Ok, so this is going to seem so elementary to most people, but since I came to the kitchen later in life ... perhaps this will help someone!

Cooking For One (or Two) Portion Control:

When I cook the Basic Quinoa - I portion it out into 4 ounce baggies.  Once the quinoa has cooled properly, I store the baggies inside a large freezer-safe zip bag and it gets labeled and into the freezer it goes!  Then all I have to do when I want to use it - is grab a portioned out baggie, microwave it on medium-low power (think steaming it) and it’s ready to go!

For the shrimp - I typically buy frozen shrimp, and within a day or two of purchasing the shrimp - I portion them out - typically 3 shrimp per baggie for 21-25 shrimp and 5 shrimp for 31-40.  And then yes, I do leave some shrimp in 1 pound bags for times when that is the main meal or appetizer :)  And just like the quinoa above, the portioned baggies go into a large freezer-safe zip bag, labeled and into the freezer.  These shrimp take almost no time at all to defrost, I can run them under cold water to remove the ice and within minutes they are ready to use!  Just pat dry with paper towels, season and cook!

Freezer Food Control ... Keeping What’s On Hand On My Mind

Anytime I put (or remove) something from the freezer, my freezer “inventory” spreadsheet gets updated.  It’s not that I update it that very second, but I make a note on the white board on my fridge what’s been added or deleted. 

** This keeps me/us from the grocery store - when there is plenty to shop from in our home! 

I was thrilled when Ziploc came out with their Perfect Portions bags!  I LOVE using those for larger pieces of meat.  For the small items like these, until Ziploc comes out with a similar product in a smaller size (hint, hint) - I use the non-zip top sandwich baggies.  I guess the snack size baggies would work too if they were on sale or cheaper.

Utensils I LOVE:

NOW ... as far as Cooking For One (or Two) goes ... since the recipes are scaled down ... my favorite set of measuring spoons come from Crate & BarrelI’ve also seen them at Sur La Table.  They are a magnetic set (which I love) and each spoon has 2 fully functional ends, not to mention they are shaped differently for super easy and effective cooking!  This set also includes a 1/2 Tablespoon - which comes in very handy!  The ONLY thing I wish was different about them is that ... there is not a 1/8 teaspoon.  For that - I have a metal set that I purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond which is one of the only sets I’ve seen to include the 1/8 measure.

I’m also addicted to small spatulas because they can work so well in small bowls!

OK ... Enough Rambling ...

Here goes ...

First:  Creamy Chipotle Dressing  (Serves 2 easily & can be made in advance)

 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
 3/4 teaspoon Soy Sauce
 3/4 teaspoon Lemon Juice
 1/4 teaspoon Ground Chipotle  (www.penzeys.com)
 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
 pinch Chicken Bouillon granules


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Chill until serving.

Second:  Roasted Shrimp

 3 large shrimp  (pictured is 21 - 25 per pound)
 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil (or less)
 Pinch of both kosher salt and black pepper


Preheat oven (toaster oven) to 400 degrees.  Place shrimp on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss shrimp in oil, salt and pepper to coat evenly.  Place shrimp in the oven for 2 minutes per side.  Serve warm or chill for serving later.

Third:  Putting The Salad Together:


Spoon heated Quinoa onto a serving plate.  Layer Arugula over the top.  Place Roasted Shrimp on top.  Drizzle with Creamy Chipotle Dressing.  

And if you like Shrimp and Salad paired together - We LOVE this Thai Shrimp Salad!!  For a list of growing Quinoa Recipes - Click here!http://www.food.com/recipe/Southwestern-Caesar-Salad-With-Creamy-Chipotle-Dressing-138393http://www.penzeys.com11_Basic_Quinoa_-_Using_The_Pressure_Cooker.html../../2011/8/30_Thai_Shrimp_Salad.html../../2011/8/30_Thai_Shrimp_Salad.html../../../../Grain_Index.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2shapeimage_3_link_3shapeimage_3_link_4shapeimage_3_link_5