Guest Blog: Brittany From “Everyday Thoughts”

I am so excited to be the guest blogger today on Cooking on the Bright Side! Mary and I have been great friends for just over five years. We met in a senior-level college class at the University of Memphis and found commonality in our love for beer, boys, and big ten football (a great starting point for any friendship). I learned quickly how much Mary values and loves her family and that’s something I really admire about her. We shared our love for family and food one evening when my mom was in Memphis visiting. Mary invited my mom and I over for dinner with her and her dad. We enjoyed a beautiful meal. We drank wine and laughed, we drank more wine and cried and by the end of the night I left with this incredible sense that I had found a friend for life. That time around the dinner table was so important to our friendship and its a memory that I’ll carry with me forever.

Our lives are so busy but I think it’s important to make time for the people who matter most in your life and what better way to slow down than some time at the dinner table. The very first time my husband (then boyfriend) prepared a meal for guests we made this recipe. So every time we prepare it we eat at the table. This is one of those meals that just helps us slow down. I hope you enjoy:

Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta

1 box Bowtie Pasta (14 Oz)
1 pound Peeled And Deveined Shrimp
2 Tablespoons Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning, Divided
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
12 ounces, weight Andouille Sausage, Sliced
1 Yellow Pepper, Stem And Seeds Removed, Then Sliced Into Strips
1 Red Pepper, Stem And Seeds Removed Then Sliced Into Strips
1 Onion, Sliced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ cups Mozzarella Cheese

Preparation Instructions:
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.

Place shrimp in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of theSlap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. Stir so that the shrimp is well coated, set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat add peppers and onions. Saute the vegetables for 2-3 minutes. 

Add an additional 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and add shrimp to the vegetable mixture.

Cook the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes or until theshrimp turns pink and is fully cooked.

Similar to the shrimp, use the remaining 1 tablespoon of Slap YaMama Cajun Seasoning to coat the andouille sausage. Add the remaining oil to the skillet if necessary and cook theandouille sausage in with the shrimp and vegetable mixture for about 3 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked.

Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute.

Remove from heat.

If you’d like to add a little heat stir in some crushed red pepper (to taste).

In a large pot combine the pasta and the entire shrimp and sausage mixture.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Sit at a dinner table with someone you love and enjoy.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you take a second and check out my blog if you have a minute www.everydaythoughtsbybrittany.blogspot.com

Brittany (of Everyday Thoughts)

BLT Pasta Salad

I hope everybody had a fabulous Mother’s Day weekend and that all of the mommies out there got a little spoiled for a day!

Now I’ll give you a little something to spoil yourself without feeling too guilty…

I think my favorite sandwich to eat is a BLT – love the soft bread, cool tomato, crisp lettuce and crunchy bacon! And okay, I hate mayo on sandwiches – but just a little glaze of it just does the trick.

Now I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to make myself a healthy lunch during the week – but if I forget to pack a lunch or that frozen thing just isn’t sounding good to me, it’s hard to find something healthy that’s also not breaking the bank (I’m sorry, $7 for a sandwich just does not work for me!)

So seriously, do yourself a favor. This is so easy to throw together and you can totally make enough to enjoy a few days a week! Best part…you don’t have to worry about bread getting soggy!

BLT Pasta Salad (Serves 2-3)

4 oz. Barilla plus elbow noodles

1 medium tomato

2 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. dried mustard

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 slice turkey bacon

salt and pepper to taste

Fill medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until cooled.

While pasta is boiling, cook your bacon in the microwave. Crumble and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise and dry mustard.

Chop tomato and add diced pieces, along with juice, to mayonnaise. Mix well until blended. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper. (You can always add more later!)

Once your pasta is cooled, add to the mayonnaise/tomato mixture until coated well.

Tear spinach slightly and measure 1 cup. Add to pasta and chill.

Add bacon just before serving.

I took the bacon in a plastic bag to work and added it just before I ate. Yes, that means I sat at my desk with a piece of bacon in my drawer for a few hours…

That’s just how I roll.

Shrimp Scampi

Once upon a time, when we weren’t married and didn’t own a home, the husband (previously “the boyfriend”) and I would spend time at each others residences. I lived in an apartment and he shared a house with 2 other guys, which was surprisingly way cleaner than you would ever imagine.

So, I loved going over there and cooking! We’d rotate weeks – particularly when our favorite show “24” came on each Monday night. It was fun – I loved that he could cook. And as I said before, he loved that about me as well – in fact, I think that’s how I tricked him into marrying me! 😉

We were craving something with seafood and pasta one night – but something that just tasted light and was easy. So, I introduced him to Shrimp Scampi. Now, back then – we were okay loading up on the pasta and the butter. Obviously, that’s not so WW friendly. But have no fear my followers (or people who I guilt into coming here by posting my recipes on Facebook!) – this one was easy to lighten up. And it’s easy to make. And, of course, it’s totally delicious.

Shrimp Scampi (serves 2)

8 oz. cooked shrimp, tails removed

4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

2 tsp. olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

Lemons – (1/2 of one lemon zested, 1/2 Tbsp. juice, 1/2 a lemon sliced)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. parsley

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan for the pasta. Add pasta to water and cook according to directions.

Melt butter and olive oil in a medium skillet and add garlic. Stir until melted and cook about 1 minute.

Remove tails from shrimp and pat dry. Add to skillet along with salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until cooked through.

On the side, prepare your lemon zest. I find it’s easiest to zest over wax paper. I have to say that my zester is my favorite kitchen gadget – you just move it back and forth over the lemon and collect the zest on the wax paper.

When shrimp are done cooking, remove from heat and add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

Drain cooked pasta and add back to pot. Pour shrimp and sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

And voila, dinner is done in less than 30 minutes! Goes great with some crusty bread or a crisp salad.

Thanks for reading!