About Me

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Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Shrimp, enchiladas, and cheesecake

Just call me Ahnold, because going to the gym is kind of an obsession of mine. When I was a little eater I watched Dad go to the gym or go outside for a run 4 or 5 days a week. Dad made all of us kiddos YMCA members when we were about 5 years old (seriously, my brother's first Y membership card is adorable- all ringlets and grins) and I haven't stopped going since.

Ok, maybe I stopped going when I was in college. I've been atoning for those years ever since.

In the last couple of months I've started to step it up. I want to eat everything, so most days I week I strap on my heart rate monitor, throw on a disgusting old tshirt, and park it on a treadmill until I burn 1000 calories. I like to watch episodes of Law and Order on my phone while I run. I liked to watch Nashville, but ABC Mobile has implemented some stupid login system that really frosts my cookies.

Since I run my legs off most days and the boyfriend sacrifices his body in a surprisingly intense office basketball game three times a week, I try to sometimes implement a dinner that is carb-heavy. Considering that, last week I made Spicy Parmesan Shrimp Skillets from one of my very favorite blogs. This was dead easy and penne pasta is one of my favorites. I even yanked the shrimp tails off right after I dumped them into the cast iron, because that's how considerate I am.
A few days later, I burned 1200 calories on the elliptical and decided to replace them all at dinnertime. I made "Lightened Up" beef enchiladas, although I can't tell you what is light about these. It doesn't matter. They were indulgent, cheesy, tangy- perfect. After the Pioneer Woman's chicken version left me bitterly disappointed and exhausted from the afternoon spent preparing them, the beef version was a relief and a breeze to make. We were sitting down to eat and watch the Olympic opening ceremonies in under an hour.
We also had dessert that night. I told you I wanted to replace all calories burned. Since our recent cheesecake discovery at Guerrazzi's, I've had more cheesecake on my mind. I called and asked them what flavors they had that night and the varieties made my head swim. We hopped in the car and drooled over the dessert counter before choosing Key Lime,cinnamon roll, and peanut butter chocolate.

There were three of us eating dinner that night, so I cut the cheesecake up so we could each have our own sampler plate. My favorite was the peanut butter chocolate, because of course it was, but the cinnamon roll was nothing to scoff at. The cheesecake has actual pieces of cinnamon roll on top. Have mercy.

Wait until I tell you about the dark chocolate waffles we made the next morning.

Spicy Parmesan Shrimp Skillet
serves 2-4
1 pound raw peeled and deveined shrimp (I used cooked shrimp. It was fine.)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I used mozzarella.)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne

In a bowl, whisk olive oil, parmesan, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes together. Add shrimp to a large ziplock bag, pour marinade over top, then seal bag and shake to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

When ready to eat, bring water to boil in a large pot and cook penne according to directions. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and marinade (just dump the entire contents of the bag into the skillet), then cook shrimp until pink – about 2 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook! As soon as shrimp is finished, add penne into the skillet and toss to coat completely. Top with additional parmesan cheese and sliced green onions, then serve.

Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce

Yield: serves 4 (or 3, if 2 of you are big ol' men.)
Total Time: 1 hour


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles (in the world foods aisle at Meijer.)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
10 whole wheat tortillas
for serving: green onions, cilantro, sour cream, avocado

enchilada sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the olive oil along with the peppers, onions and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green chiles then add the beef. Break the beef apart with a spoon and add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is browned, stirring well. Turn off heat.
Add 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce and 2 ounces of the cheese to the skillet. Add another 1/3 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out with a spoon. Add the beef filling to the center of each tortilla and rolls them tightly, placing them next to each other in the dish. When finished, cover the tortillas with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and melted on top. *I then stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes to get the cheese to bubble.

enchilada sauce
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes before using.

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