eye and I asked the server if I could try a little. It was so delicious that I just had to have the recipe. Well – the ingredients were there but not the method. The server was nice enough to give me a few pointers on how to prepare it and I looked online as well. I came up with a unique and easy method for this dish which is great alone or easily paired with chicken or pork. I’m looking forward to making a mu shu pork dish with it later on in the week. Definitely give this one a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


Ingredients
1 head of Red cabbage
1 head of Green cabbage
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cloves Garlic – minced
Dash of Red pepper flakes (optional – I put in a dash of ground pepper too)
1 tsp Maple Syrup
2 tbl Tamari (Soy Sauce)
1 tbl Sunflower Oil


Directions

Get all your ingredients together and cut up the cabbage. Add Salt and a dash of red pepper if wanted. Blend everything together.



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Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat.

Stir in the garlic and cook for a few seconds until it begins to brown.



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Stir in the cabbage until it is coated in oil; cover the wok, and cook for 1 minute.



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Pour in the soy sauce and syrup and stir for another minute. Increase the heat to high, and continue stirring so everything blends nicely.



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Cook until the cabbage is tender, about 2 minutes more. You very quickly have a beautiful blend of nicely favored cabbage. Plate it and serve immediately…enjoy!



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Prep Time: 6 mins

Cook Time: 5 mins

Serves: 2 – 4


Southern Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits Plate



While I was Twitter the other day my favorite chef posted about how he made Shrimp and Grits for the whole Firehouse and it got me to thinking…I have been in Atlanta for 8 years and have never had this dish. What kind of southern transplant was I??…FOR SHAME.

So of course I had to rectify THAT immediately. I had been told that this dish is very easy to make so I wasn’t too worried. Turns out I still had some grits in my cupboard and the rest of the ingredients in the fridge so the only thing I needed really was the shrimp.

I have to say this was delicious. Perfect for breakfast or brunch. The only thing missing was a glass of Mimosa…oh well next time..and there will definitely be a next time…Enjoy!



Ingredients

4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used Asiago cheese which stills has that sharp flavor)
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced



Directions

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

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Rinse shrimp and pat dry.



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Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well.



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In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.



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Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.



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Prep Time: 15 mins (tip) you can prep this the night before to make cooking faster
Cook Time: 20 mins

Serves 4


Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops with Mint

Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint


I love lamb and eat it at least once a week. Imagine my glee when I came across this great recipe for Moroccan lamb chops at Williams Sonoma that I could finish in the slow cooker! Bonus: One of my best friends just got a job at William Sonoma so now I will be privy to all the sales and new products. I will share my finds with everyone of course.

This is one of the easiest lamb recipes that I have found so far and it tastes absolutely delicious. The mint adds a wonderful flavor that doesn’t overpower the meat. This can be served with rice, potatoes, salad or any green veggie. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Enjoy!



Ingredients

1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 lb. (2 kg.) lamb shoulder chops, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) thick

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. paprika

2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) beef broth

Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) green olives, pitted if desired

1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g.) minced fresh mint



Method

On a large plate, stir together the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Coat the lamb chops evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture. In a large fry pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the lamb chops, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint

Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the fry pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with the cumin, paprika and reserved flour mixture and saute briefly, just until fragrant.


Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint

Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint



Pour in the broth and lemon juice. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the contents of the pan over the lamb.



Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint

Cover and cook on the high setting for 3-4 hours or the low setting for 6-8 hours.



Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint



The lamb should be very tender. About 1 hour before the lamb is done, add the olives. When the lamb is ready, transfer it to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Skim any fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the mint. Spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve.



Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops w/Mint



Serves 6-8.


Grilled Butter Shrimp

butter shrimp



Normally you can find some really great shrimp recipes with little effort. I found one that even included a nice rice dish that can be paired with broccoli, corn or salad. I was a little concerned about the butter at first but it actually finalizes the dish and you can control how much you use which I liked. I made the rice but of course you can just top the shrimp on a salad – totally versatile. The spices are just right so you don’t have to add to much dressing if you go the salad route. It seems like a lot of steps but actually it goes along fairly quickly. This dish is very easy to make and total cook time was only bout 30 minutes.
Bonus: there will be leftovers!


Ingredients
1 cup Basmati Rice (or your favorite rice)
2 cups Water (quantity may vary depending on the rice cooker)
7 fresh Mushrooms (medium to large size)
9 raw Shrimp (large size), deveined and shelled with tails on (I made a little over a pound)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoons Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
¼ teaspoon Salt
4 tablespoons Butter
2 whole Green Onions
*1 lime sliced (optional)



DIRECTIONS:
Rinse the rice and add to the rice cooker.
Slice the mushrooms and add in with the rice. Then add the water, and set to cook (I added a little salt).

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butter shrimp
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While the rice is cooking, start the grill on medium heat.

In a medium size bowl add the raw shrimp, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt and olive oil.

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Mix the shrimp in with the spices and olive oil until they’re completely coated. Set aside.

Cut the green onions into small pieces and set aside.

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Add the shrimp on the grill and cook on both sides until done (about 3 to 4 minutes per side for large shrimp).

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Remove the shrimp from the grill and set aside for just a moment while browning the butter.

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Add the butter to a small skillet and stir as it melts.

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Continue stirring.

When it turns a golden color remove the skillet from the heat.

At about this time the rice should be done.

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Add half of the brown butter to the rice and gently mix it together.

Add the rice to a serving dish (or individual serving dishes).

Top with the shrimp.

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Drizzle the remaining brown butter over the shrimp and rice.

Top with the pieces of green onion and fresh lime juice.

Serve with a side of veggies or a salad.



Servings: 3
Cook time: 30 minutes


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