Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Low-Fat Cilantro Lime Shrimp Quinoa Pasta

My husband and I don't tend to eat a lot of pasta at home. We love it, but we just don't consume it much. If I cook pasta, I feel like I need a better grain as its main ingredient just so I can get a better health kick out of my starch.

When I stumbled upon quinoa pasta last year (Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta), I was interested in how it would taste. Whole wheat pasta lets me down now and again, but quinoa pasta-- it didn't disappoint. Naturally, it's not the same as regular pasta, but the bite and flavor is great. Also, we love quinoa! Win win.
Last night I quickly whipped up this shrimp pasta dish with some leftover low-fat bechamel sauce I had from a previous meal. The cilantro lime was an unsual mix for pasta, but we both just loved it. It was filling and delicious with the perfect amount of zing and freshness from the cilantro.
Curious? Give it a-go and let me know what you think! If you prefer regular pasta, feel free to use that instead!

Low-Fat Cilantro Lime Shrimp Pasta
makes enough for about 4 servings

For the sauce:
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of unsalted butter
4 tbsp (1/4 cup of AP flour
2 cups of fat free or skim milk

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
salt and pepper for seasoning

1.  In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter on a medium flame.  Whisk in the AP flour thoroughly and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Slowly pour in the milk as you continuously whisk the mixture together. Whisk out any lumps. Bring the sauce to a boil-- stir constantly-- and then simmer it for about 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. When the sauce has cooled down for about 10 minutes, mix in the sour cream and season again, if needed.

For the shrimp:
1/2  lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 tbsp lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 red onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss the shrimp and the remaining ingredients in a clean bowl until well combined. Transfer the shrimp onto the baking sheet-- keep the shrimp in a single layer.
4. Roast the shrimp for about 8-10 minutes until they are pink and start to curl. Remove and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (don't forget to season the water with salt!). Cook 8 oz. pasta according to the instructions on the box. Drain the water, but reserve about 1/2 cup.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Add the pasta water to help the sauce "stick" to the noodles. Toss in the shrimp and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, pepper, and red chili flakes (if desired).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Macarons, Cinnamon Rolls, and Cookies...oh, my!

Between the holiday aftermath and pastry school's winter quarter starting in full swing, my schedule has been pretty busy. Also, I mentioned this on my Instagram account, but I have officially received my small business license! I can't wait to share more details about this little baby of mine once I have more of my brand identity work done. It's all very exciting!

This week I am preparing for a large winery wedding (details to come!) and various cake and dessert samples for a few different brides. It's only the middle of January and it looks like it's going to be a busy 2014 wedding season for me. With the addition of pastry school being completed come early summer and the work towards launching my business, I am absolutely delighted about what will come this year. :)

In the meantime, just because I know I have neglected OMP!, here are some goodies the hubs and I have been munching on this week.

Neopolitan Macarons: Strawberry and vanilla shells with rich chocolate ganache filling.
 Hazelnut and Apricot Cinnamon Rolls: Nice and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness.
 White Mocha Cookies: Big and chewy cookies with white chocolate chips and rolled in espresso sugar.
Happy Weekend, friends!