Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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Chipotle and Lime Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp TacosThis recipe is from Cuisine at Home Magazine (June 2010 issue).  My husband and I have been on a chipotle pepper kick – especially if it also has adobo sauce. I think my husband must have told me these tacos were good about a dozen times tonight.  Since we are trying to limit our calories in an effort to lose weight, this recipe was appealing since 2 tacos has 462 calories and did not feel like we were starving. You most certainly can cook the shrimp by grilling them on skewers – I opted for the cast iron skillet. Photo credit: Hubby – thank you!

Shrimp Tacos

adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine (June 2010 issue) | Serves 4

For the Shrimp Tacos:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 (6 inch) flour tortillas

For the Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup crema, sour cream, or mayo (or combination of two)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste

For the Red Cabbage Slaw:

  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 a small head)
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar, or white wine vinegar
  • salt to taste


Marinate the shrimp in the refrigerator in a marinade made with lime juice, olive oil, and chili powder. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.  In the meantime, make the chipotle sauce: Combine the mayonnaise (Mexican crema, or sour cream) with the minced chipotle peppers, honey, tsp lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate the sauce until serving.

Combine the ingredients for the slaw in a medium bowl.  Toss to coat the cabbage.  Refrigerate until serving.

Skewer the shrimp on wooden skewers and either cook them on the grill or cook in a cast iron skillet for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Lightly sprinkle a few paper towels with water and place on a plate.  Top with 8 tortillas and cover with another damp paper towel.  Microwave the tortillas to soften them for 1 minute.

Assemble the tacos: Place a flour tortilla on your plate.  Spoon 2 to 3 spoons of red cabbage slaw in the center of the tortilla.  Top with 4 shrimp on each taco and spoon a few tablespoons of chipotle sauce over the top of the shrimp.  Enjoy.

2 tacos with sauce and slaw 462 calories according to Cuisine at Home Magazine (June 2010 issue p 9)

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The Salmon Caper

IMG_6909My husband took me out to eat at Agora’s in Irvine a while back and they served a wonderful baked salmon that also had lemons, capers, black olives and seasonings.  Tonight I made grilled packets of salmon drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and oregano and lemon thyme.  The salmon was topped with sliced lemon and capers.  I grilled these at medium high for about 10 minutes.  They were delicious and did not disappoint!  I will be making this dish again.  There is something about the  combination of lemon and capers with salmon that is very satisfying.

Grilled Salmon Packets


  • 4 filet of salmon, about 1 inch thick
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, (or basil or thyme)
  • 8 slices of lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp capers


Preheat your grill to around 375- 400°F.

Place each salmon filet on a  piece of aluminum foil large enough to fold over the salmon and create a packet.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper and sprinkle each filet with 1/4 tsp dried oregano.  Place two thin slices of lemon on each filet.  Drizzle each filet with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of capers over the salmon.  Wrap the foil over the salmon and seal in the edges so the juices do not run out.

Place on your grill and close the lid.  Cook the salmon for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.

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Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai –

One of my best friends lives in Thailand.  Her daughter now goes to school in England and they both were here over the summer.  I took them to eat at a Thai restaurant near me.  Her daughter had not had Thai food in some time and enjoyed it.  I also found out, though the decor was a mix of Thai and Chinese, their food was pretty authentic, and that is what matters. I learned from my friend, that when eating Pad Thai, it tastes better when you squeeze lime juice over the dish just before eating and sprinkling with just a little sugar (1/4 tsp does the job) — I was skeptical, but it really did bring out the flavors.  I discovered I really like Pad Thai.  So I bought the ingredients recently to try to make it myself.  Actually, I made the dish twice!  Once to make all the mistakes, and the second time to make it right!  Yum!

I used the recipe on the Roland brand Pad Thai Noodle package and adapted it to my own taste.  I don’t like tofu- so I increased the amount of shrimp.  You could also use chicken or pork.  Tamarind paste was the hardest ingredient to locate, but you will find it in an Asian market, or order it online.

Shrimp Pad Thai

adapted from Roland

Serves 4


  • 1/2 package Roland Pad Thai Noodles
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp Tamarind Paste
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp Fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 oz. medium size shrimp, cleaned and peeled
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime sliced in wedges, for serving
  • sugar, for serving


Prepare the Pad Thai Noodles according to package directions.  Mine, I soaked in room temperature water for 30 minutes, drained the noodles and then put them back in the bowl and poured boiling water over them and let them sit another 5 minutes to soften them.  Drained them again and then added a little oil and tossed to keep the pasta from sticking.

