At Mimi's Table

. . . lessons from an older and wiser girl

Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic

at mimi's table orange shrimp broccoli garlic asian quick dish

Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic is one of my favorite types of dishes. Crushed red pepper, orange zest, and garlic lend the simple sauce a bright delicious bite. And it’s so quick and easy! Orange Shrimp any time of the year but is a fabulous dish when your schedule is tight and fast food is not an option. You know, like during the holidays!

I always have a pound or two of raw shrimp (21-25 count) in the freezer. It’s handy for lots of quick meals like Shrimp Tacos or Shrimp Scampi or Shrimp and Grits. Frozen shrimp don’t take long to defrost, either. Measure out what you need for your recipe. I use a scale for an accurate amount. Then I put them in a colander in the sink and run cool water over them until the shrimp are ready. I also use raw shrimp rather than cooked frozen ones, because raw shrimp will absorb all the lovely flavors either as they’re marinated or as you cook them. Garlic and lemon are two of my favorites, but you could use coriander, red pepper flakes, cumin or curry. Seriously delicious!

at mimi's table divider 1 Here are a couple of things to remember when cooking raw shrimp:

  • Rinse shrimp after the shells and tails are removed. Remove the black vein at the top. Most frozen packed shrimp come deveined, but it’s a good idea to check anyway.
  • Once rinsed, place shrimp on a baking sheet lined with paper toweling. Use another layer to pat dry the top. Shrimp should be dried off to get a proper sear.
  • Don’t overcook your shrimp! It’s easy to do. Place shrimp in a hot pan with a little olive oil. As soon as they become translucent, turn them over to cook the other side. Really, 2-3 minutes per side is more than enough. You want a nice crunchy bite, not a rubbery one. It’s a texture thing.

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Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic
 
Quick and light, Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic is perfect for an easy and informal dinner with a little citrus and spice. Yummy!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ pound shrimp (21-25 count) peeled, deveined, and rinsed under cool water
  • 3-4 cups fresh broccoli, separated into florets
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1½ Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how much spice you want, or leave it out
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Sliced green onion for garnish
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • 3 cups Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions
Instructions
  1. Line a sheet pan with a couple of layers of paper toweling. Place shrimp on the toweling in a single layer. Take another sheet of paper toweling and pat the shrimp dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil into the skillet. Add broccoli florets for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is tender. Remove broccoli from the skillet into a bowl or plate and set aside.
  3. Use the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add minced garlic and let sizzle for 30 seconds or until garlic becomes fragrant. Add red pepper flakes, if using. Place shrimp in the skillet in a single layer. (You may have to cook in 2 batches.)
  4. As soon as the shrimp becomes translucent, flip over the cook the other side. Total cooking time is 2-3 minutes per side, at most. Remove cooked shrimp and garlic, pepper flakes to bowl/plate with the broccoli.
  5. Return the skillet to the stove. Add orange juice, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened.
  6. Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons cold water. Add to skillet and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce becomes shiny. Add orange zest.
  7. Pour finished sauce over shrimp and broccoli. Garnish with sliced green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over cooked hot rice.
Notes

 

 

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Peanuts & Kale

at mimi's table spicy sweet potato peanut and kale soup pinch of yum

If you’re like me, we scour the internet looking for delicious recipes that take us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut of making the same dishes over and over again. It’s not like the meals aren’t delicious. But sometimes we just need to rock the boat a bit. I just love Pinterest and visit every day looking for inspiration. Pinterest is a great resource for me where I find great food bloggers and recipes of all sorts like this one:

I was looking around one afternoon and my eyes lit up when I landed on A Pinch of Yum and this wonderful recipe for Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato & Kale. Why don’t I ever think about combinations like this? I’m in the Midwest. I don’t think this way. Sweet potato simmered with sweet curry and turmeric in coconut milk and broth finished with kale – seriously flavorful. There are even chopped peanuts in the recipe that gives this soup a little crunch – awesome!

