Category: Uncategorized

Baked Shrimp Scampi

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There’s not a lot to complain about a dish that has fresh shrimp cooked in butter, wine, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, herbs and lots of garlic. 

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While these flavor combinations are nothing new, I think that the cooking style makes this dish a bit unique.  Instead of sautéing the shrimp is butter and then building the sauce thereafter, this recipe has everything bake in one dish.  Not only does it make prep and clean up so much easier, but I also love the idea of everyone getting their own little casserole dish as well. Of course, if you don’t have individual serving dishes, feel free to use one big one and just spoon out each individual portion, and it will still be great!

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The crispy panko crumbs that I used here also add a nice textural contrast to the shrimp.  Plus, the crazy quantity of herbs and garlic I use truly permeate the shrimp and the resulting flavor is amazing!

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I served the shrimp with kale chips and sweet potatoes, but I think broccoli and pasta cooked in a light butter/lemon sauce would be a great nod to a more traditional scampi preparation.

Baked Shrimp Scampi – Serves 4 (inspired by this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs 12-15 count shrimp (try and find shrimp from the US instead of Thailand if possible – better for the planet and taste amazing!), pealed and deveined
  • 3 TB EVOO
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 8 TB butter (one stick), at room temperature
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 medium shallots, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I like it spicy, perhaps start with 1/4 tsp)
  • Juice and zest from one lemon (about 1 tsp of zest plus 2-3 TB lemon juice)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • S+P to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile, prep the shrimp – peel, devein, remove the tail and butterfly it.  Butterflying the shrimp just means cutting a slit down the back so that the shrimp can sit flat in the baking dish.

In a medium sized bowl, add the EVOO, white wine and salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of each) and whisk together.  Add the shrimp and marinate for 10-15 minutes.

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While the shrimp is marinating, its time to make the butter mixture.  Add the butter, garlic, shallots, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, panko and egg yolks, salt and pepper (another 1/2 tsp of each) to another medium bowl and stir to combine. You want to make sure you get everything evenly distributed, because while the butter will melt in the oven, you don’t want there to be one area with lots of red pepper flakes or garlic, and another with nothing.

After the shrimp has marinated, line them around the edge of the baking dish, tail side up. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp.

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Top each baking dish with an equal amount of the butter/panko mixture.

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Cook for 10-15 minutes until the shrimp have curled and are pink.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

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I think its safe to say that every family has their own version of chicken noodle soup.  For being such a simple soup, its shocking how many different varieties there are.  Some people add matzo balls to their soup, others go without.  Some people prefer chicken breasts while others like dark meat.  There are also a wide range of noodles used in chicken noodle soup. I have seen everything from thick egg noodles to the thin vermicelli kind.  Not surprisingly, I think what makes my (or more accurately, my Mom’s) chicken noodle soup so special is the noodles used.

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Kluski noodles are polish egg noodles that have great taste and texture. I use the New Mill brand because that’s what is available at my local grocery store (and my Mom has always used it), but if you can’t find New Mill, any Kluski noodles will do.  I actually could not find Kluski noodles when I lived in Boston and often had to stockpile them and bring them back if I wanted to satisfy a chicken noodle soup craving.  I think their accessibility in Chicago is thanks to the the large Polish population.  But even if your grocery store doesn’t sell them, they are available on Amazon.  I think it’s worth the extra effort to try and find them because it really elevates your run of the mill chicken noodle soup.

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I used chicken thigh meat in this batch of soup because that’s what I had in the freezer.  My Mom typically uses a combo of drumsticks and thighs.  Whatever you choose, I recommend using dark meat because it stands up well to a simmering for a long time in the broth.  Instead of getting tough like chicken breast does, dark meat gets more tender as time goes on.  And if you are worried about calories – don’t be! Boneless, skinless thighs are pretty comparable to chicken breast from a caloric stand point.

I think this soup is perfect for a cold winter night, but I have also found myself craving it in the middle of the summer too.  It is just that tasty.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Noodle Soup – Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 ounce bag of Kluski noodles (or other egg noodle)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs dark chicken meat of your choice
  • 3 cups chopped carrots
  • 3 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water (you can use all chicken broth if your prefer)
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

Directions:

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Combine chicken broth, water, and chicken meat in a large pot or dutch oven and cook together on medium high heat for 30-45 minutes.  At the point, you will want to taste the broth for seasoning.  I found that my broth needed both salt and pepper so I added it then.  Add the chopped carrots and celery and cook for another 15 minutes.  Add the noodles and parsley and cook until noodles are soft and tender (but not mushy), approximately 10-15 minutes.  Taste again for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

At this point, my Mom would simply ladle up the noodles, veggies and broth and place a piece of meat in each bowl.  I thought it was more manageable to break apart the chicken pieces a bit.  You definitely want there to big pieces of chicken, so don’t shred it too fine.

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Allow to cool slightly before serving because it will be steaming right out of the pot(taking pictures allowed the soup to cool just enough!).  Enjoy for dinner and then ladle up the leftovers for lunch the next day as I did.  That reminds me, I better go heat up my soup!