Eating My Way Through

Coconut Risotto with Mango and Sweet Chili Shrimp August 18, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood/Fish — Nikki Wegner @ 6:19 pm

After baking risotto I swore I would never make it the old-fashioned way again. The time-consuming, stirring forever, arm starts hurting way. Well I lied. And I am glad I did!

This recipe for Coconut Risotto with Mango is a great, light, refreshing summer meal. By using light coconut milk in addition to vegetable or chicken broth your rice gets  infused with the rich flavor of coconut. The mango adds a hint of sweetness and brings the flavors together. This recipe also leaves out the butter and cheese, which makes it much healthier than traditional risottos. I paired it with some shrimp I sautéed  with soy and a sweet chili sauce for a complete meal!

First you combine your broth and coconut milk in a large pot, bringing everything to a boil before reducing to a simmer and letting cook together.

Broth and Coconut Milk Boiling

Broth and Coconut Milk Boiling

Then, in another large pot, heat a bit of olive oil and toss in some chopped shallots until tender, about 3 minutes. Add your arborio rice and cook/toast for about 1 minute.

Rice toasting

Rice toasting

Add in a little white wine, and stir until the wine is absorbed by the rice.

Now begins the fun part. Add in the broth/milk mixture in 1/2 ladle scoops. Stirring constantly until fully absorbed. Then add another scoop. Continue this process until all the liquid is used up.

Then add in the mango and salt, and stir well.

Coconut Risotto with Mango

Coconut Risotto with Mango

For the shrimp, simply spray a large skillet with cooking spray and toss in the shrimp, soy sauce and sweet chili sauce. Cook everything together until the shrimp are heated through.

Soy and Sweet Chili Shrimp

Soy and Sweet Chili Shrimp

Serve the shrimp on top of the rice for a yummy dinner.

Coconut Risotto with Mango and Sweet Chili Shrimp

Coconut Risotto with Mango and Sweet Chili Shrimp (adapted, sort of,  from Oprah)

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup light coconut milk

1 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped shallot

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup mango, diced

1 lb shrimp, deveined, defrosted, etc.

2 tbsps soy sauce

2 tbsps sweet Thai chili sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Brand)


Combine broth and coconut milk in a large pot, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.

In another large pot, heat olive oil and then add shallots, cooking for 3 minutes or until soft.

Add in the rice and stir for about 1 minute.

Pour in the white wine, stirring until completely absorbed by the rice.

Add warm stock 1/2 ladle at a time; stir until almost absorbed before adding more. Repeat until broth is gone and the rice is tender.

Stir in mango and salt, set aside.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, then add in shrimp, soy sauce and sweet chili sauce. Cooking until shrimp are heated through and fully cooked.

Serve shrimp over rice.

Yields 4 servings


Shrimp Fajitas with Homemade Salsa July 12, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood/Fish,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 4:35 pm

This weekend I was craving Mexican food, a common occurrence for me! I just love the crisp, spicy flavors, usually accompanied by a large serving of melty cheese; guilty pleasure much?

But instead of defaulting to my old standby of a cheese quesadilla with whatever salsa I could find in the fridge, I decided to go a little bit healthier and make my own salsa and a batch of shrimp fajitas.

For the salsa, instead of just chopping up the tomatoes like I usually do, I used the same technique I did for the enchilada sauce on Cinco de Mayo. I boiled a pot of water, cut an x in the bottoms of the tomatoes and tossed them in the hot pot of water for about 45 seconds-1 minute. I removed them and placed them in a bowl of ice water to cool.

Cooling Tomatoes

Cooling Tomatoes

After they are cool enough, simply peel them and cut them into slices.

To finish up the salsa, I placed the lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, onions and spices in my food chopper.

Veggies for Chopping

Veggies for Chopping

Pulse a few times until chopped. Add the tomatoes and chop until the consistency you want.



And voila! A quick, healthy and easy salsa with just the right amount of kick. I am weak and like my salsa mild to medium, but if you want to give it even more heat, try adding different kinds of peppers or more chipotle chili powder.

For the fajitas I was looking for a recipe that just didn’t call for using fajita seasoning you buy at the store, which is surprisingly hard to find! I wanted something with a little bit of citrus to complement the shrimp and spices to give the fajitas nice flavor. After some digging I found a great recipe from Paula Deen on The Food Network Site. I decided to adapt it a bit and cut down on the oil and add a spice or two.

To start, you make a marinade for the shrimp and let them marinate in the  fridge for about 15 minutes.