In the meantime prepare the sauce:  Combine the tamarind paste with the 1/2 cup hot water and stir.  Strain the tamarind paste in a sieve, saving the liquid in a small bowl.  Discard any solids (I had very little).  Add the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and red chili flakes to the tamarind sauce and stir to combine.

Cook your scrambled eggs in a non stick skillet, breaking the egg up into smaller pieces as it cooks and set aside.

Heat a wok or cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add 2 Tbsp of canola oil to it.  Add the minced garlic.  Add the clean shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes until they are pink and fully cooked.  Remove the shrimp to the skillet with the eggs, so they do not overcook – you will add these back into the wok toward the end of cooking.

Add the drained noodles, and tamarind mixture to the wok. Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add bean sprouts and green onions and cook for one minute longer.  Add the scrambled eggs, shrimp, and peanuts to the wok.  Add the juice of one lime and toss lightly.

Place the Pad Thai on a large serving dish and sprinkle with a few more peanuts and fresh cilantro.  Serve hot and garnish with lime wedges.

It really tastes best when you squeeze a little lime on the Pad Thai and sprinkle the single serving with about 1/4 tsp of sugar.  If you are skeptical as I was, try it without first and then add… I think you will agree that it does taste better.

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Crab Cakes and Remoulade Sauce

IMG_5100Recently, my daughter requested crab cakes for dinner.  I was actually surprised that she wanted them, I was sure it was salmon cakes she liked, but to be honest I was happy to oblige.  I like Crab Cakes.  When I think of crab cakes, I think East Coast, but as I live on the West Coast – I also think Disneyland Blue Bayou crab cakes.  They are good!  I found a nice recipe in one of my many cookbooks:  America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (page 281) I doubled the recipe because the recipe served 4 and we are a family of 5.  I took leftovers to a neighbor, who said the crab cakes rivaled those served in a fancy restaurant.  It made me smile.  This truly is a good recipe!  They make very large crab cakes though, so I probably would have been okay keeping the recipe at 4 servings and making the crab cakes slightly smaller.  I added a kick of creole seasoning (Konriko brand is my favorite seasoning, that is available through the internet).

Crab Cakes

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook

Serves 8


  • 2 lbs canned refrigerated backfin crab meat (Pacific Cove is an excellent brand)
  • 6 Tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced (green part only)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (or cilantro, dill, or basil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Creole Seasoning (optional, but if not using increase Old Bay to 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2  eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour, or more as needed
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


In a large bowl, using a fork gently combine the crab meat, dry breadcrumbs,  scallions, parsley (or other spices), Old Bay Seasoning, Creole seasoning.

Add the mayonnaise and gently fold it into the crab meat.  Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper if necessary.  (If you are adding creole seasoning it may not need any and if you are not using it then increase the Old Bay seasoning to 1 Tbsp.)  Gently fold in the beaten eggs.  Add more breadcrumbs if necessary.  I used less than called for.

Divide the crab meat into 8 equal portions.  Gently form them into balls and flatten them slightly. They are quite large almost fist sized.  Cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and cool for 30 minutes or longer.

Heat 1/4″ canola oil in a non stick skillet, or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Remove the crab cakes from the refrigerator and lightly coat them in flour just before frying them in the oil.  Fry them until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side and remove them to a platter and keep warm while you finish cooking the remaining crab cakes.  Serve with lemon wedges and Spicy Remoulade Sauce if you wish.

Remoulade Sauce

adapted from:

Yields: about 1 cup


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rinsed capers
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • dash Frank’s hot sauce, or to taste (I used about 3 tsp)
  • salt, to taste


Combine the mayonnaise, chopped dill pickle, chopped capers, lemon juice, mustard, and parsley. Taste and add hot sauce and salt, until you like the taste of the sauce.

Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

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Ginger Crusted Salmon

Ginger Crusted Salmon

Ginger Crusted Salmon

One of my favorite preparations of salmon I have ever eaten has been at the Yard House.  They serve a ginger crusted salmon on  a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes with a peanut ginger sauce that is to die for.  Much to my surprise I found the recipe online and in print (link)! You mean I can make this myself now?  I added the recipe to my bucket list of things I wish to make.  I bought some beautiful salmon at my favorite market – and thought it was the perfect opportunity to make it myself.  It was not quite what the Yard House serves, because it was missing the deep fried strips of carrot on top for presentation, but it was still very good.  I doubled the sauce, because I thought it would go nicely with a satay later in the week.  This recipe takes a little prep work to get it perfected, but I was rather happy with the results.  I will make it again for a special dinner.

