Scallop Tacos with Smashed Avocado Salad

How fancy does that title sound?? Would you believe this is a 15-minute dinner? Maybe 20? SERIOUSLY. And so easy. And holy moly my best Taco Tuesday yet! (Not to pat myself on the back or anything… oops!)

Scallops are a special treat, but since they’re also a fan favorite in this house, I decided we were due. And you are too! Scallops sound and look and feel like a fancy-schmancy meal, but they’re so simple and you just have to try these tacos. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb bay scallops (the little ones)
* 2T olive oil, divided
* 1/2t freshly ground black pepper
* 1t Kosher salt, divided
* 1C frozen sweet corn kernels
* 4 green onions, chopped
* 1 ripe avocado
* crumbled feta cheese
* fresh cilantro, chopped
* fresh lime
* corn tortillas
* 1 whole, ripe avocado

WHAT TO DO
Place the scallops in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the black pepper, and 1/2 a teaspoon of Kosher salt. Carefully mix until the scallops are well-coated.

In a saute pan over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the corn and green onions, and 1/2 a teaspoon of Kosher salt until the corn and inions become slightly charred. Remove from heat.

Cut the avocado in half and use your hands to squeeze/smash the flesh into a bowl. Add the charred corn and green onions. Add some crumbled salty feta (as much as it looks like your salad needs). Squeeze some fresh lime over the bowl, and mix well.

Heat a nonstick pan over high heat. Add the scallops and cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, getting a good sear on ’em. Remove from heat.

Spread the avocado salad onto a warm tortilla, add 3 or 4 scallops on top, sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime. BOOM!

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Note My Recipe: One-Pan Cashew Chicken and Veggies

Tonight’s Not My Recipe is The Salty Marshmallow‘s easy cashew chicken. I stumbled on this recipe somehow and I love it! It ticks all the boxes: easy? yep. quick? less than 30 minutes. crazy delicious? Wait until you taste the sauce! And double bonus: one-pan magic AND healthier than the original without sacrificing any flavor (see ‘crazy delicious’ above). I did make one deviation from the original recipe in my version–I didn’t realize I was out of sesame oil before I started cooking, so I left it out and then sprinkled toasted sesame seeds as a garnish for serving. Mmmmmm…

This is not my recipe, but I sure do wish it was, and I sure will be making this again and again!

Perfectly Simple and Simply Perfect Italian Meatballs

My Tiny Sous Chef has been getting more involved in meal planning lately and has asked to choose one meal per week. This week she asked for “meatballs made with meat (meat = beef) and salad.” Since she asked for it in such a straightforward way, I thought we’d go basic and straightforward without frills on the meatballs.

A few years ago Food Network Magazine did a special feature on meatballs. It had all kinds of variations and how to prepare them if you want to bake them vs fry them vs broil them, etc. the basic foundations recipe for each style included in the feature have become the basics for all of my meatball creations. This recipe is adapted from the Italian meatball basic recipe in that feature. It’s simple, easy, and fool-proof perfection. It will not fail you. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
makes about 24 1.5-in meatballs
* 1 1/2-1 3/4lbs lean ground beef
* 3/4C grated Parmesan cheese
* 3/8C Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
* 3/8C milk
* 3/8C fresh parsley, chopped
* 3t minced garlic
* 1 1/2t kosher salt
* 2 eggs

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl by hand until combined. Form the mixture into balls, about 1.5-2 inches each. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a large pot. Add your favorite store bought or homemade tomato sauce and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until the sauce is warmed through. Serve over pasta or rice or your favorite veggie noodles, in a sub roll, over a salad, or just as-is.

Meatless Monday: Hearty White Bean Chili

When starting off a new year with painfully cold temps, the only way to deal is to bake and cook up a big pot of something warm and hearty and cozy to fill your belly and heat your whole body from the toes up. This chili is so simple, but so layered with flavor and warmth. Four types of beans, sweet corn, spices, and a creamy surprise ingredient elevate this from a basic to a really special bowl of hearty chili perfect for welcoming in a new year (or otherwise driving out the chill). Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
* 1 sweet onion, chopped
* 3t minced garlic
* 32oz vegetable broth
* 4 15.5oz cans of white beans, any type, and a combination is great. Possibilities: garbanzo, cannelini, Northern white, navy, butter, etc.
* 4oz can mild green chilis
* 1T chili powder
* 2 1/2t cumin
* 1t dried oregano
* 1t paprika
* 1/2t salt
* 1/4t ground black pepper
* 1/4t cayenne pepper (optional)
* 1C frozen sweet corn
* 3/4C tahini
* fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
* fresh lemon wedges for serving

WHAT TO DO
Heat a large pot over medium hear. Add a few tablespoons of water, and when its just shimmering, add the peppers, onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to begin softening the vegetables and release the aromatics.

Add everything else but the frozen corn and tahini, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.

Add the frozen corn and the tahini. Raise the heat back up to medium and cook until heated through, just a few minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.