Shrimp Salsa

So last week while on vacation, I thought I might get a chance to update the blog or post a delicious new recipe.

Obviously…that didn’t quite happen.

Y’all, I don’t know what it was – but I just didn’t want anything to do with technology! Other than watching a few episodes of a TV show we brought on DVD and letting the world know that my amazing husband passed his big exam via Facebook, I completely immersed myself in books and enjoyed sticking my head in the proverbial sand.

Okay, so it was my feet in the sand, but you get the picture.

Anyways – the husband and I had an amazing 7 days full of sunshine (well, mostly!), cold beer, crashing waves, delicious seafood, ocean breezes, good books, late night balcony talks and of course, celebrating his big accomplishment!

I think we ate something with seafood every single day – including 2 different types of delicious baked oysters smothered in cheese! We also had crab legs, grouper cheeks (yes, cheeks, and they were ridiculously good!), smoked tuna dip, gumbo and a pizza that was topped with Cajun grilled shrimp.

I know I’ve told y’all how much I love shrimp and how versatile it is. Well, I finally tried a recipe I’d been dying to test out that I found on SkinnyTaste that is a homemade salsa – with the main ingredient being shrimp. It is so incredibly refreshing during these hot summer months – just pair with a cold beverage (I mean, it doesn’t have to be a beer), kick back on the patio and enjoy!

Shrimp Salsa (Serves 4  / 2 WW pts. per serving / adapted from “SkinnyTaste“)

8 oz. pre-cooked shrimp

2 medium tomatoes

3 Tbsp. red onion, diced

2 Tbsp. fresh jalapeno, diced

1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Pinch garlic powder

Tortilla chips (I tried Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues Chips, they are sprinkled with cayenne and have a great kick to them!)

Remove tails from shrimp and pat dry. Chop shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces each.

Chop your tomatoes and dice your onion. Add to a medium bowl and add lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add chopped jalapeno, cilantro and shrimp to bowl. Mix well and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Taste and add salt if necessary.

This is even better after a day or so when all of the flavors have really blended…so don’t be afraid to double the recipe if you are expecting a crowd!

Remove from the refrigerator, grab your chips and dig in!

Mexican Dip

Um, so here’s the deal. I love making appetizers and party food – I think I could eat finger foods for meals 5 days out of the week and be perfectly content!

One of my favorite “party food” recipes (read: super easy) is a Mexican Dip my mom passed along to my sister and I. It’s seriously easy and is always a big hit. I am pretty sure it’s the first thing to disappear at any gathering.

So for our 4th of July celebration (which we held on Tuesday, because who wants to go to work after a night of celebrating?) my husband really wanted to make some pulled pork and have tacos. I know, tacos for the 4th sounds crazy, right? But it was a fun little food theme and nobody really seemed to mind. Especially when I busted out the Mexican Party Dip. This recipe is so easy to “lighten up” by using fat-free cream cheese, turkey chili, fat-free cheddar and some baked Tostitos!

Mexican Party Dip (Serves 8-10)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 can of Hormel No-Bean Chili

2-3 Tbsp. chopped yellow onion

2 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno (I use the jarred kind opposed to fresh)

14 oz. Pace Picante sauce

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Take a medium, but fairly deep, baking dish and spread cream cheese in a layer, covering the entire bottom of the dish. I use a spoon to make sure it’s pressed up against the sides, creating a seal.

Pour chili over the cream cheese and spread evenly with a spoon.

Sprinkle chopped onions and jalapeno over the chili.

Pour Picante sauce on top – you don’t need a whole jar, maybe 3/4 – just enough to create a layer and cover the jalapenos and onions.

Now sprinkle the cheese on top of the salsa and you’re ready to bake.

Place dish in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip begins to bubble.

Remove, scoop with chips and devour!

Now, what usually happens when I make dishes for a party to put on my blog is that I get a lot of great pictures of the process. Then I cook the food. Then I put the food out. Then I forget to take a picture. Then I’m left with this to show you…

At least the dip being demolished shortly after coming out of the oven is a testament to how delicious it is! So try it soon – you won’t regret it!

Happy Friday the 13th everybody!

Homemade Guacamole

Man oh man. These past 2 weeks have been absolute insanity for me and it has certainly been reflected in my lack of blogging – and I apologize for that!

As you know based on my naughty post, the husband recently celebrated his birthday. As did my middle nephew. So there have been parties and dinners to attend!

Also, last week my group at work had a department retreat which was so much fun, but you know when you go out singing karaoke on a Tuesday night – Wednesday might be rough – especially when you are in one big meeting all day! It was such a blast, but wow was I drained the rest of the week from it!

Having my parents dogs around did not do much to keep me from being lazy…

Watching a movie in bed...

…until this weekend, when I started going through my room of shame (read: spare room filled with “junk”) to sort through and label for a garage sale.

The husband and I decided to go out that night and we tried a new Mexican place (well, it was new to me!) – I’m very picky and don’t do the “hole in the wall” thing very well for Mexican or Chinese. So we were expanding my horizons.

I read reviews online and heard about their guacamole – and it did not disappoint! The interesting part of it was that the avocado is left in large chunks and then mixed with the other ingredients. Delicious, but I do like my guacamole to stay on the chip without careful maneuvering!

Luckily, I had some avocados hanging out in my fridge that needed to be used – so I tried my hand (oddly enough, my first time ever) at making homemade guacamole! I wasn’t incredibly diligent with measurements, so just start off small and add as you go. Remember – you can always add more, but you can’t “take away”!

Homemade Guacamole

3 ripe avocados

1 medium tomato

1 lime

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (if you have it)

1-2 Tbsp. onion, minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried cilantro (if you don’t have fresh)

Dashes of cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.

Dashes of Tabasco

Begin by coring your avocados. I just take my knife and slice down one side until I hit the pit, and then turn the avocado and continue cutting. Once I’ve made it all the way around, I twist and voila – two perfect (ish) avocado halves!

Now simply remove the pit and scoop out the meat!

Add avocado to a bowl and smash with a fork until you’ve reached your almost desired consistency – I don’t think it warrants a food processor unless you’re really making a big batch!

Add salt, cumin, cilantro, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Dice your tomato and mince your onion and add to the avocado.

Add lime juice, hot sauce and garlic and stir until incorporated.

Refrigerate until you are ready to eat! We had taco night at home – but I just ate my guac with some baked tortilla chips…

While the husband enjoyed his on his actual tacos…and on some chips too!

This is such a yummy dish that is great to enjoy during the summer – even if Mexican isn’t on the menu for the main course!