Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh weekend, are you here yet?

Yet another long week has left me completely exhausted. hunting...attempting to study for my Personal Trainer's Cert...taking care of two puppies...being a good wife, etc. This has been a long week, and I haven't felt too great. I have lost my energy this week...not sure where it went. I haven't even had energy to work out---you know something's wrong with me when that happens! Nevertheless, I am very much looking forward to this weekend, as my Mom and I are hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Amanda in Northern VA. Amanda and my brother, Michael, are expecting a baby boy on April 23rd. We are all so very, very excited! Daniel and I will be staying with his brother Scott and his wife, Erin in their new home in Burke. I am so excited to see them and their new home. :)

The hubs and I were supposed to start Zoey tonight with puppy training classes, but I begged Daniel for us to wait and start them next week. I've had something every night after work this week and I wanted to enjoy one evening relaxing, cooking and spending time w/Daniel and the pups. Although not having much energy, I mustered up some to cook us Smoked Paprika Shrimp with a Red Pepper Agave Sauce served over polenta. Yum! I also whipped up a Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake to bring with us to Scott and Erin's. It smells delicious! Enjoy the recipes below.

Smoked Paprika Shrimp with a Red Pepper Agave Sauce


Red Pepper – Agave Sauce:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup chopped red onion

3 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey (I used honey)

1 jar (12 – 13 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

Smoked Paprika Shrimp:

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 tsp. McCormick’s Gourmet Collection Smoked Paprika

1/2 tsp. McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt

1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper

2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Poblano Polenta:
1 quart (4 cups) milk

1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt

1 cup polenta

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup shredded Manchego cheese

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels

1/4 cup finely chopped roasted Poblano chile (See Test Kitchen Tip below) or 1 tablespoon chopped drained pickled jalapeno pepper


Red Pepper Sauce:

Heat 1 Tbls. oil in small skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until softened. Add agave nectar (or honey); cook and stir 1 minute or until onion starts to caramelize. Place peppers, stock, cream, tomato paste and onion mixture in blender or food processor; cover. Puree until smooth. Spoon into medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Keep warm.


For the Poblano Polenta, bring milk and sea salt to simmer in heavy 2-quart saucepan on medium heat. Whisking constantly, add polenta in thin stream. Stirring frequently, cook 10 minute. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, corn, cheese and chile until well mixed. Keep warm. (As I said before, quick cooking polenta works just fine with this. Just follow cooking time on the package.)


Toss shrimp with 1 Tbsp. oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet on medium -high heat. Add shrimp, cook and stir 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. (Or, grill, works great)

Spoon polenta onto each plate. Drizzle sauce around polenta. Arrange shrimp on polenta. Sprinkle with green onions.

Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake

Blueberries and lemon are a natural match, and they come together nicely in this fruit-filled snack cake. Almond paste, a sweet mixture of ground almonds and sugar, contributes a mildly nutty flavor and moist texture. Almond paste is found in the baking section of the grocery store. (Don't substitute marzipan, which is sweeter and has a smoother texture.) If it is hard, soften it by microwaving at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds. Recipe from Cooking Light.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 piece)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond paste
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
Cooking spray

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Place 1/2 cup sugar, almond paste, and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg and lemon juice, beating well. Add flour mixture and fat-free milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries and rind. Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, combine 1/4 cup sugar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, tossing with a fork until moist. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information
196 (30% from fat)
6.5g (sat 2.1g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.8g)


  1. Can't wait to see you guys, and I'm looking forward to the coffee cake!! Yum!!! :-)

  2. Wow! That all sounds so good!!!

  3. Have a wonderful weekend..give everyone my love!
    Hope you get some rest along the way!

  4. Ummm, that coffee cake sounds DELICIOUS!! Wanna come stay at our house??

    I'm going to be trying a new shrimp dish soon, hope it turns out good enough to share.

    Hope the weekend was fun!

  5. Can you say JEALOUSSSSSS?! Hope you had fun this weekend! Loves to you and Daniel both!