Shrimp Marinating

Shrimp Marinating

While the shrimp is marinating, chop up some onion and bell peppers. Toss them in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkle the veggies with chili powder and some garlic salt.

Fajita Veggies

Fajita Veggies

Cook until the veggies are crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking then, don’t forget to stir,  remove the shrimp from the fridge and just place them on the grill for about 2-3 minutes, turning half way through.

Grilling Shrimps

Grilling Shrimps

When everything is done cooking, simply heat up some tortillas in the microwave, divide up the shrimp and veggies, and serve with your salsa and some non-fat sour cream.

Shrimp Fajitas with Salsa

Shrimp Fajitas with Salsa

To make these a bit healthier, I resisted the urge to top them with cheese and guacamole, but feel free to if you are in the mood!

This recipe was painless and super quick, something that could easily be done on the fly after a long day of work. I even brought leftovers for lunch and they reheated really well. Next time I am craving Mexican, I think I will give these another shot, swapping in Chicken for the shrimp and maybe playing with the combination of spices a bit more!

Nikki’s Salsa (own recipe)

2 large tomatoes

1 garlic clove

Juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped

1/4 sweet onion

1/4 red onion

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

Dash of chipotle chili powder



Boil a pot of water and prepare a large bowl with ice water

Cut an x in the bottom of the tomatoes with a knife

Place tomatoes in the boiling water for about 45 seconds to a minute

Remove tomatoes from water and place in the ice bath

Once the tomatoes are cooled, remove skins and cut tomatoes up

Place the lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, onions, spices and salt in a food processor or blender, and pulse until chopped

Add in tomatoes and blend until desired consistency

Shrimp Fajitas (adapted from Paula Deen and The Food Network)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsps lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Dash of chipotle chile pepper


1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and devined

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 red and 1 green bell pepper, sliced

Red Pepper

Garlic Salt

Cooking Spray

8 Flour tortillas


Combine first 8 ingredients in a resealable plastic bag, seal and shake until combined

Add shrimp, seal and shake until shrimp is coated

Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes to marinade

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, and add in onion and peppers, and sprinkle vegetables with red pepper and garlic salt

Cook veggies over medium-high heat until crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes

Heat grill to medium-high heat, place shrimp on grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes, flipping once

Wrap tortillas in paper towel and heat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds

Assemble fajitas with shrimp and veggies and choice of toppings (guac, sour cream, salsa, etc.)

Yields 8 servings


Crab Cakes with Remoulade and Grilled Asparagus July 9, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood/Fish,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 2:21 pm

Living in DC you see crab cakes on almost every restaurant’s  menu. With Maryland and its many crabs so close, they are everywhere!

And don’t get my wrong, I love crab cakes and I’m not complaining. They are pretty delicious, and I am always tempted to order them when out. But the catch is that they aren’t exactly going to be the healthy choice nine times out of ten.

I came across this recipe recently which greatly reduces the sodium and fat by cutting out lots of the traditional fillers and nixing some stuff from the remoulade sauce and swapping in some stronger-flavored spices and using low-fat mayo!

To start, you mix up what will hold the crab cakes together: chives, parsley, mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, red pepper and garlic salt.

Mixture to hold together the crab cakes

Mixture to hold together the crab cakes

Then you add in some bread crumbs and the crab. (I forgot to take a picture of the mixture…whoops!)

Once it is all mixed, cover with plastic wrap and toss in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While everything is chilling, make the remoulade. All you have to do is combine some mayo, chopped shallots, dijon mustard, lemon juice, chipotle pepper, garlic salt and regular salt. Whisk that all together and you get…



Once the crab mixture is done chilling, use a 1/3 cup measuring cup and scoop and pack some of the mixture into it. Invert it on to a flat surface and pat down slightly. Repeat until you have 8 patties.

Crab Cake Patties

Crab Cake Patties

Heat 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil in a skillet, and place 4 patties in there. Cook 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Crispy Crab Cakes

Crispy Crab Cakes

Remove from skillet, and repeat with remaining for crab cakes.

For the asparagus, I simply sprayed them with olive oil spray and sprinkled with salt, and tossed on my little George Foreman Grill for about 4 minutes.

Asparagus Grilling

Asparagus Grilling

Then you just plate everything together and serve!

Crab Cakes with Remolade and Asparagus

Crab Cakes with remoulade and Asparagus

The crab cakes turned out to be really light with a nice crunch outside, and the sauce has a nice kick to it! It doesn’t taste exactly like what you might get at a restaurant, but a bit of old bay seasoning might have done the trick!

