Low fat shrimp salad that doubles as a dip

low fat shrimp salad sandwich

Low fat shrimp salad. An oxymoron, I know, but then again so are the contradictory qualities of shrimp.

Although a 4-ounce serving of shrimp contains about 220 mg of cholesterol, it’s also a powerhouse of nutrients on a plate.  That same 4-ouce serving is said to pack up to 4mg of astaxanthin (an anti-inflammatory nutrient), 350-375 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (and we all know how good those acids are for cardiovascular and nervous system health) and a stiff shot of selenium (an antioxidant mineral). After my father’s heart attack in 2007, he thought he’d never eat another shrimp again and banned foods for a foodie are a royal bummer. Thankfully, a long talk about “everything in moderation”  changed that.

My recipe for low fat shrimp salad is a riff on the recipe I found in the American Heart Association’s Low-Fat Low-Cholesterol cookbook. It has become a family favorite and my go-to recipe when I have a craving for seafood and little to no time for preparation. Or if it’s Friday and I’m lazy and ready for the weekend. You get the idea. A good dallop on a lightly toasted roll, a lettuce leaf or two and voila. Dinner!

This shrimp salad also pairs well with a nice glass of wine. A good scoop on whole grain crackers or crudité – it’s good living, trust me.

low fat shrimp salad dip

So what prompted this post on shrimp salad? The onset of Family Vacation 2013.  Which got me thinking about Family Vacation 2012 and how I ate my way through the South. Oh, the memories: fresher than fresh seafood prepared in a multitude of ways, key lime pie, peach cobbler and, of course, the best grits in the Union. (I’m going to be prideful now and tell you that I created a delicious, and equally decadent,  lower fat recipe  for creamy grits and including the link in case you missed it. )

Shrimp is among my favorite seafood indulgences and I’ve never met one I didn’t enjoy. Last summer, I think I ate shrimp in nearly every possible way.  And then I came home and screamed after stepping on the scale.  This vacation I am going to try with all my might to remember the “everything in moderation” mantra so the neighbors don’t hear me scream next week.

Wish me luck. 🙂

Low fat Shrimp Salad that doubles as a dip
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 16 oz shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined
  • ⅓ Cup finely chopped red bell pepper (roughly a fourth of a large pepper)
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped – increase or reduce to your liking
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp dried dill OR use fresh OR replace with fresh cilantro - adjust to your liking
  • ½ Cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl
  2. Chill thoroughly before serving.


Easy Fish Tacos Recipe

easy fish tacos

Just as I was snapping a photo of sizzling fish, Hubby walked in.  “You know, G, there are millions of fish taco recipes on the Web. The world may not need another one.” Pish posh! I’d be doing a disservice to cooks across all continents if I didn’t share my easy recipe!  Really, these fish tacos standout because of the tasty marinade, easy preparation, and versatility in serving style. Don’t like to pan fry? Fire up the grill. Don’t care for cod?  Substitute any firm fish such as tilapia or whitefish.  Have an at-times overly direct, linear observant husband? Feed him fish tacos for dinner.  And love him anyway.

Easy Fish Tacos in 3 simple steps.

Step 1:  Mix all marinade ingredients and pour over fish. Refrigerate for 20 minutes while preparing sides.

marinating fish for fish tacos recipe

Step 2: Heat a non-stick skillet and pan fry fish in batches, 3-4 minutes on each side.

pan frying cod for fish tacos recipe

Step 3:  Plate the fish, put out the sides and enjoy!

prepared fish for fish tacos recipe


Easy Fish Tacos Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
A flavorful marinade adds a tasty zip to cod, tilapia or whitefish and makes for a delicious and easy preparation for fish tacos.
  • Marinade:
  • 1½ teaspoon chile con carne or ancho chile powder
  • 1½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro (or 2 Tbsp fresh if you like the strong taste)
  • 1 - 1½ lbs cod loins (can substitute tilapia or whitefish)
  • Corn tortillas
  • Garnish: Chopped lettuce, tomato, red onion, guacamole, salsa
  1. Mix first six ingredients to form a paste.
  2. Spread evenly over fish filets and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high flame and fry 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes and is fully cooked.
  4. Transfer to serving plate.
  5. To construct, break up the fish into chunks and spoon some fish onto a warm tortilla. Top with your favorite toppings and squeeze sliced lime on top for an added tang.


Broiled Cajun Salmon with Creole Sauce over Cheese Grits

broiled cajun salmon with creole sauce

It was Friday night frenzy in my household this past weekend with the high school musical in full swing. How I get into a mood to create on such evenings remains a mystery. This time I’ll blame it on the weather. It was a snowy day in the Midwest and the only logical explanation I can muster for the blaring call for comfort food. Well, that and the gorgeous filet of Atlantic salmon in the fridge that was screaming Creole. What to do, what to do.

Daughter #1’s allergy to all things crustacean struck out Saucy Shrimp and I couldn’t let the cry for Creole go unheard. Hence, the birth of my latest culinary creation that I’m happy to pass on to you.

