Restaurant Recipes

How To Make Taco’s

9D925FF1-FDEB-42E1-AD4B-CE0849B00DF6Yesterday was Taco Tuesday at our house. Yum!!! Even my picky son, who hardly ever eats anything, ate 4 taco’s yesterday evening for dinner! I was surprised but so thrilled. Upon going to bed, he told me that this was the best dinner ever and that’s something this momma was so glad to hear! I think we may make Taco Tuesdays a weekly thing at our house now since it proved to be such a hit with my family. The best part about a taco dinner is how easy and fast everything is to prepare so it is perfect for a weeknight dinner. I think the fun part is everyone making their own perfect taco so this is also a great dinner to make if you have company coming over. This is not really a recipe because everyone knows pretty much what a taco consists of, this is just my step by step tutorial for those that reached out to me asking about how I make the meat filling and stuff. I hope you make next Tuesday a taco Tuesday too! 😉

How To Make Taco’s {Serves 6-8 people}

Ingredients:

  • 2 LB Ground Beef
  • 2 (1.25 oz) Packets (Ortega Brand) Taco Seasoning Mix (I use the 40% Less Sodium)
  • Taco Sauce (Mild) (Optional, to top)
  • 2 Boxes of Taco Shells (13-15 Count) *I like the stand & stuff shells, so much easier
  • 1 Large tomatoe
  • Romaine Lettuce (Or regular lettuce)
  • 1 (8oz) Block Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
  • 1 Container Sour Cream (Optional, to top)
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil (For Sauté)

9CEEC5C6-CF37-48C2-A86F-6B8066A6C96FDirections:

1) Do all the prep work first. Wash and chop up the Romain lettuce, set aside in a plate. Wash and finely chop up the tomato, set aside in a plate. Shredd the block of Cheddar Cheese, set aside in a plate.

2) In a saucepan on Med-High heat add 2 TBS Olive Oil. When the oil heats up, add the ground beef, break it into pieces using a spatula.

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3) Add the packets of Taco Seasoning. You need 1 packet of seasoning for 1 pound of ground beef. I use Ortega brand 40% less sodium packets bc I don’t like my meat to be too salty and using regular packets of seasoning in my opinion make it too salty. Mix thoroughly and cook until the meat has browned and is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). Meanwhile bake the taco shells on 350 degrees in the oven for 5-7 mins until hot (be careful not to burn them).

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4) Set up a “taco station” on the table with all the toppings in plates, the meat, the taco shells, taco sauce, and sour cream.

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Everyone creates their own perfect taco! Yum!!!

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Mediterranean Style Jasmine Rice

IMG_0463This Mediterranean style jasmine rice is literally the BEST rice I have ever tried! I don’t throw the word best around lightly you now. I tried it at a Mediterranean restaurant once and got hooked so I knew I had to recreate the recipe at home and I did just that. This rice pairs perfectly with any kind of meat, but especially with a yummy rack of lamb. Stay tuned for that recipe next and you will have the perfect Mediterranean style dinner!

Mediterranean Style Jasmine Rice {Yields 6 Cups rice abt 4 Servings}:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Uncooked, Long Grain, Jasmine Rice
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth (I used the Better The Bouillon Paste and it worked great!)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin Spice

1) Wash the rice thoroughly and set aside. If using Better Then Bouillon chicken paste instead of Chicken Broth, in a small sauce pan boil 3 cups of water. When the water comes to a boil, add the Better Then Bouillon paste (3 teaspoons) and mix well, to make a hearty chicken broth and set aside.

2) In a medium sized pot, add the butter, garlic, cumin, and turmeric. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the garlic has softened and spices give off a yummy fragrance.

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3) Add the dry rice to the pot and stir to combine for about 3 minutes to slightly toast the rice.

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4) Add the chicken broth (or Better Then Bouillon broth) and 1 bay leaf to the pot. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil.IMG_0461

5) Cover with lid and simmer on LOW heat for about 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked through. I opened the pot and mixed the rice 2-3 times to keep it from sticking to the pot.

