Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Category Archives: Seafood

Mussels In Spicy Tomato Sauce

I’m going to share something weird about myself with you today.  There are many weird things about myself, so this is really just one of them. I hate clams.  Don’t even eat an oyster in front of me.  Blech!

But, I LOVE mussels, and this is my most favorite way to eat them.  Simmered in some butter, wine and garlic isn’t bad either, but in a spicy tomato sauce will always be my first choice.

We made a large bowl of these and sat out on the deck just picking them clean. Delish!


  • 2 lbs. Cleaned Live Mussels **See below how to clean mussels
  • 1 – 24 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt, to taste

Begin the tomato sauce in a large skillet.  Add the oil, onion and garlic and sauté until just before the garlic begins to brown.

Add the wine and mix well, scraping up the bottom of the pan. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt to taste.  Stir well, place on simmer and cover, stirring occasionally so you don’t burn the bottom of the sauce.

Go through the bag of mussels and discard any mussels that have cracked and broken shells.  If you have any mussels that are slightly open, don’t discard them right away by assuming they are dead.  Tap the mussel several times.  If it’s still alive it will close immediately.  If it doesn’t close after a few taps, discard the mussel since it’s no longer alive.

In a large bowl filled with cold water (I actually use 1/2 of my double-sided sink), cover the mussels with cold water and allow to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain the mussels and remove the beards. The beard is a tough stringy substance stuck on the outside of some of the mussels. Grasp the edge of the beard and pull down firmly towards the hinge of the mussel and remove.

Scrub the outside of each mussel with a hard brush to remove any debris or barnacles on the outside of each shell.  Place in a colander and give them a final rinse under cold water and set to the side for a few minutes.

Add your fresh basil to the tomato sauce, stir well, and prepare to add your mussels.  Add all the mussels to the tomato sauce, stir gently and cover immediately.  Keep covered for 3 minutes.  Remove the cover, give another gentle stir, cover and allow to cook for an extra 3 to 4 minutes.  You don’t want to over cook these for any longer than a total of 7 minutes or the muscles will turn tough and chewy. 

Once done, remove any mussels that did not open and discard.  Take the remaining mussels and gently spoon them into a large dish and cover with sauce.  Serve with some sliced lemon for squeezing, sit back and enjoy.

Make sure to use that crusty Italian bread to soak up all that delicious sauce.

You could always serve these over some cooked spaghetti, but I prefer them just the way they are.



Shrimp & Macaroni Salad

This is my all time favorite macaroni salad, and my family would agree with me.  It’s simple and easy to throw together and I make it often in the warm weather months.

The shrimp I use in this dish are the “tiny” version found in a can.  Before you cover your eyes and run away from that idea I promise you they work and they work well.  I’ve tried it with fresh shrimp and frozen tiny shrimp and just was not happy with the results.  The canned “tiny” version is what works best and I’ve never had anyone who has tried it tell me they didn’t love this salad.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


  • 8 oz. Elbow Macaroni (or any small pasta)
  • 2 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cans “Tiny” Shrimp, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup Mayonnaise (Use the good stuff!)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni.  Cook until just done.  When done, drain and rinse with cool water and set to the side.

Dice the celery and the onion and grate the carrot and set to the side.

Drain and rinse the shrimp and set to the side.

In a large bowl add the macaroni, celery, onion, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the grated carrot.  Mix well and add more mayonnaise if needed.  Once mixed, add the two cans of shrimp and fold in.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving. 

Stir well before serving and enjoy!


Shrimp & Feta Over Pasta (Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet)

I saw this dish in a recent issue of Taste of Home magazine and knew I had to make it.  Feta, shrimp, lemon and pasta?  Yup, I can fall in love with that combination.

Being Catholic, and it being Lent, I look for new and different meatless recipes to serve for the next few weeks.  This one was on the top of my list.  Of course, after I made it and was cleaning up I realized this recipe calls for chicken broth, and, yes, chicken broth would be considered a meat when cooking that should not be used on a meatless day during Lent.  I’m sure God forgave me for that minor mistake.  I hope. 

I only made one change to this recipe, and that change came about because I couldn’t get one major ingredient.  Fresh basil.  I see it all the time in any of our grocery stores, even during the winter, but for whatever reason, fresh basil decided to evacuate itself from all produce sections in my area last week.  I did, however, have  two bunches of fresh cilantro in my fridge.  In fact, I always have fresh cilantro in a mason jar in my fridge because I can’t live without the stuff. 

I was hesitant at first to make the switch from the basil to the cilantro, but after reviewing the ingredients again I realized cilantro would work just as well, if not better.  I do plan on making this again using basil, but if you find yourself in a pinch like me, I highly recommend the substitution of cilantro if need be.  That was the only thing I changed about this recipe. 

Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet

From Taste of Home Magazine February/March 2011 issue

  • 8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta (I used spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil (I used dried cilantro)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté shrimp in oil until shrimp turn pink.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.  Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat 1 cup broth, lemon juice and dried basil.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining broth until smooth; stir into the pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in spinach and shrimp; cook until spinach is wilted.

Drain pasta; serve with shrimp mixture.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and fresh basil.


Salmon Cakes

On Sunday, my husband grilled some salmon.  I was working so I wasn’t here to enjoy it, but when I got home Monday morning I saw the leftovers in the fridge.

Later that day I was catching up on some Tivo’d episodes of Barefoot Contessa.  I love Ina Garten.  Imagine my surprise when I saw her preparing salmon cakes.  They looked so good!  The best part was that I already had leftover salmon, and pretty much everything else her recipe called for.  So I changed my meal plan for the night from making pasta to making these salmon cakes instead.  I was glad I did because they came out perfect.

I pretty much stuck to her recipe for these, but I did change it up very slightly. Nothing major. 

She shows  you to bake the salmon with some spices on top, but since I already had some grilled salmon, I skipped that part.  And I will say that I think the grilled salmon added a completely different taste since they had that smokey flavor to them.  Definitely a plus.

She also called for red onions, and I used a small Vidalia onion instead.  And red and yellow bell peppers.  I had the red, but not the yellow, so I substituted the green.  I think it added a nice contrast from the sweet of the red bell pepper.  Didn’t add in the capers either, and that was only because I had none left.  My last change was using 2 large eggs versus the 2 extra large eggs she called for.   The large worked just fine.

These are a definite keeper.  I’ll give you Ina’s recipe but you can certainly change it up  however you prefer.  This is an excellent recipe when you have some leftover salmon. 

Salmon Cakes:

Recipe made from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa”

Serves 4 – 6 (Depending on the size of your cakes)

  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.

**Note:  These cakes are very soft when you prepare them.  What I did a little differently to combat this was to place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes.  Then I fried 4 of them at a time, while keeping the remaining cakes waiting in the freezer until I was ready to fry them up.  This kept them from falling apart on me and worked perfectly.

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Grilled Lime and Cilantro Shrimp

We grilled these little shrimpies up the other night, and they were gone in minutes.  Truly.

I cleaned them early in the day and then mixed up one of my most favorite marinades.  You might remember seeing it here.  It’s become a favorite in our house and we’ve used it on chicken, pork, and now shrimp. 

I did change the measurements a bit from the recipe for the chicken when I used this marinade.  I needed more marinade for the chicken than I did for the shrimp, so if you are doing the shrimp, follow the modified recipe here.  If you want to make the chicken, follow this recipe.

On the shrimp, this marinade was perfect.  The shrimp really absorbed the flavors perfectly, and the marinade made for a creamy type of dressing for them. 

The shrimp I used this time were about a 50 count and they were just perfect. 

I grilled them using a grilling rack for seafood so they wouldn’t over cook.  I prefer using the separate grilling rack when cooking any type of fish or shellfish on the grill since they tend to burn or dry out quicker if you put them directly on the grill itself.  At least for me, anyway.

I plan on doubling the recipe next time I make them, since my family plowed through these in record time and were still looking for more.

Please try these.  You will be very happy you did.

Grilled Lime and Cilantro Shrimp:

Serves 4

  • 1 lb. Cleaned and deveined shrimp
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 3 Tbsp.  Goya Recaito Cilantro/Coriander Cooking Base
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Begin by cleaning and deveining shrimp.  Place in a colander and rinse.  Set to the side.

    In a separate bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients until combined.

    Place clean and drained shrimp in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over them.  Place in the refrigerator and allow them to chill for 4 to 6 hours.

    If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water before filling them with the shrimp so they don’t burn on the grill. 

    Heat the grill to between 300 and 350 degrees.  I grill these on a separate grilling rack I add to the top of the grill.  I spray it with some cooking spray so the shrimp won’t burn.

    Begin by placing your shrimp on the skewers.  You want to get about 8 to 10 shrimp on each skewer. 

    Once done, place them on the grill rack, brush on some extra marinade and close grill.  Allow to cook on one side for about 3 minutes.  Flip them over and allow to cook on the other side.  Mine went for about 7 minutes total.  Just make sure you don’t over cook them or they become dry and rubbery.

    If you are planning to cook these directly on the grill and not using a cooking rack, they may take less time to cook so you will need to watch them.

    Once done, remove to a serving platter, serve them up with some lime wedges and enjoy.  These would even be fantastic in a tortilla with some Pico de Gallo and avocado slices.  That’s happening…soon.

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