Shrimp Fried Rice

While I would much prefer to have fresh shrimp, living inland doesn’t really allow for that very much.

Luckily, you can buy deveined and already peeled shrimp in the freezer section of your grocery store. Not as good as fresh (but cheaper than the ‘just thawed out, because you don’t live at the beach’ shrimp they sell for twice as much at the meat counter, making people think they are getting ‘fresh’ shrimp – you’re really just getting previously frozen, conveniently defrosted, shrimp if you live inland. That said, I will buy the frozen version and thaw it myself – saving at least 50% of the cost of the shrimp!

I try to keep some shrimp in the freezer for nights just like tonight – when I don’t have any other protein already thawed for dinner. Shrimp is easy to defrost at home. I put mine in a colander and just run cool water over it until it is thawed – and it’s ready to go! Enter tonight’s meal of shrimp fried rice!

You can cook your fried rice in a wok or large skillet. It just has to be a pan that can withstand high heat – as one of the keys to a good stir fry is the high temp. Additionally, using cold rice is a way to keep your stir fry from being too mushy. Then, it is just a matter of adding in the vegetables that you like! I cooked the ‘components’ separately for the most part – and then tossed them back together to finish it off.

Shrimp Fried Rice

3 tablespoons of oil (I used sesame oil)
1 lb of shrimp (I used deveined, peeled shrimp from the freezer section)
4 cups cooked, chilled white rice
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas and carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups of snow peas
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 eggs
3-4 tbsp (or to taste) low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp Siracha sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt/pepper to taste
sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish

  • Get wok hot and add 1 tbsp of the oil to pan
  • Add shrimp and garlic to the pan
  • Cook shrimp until pink (add chili powder and a little bit of salt and pepper during cooking)
  • Remove shrimp from wok
  • Add 1 tbsp of oil to pan
  • Add vegetables to wok and stir for 3-4 minutes, remove from wok
  • Add remaining oil and crack all 3 eggs into oil – quickly scramble eggs in the wok
  • Add rice to wok – try to keep rice touching as much of the wok as possible (to allow for crispiness of the rice) – letting it sit for 3-4 min before stirring.
  • Quickly stir rice around, picking up the crispy bits from the pan
  • Add the vegetables back into the pan
  • Add soy sauce and Siracha and stir, until well mixed (don’t overwork, as you don’t want the rice to become mushy).
  • Serve with sesame seeds and green onions

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta

Almost every weekend, I make pasta – sometimes on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays. This week, I did it on Sunday.

I was running low on the vegetables that I regularly put in my pasta – asparagus and mushrooms are common vegetables. But, I did have a jar of roasted red peppers in the cabinet – and that’s where it started!

Almost every dish I make (particularly pasta dishes) start with onion and garlic. For this dish, I added in a few other items: Italian panko bread crumbs, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese – to name a few.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and then cook the onions and garlic, until the onions are translucent. For the protein, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes. I added the chicken and cooked until the chicken was done (amount of time will depend on how small you cut the chicken). Add salt, pepper and umami seasoning at this point.

After rough chopping the red peppers (if not already chopped – the jar I had was pretty much whole peppers), add them to the pan (along with the juice from the jar) and warm through (about 5 min). ** note – I used a 12 oz jar of peppers, but when I make this again, I will use a larger jar.

Once the peppers are warmed through, add the heavy cream and half of the Parmesan cheese to the mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 10-15 min.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook per directions. I used bow tie pasta, but I think most any pasta would work well with this sauce.

After pasta is done (al dente), drain and add Pasta to skillet. Add remaining Parmesan cheese and stir – sauce will thicken as you let it simmer for the next few minutes.

Garnish with Italian panko bread crumbs and chopped basil and ENJOY!

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta

Box of bowtie pasta
1/2 onion (diced)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 jar roasted red peppers
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Parmesean cheese
1 tsp Umami seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil
Italian Panko bread crumbs

  • Melt butter in large skillet
  • Add onion and garlic to melted butter
  • Cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent
  • Boil pasta, per directions – to al dente
  • Rough chop the roasted red peppers (if not already diced) and add to skillet (along with juice from jar) and allow to warm through (about 5 min)
  • Once peppers are warmed though, add heavy cream and 1/2 the parmesean cheese to skillet.
  • Bring to boil – then reduce heat to simmer and cover.
  • Cook for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Add drained, al dente pasta to skillet
  • Add remaining parmesean cheese and stir (sauce will thicken as it simmers for a few minutes)
  • Garnish with chopped basil and panko bread crumbs

Skillet Sausage and Rice

Yesterday, I was looking for something quick, easy and with little clean up for lunch. As I always do, I took a look at the items I had on hand and I ended up with this one skillet dish that turned out delicious.

It all started with a chub of Jimmy Dean sausage, asparagus, mushrooms, garlic, beef stock onion and cilantro.

As I worked through chopping vegetables, I thought of seasoning – and I decided to add a packet of ranch dressing seasoning mix.

I started by browning the sausage (medium high heat), along with the onion and garlic.

Once that was done, I added the other vegetables and cooked until semi-tender.

After the vegetables were somewhat tender, I added in the rice and cooked until the rice was somewhat translucent.

Beef broth (that was just what I had on hand, I’m sure that chicken broth or vegetable broth would work just as nicely) was added next. I added half of the cilantro to the skillet and stirred everything up. I brought the skillet up to a boil. Once it was at a boil, I covered the skillet and reduced the heat to simmer – allowing it to cook for 20 minutes (cook until rice is done).

Add the remaining cilantro and serve! Super easy, delicious, easy clean up and reheats nicely!

Skillet Sausage and Rice

1 chub of Jimmy Dean (or similar) regular sausage
2 cups of long grain rice
3 cups of beef stock
1-1/2 cups of mushrooms
1/2 bunch of asparagus (1-1/2 cups, chopped)
1/2 white onion (diced)
1-2 tbsp of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic, I used 2)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble sausage in skillet, with diced onions and garlic on medium high heat. Cook until sausge is browned and onions are translucent.

Add asparagus and mushrooms, cook for another 5 min (until vegetables are semi-tender).

Add rice and ranch dressing and stir to mix, cook until rice is translucent.

Add beef stock and 1/2 of the cilantro. Stir and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes (until rice is done).

Add remaining cilantro and serve.

Welcome to Michelle Cooks – I’m happy you’re here!

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” 
― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

My name is Michelle and I love to cook. I love the process of creating new recipes and just ‘throwing things together’ and hoping for the best. I have some hits and misses – but, I love the process, none the less – and even the misses often lead to new ideas.

I love all food, truly – but, I do have some favorites. I love pasta, one pot/skillet meals, crock pot meals and anything that reheats well (I love leftovers!).

I plan to share my hits and my misses – in the hopes that others are inspired to be creative in the kitchen!