Summer is coming, and that means the outdoor grill is coming into its own again. And since I prefer working the grill when it isn’t blazingly hot outside…kabobs for dinner! What makes them so tasty is the bacon, though I did use it sparingly so it wouldn’t overpower the seafood. A winner!

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp minced cilantro

8 slices turkey bacon, halved horizontally

32 medium-sized shrimp

16 large scallops

1 lemon, sliced into 8 wedges

1 lime, sliced into 8 wedges

8 skewers (I used bamboo)

1) Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat

2) In small bowl, mix olive oil, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cilantro; set aside

3) Wrap 16 shrimp (reserving 16) in bacon halves;

4) Assemble 8 kabobs on skewers as follows: lemon slice, bacon-wrapped shrimp, scallop, naked shrimp, bacon-wrapped shrimp, scallop, naked shrimp, lime slice; brush tops of kabobs with half the chili-cilantro oil

5) Place kabobs on grill, chili-cilantro oil side down; cook 5-7 minutes; brush tops of kabobs with remaining chili-cilantro oil and turn; grill 5-7 minutes until shrimp and scallops are just cooked through; serve with a nice salad

Serves: 4


This salad was a snap to make–and delicious! The only thing I would change is that, rather than use Mediterranean Herb feta cheese, I would stick with good old regular feta (reduced fat). My guys and I gobbled our salads down and all that remained was a bit of dressing.

8 cups romaine lettuce, torn

1-1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered then halved

1-1/4 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 avocado, diced

12 oz medium-sized shrimp (cooked, deveined, and tailless)

1 tbsp parsley

1) Divide lettuce between 4 plates; top each salad as follows: tomatoes, green beans, feta, avocado, shrimp, and parsley

2) Serve with dressing of your choice (we used our favorite, Ken’s Steakhouse Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette)

Serves: 4


Junior and I aren’t big on seafood, but Junior Too and Senior enjoy “stuff from the sea,” so I try to include one seafood dish in each menu planning session. These enchiladas were moist and tasty–well worth the number of ingredients required to put them on the table.


2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp flour

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cup onion, diced

2-1/2 cups shredded cabbage

1-1/4 cup finely chopped carrot

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

3 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 cups chopped baby spinach

1 lb cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

18 corn tortillas, warmed (about 1 minute in microwave)

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish

2) In medium saucepan, melt butter; add flour and whisk 1-2 minutes until lightly browned; gradually add chicken broth and whisk 1-2 minutes; stir in sour cream; add salt, pepper, and cilantro; simmer until sauce thickens (2-3 minutes); remove from heat and set aside

3) In large skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil; add onion and cook 3-5 minutes until translucent; add cabbage, carrot, red bell pepper, chipotle pepper, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper; stir to combine and cook 5 minutes; add spinach and shrimp; stir to combine and immediately remove from heat

4) Assemble enchiladas: lay out warmed tortillas and divide shrimp mixture and cheese between tortillas; roll tortillas and place, seam side down, in baking pan; pour sauce evenly over top; cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes; remove from oven and serve

Serves: 6


Though our summer here in middle Tennessee has been unusually rainy, it’s still been hot (and humid) enough to justify an overabundance of salads as entrees. This time, however, I nixed the lettuce (of course, this recipe can certainly be served on a bed of iceberg or romaine). Regardless, it’s a delicious summer meal that will have forks chasing around every last bean and avocado bit. Enjoy!

Shrimp-Black Bean-Avocado Salad

2-15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 lb cooked medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tailless

1 small red onion, diced small

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes

2 tbsp minced jalapeno

2 tbsp olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

lettuce (optional)

Tortilla chips (optional)

1) To large bowl add black beans, shrimp, red onion, avocado, tomatoes, and jalapeno; gently mix

2) Add olive oil, lime juice, oregano, cumin, and sea salt; gently mix

3) If you go the lettuce route, first divide lettuce between 4 plates; divide shrimp salad between servings, sprinkle with cilantro, and add a few tortilla chips on the side (optional); serve!

