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


Unbelievably good–even if sweet potatoes aren’t your thing. In fact, it wasn’t until Junior Too was halfway through his salad that I clued him in to the identity of the orange cubes. He made a face, and though I expected the rest of his sweet potatoes to end up on the side of his plate, he nearly cleaned them out–no “nearly” about it for Senior and me. Loved, loved, loved this!

Brown Sugar Shrimp and Sweet Potato Spinach Salad

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes

1/4 cup brown sugar

12 oz (about 24) large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tailless

6 cups baby spinach

1 cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced thin

1/3 cup Craisins

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup french-fried onions (I used Fresh Gourmet brand found in the salad dressing aisle)

Dressing of your choice (recommend Asian Sesame or Champagne Vinaigrette)

1) To large skillet, add butter and oil and heat over medium-high heat; add sweet potato cubes and cook, stirring often, 6-7 minutes until softened but still slightly firm; stir in brown sugar and cook 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool

2) To same skillet (don’t wipe clean–you don’t want to waste that tasty brown sugar-butter), add shrimp and, stirring occasionally, cook 2-3 minutes until pink and just cooked through; remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool

3) After sweet potatoes have cooled about 10 minutes, assemble salad, dividing ingredients between 4 plates in this order: spinach, sweet potatoes, shrimp, cucumber, Craisins, cilantro, and french-fried onions; serve with dressing

Servings: 4


This Asian Shrimp and Noodles dish boasts the three desirable qualities of being pretty, tasty, and easy to make. Though we had only three at table tonight and I made the full four servings, Senior and Junior Too gobbled down the extra serving only to look at me expectantly. All gone, but that left plenty of room for mint chocolate chip ice cream, so no complaints.

Asian Shrimp and Noodles

3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp hoisin sauce

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

14 oz fully cooked Hokkien Stir Fry Noodles (or 3 cups cooked spaghetti)

1 lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tailless

1-1/2 cup shredded green cabbage

1-1/2 cup matchstick carrots, chopped into 1/4″ pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

3 green onions, sliced thin, divided

1 tsp sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and white), divided

1) To small bowl add: soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, water, and brown sugar; mix well and set aside

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat; add noodles and cook 3 minutes until noodles are warmed through; add shrimp, cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, half the green onions, half the sesame seeds, and soy-hoisin sauce; stirring often, cook 7-8 minutes until shrimp is cooked through and vegetables have softened; remove from heat and serve sprinkled with reserved green onions and sesame seeds (told you it was easy)

Servings: 4


I took this lovely dish to a friend’s house (after setting aside a couple servings for Junior and Junior Too). By all accounts, it was a hit–cool, light, and tasty. The only thing I might do different is use black sesame seeds for better visual contrast (did I mention I’m exploring “food art”?). And I might add an extra tablespoon of pepper sauce for more zing. Regardless, this is definitely a keeper.

Shrimp-Mango Noodle Salad with Thai-ish Dressing


10 oz angel hair pasta, cooked al dente, rinsed in cold water and drained

1 tbsp sesame oil

12 oz sugar snap peas, boiled 1 minute, rinsed in cold water, drained, and cut into 1″ pieces

1 large red bell pepper, sliced thin and cut into 1-1/2″ pieces

1 large orange bell pepper (or yellow), sliced thin and cut into 1-1/2″ pieces

3 green onions, sliced thin

1 mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (not overly ripe–somewhat firm)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1-1/2 lb large cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tailless, and chilled

2 tbsp sesame seeds (I used white, but black would be prettier)


2 tbsp dried shallot (or 1 fresh shallot, minced)

4 tbsp packed brown sugar

1/3 cup lime juice

2 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp Tabasco Sweet and Spicy Pepper Sauce (this is where the “Thai-ish” comes in since I didn’t use Thai chili sauce)

3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp sesame oil

1) SALAD: In large bowl, toss cooked angel hair pasta with 1 tbsp sesame oil to prevent noodles from sticking together; add sugar snap peas, red and orange bell peppers, green onions, mango, cilantro, and shrimp; set aside

2) DRESSING: Combine all ingredients in medium-sized bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves

3) Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine; sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately or refrigerate an hour or more for a blissfully chilled salad

Servings: 6-8 dinner-sized portions (10-12 side dishes)

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/15/12.