Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Well, I’m BACKKKK from the most epic vacation ever.

18 days abroad, exploring Switzerland and Italy with Aaron, my sister Rachel, & her husband Peter.

Italian Vacation

We did some pretty awesome things…. like floating down the Limmat river through Zurich, taking a gondola ride to the top of Mount Pilatus, tobogganing down a slide on the side of said mountain, SUPing in the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean sea, walking through picturesque vineyards in the hills of Tuscany, and of course, eating some AMAZING food.

My absolute favorite was the family run restaurant La Tavernaccia, located in the Trastevere region of Rome.

The food was unreal, and the prices were freaking fabulous! We sprint-walked from the Colosseum in order to make it before lunch ended, and it was worth every second of the inner thigh chaffing that resulted ūüėČ

We ordered a perfectly salty-sweet lardo bruschetta drizzled with honey and sea salt, fresh fruit, wood oven roasted suckling pig with crispy potatoes, pasta all’amatriciana, and 1 liter of white wine, all for 38 euros!! (insert shocked face emoji here) And no joke, it was the best food we had of the entire trip. PLEASE VISIT next time you are in Rome.

Lardo, Honey, and Bread

pasta al'amatriciana

Suckling Pig with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

But even though we had so much fun traveling, there’s nothing like coming home to your own bed (and kitchen!) and appreciating how awesome your real life is.

Today I’m still battling jet lag, but can’t resist the allure of the kitchen. On the menu this week is some delicious pho, pork chile verde, eggplant & lentils, cobb salad, marinated pork loin, roasted chicken, and a ginormous hodge podge salad. Already went shopping & picked up all the ingredients!

But today, I’m sharing a recipe I whipped up right before we left for our trip.

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans.

The actual prep time is pretty short. The longest step is the 30 minute shrimp marinade, which doesn’t actually require any work. Other than that, it’s just a quick roasting of the shrimp under the broiler (about 5 minutes), crisping up¬†some pancetta, and saut√©ing shallots until tender.

Toss with some creamy white beans, parmesan cheese, thyme, and lemon, & serve over baby arugula. Finish with a drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a pop of flaky Maldon sea salt. Simple & delicious (and it goes great with a crusty loaf of bread).

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • Pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 5 oz baby arugula
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Maldon sea salt, for seasoning


  • Place the shrimp in a large shallow dish. Pour 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice over the shrimp. Season with a generous pinch each¬†of salt & pepper, and toss to combine. Set in the refrigerator and let marinate for 30 minutes.
  • While the shrimp marinates, prep the rest of the salad. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a paper towel covered plate and set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot and thyme to the pan. Saut√© over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened and just starting to get a golden hue. Turn off the heat.
  • Place the cannellini beans in a medium bowl. Add the crispy pancetta, saut√©ed shallots, juice of 1/2 lemon, parmesan cheese, and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Taste & season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Preheat the broiler on high heat. When the shrimp is done marinating, place them on a broiling pan & broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes per side, until bright pink and the flesh has just become opaque. When done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Next, plate each salad. Divide the arugula up into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 1/4th of the bean-shallot-pancetta mixture, and 1/4th of the shrimp. Drizzle each bowl with a generous drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and a large sprinkle of flaky Maldon sea salt. Serve right away with a hunk of crusty bread.
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Beer Braised Bratwurst with Lentils

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Lentils

Let’s talk cooking with beer.

Do you love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Never tried it?

There are so many cool ways to use beer in cooking:

  • You can add beer to your frying batter (think beer-battered deep fried fish or onion rings).
  • You can add beer to your chili or stew before simmering for hours (it leaves an amazing layer of flavor at the end of each bite).
  • You can use beer in a marinade to give some extra depth to your meat before grilling.
  • You can steam shellfish in beer and aromatics to impart way more flavor than water.
  • Or, you can do as I did in this recipe, and braise your¬†sausages in beer before throwing them on the grill.

Braising sausages in beer before grilling gives them a nice pop of extra flavor.

And you can totally choose the type of beer based on your personal preferences. I used Anchor Steam, because… Anchor Steam… but you could use a lager or IPA or pale ale, or WHATEVER YOU WANT! The world is your oyster.

You just add the sausages to a large pan, add 2 beers + water to almost cover, and simmer for a few minutes on each side until the sausages are cooked through.

This type of cooking method only makes sense with raw sausages. You want the meat to absorb the beer flavor as it cooks. Smoked pre-cooked sausages are already saturated with flavor and won’t pick up much else if you add them to a pot of beer.

I usually use pork sausages, like German bratwursts, for this type of cooking, but you could also experiment with chicken sausages if the mood strikes you!

