Library Staff De-Stresses with Cooking

Posted on August 5, 2019

by Angela B

Each month, the Locke Branch Library staff focuses on a new way to de-stress. During the month of July, the staff focused on how cooking can be one of the best stress relief activities.

Fantastic Summer Recipes

Hannah’s Recommendation

Photo of seasoned shrimp inside of a flour tortilla
Photo by Jon Sullivan
Healthy Chipotle Beer-and-Butter Shrimp Foil Pack
  • 1 1/4 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle hot sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Mexican-style lager, such as Corona
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  1. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Lay out a piece of heavy-duty foil 12 inches by 18 inches. Fold the four sides up to create walls and spread the shrimp in the center of the foil. Toss the shrimp with the garlic, chipotle sauce, cumin, oregano, coriander and salt. Pour in the beer. Dot the butter pieces on top. Cover with another large piece of foil and crimp and fold the edges together to seal tightly.
  2. Transfer the foil pack to the grill, close the lid and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Carefully tear the packet open, being careful not to let the escaping steam burn you. Squeeze lime juice over the shrimp and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve the shrimp with the rice and pass extra chipotle hot sauce on the side.

Connie’s Recommendation

Photo of an avocado on a wooden cutting board
Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
  • 1 lb Roma tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1/2 medium red onion sliced
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 1/4 cup or 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Sea salt or 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  1. Place chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, diced avocado, and chopped cilantro into a large salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Just before serving, toss with 1 tsp sea salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.

Heather’s Recommendation

Photo of shredded chicken soft tacos
Photo by kae71463
Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on how much meat you want)
  • 1 can salsa of your choice
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or 1 ½ – 2 tbsp of your own – here’s my favorite DIY recipe)
  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel before putting them in the slow cooker.
  2. Place everything in the crock pot and mix it up good so that the chicken is coated in the salsa/spices.
  3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours.
  4. Use a fork to shred the chicken (it should shred very easily).

Rebecca’s Recommendation

Photo of grilled shrimp on a plate
Photo by Eugene Kim
Grilled Shrimp
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
  • 2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, soy sauce, and chili sauce. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade for brushing onto shrimp while grilling.
  2. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with remaining marinade. Preheat grill or grill pan and thread shrimp onto skewers. Grill shrimp until pink and opaque, about 3 minutes per side, brushing with reserved 1/4 cup marinade before and after each flip.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with lime wedges.

Angela’s Recommendation

Photo of Vegetable Skewers on the grill
Photo by Piviso
Easy Grilled Veggie Skewers
  • 4 medium red onion
  • 4 medium zucchini – sliced
  • 2 red bell pepper
  • 2 orange bell pepper
  • 2 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 green bell pepper
  • olive oil – for brushing
  • Balsamic vinegar – for serving
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic – minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley – minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro – minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary – minced
  • salt – to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  1. Soak approximately 8-12 wooden skewers in water for at least 15-30 minutes. The total number of skewers will vary depending on several factors, such as the size of each vegetable, the size of your vegetable pieces, etc.
  2. Prepare the vegetables for the skewers. For each red onion, first peel, then slice in half. Chop each half into thirds, as if you were cutting a pizza (6 total pieces from one onion). Seed and chop each bell pepper into approximately 1-inch by 1-inch pieces. Finally, chop the zucchini into rounds.
  3. Prepare the Garlic Herb Sauce: In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Skewer the vegetables by alternating between red onion, zucchini, and the different colored bell pepper. Brush skewers with a light layer of olive oil.
  5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Once the grill is hot, add skewers and grill for approximately 5-8 minutes per side, or until vegetables are just softening and browning around the edges.
  6. Remove from heat, brush with garlic herb sauce and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette, if desired. Enjoy!

Ann’s Recommendation

Photo of a bowl of vegetable soup
Photo by Scott Veg
Summer Vegetable Garden Soup
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 5)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped celery (about 3)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch thick diced potatoes (from about 3 medium)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped frozen or fresh green beans
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté 4 minutes then add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.
  3. Add in broth, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring to a boil, then add green beans.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are almost fully tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.
  6. Add corn and peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Library Books

How to Grill Everything by Mark Bittman
Clean Eating for Every Season: Fresh, Simple, Everyday Meals - Alicia Tyler, editorial director, Clean Eating magazine
Fresh Grilling: 200 delicious good-for-you seasonal recipes / Better Homes and Gardens
Vibrant Food: celebrating the ingredients, recipes, and colors of each season / written and illustrated by Kimberley Hasselbrink

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