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6) Fluff with a fork and your rice is ready to serve! This rice reheats well. IMG_0463

 

The Best Home Made Salsa

IMG_0441This is a recipe for the best home made salsa! I found the basic recipe on google and just changed a few things up to my liking. Not only is this the best tasting home made salsa, it is also the easiest to make and yields a big batch! So it is perfect for entertaining or bringing to an event. I made a batch for a cook out a few weeks ago and for a party recently, both times it was a big hit! Nearly all of it was gone. Keep in mind you will need 2 bags of tortilla chips for this much salsa. I like to get the scoop tortilla chips because they are so fun to dunk and fill up! Once you try this delicious home made salsa, you will never go back to store bought salsa again!

The Best Home Made Salsa {Yields about 12 Cups Salsa}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 oz) Can peeled tomatoes
  • 2 (oz) can Rotel Brand Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Mild)
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Small Onion (or 1/2 of a big onion)
  • Juice from 1/2 Lime (1 whole lime, if a smaller lime)
  • 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin

IMG_0438Directions: 

1) Do all the prep work first. Open the can of tomatoes and tomatoes with green chilies. Wash and finely cut the cilantro leaves. Chop and desead the jalapeño pepper. Chop the onion. Finely mince garlic clove.

2) In 2 parts blend or purée everything in a food processor. Puree the can of tomatoes, can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies, cilantro, garlic, onion, and jalapeño pepper. You can do this in a food processor or blender. I used a blender, and pulsed each batch 7 times for a quick second but feel free to make yours a chunkier consistancy if you’d like.

3) Pour puréed mixture into a big bowl (with a lid). Add the lime juice, salt, sugar, and cumin spice. Mix and refrigerate for at least a few hours for best taste!

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Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

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Summer Squash Soup

IMG_0416Nothing tastes more like summer then this summer squash soup! I got the idea for this recipe after trying this soup at Dean & Deluca restaurant and getting absolutely hooked to this soup so I knew I had to recreate this yummy recipe at home! To my surprise, this soup tastes better on the second day because all the yummy flavors get to blend overnight. For a vegan version or less calories, you can omit the heavy cream but I highly suggest adding it because it gives the soup an extra creamy flavor. This recipe is perfect for busy summer days because it’s the easiest squash soup recipe ever, yet the most delicious so it’s a win win!

Summer Squash Soup {Serves 8}

Ingredients:

  • 2.5-3 LB Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 21 Seasoning, Mrs.Dash, or any Salt-Free seasoning

IMG_0415Instructions:

1) Do the prep work first. Wash  all the veggies. Peel the squash, chop it into large cubes. Chop the bell pepper into cubes. Chop the celery and onion into cubes. Peel the garlic cloves and chop in halves.

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2) In a medium pot, add all the cut veggies, sugar and salt. Mix and add enough filtered water to cover all the veggies. (About 6 Cups water). Bring to a boil on high heat.

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3) Once the water boils, put the lid on the pot, and let is simmer on the Low setting for about 35-40 minutes, until all the veggies are tender.

4) Once the veggies cook through, add the veggies and water to a blender and pure to a smooth consistency. I had to divide the soup into 3 batches to blend it all. If you have a hand held immersion blender, that would be much easier.

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5) Transfer the soup pure to a big pot. Add the heavy cream, seasoning, and mix.

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6) Laddle the soup into bowls and enjoy! If you’d like to warm the soup up more, just heat it up on medium heat. Tastes just as great, if not better, on the second day!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

IMG_0120This tomato basil soup is creamy and dreamy! One of our new favorite family recipes. We get this soup all the time at Dean & Deluca restaurant and I really wanted to recreate the same tasting soup at home, so I did just that! This recipe requires very minimal ingredients so it is budget friendly and the best part is how fast it is to cook. With prep work and total cook time it only takes about 45 minutes! I made this soup for our friends and for a ladies night event at my house and both times it was a hit. Even my picky 5 year old loves this soup, with oyster crackers of course! Mmmm this soup is perfect for the cold and windy weather we have today! Enjoy! 🙂

Creamy Tomato 🍅 Basil 🌿 Soup {Serves 4-5}

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Tomatoes (Peeled & De-seeded)
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Cups Tomato Juice (Organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil Leaves Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil Leaves (And more to garnish soup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Oyster Crackers (optional, to top)

IMG_0116Directions:

1) Peel the tomatoes using a peeler. Cut them into 4 and de-seed them. Put tomatoes into a medium pot, add in the 4 cups of tomato juice. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes.