This is a great meal to whip up for friends, as you can make the crab cake mixture and remoulade in advance!

Crab Cakes with Remoulade (adapted from Cooking Light)

Crab Cakes:

2 tbsps fresh chives, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 tbsps low-fat mayonnaise

1/2 tsp lemon zest, grated

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp ground cayenne (red) pepper

1 large egg

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 lb lump crabmeat

1 tbsp olive oil, divided


1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tbsp chopped shallots

2 tsps dijon mustard

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/8 tsp kosher salt


Combine the first 8 ingredients for the crab cakes in a medium bowl and whisk until combined

Add in breadcrumbs and crab, and mix gently to combine

Cover the mixture and place in the fridge for 30 minutes

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients listed for the remoulade and stir with a whisk until well combined. Put in the fridge to chill while you cook up the crab cakes.

Remove the crab cakes from the fridge, and fill a 1/3 cup dry measuring cup with the crab mixture. Invert onto a work surface and gently pat. Repeat until all of the crab mixture is used up, should make about 8 crab cakes.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsps oil over medium-high heat. Place crab cakes, about 4, in the pan.

Cook each crab cake for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Set crab cakes aside, and repeat with remaining oil and crab cakes.

Yields 4 servings (2 crab cakes and about 1 1/2 tbsps per serving)


Baked Tilapia with Garlic-Parm Mashed Potatoes May 18, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood/Fish,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 11:07 am
Tags: , ,

Growing up in Wisconsin it is impossible to not be obsessed with the Friday Night Fish Fry tradition! Deep fried, beer battered Cod with tartar sauce,  a side of fries and coleslaw and of course a micro-brew. Yum.

But the classic fish fry is definitely the antithesis of healthy! I was craving one after talking to my dad the other night. He was telling my about this great place my mom and him went to last week and it made me nostalgic. I decided to attempt to recreate the same type of meal at home, fish and potatoes, just a bit on the lighter-side.

I decided to go with Tilapia for the fish. Not only because it is a very healthy protein source, low in fat and sodium, but also because it is super easy to make!

All you do is spray a baking dish with some cooking spray, add in the fish, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice, add a few pats of butter  substitute (I use Brummel and Brown) and sprinkle with some garlic and salt (or just use garlic salt).

Tilapia Ready for Baking

Tilapia Ready for Baking

Simply set the oven to about 375°, place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Baked Tilapia with Lemon

Baked Tilapia with Lemon

As a side dish, instead of french fries, I whipped up some healthy mashed potatoes. Instead of using gobs of butter, which tastes great but way ups the calorie and fat count, I found a recipe that uses low-fat buttermilk to get that creamy texture.

While the fish is cooking, boil a large pot of water. Quarter about 2 1/2 lbs of red potatoes and add to the pot of boiling water, making sure the potatoes are covered with about 1 inch of water. Bring the pot back to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let boil for about 30 minutes.

Potatoes Boiling

Potatoes Boiling

One the potatoes are fork tender, drain and return to the pot. Mash potatoes to desired consistency. Add in buttermilk, chives, garlic, parmesan and salt to taste. Just mix everything together and if you decide you want them a bit creamier, add a little more buttermilk.

Parm-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Parm-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Put everything on the plate, with a few slices of lemon for the fish if you like, and you have a healthier version of the traditional fish fry!

Tilapia and Mashed Potatoes

Tilapia and Mashed Potatoes

But obviously, who am I kidding, this is not the same as a traditional Wisco fish fry extravaganza, nothing can take the place of that, but this might hold of your craving for a bit!

Baked Tilapia with Lemon (own recipe)

1 lb Tilapia filets

Cooking spray

4 tbsps lemon juice, fresh

1 tbsp butters substitute (I use Brummel and Brown)

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt to Taste


Pre-heat oven to 375°

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray

Rinse tilapia fillets with cold water and pat dry

Place in the baking dish

Squeeze on lemon juice

Add pats of butter, garlic and salt

Bake for 30 minutes, until fork tender

Yields 4 servings

Parm-Garlic Mashed Potatoes (adapted from Weight Watchers)

10 medium red potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs), quartered

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chives, chopped

3 tbsps parmesan, shredded

Salt to taste


Boil a large pot of water

Add quartered potatoes, making sure they are covered with 1 inch of water

Bring water back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender

Drain potatoes and return to the pot

Mash potatoes

Add in buttermilk, garlic, chives and parmesan and stir

Add additional buttermilk if you want the potatoes a bit creamier

Yields 8 servings (about 2/3 cup per serving)