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!

Chicken Marsala over Sautéed Asparagus Ribbons

Doesn’t that sound fancy? It’s so easy, though!

The very first meal I ever cooked for my now-husband was Chicken Marsala. I remember wanting to impress him, choosing this dish because I thought it would also *sound* impressive, and then being SO stressed out trying to put it together. This was long before I started cooking regularly, and I definitely hadn’t mastered timing in the kitchen, and it was just so so so anxiety-inducing!

It does sound–and look–fancy and beautiful. But Chicken Marsala really is stupidly easy to make. My husband also really likes asparagus and I really don’t so I’ve been trying to make it a little more and play with preparation so that I can find a version that I can tolerate. This may be a winner. Also fancy sounding (asparagus ribbons) but so simple. Traditionally, Chicken Marsala is served over linguini or spaghetti, which is totally acceptable and delicious, but this is a nice twist that adds flavor and color. And this whole dish is ready in about a half hour, so. DUH. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 4 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/4-1/2-in even thickness
* 1/3C + 1T flour
* olive oil
* 2T butter, divided
* 8oz white button mushrooms, sliced
* 8oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
* 1 large shallot, minced
* 2t minced garlic
* 2/3C Marsala wine
* 2/3C chicken broth
* Salt and pepper to taste
* herbs for garnish, optional (parsley, or thyme, or whatever you like)
* 1lb asparagus

WHAT TO DO
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to a large pan over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of each pounded chicken breast, then lightly dredge each in flour, and add the chicken to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, flip, and cook another 2 minutes, letting the chicken become golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and 1 more tablespoon of butter and the mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mushrooms to the plate with the chicken.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add the shallots and garlic. Saute for about a minute, then add a tablespoon of flour and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to create a roux. Pour in the Marsala wine and broth, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the chicken and mushrooms back into the pan, reduce heat to low, and cover.

Trim the asparagus ends and then carefully slice each spear into thin strips (each should give you 3-4 ribbons). Place the asparagus ribbons into a large pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Saute over medium-high heat until the strips soften and slightly brown, tossing occasionally.

Plate a helping of asparagus and top with the chicken and mushrooms. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnishing with fresh herbs if you want, and serve.

Fancy and Quick: Seared Scallops over Brussels Sprouts

Today was our anniversary. Five years ago on our anniversary evening, I went into labor, and our sweet girl arrived the next day. So celebrating our anniversary has sort of moved to second chair. Especially when it falls on a weeknight. But we still celebrate, and we still take the time to do something special for our day. So tonight I planned a dinner that I knew I could pull off after work, but would still be celebratory. And this is The Dinner. Beautiful, velvety, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth scallops pair perfectly with bacon-y brussels sprouts, and it all comes together in under 20 minutes and looks gorgeous on the plate. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 3 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked and diced
* 3t minced garlic
* ~1lb shredded brussels sprouts (you can shred your own, or buy them pre-shredded at most grocery stores (Trader Joe’s has shredded b. sprouts in a bag in the fresh produce section)
* 3-4 green onions, chopped
* juice of 1 lemon, divided
* olive oil
* 1lb sea scallops
* salt and pepper

WHAT TO DO
Cook your bacon in a large pan to desired crispy-ness. Set aside to cool a bit before chopping up to small pieces.

To the same pan, add the garlic over medium heat, and cook until it begins to brown, but before it burns. Then add the brussels sprouts and green onions. Add a little olive oil to keep it from burning. Cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the brussels sprouts begin to brown. Then remove from the pan, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them, and set aside.

Pat your scallops dry with a paper towel. This will ensure a better sear. Heat a little bit of olive oil in the pan and add the scallops. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side. Squeeze the juice of the other half of the lemon over the scallops while they’re cooking on the second side. 

Serve a 2-3 perfectly-seared scallops over a small bed of warm shredded brussels sprouts and a sprinkle of bacon pieces. For a special occasion or when you just want to get fancy and treat yourself – enjoy!

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Panko-Parmesan Chicken Over Simple Salad with Burrata

True story: the only reason I didn’t post our Meatless Monday dinner last night was that I fell asleep early. Like, early-early. That literally never happens and I’m still wondering if maybe I’m suddenly narcoleptic. But anyway, you’ll just have to wait a week for that one. Onwards.

This dinner sounds and presents fancy, but takes no time to pull together. It is simple, quick, beautiful, and undeniably delicious. Just a few ingredients and a little prep and you can plate this light, simple, lovely dinner for your family, even at the end of a busy day. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDPankParmChxwSal5
for the salad
* arugula and baby spinach
* 1 1/2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
* handful of grape tomatoes, halved
* juice of half a lemon
* olive oil
* salt
* lemon pepper
* 1 ball burrata

for the chicken
* 1-1 1/2lb thin-sliced chicken breasts (or regular chicken breasts pounded thin by hand)
* 2 eggs, beaten
* ~1/4C+ Panko breadcrumbs
* ~1/4C+ grated Parmesan cheese
* olive oil
* lemon wedges for serving

WHAT TO DO
Prepare your salad by adding all of the ingredients besides the burrata to a bowl and mixing to combine. Place the burrata in the center of the bowl for serving. Set aside.

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Heat about 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Prepare your beaten eggs in a bowl, and in a shallow dish mix together some Panko with some Parmesan cheese – about equal parts. I completely eyeball this, but I’d guess about 1/4 cup or so of each. Better to underestimate and have to add more than to overestimate and have to waste any Panko and Parmesan.

Coat each chicken breast first in the egg and then in the Panko-Parmesan mixture, then place into the oil to fry lightly, about 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. With thin-cut breasts, really watch your time. They’ll cook quickly and you don’t want the meat to become dry, but you do want the crust to be golden, which is why I keep the stove temp no higher than medium.

When your chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

Serve a nice helping of salad, breaking the burrata up as you serve, then top with the sliced chicken breast. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and you’re done. Faux fancy!

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