Under the Sea…Scallops

Hey everyone – so this week I made a delicious meal for my roommates. Remember how I mentioned in my previous posts that I am obsessed with seafood? Well, the obsession is still there…This week I made some seared scallops with spinach, feta and pine nut salad. Fancy, right? Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 6.30.18 PM

Everyone will be impressed with your cooking skills with this recipe. But, fair warning – the prep time is kind of long.

It all starts off with a bag of jumbo frozen sea scallops, which we are going to need to thaw. There are two options on how to thaw them:

1)   Thaw scallops in a covered pan in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours

2)   Leave scallops in original packaging and submerge in a pan of cold water. Do not thaw scallops at room temperature. Rinse scallops in cool water and drain in a colander before use.

Since the first option takes about an eternity, I’m going to use the second set of instructions.

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Once you are done thawing the scallops (which takes about 1-2 hours), you have to make sure that you pat the scallops with a dry paper towel. This is extremely important, because if you do not do this correctly, your scallops are going to taste kind of chewy.

You then season the scallops with salt & pepper (and any other spice you desire).

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In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil at a medium/high temperature.

Place scallops on the hot skillet and cook approximately 2-3 minutes per side or up until they turn opaque.

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*Turn only once, scallops cook quickly and are done when opaque

The spinach with feta & pine nuts salad is a recipe my mom sent me from one of her many Barefoot Contessa recipe books.

You will need the following ingredients:

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            2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

            1-½ cups chopped onion

            1 lemon

            1 pound of fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry

            Salt and black pepper

            1-½ tablespoons of pine nuts

            ½ cup of diced feta

Heat the olive oil in large pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, zest the lemon and set aside

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Squeeze the lemon and add 1-½ tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan

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Add the spinach in big handfuls, tossing constantly with tongs for a minute or two until all the leaves are wilted. Toss with 1-½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and remove from the heat

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Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, the pine nuts and feta and toss gently.

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Season to taste and serve hot with the seared scallops

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Voila! Your fancy meal is done! This recipe is kind of time consuming, but trust me it is definitely worth it!

Overall price: $25

Overall prep time: Thawing 1-2 hours

Overall cooking time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: 4/5

Let me know if you enjoyed this recipe, if it was too difficult, or anything like that! Happy Cooking!

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End-of-the-Summer Pasta

These first two weeks of school have been SUPER hectic! From buying books, setting up the dorm room and adjusting to a new class schedule –  I barely had any time to just sit down and make a delicious meal! 

Finally, this weekend I was able to go to Whole Foods and buy some groceries. While I was there, I have to admit I was having some trouble deciding what types of ingredients I should get (they have way too many options).

But after walking by all of the aisles, I finally decided to buy the following ingredients to make the perfect end-of-the-summer pasta…image-4

As you can see, I bought some whole wheat rotini pasta, frozen shrimp, basil pesto, grape tomatoes, olive oil, pine nuts and salt & pepper. Most of the ingredients are Whole Food’s 356 Everyday Value products which are really cheap and delicious! Overall, this purchase was inexpensive and the best part is that most of the ingredients can be re-used for other meals!

Okay, so now to the step-by-step process:

The first thing I had to do was thaw the frozen shrimp … yeahh how do I do that?

I literally had no idea – at first I got a pot and filled it with water and put the bag inside … and that clearly was not the right thing to do. My roommates called me out and were like “Paula, you have to take the shrimp OUT of the bag and place them in the water” which obviously made a lot more sense. So I did that and after 10 minutes of waiting the shrimp was completely thawed. Once that was done I placed them in a strainer until I had to use them again.

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Next, I put some water to boil so I can cook the pasta…It took like 5-7 minutes for the water to boil and 10 minutes for the pasta to be perfectly cooked. Make sure you taste the pasta so you know it is fully cooked!

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In the meantime, I had my roommates cut up some tomatoes and set up the table.image-9

The next step was to get a pan drizzle some olive oil on it, turn up the heat and start cooking the shrimp (which is seasoned with salt & pepper).image-1

And add the tomatoes and the pine nuts

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Once the shrimp is fully cooked, you go back to the pasta, strain it and then add a tablespoon of olive oil, extra tomatoes, two tablespoons of basil pesto and the shrimp/pine nuts/tomato combo to it.

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The final step is *drumroll, please*:  ENJOY THE FOOD!

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Overall Prep/Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Overall Cost: ~ $25 for all of the ingredients (keep in mind that half of them can be re-used)

Let me know if this post was helpful, and if you had the chance to make this dish tell me about your experience!

Happy Cooking!