Coconut Thai Shrimp w/ Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0058This time of year is perfect for fresh seafood – especially in New England. Lately I have been consuming about a 75/35 diet…the 75 being vegetable/plant-based meals and the 35 being meat based meals. I am working towards consuming the recommended 8-12oz of fish/seafood per week according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, however my budget does not always allow it, especially when trying to consume wild caught fish/seafood. Living below the poverty line, trying to make ends meet, and living on a tight budget can make things a difficult and frustrating when trying to eat healthy and buy fresh ingredients all the time. I have been living this way for quite a while now, and for the next year, that tight budget of mine just got even tighter! So here are a few little tips and tricks that I have found helpful and put to use:

  • When I find a good deal on wild caught seafood, I buy a little extra and freeze it into appropriate portion sizes.
  • Search the frozen section – some times you can find wild caught pre-frozen shrimp, tuna, or salmon – pick up a piece or two and save it for a raining day.
  • Shop local – small independent grocery stores and farmers markets usually have some great deals.
  • Eat Seasonally – the best prices for items are when they are in season, that should be no surprise.
  • Coupon Clipping – I kid you not, this has helped me so much. I do not clip coupons for items that I can not eat or that I do not use, that would be a waste of money and time. Sign up for coupons from Mambo Sprouts – usually they have lots of great gluten-free related coupons.
  • Frozen Veggies and Canned Goods – I know it is not “gourmet” but you can make one heck of a meal with these items…if buying canned goods, buy them with no or low sodium, and be sure to rinse them well. I buy my beans canned because it is quick and easy and they are full of nutrients.
  • Think of side of the box – instead of spending loads of money on meat proteins, I use a lot of alternative proteins like tofu, tempeh, and beans
  • Whole grains – they fill you up and are very versatile.

Below is a simple, yet flavorful shrimp recipe that can be prepared inside or on the grill and is perfect for this beautiful weather. You can serve it with our without the rice, in taco shells, or however you choose.

I found the Coconut Thai Seasoning at The Spice and Tea Exchange in Newport…I have no idea how I never realized this little gem was so close to me, but it was probably a good thing for me (not them) that I didn’t! I walked into the shop and instantly was in heaven. It’s a small shop, packed with spices, teas, salts, etc. The staff was very helpful and friendly as well, especially when helping me with gluten-free blend options. I picked up a few different spice blends but had to try the Coconut Thai one first.

Coconut Thai Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0061Coconut Thai Shrimp – Ingredients

  • Shrimp                                                         1/2 pound
  • Coconut Thai Seasoning                         2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil                                                       1 teaspoon

Mango Salsa – Ingredients

  • Lime Juice                                                  2 tablespoons
  • Lime Zest                                                    1 teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                               1/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Mango                                                         1 – fine dice
  • Red Onion                                                  2-3 tablespoons, fine dice
  • Avocado                                                      1 – fine dice
  • Bell Pepper, Orange,Yellow, etc.            1/4 cup, fine dice

Spinach Lime Rice – Ingredients

  • Basmati or Jasmine Rice                        1 cup – uncooked
  • Water or stock                                             2 cups
  • Spinach, Baby                                             1 1/2 cups
  • Lime Zest                                                     1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro                                                         1 tablespoon, fine chop

Method of Preparation

  1. Peel and devein shrimp
  2. Mango Avocado Salsa – In a medium bowl add lime juice, lime zest, salt, and cayenne pepper – mix well.
  3. Add diced mango, red onion, avocado, and bell pepper, mix well.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. Coconut Thai Shrimp – In a medium bowl add, Coconut Thai Seasoning and Olive oil, mix well
  6. Add shrimp and toss to coat evenly, set aside in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
  7. Spinach Lime Rice – In a small stock pot bring two cups of water or stock to a boil and add rice. Stir and cook until done (usually about 15-20 minutes depending on rice)
  8. During the last two minutes of cooking, stir in spinach and stir to wilt the spinach leaves. Set aside.
  9. Right before serving add lime zest and freshly chopped cilantro into the spinach rice and toss to evenly incorporate.
  10. To cook the shrimp – either heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook 2-4 minutes per side or place on a hot grill for the same amount of time.
  11. Serve with spinach lime rice, and mango salsa – top with fresh cilantro and lime wedges if desired.

Enjoy!

 

 

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Shrimp-0051

I would grill all year-long if I could. This year we had so much crazy snow drifts that it was a bit impossible to do. I love my grill dearly…great flavors, you can grill pretty much anything, its outside with the sun and the fresh air, easy clean up, and less fats are used! We grill steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, hot sausages, shrimp, fish, pizza, and veggies…tons of veggies! Last year I bought one of those little grill baskets for I think $3.00 and it works like a charm, especially for mushrooms.