Yard House Ginger Crusted Salmon (at home)

adapted from Yard House recipe published in Miami New Times

by Executive Chef Carlito Jocson Serves 2 (link)


  • 2 (6 oz) fillet of salmon
  • 1/4 cup finely minced ginger (I used a microplane to grate it)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups julienne carrots and snow peas (cut in matchsticks)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make ahead of time:

  • 1/2 cup Sesame Peanut Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Wasabi Mashed Potatoes (recipe below)


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a small metal bowl, combine the grated ginger and sliced green onions.  Heat the olive oil in a small skillet.  Use caution to pour the hot oil over the ginger and green onions in the metal bowl.

Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high heat.  Sear the salmon on each side until golden brown.  Transfer the salmon to a baking dish and top with the ginger mixture.  Bake in the oven for 7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Steam the snow peas and carrots in two separate pans for about 3-10 minutes depending how tender you like them.  Drain any water, add some butter to each and season with salt and pepper if desired.  Tip: I bought a small bag of carrot slaw mix in the grocery store, so I did not have to spend hours slicing carrots.

To serve: Drizzle the plate with 1 Tbsp of the Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette.  Put a dollop of Wasabi mashed potatoes on the center of the plate.  Top with steamed julienne carrots and snow peas.  Top with the baked ginger crusted fish and drizzle about 1/4 cup more of the Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette over each servings.  Top with fried strips of carrot if you desire (I did not this time). Serve and have a party in your Mouth.

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • water to cover the potatoes
  • 1/4 cup Wasabi Paste (I found some in a tube by S&B) See bottom of post for source)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • salt to taste


Prepare the potatoes: Bring the potato chunks, salted cold water to cover to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 12-15 minutes.  Test with a fork for tenderness.  Drain.  Mash the potatoes with the wasabi paste, heavy cream and butter.  Season with salt to taste.  These potatoes have quite the punch- my children opted for regular potatoes, but hubby and I enjoyed them.  If you are unsure how spicy they will be add less wasabi- you can always add more.

Sesame- Peanut Vinaigrette (doubled)

Yields about 2 cups


  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Jif)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped ginger
  • 2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine all the ingredients in your food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.  Refrigerate until needed.  I like this sauce so much I make extra and serve as a sauce with a beef or chicken satay later in the week.

Ingredients resource:

For the Wasabi paste: (43 grams was the size of my tube and I used)

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Salmon with Creamy Herb Sauce

I recently picked up a copy of Fix-It and Forget-It slow cooker magic.  You should be able to find a copy until April of this year (04/12).  They had several recipes that caught my eye.  I liked the look of this recipe but I adapted it to serve 6 (not 4), so the sauce ingredients are doubled and instead of 4 pieces of salmon I used 6.  I also changed a few ingredients in the sauce.  I thought there was too much mustard, so I reduced that and I increased the sour cream and added a dash of Worcestershire sauce to give it that last oomph that it needed.  I was afraid that cooking the salmon in a crock pot would make my whole house smell fishy.  It was not the case.  I think I found some very fresh salmon, which I am sure helped keep it from smelling too fishy.

Salmon with Creamy Herb Sauce

adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Magazine (4/12) p. 70

Serves 6

Crock Pot Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 2 large lemons, sliced
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or 1 cup white wine/1 cup chicken broth)
  • 6 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillet (1 inch thick)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or reduced fat if you like)
  • 5 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce


Place the first 4 ingredients into the crock pot and pour the chicken broth over them.  Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours.

In the meantime, season the salmon with the garlic salt and red pepper flakes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is time to add the salmon.

Prepare the Creamy Herb sauce:  Combine the ingredients listed and stir together.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

When the two hours are up for the lemon slices.  Carefully place the salmon on the lemon slices.  Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 30-45 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.  Remove the salmon to a platter and discard the liquids.  Serve the salmon with the creamy herb sauce.  Good with steamed rice and broccoli.

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Crab Cakes

My Uncle Bill lives near the coast in Maryland and his wife Evelyn made these crab cakes for us on a recent trip to the East Coast.  Yesterday I made them with canned crab meat.  Though they were not as good as hers, because she used fresh crab, they were perfectly acceptable to eat.

I added garlic to the onions at the end to give it more flavor.  It was a nice addition.  I think they would be really good with Cajun or Creole seasoning as well.  Also I did not have a pepper in my pantry so I chopped up green onions and added them for color just before forming them.