And healthy! Look at all the good stuff it’s made from. Lindsay’s soup is thickened with creamy peanut butter instead of the usual roux of butter, flour, and milk. I didn’t miss it a bit. Many of us serve soup as a first course to a holiday meal and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Peanuts and Kale would be a stellar beginning.

And quick! Forty minutes from cutting board to table. I always have sweet potatoes on hand during fall and winter, so that was a cinch. I bought a package of frozen, chopped kale at the grocery to make prep even easier.

I didn’t have jalapeno, so I substituted crushed red pepper flakes. Lindsay calls for two cups of water. I used chicken stock instead. She likes to leave her sweet potatoes in bite-sized chunks, and I mashed mine up a bit to make the soup thicker. Try it. You’ll love it!

at mimi's table spicy sweet potato peanut and kale soup pinch of yum

 

It’s cold today in Indiana. Soup’s on!

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Peanuts & Kale
 
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This dish is a warm and comforting, healthy, gluten-free, bowl of happiness. Lindsay at a Pinch of Yum says she was inspired to make this soup based on a West African recipe for groundnut soup. It would be fabulous as a first course for a holiday meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1-14 oz can fire roasted or petite diced tomatoes
  • 1-14oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet curry powder (I use Penzey's)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-10oz bag frozen chopped kale
Instructions
  1. Put olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned.
  2. Add sweet potato cubes and stir until they become lightly browned - 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant - 1 minute.
  4. Add the curry powder and turmeric to the sweet potatoes. Stir and cook until the spices are fragrant, a minute or so.
  5. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, chicken stock, salt, and chopped peanuts. Stir everything together.
  6. Bring the soup to a simmer and continue to cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  7. Add peanut butter and kale. Stir and continue to simmer until the soup is thick and creamy.
Notes
Garnish with extra chopped peanuts and/or chopped fresh cilantro, if you wish. I warmed a loaf of bread to serve alongside. Please see Lindsay's recipe at A Taste of Yum for crockpot or Instapot instructions.

 

Carmen’s Mexican Rice

at mimi's table mexican rice

Yes, this plate of Cheesy Enchiladas in Molé is scrumptous!

However, the star of the show in today’s post is the side dish in the upper right hand corner of the plate: Carmen’s Mexican Rice.

I’ve written frequently about my ex-mother-in-law, Carmen, and how she influenced my Mexican cooking skills and palate. One side I learned very early in the process was Mexican Rice.

It’s a staple of most south-of-the-border meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Served with beans of any sort, rice and beans is a complete protein. In fact, rice and beans is a fabulous vegetarian/gluten-free option. You’ll find recipes for beans and rice all over southern and Latino cooking sites on the web. Such an amazing and healthy combination.

Anyway, I digress.

Many years ago, a younger Mimi, husband, and new baby visited Carmen’s homestead in Grand Island, Nebraska. Her mother still lived in the same house where the family was raised.  Imagine the curiosity aroused when a “gringa” showed up and actually volunteered to help with dinner preparations!

I remember uncles, aunties, and Grandma Garcia (the matriarch) watching over my shoulder as I confidently whipped up a batch of rice to serve for the evening meal. Nods of approval and Spanish spoken praises were received and well-appreciated. Maybe their beloved Anthony hadn’t done so bad after all!

Nevertheless, Mexican Rice is so easy to put together. Carmen’s recipe included onions as the only vegetable. Peas, carrots, green beans were not in the mix. And Mexican Rice is inexpensive. Paired with beans, flour tortillas, grated cheese and a side salad, this dish is very frugal.

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                            Let’s Cook!

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This is my favorite rice cooking vessel. It’s an old Guardian Ware aluminum pot that belonged to one of my grandmothers. Both used Guardian Ware, and I was the lucky recipient of this one.

I like it because it’s sturdy. The walls are thick. The lid fits well and retains heat nicely. Every pot of rice I conjure up comes out perfect no matter the recipe.

If you don’t have one of these handy, rice is successfully cooked in an enameled cast iron pot or a heavy pot will a tight fitting lid.

