I really enjoy cooking. I like the artistic part of it. Selecting a menu with foods that my family will enjoy, all the while balancing complimentary flavors and colors. It’s my daily challenge. But sometimes life is busy and I just want a simple, quick meal. And if I can find one without sacrificing quality and taste, even better! And these shrimp foil packets are a great answer to that.
Salmon with Lentils
I kind of stumbled upon this recipe. I was looking for a simple salmon recipe that didn’t require a cedar plank, mustard sauce, or soy sauce. This one seemed easy enough and I had all the ingredients. So easy too that I’ve made it three times already! Ellie loves this one, and now Chloe gobbled this one up too! This is definitely in the rotation.
It calls for two cups of leeks, which I never have and always forget to buy. I always leave them out and it tastes great. One of these days I’ll give it a try with them.
Panko Crusted Tilapia and Curried Quinoa Mango Salad
It’s been busy around here lately, and fish always seems to be a quick good meal. I’m not really good at cooking breaded things. Not sure if it’s my pan, or my technique, but the breaded never seems to stick no matter what I do. But despite my breading challenges, we all really liked this dish. Light, simple, and good flavor.
The quinoa salad was really good too. I like quinoa in hot dishes, but I think I prefer them in a cold salad form. I really loved the flavors in this one.
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) Cabbage Pancake
‘Okonomi’ means “what you like,” and ‘yaki’ means “grilled” or “cooked.” But the basic is a simple flour batter with shredded cabbage and either seafood or pork. This dish has many variations especially depending on the region of Japan as well.
You typically cook these at the table at home or out at a restaurant, and eat them as they are finished. I’ve had this once before in Japan at a restaurant but never at home.
I got out my old electric pancake skillet and we decided to cook them at the table to make it fun. I just learned that Aya’s mom has never made it before(she said “I’m from the East side.Â That’s a West side thing”). Aya has never made it, and only had it at a restaurant. I was really going into uncharted territory when deciding to make this.
You can use squid, octopus, pork, scallops, shrimp, etc when making this. I decided on just using shrimp. Then it’s topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, dried fish flakes, pickled ginger, and ao nori (dried nori flakes).
It’s not one of my favorite dishes, mainly because the flavors are so unique. Pancakes with cabbage, fish, seaweed, and mayo? Yes, that’s pretty much it. We had fun making it at the table and Ellie loved the shrimp. And since the cabbage was in pancake form, she was more open to eating the cabbage. This step-by-step guide really shows the process quite well.
Considering I didn’t totally know what I was doing, I did pretty well.
Okonomiyaki (Cabbage Pancake)*Recipe from the book Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko
3.5 cups plain all-purpose flour
3 cups water
2 large eggs beaten
1/4 tsp salt
4 sprigs scallions, roughly chopped
14 oz white cabbage, sliced very thin
vegetable oil for frying
Japanese okonomiyaki sauce
ao nori (dried seaweed)
1 lb of fresh raw shrimp, peeled and shells removed
Mix flour, water, eggs, cabbage, and shrimp together like you would pancake batter. Make sure all of the cabbage is evenly coated.
Heat skillet and pour batter in pancake shapes. If the batter is too thick, spread it around a little bit to make a circular shape.
Cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Make sure shrimp or other fish/pork you may use is fully cooked.
Cover pancake with okonomiyaki sauce then drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise. Cover with fish flakes, seaweed, and pickles ginger. You can put as much or as little as you want on.
Crab Cakes and Spicy Mustard Sauce
Wow! I wasn’t expecting much, but these turned out great! I just used canned crab meat, but there were still good. Lightly crispy on the outside, nice and flavor on the inside. I served it with some corn chowder soup and a salad. Ellie loved these too. Always a plus.