I Heart Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp tacos, how I love thee.  Garlicky, with plenty of shredded cheese, cabbage and salsa, these beach-side tacos are love at first sight.  They make the perfect meal any night of the year, but especially May the 5th. So, if you need a quick, delicious Cinco de Mayo dinner, look no further.

IMG_2717.JPG

Shrimp Tacos

1 lb raw shrimp
4-6 large cloves garlic
salt
pepper
1/2 a lime (extra wedges for serving)
corn tortillas
pepper jack cheese, shredded (can substitute cheddar)
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
1 avocado, diced
blender salsa

Peel and de-vein shrimp.  (Incidentally, this is my favorite tool for doing so. Paired with a willing husband it’s really the best method.) Pat shrimp dry with paper towels so it doesn’t splatter as much when you fry it.  Or, don’t.  It’s your stovetop, you decide.

Shred the cheese and melt a little between two tortillas (like a quesadilla).  Keep warm in a tortilla warmer or under a dishtowel until you are ready to eat.  Each of these mini quesadillas will make one taco, so plan accordingly.

Finely chop your garlic and heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.  You want enough room for the shrimp to fit in a single layer.

Toss in shrimp and garlic, season heavily with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, 2 minutes per side.  When curled and pink, they are done.  Avoid overcooking them, it’s really a quick process.

Remove shirmp and garlic to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Place in a bowl and drizzle any pan juices over the mix.  Squeeze half a lime over all and toss to combine.

Top each “double tortilla quesadilla” with a small handful of cabbage, a large scoop of shrimp, some avocado and a little salsa.  Serve with lime wedges and napkins. Divine.

IMG_2721

Need a good cutting board that can go in the dishwasher and won’t transfer that garlic and onion taste to your strawberries?  Check out Epicurean.

IMG_2723

Garlic makes everything better.

IMG_2726.JPG

Party on, taco lovers.

Blender Salsa

  
This recipe was born in a moment of desperation when I realized that someone had eaten the very last of the store-bought salsa and that someone else (it may have been the same person) forgot to add salsa to the grocery list when they took the last jar from the pantry. The result was disastrous: not a drop of salsa in the house. 

I am unable to live without salsa. It is my condiment of choice and I slather it liberally on dishes throught the day. A breakfast of eggs gets a nice dollop, while a lunch of nachos or beans and rice is never complete without either a scoop of pico de gallo or bottled tomato goodness. Dinner at our house often involves a tortilla, some fixins’ and, of course, salsa. 

This recipe turned out to be the solution I didn’t know I had been looking for. Our favorite commercial brands were a touch too spicy for my youngest and we were going through it quickly. 

Inexpensive, completely customizable and fast, this blender salsa pleases the whole crowd. In the event that I find myself with only an empty jar, a refill is only five minutes away. 

Blender Salsa

Yields 1 quart

1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

2 scallions or a handful of chives

A small handful cilantro, with the bottom of the stems trimmed off

1/2-1 Jalapeno, seeded (leave seeds in for more spice)

1 small bell pepper (omit if you don’t have one)

Juice of a lime

1 tsp smoked paprika

Tiny dash ground cayenne 

2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly-ground pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes, 15 oz each

With the blender motor running, drop the garlic through the small hole in the lid and let it chop. Using the same technique, add the chives, cilantro (stems and all!) pepper and Jalapeno. Turn off the motor. Add lime juice, spices and tomatoes. Pulse until desired thickness is reached. Taste for salt and add more, if needed. Enjoy any time of the day!

  

Five-Minute Fajitas

IMG_0411

Those of you with little people home during the lunch hour know that it can be hard to balance the desire for cheese quesadillas (or other kid fare) with the want of a salad or something a little more grown up.

Fajitas are a quick adult lunch (or dinner!) concocted from humble quesadilla beginnings.  No matter where you are geographically, peppers should be abundant this time of the year.  So, go grab some and dress up your next lunch!  Maybe the kiddos will even try a bite of the veggies!

Don’t be frightened off by the smoked paprika.  It’s neither spicy nor strange.  It is probably my favorite spice after salt, pepper and garlic.  It lends a smoky flavor even in small amounts.  I love to add it to rubs, marinades, soups, and all my southwestern dishes.  It really is key to the deep flavor here.

Cutting down on carbs?  No problem!  I often eat this same fajita mix over two scrambled eggs, for a protein packed southwestern lunch or dinner.

Five Minute Fajitas
makes enough filling for 4 tortillas or  2 large scrambles

1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, any color, cut into strips
1 can black beans (or other protein: a handful of shredded cooked chicken, a few strips of cooked steak.)
1/4 tsp granular garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
dash cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp good quality olive oil

4 whole-wheat or other variety tortillas (or a couple of scrambled eggs)
4 slices cheddar cheese  (or jack or pepper jack).
Optional extras for topping: salsa, sour cream, avocado, sliced black olives

Directions:
Heat a saute pan on medium for half a minute and then add a little avocado or olive oil.  Add your sliced onions and saute 3 minutes until starting to brown.  Add peppers and saute 1 more minute.  Add all spices and allow to toast 30 seconds while stirring.  Add lime juice, olive oil and beans or other protein.  Stir around until everything is coated nicely.

Gently melt a slice of cheese on each tortilla in the microwave.  If using eggs, grate the cheese and add it at the end with the other toppings.  Top each tortilla with a scoop of fajita filling and any additional toppings.  Enjoy!

*This post contains affiliate links