Friday’s Flavors: Baked Coconut Shrimp (Keto And Paleo Friendly)

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Coconut Shrimp are one of those tropical treats that are hard to resist. But they’re breaded. And deep fried. And restaurants usually use sweetened coconut, so they’re sugary.

Then those dipping sauces! Orange Marmalade, Mango Sauce, Pina Colada Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce . . . you get the picture. All are delicious, but quickly turn a treat into a dietary disaster.

But I’m all about finding healthy ways to still have the foods I want, so I created this recipe for Baked Coconut Shrimp using unsweetened coconut flakes and almond flour instead of bread crumbs. I’ll be honest – it’s not as good as deep fried, sugar coated shrimp, but it is tasty, and best of all, it’s guilt free and kind to your body. So, here it is.

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds shrimp, shells removed (you can leave tails on if you want)

eggs (I’ve found you need 1 egg for every 10 shrimp)

almond flour

unsweetened coconut flakes (you’ll use most of an 8 ounce bag)

garlic powder

onion powder

Old Bay Seasoning

Preparation:

In order of use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray both sides of an oven safe rack and the cooking side of a baking sheet with oil.

I work in batches because when you use an egg wash, things tend to get clumpy fast, so I use one egg at a time and mix the seasoned flour twice. You can add more coconut as you go along.

In one bowl, beat an egg.

In a second bowl, mix your almond flour with the garlic powder, onion powder, and Old Bay to taste.

In a third, fill with coconut flakes.

Dip your shrimp in the almond flour mix, then the egg wash, letting excess drip off, then cover in coconut. Place on the rack on top of the baking sheet so the shrimp can bake from both sides.

When all your shrimp are coated, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes for large shrimp (16-20 per pound), adjusting time accordingly for smaller or larger shrimp. If you want the shrimp equally crisp on both sides, you can flip them halfway through, but I’ve found you lose most of your coconut this way. They cook just fine (and it’s less work) if you don’t flip them.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. (I enjoy mine with a mustard based sauce.)

And there you have it! Coconut Shrimp with a fraction of the calories and fat, no fry oils, no sugar, no gluten, and no yeast.

If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Onion Crusted Grouper

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Onion Crusted Grouper (Pictured With Sautéed Spinach and Leeks)

My husband had Onion Crusted Grouper at a restaurant last year and thought ‘we’ could do better ‘ourselves’. I knew he wasn’t going to help, but challenge accepted. I did a little research, learned some new things – sour cream on seafood? Yeah. Turns out it’s a secret ingredient in plenty of seafood dips and dishes. Who knew? – and created this recipe which I was reluctant to taste at first but found surprisingly delicious. I’ve made it a half dozen times now and it’s quickly become a favorite!

A tasty meal for two in under 30 minutes!

Ingredients:

Baked, not fried, no MSG.

1 Grouper fillet, about 1 pound

1/3 cup cream cheese (I like chive flavored)

1 tbsp sour cream

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 package crispy onions

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with spray oil. Rinse and dry Grouper fillet.

In a measuring cup or bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, onion powder and garlic powder together until well blended.

Spread a thin coat of the mixture on one side of the fillet, flip, then spread the remaining mixture on the second side. You want a nice layer of the mixture, but if you apply it too thickly it will melt your onion crust off while baking.

Crush the crispy onions and coat the top side of the Grouper in a thick layer.

Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, adjusting time for a thicker/larger or smaller piece of fish.

And that’s it! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Easy (But Tasty) Mussels

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Mussels are one of the foods that I’ve found a lot of people like to eat, but tend to only do so when dining out – they want someone else to cook them. But it’s SO easy to do it yourself! This recipe works whether you want them plain or (if like me) you want to serve them over pasta!

Ingredients:

2 pounds mussels

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup white wine

1 large shallot, chopped

8 large cloves garlic, chopped

4 large cloves garlic, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

2 large handfuls spinach

pasta

parmesan cheese

Preparation:

I think what turns a lot of people off about cooking mussels is the debearding, but it really isn’t that hard and doesn’t take that long. Rinse each mussel individually, making sure the shells are clean. As you do that, grab any whiskers that protrude from the seam of the shell and tug back and forth until they come free.

(Some people soak the mussels for 20 minutes in cold water to get them to release any sand they have in their shells – I’ve never done this and have never had any issues.)

Peel garlic. Chop shallots and some of the garlic. Add olive oil, butter and wine to a cooking container with a lid (braising pan, stock pot, large frying pan, etc.). Add shallots and chopped garlic. When shallots start becoming pale and translucent, add crushed garlic, salt and pepper.

Add mussels, stirring to coat with the mix, then cover. After a couple minutes, when the shells start opening, stir again and recover.

