Monthly Archives: October 2014

Seafood Squash Pasta

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It’s autumn! The season of scarves, beautiful leaves, and harvest! I thought a recipe that incorporates some fall ingredients is appropriate right about now. I was grocery shopping and came across these awesome squashes (that sounds pretty funny when you say it out loud) on sale. Spaghetti squash, butternut squash…they look so pretty piled together! I picked a small acorn squash just because it looked adorable.

Fun fact: acorn squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds. A diet with a high intake of the nutrients provided by acorn squash may decrease the risk of a number of serious medical conditions.

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Getting chopped!

I was very excited going into creating this pasta dish. I had the idea in my head and it turned out as well as I expected! The union of seafood, squash, cheese and coconut flavors was delicious. It makes for a great hearty dinner and I hope you try it out!

As a fair warning, this dish is relatively more laborious than the recipes that I normally share, mostly because cooking the squash takes quite awhile. However, if you are up to a challenge, you shall be rewarded! With yumminess.

Ingredients: (for baking the squash)

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients: (for the dish in general):

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup of seafood mix. (I happened to have shrimps, scallops and smoked salmon in my freezer but you can easily buy a bag of frozen seafood mix. Or even better, use fresh!)
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) piece of ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Some of the ingredients

Directions:

The first thing you want to do is to cook the squash. Roasting it in the oven is the best way to go. I looked around online for an easy recipe and ended up using this one from Chow. It is super straight forward. However, the one tip that I will add is that before putting on the seasoning, score the insides of the acorn squash halves with a knife, in a crisscross pattern. This way, the squash will cook faster. The whole process will take about an hour and a half (cooking time plus cooling time). It just takes patience.

While your squash is cooking, get your prep work done!

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Drain pasta and let it cool.
  3. Before cooking your seafood, first dice them in to bite size pieces if they are too big.
  4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.
  6. Place your seafood pieces in the pan in an uncrowded layer.
  7. Depending on what seafood you have, cooking time will be different. The general guideline is to let one side sear undisturbed until it is browned and crisp, turn it around and sear the other side the same way. Shrimps and scallops should take around 2 to 4 minutes.
  8. Place the cooked seafood in a plate on stand by.

When your squash is finally cooked,

  1. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes
  2. Scoop the flesh of the squash out of its skin and dice it into chunks, about 1cm cubes.

Now all the ingredients are ready! The rest will be easy peasy.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep pan over high heat.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic and tomato. Stir and cook until they are fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  3. Turn the heat to medium-high and pour in the coconut milk.
  4. Add in the squash chunks, seafood and pasta, let them baste in the coconut milk.
  5. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Last, add in shredded parmesan cheese and chopped coriander leaves for garnish.
  8. Serve immediately.

Not going to lie, by the time I finished making this dish, I was ravenous! BUT, that made the very first bite taste just even better. Cheesy, coconutty, squashy, seafoody…Okay, some of those weren’t words, but you get what I’m trying to say. So much flavor! If you are up for an adventure, give this recipe a go. Just as a last note, you don’t have to use acorn squash for this recipe. Feel free to use other types of squash or pumpkin! Explore, eat, discover!

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Oh-So-Yum Overnight Oats

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I LOVE breakfast. I need a good meal in the morning to start my day off right. Want to see me cranky? Deny me breakfast. Overnight Oats is one of my favorite things to eat in the AM. The idea is by no means new. If you search for “overnight oats” online, tons of recipes will pop up. Today, I will share some of my creations.

The base of this recipe is equal parts oats, yogurt and milk mixed together. Many people (myself included), also like to add chia seeds to the base. If you have never met Mr. Chia seeds, there are many reasons to make your acquaintance. It is a wonderful source of healthy omega-3 fats, fiber and protein. Ch-ch-ch-chia! Just had to do that…Ignore the dorkiness…

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Other than that, there are endless possibilities in terms of what you can put in to enhance the oat. Fruits, nuts, seeds, different types of milk, yogurts and sweeteners…I adore experimenting and trying out that first bite (It’s usually delicious. Just saying).

Ingredients (Base):

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup milk (could be soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt/flavoued yogurt if you like
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Ingredients (Some enhancer suggestions):

  • Fresh/dried fruits: blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, bananas, peaches, cranberries
  • Nuts: walnuts, cashew, peanuts, almonds
  • Sweeteners: peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, jam, vanilla extract
  • Seeds: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Spices: cinnamon, pumpkin spice

Directions:

  1. Mix the base ingredients (with any sweeteners and spices) together in a mason jar, soup mug, or any vessel with a lid.
  2. Add in your choice of toppings (fruits and nuts). There are also people who prefer to add these in the morning instead.
  3. Place in fridge overnight.
  4. Wake up and enjoy!

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Depending on the ingredients you use, I find that the overnight oats I make usually keep well in the fridge for at least 3 days. So I tend to make a couple mugs, enough for 2-3 breakfasts! Such a time saver!

Here are some ideas for you!

Energy Booster – Peanut Butter Banana

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Ingredients:

  • 1 table spoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 handful blueberries (optional)

Peanut butter and banana. Such a classic. In the winter, after taking this one out of the fridge, I like to heat it up in the microwave for a minute, until the banana is mushy and the peanut butter has melted. (In this case, I wait until after heating the oat to add the walnuts. I like to maintain the crunchiness of nuts) Honestly, it taste heavenly.

Autumn Morning – Peach & Grape Jam

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Ingredients:

  • 1 half diced peach
  • 1 tablespoon grape jam
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon

This one just came out of an experiment recently. I wanted to play with some fall flavors. I used to not like cinnamon, but for some reason, I am so into it this year! If you like, you can also try adding in some pumpkin spice. Simply mix the spices with the base and top with jam and chopped peach chunks. Enjoy with a coffee and a cozy knit sweater. So autumn…

Summer Memory – Papaya & Coconuts

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  • 1/3 cup diced papaya
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (optional)

I think not everyone likes the pungent smell of papaya…but I love it! But then again I like the smell of durians too (fun/weird fact about me). They just remind me of summer and make me feel like being somewhere tropical. This oat recipe is a perfect blast to summer vibe for me. You can replace regular milk with coconut milk to go all out for that tropical flavor. Top with the fruits and honey and you are all set. Suggestion: eat while playing you favorite summer tune. Now, can you hear the ocean? ~You and me, standing on the sunnnn~

Alternatively, if you are in a rush in the morning, you can always take this awesome breakfast to go. That’s the beauty of overnight oats. Not only is it nutritious, fun to make, pretty to look at, delicious, it is also portable! What more do you want I ask you?!

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Here’s a picture of my hand pretending to work at home. When really, I’m probably on Pinterest. But you know, I bet tons of people out there take their breakfast to work O:-)