Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Risotto and Wilted Spinach

I blame two things on this recipe.

  • Saltwater Grill in Panama City Beach, FL and their foodporn Pan Seared Diver Sea Scallops.
  • SkinnyTaste.com for posting this recipe that is remarkably similar to the entree at Saltwater Grill. Another win from Pinterest.

This was our first attempt at this recipe. The sear is darker on these scallops than both Saltwater Grill and SkinnyTaste.com, but the texture was right. I may try to sear in something other than cast iron next time. Scallops are on a One Day Sale at the local Whole Foods next Friday. So I may get another chance to do this sooner than later. The risotto was rich and creamy. Consider this a marriage building meal. It is not easy for one person to manage the risotto and the scallops at the same time. So this dinner was a team sport.

Seared Scallops over Wilted Spinach and Parmesan Risotto

Parmesan Risotto
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 3 • Size: 3/4 cup • Time: 30 minutes • Calories: 309 • Points: 6.5 pts

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups fat free chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat chicken stock in a small pot.

In a medium size heavy sauce pan, add butter on medium-low heat. Add shallots, sauté about 1 minute.

Add rice mixing well until well coated and transluscent, about 2 minutes.

Add wine, salt and pepper and mix well until it is absorbed into the rice.

Ladle 1 cup stock into rice and mix until all stock is absorbed, add another ladle, and continue adding and stirring until all broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and parsley, mix well and serve.

Seared Scallops over Wilted Spinach
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 3 • Size: 5 oz • Time: 10 minutes • Calories: 172 • Points: 3.5 pts

  • 16 oz (about 12-14) sea scallops
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 10 oz baby spinach, washed

Wash scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a medium size pan on a high flame. When pan is hot, melt 1 tsp butter and place half of the scallops in the pan.

Sear without touching them for a few minutes until the bottom forms a nice caramel colored crust. Turn over and cook about another minute or 2, until the center is slightly translucent (you can check this by viewing them from the side) and the bottom is seared. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from the pan and set aside on a warm plate. Add addition tsp butter and cook remaining scallops.

Add olive oil to the pan and sauté shallots, add spinach, salt and pepper. Toss until spinach wilts.

Serve over spinach over risotto topped with scallops.

Mongolian Beef

Tonight’s recipe comes from PinkBites.com. Thanks to Pinterest, I can now see other people’s pictures of foodporn and go and do likewise. So I figured I’d go ahead and give credit where credit is due. Thanks!!

Ingredients:

1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise (we used pre-cut fajita meat)
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 teaspoons of canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (about 1/2 inch piece)
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 large green onions, sliced crosswise into thirds
White rice

Setup the rice cooker:

1. Add 1 cup white rice.
2. Add 2 cups water.
3. Press the button to begin heating the rice.
4. Wait till water comes to a boil and begins to reduce down.
5. Keep an eye on it and stir as needed so that the rice doesn’t stick to the walls of the cooker.

Prepare the meat:

1. Pat the steak slices dry and mix them with the corn starch.
2. Using your hands or a spoon, move them around to make sure all pieces are coated.
3. Place beef slices in a strainer and shake off excess corn starch.

Make the sauce:

1. Heat half of the oil in a large wok or saute pan at medium-high and add the garlic and ginger.
2. Immediately add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes.
3. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Don’t worry if the sauce doesn’t look thick enough at this point. The corn starch in the beef will thicken it up later.

Cook the meat and assemble dish:

1. Turn the heat up and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is all browned.
2. Pour the sauce back into the wok and let it cook along with the meat.
3. Add the green onions on the last minute so the green parts will stay green and the white parts crunchy.
4. Serve it hot with rice.

Chicken Pignoli Pasta

As it turns out, I can also cook inside the house. This is a go-to recipe at home when we’re looking for some lighter Italian fare. The flavor profile is a little like piccata. The original recipe came from a former employer and was made with shrimp. But since the wife is not really a fan of shrimp, it got updated at home to include chicken. This recipe is quick (since most of the ingredients are ready to use) and usually leaves leftovers for lunch the next day. With this recipe, I tend to throw ingredients into the pan by handful, rather than measure.

Ingredients:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb box pasta (we tend to use whole wheat penne or rotini, but have been known to use Angel Hair or Spaghetti in a pinch)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 small jar of capers
Pine nuts
Italian seasoning
Parmesan reggiano cheese (there is no such thing as anything else)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (substitute shrimp if you prefer)
Salt
Getting setup:
1. Set a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. Go once around the pan with the Olive oil. Turn the range to medium heat
3. Rub olive oil on the chicken, sprinkle with salt, shake on Italian seasoning.
4. Cook chicken over medium heat.
5. When chicken is cooked, remove from heat and move to cutting board.
Shredding the chicken:
Take two forks, rounded ends back to back. Hold the chicken with one fork and pull with the other. This feels a little odd at first and you probably won’t feel like you’re making any progress at first. You’ll develop a feel for this. And it will make its way into other chicken recipes. I do admit I have to give Giada credit for this technique.
   
Prepare sauce:
1. Go once around the pan with more olive oil.
2. Add minced garlic, stir for 30 seconds
3. Add all the artichoke hearts (you can separate them with a wooden spatula) and about 2/3 of the capers (and all of the caper juice). Add chicken back to mixture.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer
3. For the last couple minutes, add pine nuts and stir. Add a little salt to bring out the other flavors.
Putting it all together:
1. Drain the pasta, return the pasta back to the pot.
2. Add the sauce, chicken and pine nuts to the pot.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Serve. Grate fresh parmesan reggiano cheese

Sometimes I’ll toss in some sun dried tomatoes or a drained can of diced tomatoes to add color. You can also use some lemon juice or zest to make it even more piccata like. This pairs especially well with a sweet Italian white wine. We like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, because it’s one of the wines we drank while we were in Rome.