I actually haven’t cooked anything all week because our fridge has been so full of leftovers. We had several parties and outings last week and weekend and we managed to acquire leftovers at nearly every one. Our fridge has slowly been emptying out, and hopefully after tonight all the leftovers will finally be gone and I can actually start cooking again!
I made this salad several months ago for Cinco de Mayo. It has lots of separate components, but none of them are hard to make, and if you prepare them ahead of time you can easily assemble the salad in the few minutes it takes for the shrimp to cook. Honestly the most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the tomatoes, onion and jalapeño for the pico de gallo. If you really wanted to save time, you could use store bought pico instead.
I was initially a bit concerned that I might not like the dressing for the salad since it’s just lime juice and olive oil with a few spices, because I’m usually not a fan of anything sour. I was pleasantly surprised though when I tasted the finished dressing on the salad. The touch of honey in the dressing goes a long way in cutting the sourness of the lime, and the lime goes really well with the shrimp. The salad is topped with cotija cheese- a crumbly, slightly salty cheese that’s almost like a Mexican version of feta.
If you’re not a shrimp fan, this salad would be equally good with grilled chicken. Just coat the chicken with the same spice mixture and throw it on the grill. There’s enough protein in the salad from the black beans and the cheese that you could even leave the meat out entirely for a vegetarian meal.
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Today’s recipe is one that was originally discovered and cooked by my husband, Greg. When we first started dating, Greg knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about cooking. He could boil water and add Ramen, but that was the extent of his cooking skills. He’s learned a lot since then, and not only is he capable of making a delicious dinner for the two of us, he even occasionally looks for and tries out new recipes like this one. Greg and I go about picking new recipes in completely different ways. I choose recipes based solely on the end product. If it sounds delicious I don’t care how many steps, pans, or hours it will take as long as I get to eat it when I’m done. Greg often jokes that when I cook, I use every pan in the kitchen. I’ve never used every pan, but it is a fairly common occurrence for there to be only one or two clean pans left in the cupboard by the time I’ve got dinner on the table. Greg on the other hand cares just as much, if not more, about the amount of cleanup required as he does about the finished product. Fortunately for me, this dish, in addition to requiring only one pan, is also delicious.
Greg actually surprised me by coming home from work early one day last week with all the ingredients to make this for dinner. A day when it’s over 90° outside (and therefore over 80° inside our un-airconditioned apartment) isn’t when I would choose to make a dinner that requires a 425° oven, but it was still a sweet and welcome surprise.
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This is another weeknight staple in our house. Any time I don’t have a specific meal planned, or if something comes up and we need to be able to throw a meal together quickly, this is usually what I make. It only takes 15 minutes and is way healthier than the drive through. Tilapia isn’t a strongly flavored fish on its own, but with the addition of Cajun seasoning it’s actually really good. I used to serve this with black beans straight from the can, but recently discovered that adding a little sauteéd onion and garlic to the beans dresses them up and improves the flavor quite a bit.
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