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at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice oil
at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice browning rice

Before you begin, measure out your ingredients:

  • 1 3/4  cups of low-sodium chicken stock or water mixed with 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and then into chunks
  • 1-2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Over medium-high heat, add 1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil. (I like olive oil.)

Once the oil is hot, add the rice. Begin to stir so all the rice is coated with oil.

Continue to cook until some of the rice is translucent and other kernels are lightly browned.

Add the chopped onion to the rice. Cook for a minute or two until the onions begin to wilt and become lightly browned.

at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice add onion
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Add the chicken stock or water and tomato sauce. Careful – the liquid may steam and spatter.

Add the oregano and garlic salt. Stir to distribute everything. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer and cover.

at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice with onions liquid and spices

Let the rice simmer for 13 minutes. Once it’s done, immediately remove from the heat and set aside to let the rice finish cooking. You can put the pot in a slow oven (185°F) to finish cooking for 15-20 minutes to keep it warm before serving.

You can lift the lid and fluff up the rice, but I usually don’t. My daughter tells me the “money bite” is the rice, onions, and oregano that settles to the top.

Now, If I’d had my act together, I would have remembered to take a picture when the rice was finished. Must have been hungry this day and in a rush to get dinner on the table. Ooops . . .

at mimi's table mexican rice

Carmen’s Mexican Rice is awesome served alongside Huevos Rancheros. My mother used a version in her recipe for Retro Pork Chops with Spanish Rice, Peas, and Potatoes.

My young family would eat leftover rice, refried beans, tamales, and warm tortillas for breakfast. Ah, the good old days when I didn’t have to worry about all those carbs and calories!

Enjoy!

Click here for recipe

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Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Pignoli & Tomatoes

roasted broccoli quinoa salad pignoli tomatoes

What’s the big deal about quinoa?

For one thing, quinoa is a complete protein source.  It is gluten-free.  Quinoa is a good source of fiber (One-half cup of quinoa has 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.).  This mighty super-grain can help offset the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and has a wide range of anti-inflammatory nutrients.  Quinoa is not a cereal grass like wheat, oats, barley, or rye, but is a member of the same food family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets.  One cup of cooked quinoa has a total of 222 calories, with approximately 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat.  WOW! 

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Quinoa is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet!  It may even become an “out-of-this-world” crop.  NASA scientists think quinoa is suitable to be grown in outer space.

 

 

at mimi's table roasted broccoli quinoa salad quinoa

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors:  red, black, white, or mixed (shown above) to compliment almost any main dish, or on its own mixed with other side dish ingredients or salads.  Heck, this salad can be gobbled up on its own!

Give this casserole from my recipe box a try:  QUINOA SPINACH ARUGULA & CHEESE CASSEROLE  YUMMY!!

Any way you look at it, quinoa is one super food health conscious cooks should include in their pantries.  For me, it has the texture of couscous, which I like.  Now that my husband and I are trying to follow a heart-healthy diet, I’m sure we’ll discover fantastic uses for this incredible, edible pseudo-grain.

Let’s make some up for lunch!

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Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Pine Nuts & Tomatoes
 
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As a stand-alone salad or a side dish, Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Pine Nuts and Tomatoes is a healthy alternative to traditional dishes.
Recipe type: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets or use frozen chopped broccoli thawed and well drained
  • 6 ounces sweet grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • ¼ cup + 1Tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, roasted
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Toss the broccoli florets with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Place broccoli on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until broccoli is tender and golden.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
  3. To make the dressing, combine dijon, honey, lemon, garlic, and ¼ cup of olive oil in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, broccoli florets, roasted pine nuts, and tomatoes.
  5. Serve the salad warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Notes
I would use the quinoa as a base and substitute lots ingredients and change up the dressing. Add sliced black olives, tomatoes, chopped red onion, and a handful of crumbled feta cheese for a Greek-inspired option. Or corn kernels, tomatoes, chopped red onion, and crumbled cooked bacon for a more American flavor. Diced avocado, tomatoes, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, and shredded cheddar cheese, along with a honey-lime vinegarette?

And trade the honey-vinegarette for low-fat Italian dressing - Yum!

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