Monday, August 29, 2016

Sweet Garlic-Lime Shrimp with Spicy Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

As we start a new school year (my baby girl is going to first grade!!), I'm all about planning quick and easy meals that are delicious and healthy. If I can do some prep ahead, even better. And if it gives me leftovers for lunch the next day, it is perfect in my opinion!

This meal has so many things going for it - it is healthy, quick, full of flavor, some of it can be prepped ahead of time, and the quinoa makes great leftovers both hot or cold. You could also eat the shrimp on its own with some grilled veggies, or you could eat the quinoa on its own or with some other protein, like grilled chicken. Oh, and did I mention it is delicious?

Shrimp is something you can grill or pan fry in less than 10 minutes so I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer for quick meals. I'll watch for when the store has the 2lb bags of 21-25 or 26-30 count shrimp on sale for $9.99 - you really can't beat that deal.

For this dish I wanted the shrimp to be sweet, sticky and bright. Using sweet hoisin sauce and zesty lime along with a bunch of garlic gave me exactly that.

To balance out the sweetness of the shrimp, I made a spicy quinoa with jalapenos, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and lime, and to keep it easy I did all of my chopping ahead of time. We were so happy with the flavors in this, and the shrimp and quinoa worked so well together.

As far as timing goes, start your quinoa right away. Once it gets simmering for several minutes you can start your shrimp and everything will finish at the same time.


Garlicky shrimp with a sweet twist over a spicy cilantro lime quinoa. Quick and easy #weeknight meal #shrimp #quinoa

Sweet Garlic-Lime Shrimp
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations


  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional; omit if you don't want any heat)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Mix the hoisin, lime juice, red pepper flakes and garlic. Pour over the shrimp and marinate 30 minutes to 2 hours. 
  • Heat the oil in a stainless saute pan. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Saute the shrimp approximately 6 minutes until cooked through. 
  • Serve immediately.

Spicy Cilantro-Lime Quinoa
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 each of a red and green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a white or sweet yellow onion, minced
  • 4 sm tomatoes, diced (1c)
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno, minced (more for more heat)
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 2.5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan
  • Add the peppers, garlic, onion, tomatoes and jalapeno; saute 2-3 minutes
  • Add the quinoa and stir until everything is combined
  • Add the broth and simmer, covered, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and simmer another 3-5 minutes until the quinoa is cooked (mostly tender with some bite) and most of the liquid has absorbed.
  • Stir in the cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Garlicky shrimp with a sweet twist over a spicy cilantro lime quinoa. Quick and easy #weeknight meal #shrimp #quinoa

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grilled Corn Salad with a Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

Sweet summer corn - isn't it the best?

My favorite way to prepare it is grilled - charred, to be exact - and that is what inspired this salad.

Charred corn is packed with smoky flavors, so pairing it with something bright and zesty with a touch of heat works perfectly. I used cilantro and lime for the bright and zesty flavors, grilled red onion for some sweetness, crunchy red pepper for texture, spicy jalapenos for heat, and a dressing featuring chili and lime to pull it all together.

This Grilled Corn Salad can be eaten as a salad or you can really get creative with it. Picture it on fajitas or tacos - the perfect topping! Put it on top of grilled chicken or fish. Or just grab some chips and scoop it up like salsa!

I will definitely be making this one a few more times before the summer corn runs out.

Check out two of my other favorite summer corn recipes here -
     Grilled Corn with a Chipotle Lime Butter
     Mexican Grilled Corn Salad with with Citrus Aioli.

Grilled Corn Salad with a Chili-Lime Vinaigrette
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations


  • 6 ears corn, cleaned (remove husks and all silk) and washed
  • 1 red onion, sliced into rings (don't separate within the rings)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • Handful of cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • Zest from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and chill until ready to serve.
  • Heat grill to medium high
  • Brush/spray the corn and red onion with olive oil; season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until charred in spots (to your liking), about 15 minutes. 
  • Stand the corn on end. Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels into a bowl. 
  • Chop the grilled red onion
  • Add in the red pepper, jalapeno and cilantro
  • Toss with the dressing and serve. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Orange-Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

My husband is the marinade guy. I think he has come up with 90% of the marinades we have tried over the past 10+ years. He is really creative, tries anything, and has made us some amazing meals. I keep telling him he needs to write a marinade cookbook! Last night I took over and tried something new (but yes, I did ask his advice as I was mixing and creating!).

I planned on grilled chicken kabobs, and after creating and smelling the marinade, it was an easy decision that I'd be including pineapple and red onions on those skewers. There are so many flavors in this - bright citrus from the orange juice, sweet and salty flavors from the teriyaki, and so many other layers from the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.

My favorite thing about this marinade, besides the flavor it gave to the chicken, is how it caramelized when grilled. Look how beautiful these are with all of those colors and caramelization -

You can use any veggies you want, but I highly recommend including pineapple and red onion. Everything else is up to you, but in my opinion, the more colors the better! I just love pretty food.

This is easily a weeknight meal. The chicken marinates all day or overnight, you can chop all your veggies ahead of time, and then it's the 5 minute task of assembling the skewers while your grill heats followed by 15 minutes of grilling. I think brown rice would go nicely with this, but we had plenty just with the chicken and all of the veggies.

Before we get to the recipe, I have to share these 2 pics. I took advantage of the filtered sunlight in my backyard to snap some pics before bringing the food in the house. First, my wiry little puppy got in a shot, so of course my daughter had to get in one as well!

My 2 sweet girls :)

Orange-Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Ingredients (for 4 large skewers)

  • 1/4 c teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 c orange juice
  • 1/8 c olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (I buy the jarred ginger, but fresh would be great as well!)
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, for heat
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • Veggies, chopped into cubes of similar sizes; I used several pieces of pineapple, 1/2 of a red onion, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1/3 each green and red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 long skewers (I use metal skewers; if you use wood, soak them in water for 30 minutes first to avoid burning/scorching)
  • In a bowl, mix the teriyaki, orange juice, oil, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and salt. 
  • Pour over the chicken in a ziploc bag. Marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours (overnight ok). 
  • Heat your grill to high.
  • Assemble the skewers using 4-5 pieces of chicken per skewer and alternating veggies. You want to pack them tightly so they don't spin when you turn them on the grill. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  • Grill until cooked, approximately 15 minutes, turning every few minutes.
  • Let rest 5 minutes before serving.