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!

Ruby Red Grapefruit and Fennel Salad

This salad, while light and bright, and refreshing, is completely seasonal, which is a great reminder that winter eating doesn’t have to be heavy and ooey and gooey and traditional-comfort-foody. Coming off of the holidays and New Years is, for so many, an exercise in reining it in food-wise. This salad will support that effort while still satisfying you and keeping your attention. This in-season grapefruit adds flavor, punch, and color equally. And the fennel is crunch and tone. This is not your average salad, which is why it’ll help you stay on track! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large ruby red grapefruit
* 2T olive oil
* 2T apple cider vinegar
* 1t sugar
* 1 fennel bulb, sliced super thin
* 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
* 1/3 cup sliced pitted Sicilian (green) olives
* 1/4 small red onion, sliced super thin

WHAT TO DO
Zest the grapefruit into a small bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and sugar and mix to combine. Taste and add sugar, a tiny bit at a time, if needed for balance. Set aside.

Separate the grapefruit into segments. Peel each segment and break down into small chunks and place into a large serving bowl. Add the rest of the salad ingredients, then stir in the dressing and mix carefully.

Serve and enjoy.

* Adapted from a recipe in Quick. Easy. Healthy. by Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis.

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.