Last week we got the tank refilled and have used it quite a bit since. We are both trying to get in better shape and eat healthier (a follow-up post to my I’m on a mission…post will appear soon, I promise!). So the grill comes in very handy for this, because like I mentioned I use way less oils or fats when cooking. We have switched from eating red meat weekly (sometimes multiple times a week) to about monthly and started eating more chicken (breasts, no skin – which we have always done), shrimp, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Since starting to work out and now that I have gotten on a schedule with a program I really like I have been craving much healthier foods…funny how that works huh? Snacks include slices of yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, or carrot sticks with hummus and mandarins! Seriously I never ate peppers or any form of oranges, but loved orange juice. Now I can’t seem to get enough of them. For lunch I have been buying Boar’s Head low sodium meats and making little “roll-ups” with some low sodium cheese, and baby spinach. I’m really like this craving of healthy foods! More to come on all of this in my follow-up post mentioned above, but for now let’s get back to the Grilled Shrimp Tacos…

These are SO easy to make, light, and delicious – we are loving this little creation of mine. As with the majority of my recipes please feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your flavor likings!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

IMG_5380_5585

Salsa

Ingredients

  • Lime Zest                                                                  1 lime
  • Lime Juice, Fresh                                                     2 limes
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                      ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                                             1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Corn, rinsed & drained                                             1 can (14oz)
  • Black beans, no salt added rinsed, & drained          1 can (15.5 oz)
  • Red Bell Pepper, small dice                                      ¼ cup
  • Orange Bell Pepper, small dice                                ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a medium bowl zest one lime. Zest the second lime used later for juicing and set aside zest for the shrimp marinade.
  3. Juice the two limes into the bowl
  4. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, mix until well combined. Set aside
  5. Open cans of corn and black beans. Drain and rinse corn first, and then add to a medium bowl.
  6. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl with the corn and lime juice mixture.
  7. Dice bell peppers and add to the corn, black beans, and lime juice mixture.
  8. Mix well, cover and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  9. Mix well before serving.
  10. Serve with grilled shrimp tacos and/or corn tortilla chips.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos – makes six tacos

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil                                                                      2 tablespoons
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                        ½ teaspoon
  • Lime Zest                                                                    1 lime
  • Salt, Kosher                                                                1/8 teaspoon
  • Jumbo Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cleaned                 10 each
  • Corn Tortilla, soft                                                          6 each
  • Avocado, halved and sliced                                        1 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a small bowl combine first four ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add shrimp and toss to evenly coat all shrimp.
  4. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat grill to medium high
  6. Either skewers your shrimp or use a grill basket to cook shrimp.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Shrimp should be opaque and cooked throughout.
  8. Remove shrimp from grill and cut up into large chunks or leave whole.
  9. On the cooler part of the grill add the soft corn tortilla shells.
  10. Grill until you see grill marks – about 3-4 minutes per side (this all depends on how hot your grill is, and how crispy you want them…at this stage they are still quite pliable).
  11. To assemble your tacos add 2-3 tablespoons of corn and black bean salsa on each grilled corn tortilla shell.
  12. Top with equal portions of diced or whole grilled shrimp and slices of avocado.
  13. Enjoy the extra salsa with some gluten-free corn tortilla chips.

Grilled Swordfish and Mango Salsa

Fish is one of my favorite things to eat, but sadly I don’t cook it enough.  We eat a lot of sushi in our house because Bryan isn’t a huge fan of fish when it is cooked, except for swordfish.  He’s eaten a few cooked fish dishes that I’ve made but like I said, I don’t cook it often enough.

A few months ago we went to a local restaurant because he was craving swordfish.  He had his grilled with a bruschetta topping to it while I had a delicious piece of mahi-mahi with a mango salsa on top. He was a bit jealous of my salsa and wasn’t such a fan of the bruschetta. I promised him the next time it is on sale we would pick up a piece and I would cook it however he wished.  He asked for it to be grilled with a mango salsa, similar to the one I had on my mahi-mahi.

Lucky for him, swordfish was on sale this week! So keeping true to my promise we went and picked up a good size piece (for the two of us to share) of swordfish, and the ingredients for a simple yet delicious onion-free mango salsa.  I just did a costing card for this meal and minus the steamed veggies on the side (we used green giant frozen steam ready veggies which were on sale for $1.00!) it totaled $8.27 per person!! If you were to add the veggies, it would be still only $8.77 per person.  You can’t go out anywhere to get a delicious and healthy meal for that price. Again, we bought the fish on sale so it helped with the price.  So if you do like I do and plan your weekly menu based on your local grocery adds or a local famers market prices you can find some great deals and make simple yet delicious and healthy meals for less.