Aunt Evelyn’s Crab Cakes
Makes 6-8 crab cakes

  • 1 lb. crab meat
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 pepper, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning, or Cajun
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, or Panko crumbs
  • Olive oil, for frying


Saute onions and peppers in butter until softened.
Make a roux with butter, flour and milk.  Add worcestershire sauce and old bay seasoning.  Add in onions, peppers and crab meat.  Form into crabcakes.  Dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs or panko crumbs.  Fry in olive oil (or olive oil and butter)

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Salmon with Balsamic Glaze

All three of my children enjoy eating salmon.  I’m thankful my kids are not picky (or I never let them be picky- they ate it or they went hungry.)  Here is a different recipe from the norm.  The salmon is brushed with a balsamic glaze and cooked in the oven.  After it is cooked it is brushed with balsamic again.  It has a lovely flavor. My kids still ate the fish with Tartar sauce, but my husband and I thought it was great with just the balsamic glaze.  We will be making this again.  I found the recipe at allrecipes.  My only regret was that the salmon had a ton of pin bones.  I tried to remove them before cooking but found myself shredding the fish, so I left most in and told everyone to be careful.  I now know where I don’t want to get my salmon in the future.  I would have loved to have had salmon steaks as it cooks more evenly.

Salmon with Balsamic Glaze – adapted from allrecipes

Serves 6

  • 6 (5 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • dash of soy sauce (my addition)
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray it with Pam cooking spray (or another brand).
Over medium heat, cook and stir garlic in a small pan with a scant teaspoon of cooking oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, dash of soy sauce, mustard, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Arrange salmon fillets on foil-lined baking sheet. Brush fillets with balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with oregano.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Brush fillets with remaining glaze, and season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to transfer fillets to serving platter, leaving the skin behind on the foil. (Don’t use the new foil that has food not stick to it, -like I did -or the skins will stay on the salmon.)

I served this with steamed broccoli, couscous and fresh bread.

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Salmon Cakes

My family is not big on eating fish, but they always seem to enjoy these easy to make salmon cakes.  I have made these for years now.  I think I pulled it from an Chicken By the Sea advertisement in a magazine.  They are delicious.  I hope you try them sometime.  The recipe for sauce is also listed, but I often serve them with store bought tartar sauce and a cucumber tomato salad on the side (Chopped and seeded cucumbers mixed with sliced tomatoes and dressed with bottled Ranch Dressing).

Salmon Cakes – adapted from Chicken By The Sea


  • 1/4 cup Red Bell, Pepper, finely chopped (or roasted red peppers from the jar, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • dash Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs, Dry
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 12 ounces Salmon, Canned
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oil


In a small mixing bowl, combine chopped red pepper (I use the roasted red peppers from a jar) , green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference.  Stir in egg, well drained salmon and 4 Tbsp of the breadcrumbs.  Divide and form mixture into 6-8 balls (I use an ice cream scoop).  Roll Salmon balls in remaining breadcrumbs; flatten into cakes (about 1/2 inch thickness) Fry salmon cakes in melted butter and oil in skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve with Tartar sauce or:
Lemon-Herb Mayonnaise:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 1/2 tsp fresh if on hand)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and blend well.  Serve with Salmon cakes.

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Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

IMG_6953On the theme of what is in my pantry/fridge/freezer that I can make this weekend? I made Shrimp Scampi.  I used Ina Garten’s recipe in her Family Style cookbook.  I like eating Angel Hair pasta rather than linguine and made a few changes to accommodate what I did have or did not have.

Here is my adapted recipe:

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

Serves 6

  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb angel hair (Ina’s recipe called for 1 1/2 lbs of linguine)
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic (9 cloves) I only had the garlic in a jar and used 3 heaping tsp.
  • 2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used the dry and only 1 Tbsp because I didn’t have fresh on hand)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used some from the bottle because I did not have 4 lemons)
  • 1/2 lemon sliced in half rounds
  • 1/4 tsp dry pepper flakes


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add a little vegetable oil.  Then add pasta and cook according to package directions.  Drain and toss with olive oil so the pasta does not start to stick.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, heat a heavy bottomed skillet (I used my cast iron skillet that is 14 inches), melt the butter and 5 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for about a minute, being careful not to burn it.  Add the shrimp and stir and flip them as they cook until they are no longer pink, but do not overcook them or they will become rubbery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and add parsley, lemon zest and juice, and red pepper flakes.  Toss to combine.
  3. Serve over pasta with a side salad or fresh green beans.

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