Mussels generally only take about 5 minutes to cook. If you decide you want to serve your mussels over pasta, I suggest adding some spinach for the last minute of cooking. And that’s it! Time to serve!

If you’re a cheese person, a little freshly grated parmesan compliments the flavor nicely.

(Mussels water down the mixture, making it more of a mild flavored broth than a sauce. I think it works nicely over pasta, but if you want something thicker and more flavorful, remove the mussels and spinach, add a little more wine, butter and garlic and reduce.)

If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Check back next Friday for more Foodie Flavors!

Breaded Dijon Shrimp & Lemon Pasta

wp-image-1429283273jpg.jpegI’m a huge fan of pasta, but my husband isn’t, so I’m always trying to devise new recipes that will bring him over to the carb side. This flavorful meal seems to have done the trick.

As usual, I don’t measure ingredients, but rather eyeball everything, which isn’t very helpful when trying to instruct another person how to replicate the recipe, but unlike baking, this is not an exact science. My instructions are for two people, using about 20 medium shrimp.

wp-image-1424641674jpg.jpegwp-image-957787449jpg.jpeg

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place a pot of water on to boil the pasta. In a bowl, melt some butter (I use about a half tablespoon), then mix with about 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard. On a plate, mix breadcrumbs (I prefer Panko style) with some Old Bay, garlic salt, and shaker Parmesan cheese. Dredge the shrimp in the Dijon wp-image-1746117122jpg.jpegmixture, then the breadcrumbs, then place on a baking sheet sprayed with PAM. (TIP – I use my wp-image-675219532jpg.jpegright hand to put the shrimp in the Dijon mixture and then lay the shrimp on the bread wp-image-1895801259jpg.jpegcrumbs. I use my left hand to scoop breadcrumbs over the shrimp until covered and to transfer to the baking sheet. This keeps you from getting your hands too clumped up to work with – only one hand is ‘wet’ and it doesn’t get covered in breadcrumbs.) Bake shrimp at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

wp-image-1535423545jpg.jpegWhile the shrimp are baking, clean and slice mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Because 1) I love garlic, and 2) every way you prepare garlic produces a different flavor, I thin slice about 5 cloves and and skin another 5 for crushing in a garlic press. Wash 2 lemons, thin slicing at least half of one to add to the dish, saving the rest for juice.

 
Place pasta in the boiling water to cook. Put about one tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan and melt over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and shallots and crushed garlic, sauteing for 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and another 1/2 wp-image-72976912jpg.jpegtablespoon of butter, stir, and saute for minute. Add lemon juice and sliced lemons, stir, and saute for another 1-2 minutes, until mushrooms look cooked. Add a small ladle (2-3 tablespoons) of the pasta water. At this point I would usually add spinach, but since I made this impromptu this time, I used a jar of artichoke hearts instead. By the time the spinach (or artichoke hearts) are sufficiently wilted, the pasta should be done cooking. Test, then add to sauteed mixture in pan. (HINT – If you go light when you add the pasta water, you can add the pasta straight from the pot without straining and the flavor doesn’t get too diluted – one less dish to wash!). Dish out portions, add shrimp from the oven, and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan. Voila!

(Everyone cooks at their own pace. This recipe takes me between 35-40 minutes from start to finish.)

Fiddle Me This – What’s a Fiddlehead?

IMG_20160607_183621280_HDRMaybe those of you who are Northerners already know the answer to this question, but for those of you who don’t, let me tell you. First, a little back story. At the grocery store, in the produce section, I kept seeing these . . . things. Things that I could only describe at green little alien coils. Things that did not look like anything that I’d want to put in my mouth.

Only . . . that’s not entirely true. Those of you that know me (or have followed my blog for a while) probably know where this is going. Because you know my secret. You know that I have a habit of being strangely drawn towards eating odd things. There’s really no way to explain it. I’ve always been this way. So while a part of me was repulsed by the strange looking things I saw in the grocery store, another part of me knew that it was my destiny to one day eat them.

I didn’t do any research until the day I put them in my cart. After I brought them home. I had no idea that Fiddleheads are part of the Ostrich Fern, or that they’re rather healthy for you. With some exceptions.

IMG_20160607_190957000_HDRI read conflicting reports, but the bottom line is this – if you want to eat Fiddleheads, clean them well, snip the ends, and boil them for about 10 minutes first, which is what I did before I sauteed them in olive oil with a smidge of butter, garlic, shallots, white wine, lemon juice, and a bit of shaker Parmesan cheese. Then I served them over pasta with fresh grated Parmesan. Not only were they good, but my husband asked when we’d get to eat them again before we even finished dinner. (I have fully completed bringing him over to the interesting side of eating new things.) Mission complete.

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