This meal is beyond easy to make with only a few ingredients…five ingredients to be exact (salt, pepper and olive oil are “free” ingredients, meaning I have these on hand at all times and are basic ingredients for many recipes). I would suggest preparing the salsa at least an hour before and let it hang out in the fridge so all of the flavors are melded together nicely.  The fish takes between 8-10 minutes, so this is the perfect for a busy weeknight meal.

Grilled Swordfish

3/4 – 1 Pound of Swordfish Fillet – cut in half (enough for two people)

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Salt and Pepper – to taste

Olive Oil

Lightly brush the swordfish fillet with olive oil and squeeze the lime juice over it and season with salt and pepper – flip and repeat on the other side.

Pre-heat your grill to medium-high heat.  Add the swordfish and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Onion-Free Mango Salsa

2 Large Ripe Mango – Diced(about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)

1 Medium Red Bell Pepper – Diced (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Juice of 1/2 a Lime (about 1 tablespoon)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/8 cup Finely Chopped Cilantro (You can add more depending on your taste)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Add diced mango, red pepper, olive oil, lime juice, and season with salt and pepper – taste.  Add cilantro last and mix to combine well.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the rest of the week I have planned:

  • Sunday – Corned Beef Sandwiches (Reuben’s) and veggies
  • Monday – Roasted Pork Meatballs (from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen – pre-order it here) and a quick fried rice
  • Tuesday – Pasta
  • Wednesday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Carrots, Red Cabbage and Snap Peas
  • Thursday – Grilled Rib-Eye and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Friday – Chili

Hope you enjoy this meal!

Five Star Marinade (Review & Giveaway)

We love to grill – chicken, steak, burgers, and especially vegetables.  Depending on what we are grilling we use different seasonings, sauces, and marinades – it usually is something spicy.  About a month ago Burt – the creator of Five Star Meat Marinade asked if I would like to try his gluten-free and diabetic friendly marinade, of course I said yes!

Bryan’s dad has diabetes so lately I have been trying to find things that are suitable for him.  When Burt shared the information about the marinade with me saying that it was “All natural, NO MSG, NO Sugar, NO Preservatives, NO Oils or Fats”, I thought this would be a great marinade for him to try.  Sadly we don’t get to see him much but I figured his birthday is coming up so I’m going to put together a little goodie bag for him.  I’m also going to start experimenting with some refined sugar-free baking for him also and hopefully send Bryan down with some diabetic friendly baked goods.

Back to the marinade🙂

Here is a little bit of history from Five Star Marinade’s website:

While growing up,  holidays were special for many reasons. Getting together with family, good food and lots of laughter. Most meals were potluck,  making it easier on those hosting the event. We always had the traditional turkey or ham as a main course, but my Grandmother would provide another meat with her marinade. Everyone loved the flavor so much that often the family dinners would break tradition serving only her meat dish.  Little did Grandma know that her marinade was a healthy substitute for sugar or molasses based barbeque sauce.

Grandma is gone now but I have taken the recipe and bottled this great taste for everyone wishing great flavor without the worry of calories, preservatives or fat. The marinade is easy to use and is excellent for barbeque, broiling or baking making it enjoyable all year no matter the weather.

My marinade is just the thing for those on restricted diets such as those on low sodium, sugar free, gluten free or Diabetics.

Last week I decided to marinade some chicken breast over night (per Burt’s instructions) and grill them up and served them with some spicy broccoli and a  side salad.  Oh man is this marinade delicious!! It has a bit of a peppery kick to it, which I loved and a great flavor.  I made an extra piece of chicken so I could slice it up and have it atop a salad the next day for lunch. I think next weekend I’ll be marinading (only 30 minutes) and grilling up some portabella mushrooms.

The marinade is simple – yet extremely delicious!  Five Star Marinade Ingredients: Vinegar*, Salt, Spices, Paprika, Garlic *Red Wine Vinegar (not distilled white) so this marinade is also corn-free (for those of you who have corn allergies, this is perfect for you)!

Thank you Burt for making such a delicious, gluten-free and diabetic friendly marinade! And thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to sample your delicious creation (your grandmother would be so proud of you!)

Who would like to try a bottle of this delicious, gluten-free, sugar-free all-purpose marinade?  One lucky winner with have a chance to win a bottle – please leave a comment for EACH entry!

1) Like Five Star Marinade on Facebook

2) Follow Five Star Marinade on Twitter (@GFMarinade)

3) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

4) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (@Creatively_GF)

5) Leave a comment below saying what you would like to try this on.

One winner will be chosen using random.org on Tuesday June 26th, 2011.  The lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond after they receive my e-mail.  If a winner does not respond in the allotted time, a new winner will be chosen.  This contest is open to US residents only – the prize will be shipped directly from Five Star Marinade.  Good luck to all who enter!