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2) Transfer the cooked tomato and tomato juice mixture into a blender. Blend until it turns into a puree/smoothie consistency.

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3) Transfer the puréed tomato mixture back to the pot.

4) Turn the heat up to low-medium (I did 4). Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Add the Italian Seasoning, Basil Leaves Spice and Dried Basil Leaves. Then add 2 Tablespoons butter. Sprinkle salt/pepper according to your preference, you don’t need much salt because the tomato juice already has salt in it. Mix, everything together and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, don’t let it come to a boil.

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5) Serve hot, with Oyster Crackers on the side. Sprinkle each bowl of soup with a little more dried basil leaves.

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Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

img_0083These teriyaki chicken thighs are a great option if you are craving some chinese takeout but also want to eat healthy too. I came up with this recipe idea myself and made it for dinner when we had friends over. Needless to say, they turned out great! You know The food is good, when people reach for seconds, that’s the best compliment to any chef! These teriyaki chicken thighs are super delicious, restaurant quality and best part is how easy and fast this recipe is. Just make sure you give it at least 8 hours or over night to marinate for best teriyaki flavor! Enjoy!

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs {Serves 4-6}

Ingredients:

  • 8 Chicken Thighs (Organic, Bone in, Skin on)
  • Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt, Montreal Chicken Seasoning, Meat Tenderizer Seasoning
  • Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce (1/2 Cup)
  • Korean Teriyaki Sauce (About 1/2 Cup)

 

Directions:

1) Wash the chicken thighs thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels. On a paper plate or sheet of foil, season both sides of each chicken thigh one at a time. *Keep in mind the Teriyaki marinade and sauce both have salt in them so be careful with the salt and only use a sprinkle of salt. On one side only of the chicken thighs. Transfer seasoned chicken thighs to a big bowl.

2) Pour 1/2 cup of the Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce over the seasoned chicken thighs. Then add 2 Tablespoons of the Korean Teriyaki Sauce also. Mix well. Cover and let it marinate in fridge over night or for at least 8 hours.

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3) When you are ready to cook Teriyaki chicken thighs: Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Cover a baking dish with foil, spray the foil with an oil spray. Put the chicken thighs on the foil, leaving space in between each thigh. Bake on 350 Degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

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4) When chicken thighs are done baking, take them out of the oven. Brush the Korean Teriyaki Sauce to top each chicken thigh then stick back in the oven on the Broil setting (500 Degrees) and let it bake for about 5 minutes, this makes the skin very golden and perfectly crispy.

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Great served with rice or baked potatoes and a fresh salad!

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How To Cook Lobster Tails

unnamed-38947This is a simple step by step recipe for how to cook lobster tails. Besides crab legs, this is my favorite thing to eat! I was very nervous cooking them myself the first time because I thought it must be some long and complicated process, however lobster tails are by far the easiest things to cook and so quick. I came up with this recipe myself, and the lobster tails turn out perfect every time! I like to pair these with cilantro garlic green beans and simple mashed potatoes (you can find both of these recipes on my blog). My husband and I cooked this meal together for a Valentine’s Day date at home! We had a wonderful evening cooking together, enjoying the meal and good conversation, a bottle of our favorite wine, and ending the night by cuddling and relaxing on the couch watching a romantic comedy. We had a great Valentine’s Day date for sure!!!

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Lobster Tails {I made 10 (4.5 oz) Lobster Tails to serve 2 ppl, 5 each}

Ingredients: 

  • Lobster Tails
  • 1/2 pot Water
  • Spices: 1 tsp Steak Seasoning, 1 tsp Mrs.Dash (or other salt free seasoning), 1 tsp Salt, 1/8 tsp Black Pepper, 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt, 1/2 tsp Montreal Chicken Seasoning, 1/4 tsp Dry Basil Leaves, 1 tsp Dry Parsley Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Stick Butter (to melt and use for dip)
  • 1/2 Lemon cut into wedges (to squeeze into butter dip)

unnamed-3546Directions:

1) Wash the lobster tails thoroughly under cold running water and set aside. Measure out the spices and set aside in small container. Lobster tails cook fast so first prepare the other food. We did mashed potatoes and cilantro garlic green beans (found on my blog) and when this was almost done cooking I started lobster tails.