Servings: 4-6


I knew I’d find a good use for that wedge of watermelon. The next step was to come up with a sauce that wouldn’t clash with my other ingredients. Enter: Lemon poppy Seed Drizzle, a tasty complement to seafood AND pineapple and watermelon. As for the poppy seeds… Yesterday, the flecks were parsley, so I thought I’d mix it up some. Unfortunately, since my guys weren’t talkative during dinner (something to do with eating in front of a movie), the verbal feedback was on the thin side. Appetite-wise, however, they spoke volumes, leaving a poppy seed here and there and skeletal skewers on their otherwise clean plates. This is wonderful summer fare. Yes, I know it’s still spring, but sometimes I’m a bit ahead of my time 🙂

Lemon-Poppy-Seed Skewered Shrimp with Pineapple & Watermelon


1 cup water

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1 tsp poppy seeds

1/4 tsp sea salt


1-1/2 lb large cooked shrimp (tail on, peeled, and deveined–easy!)

1 whole pineapple (skin removed, cut in half vertically, cored, and sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces)

1/4 medium watermelon (rind removed and cut into 1/2″ thick pieces)

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

sea salt to taste

parsley (optional)

8 skewers for grilling shrimp (I used bamboo)

1) In small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together all lemon poppy seed drizzle ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook 2-3 minutes until dressing thickens; remove from heat, pour into small bowl, and refrigerate

2) Heat outdoor grill to medium-high (or grill pan on stovetop)

3) Divide shrimp between skewers, piercing each shrimp near head and again near tail; refrigerate

4) Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes each side (don’t overdo–just soften a bit and put some manly grill marks on them); remove from heat, set aside, and let cool a few minutes

5) Arrange plates: alternate and overlap slices of pineapple and watermelon; place a couple lemon slices in corners of plate

6) Grill skewered shrimp 1-2 minutes each side (since these are already cooked, you’re just heating them a bit and going for more manly grill marks)

7) Place grilled shrimp atop fruit and sprinkle with sea salt to taste; drizzle with lemon poppy seed dressing; pop a jaunty piece of parsley on plate and serve; Enjoy!

Serves: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/28/12


Grits are pretty tasty, but they’re tastier with the addition of white cheddar cheese and half-and-half. If you take it a step further and scatter shrimp, bacon, and green onions on top, we are talking delicious–not to mention easy. Yes, indeed, we have thumbs up again!

Shrimp-Bacon-White Cheddar Grits

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup yellow corn grits

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

1/4 cup half-and-half

6 oz bacon, diced small (I used center cut bacon)

12 oz large shrimp, peeled, tailless, and deveined

2 green onions, sliced thin

1) In medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, bring chicken broth to a boil; reduce heat to medium and stir in grits; cook 7-8 minutes, stirring often, until grits are just cooked through (you may need to use a lid to keep stovetop free of spatters); stir in cheese and half-and-half and reduce heat to low

2) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes until crispy; reduce heat to medium and transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate to drain; add shrimp to bacon drippings in skillet and cook 2-3 minutes until pink and cooked through; remove from heat

3) Divide grits between 4 plates; scatter shrimp, bacon, and green onions over grits and serve

Servings: 4


We are talking salad weather! Though this was to have been a meatless meal, my guys were hungry, so I piled on a bit of cooked shrimp and they were quite pleased with their dinner. Love those chickpeas!

Asparagus-Chickpea-White Cheddar Salad

1 tbsp olive oil

1 naan bread (or pita), cut into 1″ squares

sea salt

ground black pepper

20-25 thin asparagus spears, ends trimmed, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces

6 cups fresh spinach

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

6 oz white cheddar, cut into small cubes

1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

12 oz cooked shrimp (optional), tailless, peeled, and deveined

Dressing of your choice (vinaigrette is nice)

1) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add naan bread and cook, turning often, 5 minutes; sprinkle with salt and pepper, remove from skillet, and set aside to let cool

2) To skillet, add asparagus and cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes; remove from skillet and set aside to cool

3) Divide spinach between 4 plates and scatter the following over the top: cucumber, tomatoes, asparagus, kalamata olives, cheese, naan bread, chickpeas, and shrimp; serve with dressing of your choice

Servings: 4