As you know, cooking is my happy place. When I’m in the kitchen, I feel a sense of comfort and serenity, which allows me to get lost in my thoughts and appreciate all of the special people in my life. When I cook, it’s even more fun when I’m doing it for others! Cooking for someone else, and watching their reaction as they taste your food, is honestly one of the most rewarding moments. It gives me the confidence I need to continue to cook and it also makes my time in the kitchen that much more enjoyable.
So, if you’re struggling with taking that first step into the world of cooking, don’t worry about whether you might fail or might “not be good at it” because there is no right or wrong way of doing it. AND…when in doubt, add some salt because that’s one of the most common criticisms I hear from the judges on Chopped!!! And remember, cooking is about trial and error, letting your creativity shine, and trying something new! For me, it’s also about continuing our family traditions and sharing recipes so that others can enjoy them, too. As my mom always says, recipes are for sharing, not for secrets!
After a long week of before 5am wake-ups and 13+ hour days, I can honestly say that Frank is working his butt off balancing work and school. By Friday night, I knew he’d be exhausted, and to brighten up his day, I wanted to make him a special dinner. I had my eyes on the grill (as I’m trying to expand my cooking horizons and learn how to really use the grill properly) and contemplated between ribs, steak and seafood. Since he’s a seafood lover at heart and will always choose a piece of fish before steak (he’s crazy, I know), I figured the seafood route was the way to go.
Here’s a simple yet decadent seafood recipe that is sure to impress your loved one, roommates, family, siblings, friends, or any special someone you’re cooking for. It’s perfect for a night-in with a glass of wine and good conversation with the ones you love! It’s also great because the clean-up is a breeze; thank goodness for tin foil!
4 large pieces of tin foil, around 12×18, greased with some olive oil (I use the spray)
3/4 lb. piece of cod loin (cut in half for two people)
1/2 lb. of scallops (about 6 pieces)
1/4 lb. of shrimps (about 8 pieces)
8 button mushrooms cut into quarters
Slices of red onion (just enough to add some flavor to the packet)
12 cherry tomatoes
2 pieces of garlic (crush just enough to peel and leave whole)
2 tbsp. light extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp. Spicy fish seasoning (You can use a little garlic powder and chilli powder)
1 tsp. chilli powder
1. Turn the grill to medium high. Clean the fish, scallops and shrimps in cold water.
2. Prepare two of the four pieces of tin foil on a large surface so they’re ready when you start to build the seafood packets.
3. Slice the onion, chop the mushrooms and rinse your cherry tomatoes.
4. Once all of the main ingredients are ready, start with the cod and place one piece in the middle of each tin foil square. Add the scallops and shrimp, then drizzle 1/2 of the olive oil on top of the seafood.
5. Add the onion, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, along with the piece of garlic, than drizzle with the rest of the olive oil.
6. Sprinkle all of the seasonings on top of your seafood/vegetable mountain.
7. Take the other two pieces of tin foil and spray them so nothing sticks when you open them up later on. Place the greased side down on top of the seafood and vegetables, and pinch all four sides so they are completely closed; no holes. Make sure you take the time to seal them correctly or else you’ll have a lot of juices spilling into the grill.
8. Once the packets are sealed and ready to go, leave in the fridge and prep the rest of your dishes.
1 bundle of stemmed and rinsed asparagus
Salt, pepper & garlic powder
1 tbsp. olive oil
1. Using the same technique as above, create an asparagus pouch with 2 pieces of tin foil.
2. Place the asparagus in the middle of the tin foil, drizzle the olive oil and seasonings, then close the pouch up by sealing all four sides with the second piece of tin foil.
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
2 vine ripe tomatoes
10-15 slices of fresh mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Pitted kalamata olives
1. Slice your tomatoes into 1/4 inch rounds.
2. Rinse the basil leaves and keep them whole.
3. Layer your tomato, mozzarella and basil pieces around a circular plate. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
4. Place the olives around the plate, cover and refrigerate until it’s time to dig in!
1. When the grill is hot, you’re ready to cook the seafood and asparagus pouches.
2. Place the two seafood pouches horizontally on the grill. Start the timer for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes, rotate the pouches a 1/4 turn and put the asparagus pouch on the grill.
4. Cook for another 7 minutes and you’re ready to eat!
1. Open up the asparagus pouch and plate them first.
2. Then, I like to open up the seafood pouch and remove all of the seafood and vegetables from the packet onto the plate. Make sure to pour all of the juices on top if you decide to take it out. If you’d like to keep it in the tin foil, that’s fine too! Let it cool before digging in.
3. On the side, I served a store-bought rosemary and olive oil quinoa/brown rice blend and just followed the box directions.
4. Enjoy the tomato mozzarella salad on the side, too!
Side note: I know I said it once, but I’ll say it again; the clean-up for this meal really is a breeze. Since you’re cooking two of the four dishes on the grill in tin foil, there’s barely any mess or fuss when it comes time to cleaning the dishes! If you’re like me and don’t have a dishwasher, then simple clean-ups become one of the greatest gifts!
Have a wonderful Monday!