2) Set a large pot, filled half way with water on High and bring to a rolling boil. When it comes to a boil, add the spices and bay leaves and let it boil for 5 minutes. Set a small pot with the stick of butter on a different burner to melt the butter completely, on medium heat, then turn off and leave on hot burner.

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3) Lower the heat to Med.-High ( 7.5 ) Throw in the lobster tails and cook them for 7-8 minutes. They will turn red the instant they are in the hot boiling water. When they are done cooking, put the lobster tails in a strainer, and drain out all the water.

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4) Serve hot in a big container or bowl with hot melted butter in small containers, and lemon wedges. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the butter, this is a great dip for the lobster tails! Enjoy!!!

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Look at this deliciousness!!! Mmmm Yum!!!

 

Wonton Soup

dscn4271-2This is the best Wonton soup that my hubby and I have ever tried. I have literally been making this for dinner 3 nights in a row now. It is so tasty I could probably eat it every single day lol. It took me a lot of experimenting and finally, through trial and error I came up with this wonderful recipe. Surprisingly, this Wonton soup is very easy and quick to make. Perfect for busy weekday evenings and great to make ahead as you can make and freeze the wonton’s and make the broth any time you are ready to cook the soup. This is the perfect comfort food for such cold evenings as now, delicious and nutritious! The best part is you can find all these ingredients at any grocery store, so no need to go to international or Asian stores. I am excited to share this recipe with you all!

Wonton Soup {Makes 2 servings}:

Ingredients:

For the soup

  • 2 3/4 Cups Water
  • 2 3/4 Cups Chicken Stock OR Water with 3 teaspoons of Better Then Bullion Chicken Flavored broth paste (That’s what I always use).
  • 2 Green Onions, Cut in halves
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Cut thin
  • 2 to 3 inches Fresh Ginger, Peeled and Cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • Green Onion & Cilantro (For Garnish)

For Wontons

  • .50 LB Ground Turkey
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry Cooking Wine
  • 2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 2 Green Onions, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Pressed
  • Wonton Wrappers. I use the Nasoya Brand, (Makes 25 Wontons) for 2 servings but there is enough to make the soup twice (About 50 Won Ton Wrappers) in the pack. I bought the Wonton wrappers in the fridge at our local grocery store by the veggies/salad.
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

dscn4284Directions:

1) Start making the broth first. Make the Better then bullion chicken broth in a pot. You do that by boiling 2 3/4 Cups water and adding the 3 teaspoons of Better Then Bullion Chicken base paste. Turn burner off. Then add the other 2 3/4 Cups water, green onions, ginger, garlic, Soy Sauce and set on High heat until it comes to a boil. When it comes to a boil, close the pot with a lid and cook on Low setting for 15 minutes, then turn off. Let it stand so flavors can blend. *Mean while start working on Wontons.

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2) To make wontons, first mix together all the wonton meat filling ingredients.

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3) Set up a wonton making station. I use a sheet of foil. Put all the wonton dough sheets on the sheet of foil. Have a small cup with water. And a brush (optional) to wet edges of wonton sheet with water. This will make cleaning a much faster process afterwards!

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4) How to make wontons: Put 1 teaspoon meat filling onto wonton dough sheet. Wet the edges with water using the brush (or your finger). Fold the sheet into a triangle. Wet the ends with a dab of water using your finger and stick both ends together, sealing tighly. Set wontons aside, I use a paper plate for easy cleaning.

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5) Open the pot with the broth. Take out the green onion, ginger, and garlic using a slotted spoon and discard. Bring the broth to a boil on High heat. When it comes to a boil, throw in the wontons one by one carefully, then gently mix so they don’t stick. Turn heat down to 7 and cook for 10 minutes.