Here’s what they looked like after the beer braise + quick pop under the broiler:

Beer Braised Bratwurst

Lip-smackingly good. Make sure you broil or grill them long enough to get that nice char on the outside.

Now you could totally serve these as-is, tucked inside a grilled bun with some stone ground mustard & grilled onions, OR you can get wild and serve them over lentils!

Yep, lentils! Or more specifically, a nice sauté of Le Puy lentils (my favorite) and some aromatic vegetables and herbs (onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley).

Stir in some Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and a splash of beef broth, and you’ve got a delicious, flavorful, and filling pot of veggies & legumes waiting for you.

Lentils & Veggies

Then you just slice your sausages, lay them out all beautifully on a bed of lentils (or, let’s be real, just toss them on top) and dig in!

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Lentils

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Lentils

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 4


  • 4 large raw German bratwurst sausages (about 1.5 lbs)
  • 2 12-oz beers of your choice (I used anchor steam)
  • 1 lb Le Puy green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 large celery sticks, diced
  • 7 cloves garlic, 5 minced & 2 whole and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


  • Add the lentils to a stock pot and cover with a few inches of water. Add the 2 whole cloves of garlic and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender but still toothsome, about 20 minutes. Drain and discard the garlic and bay leaf. Set aside the lentils for later.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet, warm over medium heat, and add the carrot, celery, and onion. Season with fresh cracked salt and pepper. Saut√©, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until well cooked and the onions are starting to turn golden.
  • Add the minced garlic and thyme to the pan and saut√© for a minute or two more, until fragrant. Add the lentils to the pan, plus 1/2 cup beef broth. Stir and cook for a minute or two until warmed. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley, mustard, and white wine vinegar. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • In another large skillet, place the bratwurst. Add the two beers and as much water as necessary to almost cover the sausages. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until cooked through. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Discard the beer.
  • Turn on the broiler, place the sausages on the broiler rack and put a pan underneath if needed to catch the juices. Broil the sausages on high for 5 to 8 minutes on each side until nicely charred (exact timing depends on the strength of your broiler and how done you like your sausages). Remove from the broiler and let rest for a few minutes before slicing into rounds.
  • Add a few scoops of lentils onto each serving plate, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Top with sliced sausage and enjoy!
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Ham Butter Bean Soup with Savoy Cabbage

Ham and Butter Bean Soup with Savoy Cabbage

Hams are pretty awesome.

You can often find them on huge discount during the holiday season, and they can be used to make (literally) half a dozen meals!

Some of my favorite ways to use ham include:

  • soups
  • salads
  • stratas
  • sandwiches
  • frittatas
  • quiches
  • pizzas
  • pastas
  • pot pies

The best part is that all of these recipes only require a cup or two of ham, so you can stretch your ham-love super far.

To prep a ham for use in a bunch of dishes,

  • First, slice thick slices (1/2 inch-ish, depending on how large you want your dice to be) of ham from the bone until all the meat is removed.
  • Save that ham bone for stock or soup!
  • Next, cut off any fatty skin, gristle, or tendons from each slice & discard.
  • Finally, dice your ham into 1/2 inch cubes (or leave in slices if you want to use for sandwiches)
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or pack in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to a few months until needed.

For my first leftover ham recipe, I chose to make a nourishing winter soup.

It’s inspired by my parent’s habit of making lima bean and ham hock soup with leftover ham when I was a child.

I’ll admit…. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that soup as a child… but with some upgrades and handful of additional ingredients to bump up the flavor, I’ve¬†become a HUGE fan of ham & bean soup.

I love how the creamy butter beans soften while cooking to thicken the soup, how the beautifully vibrant savoy cabbage softens and gives the soup tender body, and how the salty ham kicks up each and every bite to a new level.

Serve with baguette slices for sopping up the delicious broth, freshly grated parmesan cheese for a hit of extra flavor, and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper.

Ham and Butter Bean Soup with Savoy Cabbage


Ham and Butter Bean Soup with Savoy Cabbage

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 large dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 small savoy cabbage, cored and shredded or thinly sliced (about 4 very large handfuls)
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 3 (15oz) cans butter beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, baguette slices, and freshly cracked black pepper, for serving


  • Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper and saut√© until softened, and just about to start browning.
  • At this point, add the chicken stock, cabbage, ham, and butter beans and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 45 minutes, until some of the beans have broken down slightly to thicken the soup, and the cabbage is cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley and apple cider vinegar.
  • Ladle into deep soup bowls, top with parmesan and freshly grated parmesan cheese, and serve with baguette slices.

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