Broiled Cajun salmon topped with a spoonful of rich Creole sauce makes a beautiful presentation on its own over rice pilaf or mashed potatoes. Top it over a heaping helping of cheese grits and it’s over the moon. (In case you missed it, here’s my recipe for a healthier version of cheesy grits that uses quick-cooking grits.)  The Cajun rub and Creole Sauce can easily be prepared in advance and while the sauce is reheating prepare the grits and broil the salmon. While this recipe may seem daunting, it is actually a fairly quick meal to prepare that is sure to impress in presentation and taste.

Here’s to good eats,

Broiled Cajun Salmon with Creole Sauce
Serves: 4-6
Broiled salmon coated in a low sodium Cajun rub topped with a rich Creole sauce is sure to send your taste buds flying. Especially when it tops a bowl full of cheesy grits! A meal that gives a warm hug with every bite. The Cajun rub and Creole sauce can easily be prepared in advance.
  • 4-6 individual salmon filets
  • Cajun Rub:
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne pepper {optional}
  • ¼ tsp salt {optional}
  • Creole Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1¼ Cup crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chilli powder (I used Penzy's no salt Chili Con Carne)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar {per taste}
  • 1 large bay leaf
  1. Begin making the Cajun Rub by mixing all ingredients in a small jar or container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine and set aside.
  2. Next, prepare the creole sauce adding the olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat.
  3. Add the pepper, onion, and celery and cook until the onions become transparent, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Cover with tight fitting lid, reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer while the rest of the meal is being prepared. If you're cooking in advance, simmer on low for 40-45 minutes.
  6. If desired, begin preparing the cheesy grits.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 and then set it to broil, raising the rack to sit just below the broiler.
  8. Grease a large baking sheet and place salmon filets skin-side down onto prepared pan.
  9. Thoroughly coat the top of each salmon filet with Cajun rub and 3-4 minutes.
  10. Set the oven from broil back to 400F and back for another 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon.

Move over shrimp and grits, Cajun salmon broiled to perfection and topped with a spoonful of rich Creole Sauce is my new found favorite topping for cheese grits.  This meal scored high with my resident food critics and Hubby and I had fun morphing into food stylists. Note: the photo below is Hubby’s spiced up version that has an extra generous sprinkling of Cajun rub.

Whose bowl looks better? 🙂

spicy broiled cajun salmon

Shrimp, Scallop and Veggie Pasta in a light Lemon Butter White Wine Sauce

Hey all! It’s good to be back after a long winter’s nap.

It’s that time of year when the longing for spring begins to swell inside me as the cold wind still blows outdoors. Weekly email blasts from various seed companies and full color catalogs brimming with pics of ripe produce don’t help. Oh, the torture. With a good 5 inches of snow still covering my garden, and the inevitable one or two more snowfalls still coming before the final spring thaw, the only cultivating I can do is in my kitchen.  Last night I decided to dish up a taste of spring in the form of a light shrimp, scallop and veggie pasta in a delicate lemon, butter, and white wine sauce. It’s my pseudo buerre blanc sauce, a riff on the classic French buerre blanc that is loaded in fat grams from copious amounts of butter. I’m sure my light buerre blanc would annoy any classically trained chef , but it is still very palette pleasing and I know my arteries thank me. Yours will too.

Shrimp, Scallop and Veggie Pasta in a light Lemon White Wine Sauce



  • 1 lb cooked shrimp (feel free to substitute raw, peeled & deveined shrimp)
  • 1/2 lb scallops
  • 1 red pepper, diced or julliened
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 C cherry tomatoes, halved (I used some orange grape tomatoes that I had in the freezer from last summer’s harvest)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces (or use frozen as did – see instructions below)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 C dry white wine
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 C lemon juice

ingredients for Shrimp-Scallop and veggie pasta


  1. Cook pasta according to directions
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 T extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet or wok
  3. Stir fry red pepper, cherry tomato halves, and onion until crisp tender or to your liking. If  have fresh asparagus, go ahead and it, cut into small chunks. If you’re in a hurry, or you have frozen aspargus spears on hand as I did, microwave them until crisp tender, cut and then it to the other veggies.
  4. Next, add the unsalted butter and dry white wine along with the spices and give it a good stir.
  5. The vegetables will soak in the liquid a bit. To remedy this, I added 3-4 large spoonfuls of pasta water as well as the 1/4 C lemon juice.
  6. Finally, add the scallops and stir fry for 1 min, then add the shrimp and stir fry for another minute. (Since the shrimp are cooked, it’s only a matter of heating them through.)

Living up to my “Salt Police” title, I finished this lovely shrimp, scallop and veggie pasta dish with a light sprinkling of feta cheese. It’s a delicious accent to the lemony, white wine sauce. Low sodium varieties are available for sale and a little goes a long way. Prijatno! Enjoy!