Recreating the best…

My boy is a man of routine. Whether its the morning (coffee with cream in-hand, reading the New York Post with one eye as the other watches a Fox & Friends segment), noon (meal of tuna fish and chicken noodle soup) or evening (unwinding in our enclosed patio while previewing that evening’s sports contest) he knows what he likes and he likes what he knows.

We often frequent the same restaurants and through doing so have become friendly with the wait staff and bartenders. A favorite restaurant of ours is Carrabba’s Italian Grill – it’s consistent and hearty, not to mention reasonably priced and we always have a great time with the personable staff. Now, this says a lot. My boy’s parents have an Italian restaurant their own (best thin-crust pie around) therefore, finding a decent Italian chain restaurant (with good non-Ragu tomato sauce) can be a somewhat daunting task for my connoisseur.

Speaking of daunting tasks, last night he asked me to recreate a signature dish of Carrabba’s (which happens his fave) the Insalata Johnny Rocco. I knew I could not bear to break his satisfying routine of chowing down on this healthy dish. It would ruin the whole night! (Okay – perhaps that was just a little overdramatic…)

Hello, pre-game jitters. I had to bring my A-game and I had to put on my thick skin.

But every time I prepare a meal, I cheesily say to myself “how can a meal made from love garner any critisism at all?!” Ha! Then I come back down to the reality of living with an Italian son who was brought up on homemade “gravy” [sic – sauce] and chicken parm with fresh motz. (But he truly is wonderful and heck, I’ve become a better cook for it, as well!)

Alas, thanks to an Acme sale on seafood and some staple items from our farmers market – last night’s [very, very simple and frugal] dinner tasted elegant and was met with success!

Enjoy! The NJ version of the Insalata Johnny Rocco!

img_salads_2lg4 c. mixed baby greens
1/2 lb. both jumbo shrimp (peeled) and scallops
2 T. minced garlic
3/4 c. roasted red peppers (sliced long)
1/2 c. kalamata olives
2 T. olive oil
Fresh shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
Ken’s Healthy Options Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing

In large skillet, heat 2T olive oil and 1 1/2 T minced garlic. When fragrant, add shrimp and scallops. Cook for 2 minutes on each side (or until shrimp is pink and scallops are semi-firm). Set aside.

In large bowl, toss together greens, roasted red peppers and olives. Add in cooked shrimp and scallops. Toss together with 1/4 c. Ken’s dressing (more or less to taste). Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Feeds two – if for the main course, four – if serving as a side. This would go great with a nice steak!

Oh, and if the taste wasn’t enough for you – check out how low-fat this tasty dressing is, too!


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