Skinny Shrimp Enchiladas

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This past Friday I was looking for something to make that would last me through 3 long nights at work and still be on the healthy side. Traditionally enchiladas are not known for being clean-eating friendly, but with a few tweaks it’s pretty easy to do. Mexican food and shrimp are high on my list of foods I love, so I was excited to try these out.

You will need:

2 pounds of medium frozen shrimp, peeled and thawed

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 cup diced white onion

2 tsp of minced garlic or more to your liking

1/4 cup of cilantro (optional – I don’t particularly care for it)

Kosher salt to taste

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 can of traditional enchilada sauce

5 whole wheat tortillas

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese

Non-stick cooking spray

Scallions, cilantro, avocado, and sour cream for toppings as desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat, then add in the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in the shrimp, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, chicken broth and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Spray a 13x9in baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, then fold a little bit of the shrimp mixture into each tortilla, wrapping and placing it seam side down into the dish.

Once all of the tortillas have been assembled, pour whatever you have left in the saucepan over the top to ensure you get all of the seasonings. Then top with enchilada sauce and the cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Top with sliced avocado, scallions, sour cream, more cheese, whatever you desire.

What I liked about this was that since I used shrimp it significantly cut down on the cooking time, especially if you buy shrimp that are already peeled and all you have to do is defrost. This is perfect for trying to cram in some meal prep between homework, squeezing in a workout, and taking a nap before work.

The only thing that I found frustrating was after the first one that I ate straight out of the oven they became mushy when reheated.

A quick internet search led to me find that lightly frying the tortillas on the stovetop and then dipping them in the sauce on each side before baking can help. You can always add more sauce later if you’d like.

I will try to employ these techniques in the future, but overall these were great and definitely not a dish I got tired of eating after only one night.

What are some of your favorite Mexican dishes or enchilada recipes?

 

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Whole 30 Turkey Meatballs

For approximately the last two weeks I’ve been attempting to follow the Whole 30 diet to drop a couple of pounds, clean up my diet for the summer, and prepare for the Savage Race, an 8 mile run with obstacles that my coworkers talked me into and I am not nearly prepared for. For those of you not familiar with Whole 30, you basically can’t have anything I would normally reach for to keep me happy, i.e. dairy, sugar, CHEESE, and BREAD.

Why would anyone want to do this you say?? Aren’t you hungry all the time? It’s a great way to see what types of food irritate your body and you have to make sure you snack constantly to keep up your energy and fuel your metabolism. However it’s not without its challenges. Case in point: we’re not going to talk about the fresh baked Philly pretzel slathered in Philadelphia cream cheese that I broke down and ate 9 days in and washed down with a Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager. Sorry not sorry.

With that being said, the next morning it was back to being compliant, at least for a few meals. I truly was seeing a difference in my energy level and waistline and while I don’t think sticking to an absolute Whole 30 diet is for me, I am open to adopting a modified version with occasional treats.

Before starting a stretch of 3 night shifts in a row preceeding what is sure to be a food-centric trip to New Orleans this weekend, I opted to hit the pavement for a 4 mile run and cook up some (mostly) Whole 30 friendly turkey meatballs to take with me to work so that I don’t hit the vending machine or the fast food options in the cafeteria. I found a great recipe on Pinterest that took me no time at all.

You will need:

  1. 1 Egg, beaten
  2. 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  3. 1 Small/Medium Onion, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  4. 3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
  5. ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  6. 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  7. Salt & Pepper
  8. ¼ Cup Almond Flour
  9. 1 Tablespoon Coconut Flour
  10. 1 Pound Ground Turkey
  11. EVOO
  12. Tomato sauce

Preheat your oven to 400. Combine the first 9 ingredients and mix well, then add in your turkey. As a side note, make sure you read your labels on the tomato paste. It’s very difficult to avoid sugar unless you’re ordering something special online that probably costs an arm and a leg and you have to wait for. I chose a brand whose only ingredient listed was tomatoes. Most tend to list tomatoes and citric acid.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat coated in EVOO. Form the meat mixture into balls and sear in the hot oil for approximately 30 seconds on each side and until a brown crust develops. Then place them on the parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with your favorite tomato sauce! To be completely Whole 30 compliant you probably need to make your own pasta sauce to serve with the meatballs which can be very time-consuming. I’m here to tell you that if you do not have time to make your own sauce it’s okay to pick one from the store, just try to grab one that has as little sugar as possible. We can’t be perfect all the time 🙂

