After returning from a lengthy stay in Argentina, I am faced with the challenge of making healthful and wallet friendly meals for myself in an effort to shed the extra pounds as well as stay on budget. One of the greatest things I’ve discovered while attempting to cook healthy foods is that salad is not the only, or best, option for a nutritious meal. Sure greens and veggies are good for you, but once you add the dried fruit, nuts, croutons, and dressing, you may as well have had a roast turkey sandwich or gourmet veggie burger.
Last night was my catch-up night- the night where I plan to do all the lingering tasks I’ve pushed aside the other 6 days of the week. On my agenda: laundry, hang a mirror and go grocery shopping. I must admit, I love grocery shopping. I love the process of picking out my favorite things and concocting recipes in my head as I wander. I am that person who lingers in front of the sauces section wondering which mustard would be best for my mustard and shallot vinaigrette. Some, I’m sure, would find this insane. Who would spend an hour in a grocery store shopping for only $50 worth of products? Well….me.
On this night in particular I decided to go slightly gourmet. On the menu: roasted acorn squash, asparagus with caramelized shallots, and shrimp with garlic and lemon. This menu would also work with roasted pumpkin or butternut squash as well or you could substitute brocollini, sugar snap peas, or green beans, or as Ina calls for, combine them all!
I went home and whipped it all up, poured myself a glass of water and added a few slices of fresh lime to snaz it up and hunkered down to watch Project Runway. A lovely way to end my day.
Roasted acorn squash
1 lb. acorn squash
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450. Slice up your squash into 8 piece segments. Spray a cooking sheet with pam and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash on top of sheet and repeat with pam, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Asparagus with Caramelized Shallots (interpreted from Ina Garten)
1 bunch asparagus
2 small shallots, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil or Pam
Boil a pot of water and blanch asparagus for two minutes. Then place in a bowl of ice water. Add 2 tablespoons of oil or spray stove top pan with pam and quickly caramelize shallots. When the shallots are translucent, add blanched asparagus until thoroughly cooked through.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp
1 lb shrimp
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Top shrimp with lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Heat pan with olive oil or Pam. When sufficiently heated, add shrimp and turn when downward side is no longer translucent. Cooking time should be 2-5 minutes total, depending on the heat of the pan and size of shrimp.
And as for what I HAD been eating in Argentina, here’s a picture of an outdoor parrilla, barbeque, at the San Telmo fair in Buenos Aires. Ah Argentine beef!