Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

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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

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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.

Creatively and Frugally Gluten Free

We’ve all been hit hard with the economy the way that it is and if you are like myself, you’ve been hit a bit harder because I am still out of work.  I wasn’t laid off or anything, I willing left my job and life in California to move back East to be with Bryan.  I don’t regret my decision by any means – I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I didn’t move in the summer who knows if or when it would have happened.  There were other factors (like our families) into moving when I did but he was the main reason.  Seeing as I left my job, I do not collect unemployment and have no income or health insurance. I spend my days searching and applying for jobs – which is usually about 20 jobs!  I’m not being picky and only applying for certain jobs, I am applying to anything and everything that I remotely qualify, however the call backs are scarce. sparse.  Honestly as depressing and defeating as it is, I keep doing it every day.  I know something will come along, I just hope it happens soon. It is funny because the few responses I have received back say I am over qualified and that is one thing I have never been told in my life, usually it is the opposite because even though I have about 10 years of administrative work under my belt (mostly in Higher Education admissions) I am under qualified because I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree (actually any degree for that matter).

I would love to someday have the ability to donate my time with an organization or be a part time food blogger and work part-time, but right now we need me to be working.  I enjoy working (and earning a pay check) actually I miss working.  People keep telling me that once I get a job I’ll be wishing for this time again, and I’m sure I will at some point but I think it might take a while for me to feel that way.

So with being out of work for a total of four months we have learned to not only live the gluten-free life creatively but also frugally!  I am a coupon clipper and at first Bryan would make fun of me for it but I think now he is pretty thankful for my OCD with coupons.  Each week when we get the grocery ads I scour them looking for the good sales.  We normally don’t buy anything that isn’t on sale.  I’m a big fan of the buy one get one items.  We buy more fresh items vs. processed items.

I also try to make as many gluten-free things that I possibly can instead of buying them at the stores such as granola, bread, salad dressings, cookies, ice tea, mochas, cakes and pies.  Sadly however, I am running low on all of my gluten-free flours and my xanthan gum! So I have to be careful until I can afford to order some new ones.  Today I was trying to think of other things I can make at home with the ingredients I have on hand instead of buying.  One thing that came to mind is taco seasoning.  We eat tacos fairly often because it is a quick and easy meal that we both enjoy.  So I did some searching around online to find out what people really put in taco seasoning because the packages are a bit vague listing “spices” – well that is obvious but which ones? Here is what I came up with, and should probably note we really enjoy spicy foods in our house so you might want to adjust this recipe to your level of spice preference.  We tried this tonight and it was really good, if I do say so myself!

CCGF’s Taco Seasoning (GF/OF/DF)

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (I noticed some people used Potato Starch or Corn Flour)

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (make sure it is gluten-free!)

1 Teaspoon Paprika

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (You might want to use only 1/4 teaspoon if you don’t like much spice)

1/2 Teaspoon Chipolte Pepper (You can omit this or use 1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Sugar

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl or plastic bag, mix well.  Store in an airtight container.

Tacos:

1lb – 1 1/2lb ground beef or turkey

Taco Seasoning (see above)

2/3 Cup water

Corn tortilla shells -hard or soft

Shredded lettuce (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Avocado (optional)

In a large skillet on medium heat, brown beef and drain off any fat, about 8-10 minutes.  Add taco seasoning stir until well combined then add water.  Simmer over medium heat until sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Serve in taco shells with your favorite toppings.  You can even make nachos with this instead!

Here is to living the gluten-free life creatively and frugally!


Tacos w/ McCormick’s Seasoning

After living in California for the past five years I have become a little spoiled with Mexican food…good Mexican food that is.  None of this taco bell junk.  Now living in Rhode Island I am beyond limited for gluten-free options not just in grocery stores but also in restaurants!  Granted this is because we don’t live in Providence but still it can be frustrating some days, but a blessing because it makes me cook and bake at home more.  Every once in a while I just don’t want to cook or bake I want to just go out and grab something (I would LOVE some Chinese food!!).

We found a “Mexican” place not far from us so we decided to try some tacos…how bad can tacos be, seriously?? The place is called Tito’s Cantina Mexican Grill, and this is what their website says “In the summer of 1989, Two Amigos with big dreams put their sombreros together to bring you the authentic taste of Old Mexico. From that, Tito’s was born!”  Okay I know I’m not from Mexico and I’m not Mexican…not even a drop but these were the worst tasting tacos ever.  The taco bell (Yes I know I just called it junk earlier) would have been better than these.  I opted for the shredded beef tacos instead of the ground beef…I was trying to go for that “authentic Mexican” they were talking about.  I’m surprised I got them down…even Bryan agreed with me, these tasted like beef stew.  I am not joking, it was seriously like eating beef stew in a taco shell, ummm grossness in my mouth.  Bryan’s ground beef tacos were out of this world compared to my shredded beef.  I don’t think we’ll be back there.  So to make up for that horrible mess of a lunch I decided that ground beef tacos at home are way better:)

The other day I spent about ten or fifteen minutes reading labels in the grocery store.  Labels on vanilla extract, hot dogs and taco seasonings.  I know I could make my own but that would require me to buy several different seasonings instead of just a small packet.  After being a little frustrated both Bryan and I took out our phones and started searching that way we found out that McCormick’s had both gluten-free seasoning and vanilla extract.  Actually this is what it says on their website

Do your products contain gluten?

None of our single ingredient spices and herbs contain gluten. In addition, all of our extracts, including Pure Vanilla, are gluten-free. Some of our products do contain gluten. When WHEAT is the source, it will always be called out within the ingredient statement, and listed in bold.

We do not maintain a list of gluten-free products, as our formulas change from time to time

After finding this information we re-read the back of the package and sure enough it was gluten-free!  We also found some great crunch corn taco shells by Ortega that say gluten-free right on the front of the box! Sadly we couldn’t tell in the store or even now if their seasoning mix was gluten-free or not, so we decided to go with what we knew was safe to consume. We tried the Spicy Taco seasoning and loved it…jut the right amount of spice!  The taco shells were awesome, they actually had some great flavor to them and held up well to the stuffed tacos!