The meatballs weren’t too dry as turkey can often get and had quite a bit of flavor. If you’re worried about the almond and coconut flour you can’t really taste it so no worries there. The recipe also made 15 meatballs and has lasted me 3 nights at work thus far, which is pretty awesome when all I feel like doing is coming home and passing out after a shift. These will definitely get made again.

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Cosima

Within the city limits, at the end of Falls Road and near the neighborhood of Hampden, lies Cosima, a hidden gem in Mill No. 1. Keep your eyes peeled for the signs directing you down a steep driveway between the mill buildings that leads you to the restaurant’s front door and free valet parking. We almost missed it the first time!

Specializing in Southern Italian cuisine and owned by local chef Donna Crivello, Cosima is elevating beloved dishes with fresh combinations and eye-catching presentations that reflect the owner’s Sicilian grandmother. The restaurant is housed in what used to be a boiler room and has retained much of the brick work and a few pieces of the old machinery. Don’t let the centerpiece of skinny breadsticks on the table fool you into thinking they’re a decoration, you can eat them!

To start the meal we said an enthusiastic yes to the two offered varieties of homemade bread, one a focaccia with black olives, the other a crusty Italian bread, both freshly baked and served with creamy herbed butter.

In time honored tradition we each picked an appetizer to share with the table. The gnocchi is served in a small rectangular cast iron skillet piping hot from the oven, coated in a beautiful golden layer of breadcrumbs and dotted with herbs.

A favorite is always the burrata and this was no exception. It’s creamy and was the perfect consistency to spread across the Italian bread drizzled in olive oil, sea salt, and vin cotto, then topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and basil. You get a little bit of salty and sweet in each bite.

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If you’re also a fan of charcuterie, you can’t miss with the cured meats and aged cheeses with house made duck fat crackers and dried apricot mostarda. This appetizer goes well with any of the restaurant’s fantastic craft cocktails, most notably the Spritz and Abbella.

The highlight of the meal for me was my entrée, the Fettucine Nero con Aragosta, a grilled half lobster, house made cuttlefish ink pasta, and charred tomato lobster sauce. Our waitress made sure that the requisite claw cracker, shellfish fork, and bowl were present and you want to make sure you use them to get the sweet claw meat or you will be missing out!

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The contrast of the inky pasta against the brilliant red of the lobster makes for a beautiful dish but it was somewhat marred by the dearth of sauce that was pored over the lobster itself. Regardless it was tough not to over indulge in every single last bite of pasta and save some room for dessert.

One of Cosima’s most interesting dessert offerings is the sfinci, Sicilian doughnuts brought to the table in a paper bag, shaken up in a bath of cinnamon sugar and served piping hot. These are airy and light treats that put doughnut holes to shame. They also offer their own twist on the classic Italian cannoli and have several flavors of gelato along with a moderately sized menu of rotating desserts.

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Out of all the Italian restaurants I’ve visited over the years, Cosima is by far one I hope to find myself coming back to again and again to feel like I’ve gotten a little taste of Sicily.

 

 

 

 

National Chocolate Day

This past Wednesday was National Chocolate Day, and we celebrated it a few days early in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at Kakawa Chocolate House savoring European sipping chocolate aka chocolate elixirs.

What is sipping chocolate you ask? Liquid gold my friends.

There are many different varieties of sipping chocolate besides the European version including Mayan and Jeffersonian (after THE Thomas Jefferson). Some are flavored with herbs, flowers, and chiles while others are more tame with the use of almond milk. No matter which version you pick you won’t be disappointed. Each sip is silky smooth and full of rich cocoa flavor. It puts traditional hot chocolate to shame!

sipping chocolate

While I know it is difficult to travel to New Mexico just for sipping chocolate, you can travel to Pitango, an Italian gelato shop in Fells Point, for the same type of drink. They even sell theirs to take home.