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Garnish each bowl of soup individually with finely cut cilantro and green onion. Now the Wonton soup is ready to eat!

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Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

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This Chicken Alfredo Pasta is a new favorite in our house. It takes very little prep work and bakes in the oven for about 45 minutes. I got the idea for this recipe from my friend Natasha. Shout out to Natasha Babinov for this amazing recipe! She made this dish for dinner once when we came over, and I knew I had to get the recipe because it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.Tasted like a restaurant dish! If you are looking for the easiest recipe, this is probably it right here. It’s also very versatile so you can add or remove anything you’d like to it and if you are looking for a healthier option you can go with gluten free pasta. I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas. Enjoy!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta {Serves 8-10}

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Rotini Pasta (Or Pasta of your choice)
  • 2 LB Chicken Breast (Boneless, Skinless, I use organic)
  • 1 Package of Cooked, Frozen Broccoli (1LB 6 oz, or 22 oz.)
  • 1 Can Prego Alfredo Sauce (29 oz. or 2 cans of 14.5 oz.)
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (For Frying Chicken Breast)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/4-1/2 Cup)

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Directions:

1) Wash the chicken breasts and chop them up into small cubes. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and seasonings of choice. I used McCormick Montreal chicken seasoning. Set a pan on Med-High heat (I did 7.5) Add the olive oil and cook the chicken until it’s done. Meanwhile take the frozen broccoli out of freezer, and boil a pot of water for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions

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2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When chicken is done cooking, set it aside. When pasta is done cooking, drain water from it and add the butter to it. Take a big glass baking tray and put the pasta and chicken in. Cut the broccoli florets into small pieces and add into the tray. Pour the Alfredo sauce all over the pasta into the glass baking dish and mix very well to incorporate everything.

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3) Bake on 350 for 30-45 minutes. In the very end add the shredded Parmesan cheese and mix the Alfredo. This dish reheats well in a pan on Med-Low heat setting.

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Shrimp Salad

DSCN4076This Shrimp Salad recipe was created by me but inspired by a salad I had at a restaurant called Canyon’s, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It was the perfect meal for me after a long, hot, exhausting day of exploring Tweetsie Railroad (a wild west theme park) in the beautiful mountains of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I had to recreate it at home and I did. The restaurant version was great but this home made recipe is even better, so much more flavor and you can add as much shrimp as you’d like. I love shrimp! And this shrimp salad takes it to a whole notha’ level (lol I know I’m corny). So fast and easy to prepare and definitely a summer favorite in our house now. I could literally eat this salad every single day! We ate it as a meal for dinner, but you could also make it as a side dish/salad. You can omit the shrimp if you are not a fan, and add anything else you want to it and get creative. Please don’t forget to share your idea’s with me, I would love to hear them!

Shrimp Salad {Serves 2 as meal, 4 as side}

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 package Grape Tomatoes
  • 2 Cucumbers or 1 long English Cucumber
  • 1 to 2 LB Shrimp, Raw (I used 2 LB as we love our shrimp!)
  • Dressing of choice (I used Marzetti Brand Classic Ranch Dressing)
  • Croutons of choice (I used Texas Toast Cheese & Garlic Croutons)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • Lawry’s Herb & Garlic marinade sauce

Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Peel & devine the shrimp, rinse through with cold water and let dry. Wash all the veggies and chop everything up into one big bowl. I chopped the lettuce into small squares. The grape tomatoes in halves. The cucumber in fourths and then chopped into pieces.

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2) Set a pan on Med-High heat (I did a 6) add some olive oil. When the oil heats up, add the shrimp. Add salt/pepper to shrimp and mix. When the shrimp looks done, lower the heat to low (I did 2) and add some Lawry’s Herb & Garlic marinade sauce, I added about 2 tablespoons and 2 pressed garlic cloves. Simmer with the lid on for a few minutes until shrimp is well cooked through. Turn off heat and keep shrimp hot.

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3) When you are ready to eat, add the shrimp into the salad bowel. Mix gently. Each person can add dressing and croutons to salad individually to their liking. Enjoy!

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